The NFL season kicked off Week 2 with Panthers vs Buccaneers on Thursday Night Football. The game started off with a lightning delay, but restarted soon after. Neither team had an outstanding performance but the Quarterbacks stood out to me. I still undoubtedly believe that Marcus Mariota is better than Jameis Winston but Winston played a good game Thursday after his horrific Week 1 performance against the 49ers. Cam Newton also stood out to me because he played very poorly. Newton completed under 50% of his passes and it seemed that he just could not deliver the ball on target. The Buccaneers won the game 20-14 after the Panthers made a questionable play call on 4th and 1 with just over a minute on the clock. Here are some key stats from the game:
QB Jameis Winston: 16/25 208yds 1 TD 0 INT
RB Peyton Barber: 23 CAR 82yds 1 TD
WR Chris Godwin: 8 REC 121yds 1 TD
QB Cam Newton: 25/51 333yds 0 TD 0 INT
RB Christian McCaffrey: 16 CAR 37yds 0 TD
TE Greg Olsen: 6 REC 110yds 0 TD
While the last two Thursday Night Games have not been too special, Week 1 was very interesting. I covered the Titans game in depth in this article but in my Week 1 Preview, I picked the Titans to win. The game was nothing like I expected but I am very happy with the result. Here are other interesting or surprising games from Week 1:
Patriots 33-3 Steelers
Raiders 24-16 Broncos
Chargers 30-24 Colts
Lions 27-27 Cardinals TIE
Saints 30-28 Texans
Vikings 28-12 Falcons
Here is the NFL schedule for Week 2:
Chargers v Lions SUN 12:00pm
Titans v Colts SUN 12:00pm
49ers v Bengals SUN 12:00pm
Jaguars v Texans SUN 12:00pm
Vikings v Packers SUN 12:00pm
Redskins vs Cowboys SUN 12:00pm
Seahawks vs Steelers SUN 12:00pm
Bills vs Giants SUN 12:00pm
Patriots vs Dolphins SUN 12:00pm
Chiefs vs Raider SUN 3:05pm
Saints vs Rams SUN 3:25pm
Bears vs Broncos SUN 3:25pm
Eagles vs Falcons SUN 7:20pm
Browns vs Jets MON 7:15pm
The games that standout in Week 2 are, Titans vs Colts (obviously), Jaguars vs Texans, Seahawks vs Steelers, Saints vs Rams, and Falcons vs Eagles. The Jaguars and Texans game interests me because it is an AFC South matchup. Both teams are coming of losses and the Jaguars will be without QB Nick Foles. The team will likely be starting Rookie QB Gardner Minshew. Minshew came into the game against the Chiefs last week and played very well. Minshew was 22/25 and he threw for 275yds, 2 TD, and 1 INT. On the other hand, the Texans are coming off of a tough Week 1 loss to the Saints. The game came down to the wire and Saints Kicker, Wil Lutz, kicked a 58yd Field Goal to win the game. This game should be interesting because it has significance to the Titans.
The Seahakws vs Steelers game will also be interesting. The Steelers lost badly, 33-3, against the Patriots on Sunday Night Football. The Seahakws narrowly beat the Bengals as Andy Dalton threw for 418yds. The game will likely be tightly contested because the Steelers tend to bounce back after blowout losses and the Seahawks did not play up to their full potential last week.
In the 2018 NFC Championship game, NFL fans witnessed one of the most controversial no calls in NFL history. It was Saints vs Rams, and this game is the first rematch since the incident.
Unlike many people, I thought and still do think that the Falcons will have a great season. The Falcons lost to the Vikings Week 1, and they looked very bad. I look at this game as a bounce back opportunity for the Falcons. The Eagles came back from down 17 against the Redskins to win 32-27.
Titan vs Colts is obviously the game I am most interested in for Week 2. The Colts played a complete game in Los Angles last week against the Chargers. If it were not for a few missed kicks and a missed PAT, the Colts could have won last week. The Titans won convincingly against the Browns last week and look to continue their momentum into week 2. Too many Titans fans chalk this game up to a win when in reality, the game could go either way. Jacoby Brissett is a very solid QB with weapons around him. Additionally, the Colts have a strong defense, lead by 2nd year LB, Darius Leonard. Despite Leonard’s struggle last week, he is still a great player and he can change the game.
For the Titans, there are many things they must do to win this game:
1. Stop the Run
Since week 12 of last season, Colts RB Marlon Mack has had the most rushing yards in the NFL. Although I thought the Titans run defense was OK last season, they were ranked as one of the worst in the league. If the Colts get the run game going with Mack, the Titans could be in for a long game defensively.
2. Slow down Brissett
Jacoby Brissett has played the Titans twice in is career and he lost both games. Both games came in 2017 when Andew Luck was out for the season with a shoulder injury. Brissett has the ability to make deep throws and to throw the ball very accurately. If the Titans pass rush can get to Brissett early, then the Titans will be in a much better position. Over the last couple years, there have been a few players on the Colts of have absolutely killed the Titans. The first being Andew Luck but he has obviously retired. The players who have destroyed the Titans are WR T.Y. Hilton, and TE Jack Doyle. I’m not sure what it is about these two guys but they always seem to have huge games against the Titans. If this Titans team truly is special, if they are not the same team as last season, they will win this game and contain Jacoby Brissett, and limit T.Y. Hilton and Jack Doyle.
3. Run the Ball
Last week, my key to the game was to get the running game going and give the ball to Derrick Henry. Henry is the key to the Titan’s offense and I have always believed that. If Henry can get going, the offense will be in a good position. Although Henry didn’t have the amount of rushing yards I expected last week, he had 84 rushing yards, a rushing touchdown, and a 75yd receiving touchdown. Henry deserves 20+ carries vs the Colts, and if he gets that, he can change the game.
4. Use all the targets
This is not as crucial as the other keys, but the Titans should utilize all the offensive targets. Last week, rookie WR A.J. Brown and veteran TE Delanie Walker emerged as newly signed WR, Adam Humphries had just one catch, and WR Corey Davis had no catches. If Mariota can spread the ball around, that will make it even tougher for opposing Defenses to cover all the Offensive targets. This is not necessarily a key, but it is something I would love to see the Titans do.
Last week, I was very concerned with the Offensive line. Luckily the Line played a great game in Cleveland and I am hoping they can do it again. It will likely be the same Line that started last week, and G Kevin Pamphile will not play on Sunday. I was primarily concerned with G Jamil Douglas who spent last season on the practice squad. I thought Douglas played a solid game along with the rest of the line. The standout to me was Tackle Dennis Kelly. I have been a fan of his ever since he was traded to the Titans in the offseason of 2016. Kelly played a fantastic game and shut down star DE Myles Garrett. If the offensive line can repeat the performance I have a good feeling about the run game and about this week.
It is no surprise, that yet again, I have seen just one national media member pick the Titans to beat the Colts on Sunday. I am predicting a 28-22 Titans win on Sunday. The game will be heavily contested, but I believe the Titans will take care of business.
I am very excited for this game and it should be interesting. I think the the Titans will shock the national media yet again.