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article imageOp-Ed: NFL Games of the Week — Week 2

By Mike Rossi     Sep 10, 2014 in Sports
Though it’s been overshadowed by the graphic revelations surrounding the Ray Rice incident, Week 1 gave fans an exciting start to the 2014-15 NFL season.
From the first game between the Packers and Seahawks to the last game featuring the Chargers and Cardinals, there were upsets, surprise performances and stellar finishes across the league.
The Saints and Falcons provided a high-octane shootout between two of the NFL’s best quarterbacks.
Meanwhile, Miami came out of nowhere to clobber Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
And can someone explain to me how the Bills managed to upstage the Bears at Soldier Field?
Looking ahead to Week 2, there are a number of games – including a pair of heated division rivalries – to keep an eye on, perhaps none more than the Thursday Night Football matchup featuring…
Pittsburgh at Baltimore
As mentioned earlier, the awful saga involving Ray Rice, the video of him punching his then-fiancée and the swirling rumors of what exactly did the NFL know when it handed down its original two-week suspension have been dominating the headlines.
Amidst all of these very personal distractions, the Baltimore Ravens have had to prepare for a tough game against their biggest AFC North foe, the Pittsburgh Steelers. To complicate matters further, the game is on Thursday night which means three days of preparation as opposed to the normal six.
Baltimore looked awful in their Week 1 match-up against Cincinnati – they turned the ball over twice, didn’t score until there were two minutes left in the 3rd quarter and asked Joe Flacco to throw the ball a arm-numbing 62 times.
Can the team refocus in a short week? Maybe, but it’s certainly a tall order.
Given hurricane of bad news surrounding the Baltimore Ravens, the grass looks pretty green for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The team won a tough game against a division rival – the Cleveland Browns – behind quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Mr. Do-It-All, wide receiver Antonio Brown.
If the Steelers can put points on the board in Maryland like they did in Pennsylvania last week, they could end up dismantling a Baltimore franchise mired in controversy.
New England at Minnesota
A ten-point lead at halftime against Miami didn’t have quite the staying power some Patriots fans would have hoped for in Week 1.
The Dolphins charged out of the locker room to slap the taste out of the New England Patriots collective mouth – 23 unanswered points for a 33 to 20 win.
Rather than pay the Dolphins their due credit, most fans have taken a line of “what the heck happened to New England?”
True, the Pats thoroughly underwhelmed in the second half, but that might have been a consequence of…well…Miami being good this year.
How the Patriots lineup and respond on the road against a surging Minnesota team in Week 2 should provide some clarity on the issue.
Speaking of Minnesota, everything is just coming up roses for them at the moment.
The Vikings embarrassed a very talented St. Louis defense last week by putting 34 points on the board. Granted, the Rams were working with their 3rd string quarterback and an absolutely hapless offense, but that doesn’t explain or excuse four touchdowns and two field goals.
Minnesota will have to deal with a real offense this week when they host New England, but the Pats D is certainly no better than the Rams.
If the Vikes can keep Tom Brady out of the end zone, they should roll to a surprising 2-0 start.
Chicago at San Francisco
A couple of things are in play here for the 49ers…
First and foremost, they’ll be playing a real football team this week with what appears to be a real quarterback in Jay Cutler.
Second, they’re playing the first regular season home game in the brand-spanking-new Levi’s stadium.
The 49ers can’t expect the kind of help they received last week – four turnovers in the first half – from the Chicago Bears, so they’ll need to actually run a full-field offense and stop the run on defense (two things they didn’t need to do last week).
For the Bears, this week’s Sunday Night Football contest in San Francisco is a chance to redeem themselves following an embarrassing opening game loss to the Buffalo Bills.
By and large, the Chicago offense led by Cutler, Forte and Marshall looked pretty good last week. Yes, there was some rust (3 turnovers) and the normal Week 1 snags (an injury to WR Alshon Jeffery), but nothing to get alarmed about.
On the flipside, the Bears defense left quite a bit to be desired. The struggled against a Buffalo offense that’s…um…how do I say it? — Bad.
Somehow, the Bills jumped out to a 17-7 first half lead on their way to eventually winning 23-20.
If the Bears want to have a prayer in San Francisco, the defense needs to show up.
Detroit at Carolina
There’s a lot I could say about this game.
“Possible playoff match-up.”
“Matt Stafford versus Cam Newton.” – If Newton actually plays, which right now remains a mystery.
“It features two Heisman Trophy winners in Reggie Bush and Cam Newton” – Again, if Newton actually plays.
Instead of getting into any of the above details, I’ll plainly say this game is worth watching for the simple fact it puts one the NFL’s most elite offenses in the Detroit Lions against one of the NFL’s most elite defenses in the Carolina Panthers.
Points will be scored, punishment will be laid out and excitement will ensue for football fans tuning in.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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