Eagles-Colts Should Be a Shootout & Other Things You Need To Know About Week 2 In The NFL
Another full slate of games are on tap for football fans this week, but only a few are marquee matchups. Here’s what you need to know heading into Week 2.
Thursday, Sept. 11
Of Course The Ravens Play Thursday Night
Pittsburgh at Baltimore | M&T Bank Stadium; 8:25 p.m. (ET) on CBS/NFL Network
Embattled NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell doesn’t get a break from the schedule. The first game of the league’s new Thursday night TV deal with CBS features the Ravens, the franchise which earlier this week terminated the contract of running back Ray Rice after video leaked of him punching his then-girlfriend Janay Palmer in an elevator of an Atlantic City casino last February. While the debate about whether or not anyone from the league saw the video prior to this week continues, the Ravens players face their AFC North rivals from Pittsburgh (1-0) with a weakened rushing attack and after days of answering questions that weren’t about football. That means extra pressure on quarterback Joe Flacco to lead the team.
Fans around the league are likely to look to see how Baltimore (0-1) — both its team and its fans — handles this awful situation. They’ll probably remind Steelers’ coach Mike Tomlin to stay on the sidelines during kick returns, too — something he didn’t do the last time these teams met.
Sunday, Sept. 14
Battle of Super Bowl Contenders?
Atlanta at Cincinnati | Paul Brown Stadium; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Laugh all you want, but both the Falcons and the Bengals notched impressive Week 1 victories that could lead them to bigger things. Atlanta (1-0) rallied to beat the Saints behind quarterback Matt Ryan’s big passing day — and his offensive line’s improved blocking. They’ll need to stay strong against a ferocious Bengals’ defense led by linebacker Ray Maualuga.
Cincinnati (1-0) blew a 15-point lead to Baltimore last week, but the Bengals walked away victorious thanks to A.J. Green’s awesome 77-yard touchdown reception and Andy Dalton’s two-point conversion pass to Mohamed Sanu. If Green lines up against Falcons’ cornerback Desmond Trufant this week, the ensuing battle will be worth watching.
Kansas City at Denver | Sports Authority Field at Mile High; 4:25 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Kansas City (0-1) rolled up nine wins in 2013 before running into the Broncos…and losing twice in three weeks. The schedule-maker wasn’t as favorable to the Chiefs this season, so head coach Andy Reid and staff need to figure out how to slow down Peyton Manning’s pass-happy offense or start the season with two losses. This is the same defense that was torched by Tennessee’s Jake Locker last week. Ugh.
Denver (1-0) will be without receiver Wes Welker, who is still serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs, but Manning should manage to get the ball to other guys in orange jerseys just fine. Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith might accidentally do the same, especially to Denver safety Rahim Moore. His two interceptions against the Colts last week were one fewer than Smith threw versus the Titans.
The 49ers New Home Field Isn’t New
Chicago at San Francisco | Levi’s Stadium; 8:30 p.m. (ET) on NBC
The 49ers’ sparkling new Levi’s Stadium hosts its first prime time regular season game on Sunday night when the Bears come to town. The $1.2 billion facility replaces Candlestick Park, but at least one element remains the same: the turf. After the sod originally installed at the new stadium didn’t hold up to game play during two preseason contests, the team defaulted to the type of grass it used at ‘The Stick.’ Weakened by injury and suspension on defense, San Francisco (1-0) may want to include some quicksand traps on the field to help derail the explosive Chicago (0-1) offense led by quarterback Jay Cutler, running back Matt Forte and receivers brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery.
Stop The Eagles Offense? Good Luck
Monday, Sept. 15
Philadelphia at Indianapolis | Lucas Oil Stadium; 8:30 p.m. (ET) on ESPN
The Eagles seemingly slept through the first half of their Week 1 game against Jacksonville, but when they woke up Chip Kelly’s offense was a nightmare for the Jags. Philadelphia (1-0) scored 34 unanswered points and put defenses around the league on notice. Their next opponent is Indianapolis (0-1), which was able to slow — but not stop — Peyton Manning and the Broncos last week. Philly quarterback Nick Foles, running back LeSean McCoy and the receiving corps should find the end zone.
Oddsmakers list the Colts as three-point favorites. They also believe this will be Week 2’s highest-scoring game, setting an over/under of 53.5 points. Indy quarterback Andrew Luck is the key to the game. If he can direct his team to scoring drives against the shaky Eagles defense, this could be an epic Monday night shootout.
Sunday, Sept. 14
Miami at Buffalo | Ralph Wilson Stadium; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Jacksonville at Washington | FedEx Field; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Dallas at Tennessee | LP Field; 1 p.m. (ET) on FOX
Arizona at N.Y. Giants | MetLife Stadium; 1 p.m. (ET) on FOX
New England at Minnesota | TCF Bank Stadium; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
New Orleans at Cleveland | FirstEnergy Stadium; 1 p.m. (ET) on FOX
Detroit at Carolina | Bank of America Stadium; 1 p.m. (ET) on FOX
Seattle at San Diego | Qualcomm Stadium; 4:05 p.m. (ET) on FOX
St. Louis at Tampa Bay | Raymond James Stadium; 4:05 p.m. (ET) on FOX
Houston at Oakland | O.co Coliseum; 4:25 p.m. (ET) on CBS
N.Y. Jets at Green Bay | Lambeau Field; 4:25 p.m. (ET) on CBS