Week 1 of the NFL season started with a bang as we witnessed 3 games decided by 1 point and Antonio Brown literally putting on a show in the nation’s capital. This week promises to continue that trend with several division games on our slate. Let’s see what’s in store for Week 2.
Cincinnati Bengals-Pittsburgh Steelers
The last time we saw these two teams square off it was an all out battle as each team traded blows with one another to see who would be the last man standing. The Steelers managed to pull through to advance to the next round of the playoffs, even though they were without their star receiver, running back and their injured captain under center.
This time around the Steelers will have their key players in Antonio Brown, Maurkice Pouncey, and Ben Roethlisberger, in uniform when they host the Bengals at home. The Bengals themselves will have Andy Dalton commanding the ball, who missed the playoffs due to an injury suffered last season in Week 14 vs the Steelers. However, they will be without Tyler Eifert due to a left ankle injury and Vontaze Burflict, who is currently serving a 3 game suspension for repeated offenses of illegal hits against opponents over the last few seasons.
We can expect, as most AFC North games, this showdown to be a hard-hitting, low scoring game as they will battle it out in the trenches. It will come down to which offense will be able to move the ball down the field. This advantage goes to Pittsburgh as Cincinnati showed vulnerability as the offensive line allowed 7 sacks vs the New York Jets. Look for the Steelers to crank up the pass rush to disrupt the offensive line to give their young secondary the time to put the clamps on AJ Green and company.
Dallas Cowboys-Washington Redskins
The Cowboys are reeling from a painful last minute vs the New York Giants whereas Washington is looking to redeem themselves after being drummed on their home turf against the Steel Curtain. Both are looking for their first win of the season but most importantly, a division win.
Both offenses are looking to redeem themselves from their abysmal opening week performances as Dallas only managed to score a single touchdown in their 5 trips to the red zone whereas Washington committed two turnovers and sputtered out as the game progressed. The defenses fared no better as both gave up key plays through the air that helped seal the win for the opposing team.
This game will come down to which defense will hold up the longest as both are still suspect. Unlike Monday night, the Washington coaching staff will have to put Josh Norman on Dez Bryant as they can ill-afford another top 5 receiver run rampant in their secondary. Dallas will have to dare, as the Steelers did, Kirk Cousins to throw the ball deep to Jordan Reed and DeSean Jackson, which Cousins has yet to show that he can do that on a consistent basis throughout the game.
This game will make the fourth time the Gangrene have squared off against their former coach, Rex Ryan, and it’s looking to be an entertaining match-up. The Jets are looking to hand Ryan his second loss of the season as payback for costing them a spot in the playoffs last season.
The Jets managed to get in Andy Dalton’s face for the most of the game, but that proved not to be enough as he managed to expose the Jets aging and inexperienced secondary for 366 yards and a touchdown. Buffalo didn’t perform much better as they only scored a touchdown and were out-manned by the Baltimore Ravens for most of the game.
The game is setting up to be a one-sided game in favor of New York, but I do anticipate Buffalo to give their division rival a tough outing. Though it’s to be expected that the Jets have the offensive edge, their wide receivers were shown to be liability in the first game. Expect the Bills to load the box to minimize the Jets run game and line up in man coverage to create tight spaces for Fitzpatrick to throw in.