Week Two is upon us! After a first week of missed field goals, coaching mistakes, and overtime nail-biters, the second week of the NFL has a lot of expectations. Who should Patriots fans be cheering for this week? Let’s get started.
In the NFL, no matter how big of a fan you are, your team only represents three percent of the league. With there being 32 teams split into two competitive conferences, most of the games you watch during the span of the regular season will not feature your favorite squad. That is why, as Week 2 is approaching, it is necessary to craft a complete rooting guide for Patriots fans to follow while Mac Jones and the exciting offense are not on the gridiron.
Before We Begin: A Retrospective On Past Games
Before we dive into the chunk of Sunday’s games, let’s take a look at how past Week Two games have gone over.
Chiefs vs. Chargers, Final Score: KC 27, LA 24
Even though both of these teams are in the AFC, the Chargers and the Chiefs are expected to be Super Bowl contenders. Since either team is essentially a lock for the playoffs, this game won’t matter much for AFC seeding in the Patriots perspective. New England fans could have wanted either team to win and it wouldn’t have mattered.
Part 1: The Obvious Games
These are the games that affect the Patriots the most through divisional rankings.
Patriots vs. Steelers
Let’s go, Patriots! Following an extremely ugly loss against Miami, all sides of the ball are going to need to step it up in order to walk away from Pittsburgh with a smile. Starting out 0-2 would be an extremely ugly way to start off the new campaign.
Standout Player: With Kendrick Bourne expecting to get more playing time from last week, expect him to be a major factor in this game. In his limited snaps against Miami, Bourne accumulated more yards than half of the receiving core. If he is able to establish himself early on, the Steelers, and the league in general, should watch out.
Jets vs. Browns
Go, Browns! The Jets are AFC East rivals with New England, and the Patriots need to get out in front of them while Zach Wilson is still out. The best case scenario for the Patriots would be for the Jets to start out 0-4, and a loss here would put them well on their way.
Standout Player: Similar to last week, I expect Nick Chubb to be a keystone of this Browns offense while Deshaun is out. Chubb had nearly 150 yards in the opener against Carolina, and the Browns would be idiotic to not keep feeding him the ball. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it!
Dolphins vs. Ravens
Go, Flock Nation! This is another no-brainer. The Dolphins are direct AFC East rivals, and they will be fighting with New England for the second spot in the division for the rest of the year. The fact that the Patriots lost to them last week only adds on to the hatred. Everybody in New England should be hoping for the Dolphins to get annihilated by Lamar Jackson.
Standout Player: Since Lamar is in the midst of controversial contract negotiations, I would love to see him to show up against Miami. The hate he has endured this off-season will only add to the flame inside of him. It would be awesome to seem him utilize that internal flame and annihilate the Dolphins.
Bills vs. Ravens
Go, Titans! Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry are going to have to have major performances if they want to trot past the Bills and Josh Allen. The Bills defense embarrassed the defending Super Bowl champions last week, and I fully expect them to do similar damage against the Titans. Close your eyes, Patriots fans. The Bills are (probably) going to win again on national television
Standout Player: Isaiah McKenzie had an up-and-down game last week. He dropped a pass that resulted in an interception, but he also scored a touchdown. He’ll be looking to clean up his game this week, and considering what he did to the Patriots in Week 16 of last year, he has the capacity to destroy this Titans secondary.
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Part Two: The NFC Games (Predictions Only)
These are the games that solely feature NFC teams. They will have no seeding impact on the Patriots, so they don’t require any backstory or explanation. Patriots fans can choose whoever they would like to win these games.
Panthers vs. Giants
With the Giants coming out of a promising win against the Titans and the Panthers coming out of a demoralizing loss, it’s clear who has the psychological advantage. At this point, we would all want to see Baker Mayfield succeed considering all he has endured this season, but it doesn’t look likely.
Standout Player: Derrick Henry had a mediocre game last week considering his potential. He’ll be looking to have a dominating performance to trot past the Titans. I can see him carrying for well over 100 yards and multiple touchdowns.
Buccaneers vs. Saints
This is Tom Brady’s last season in the NFL. Most people, especially Patriots supporters, will be rooting for him on a week-to-week basis. He has a historically bad track record against New Orleans, so it may not be pretty. I have the Saints winning this one in a narrow fashion.
Standout Player: Jameis Winston has a lot to prove to his fanbase after a dreadful performance through the first three quarters last week. He picked up his act in the fourth quarter, but he needs to maintain consistency throughout. I have him defeating Brady and the Bucs.
Commanders vs . Lions
This one could go either way. It’s going to come down to which team maintains the highest levels of consistency. If last week is any indication, the Commanders will be running away with this one pretty easily.
Standout Player: If Carson Wentz wants to match his Week 1 performance, he will have big shoes to fill. Many may view Carson’s incredible game against the Jags as a fluke, but I don’t see it as one. His back is up against the wall to return to his 2017 self, and the season with Washington will be a statement.
Seahawks vs. 49ers
Very surprisingly, the Seahawks beat their former QB Russel Wilson last week. This may have raised hopes for fans, but any hope they have for this season is false. The 49ers are going to win this one by a substantial margin
Standout Player(s): Deebo Samuel. Last season he was one of the most versatile players in the league. Since he is transitioning from that role into a more receiver-based player, Trey Lance will have a valuable target to throw to. I see Lance and Deebo having a masterclass for this game.
Falcons vs. Rams
There is a very obvious favorite to this one. The Rams feature a Super Bowl-winning QB while the Falcons feature a QB that was a backup last year. It may seem like the Rams will win this one by 20+ points, but don’t be too sure. The Falcons proved everybody wrong by almost beating the Saints last week, and there is nothing stopping them from proving everybody wrong this week.
Standout Player: Cooper Kupp is the best offensive player in football. He can obliterate any secondary in the NFL, and I expect him to explode onto this rebuilding Falcons team. 200 yards and two touchdowns is what I see Kupp accumulating this game.
Vikings vs. Eagles
This will be a great game to watch, which is exactly why the NFL put in onto the primetime slate. Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson will be squaring off against Jalen Hurts and AJ Brown. Both teams walked away with a win last week, and both will be pumped up heading into this electric matchup. I’m expecting a lot of passes, highlights, and points from both sides.
Standout Player: Kirk Cousins was the most underrated QB in the league last year, and I believe that this will be his year to show the world what he has. If he can put up big numbers under the lights for this game, he can open a lot of eyes. Expect a monster Kirk game.
Bears vs. Packers
If Aaron Rodgers wants to bounce back from that embarrassing performance against the Vikings last week, he’ll get to do it against one of his least favorite teams in the NFL. I really don’t see a single universe where Justin Fields defeats Aaron Rodgers. Expect this to be a high-scoring affair for one team.
Standout Player: Aaron Rodgers is still good, despite what some people might tell you. Sure, he has the worst receiving core in the NFL, but he’s still good. Rodgers will cruise by the game with ease.
Part 3: The AFC Games
These are the more personal games for Patriots fans. These games involve conference rivals who may impact where the Patriots will stand at the end of the season.
Colts vs. Jaguars
Duval! The Colts and the Patriots are among the many teams competing for that last playoff spot. Trevor Lawrence running away with the win against the Colts would be superb. The Colts tied to the Texans last week, so I can imagine that they’ll be anxious for a win. Despite this, I expect the Jaguars to barely win this matchup.
Standout Player: The last time Trevor Lawrence played the Colts, he completely baffled them and forced them out of the playoffs. Trevor Lawrence has the mental advantage against Indy, and he most definitely will use that against them.
Cardinals vs. Raiders
Go, Cards! The Raiders are not in the same ballpark as the Patriots talent-wise, but any NFC team against an AFC team is an easy choice. The Raiders and Cardinals will both be searching for their first win after painful losses at home. Expect this to be a close one.
Standout Player: Derek Carr is one of the more respected players in the league for a reason. He never complains, he’s a phenomenal leader, and he has a lot of untapped potential. Since he now has one of the best offensive weapons in the league in Davante Adams, that untapped potential can be reached. He wasn’t great last week, but he can be great this week.
Texans vs. Broncos
Go Texans! The Texans don’t pose any threat to the Patriots. With Russell Wilson on board, the Broncos do. Plus, seeing Davis Mills run away with a win would complete any NFL fan.
Standout Player: Brandin Cooks just recently got extended, and he has so much talent to show for it. With Davis Mills entering his second year, he’ll be able to get Cooks to well over 1,000 yards this season. That all starts today.
Bengals vs. Cowboys
I hate to say it, but we should be hoping for a Cowboys win. The Bengals are 0-1 and are likely going to be competing with the Patriots for a playoff spot. Them starting off 0-2 would take a major weight off of the chests of Patriots fans.
Standout Player: Ja’Marr Chase is one of the best rookie receivers we have ever seen, and he is due for a humongous leap. He’ll be matched up against Trevon Diggs, who notoriously gives up a lot of yards and touchdowns. Expect him to take off.
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