Oakland Raiders at Buffalo Bills
Whenever a west coast team is traveling across the country we immediately try to forecast how much jet lag and time zone jumping will effect performance, and usually the results aren’t good for the visiting team. Throw in a short week of rest after playing Monday, which is the case with the Raiders this week, and we may as well not play this game.
Rich Langford of SilverandBlack.com said it’s not quite that easy, but there’s another reason why he’s concerned about the Raiders’ fate this afternoon.
Green Bay Packers at Carolina Panthers
Sure, it’s only Week 2, which is something people write when they’re about to overreact to a Week 1 win. But the Panthers didn’t win, and under any other circumstance their opening week loss would be devastating.
Cam Newton’s record-breaking performance did more than just win some kind of moral battle heading into today’s matchup against the defending champs. Even if it’s just fleeting, there’s now a sense of relevance in Carolina.
Kansas City Chiefs at Detroit Lions
It’s hard to find room on a bridge or ledge in Kansas City nowadays. The Chiefs are visiting Detroit a week after losing their Pro Bowl second-year safety, a city that’s quite familiar with crippling football depression, and depression in general.
Cleveland Browns at Indianapolis Colts
And now we visit a city that’s just learning about football depression, a complex disorder that can strike suddenly. We’re still not sure how the Browns are actually favored on the road in this game, even though they’re facing defense still adjusting to life without a four-time MVP quarterback on the sidelines to erase their miscues.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings
For the Bucs to be successful, LeGarrette Blount needs to have far more than just five carries. This is obvious, and it’s been a common criticism of Raheem Morris’ gamplan during Tampa Bay’s Week 1 loss. Those voices will grow from a steady rabble to a cursing roar if Blount has a minimal role again this week, especially since he was on the field for less than 20 percent of Tampa’s plays against Detroit.
Chicago Bears at New Orleans Saints
The main storyline here is Brian Urlacher playing what now undoubtedly feels like an inconsequential football game just days after his mother’s passing. But Bear Googles On tells us about another story being pushed by the New Orleans media, one that has its roots in the magic marker creations of a few morons in Chicago back in 2007.
Jacksonville jaguars at New York Jets
Every Sunday there’s one injury we’re all watching right up until the early kickoffs, and last week that honor went to Arian Foster. This week it’s Santonio Holmes, and Jason La Canfora indicated in his injury report that the Jets “fully expect” Holmes to play through his nagging knee/quad injury.
Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh Steelers
It wasn’t surprising to see Sidney Rice ruled out for the second straight week with a lingering shoulder injury. But Rice’s continued absence will become the least of Seattle’s concerns against a defense anxious to re-establish itself and is facing an offensive line that surrendered five sacks and eight QB knockdowns last week. The return of Robert Gallery won’t be enough to slow down the Steelers.
Baltimore ravens at Tennessee Titans
After a disappointing opening week in which he had only 24 rushing yards, Chris Johnson faces a defense that held Rashard Mendenhall to 45 yards last week. This won’t end well if Tennessee tries to grind it out immediately.
Arizona Cardinals at Washington Redskins
Former eyesores are now exciting on both sides of the ball in this matchup, with Kevin Kolb restoring some respect to a position that was the subject of easy comedy last year in Arizona, and Ryan Kerrigan making an immediate difference alongside Brian Orakpo for Washington’s defensive front.
Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers
Dez Bryant made the trip to the Bay Area and will test his injured quad during pre-game warm-ups, but the Cowboys don’t expect him to play. This isn’t surprising, but Bryant’s poor conditioning and inability to stay healthy remains discouraging. This kid’s simply fun watch.
Cincinnati Bengals at Denver Broncos
Please shield your eyes, we’re entering the NFL’s injury capital. Knowshon Moerno is likely out today after missing practice due to a groin injury. A similar ailment slowed Brandon Lloyd during Denver’s Week 1 loss to Oakland, but he returned to practice Friday and should be fine. However, John Czarnecki of Fox Sports notes that defensive end Elvis Dumervil and cornerback Champ Bailey are likely out after also missing practice all week.
Since Kyle Orton has a direct impact on Denver’s ability to stop opposing runners and defend the pass, these injuries will lead to more Tim Tebow billboards.
Houston Texans at Miami Dolphins
Arian Foster is back, but don’t expect his usual workload to return right away. Sorry, fantasy owners, and thanks, Ben Tate.
San Diego Chargers at New England Patriots
The Patriots’ recent history is dotted with Chargers clashes, and it’s impossible to chart the team’s growth under Bill Belichick without referencing a few infamous Chargers/Patriots games. The first came in 2001, when a young and unproven Tom Brady led his first NFL comeback.
Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons
Hate to cave to the popular and unavoidable storyline here, but this seems like a good time to reflect once more on just how far Michael Vick has come since the house on Moonlight road.