Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Five Crucial Games in Week 2 of the NFL

Manning vs Manning
The NFL season is hitting full swing once again, and with it comes another exciting batch of football games in the week ahead.  Of course this early in the season, every team still has hope and optimism for what lies ahead, meaning that fans of all the teams can enjoy the sport once again before the crushing realities of the season sink in.  However, most of the contending teams are already known and their games will be a bit more exciting than the games between those desperately hopeful and woeful teams.  Here are 5 must-see matchups in the week ahead:
1.  Washington Redskins vs. Green Bay Packers – Both teams were in the playoffs last year, but both teams also lost in their first game of the season.  The 49ers beat the Packers again, while the intense new offence of the Eagles proved too quick for the Redskins defense.  Will Robert Griffin III be ready this week?  He sure looked rusty against the Eagles.  Whichever team loses this game is going to be in full panic mode after an 0-2 start to the new year.  I feel that Packers, led by the maturity and skill of Aaron Rodgers, will win this one.
2.  New York Jets vs. New England Patriots – Although the Patriots won against the Buffalo Bills led by rookie E.J. Manuel, it was a much tighter game than any Patriots fan would have liked.  Meanwhile, Geno Smith was a hero for the Jets and led a late game-winning drive.  With the Patriots defense not looking that good, could the Jets spring a surprise?  I highly doubt it, and I’m sure Tom Brady and his team will look better at home, but with new receiver Danny Amendola expected to miss this game, Brady is simply running out of offensive weapons.  This game could be quite close, but in the end you would have to be a bit crazy to pick against the Patriots against another rookie in their home opener.
3.  San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks – This is said to be the monumental struggle in the NFC West, with both teams winning in week 1 after having productive 2012 seasons.  With mighty defenses and exciting quarterbacks, this matchup should be a feast for the eyes and is surely the game of the week.  I still think the 49ers have the edge and that Colin Kaepernick is a better quarterback than Russell Wilson, but the Seahawks at home are a monstrous force, having won all their home games last season.  Hopefully a close game that comes down to the wire, I’m picking the 49ers here.
4.  Denver Broncos vs. New York Giants – Peyton Manning against Eli Manning is always going to be a treat, but while big brother Manning and the Broncos looks to have the best team in the league, the Giants had a pathetic showing in Dallas, stumbling out of the blocks.  Now they’re looking for help from 31-year-old Brandon Jacobs, who hasn’t rushed for 1,000 yards in a season since 2008.  Although the Broncos are the clear favorites and I’m picking them to win, don’t count out the Giants.  They are routinely the team that overcomes the odds and beats the best teams.  However, that usually happens late-season in the playoffs.  The Broncos will win this game.
5.  Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals – While Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers look like a team in decline, the Bengals are on the ups with A.J. Green and Andy Dalton.  However, let’s not get carried away.  The AFC North is as competitive as any division, and both teams came out losers last week.  The Bengals are expecting a big year this season and the pressure is on, while the Steelers are flying real low under the radar.  While neither team looks like real contenders, this game should still be a major battle between heated rivals, and should be quite entertaining.  I’m picking the Bengals because I like cats…
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