The first week of the NFL provided us with many surprises, some good and some bad. We saw a game end on an offensive holding call that negated a game-tying touchdown, a game-winning touchdown catch get called back because of a ridiculous rule and a 231-yard, three touchdown performance from a guy most people have never heard of. And that’s just for starters. Seven of the 12 playoff teams from last season started the 2010 off 0-1, most of which are projected to make the playoffs again this season. Granted, they still have a lot of time to redeem themselves, but this sure wasn’t the way they would’ve liked to start the season off. The Week 2 menu isn’t quite as intriguing as Week 1 was, but here are some matchups I think are worth noting.
Dolphins at Vikings, Mall of America Field
Sunday, September 19, 1:00pm
The Vikings are coming home to face the Dolphins after they laid an egg against the Saints in Week 1. Their offense didn’t look anywhere near as explosive as they did last season, which could have been the result of not having Sidney Rice or Brett Favre being another year older. Whatever the reasoning, they need to fix it, and fast. They will be facing a Dolphin team who has a new-look defense led by former Arizona Cardinal Karlos Dansby. The linebacker opened his first season with the Dolphins with a sack three plays into the game and finished the game with a team-high eight tackles. He was also the centerpiece in holding the Bills to just 166 yards of total offense. The Dolphins’ offense wasn’t quite as productive as was expected, but they did enough to get the job done. They will have to do a better job this week, though, as the Vikings only gave up 14 points to the Saints, who averaged almost 32 points per game last season. This could very well be another offensive struggle between two very good defensive teams, but I see it being a low scoring affair that Favre and the Vikes pull out at home. Remember, the Vikings didn’t lose a home game all last season (9-0).
Patriots at Jets, New Meadowlands Stadium
Sunday, September 19, 4:15pm
Last Sunday, the Patriots looked like the Patriots of old and dominated the Bengals in every facet of the game on their way to a 38-24 victory. Tom Brady looked like the two-time Super Bowl MVP that he is and Wes Welker made his return from knee injury felt as he caught eight passes for 64 yards and two touchdowns. They were also very opportunistic on both defense (59-yard interception return for TD) and special teams (97-yard kickoff return for TD). The Jets’ offense did absolutely nothing against the Ravens last Monday night and Mark Sanchez looked even worse than he did last season. He didn’t play with any confidence whatsoever and the running game that helped him along last year was almost non-existent. Granted, they were going up against one of the best defenses in the league, but six first downs and 176 total yards of offense just isn’t going to cut it. This should be another gritty, hard-fought game between these two division rivals, but I think the Patriots have too much firepower for even the Jets’ defense and they will win this one by at least a touchdown.
Giants at Colts, Lucas Oil Stadium
Sunday, September 19, 8:20pm
This will be the second installment of the Manning bowl with Peyton beating younger brother Eli 26-21 in the first meeting back in September of 2006. The Colts were having similar problems running the football back then too, only totaling 55 yards in that contest. They only had 44 rushing yards last week in their 34-24 loss to the Houston Texans and failed to stop the run, allowing them to rush for a franchise-record 257 yards including 231 by Arian Foster. The Colts’ offensive line wasn’t the reliable unit we have come accustomed to seeing. Instead, they allowed Peyton to be sacked twice and hit repeatedly, which is something he isn’t used to. But they are definitely going to need to get it together when they face the always fierce pass rush of the Giants or they’ll be in for a long night. The Giants started out slow against the Panthers, but were able to get it going on offense in the second half and finished with a 31-18 victory. Eli finished the game with three touchdown passes, all to his new favorite target, Hakeem Nicks. This game may be a bit of a shootout, which usually bodes well for Peyton and the Colts. And I just don’t see big brother Peyton letting his team start 0-2. Colts by 6.
Submitted by Steve Giles