After a chaotic first week, teams will be looking to either keep the good times going or bounce back from an early-season loss (or tie). Here are the moves and subsequent matches of the second week, and how they can affect the outcome of these games.
Russell Wilson’s deep throw against minor Texans
Denver Broncos -10.5
If there was a recipe for rebound play, this would be it. Russell Wilson will make his home debut for the Broncos after Monday’s fiasco. He faces the Texans, coming off an incredible draw against the Colts.
You would think that Nathaniel Hackett would really like to let Russ cook after Monday’s loss, especially given these numbers. Wilson’s passing average was just 6.6 yards down the field in his first week, 23rd in the NFL, after having the longest average throwing range in the league last year (9.9). He also only targeted wide receivers in 36% of his passes against the Seahawks, the lowest of any quarterback last week. Since when did Russ captain Checkdown?
Week 2 would be the perfect time to open it up and capitalize on Wilson’s strengths, deep passing game. Last season, the Texans allowed the highest completion percentage of shots that went at least 20 yards downfield. They didn’t test week one against Matt Ryan in that department, even with two supporting players who made their NFL debuts (Derek Stingley Jr. and Jalen Pitre). However, it should be a different story with Wilson as no one has deeper touchdown passes than him as of 2020.
You also can’t expect the Broncos to grope twice at the 1-yard line.
Choice: Broncos -10
Giants Motion Run game against Panthers
New York Giants +1
The Giants garnered the attention of many with their thrilling 21–20 victory over the Titans in Week 1 thanks to Saquon Barkley and the Giants’ new offense under Brian Daball.
They will take on Carolina in Week 2 after the Panthers rushed 217 yards on the ground in a heartbreaking loss to the Browns. The only team to allow more yards in the first week was the Giants’ opponent, the Titans. The giants’ ground game cannot be an aberration either. 155 of Saquon Barkley’s 164 rushing yards came from the Giants using movement on or before Sunday’s snap. That’s more yards per move than all of last season.
The game design was more dynamic, and Barkley looked like he turned back time during his 68-yard run, hitting 21.1 mph, his highest speed since his anterior cruciate ligament injury, according to NFL statistics. Next Gen Stats.
With Daball ramping up to make room for a rejuvenated Barkley, the Giants can capitalize on the Panthers’ vulnerable defense.
Choice: Giants -2
Blitz Lamar Jackson vs Dolphins
Baltimore Ravens -3.5
The Ravens lost 22-10 in Miami, becoming last season’s favorite with 8.5 points, the fewest points in any career start for Lamar Jackson.
The Dolphins used a super-aggressive strategy (even by their blitz standards) to embarrass Jackson: he faced defense without cover (zero high safety) 23 times, more than any QB in the last 5 seasons. He hit blitz 25 times, the second most in a game of his career.
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh says Baltimore is ready for it this time. “We would be careless if we didn’t work on it,” Harbaugh said. “It was something we needed to get a lot better at, and we studied it all off-season. We’ll have a plan and hopefully it will work because these guys are probably the best guys in the league right now.” They do it more than anyone, they do it better than anyone, and that’s just what they’re committed to.”
Effective ground play would be one way to take the pressure off Jackson. They couldn’t make it in Miami last year, running under 100 yards, and they could be in trouble again, judging by last week’s play. Baltimore rushed just 63 yards against the Jets, the fewest in any Jackson start. While reinforcements may appear in the form of J.K. Dobbins, it is unknown how much of an impact he could have on the game as a potential game decision by playing in his first game since 2020.
Sure, Jackson could prove me wrong and set the world on fire, but the evidence and the improved Dolphins team (we didn’t even talk about breaking them!) point to Miami.
Choice: Dolphins +3.5