Week two is upon us and every team finds itself in one of two categories. Either they’re attempting to start 2-0 or they are trying to avoid starting 0-2 (well, everyone but Miami and Tampa Bay). No matter where they find themselves, players need to show up and perform Sunday, and some will have a tough matchup awaiting them. Here are some guys who will be going head-to-head and will need to bring it in Week two for their squads.
1 Dez Bryant vs Aqib Tilib
Dez Bryant was visibly frustrated during his Week 1 battle with Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins. Jenkins limited Dez Bryant to just two catches for 43 yards Sunday night, and Bryant will try to bounce back this week when Dallas travels to Denver to take on the Broncos.
It won't be any easier for Bryant though, as he's likely to draw Aqib Talib for most of the night. Talib was all over the field last week against the Chargers, making great plays in coverage against both Keenan Allen and Travis Benjamin. He'll now go up against a motivated Dez Bryant, who's looking to get on track after his poor performance in Week 1.
2 TJ Watt vs Sam Bradford
These players have something in common. They both played very well in Week 1, and they both still have people doubting whether that will translate to the rest of the season. TJ Watt was spectacular against Cleveland, racking up five tackles, two sacks and an interception in his NFL debut. Watt's performance was reminiscent of JJ a couple years ago, but many are wondering if this is the next great Watt or just a fluke performance by TJ.
Sam Bradford was equally impressive in his season opener. Bradford was 27-32 for 346 yards and three touchdowns. It was a career game for the former Heisman winner, but it was against New Orleans, who had the worst defense in the NFL last year. There are some who still doubt that Bradford will even finish the year at quarterback if Teddy Bridgewater returns. This game is important for the credibility of both Watt and Bradford moving forward.
3 Leonard Fournette vs Wesley Woodyard
The Jaguars won their opener in Houston Week 1, 29-7. Leonard Fournette was a big part of that victory, carrying the ball 26 times for 100 yards and one score. Fournette was a workhorse for the Jags and will need to continue that kind of workload if Jacksonville wants to keep winning.
The Titans meanwhile, lost their first game to the Raiders, 26-16. Tennessee is in a different position this year, with playoff expectations for the first time in quite a while. If the Titans want to get in the win column Sunday, they're going to need Wesley Woodyard to shut down Fournette. Woodyard had five tackles and a sack in last week's loss to Oakland, and will now have to lead the attack against the ground and pound offense of Jacksonville
Wouldn't it be interesting if Fournette and the Jaguars could pull this out? Could we have a 0-2 Titans and a 2-0 Jaguars after Week two?
4 Aaron Rodgers vs Matt Ryan
The best two quarterbacks from a year ago will face off this Sunday night. Aaron Rodgers is bringing his high-flying offense into Atlanta to face defending MVP Matt Ryan and the Falcons.
Atlanta is coming off a close win in Chicago and will need to play a lot better if they plan on getting a win this week against Green Bay. Matt Ryan played decently, going 21-30 for 321 and one touchdown, but the offense did not look nearly as explosive as it did a year ago.
For Rodgers and company, this game is personal. Atlanta eliminated the Packers in the NFC championship in embarrassing fashion, 44-21. Rodgers led his team to a good win against Seattle's tough defense last week and looks much more prepared for this matchup than Atlanta does. It's time for the defending MVP to defend his home turf, because Rodgers is coming for him.
5 Tom Brady vs Drew Brees
It doesn't get much better than Tom Brady and Drew Brees. These two quarterbacks have terrorized the league their whole careers, winning Super Bowls, breaking records, and both will be headed to Canton at the end of their respective careers. All that makes it even more surprising that these guys enter this game with a losing record. I can't confirm this, but I'm pretty confident this is the first time ever that Tom Brady and Drew Brees both have a losing record entering a regular season game.
Tommy Terrific struggled against the Chiefs in the NFL opener, as did the Patriot's defense. Alex Smith and Kareem Hunt had their way all night, finishing with 537 total yards.
If Alex Smith can tear up the Patriot's secondary, Drew Brees should have a field day. Expect this matchup to be a high scoring shoot-out, with vintage performances by Brady and Brees. Enjoy it; we don't know how much longer we get to watch these two greats go at it.
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