NFL Midweek Tailgate: Will Packers rebound in Week 2, is it Justin Fields time in Chicago?
The Green Bay Packers and Baltimore Ravens were both upset in Week 1. Can Aaron Rodgers and Lamar Jackson find victory in Week 2? When will rookies Justin Fields and Trey Lance be promoted to QB1? In the nation's capital, it’s Taylor Heinicke’s show, at least for now. The AFC West and NFC West flexed their muscles in the opening week.
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Should Washington Football Team coach Ron Rivera call his former quarterback Cam Newton?
Ron Rivera and the Washington Football Team have had multiple opportunities to sign Cam Newton, including at this very moment. A reunion between the former Carolina Panthers coach and quarterback seems like a natural fit, especially after an MRI revealed that Ryan Fitzpatrick had had a right hip subluxation. Washington placed the veteran QB on injured reserve.
Rivera and Newton have a proven track record together. The two led Carolina to Super Bowl 50 and Newton was the NFL MVP under Rivera’s watch.
Taylor Heinicke has shown some promise, but Newton will give the franchise a spark on the field and in the stands.
As much as I’d believe a Cam Newton-Ron Rivera reunion would work for Washington, I think they would much rather see what they have in quarterback Taylor Henicke, who impressed during the playoffs against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season. Henicke gained the respect of his teammates in that game, and has the playmaking ability to give WFT a chance in the NFC East.
Newton deserves another shot to play in the NFL, but I’m not sure if a team is desperate or ready to take on everything that comes with that, like the media interest, at this point in the season. If a potential contender loses their starter, Newton could be in the mix.
Which team in the AFC West and NFC West was the biggest surprise?
In the AFC West, how could I not give the Las Vegas Raiders some praise for their 33-27 upset victory over the Baltimore Ravens. The Raiders put on a thrilling show in their first regular season game with fans at Allegiant Stadium. The Raiders faced plenty of adversity in the battle, but they were resilient.
Maxx Crosby and the Raiders defensive ends provided a steady pass rush and Pro Bowler Darren Waller led all tight ends in catches (10) and yards (105) in Week 1.
In the NFC West, I was surprised that the Arizona Cardinals just dismantled the Tennessee Titans 38-13 on the road in Week 1. Arizona neutralized two-time NFL rushing champion Derrick Henry and wide receiver Julio Jones only had three catches for a measly 29 yards in his Titans debut.
Defensively, Chandler Jones was a nightmare for the Titans. Jones tied a franchise record with five sacks in Week 1.
Many called the AFC West and NFC West the two most competitive divisions in football. The eight teams showed why it might just be the Wild Wild West this year.
In the AFC West, the Denver Broncos’ performance was impressive because you didn’t really know what to expect out of that team in Week 1. Teddy Bridgewater is getting another opportunity to start and lead an offense, and the Broncos played well under his leadership against the Giants.
As for the NFC West, the Rams really impressed me. Matthew Stafford fits like a glove in Sean McVay’s offense, Cooper Kupp will have a standout season with Stafford as his quarterback, and the Rams defense could help Los Angeles contend for a deep run in the playoffs if they can stay healthy.
Will Aaron Rodgers and company bounce back against the Detroit Lions on Monday night?
Aaron Rodgers didn’t pick a great time to have the worst Week 1 performance of his Hall of Fame career. On the heels of a tumultuous offseason, Rodgers and the Packers played lifeless versus a New Orleans Saints team misplaced by Hurricane Ida.
The lowly Detroit Lions are an ideal opponent for Rodgers to have a bounce-back game. Rodgers is 17-5 in 22 games versus Detroit. He’s registered a 106.2 career passer rating against the Lions.
Rodgers and wide receiver Davante Adams hinted that this year would be their last dance in Green Bay. The noise surrounding their possible departure is only going to ratchet up if they have another dreadful performance.
Well, Rodgers better! As someone who loves to watch Rodgers play as much as I possibly can, the opener in what could likely be his final season in Green Bay was a major disappointment. Rodgers could not get going offensively, and to make matters worse, Jameis Winston was the better quarterback with five touchdowns in that game last week. But I think the Lions are the best matchup possible for Rodgers and the Packers to have a bounce-back game.
The Packers have beaten up on the Lions the last four times they’ve played each other, and Monday’s game should be no different.
Which quarterback is most likely to take over as starter?
I liked what I saw from Trey Lance in the four snaps he received in Detroit. Lance placed the football right where it needed to be on his five-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Trent Sherfield. However, incumbent starter Jimmy Garoppolo didn’t do anything in Motown to lose his starting job.
It’s going to be interesting to see how 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan manages both Garoppolo and Lance during the team’s Week 2 battle in Philly.
The situation is different in Chicago. The Bears offense was stagnate against the Rams in Week 1.
Dalton finished Week 1 with the 29th ranked passer rating out of 32 eligible quarterbacks. The Los Angeles Rams defense overwhelmed the Dalton-led Bears. Chicago only managed to score two touchdowns and one of them was a Justin Fields three-yard TD run.
The Bears host Dalton’s ex-team in the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. It only seems right to give the veteran QB an opportunity at redemption against his former team, but the start of the Justin Fields era is ever so close.
Chicago’s use of Justin Fields was frustrating. He got only three touches in his debut on the road against the Rams last week. And he is clearly, already, the better quarterback on the Bears roster. Sorry, Andy Dalton. Bears coach Matt Nagy might mean well slowly bringing along Fields, but I think Chicago is only hindering the growing pains Fields will experience along with the playmaking ability Fields can deliver when he’s in the game.
As for Lance, his first career touchdown pass was an easy one, but his overall experience playing just one year of college football could quickly hurt his confidence and development if he plays too early on the NFL level.
Will Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens pull off an upset in a Sunday night showdown?
Lamar Jackson is 0-3 in his career versus the Kansas City Chiefs. Patrick Mahomes and company have had Jackson’s number.
A win would be momentous for Jackson and the injury-riddled Ravens, especially after a frustrating Week 1 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders.
The Ravens will have home-field advantage on their side playing in Baltimore, but I don’t think it’s going to matter in this one. The reigning AFC champions are vulnerable, but they still are the best team in the conference with the best quarterback and the most explosive offense.
I have Baltimore falling into an 0-2 hole on Sunday night. The Ravens haven’t started a season 0-2 since 2015. On a positive note, the Ravens face the Detroit Lions next week.
Lamar Jackson and the Ravens had, what felt like, three chances to win against the Raiders. And I think Baltimore’s biggest mistake was not trying to get another first down in the final minute to sure Derek Carr and the Raiders did not have enough time to come back. It just so happened 37 seconds remaining was plenty of time for Baltimore to lose their tie, and ultimately the game.
As for this week, Jackson has a chance to make a statement if he can continue to show his touch to receivers Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown and Sammy Watkins against Kansas City. But Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs will once again show why they are the class in the AFC against the Ravens this week.