Week 2 in the NFL has many thrilling individual matchups that will take place in games on the schedule. One contest features two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks that should produce one of the highest-scoring tilts of the week. Meanwhile, other signal callers will be much more challenged to put up points when facing some hard-hitting defenders.
Will some of the league’s weaker offensive lines step up and protect their guys? How many quarterbacks will get the hook? At other positions, we predict a couple of rookie stars in the making will take some steps backwards.
Based on individual matchups and what we witnessed from certain players and performances last week, here are our studs and duds for NFL Week 2.
Stud: Michael Thomas, wide receiver New Orleans Saints
The second-year wideout has a favorable home matchup against the New England Patriots in Week 2. Quarterback Drew Brees tends to play lights out at home and Thomas should benefit facing a defense that surrendered 368 receiving yards and four touchdowns to the Kansas City Chiefs’ receiving corps in Week 1. The Patriots will be obviously be working to tighten things up in their secondary. But, Thomas is still primed for a major performance due the heavy volume of passing Brees will need to throw out there to keep up with a ticked-off New England offense.
Dud: Andy Dalton, quarterback, Cincinnati Bengals
Dalton was simply putrid, turning the ball over five times against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 1. Provided the Bengals don’t outright bench him in Week 2, we predict another horrible home performance barely worth watching during Thursday Night Football. This time around, Dalton will tango with the Houston Texans defense. Taking into account Dalton was sacked five times last game, pass rusher J.J. Watt and his fellow defensive linemen should be merciless (pun intended). Look for more turnovers than touchdowns and possibly an A.J. McCarron sighting.
Stud: Marshawn Lynch, running back, New York Jets
Beast Mode proved he did not lose a step when he barreled through defenders in Week 1 (like this). He posted a boast-worthy 76 rushing yards at a pace of 4.2 yards per carry. He will look to continue dominating in Week 2 when the New York Jets come to Oakland. The Jets just gave up 190 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown to Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy and his cohorts. Even if the Raiders temper Lynch’s workload, he could easily top the 100-yard rushing mark and bring in a score.
Dud: C.J. Anderson, running back, Denver Broncos
Anderson got off to decent start after rushing for 81 yards at 4.05 yards per carry. In Week 2, Anderson will face off against some stiffer competition when the team hosts the Dallas Cowboys. The ‘Boys boasted the No. 1 ranked rushing offense in 2016 and allowed the New York Giants to gain a meager 35 yards at a snail’s pace of 2.1 yards per attempt in Week 1. Anderson is better than any Giants running back, but we see him running into more walls than open field in Week 2.
Stud: C.J. Mosley, linebacker, Baltimore Ravens
Mosley and the Ravens did an excellent job declawing the Bengals in Week 1. We predict even more destruction from Mosley and his gang when they take on Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer. Mosley, at home, will look to build on the eight total tackles and one interception he tallied last game. He was part of a defense that limited the Bengals’ trio of running backs to a measly 77 rushing yards. Week 2 presents another perfect scenario for Mosley to unleash another standout performance.
Dud: Eli Manning, quarterback, New York Giants
It was crystal clear the bad version of Manning showed up last week when he and his offense failed to score one touchdown against Dallas. Watch out friends, because we are predicting another dud performance in Week 2. Manning and Co. will host the Detroit Lions, a team that completely owned Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer. The Lions tortured Palmer with three interceptions and will now face a quarterback known to throw picks at the most critical of moments. Manning has no running game to lean on, so the more passes he tosses, the more likely he’ll deliver turnovers in the Big Apple.
Stud: DeForest Buckner, defensive end, San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers spit out only three points in their NFL season opener. But Buckner emerged as a top name after becoming the most productive interior pass rusher in Week 1. He should once again be a stud harassing Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, whose offense sports one of the worst lines in the league. Buckner will arrive in Seattle after recording five solo tackles last week to feast on an offense that was only able to scrounge up three field goals last game. He could prove to be an exhausting opponent for Wilson and his gang.
Dud: Cooper Kupp, wide receiver, Los Angeles Rams
A new superstar emerged when Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff made rookie wide receiver Cooper Kupp look like an old pro. But, let’s hold the presses. Kupp’s 74 yards and one touchdown stemming from four receptions happened against the Indianapolis Colts. Newsflash: The Colts are bad and allowed the Rams to possess the the ball for 34 minutes and 59 seconds. Things should get more challenging for Kupp when he faces Washington Redskins defensive backs Bashaud Breeland and Josh Norman.
Stud: Tom Brady, quarterback, New England Patriots
Brady was anything but a stud in his Week 1 home opener. He frustrated fans and fantasy football owners big time when he failed to pass for one single score on 36 passing attempts. This changes in Week 2. Brady is not a happy camper, and he’ll literally air his frustrations on a New Orleans Saints defense that just made Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford look like a Hall of Famer. Pretty much like last season, the Saints demonstrated that they are still terrible at defending the pass. After a week and a half to prepare, Brady is primed for a massive rebound.
Dud: Christian McCaffrey, running back, Carolina Panthers
McCaffrey made his NFL debut and had 18 total touches against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1. He tallied 85 yards. Those on the McCaffrey bandwagon should temper expectations in Week 2. The youngster rookie might find it difficult to navigate through a Buffalo Bills defense that gave up just 38 rushing yards in Week 1. As for receiving, the Bills defense ranked No. 7 in this category in 2016. Quarterback Cam Newton will likely turn to his bigger-bodied weapons, Kelvin Benjamin and Jonathan Stewart, to move the ball downfield.
Stud: Ty Montgomery, running back, Green Bay Packers
Since Montgomery transitioned to running back, we are never sure what to expect on a weekly basis. We do know that Montgomery faces a Atlanta Falcons run defense that allowed 4.5 yards per carry last season. Even better for Montgomery and the Packers, the Falcons just got destroyed on the ground by the Chicago Bears running backs that sliced and diced at a pace of 6.6 yards per attempt. Montgomery should find his holes and surprise with a grand rushing performance. Nobody should be more relieved than quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Dud: Stephon Gilmore, cornerback, New England Patriots
Gilmore defended one pass in his New England debut and was part of a secondary that let the Chiefs’ opponents get away with the farm. Look for more busted coverage on behalf of Gilmore, who will be hard pressed to stop the pass attack of a loaded New Orleans Saints offense at home. We already predicted stud status for Michael Thomas, which means Gilmore could easily let some major plays slip by. Brees is not likely going to be the quarterback Gilmore notches his first 2017 interception against.
Stud: Lamar Miller, running back, Houston Texans
Somebody has to show up and put points on the board in this snoozer of a matchup. The Texans hit the road to square off with the Cincinnati Bengals, who just posted a big goose egg offensively. At that same time, Cincinnati’s rushing defense got taken to the cleaners and allowed 157 rushing yards and one ground score to the Baltimore Ravens. To keep from turning the ball over, we envision rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson feeding Miller the ball ‒ a lot.
Dud: Carson Wentz, quarterback, Philadelphia Eagles
Say it isn’t so. But it might be. Wentz could go from being the most popular sports player to being a dud in Week 2. Wentz and the high-flying Eagles will be much more challenged to perform on the road against Andy Reid’s well-rested Kansas City Chiefs. This is the crew that neutralized quarterback Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the season opener. Brady failed to throw one touchdown in that matchup. Wentz is no Brady and stands to be knocked down several levels in Week 2.
Stud: Patrick Peterson, cornerback, Arizona Cardinals
We have just the sneakiest hunch that the Cardinals secondary will completely annihilate the efforts of the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. No matter who starts at quarterback. This is why we are choosing Peterson as one of our studs for the week. The popular vote is that fans want to see Jacoby Brissett under center instead of Scott Tolzien. Either way, Peterson could easily manage an interception or two on some errant passes. The Colts would be silly not to target T.Y. Hilton, who is bound to see a fair dose of Peterson in coverage.
Dud: Kirk Cousins, quarterback, Washington Redskins
Sorry to be a downer, but we see Captain Kirk’s struggles spilling into Week 2. He was abnormally off in Week 1 and threw some terribly inaccurate passes all over the field against the Philadelphia Eagles. Now in Week 2, Cousins will be put to the test against the Los Angeles Rams, on the road in the city of angels. The Rams’ defense put the screws to the aforementioned Tolzien, limiting him to only nine completed passes. Cousins is clearly better, but he stands to be tormented all game unless he and his receivers start building better chemistry.
Stud: Tyreek Hill, wide receiver, Kansas City Chiefs
Hill proved his rookie season was no fluke with an outstanding performance in Week 1. This dude was bottled lightening, racking up 133 yards and a score on seven catches against New England on the road. That equates to 19 yards per reception. He stands to do further damage at home with the Chiefs hosting the Philadelphia Eagles. There is a good chance Hill scores against a defense that gave up 25 touchdowns in 2016. Plus, the new-and-improved Alex Smith demonstrated he is not shy to pass deep down the field, which perfectly suits Hill.
Dud: Marcus Mariota, quarterback, Tennessee Titans
Mariota did not get off to the splashy start many predicted he would in Week 1. He failed to pass for a single touchdown with his vast array of capable receivers. Mariota will hit the road to play against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 2. The Jags showed no mercy when they produced 10 sacks last week against the Houston Texans. Granted, Mariota, and his offensive line, is a huge upgrade, but he will be tested. The Jags allowed a 52.8 percent pass-completion rate and only 110 passing yards. And this is the same passing defense that finished No. 5 last season.
Stud: Mike Evans, wide receiver, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Evans makes his 2017 debut after receiving an impromptu bye in Week 1. He should fired up when the Bucs host the Chicago Bears. The Bears put up a good fight last week but gave up 321 receiving yards at a rate of 15.3 yards on average per catch last weekend. Big plays are right up Evans’ alley as demonstrated by his career average of 15 yards per reception. We see Evans easily torching the Bears secondary while he delivers the fantasy goods to his owners in Week 2.
Dud: Ben Roethlisberger, quarterback, Pittsburgh Steelers
Big Ben did not exactly knock it out of the park when he passed for just two touchdowns along with an interception against the Cleveland Browns in Week 1. Now, he will go head-to-head with a Minnesota Vikings defense that limited New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees to only one late fourth-quarter passing touchdown. If Brees struggled to hit up his receivers, Roethlisberger could sputter as well. The Vikings already are proving they have the players to match last season’s third-ranked passing defense. This will be anything but a cakewalk for Roethlisberger in Week 2.