As entertaining as the opening slate of NFL action was this season, Week 2 is going to be even better. There are a ton of big games on the schedule. That includes key individual matchups across the board.
Can Jalen Ramsey put last week’s struggles behind him as his Jaguars take on DeAndre Hopkins and the Houston Texans? Remaining in the AFC, we’re highly intrigued to see how Derek Carr performs against a questionable Kansas City Chiefs defense after playing well on Monday night.
Meanwhile, stud New Orleans Saints receiver Michael Thomas does battle with Los Angeles Rams cornerback Marcus Peters for the third time over the past two seasons.
These are the top individual matchups for Week 2 around the National Football League.
Lamar Jackson vs Kyler Murray
Two young quarterbacks taking on one another after solid debuts for the 2019 season. Lamar Jackson is coming off an historical performance for his Baltimore Ravens en route to leading the team to a 59-10 blowout win over the Miami Dolphins. It really was something to behold.
On the other end, Arizona came back from down 24-6 in the fourth quarter to force a tie against the Detroit Lions. After a brutal start to the game for Murray and first-year head coach Kliff Kingsbury, the Cards’ offense picked it up big time. We’re highly intrigued to see how these two young quarterbacks perform for their respective teams this week.
DeAndre Hopkins vs Jalen Ramsey
This week’s game offers Ramsey and his Jaguars an opportunity to prove that their poor season-opening defensive performance was an exception to the rule. Ramsey was the main culprit that led to Chiefs receiver Sammy Watkins putting up 198 yards and three touchdowns in Jacksonville’s blowout loss to Kansas City. Simply put, he must be better.
It’s not going to be an easy task against a Texans receiver in Hopkins who torched Jacksonville to the tune of 12 catches for 147 yards in their last meeting to close out the 2018 campaign. With Nick Foles on injured reserve and the Jags starting a rookie quarterback, it’s time for their defense to pick it up big time. That starts Week 2 against the division-rival Texans.
Vic Fangio vs former team
It only took new Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio one game into his tenure to take on the longtime defensive coordinator’s former team. It also comes with both the Broncos and Bears at somewhat of a crossroads. Chicago dropped its season opener to the Green Bay Packers last Thursday despite a solid effort from the defense Fangio once led.
As it relates to the Broncos, they are coming off a disappointing road loss to a mediocre Oakland Raiders team on Monday night. Can Fangio grab his first win as a head coach against his former team? If not, Denver will already be behind the eight ball in the AFC West with the Chargers, Raiders and Chiefs having won their openers.
Michael Thomas vs Marcus Peters
Prior to signing a record-breaking contract extension this past offseason, Thomas had proven to be quite simply unfair on the football field. All the Ohio State product did as a third-year player in 2018 was catch 88% of his 147 targets while hauling in an NFL-high 125 passes for 1,405 yards and nine touchdowns.
Thomas now has an opportunity to go up against the very same corner he torched last season as the Saints look to exact revenge for last season’s NFC Championship Game loss to the Rams. Thomas recorded 16 receptions and 247 yards against the Rams last season. Though, Peters did hold him to four catches for 36 yards in the above-mentioned title game. Who will get the best in this matchup between two of the best players at their respective positions in the NFL?
Saquon Barkley vs Bills run defense
Hand the ball off to Barkley and watch your offense change dramatically. Apparently, New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur did not get this memo after the running back earned NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors last season. Barkley touched the ball just 15 times in last week’s blowout loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Though, he did go for 139 yards in the process.
This is going to have to change against a Bills defense that dominated the New York Jets in the second half of last week’s season opener en route to overcoming a 16-point deficit. Buffalo held All-Pro back Le’Veon Bell to just 60 yards on 17 attempts in his Jets debut. It now has another difficult matchup as the team looks to start the season 2-0.
John Ross vs Richard Sherman
An injury-plagued enigma throughout the first two seasons of his career, Ross had himself a breakout Week 1 performance against a good Seattle Seahawks defense on the road this past Sunday. The former top-10 pick looked tremendous in head coach Zac Taylor’s new offense, catching 7-of-12 targets for 158 yards and two scores.
Ross will now look to expose former Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman when his Bengals host the San Francisco 49ers. Sherman was among the least-targeted corners in the NFL last season. For good reason. When Jameis Winston threw in his direction Week 1, it did not go too swimmingly. That included a pick-six. San Francisco’s pass rush is going to make it hard on Andy Dalton. Can Sherman capitalize again?
Bryan Bulaga vs Danielle Hunter
Hunter will continue to be a problem for opposing offensive lines as the season progresses. The Pro Bowler recorded an absurd 10 quarterback pressures in the Minnesota Vikings’ win over the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1. Ten. That’s about as dominant as it gets.
If the Packers want to build off last week’s win over Chicago and improve on offense, they will need better pass protection in front of Aaron Rodgers. The former MVP was hit seven times and sacked five times against Chicago. Improvement in this area has to start with Bulaga at right tackle.
Amari Cooper vs Josh Norman
Cooper might have been overshadowed by the Dak Prescott and Michael Gallup connection in last week’s blowout win over the Giants, but he still put up some huge numbers. Making his first appearance in live-game action since last season’s playoffs, the Pro Bowler caught 6-of-9 targets for 106 yards and this beautiful score.
It’s not going to be as easy this week against a more game Redskins defense than what the Cowboys saw last Sunday. However, Cooper should be able to take advantage of a struggling Josh Norman. The veteran cornerback was dusted by Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson more than once in the opener. If this holds true in Week 2, Dallas will remain undefeated with the Skins dropping each of their first two games.
Derek Carr vs Chiefs pass defense
This matchup just got a whole lot more interesting after what we saw transpire during Week 1. Despite taking care of business against the Jaguars, the Kansas City Chiefs’ pass defense was exposed big time. In fact, it allowed rookie sixth-round pick Gardner Minshew to complete 22-of-25 passes for 275 yards with two touchdowns. That’s just not acceptable.
On the other hand, Carr put up a brilliant performance in Oakland’s season-opening win over the Denver Broncos on “Monday Night Football”. The embattled signal caller completed all but four of his 26 attempts in a dazzling display against a good Broncos defense. We’re not expecting Oakland to win this game, but Carr’s matchup against the Chiefs’ pass defense is a good one for the Raiders.
Jameis Winston vs Cam Newton
Two quarterbacks who struggled big time in their season debuts last week. Winston threw three interceptions, including two pick-sixes, in a 31-17 loss to the San Francisco 49ers at home on Sunday. It was yet another example of the quarterback’s mistake-filled ways. It also came against a 49ers defense that recorded a total of two interceptions last season.
For Newton, it was a different story. He just didn’t have the accuracy necessary to help Carolina eke out a win over the defending champion Los Angeles Rams at home. Newton put up 239 yards and an interception on 38 pass attempts. In a game pitting two under-performing quarterbacks against one another, the loser will fall to 0-2 on the young season. It’s a huge matchup for both signal callers.