NFL Gameday: Week 2

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:12 PM ET

MUST WIN TEAM — THE DALLAS COWBOYS

You could make a case for Atlanta who go up against Philly, or Indy, who were a disgrace against Houston. The Steelers are also a team looking for revenge and I pity the poor Seahawks when they travel to Pittsburgh. The Chiefs will also be looking to find their footing after being crushed by the Bills at home — and good luck to them as they visit the muscle-flexing Detroit Lions.

All those teams will be feeling a sense of urgency heading into Week 2.

However, the team that may be feeling the most heat are the Dallas Cowboys who blew their game against the Jets last Sunday night thanks to some bonehead play from quarterback Tony Romo. So in reality it’s not the Cowboys in search of the must win — it’s Romo. In the game against the Jets, the ’Boys led 24-10 early in the fourth quarter and were in full control of the game. But then Romo started committing blunders as only he can. Up by seven he fumbled on the one-yard line and in the final minutes of the game, threw a lame interception that resulted in the game-winning field goal. Dallas owner Jerry Jones came to Romo’s defence this week, but what else could he have said. The Cowboys are on the road again this week as they are in San Francisco to face the 1-0 49ers. They just can’t afford to lose this one.

THREE GAMES TO WATCH

CHIEFS AT LIONS

The Kansas City Chiefs had to be completely shocked by how poorly they played against Buffalo in their season opener at home as they absorbed a 41-7 hammering. It was hardly the way to open up in defence of their division title. In the second half, the Chiefs never made it across midfield, an unbelievable stat. On the day, QB Matt Cassel threw for just 119 yards. Pitiful. Now this week they find themselves on the road, against an up-and-coming team in the Lions, who disposed of the Bucs on the road 27-20. The Lions figure to be a sterner test than the Bills so the Chiefs better get it turned around quick. The Lions will be sniffing blood here.

CHARGERS AT PATRIOTS

My only advice for this one is to be all ‘lubed up’, bet the over and sit back and watch what should be an impressive aerial show. The Chargers have never started out 2-0 under coach Norv Turner — but they have a shot here thanks to quarterback Philip Rivers and a stiff defence. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had a field day last week against Miami as he threw for 517 yards and four touchdowns. He won’t have as easy a time against the Chargers pass rush. Brady, by the way, has won 28 consecutive games at Gillette Stadium.

EAGLES AT FALCONS

It’s the second coming of quarterback Michael Vick but his first one in a starting role. Two years ago in Atlanta he was Donovan McNabb’s backup and received some garbage time late in the game. This time he enters the Georgia Dome as a conquering hero and leader of the Eagles’ ‘Dream Team’. The pressure, though, is squarely on the home team after the Falcons put in a flat performance in Chicago when losing 30-12 to the Bears. Falcons QB Matt Ryan rarely loses at home — so this one should go down to the wire.

ENCORE, ENCORE?

- Ravens rush LB Terrell Suggs last week was once again a thorn in Pittsburgh’s side as he sacked QB Ben Roethlisberger three times and caused two fumbles in Baltimore’s shocking 35-7 victory. This week his sights will be set on Tennessee QB Matt Hasselbeck.

- Carolina’s Cam Newton (below) came out of the blocks like Usain Bolt as he threw for 422 yards in a losing cause against Arizona. There were all kinds of concerns regarding Newton coming into his first regular-season NFL game — that he couldn’t read defences, that he wasn’t prepared — but his athleticism won the day. This Sunday doesn’t figure to be as easy as in the Panthers home opener, he faces the mighty Green Bay defence.

- LeSean McCoy has established himself as one of the premier running backs in the league. He is an elusive runner and in the open field causes many missed tackles. In last week’s opener against the Rams, McCoy gained 122 yards on 15 carries and scored one TD. He goes against the Falcons defence Sunday which last year gave up 474 yards of total offence against the Eagles in a game Philly won 31-17.

BE A SURVIVOR

All those Kansas City believers took one on the chin in Week 1. Which leads me to one of my cardinal rules — never bet against the Buffalo Bills. It’s not that they have a good team and all that, it’s just that whenever I take them they lose, if I go against them, I lose. It’s a lose-lose situation. Looking towards Sunday, everybody and their uncle will be jumping on the Pittsburgh Steelers who were humiliated 35-7 by Baltimore and now open up at home against the less-than-skilled Seattle Seahawks, a notoriously poor road team. If you’re looking down the road and saving the Steelers for later, the Jets look like a good bet against Jacksonville. And then there’s those Bills at home against Oakland, a team that plays poorly when on the east coast. The Bills could be 2-0. Good God!

BY THE NUMBERS

7,842 The number of net passing yards in the opening-week games which is the highest total of any week in NFL history.

14 The number of quarterbacks who threw for at least 300 yards in the opening week.

2-6 The record of the NFL’s eight new coaches in the opening week of the season.

20-2 The career record of Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan when playing at home.

28 The number of consecutive victories recorded by the Patriots Tom Brady when he has played at home.

HEAD TO HEAD MATCHUPS

Eagles QB Michael Vick vs. Falcons Defence

When Michael Vick returned to the Georgia Dome two years ago in a backup role he received a positive reaction from the Falcons fans. Now he’s back in a starring role. It will be interesting to see if there are more Vick jerseys in the crowd than fans wearing the Falcons colours and No. 2 of Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan. Vick was underwhelming in last week’s victory over St. Louis as he was 14-for-32 for 187 yards and two touchdowns. He’ll have to pick up the pace against a highly motivated Atlanta defence.

Chargers QB Philip Rivers vs. Patriots QB Tom Brady

It wouldn’t be a surprise if both quarterbacks threw for 400 yards as they are two of the very best in the biz. Rivers, though, is just 1-4 vs. the Patriots in his career. Last week Rivers threw for 335 yards and two touchdowns against the Vikings while Brady had a field day as he shredded the Dolphins defence for 517 yards and four touchdowns. Look for the Patriots secondary to have a tough day against the Chargers receivers who are tall and physical. In the opener, Patriots slotback Wes Welker had eight catches for 160 yards, including one for a 99-yard TD.

Chiefs centre Casey Wiegmann vs. Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh

Wiegmann is a veteran of 15 seasons but he and the rest of the Chiefs O-line may be overmatched here as nobody plays defensive tackle with the ferocity of Suh. How good is he? Just ask Chiefs head coach Todd Haley who when asked about Suh, replied: “Some of the problems that Suh presents I don’t know there are answers for, to be quite honest with you. This guy’s a dominant inside player that can really disrupt the game plan if you let him and you just got to find ways to not allow that to happen.” That’s not good.


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