Week 1 of the NFL’s regular season was flush with upsets and thrilling finishes. With several matchups worthy of post-season hype on the schedule, Week 2 will once again have football fans on the edge of their seats.
Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons (-3) Sunday at 8:30 PM ET on NBC
Week 2’s premier matchup features a rematch of last year’s NFC Championship game between the Green Bay Packers and the Atlanta Falcons. After a 44-21 thrashing last winter, quarterback Aaron Rodgers will look to have his revenge on the Falcons and league MVP Matt Ryan on Sunday night at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The first game of the 2017 regular season started as expected for both teams. Atlanta defeated the Chicago Bears on the road 23-17, with Ryan completing 21 of 30 passes for 321 yards. The game was closer than the Falcons would have liked, however. If not for an 88-yard third-down pass by Maty Ice to tight end Austin Hooper in the fourth quarter, the game may have tilted in the Bears’ favour. The Falcons’ offense will look for more from their running game in Week 2 against the Packers, as they managed only 43 rushing yards against the Bears.
The Green Bay Packers handled the Seattle Seahawks easily in their opener, winning 17-9. QB Aaron Rodgers tallied 311 passing yards and 21 rushing yards as he led the Pack to their first victory. Seattle wasn’t able to muster a single end zone score against a Packers’ defense that limited the ‘Hawks to just 225 yards. The Packers will be faced with much more firepower in Week 2, however, as Julio Jones will work to punish the Packers’ secondary with physical downfield play.
Buffalo Bills at Carolina Panthers (-7) Sunday at 1 PM ET on CBS
The 1-0 Carolina Panthers welcome the 1-0 Buffalo Bills to town this Sunday. Fresh off offseason surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff, Panthers’ QB Cam Newton played it safe in Week 1 against the San Francisco 49ers, throwing primarily screens and short passes. Newton didn’t need to carry the Panthers, however, as the running tandem of Jonathan Stewart (65 yards on 18 carries) and Christian McCaffrey (47 yards on 13 carries) proved enough to secure a victory against the woeful 49ers.
The Buffalo Bills also relied on their running game in a 21-12 victory over the New York Jets. LeSean McCoy ranked third among all running backs in Week 1 with 110 rushing yards. With a stingy run defense, the Panthers will likely force Bills’ QB Tyrod Taylor into a less comfortable passing game on the road this Sunday.
New England Patriots (-7) at New Orleans Saints Sunday at 1 PM ET on CBS
Both the Patriots and Saints suffered sizeable losses in Week 1, and football fans are wondering whether age has caught up to quarterbacks Tom Brady and Drew Brees. The Patriots were dominated by Alex Smith and the Kansas City Chiefs at home, while the hardnosed defense of the Minnesota Vikings was too much for a Saints team that continued to rely on the pass game. We’ll see if coach Sean Payton maintains that strategy at home against the Pats this Sunday.
*Odds as of September 14, 2017