Week 2 - Predictions Record: 10-5
Well, week two is now in the books. I am excited that I was able to reach double digit games correctly picked in my first predictions post for the 2016 season. Although I was sad to see a couple of games not go my way, overall I was satisfied with this week’s results. Here are the game recaps for this past weekend. Would love to connect with you and hear your feedback!
Thursday Night Football
Jets 37 Team Grade: B+
Bills 31 Team Grade: B-
Game Recap: Another close game between these two teams. I am a huge uniform guy so I was loving the color rush uni’s by each of these teams, and on a side note I am going to request the Jets change their facemasks to white permanently, they looked way too fresh! There are many questions to be answered about Rex Ryan and these Bills, but I would not be too quick to count them out. They put up solid numbers against a good Jets defense, problem is they let Forte destroy them on the ground and Fitzpatrick torched them for almost 400 yards through the air. I find it quite unfortunate that Ryan decided to fire offensive coordinator Greg Roman. Personally, I think that this just another rash decision by Ryan in order to cover up his own mistakes. How do you fire a guy who puts up 31 points on the Jets while Ryan’s defense gave up 493 yards in this game? This decision may just be a move to make Roman a scapegoat for the teams two performances in 2016. Ryan has to be on the hot seat after this loss and he is doing all he can to right the ship. Time will only tell how this Bills team will respond in the weeks to come. I was actually quite impressed by the Jets in this matchup for continuing to pound the ball on the ground. Fitzpatrick is starting to look more in sync with his teammates after his long contract holdout. The Jets are looking like strong playoff contenders if they can continue to build off of this win.
Player of the Game: Matt Forte looked fantastic in this game, posting solid numbers for the second straight week. Once a top 5 fantasy pick consistently, Forte is playing like the younger version of himself. Forte had 30 attempts on the ground for 100 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns and 2 catches for 9 yards receiving. That is 196 yards rushing so far this season, watch out for this Jets running game with Forte coming out of the backfield in the weeks to come.
Game of the Week
Steelers 24 Team Grade: A-
Bengals 16 Team Grade: B
Game Recap: My game of the week in week 2. This matchup lived up to the hype that had built up before the game. The Steelers were still able to gain control of the game from the get-go and hold on in the end to beat the Bengals in their first matchup of the season. Last week, I was talking on social media about how good Antonio Brown was, going as far as saying he was the best player in the league. And while I still hold to that statement FIRMLY, he had an off week being double teamed and honestly pushed around in this matchup. The Bengals were still unimpressive in this game, they really are feeling the losses of receivers Sanu and Jones to compliment Green, their offense needs to produce against good teams, and luckily they have the rest of the season to build on the rapport between Dalton and his new receivers. I look forward to the second meeting of these two teams later in the season in Cincinnati with obvious playoff implications in that matchup.
Player of the Game: Roethlisberger is my pick for player of the game. Now hold on before you yell at me for this, because he definitely had his really bad moments, especially with the interceptions. BUT, Ben is a winner, and that is exactly what he is good at..WINNING. He hung in there and got his team a good win to start off the season at home. A close second for me was DeAngelo Williams and his 94 yards to power the Steelers to the win.
49ers 27 Team Grade: B-
Panthers 46 Team Grade: A
Game Recap: I thought that this would be a one-sided win, but 46 points is great to score no matter the opponent in the NFL. The Panthers looked fantastic this week in this matchup at home against the 49ers. Cam Newton is the real deal ladies and gentlemen, in case you didn’t know this already. This freak of a man dominated the game and showed just how good he is and how good this Panther team is. Personally I think the week one loss to the Broncos was a fluke, and the Panthers will be a force to be reckoned with this season. The 49ers did not put up much of a fight, and unfortunately turnovers and lack of defense were their doom. Gabbert has literally no weapons to throw to and ZERO running game, I feel bad for the guy since I truly believe he is a good quarterback. First thing on the list this offseason for the 49ers is to find some weapons for Gabbert in the form of free agency or the draft. And even though I extremely dislike the 49ers, I still feel bad for their linebacker exodus (multiple early retirements) a couple years ago. Great bounce back week for the Panthers in this victory.
Player of the Game: Is this even a question? Cam Newton. With 353 yards through the air with 4 touchdowns, and 37 yards on the ground, Newton dominated this contest from start to finish. Look out, he looked like his MVP self from last season.
Ravens 25 Team Grade: C+
Browns 20 Team Grade: C-
Game Recap: I was extremely scared when this one started off 20-0 with the Browns winning, but I kept the faith and they proved me right this week losing in embarrassing fashion 25-20 to the Ravens. Both teams are bottom of the barrel this season, the Browns looking like…the Browns. The Ravens, missing the swag of their Ray Lewis years, struggled to get by a horrible Browns team in route to their second win of the season. I am actually a little excited about this Joe Flacco to Mike Wallace connection this season. The speed that Wallace has, and the HUGE arm of Flacco are a pair to watch this year, Flacco has lacked a true speed receiver who can go and catch his bombs, and Wallace is a perfect fit for this offense. My hat is off to the Ravens for coming back to win this game, but to go down 20-0 to this Browns team is flat out embarrassing.
Player of the Game: Mike Wallace showed up huge for this Ravens team in route to 41 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns. He earns this award out of my pure joy of watching this connection in Baltimore.
Titans 16 Team Grade: B
Lions 15 Team Grade: B
Game Recap: One of the games that I got wrong this week, I expected Stafford to explode in this game, instead it was a close contest with the Titans earning a slight edge in this one. A game that Detroit controlled almost until the end with the Titans coming from behind to take the lead with 1:15 to go in the game from a Mariota Pass to Johnson in the end zone.
Player of the Game: As much as I love Demarco Murray and miss him with a star on his helmet, I don’t think I can give him the player of the game even though he had a solid performance for the second week in a row. This game’s player of the game is second year quarterback Marcus Mariota who showed poise and confidence in leading his team back to a victory in this one. Mariota was 25/33 with 238 yards through the air, two touchdowns and only one pick.
Chiefs 12 Team Grade:B
Texans 19 Team Grade: B+
Game Recap: This result was surprising as well as impressive. This Texans team looked good, poised, and ready to beat solid opponents. This year’s game between these two teams was a re-match of the wild card game from a year ago in which the Chiefs won 30-0. This game did not go the same, the Texans led by Brock Osweiler were up to the task to avenge their playoff exit from a year to go. I believe that the Texans are going to be playoff contenders, and the Chiefs need improvements in order to replicate their success from last season. I anticipate a boost to their lineup with Jamaal Charles set to return soon from his injury. Great win by the Texans.
Player of the Game: I am going to give the nod of player of the game to DeAndre Hopkins. This guy is impressive and quickly becoming one of the best in the game. With 113 yards receiving and a touchdown, Hopkins showed that he means business this year and his connection to Osweiler will be one to watch over the next few seasons.
Dolphins 24 Team Grade: C+
Patriots 31 Team Grade: A-
Game Recap: An interesting game between these two teams. I thought that the Dolphin defense would be able to stop Garoppolo and the Patriots, but it was Garoppolo who was able to lead his team to victory in this matchup between AFC East teams. Unfortunately for the Patriots, Garoppolo had to exit the game late because of a shoulder injury. Jacoby Brissett led the Patriots to a touchdown on his first possession and ultimately the victory in this close battle. The Patriots look good without their two best players in Gronkowski and Brady which does not bode well for teams once they are both able to return. This team might just take it all.
Player of the Game: LeGarrette Blount led his team to victory today rushing for 123 yards and a touchdown. Blount has been the bane of my existence in fantasy over the past few years because of his inconsistency and rotational style offense of the Patriots, so this nod of player of the week is bitter sweet for me. Good job Blount.
Saints 13 Team Grade: B
Giants 16 Team Grade: B-
Game Recap: Now you might be wondering why I gave a lower grade to the winning team here, but it is simply because I was disappointed with how the Giants performed on Sunday. They have the best WR group in the NFL and they were not able to put up significant points nor yardage against a very average defensive group in the Saints. The Cowboys fan in me is happy they are not completely clicking at this point and I hope that they keep it up. As for the Saints, they looked better than I expected on defense but their offense struggled to get going at different points in the game. Drew Brees was almost able to mount a comeback in this game, but it was ultimately the Giants Defense who were the difference in this game.
Player of the Game: You will find that a lot will be said about this much improved Giants defense this year. When you spend almost 200 million dollars to improve, you expect results. And through two weeks, they are getting good results. Player of the game is the Defense of the Giants.
Cowboys 27 Team Grade: B+
Redskins 23 Team Grade: C+
Game Recap: Another close one between these two rivals in Washington as the Cowboys were able to edge out the Redskins 27-23. As you can imagine, I was extremely excited about the result of this game since the cowboys have struggled without Romo, but to get over that hump with Dak was a sigh of relief for Cowboys fans. They were able to hand the Redskins their second loss this season and improve to 1-1 themselves. I gained a huge amount of respect for Josh Norman in this game as he was the lone impactful player for the Redskins, and in my opinion kept them in the game. I stated before how important it was for the Cowboys to get the ball to Dez Bryant, they were in fact able to do that and the result was clear, a win. Hats off to my boys for the first victory of the 2016 campaign.
Player of the Game: I hate the Redskins, but I believe that Josh Norman was the player of this game, in a game where there were few individual standouts, he really shined and made game changing plays. I will give him the game ball and congratulate him on a job well done, just sad to see talent wasted on the Redskins. Also, another nod to the Cowboys defense who kept them from losing this game (especially on the Elliott turnover and horrendous onside kick FAIL).
Buccaneeers 7 Team Grade: D+
Cardinals 40 Team Grade: A+
Game Recap: A total domination by the Cardinals in this win over the Buccaneers. The Buccaneers whom I called the “Builders” in my predictions post were TERRIBLE and showed that this is indeed a building project in Tampa Bay. The Cardinals responded this week to the haters and blew out a good Buccaneers team at home. The defense took the ball away from Winston four times, and it led them to a great bounce back win. Palmer looked almost perfect in this game which turned out to be a statement win for the Cardinals and they are right back in the discussion for Contenders in the NFC.
Player of the Game: Carson Palmer was fantastic for the Cardinals in this one going 18/31 for 308 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Seahawks 3 Team Grade: C-
Rams 9 Team Grade: B-
Game Recap: Talk about putting my foot in my mouth. The Rams upset the Seahawks in LA for their inaugural game back in the City of Angels. I have to give the Rams props for their defensive effort in this game for stopping the less than fantastic Seattle offense. Russell Wilson was definitely not himself in this game with his right ankle making the usual very mobile quarterback uncomfortable and off his game. The Rams are still without a touchdown in 2016 so they definitely need improvement, but a win over their NFC West rivals will give them the confidence boost that is needed.
Player of the Game: Greg Zuerlein is the player of the game for kicking three field goals to seal the win over the Seahawks. Todd Gurley is still nonexistent this season after a dominating Rookie campaign, but not much is his fault since teams are stacking the box and making Keenum beat them through the air. Good job also to the Rams defense for shutting down the Seahawk offense in this game.
Colts 20 Team Grade: C+
Broncos 34 Team Grade:B+
Game Recap: It was another day at the office for the Denver Broncos in this victory over the Colts. Von Miller and the Denver defense were dominant in this game against the Colts, they shut down Andrew Luck and it was only fitting that Miller sacked Luck to seal the Victory for the Broncos. Trevor Siemian was solid again for the Broncos, he did not produce amazing numbers, but is a good manager and provides exactly what Denver needs from a quarterback to win games.
Player of the Game: Von Miller and the defense showed that they are not slowing down anytime soon with a dominating victory over Luck and the Colts.
Falcons 35 Team Grade: B
Raiders 28 Team Grade: B-
Game Recap: A tight game in Oakland between the Raiders and Falcons in which Atlanta was able to pull away in the end due to a deflected pass which was caught by Justin Hardy in the end zone for a touchdown. Matt Ryan threw three touchdowns and was impressive in this game, giving his team the edge to win over Oakland and gain their first victory of the season.
Player of the Game: Matt Ryan was the player of the game throwing for 396 yards and three touchdowns. And like I said, Julio Jones got going in this game in route to 106 yards and a score.
Jaguars 14 Team Grade: C
Chargers 38 Team Grade: B+
Game Recap: The Chargers surprised me this week with a solid win over a mediocre Jaguars team. I had high hopes for this game from the Jaguars because of my hatred for the Chargers, but I have to admit the Chargers looked good. I thought that without Keenan Allen the offense would be stagnant and unproductive, but instead they blew up the scoreboard and the stat sheet in route to a victory over Jacksonville. Rivers looked like his former self tying a career high in touchdown passes and truly dominated the matchup between himself and the up and coming Bortles. The Chargers are much improved this season and might be an outside challenger for a wild card spot.
Player of the Game: Phillip Rivers looked great in this game, throwing for 220 yards and four touchdowns earning MVP honors for this game. Melvin Gordon also looked great on the ground, running for 102 yards and a touchdown.
Packers 14 Team Grade:B-
Vikings 17 Team Grade: B+
Game Recap: What did I say? If Bradford starts, they win. People thought I was crazy to choose the Vikings in this game, but with Bradford at the helm they looked great. Now this did come at a huge loss with Adrian Peterson likely done for the season with a torn MCL. The Vikings look like the team to beat in the NFC North, with a great defense and now a great offense behind the Bradford to Diggs connection. The Packers did not look great, and I think this is reason to get a little worried with the offense struggling to start the season. Rodgers does not look the same version of himself struggling against a solid Vikings defense and a descent Jaguars defense the week before. This gives the Vikings a slight edge in the division and a great start to 2016.
Player of the Game: Sam Bradford was absolutely FANTASTIC in this win against the Packers at home. I cannot say how important he is to this team moving forward as they now have a veteran presence to lead this team. Watch out Bridgewater, this guy is coming for your job! With Bradford in town, the Vikings are looking like the contenders they think they are.
Monday Night Football Game
Eagles 29 Team Grade: A-
Bears 14 Team Grade: C+
Game Recap: Yes the Eagles are my least favorite team. No, that’s not why I chose them to lose this game, but nothing makes me more upset than to see them dominate the way that they did tonight. The Eagles seized control right before Halftime and did not look back after that. Wentz put together another solid performance to follow his near perfect game last week and provided what his team needed in order to win this matchup with the Bears. Jay Cutler was very poor in this game putting together only one scoring drive before he had to exit the game with a right hand injury for the Bears. The Eagles keep looking more impressive in their post Chip Kelly era. Look for them to challenge for the NFC East title this year.
Player of the Game: I have to give this one to the rookie Carson Wentz, he is continually proving the haters wrong (including myself) in putting together good back to back games. He faces a tough test next week against their Pennsylvania rivals the Steelers, but he can celebrate this game and his second victory in his career.
Look for my game predictions for week 3 this Thursday as some of the top teams on my power rankings might take a tumble in the coming week. Thanks for reading and I’d love to hear and read your comments on this weeks games and recap.
Here are my power rankings after week 2.
Power Rankings - Week 2
Denver Broncos (2-0)
Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0)
Carolina Panthers (1-1)
New England Patriots (2-0)
Minnesota Vikings (2-0)
Arizona Cardinals (1-1)
Houston Texans (2-0)
New York Giants (2-0)
Philadelphia Eagles (2-0)
Cincinnati Bengals (1-1)
Kansas City Chiefs (1-1)
Green Bay Packers (1-1)
New York Jets (1-1)
Dallas Cowboys (1-1)
Baltimore Ravens (2-0)
Atlanta Falcons (1-1)
Tennessee Titans (1-1)
Detroit Lions (1-1)
Oakland Raiders (1-1)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1)
San Diego Chargers (1-1)
San Francisco 49ers (1-1)
Los Angeles Rams (1-1)
Seattle Seahawks (1-1)
New Orleans Saints (0-2)
Miami Dolphins (0-2)
Washington Redskins (0-2)
Indianapolis Colts (0-2)
Buffalo Bills (0-2)
Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2)
Chicago Bears (0-2)
Cleveland Browns (0-2)