And we're back from another glorious Chiefs win, this time over the Philadelphia Eagles.
I predicted the Chiefs win, although the final score was a bit clsoer than my prediction of 24-10, with the Chiefs holding off a last-second Hail Mary to win 27-20. Kareem Hunt's debut bonanza continued this week, and the Chiefs rode his mighty shoulders (and a good performance from out OL) to a second straight victory.
A slow start for the offense didn't bode well for our boys, and we went into halftime having surrendered a late field goal after Terrence Mitchell accidentally deflected a pass right into Zach Ertz's hands, with only a hustle play by Eric Murray (who stepped up admirably in Berry's absence) saving a long TD. However, as Kareem plays, so does the offense, and he caught fire in the second half, gaining 73 yards on the ground and scoring twice to gift the Chiefs a lead that they would never surrender.
Mitch Morse left the game with a foot injury, and per Ian Rapoport, he will miss a few weeks as a result. However, Zach Fulton is an okay center, and as Morse does not require surgery, he should be able to return later in the year, which is excellent news.
The Chiefs head to LA for the first matchup against the 4th place LA Chargers since 1960, and we'll get to that here before long. But first, a review of the previous week. Heading into the week 2 games, I was 5-10 on my game predictions, so hopefully I fared better this time around.
Week 2 Review
Texans (0-1) @ Bengals (0-1)
My Prediction: Texans 14, Bengals 9
Actual Outcome: Texans 13, Bengals 9
Fantasy play of the Game: D'Onta Foreman: 4.0 pts.
Damn, I was so close! This game sucked and I hated myself for watching it.
Bills (1-0) @ Panthers (1-0)
My Prediction: Bills 13, Panthers 24
Actual Outcome: Bills 3, Panthers 9
Fantasy play of the Game: (Forgot to add one. Got sloppy last week apparently)
Hoo boy, this was not good. Cam Newton looks rusty after recovering from shoulder surgery, and Tyrod has no one but Shady on his offense to help him. Defensive battle here.
Bears (0-1) @ Bucs (0-0)
My Prediction: Bears 10, Bucs 28
Actual Outcome: Bears 7, Bucs 29
Fantasy play of the Game: Cameron Brate, 3.4 pts.
Another close prediction, and the Mike Glennon revenge game never got underway as the Bucs won a laugher in their building. A lazy writer would put in something about "rising after the hurricane devastated the Florida Keys, but I won't. Instead, donate to the people helping rebuild Barbuda if you can find a trustworthy charity.
VIkings (1-0) @ Steelers (1-0)
My Prediction: Vikings 17, Steelers 19
Actual Outcome: Vikings 9, Steelers 26
Fantasy play of the Game: Martavis Bryant, 18.3 pts.
Sam Bradford might have died. His condition slowly degenerated all week, and he was ruled out of the game the morning of, leading to Case Keenum starting for the Vikings. It went about as well as expected.
Cardinals (0-1) @ Colts (0-1)
My Prediction: Cardinals 30, Colts 6
Actual Outcome: Cardinals 16, Colts 13 (OT)
Fantasy play of the Game: Carson Palmer, 19.88 pts.
The Cardinals needed 5 quarters of football to beat the Colts, lead by newly-arrived Jake Brisket. The Colts, if Andrew Luck does not return fully healthy, are making a run for the #1 overall pick (which they should then trade for a bunch of picks and draft 11 offensive linemen in 2018.)
Patriots (0-1) @ Saints (0-1)
My Prediction: Patriots 42, Saints 39
Actual Outcome: Patriots 36, Saints 20
Fantasy play of the Game: Brandin Cooks, 5.3 pts.
I'm hesitant to say it, but Brees looks washed. He hasn't been able to throw a good deep ball all year long, and the offense looks stagnant and blah. However much of that is owed to the Pats D is uncertain, however. Brady had his comeback game, and the Patriots should still easily win 12 games this year. I'm just not sure of how well they'll play in the playoffs at this point.
Browns (0-1) @ Ravens (0-1)
My Prediction: Browns 17, Ravens 20
Actual Outcome: Browns 10, Ravens 24
Fantasy play of the Game: Jeremy Maclin, 11.1 pts.
The Browns are still the Browns (I do think they win 4-5 games this year) and the Ravens have a frisky defense with big playmakers on every level. I think that they could be a sneaky contender in the AFC this year. The Ravens also lost Marshal Yanda for the season, a huge loss; he's both the best OG in the league and their best lineman.
Titans (0-1) @ Jags (0-1)
My Prediction: Titans 24, Jags 9
Actual Outcome: Titans 37, Jags 16
Fantasy play of the Game: Corey Davis, 0.9 pts.
The Titans walked into Duval and punched the Sacksonville defense right in the mouth. I really, really doubt the Jags go better than 4-12 this year, and the Titans look in line for an 8-8 season, which will probably win their division.
Jets (0-1) @ Raiders (1-0)
My Prediction: Jets 3, Raiders 33
Actual Outcome: Jets 20, Raiders 45
Fantasy play of the Game: Seth Roberts, 0.0 pts.
Oh, screw off Seth Roberts. Not a single catch? In an offensive free-for-all? The one bright spot (for me) is that the freaking Jets scored 20 on this defense, which bodes well for actual NFL teams playing them.
Dolphins (0-0) @ Chargers (0-1)
My Prediction: Dolphins 16, Chargers 28
Actual Outcome: Dolphins 19, Chargers 17
Fantasy play of the Game: DeVante Parker, 10.5 pts.
I'm never picking the Chargers to win a game again. They're jinxed. Also, Cutler looked good? This is weird.
49ers (0-1) @ Seahawks (0-1)
My Prediction: 49ers 9, Seahawks 21
Actual Outcome: 49ers 9, Seahawks 12
Fantasy play of the Game: Paul Richardson, 8.9 pts.
I guess I just reversed the Seahawks number. Seattle will probably win the NFC West by default, and they'll get slaughtered in the playoffs. The 9ers are not a good football team, and Brian Hoyer is not a good QB.
Cowboys (1-0) @ Broncos (1-0)
My Prediction: Cowboys 24, Broncos 21
Actual Outcome: Cowboys 17, Broncos 42
Fantasy play of the Game: CJ Anderson, 28.9 pts.
CJ Anderson was the #1 scoring RB this week, so props to you if you played him. The Cowboys let Trevor Siemien torch them all night, and Zeke Elliot gave up halfway through the game. Maybe he thinks if he sucks, it'll count toward his suspension? I still don't buy the Broncos (they opened last season 4-0 before finishing 7-9) but it'll be a while before we play them, so plenty of time to figure them out.
Redskins (0-1) @ Rams (1-0)
My Prediction: Redskins 14, Rams 24
Actual Outcome: Redskins 27, Rams 20
Fantasy play of the Game: Sammy Watkins, 4.0 pts.
The Skins took care of business against the Rams, but I think both teams played well. I think Goff is going to make huge strides this year, and he played tough with an average-ish statline; 15/25, 224 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT. The Skins offense still looks bad, though, and I'm wondering how they'll improve going into next week.
SNF: Packers (1-0) @ Falcons (1-0)
My Prediction:Packers 28, Falcons 21
Actual Outcome: Packers 23, Falcons 34
Fantasy play of the Game: Austin Hooper, 1.7 pts.
Don't let the score fool you, this game wasn't that close. The Falcons, in their first game in their new building, blew the Packers apart and dismantled them. I'm still not buying Steve Sarkisian as OC, but the pieces they have on offense are legit.
MNF: Lions (1-0) @ Giants (0-1)
My Prediction: Lions 21, Giants 0
Actual Outcome: Lions 24, Giants 10
Fantasy play of the Game: (forgot this one as well :( )
Stafford passed for less than 150 yards and the Lions still whupped that ass. The Giants look awful, even with OBJ back in the lineup.
Week 2 Pick Results: 12-4
Year to Date Results: 17-14
Week 3 Preview
The undefeated Chiefs are making their way to Los Angeles' Stubhub Center to face off against the winless Chargers in a divisional rivalry that's been pretty one-sided the last few years; the Chiefs are 6-2 against the Chargers in the last 4 years, with the 6 victories coming consecutively after being swept in 2013.
San Diego Los Angeles Chargers (whose fans, if they actually do exist, can be found at BoltsFromTheBlue.com) are coming off back-to-back losses on missed kicks from their rookie kicker, Younghoe Koo, which has to be hard on the poor kid; I've kind of taken a shine to Koo, mostly due to his name, partly due to his struggles endearing him to me. Philip Rivers has been playing up to his usual standard this season, and the Chargers look like they have the pieces to be a good team, with dynamic skill position players on offense, arguably the best QB in the division, and good players in the front seven and secondary.
Starting with their strengths, the LA offense is definitely something to keep an eye on. The Wide Receiver corps is especially interesting, with the Glass Cannon himself, Keenan Allen so far staying healthy and catching 14 passes for 135 yards and a TD on the season. Tyrell Williams, the #2 guy, has caught 9 balls for 108 yards in the previous two games. While these numbers aren't eye-popping, all the receivers on the roster, rookie Mike Williams included, have the potential to explode in any given game (such as how Allen was giving Marcus Peters fits last year before tearing his ACL) and the Chiefs CBs will face their toughest challenge yet when squaring off against them.
On the other side of the ball, the Chargers have a very solid defensive line, consisting of Melvin Ingram, Brandon Mebane, Corey Liuget, and 2016's DROTY Joey Bosa, which has the ability to pressure QBs and stop the run fairly effectively, as evidenced by their staunch performance against the Denver offense in week 1. Bosa and Ingram have combined for 4 sacks so far this season, as well as 19 tackles, a solid stat line for two games in. Running on the Chargers could be a tall task, and with Mitch Morse out of the game, our interior OL will be facing a lot of heat from Mebane and Liuget.
Another big advantage that the Chargers have over the Chiefs is at quarterback. Philip Rivers, crybaby that he may be, is a talented passer who has given the Chiefs defense a lot of problems over the years; he built up a huge lead on the Chiefs in the 2016 opener, as you should remember, and against two good defenses, he's passed for 500+ yards and 4 TDs on the year so far, three of those TDs coming against the Denver "No Fly Zone" secondary (which is a very average nickname IMO. Get more creative, Denver.) While Alex Smith has been playing very well this year, Rivers has been better than Alex consistently for years (both statistically and not) and I can't give the Chiefs the edge here, even with Rivers getting older.
Protecting Rivers, however, is another offensive line that does not bode well for the season. Second-round rookie Forrest Lamp tore his ACL in camp, and perennial Justin Houston whipping boy Joe Barksdale is still at RT. While Spencer Pulley has played well at C, and Russel Okung, a year after flaming out in Denver, is looking nice at LT, I doubt that the Chargers OL, which has recently been a turnstile of terrible, can keep Rivers safe in the pocket against a ravenous KC front seven.
The Chiefs, on both sides of the ball, are the better team in the trenches. Even with Mitch Morse out for a few weeks, the Chiefs offensive line has been playing very well, and with a week to get Fulton acclimated to being our center again, I doubt we see a drastic drop-off. The Chiefs OL handled themselves admirably against the Eagles, who certainly have a better overall DL than the Chargers do, and the Chiefs front seven should feast on an OL that has not performed well so far.
The Chargers LB group isn't looking too hot, either. Denzel Perryman is out for most of the year with an ankle injury, leaving Kyle Emanuel, Korey "It's Not A" Toomer, and Jatavis Brown as the starting LBs. While Brown is a solid player, Emanuel is a liability in coverage against RBs and TEs, who happen to be some of the best pass-catchers on the Chiefs offense. Hmm...
Chiefs Offense V Chargers Defense
The edge here goes to the Chiefs offense. Even with serial headhunter Jahleel Addae in the secondary and a strong pair of CBs, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill should pose a distinct challenge for the Bolts, and Kareem "The Dream" Hunt should continue his strong debut season. Alex Smith needs to play well again, however, his recent success against the Chargers is no joke. If the Chiefs OL holds up again, expect the Chiefs to score some points.
Chiefs Defense V Chargers Offense
I'm going to give the edge to the Chiefs again, as I continue to doubt that the Chargers OL will be able to fend off a healthy Justin Houston, Chris Jones, Allen Bailey, and Dee Ford. If Marcus Peters can defend Keenan Allen better than he did last year, and should Terrence Mitchell and Philip Gaines hold up just long enough, the pass rush will get home and the Chiefs should do well. I also like the matchup of Ron Parker/Danny "The Mormon Missile" Sorenson against Hunter Henry/Antonio Gates.
While Colquitt hasn't been great for the Chiefs this year, Cairo Santos is much more consistent than Younghoe Koo so far, and Dave Toub is a good enough coach to give us the edge against nearly anyone.
Andy Reid or a rookie HC in Anthony Lynn? I'm going with Big Red all day.
How the Chiefs Can Win
Feed Kareem Hunt 15-20 touches a game while also making deep passes to Hill and Kelce a regular part of your offense. Trust your OL to protect Alex Smith while he delivers the ball to our playmakers, and give your secondary the support it needs with a ferocious pass-rush. Unleash Dan Sorenson to patrol the back half of the field, let Eric Murray back up whichever CB is on Keenan Allen, and wait for Marcus Peters to get his pick. It's coming soon.
How the Chargers Can Win
Get a quick score off the top and allow Joey Bosa to harass Alex Smith all day. Utilize your legions of dynamic wide receivers to expose weaknesses in the Chiefs secondary, and unleash Melvin Gordon to the tune of 90ish rushing yards. Force a rare INT from Alex Smith, and bottle up Tyreek Hill as best you can, limiting him to the underneath routes rather than running deep.
I'm tempted to just write off the Chargers, as they seem to be displaying the same tendencies as ever, but I'm not sure this will be a pushover game. I have the Chiefs winning a very tight game, 21-18, with a late touchdown from Kareem Hunt putting the Chiefs on top for good.
The Rest of the NFL
Thursday Night Football
Rams (1-1) @ 49ers (0-2): Rams 21, 49ers 12
While the 9ers have a good DL, almost none of the rest of their team is good, and the Rams have potential for a good offense under a second year boom from Goff and a possibly-resurgent Todd Gurley, Fantasy play of the Game: Cooper Kupp.
Sunday, 8:30 AM Arrowhead Time
Ravens (2-0) @ Jaguars (1-1): Ravens 20, Jaguars 9
The first London Game of the year, and we're once again inflicting the Jaguars on our British friends. The Ravens swarming defense will be too much for Blake Bortles, and Flacco does just enough to win against the Jacksonville defense. Fantasy play of the Game: Mike Wallace.
Sunday, Noon Arrowhead Time
Broncos (2-0) @ Bills (1-1): Broncos 31, Bills 13
The Bills are just outmatched in this game, and the Broncos, despite missing their rookie LT Garrett Bolles with a bone bruise (ouch) should be able to take care of business on the road. Fantasy play of the Game: Emmanuel Sanders.
Steelers (2-0) @ Bears (0-2): Steelers 21, Bears 10
The Steelers are 2-0 so far, despite their offense looking a mess, because of their defense, which looks much improved this year. Keep an eye on the injury to TJ Watt, who looks to be making an early run at Defensive Rookie of the Year, and the absence of James "I'm not taking PEDs, wink wink" Harrison, who still hasn't played a snap this year. Fantasy play of the Game: Tarik Cohen.
Saints (0-2) @ Panthers (2-0): Saints 24, Panthers 27
The Panthers are not up to full strength yet, as Cam Newton still seems to be less than 100% after his surgery, but the Saints look like 7-9 at best. I think the Panthers take care of NOLA at home. Fantasy play of the Game: Christian McCaffery.
Buccaneers (1-0) @ Vikings (1-1): Bucs 20, Vikings 7
This game hinges on whether Sam Bradford is actually alive or not. If he plays, I think the Vikings have a decent shot at a Wild Card berth this year, and a very real chance of winning this game. If Case Keenum starts again... Fantasy play of the Game: Jacquizz Rodgers.
Browns (0-2) @ Colts (0-2): Browns 24, Colts 10
The Browns will get their first win in Indy, the Colts are that bad. I think Myles Garrett makes his debut here, and collects two sacks and a forced fumble. Fantasy play of the Game: Seth DeValve.
Dolphins (1-0) @ Jets (0-2): Dolphins 30, Jets 13
The Cutler-led Dolphins are just a better team than the McCown-led Jets, on both sides of the ball. I won't pick the Jets all season, and neither should you. Fantasy play of the Game: Jay Ajayi.
Texans (1-1) @ Patriots (1-1): Texans 14, Patriots 24
The Texans are piloted by a rookie QB, and Bill Belichick eats rookie QBs for breakfast. While I think Watson scampers into the end zone once, don't overthink this. The Pats are just the better team. Fantasy play of the Game: James White.
Falcons (2-0) @ Lions (2-0): Falcons 26, Lions 23 (OT)
I think this will be the best of the early games this week, a matchup between two teams that look like they have the firepower to hang in the tough NFC in a year where the usual top dogs (Cowboys, Seattle, Green Bay) all look flawed. If you have to pick one early game to watch, make it this one. Fantasy play of the Game: Mohamed Sanu Sr.
Giants (0-2) @ Eagles (1-1): Giants 14, Eagles 27
The Iggles played us tough last week, and I respect the hell out of Carson Wentz for looking as good as he did in the game. The Giants are old and broken, and even with OBJ in the lineup on Monday, couldn't come close to the Lions. I'm thinking the Eagles soar. Fantasy play of the Game: Darren Sproles.
Sunday, 3:00 Arrowhead Time
Seahawks (1-1) @ Titans (1-1): Seahawks 13, Titans 20
The Titans, or Titoons if you will, need a signature win against a good team in order to prove they're for real. They hung with the Raiders for the most part, and they walloped the Jaguars, now they should edge one out over the Hawks. Fantasy play of the Game: Derrick Henry.
Bengals (0-2) @ Packers (1-1): Bengals 6, Packers 24
The Bengals suck. I hate to put it like that, but they're two full games into the season without a touchdown. How does that happen? The Packers, in Lambeau, should never have this game in doubt. Fantasy play of the Game: Ty Montgomery.
Sunday Night Football
Redskins (1-1) @ Raiders (2-0): Redskins 19, Raiders 24
I hope this game will be exciting, but I won't be watching because I'll be seeing Rise Against and moshing my face off at this time. While I think the Redskins could pull off the upset here, I have more faith that the Raiders take care of "town bidness." Fantasy play of the Game: Amari Cooper.
Monday Night Football
Cowboys (1-1) @ Cardinals (1-1): Cowboys 24, Cardinals 17
Ugh, the Cowboys in prime time again? Jesus, is this gonna happen every week? Anyway, the Cards don't have David Johnson and Carson Palmer looks old and broken, so the Cowboys should win. Fantasy play of the Game: JJ Nelson.
Doesn't look to be a great week of football, but there are a few games that look exciting throughout the week. Most of them are at noon on Sunday, however, so the primetime games will probably all suck and people will write "Is the NFL dying?" columns all week. Oh boy. Enjoy the games, guys, because the Chiefs are one the warpath.