By: Robert Bishop
Back again, and following a back-and-forth first half, the Green Bay Packers were able to cruise during the second half in a Monday night win over the Detroit Lions. Following his disastrous performance in Week 1, Aaron Rodgers was in midseason form for the Packers, dissecting an overmatched Lions secondary to the tune of four touchdowns. Running back Aaron Jones was on the receiving end of three of Rodgers’s strikes while also adding a fourth score to his ledger on the ground. Unfortunately, the defense lacked anything resembling a capable pass rush with Za’Darius Smith sidelined. Still, it didn’t matter against a Detroit team struggling to put together a complete game of competent football. The Packers will be in primetime again in Week 3, traveling to face the San Francisco 49ers. Detroit, still in search of a win this season, will host the Baltimore Ravens.
Speaking of the Ravens, Baltimore’s upset win over the Chiefs from Sunday night featured a breakout performance from rookie edge defender Odafe Oweh. Stepping into a more prominent role for the Ravens, Oweh was pivotal to a pair of game-changing turnovers for Baltimore. On the first, a hit on Patrick Mahomes forced an errant throw that would become an interception, and in the game-sealing play, Oweh forced a fumble, ending Kansas City’s hopes of a come-from-behind win. Viewed as more of a project when nabbed by Baltimore at the end of April’s first round, Oweh has impressed through two weeks in the NFL. The Ravens entered this season without an obvious candidate to fill the void created by Matthew Judon’s departure to New England. Oweh is making his case.
Another rookie, Justin Fields, was thrust into action following an injury to Andy Dalton, and while the Bears won with Fields under center, it was more despite the first-year quarterback than because of him. As expected, Fields dazzled as an athlete, making plays with his legs, and there’s no doubting his arm talent. However, he is far from ready to thrive in the NFL as his pocket awareness is a work-in-progress, at best. Chicago’s offensive line is a disaster on its best days, and pairing it with a rookie quarterback is far from an ideal situation. Fields made a fair share of mistakes during his team’s win over the Bengals, a team lacking a solid pass rush. In Week 3, with Dalton likely sidelined with injury, Fields is likely in for a rough afternoon against a Myles Garrett-led Cleveland Browns defense.
Arizona is off to a 2-0 start behind dazzling play from quarterback Kyler Murray, who has contributed highlight after highlight through two games this season. During Sunday’s win over the Vikings, with the Cardinals down and time ticking away in the fourth quarter, Murray scrambled into and out of trouble before unleashing a deep shot off his backfoot that would go for a touchdown that would eventually serve as the game-winner. It was an incredible display of athleticism for Murray. Provided he ever manages to limit his mistakes—a big if considering he’s good for at least one head-scratching play a game to this point in his career—Murray is going to be a perineal MVP candidate. Murray will look to keep up his show-stopping ways this Sunday on the road in Jacksonville.
Tomorrow night, the Carolina Panthers will look to remain undefeated, traveling to Houston to face the Texans (1-1). It is shaping up to be a seemingly easy match-up for Carolina as Houston will be without quarterback Tyrod Taylor, forcing rookie Davis Mills into the starting role. Mills saw action in Week 2 against the Browns following Taylor’s injury, and he appeared far from ready for action. Meanwhile, Carolina heads into the game with its defensive line coming off a dominant showing against New Orleans. The unit, led by Brian Burns and Morgan Fox, looks ready to rank among the best in football. Expect Carolina’s defense to shine while running back Christian McCaffrey continues to do the heavy lifting for the team’s offense. It will take an upset for the Panthers not to be 3-0 on Friday morning.