After one of the most exciting Week 1’s in recent memory, the Power 12 is a little less certain than typical. Particularly in the NFC where our NFL Radio panel voted for 10 different teams to fill the top six NFC slots. In the end Green Bay topped the NFC with the Pats staking their claim to the AFC crown. New this week are the Detroit Lions and gone is Washington. Our voters this week were: James Lofton, Bruce Murray, Brady Quinn, Alex Marvez, Bill Polian, Gil Brandt, Pat Kirwan, Jim Miller, Vic Carucci and Brian Lauvray. Here’s last week’s Power 12.
Green Bay (1-0)
Week 2 opponent: @ Minnesota Vikings, Sunday 8:30 pm ET (Sirius 83, XM 226/Internet 811)
This writer was initially surprised that the Green and Gold were atop the NFC, but what team had a better win than the Pack’s victory on the road against a game Jacksonville squad. This week the competition gets substantially more difficult as the Packers will be on the road again. This time visiting the Minnesota Vikings and that bruising defense of theirs. The tilt between these two divisional rivals will do a lot to tell us how good Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay’s offense really is.
Week 2 opponent: @ Los Angeles Rams, Sunday 4:05 pm ET (Sirius 93, XM/Internet 828)
A week after struggling mightily against an above-average Miami defensive line, Seattle’s struggling offensive line travels to LA to take on … another above-average defensive line. While the Rams offense should provide Richard Sherman, Michael Bennett, et al plenty of opportunities, the real intrigue is on whether or not Seattle’s o-line is going to have the same issues protecting Russell Wilson and letting Christine Michael or Thomas Rawls get uncorked and into space. Seattle’s still a very good team, but this ranking feels a little too high and the ‘Hawks blocking has to get better to be a contender.
Week 2 opponent: Green Bay Packers, Sunday 8:30 pm ET (Sirius 81, XM 225/Internet 818)
While not scoring a single offensive touchdown isn’t a great sign it really didn’t matter in the Vikes’ opener against the Titans in Nashville. Minnesota’s punishing defense scored two touchdowns, capitalizing on two Marcus Mariota turnovers in back-to-back offensive series for Tennessee. Not surprisingly, Minnesota’s offense struggled without Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson was bottled up by the Titans defense from the word “go.” Packers-Vikings on Sunday night will be interesting to say the least. An elite offense (GB) vs an elite Minnesota defense and Green Bay’s iffy defense vs Minnesota’s hardscrabble offense.
Week 2 opponent: San Francisco 49ers, Sunday 1:00 pm ET (Sirius 81, XM 225/Internet 804)
With an extended rest after their Thursday night opener in Week 1, Carolina is home and will be facing the San Francisco 49ers. This game provides the Panthers ample opportunity to get their house in order after getting rocked at Mile High against Denver. Cam Newton’s hopefully recovered from the plethora of head shots he absorbed and, fingers crossed for us Cam fans, the Panthers o-line will appear far more in sync and, y’know, capable of blocking against a team without Von Miller on the roster.
Week 2 opponent: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday 4:05 pm ET (Sirius 81, XM 225/Internet 800)
Tyrann Mathieu doesn’t look 100% yet and that’s a problem for Arizona’s defense. Peerless tactician Bill Belichick exploited rookie cornerback Brandon Williams as Matthieu’s mobility left him wanting and Williams was no salve. Arguably even more concerning was Arizona’s offense continuing to look stalled in Week 1 following a very uninspiring preseason. Arizona’s offense has to be ready for a track meet come Sunday as Tampa’s offense (and Jameis Winston in particular) are looking very good right now after dropping 31 with ease last week on the road against Atlanta.
Week 2 opponent: Tennessee Titans, Sunday 1:00 pm ET (Sirius 135, XM 231/Internet 810)
Detroit’s back home after claiming an opening week road win against the Colts and now face Indy’s divisional stablemate the Tennessee Titans. It’s probably just the Detroit fan in me, but I”m very leery of this game. Not only because of how good the Titans looked in racing out to a 10-0 lead over Minnesota last week, but also because of the volatility of Detroit’s Week 1 victory. Not until the game clock had hit 00:00 did it appear that the Lions were in “control” of the Indy game. It’s still better than a loss I suppose.
NFC Fantasy Spotlight: NFC Quarterback Lightning Round!
Cam Newton, Eli Manning, Drew Brees, Matthew Stafford, Carson Palmer and Russell Wilson are all facing “generous” pass defenses this weekend. Any one of them is poised to go “H.A.M” against the likes of the Rams, Bucs, Titans, you get the idea. Looking for a sleeper? Roll with Carson Wentz against the always flammable Chicago Bears secondary. Make it a parlay and dance with Nelson Agholor who should be widely available on waivers across the land.
New England (1-0)
Week 2 opponent: Miami Dolphins, Sunday 1:00 pm ET (Sirius 132, XM 227/Internet 819)
Consider the Miami Dolphins. A week after traveling 2,731 miles (one way) to endure the slings and arrows of ridiculous Russell Wilson and Co., Miami now travels to Foxboro to face perpetual thorn-in-their-side New England. In any case, with or without Rob Gronkowski and his tender hammy, I’m anticipating a thorough dismantling of Miami at the hands of the Pats.
Week 2 opponent: Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday 1:00 pm ET (Sirius, XM 82/Internet 825)
The Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals have “a bit” of history. The two teams will be reacquainting themselves this weekend for the first time since the Cro-Magnon playoff bash-fest. Pittsburgh on Monday night looked to be exactly where they left off last season offensively and their defense looked much improved. Will that continue against AJ Green and Andy Dalton? Tune-in Sunday!
Week 2 opponent: Indianapolis Colts, Sunday 4:25 pm ET (Sirius 82, XM 82/Internet 809)
Presumably the Broncos entire defensive line and linebacking corps have been licking their chops at the propsect of facing Indianapolis’ revolutionary “turnstile” approach to blocking along the o-line. To say nothing of what Denver’s wolf pack of a secondary is hoping to do to even a single errant Andrew Luck pass. Denver’s defense last week put the NFL on notice that the Lombardi Trophy is theirs until someone can score against them.
Week 2 opponent: @ Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday 1:00 pm ET (Sirius 138, XM/Internet 806)
A week after quietly collecting a quality win against a very good Jets team on the road, Cincy travels to Heinz Field to rekindle their divisional blood feud with Pittsburgh. It’s a shame that the AFC North can’t just be 16 games between these two teams every season, but we’ll make do with the first of two matches between the Bengals and Steelers on Sunday.
Kansas City (1-0)
Week 2 opponent: @ Houston Texans, Sunday 1:00 pm ET (Sirius 83, XM/Internet 815)
Houston received a number of votes in this week’s Power 12 polling and something tells me that every single Texan remembers the thorough whooping they received at the hands of this Chiefs team some 200-odd days ago in Houston. KC is the better team but I do wonder if we won’t see Houston “return the favor” so to speak this Sunday.
Week 2 opponent: Atlanta Falcons, Sunday 4:25 pm ET (Sirius 137, XM/Internet 823)
A week after the ballsiest of ballsy decisions, Jack Del Rio and his Raiders outfit return home to Oakland to face the Atlanta Falcons in what should be another shootout. Amari Cooper feasted against a very soft NOLA secondary last week and should do the same against the Falcons this week.
AFC Fantasy Spotlight: A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
Green faces the Steelers this week in a game I’ve mentioned a little bit already. Look for him to continue his hot start (he turned Darrelle Revis into a nuked ghost last week) against Pittsburgh, a squad he has a history of doing some major damage against.