By: Michael Mills, Staff Writer
We are two weeks into the regular season, and the NFL looks out of sync as close games have been hard to come by up to this point. In week one, the average margin of victory was 15.9 points, and only five teams had an opportunity to win the game on their final possession.
In week two, the sloppy play continued. Many factors could contribute to poor play across the league. For one, starters barely play in the preseason. Most fans disregard the preseason, but getting live game snaps is an essential part of being successful during the season. It’s especially important for an offense because they must establish timing and chemistry in order to be on the same page – this explains why defenses have been dominating out of sync offenses. Secondly, the NFL has cracked down on off season activities and limited the use of pads in practice. This may be in the best interest of player safety, but it has hindered the product on the field.
Despite the lack of tight contests, there were some exciting moments this week in the NFL. Kansas City running back Kareem Hunt continued his impressive rookie campaign against the Philadelphia Eagles. Hunt contributed 109 all-purpose yards and rushed for two touchdowns. However, the play of the game happened with 6:30 left in the game when Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith faked a handoff to Hunt and delivered a shovel pass to tight end Travis Kelce. Kelce jumped from the five-yard line into the end zone, barreling through two defenders for the 15-yard score. Kelce’s acrobatics helped seal a Chiefs 27-20 victory.
The Saints have had a rough start to the season, especially on defense, and facing Tom Brady didn’t do them any favors Sunday. After a poor performance on opening night against the Chiefs, Brady came out and carved up the New Orleans defense, throwing for 300 yards and 3 touchdowns in the first half alone. The Patriots won comfortably, 36-20.
Week three looks to deliver more exciting games across the NFL. There are three promising matchups that could provide great games.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota quarterback Sam Bradford is expected to return in this contest after sitting out against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Both of these teams are loaded with young talent – especially on the offensive side of the ball. With wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen on the outside and in the slot, respectively, the Vikings have one of the fastest receiving corps in the league. On the other side, Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston and wide receiver Mike Evans combine for one of the best quarterback/receiver duos in the NFL.
Score: Vikings 27 Buccaneers 23
Seattle Seahawks @ Tennessee Titans
Seattle’s offense is atrocious, mainly due to their offensive line, but they have an all-world defense led by cornerback Richard Sherman and the Legion of Boom. Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota is protected by one of the best young offensive lines in the NFL. Mariota’s scrambling ability and red zone efficiency will present a difficult challenge for Sherman and the Seahawks.
Score: Titans 26 Seahawks 13
Kansas City Chiefs @ Los Angeles Chargers
The Chiefs have exceeded expectations so far this season, winning in convincing fashion in both of their games. Wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Chris Conley, along with Kelce and Hunt, compliment Smith very well. Despite the hot start, divisional games usually present a different kind of challenge since the teams meet up at least twice a year every season. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers has lost his last six contests against Kansas City, throwing seven interceptions in those matchups. If the Chargers hope to snap their losing streak against the Chiefs, taking care of the ball will be essential.
Score: Chiefs 33 Chargers 24
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