Home Sports What to Watch in N.F.L. Week 2

What to Watch in N.F.L. Week 2

Week 1 had a little bit of everything, with a few blowouts, a few thrillers, a few shocking upsets and a whole lot of Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson. If we’re lucky, Week 2 will provide much of the same.

Health is a huge factor for sustained success, and with the luck the San Francisco 49ers have been having recently, it could be what puts them in an enormous hole in the N.F.C. West just a season after they made a trip to the Super Bowl.

Until shortly before Week 1, the 49ers believed they might have wide receiver Deebo Samuel back for the start of the season despite a broken foot sustained in June. Instead, the dynamic second-year player did not reach benchmarks the team set, and he was placed on this season’s unique three-game version of injured reserve.

San Francisco also began the season without starting center Weston Richburg, and in the team’s shocking loss at home to Arizona in Week 1, cornerback Richard Sherman injured his calf and joined Samuel on the injured reserve. In perhaps the biggest short-term blow, tight end George Kittle sprained his knee and will be out for this week, and potentially longer.

The 49ers are a talented team, with a enough depth to compete even with several stars sidelined — especially against the Jets. But with Seattle, Los Angeles and Arizona having each won their opening week games, and each having a solid chance at winning again this week, the pressure is suddenly on the 49ers to figure things out in a hurry.

A savvy observer might have been keeping an eye on the upstart Arizona Cardinals for a potential upset in Week 1, but no one saw the Washington Football Team or the Jacksonville Jaguars coming. Those teams were both predicted to be basement dwellers all season, but they got off to a terrific start by beating the Philadelphia Eagles and the Indianapolis Colts, respectively.

So … can they do it again?

The bad news for the Footballers is that they’re playing the Cardinals, and Arizona’s offensive line is not nearly as beat up as Philadelphia’s was. With Kyler Murray slinging balls all over the field to wide receives DeAndre Hopkins and Larry Fitzgerald, while also serving as a huge threat while running the ball, Washington could be in a lot of trouble.

The Jaguars, meanwhile, have to be thrilled with Gardner Minshew’s execution in a game in which he completed 95 percent of his passes while throwing three touchdown passes, but they might want to remember that they wouldn’t have beaten the Colts if not for Philip Rivers gift-wrapping them 14 points in the form of two interceptions. Expecting the Tennessee Titans to be so generous would not be wise.

The 4 p.m. Eastern time games can sometimes seem like a chance to catch a break between the hectic early action, and the Sunday night game. That strategy won’t work today, as some of the best action is set to kick off at 4:25 p.m Eastern.

The Kansas City Chiefs are on the road facing the Los Angeles Chargers, a team that probably shouldn’t be expected to give Patrick Mahomes all that much trouble, but is far from a pushover. The Baltimore Ravens, meanwhile, are in Houston where Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson will face off in a battle of two of the best quarterbacks in the game — Watson, however, probably wishes he had Jackson’s teammates.

The good news is that the Sunday night game shouldn’t feel like that much of a letdown, as Cam Newton and the new-look New England Patriots are in Seattle to face Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. Between Newton’s running, Wilson’s overall brilliance, and the star-studded defenses on both teams, the nightcap could live up to its game of the week billing.

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