Sep 17, 2016, 1:00 PM EDT
Will Carson Wentz continue his march to Canton? Has the Giants’ defense improved enough to hold Drew Brees to, say, five touchdown passes this time around? Here is your Redskins-centric look around the NFL as Week 2 approaches.
—The Saints travel to play the Giants at 1:00. Last year in New Orleans the Giants-Saints game ended up being one of the highest scoring affairs in NFL history. Eli Manning threw for six touchdowns but Drew Brees threw for seven. The Saints won 52-49 on a 50-yard Kai Forbath field goal as time expired. That game was in a dome and Brees’ career passer rating is 12 points lower outdoors. We’ll see if that and the supposedly improved Giants defense makes the difference in this one. The Giants are 4.5-point favorites to take sole possession of the NFC East lead, pending the Monday night result.
—That Monday night game has the Eagles visiting the Bears. Hall of Fame quarterback Carson Wentz is certain to lead his—oh, wait, he’s only played one game? Against the Browns, one of the worst teams in football? Yeah, let’s tap the brakes on that hype train just a little bit. But the Bears do have a questionable secondary so perhaps Wentz can look good again. The big question will be if the vaunted Eagles defense can get it done against a team that has considerably more firepower than the Browns’ attack. The home team is favored by three.
—Looking ahead, the Redskins go to New Jersey next Sunday to take on the Giants while the Eagles host the Steelers. If the Redskins can win tomorrow their game against New York could be for at least a share of first place in the division.
—Over in the AFC, the Redskins’ Week 4 and Week 5 opponents face off as the Browns host the Ravens. Josh McCown takes over at quarterback in Cleveland for Robert Griffin III. Griffin’s quest for redemption is on hold for at least a couple of months as he recovers from a shoulder injury. The Ravens won an old-fashioned defensive battle at home against the Bills last week. We probably won’t know if the Ravens have bounced back from last year’s ugly 5-11 season after this game. But in between now and October 9, when they host the Redskins, they face a couple of sterner tests. Next week they got to Jacksonville to play the up and coming Jaguars and then they host the Raiders, who also are a team on the rise.
—Before the season even started there was talk of a disconnect between Falcons QB Matt Ryan and Kyle Shanahan, the Atlanta offensive coordinator. “I think a lot was made about a little,” said Ryan before the team opened the season with a 31-24 loss to the Bucs. Shanahan goes into his second season with the Falcons on less than solid ground. Ryan seemed to regress last year as the Falcons started 5-0 but faded to a 3-8 finish. They start a brutal stretch of four road games in five weeks with trips to Oakland, New Orleans, Denver, and Seattle. Their long home game is against the Panthers. With an 0-fer start staring them in the face the Falcons coaches are all on notice, especially Shanahan.
—Tomorrow I like three road underdogs. I’ll go with the Saints +4.5 over the Giants, the Packers +2.5 at the Vikings, and the Colts +6 over the Broncos.
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