NFL scores: Week 2 results, highlights for each game

Week 2 of the 2017 NFL season featured a slate of games with relatively unexpected importance attached. New England, for example, was in New Orleans and in danger of falling to 0-2 for a season in which many speculated the Patriots could go undefeated.

Elsewhere, the Colts and Cardinals were scheduled to play a game that could be pivotal for two teams desperately searching for positives after Week 1 losses. Sunday’s highlighted games were a matchup of playoff contenders, Cowboys vs. Broncos, in Denver and an NFC title game rematch, Packers vs. Falcons, in Atlanta’s brand-new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

With Olivier Vernon out thanks to an ankle injury, the Eagles were able to run the ball and get back in field goal range, eventually tying the score at 24-24 with 51 seconds left. The Giants took over with three timeouts and had plenty of time to get in field goal range, only to again play sloppy football. Manning completed a short pass and let the clock run without calling timeout, but as the Giants rushed to the line, the offense never got set and Ereck Flowers was called for an illegal shift.

The Giants then used a timeout to prevent a 10-second runoff, which cost them dearly. Flowers subsequently held to make it second-and-18, where Shane Vereen caught a 2-yard checkdown and foolishly went out of bounds, saving the Eagles a timeout. Manning then threw a pass short of the sticks on third down, and a 28-yard shank from Brad Wing gave the Eagles the ball back with 13 seconds and a timeout on their 38-yard line. After a 19-yard completion, Elliott hit a 61-yarder to get the keys to every Wawa in Philadelphia.

It’s bad luck to be beaten by a field goal from another area code, but the Giants should have been able to seal up this lead or at least make it to overtime. This is a team that was supposed to be full of veterans who know how to win after going 8-3 in one-score games last season, but a series of mental mistakes might have cost them their season.
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Those were shocking plays by a defense that relies on not making mistakes.

In just one game in 2017, the Patriots gave up a pair of 75+ yard scores; a 75-yard touchdown to Tyreek Hill and a 78-yard touchdown to Kareem Hunt.

If Sam Bradford’s performance was reminiscent of Joe Montana against the Saints, then Alex Smith was more like a combination of Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. He could do no wrong, going 28-of-35 for 368 yards and four touchdowns. Matt Patricia’s defense had no answers for Smith, who was able to connect on some big deep balls — something we aren’t necessarily accustomed to seeing. At his absolute best, Smith’s best yards per game average was last year at 233.5 passing yards/game.
For more, check out the entire entry at Canal Street Chronicles.

We can’t ignore it anymore, and neither can the Giants. Eli is 36, didn’t look great last season, and has been straight-up bad through two games. He’s a bigger statue than ever in the pocket, compounding the pass protection issues. His throws were scattershot, lacking much zip or accuracy. On Monday, he completed 68.7 percent of his passes (22-of-32), but for only 239 yards — largely dumpoffs or checkdowns. His early connection with Engram has been one of the few bright spots, but otherwise it’s been ugly.

This wouldn’t be the first time a Manning suddenly fell off the cliff — we all saw what happened to Peyton in 2015 — so if Eli is heading into the twilight of his career, the Giants need to be serious about an eventual succession plan. Signing Geno Smith and drafting Davis Webb in the third round won’t cut it.
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This play right here should get Rams fans fired up!

This wasn’t a perfect game for Goff. He still has room for improvement. He needs to continue to work on throwing on the run.

Here he gets a tad bit of pressure, moves to his right, has room to work and throws a worm finder into the turf. Making these types of throws when the pocket breaks down will take his game to whole another level.

Week 1 was a huge improvement for Jared Goff. Sure, it was against the lowly Colts, but Goff looked confident and the offense looks to be in a good rhythm. He’ll have some ups and downs this season, but if I were a Rams fan, I’d be excited about where this is headed.

Brady had only three wide receivers at his disposal, but he employed each of them to push his team out to a big first half lead against the Saints. His finest moment may have been when he convinced the refs to pick up an offensive pass interference flag and allow a 13-yard Chris Hogan touchdown to stand.

He also utilized his old-man tricks, catching New Orleans with 12 men on the field to earn five free yards and negate a free-play interception in the third quarter.

“Based upon the preliminary injunction standard, the Court finds, that Elliott did not receive a fundamentally fair hearing, necessitating the Court grant the request for preliminary injunction,” Mazzant wrote in his ruling.

Was an appeal the league’s only option? The league could have placed Elliott on the commissioner’s exempt list to circumvent the court’s decision but elected not to do that, according to Mark Maske of The Washington Post.

Putting Elliott on the exempt list would keep him off the field, but he would be paid during his absence.
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J.J. Watt wanted to raise $200,000 for Hurricane Harvey relief. He topped $37 million

J.J. Watt was quick in helping organize relief efforts for Houston after Hurricane Harvey devastated the area. He wanted to raise $200,000, but in the end, the donations came to more than $37 million.

“It’s very difficult, not only because we have family and friends back there,” Watt said. “Some guys have young kids. Some guys have wives and families. But that’s our city. It’s very tough to watch your city get hit by such a bad storm and not be there to help.”

Nobody believes that the Bills can steal one from the Panthers in Carolina’s home opener. It’s hard to argue with that.

Green Bay’s defense looked better than it has in a long time last week against the Seahawks. Is that going to be enough to stop the Falcons on Sunday night this week? The panel doesn’t seem to think so. I would urge a little caution on this one because Week 1 is so hard to read. Are the Falcons legitimately having a problem with the transition to a new offensive coordinator or was that just a hiccup to start the season?

We have a three-way tie for the lead right now. Stephen, Jeanna, and Harry all picked 10 out of 15 games correctly. Geoff is right behind them with nine. Last week’s guest, Brandon Lee Gowton from Bleeding Green Nation, also picked nine games correctly.

Please welcome Dave Choate from The Falcoholic, our Falcons site. He has graciously agreed to subject himself to letting the world see his picks for this week’s games. He also picked the Falcons to win this week — probably smart.

Here are this week’s picks. Remember, we let our panelists change two picks, if they want, on Friday so that we get the chance to adjust based on injuries, etc.
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Rebuilding 49ers, Rams can assess progress in Thursday game

The Los Angeles Rams travel north to take on their long-time NFC West rival San Francisco 49ers in this week’s Thursday night game.

Washington Nationals pitchers Sean Doolittle and Ryan Zimmerman, who both played college baseball at Virginia, said the incidents shouldn’t reflect on the people of the university or the town.

“I hope people not from this area of the country understand that the people that were marching in and around [the university] and Charlottesville, they’re not from there,” Doolittle said Sunday. “These aren’t people that represent the school or the community. This was a rally where people came from other parts of the state, other parts of the region. Because that area, that town, is an incredibly accepting and diverse and embracing community.”

Zimmerman said: “It is not reflective of the city or the people there. But as far as the stuff, I don’t really want to get into all that kind of stuff, but it’s sad. You hope that at some point we can kind of move on from these kind of things, but you don’t know.”

Jersey sale statistics in and of themselves aren’t going to correlate with fantasy football value — need I remind you of Tim Tebow? That said, seeing how a player’s jersey sales ebb and flow over the course of a football season can definitely give you an inkling as to how the “wisdom of the crowds” perceives the current performance level of certain players.
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2017 NFL season preview: AFC West could have three playoff teams

The Chiefs and Raiders each went 12-4 last season with the Chiefs winning a tiebreaker for the division title. It should come down to those teams again in 2017, though the Chargers could join them in the postseason.

The Raiders were on track to win the division until quarterback Derek Carr broke his leg in the penultimate game. The Raiders lost the regular-season finale to the Broncos while the Chiefs beat the Chargers to claim the division crown.

“I just like the smaller ones because it makes sure I use my hands and makes it so I can stretch my arms out all of the way,” Bennett said. “It helps pass rushers, but I don’t think it really matters too much because I know how to use my hands. It makes me make sure I use my hands and not throw my shoulder in there.”

In the process, Matthews earned even more respect from his Packers brethren, including a teammate who is guaranteed future Hall of Fame induction.

“He doesn’t get any credit for that and he should,” Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers told Sporting News. “He’s a Hall of Fame-caliber outside linebacker who played inside for the better part of two years because we just had a major need there.

“Hopefully we are at the point where we can get him back on the outside all the time. But he wants to win — so do I. We are going to do whatever it takes to get the job done. If that means him going inside, so be it.”

Matthews recently committed another selfless act. Normally declining endorsement opportunities just before the start of training camp to keep his focus on football, Matthews accepted an offer from Playstation Vue because it would feature paid appearances by some of his family members.
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NFL predictions 2017: Why, how Patriots will win AFC title again

There’s NFL parity, and then there are the Patriots. In 2017, it would be a major upset if New England, which has been to an unprecedented six straight AFC championship games, does not make it a lucky seven.

It’s hard to believe, but the reigning and now five-time Super Bowl champions got better, both offensively for Tom Brady and defensively for Bill Belichick. This could be the last run for that quarterback with that coach, much to the hope of other AFC hopefuls.

Here’s how we see the regular season and postseason playing out for the Patriots and the rest of the conference.

The first two quarters were ones the Giants wanted to forget, as the offensive line could not get a push for its running backs or give Manning enough protection to throw the ball downfield. New York, playing without Beckham (ankle) managed just two first downs and 50 yards from scrimmage going into halftime.

With Beckham out, the Cowboys defensive backs pressed Sterling Shepard, Brandon Marshall, and the Giants receivers at the line of scrimmage, resulting in numerous coverage sacks and just 189 total passing yards from Manning. The Giants’ run game wasn’t any better. Led by Paul Perkins’ 16 yards rushing, the Giants managed just two first downs on the ground and finished with 35 rushing yards.

Kirk Cousins is betting on himself in what’s likely his last year in Washington, while Carson Wentz is just getting warmed up, now loaded with legit outside wideouts in Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith. Wentz will spread the ball around well in his Year 2 debut. Cousins is facing a good defense that improved on every level and will rattle him more consistently. Eagles win 27-23 and cover the spread.

We don’t see fake punts in the preseason often.

Carson Wentz got the start, unsurprisingly, for the Eagles, and he looked solid. He also appeared happy to have some new receiving options in Torrey Smith and Alshon Jeffery.

There were some stellar moments, and a couple of embarrassing ones. Here are the winners and losers from Thursday night’s games.

We don’t see fake punts in the preseason often. Hell, even during the regular season, they’re not incredibly common. But we got one from the Jaguars on Thursday night.

If you’re going to try a fake punt in a preseason game, you’d better get it right. And the Jaguars did:

Cincinnati linebacker Vontaze Burfict and cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones are serving suspensions. Promising Bengals rookie receiver John Ross also is out with a knee injury.

Despite those losses, Cincinnati remains the favorite and has not lost to Baltimore at home since 2011.

“It is a tough place to play, and they are a good football team,” Flacco said. “They have been a good football team for a lot of years now. You guys have seen it. We have a tough time winning there.”

The biggest question facing Baltimore is Flacco, who crammed an entire training camp and four preseason games into one week of practice. He has traditionally struggled in Cincinnati, posting a 2-6 mark with five touchdowns and 12 interceptions over his career.images (5)

McVay called Monday “a bonus day” because the Rams wouldn’t normally practice on Mondays during the regular season.

“This game tests your wits in every form, every facet of your body, your mentals. Everything. If you’re not ready to come back and play and give it your all, and your heart isn’t in it, then you’ll seriously go out there and get hurt.”

After practice, multiple players said coach Jay Gruden addressed the players about Cravens’ situation and said to stay focused on the season opener when discussing it with the media. Gruden did not address the media Sunday but will do so Tuesday.

Several days ago, a source close to Cravens said he was anxious to return from his injury and he was confident he’d be ready for the opener against the Philadelphia Eagles. The past few weeks, there had been some unease in the building about Cravens’ missed time and what the team could expect from him. Indeed, the Washington Post reported that he had been talking to some members of the coaching staff about retiring the past few weeks.

McVay called Monday “a bonus day” because the Rams wouldn’t normally practice on Mondays during the regular season. Tuesday is a player’s day off, and Wednesday is traditionally the day the team installs its game plan for its upcoming opponent.

The Colts will be without three key players for that game, including quarterback Andrew Luck, center Ryan Kelly and cornerback Vontae Davis.

If Donald doesn’t arrive by Sunday, he will miss out on one of his 17 game checks, which make up his 2017 salary (players are paid during their bye week). The 26-year-old is set to earn a base salary of $1,802,250 this year, with a fifth-year option of $6.892 million for 2018.

Donald, however, is a three-time Pro Bowler who has been named first-team All-Pro each of the past two seasons and is deemed in some circles as the game’s best defensive player, regardless of position. The substantial gap between his earnings and those of the game’s top defensive players is believed to be a major motivation for his holdout.