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-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: The 2018 NFC Championship Game. (Image Source: Getty Images)
Week 2 Preview:
The New Orleans Saints will play at the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday at 4:25 p.m. on FOX in a rematch of the NFC Championship Game. The offensive juggernauts led by Sean Payton and Sean McVay, considered by many to be two of the most innovative minds in the game, each put 30 points in their Kickoff Weekend wins.
Big Divisional Clashes
In addition to the Saints at the Rams, there are two other games featuring two 1-0 teams, both divisional games. The winner of the Minnesota Vikings at the Green Bay Packers will sit atop the NFC North by themselves. The last time the Packers started a season 2-0 was 2015. The Oakland Raiders host the Kansas City Chiefs and have a chance to stay in first place longer than anyone imagined with an upset win on Sunday.
Don’t Give Up
In 2018, ten of the dozen playoff teams started the season 1-1 or 0-2, which is the most since 2002, including six division champs (New England, Baltimore, Houston, Dallas, Chicago, New Orleans). Since 2002, 126 of the 204 playoff teams (61.8 percent) started the season 1-1 or 0-2.
Jax & Dak
Two of the stars of Kickoff Weekend were quarterbacks Dak Prescott and Lamar Jackson, who both posted a perfect passer rating. It’s the first time any quarterback had done so in a season opener. Jackson, who was the youngest player to reach the mark at 22 years and 244-days old, threw five touchdown passes, while Prescott connected on four scoring strikes. If either passes for four TDs on Sunday, they will join Drew Bledsoe (1997), Patrick Mahomes (2018), and Ryan Fitzpatrick (2018) as the only quarterbacks to throw for at least four touchdowns in the first two games of a season.
The Arizona Cardinals made Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Kyler Murray the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft and so far, he’s paying dividends. In his debut, Murray threw for 308 yards and two touchdowns. He looks to join Cam Newton as the only passers in NFL history to go for 300 yards in their first two career games. No one has ever thrown for 300 yards with multiple TD passes in their first two games.
When the Baltimore Ravens host the Arizona Cardinals it will pit Heisman Trophy winners against each other, as Lamar Jackson (2016) takes on Kyler Murray (2018). It’s the second Heisman vs. Heisman contest of the week with Jameis Winston (2013) having already led the Tampa Bay Bucs to a win over Cam Newton (2010) and the Carolina Panthers on Thursday night. It’s the first time two games featured a pair of Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks in the same week.
New York State of Mind
The Buffalo Bills opened the season with a win at MetLife Stadium over the New York Jets in Week 1 and they will take on the New York Giants on Sunday, again in MetLife Stadium. It’s the first time that a road team has played in the same stadium in consecutive weeks since the Baltimore Ravens did it in October of 2016, also in MetLife Stadium. The Miami Dolphins will be play at the Jets and Giants in consecutive weeks in December.
Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards.
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