With Week 1 almost in the books, it can never be too early to start preparing for next week since we have Thursday matchups to consider these days. Now that we had the opening weekend to digest to see how teams look, we can begin to accurately assess how they will match up with opposing teams going forward.
There were a few surprises in Week 1, and Week 2 should be no different.
In this slideshow, I will go over the top four players at each major position (QB, RB, WR and TE) and how they should fare in their matchups in Week 2.
With that said, let’s start looking ahead to Week 2.
Here is a look at the four top quarterbacks heading into Week 2.
Unfortunately for Rodgers, he drew an unfavorable matchup in Week 1 when he and the Packers had to go up against the vaunted San Francisco 49er’s defense. Rodgers still did well despite the loss, passing for 303 yards and two touchdowns plus a pick.
This week, Rodgers will have a quick turnaround and face off against the equally challenging Bears’ defense on Thursday night. On Sunday, the Bears forced rookie Andrew Luck into throwing three interceptions.
However, Rodgers is a polished passer and he should limit the turnovers. It’s not a great matchup for Rodgers, but you have to roll with him.
On Sunday, Brees was overshadowed by rookie Robert Griffin III in the Redskins’ stunning 40-32 victory over the New Orleans Saints at the Superdome. Regardless, Brees still put up monster stats, throwing for 339 yards and three touchdowns. Brees, though, did throw two interceptions.
Although Brees and the Saints will be playing outdoors in Carolina this Sunday, the Panthers should be no match for the Saints’ vertical attack in this contest.
The Patriots had it easy in Week 1, easily rolling over the Titans, 34-13. Brady was solid, completing 23-of-31 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns.
When Brady and the Pats make their home debut on Sunday vs. the Cardinals, expect the passing game to be in full juggernaut mode. In fact, Brady may be the top QB option this weekend.
Although Stafford threw three interceptions on Sunday, Stafford still willed his team to victory while accumulating some gaudy passing yards (355).
For a while there on Sunday, Stafford was looking pretty mediocre. But in the final stages of the game, Stafford showed you exactly why he was an early-round pick.
That being said, temper your expectations this week, as Stafford now has the unenviable task of trying to win on the road in San Francisco on Sunday night. For this week, Stafford should be viewed as a low-end No.1 QB.
Here are the top four running backs heading into Week 2.
Listed as questionable going into Sunday’s game against the Dolphins, Foster erased all doubts that he’ll be fine by rushing for 79 yards and two touchdowns.
The game’s most dynamic running back will be facing a good—but not great—rushing defense when he and the Texans travel to Jacksonville to square off against the Jaguars on Sunday. As long as he is healthy, Foster should be trusted with supreme confidence.
Although as of this writing, Rice has yet to play; Rice should still be viewed as a no-brainer start for next week, regardless of who he plays.
Granted, the matchup against the Eagles on the road is daunting (considering the Eagles shut down Trent Richardson to just 39 yards on 19 carries), Rice is beyond sitting.
Going up against the Browns’ meager rush defense, McCoy was supposed to have a fantastic afternoon. While McCoy did rush for 110 yards, he did not score in the contest and lost a fumble.
Just like Rice—who he’ll be opposing come Sunday—McCoy will have a tough matchup going up against the Ravens’ tough, physical front seven.
But like, Rice, you can never think of sitting McCoy.
There is no way to slice it: Johnson was pathetic on Sunday, rushing for only four yards on 11 carries! That equates to an abysmal 0.4 YPC average. Yeech!
Part of the problem was the Titans were also playing catch up and had to abandon the run real early. Still, Johnson was a colossal bust on Sunday.
Johnson’s matchup on Sunday in San Diego against the Chargers will be of paramount importance for his value going forward this year. If he can’t rebound against a suspect Chargers’ run defense, we could be looking at déjà vu all over again.
Here is a look at the top four wide receivers heading into Week 2.
It was just another day at the office for Johnson on Sunday, as he once again topped 100 yards receiving (111 yards on six catches).
Johnson’s fantasy owners want touchdowns, though. However, as I alluded to earlier, getting in the end zone could be yeomen’s work next week when Johnson has to try and find pay dirt going up the 49er’s strong defensive unit.
As I mentioned in this post, Johnson has a lot to prove this year. Well, Johnson sure responded well on Sunday by recording eight catches for 119 yards and a score vs. the Dolphins.
If Christian Ponder can pass for 270 yards on the Jags’ secondary, then there is no telling how much Matt Schaub can amass. And of course the main beneficiary of Schaub’s passes will be Johnson.
Expect another monster outing for Johnson next Sunday.
Sure, the rotating of quarterback from John Skelton (who is likely doubtful for Sunday with what is perceived as a sprained ankle) to Kevin Kolb does Fitzgerald no favors, but Fitzgerald has enough game that it shouldn’t matter too much who is throwing him the ball.
Fitzgerald was so-so on Sunday, recording four receptions for 63 yards.
If the Patriots were as bad as they were against the pass last year, then Fitzgerald could be in for a huge afternoon.If anything you can expect the Cardinals to be playing catch-up next week.
Jones’ coronation as one of the league’s elite receivers has begun in earnest, as he was marvelous on Sunday vs. the Chiefs, catching six passes for 108 yards and two touchdowns.
While Matt Ryan still loves Roddy White, Jones could be the more trusted option among Falcons’ receivers this year.
Jones will have the benefit of playing at home next Monday night vs. the Broncos, and he is without a doubt a high-end No.1 wide receiver going into the matchup.
Here are the top four TE options heading into Week 2.
Gronkowski picked up where he left off last year, by scoring in his first game on Sunday against the Titans, while also racking up 60 yards receiving on six catches.
The Cardinals should be no match for this beast of a tight end next Sunday afternoon.
Just like Gronkowski, Graham was in midseason form on Sunday, racking up 85 yards receiving to go with a touchdown.
There is not much to say here: Graham is an elite TE option and should be in line for another fine day vs. the Panthers next Sunday.
With Vincent Jackson now in Tampa, Phil Rivers will undoubtedly be slinging the ball more towards Gates way this year.
Although this post was published before Gates played on Monday night, Gates should have no trouble piling up the numbers against the Titans next Sunday considering the Titans allowed two touchdowns to tight ends in Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez on Sunday.
Speaking of Hernandez, he lived up to his lofty preseason hype on Sunday too, as he scored against the Titans as well (also recording six catches for 59 yards).
In fact, both Patriots’ tight ends outshined the Patriots receivers as Hernandez and Gronkowski combined for 12 catches and 119 yards and two touchdowns, while receivers Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd only hauled in eight catches for a pedestrian 83 yards. This could be a theme moving forward.
Hernandez should also be in line for another splendid performance next Sunday against the Cardinals.
Follow me on Twitter @Stacdemon