NFL Week 2 Predictions: Projecting Best, Worst Sunday Performances

Alessandro MiglioFeatured ColumnistSeptember 15, 2013

NFL Week 2 Predictions: Projecting Best, Worst Sunday Performances

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    The NFL rolls into Week 2 with plenty of expectations set after all the Week 1 drama. 

    We finally have some fresh results to deal with instead of relying on outdated 2012 data. Will Week 1 results turn into trends? 

    Who will have the best and worst performances at the offensive skill positions? Click through to find out.

Best at Quarterback

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    Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

    The Packers opened up with a tough defensive matchup against the 49ers on the road. It almost didn't matter to quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who threw for 333 yards and three touchdowns.

    Now he gets to feast on a Washington defense that was simply mauled by Philadelphia on Monday Night Football.

    Granted, Green Bay doesn't run that vaunted Chip Kelly balefire offense, but Rodgers is a much better quarterback than Michael Vick. This should be a shootout.

     

    Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

    It was a predictably rough start for Cam Newton against a tough Seattle defense last week. Buffalo cures all offensive ills, however.

    Granted, the Bills did a decent job against Tom Brady and the Patriots offense last week, but a lot of that was good fortune. And the Patriots won anyway.

    Newton can do things Brady can only do in his dreams.

     

    Robert Griffin III, Washington Football Team

    It was a rough start for Robert Griffin III as he made his first start since injuring his knee in January. Not surprisingly, he got things together later in the game.

    Griffin goes up against a Packers team that gave up 412 passing yards to Colin Kaepernick last week. Now that he's shaken that rust off, he should have a nice week.

Worst at Quarterback

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    Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens 

    The Ravens might have gotten spanked in the Thursday night opener, but Joe Flacco wound up with a nice stat line. Of course, it helped that he put the ball up 62 times.

    Denver struck like lightning in the second half, which forced the Ravens into pass mode.

    This week the Ravens are up against a tough  Cleveland Browns defense. Flacco is in for a slow day.

Best at Running Back

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    Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    Despite scoring a second-half touchdown against the Jets, Week 1 was rather lackluster for Doug Martin. He averaged just 2.7 yards per carry going up against that tough Jets defensive front.

    Sledding should be much easier for Martin this week at home against the Saints.

     

    Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers

    Perhaps the performance most like Doug Martin's last week belonged to Eddie Lacy, who has an even tougher matchup against that stout 49ers defense on the road.

    Lacy, too, managed to find the end zone to salvage his day, but he also averaged a paltry 2.9 yards per carry. 

    Washington comes to town to cure those ills, however. LeSean McCoy simply annihilated that run defense last Monday, and Washington will have to worry about Aaron Rodgers shredding them in the passing game, opening up space for Lacy.

     

    DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers

    With Jonathan Stewart sidelined for perhaps the season, DeAngelo Williams suddenly finds himself the lead back for the Panthers.

    Williams got 20 touches to Mike Tolbert's five in Week 1. He managed to average 5.1 yards per carry against that vaunted Seattle defense. He gets a much easier matchup against the Bills this week.

Worst at Running Back

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    Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints

    Why Mark Ingram keeps getting chances, only the football gods know.

    The disappointing running back had yet another pedestrian game, getting his 2013 season off to a nine-carry, 11-yard start.

    This week he gets a Tampa Bay defense that was pretty stout against the run in Week 1. Ingram also has to worry about Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles taking away opportunities.

     

    Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos

    Given the surprise start last week, things are looking up for Knowshon Moreno. But how much can we trust the Broncos when it comes to their backfield?

    After all, Ronnie Hillman got significant touches despite his horrific preseason, and he presents an upside Moreno simply does not. Rookie Montee Ball is certainly in the mix as well.

     

    Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers

    The 49ers and Seahawks will be in a slugfest this week, presumably of a defensive nature. Gore did rush for 131 yards against Seattle in Week 7 last season, so the matchup doesn't automatically mean he will have a bad game.

    But he is a year older, and Seattle has the 12th Man behind that ferocious defense.

Best at Wide Receiver

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    Pierre Garcon, Washington Football Team

    Last week was predictably tough for the Washington offense, even though the team was up against a soft Philadelphia defense. That's because Robert Griffin III was seeing his first game action since injuring his knee back in January.

    He did heat up late in the game, but the biggest beneficiary of the near comeback was Leonard Hankerson, much to everyone's surprise.

    Pierre Garcon gets a crack at another soft defense this week when Washington travels to Green Bay to meet with the Casey Hayward-less Packers.

     

    Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions

    The stat line from Week 1 was rather deceptive for Calvin Johnson.

    He almost scored twice, one time having a touchdown called back because Johnson apparently has to hang on to the ball until he gets on the team bus after the game for it to count.

    Johnson goes up against a pretty good cornerback in Patrick Peterson this week, but if anyone is matchup-proof, it's Megatron. He will bounce back.

     

    Mike Wallace, Miami Dolphins

    Despite winning handily on the road, Mike Wallace was unhappy last week. That's because he only had one catch for 15 yards.

    You can expect that will change soon, and the Colts are the team to help him rectify the situation. Perhaps Vontae Davis will be motivated to perform well against his former team, but he has never quite lived up to that first-round status.

Worst at Wide Receiver

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    Torrey Smith, Baltimore Ravens

    Unfortunately for the Ravens, Torrey Smith did not reprise his role as assassin from last season's AFC Championship Game against the Broncos.

    Smith wound up with decent numbers, but the Broncos did a surprisingly good job of bottling him up given Champ Bailey was held out with injury.

    The problem for Smith is he doesn't have much help—unheralded rookie Marlon Brown is now the No. 2 receiver thanks to Jacoby Jones' injury. Dallas Clark—the 34-year-old tight end who didn't have a job two months ago—quickly overcame lackluster Ed Dickson.

    This week will prove even tougher for Smith, who goes up against the Browns' Joe Haden. He only held Mike Wallace to one catch and 15 yards last week.

     

    Jerome Simpson, Minnesota Vikings

    Why are we even talking about Jerome Simpson? Because poor souls might think he will actually repeat his big Week 1 performance.

    Simpson caught seven balls for 140 yards last week, but do you trust him even a little bit? 

    The last three times Jerome Simpson had over 100 receiving yards, he had four receptions for 35 yards combined in the subsequent three games. He has Christian Ponder throwing him the ball, to boot.

Best at Tight End

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    Jared Cook, St. Louis Rams

    We've been had once again. Jared Cook brought his hype from Tennessee to St. Louis, and he was disappointing once again.

    What's that? He actually had a huge game against the Cardinals? Well color me shocked!

    Cook looked every bit worth that $36 million contract he signed this past offseason. He caught seven passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns, outperforming even Julius Thomas.

    Atlanta did a decent job against Jimmy Graham last week, but the Saints tight end still wound up having a nice day. Cook isn't going to score twice a game, but he is in for another good one here. 

     

    Jordan Cameron, Cleveland Browns

    The Browns might have found themselves a reliable tight end.

    After years of hoping Ben Watson would realize his potential, Jordan Cameron looked every bit the part in Week 1.

    He gets his shot to prove it wasn't a fluke against the Ravens this week, a team that let Julius Thomas run amok last week. Granted, that doesn't automatically mean Baltimore will let Cameron walk into the end zone a couple of times, but the matchup is still nice.

Worst at Tight End

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    Coby Fleener, Indianapolis Colts

    Tight end Dwayne Allen is listed as doubtful for Sunday's game against the Dolphins. That means Coby Fleener is in for big things, right?

    Well, not if his performances with Allen out are any indication.

    Fleener had a pedestrian preseason while Allen sat out with injury. That came after a lackluster rookie season despite being the higher-drafted tight end.

    The Dolphins have a tough defense, though they did let Jordan Cameron have a good game last week. Still, the Miami defense should bottle up Fleener pretty well.

     

    Brandon Pettigrew, Detroit Lions

    Look, it's easy to get tempted to play Brandon Pettigrew against an Arizona defense that was shredded by Jared Cook last week. But Pettigrew is no Cook, and won't match Cook's Week 1 stats.