The New York Giants and Detroit Lions will conclude Week 2 on Monday Night Football at MetLife Stadium, New Jersey. However, a superstar's status supersedes all narratives leading up to this contest.
Will Odell Beckham Jr. play on Monday? The 24-year-old wideout suffered an ankle sprain during the team's second preseason game but didn't recover in time to take the field in Week 1 against the Dallas Cowboys.
Though Beckham is listed as questionable, ESPN.com reporter Jordan Raanan's source feels he's likely to suit up against the Lions:
Jordan Raanan @JordanRaanan
Don't be surprised to see Odell Beckham play Monday night. Everything seems to be trending in that direction barring a setback, per source.2017-9-15 21:25:20
Though it's not a sustainable winning formula, the three-time Pro Bowler will largely influence whether the Giants earn a victory or drop to 0-2.
Below, you can view the latest power rankings, with a prediction on who wins the Monday Night Football contest. Where do the Giants and Lions rank? What's buzzing around the league after Sunday's action?
1. Kansas City Chiefs (2-0)
2. Atlanta Falcons (2-0)
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0)
4. Green Bay Packers (1-1)
5. New England Patriots (1-1)
6. Oakland Raiders (2-0)
7. Denver Broncos (2-0)
8. Seattle Seahawks (1-1)
9. Dallas Cowboys (1-1)
10. New York Giants (1-1)
11. Baltimore Ravens (2-0)
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0)
13. Miami Dolphins (1-0)
14. Carolina Panthers (2-0)
15. Philadelphia Eagles (1-1)
16. Detroit Lions (1-1)
17. Tennessee Titans (1-1)
18. Washington Redskins (1-1)
19. Minnesota Vikings (1-1)
20. Houston Texans (1-1)
21. New Orleans Saints (0-2)
22. Los Angeles Chargers (0-2)
23. Los Angeles Rams (1-1)
24. Arizona Cardinals (1-1)
25. Buffalo Bills (1-1)
26. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1)
27. Cincinnati Bengals (0-2)
28. Cleveland Browns (0-2)
29. San Francisco 49ers (0-2)
30. Chicago Bears (0-2)
31. Indianapolis Colts (0-2)
32. New York Jets (0-2)
Odell Beckham Returns, Giants Claim No. 10 Spot
Assuming Beckham plays, the Giants should bounce back after a terrible road loss to the Cowboys. Big Blue's shaky offensive line that allowed three sacks in the previous outing won't have to keep the pocket clean for an extended period, with the 24-year-old wideout running short, crisp routes on the field.
Beckham's targets have increased after each year in the league. Brandon Marshall's presence could end that trend. Regardless, the third-year receiver will see a heavy workload if he's available to play without restrictions. In addition to Beckham's return, the Giants should work on establishing the ground attack.
A balanced offensive scheme could neutralize the Lions' pass rush if defensive coordinator Teryl Austin aggressively attacks the pocket, specifically on the edges.
Defensively, the Giants have the depth to compensate for cornerback Janoris Jenkins' absence if he's unable to play, per SNY reporter Ralph Vacchiano:
Ralph Vacchiano @RVacchianoSNY
Some bad news from the Giants: CB Janoris Jenkins (ankle/hand) has been downgraded to "questionable" for the home opener Monday night.2017-9-17 15:55:36
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford threw four touchdown passes against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1. Without Jenkins in coverage, the Lions signal-caller may take a few more chances downfield.
Detroit Lions Fall to Giants, No. 16 in Rankings
Detroit earned a victory over Arizona when it didn't have its top offensive weapon in running back David Johnson for the entire contest. It's difficult to assess teams after one game. The Giants' legitimate defense would serve as a more accurate barometer for the Lions' passing attack.
Detroit removed wideout Golden Tate from the injury report, which indicates his finger shouldn't give him significant issues on Monday. He'll likely lead the team in targets. Nonetheless, at 6'4" and 213 pounds, third-rounder Kenny Golladay may finish this season as more than a quick-flash contributor in Week 1.
The rookie wideout registered four catches for 69 yards and two touchdowns against the Cardinals. Whether Jenkins plays or not, we could see Golladay matched against Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in an attempt to neutralize the rookie's size advantage in the red zone.
Similar to the Giants, the Lions don't have enough offensive balance due to an anemic ground attack. Nonetheless, Detroit won't field a defense that's comparable to its opponent's counterpart.
Minnesota Vikings Take Steps Backward Without Sam Bradford
The Minnesota Vikings put their best foot forward in Week 2 without quarterback Sam Bradford, but Case Keenum couldn't keep pace with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Mike Tomlin's group controlled the game but didn't look dominant in their 26-9 victory thanks to Minnesota's defense. The unit held running back Le'Veon Bell and wide receiver Antonio Brown to under 100 yards in rushing and receiving, respectively.
Ironically, we already witnessed the Vikings defense crumble without a decent offense during the previous season with Bradford under center. Now without him, the Vikings will continue to struggle putting points on the scoreboard.
Head coach Mike Zimmer didn't offer an encouraging response as to when the 29-year-old signal-caller would return to action:
Minnesota Vikings @Vikings
"Sam is fine. He might play one game from now, he might play six weeks from now. Either way, he's fine." -Mike Zimmer on Bradford's status2017-9-17 20:42:00
Someone has to pass the ball to wideouts Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, but Keenum won't suffice—even for the short term. The Vikings will host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 3. Quarterback Jameis Winston and his receiving corps will put pressure on Minnesota to respond on the offensive end.