NFL Predictions Week 2: Donovan McNabb and 5 Stars Who Will Rebound
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Week 1 of the NFL season had plenty of stars who picked off right where they left off…or better.
New England quarterback Tom Brady threw for 517 yards and four touchdowns on Monday Night Football.
Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw for 312 yards and three touchdowns in the season opener.
New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees, whose Saints lost to the Packers, actually outperformed Rodgers. He threw for 419 yards and three touchdowns.
Hopefully the point has been made. Plenty of players came out with their guns blazing in Week 1.
Here’s a look at six star players who will do better in Week 2 and perform beyond what they did in Week 1.
Rashard Mendenhall (No. 34) didn't wow anyone with his 45 yards on 12 carries.
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Not much went right for the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1.
It was supposed to be the game of the week in Week 1, but it may have been the biggest surprise of the week as they dropped to 0-1 on the season with a 35-7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
Running back Rashard Mendenhall was one of the guys who didn’t play up to par. Granted, in his defense, he was rushing against a Baltimore team that has been a top-10 defense against the run since the 2003 season.
Mendenhall’s opening stat line read like this: 12 rushes for 45 yards.
And while his stat line isn’t all his fault—as the Steelers were in a big hole, thus forcing them to pass the ball—when he did rush, it was for an average of 3.75 yards per carry.
In Week 2, the fourth-year back from Illinois draws the Seattle Seahawks (0-1). Expect a much better game from Mendenhall and company in Week 2. Seattle was 21st against the run in 2010.
Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will not throw three interceptions every game this year.
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More so than teammate Rashard Mendenhall, Ben Roethlisberger wants to forget his Week 1 performance.
The Pittsburgh quarterback was 22-of-31 (56.8 percent passing) for 280 yards, one touchdown, three interceptions and a passer rating of 52.9. He also had two fumbles.
The completion percentage and passing yards aren’t bad. But the three interceptions, two fumbles and passer rating of 52.9 are terrible.
Roethlisberger’s performance is much more disappointing because the Pittsburgh offense went into passing mode as it tried to catch the Ravens. It asked Roethlisberger to do what he does best which is sling the ball around the field.
But he failed. He failed miserably.
Roethlisberger should be in line for a much bigger Week 2. He gets to pass against the Seattle Seahawks, who were 27th against the pass in 2010.
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This won’t make any bold claims about what McNabb will do in Week 2. But based upon how poorly he played in Week 1, Week 2 has to be better.
He threw for 37 yards in the first half and threw for only two yards in the second half. He was 7-of-15 (46.7 percent) with one touchdown and an interception. His passer rating was 47.9—the lowest since Nov. 23, 2008.
Now the San Diego Chargers, who the Vikings played in Week 1, are a talented defensive unit. But Minnesota’s offense was very predictable and oriented towards the run game with Adrian Peterson—which is how it should be, but not to the extent that it was in Week 1.
In Week 2, McNabb comes home for his debut at Mall of America Field where his Vikings draw the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who will enter the game 0-1 after a 27-20 loss to the Detroit Lions.
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Philadelphia quarterback Mike Vick’s Week 1 performance wasn’t terrible, given how it compares to other quarterbacks in the league. But as a player with his reputation of possessing “star power,” it wasn’t the best.
He posted a lowly 43.8 completion percentage (14-of-32) against the St. Louis Rams—the 19th ranked pass defense in 2010.
He muscled out two touchdown passes and 187 yards from those 14 completions to jack his passer rating up to 83.7 percent.
In Week 2, his Eagles (1-0) draw the Atlanta Falcons (0-1), who allowed the Chicago Bears to light them up for 30 points in a Week 1 loss.
Vick goes back to the Georgia Dome for the first time since signing his massive six-year, $100 million contract with $40 million guaranteed. There will be high emotion and a large adrenaline rush for Vick in this one. It should be a dandy performance from the former Falcon.
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Some may question whether Peyton Hillis is a “star.” But when his face showed up on the Madden ’12 cover, it became clear that Hillis is a star.
In his first season with 16 games under his belt and a full-time starting gig, the fourth-year running back from Arkansas broke out for 1,177 yards on the ground and 11 touchdowns. For good measure, he added 61 receptions for 477 yards and two touchdowns.
His 2011 debut was less than impressive: 57 yards on 17 rushes (3.4 yards per carry), six receptions for 30 yards and zero total touchdowns.
Hillis and the Browns catch a nice break in Week 2: They battle the Indianapolis Colts, who are without quarterback Peyton Manning. They also allowed the Houston Texans, without their starting running back Arian Foster, to gallop for 167 yards and two touchdowns.
Look for Hillis to approach 100 yards in Week 2 and get into the end zone at least once.
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One catch for 14 yards. That’s what Ochocinco did in the first game of his New England Patriots career—in a game where quarterback Tom Brady went off for 517 passing yards and four touchdowns.
It was an unimpressive and disappointing opener for Ochocinco, who has also drawn criticism for his tweet, “I’ve never seen a machine operate like that.”
Ochocinco’s had a tough week. It should have been a great week for him. But it wasn’t.
He’s an extremely talented receiver who should be more involved in the Patriots' passing game. He won’t do what he did between 2002 and 2007, when every year in that window he posted at least 1,100 yards receiving, 69 catches and five touchdowns. He’s just not that player anymore.
But Ochocinco can be more of an asset to New England’s offense than he was in Week 1. Look for more passes Ochocinco’s way in Week 2 and 50-60 yards receiving.