Will the Texans rope in Denver?
Week 2 of the NFL season saw high drama from the off, and after brawls, shocks, and refereeing ineptitude, we are set for the final full slate of games before bye weeks begin.
With a bumper weekend of action awaiting, some of the best teams in the league are featured on Sunday. An AFC East clash sees the Jets travel to Miami in the early, followed swiftly by the Texans face Peyton Manning and the Broncos.
Miami had one of the worst off-seasons in recent memory, and under the stewardship of GM Jeff Ireland, have become somewhat of a laughing stock. After Week 1, his job was being called into question, which has somewhat been quelled after a convincing Week 2 win, albeit over a dire Oakland Raiders outfit. Trading away two of the best five players is never a smart move, and Miami could really suffer this season. Rookie QB Ryan Tannehill looked infinitely better in his second game than his first, however without a standout number one receiver, the Miami running game, headed by Reggie Bush, will need to step up all season long. Against a strong Jets defense, Bush may well struggle, and if the OL buckles early, the Dolphins face a long day at home.
The Jets were unfancied coming into the season, and with the irritating unbearable media circus that follows the mediocre quarterback Tim Tebow, the team is under a spotlight 24/7. Rex Ryan is a walking tabloid quote machine, and whilst the Jets' offense is inconsistent, their defense is one of the best in the league. After Week 1, in which NY become the first to score 40 points, the talk of Jets success was rife. So trust the Gang-Green to disappoint in week 2, on the wrong end of a 27-10 loss at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh exposed the issues that are deep rooted within this team: a stagnant offense; a poor run game; an arrogant demeanour. New York needs to win this game, not for their record, but for their confidence, to set a tone for the rest of the season.
Prediction: Miami 7-10 New York
When Denver picked up Peyton Manning, they became the de faco favourites to take the AFC West title, as seemingly every NFL analyst forgot about the existence of the San Diego Chargers and their QB Phillip Rivers. Well, all those who back the Broncos felt smug after a Week1 win on Sunday Night Football against the Steelers, however a three interception first quarter (thrown by Peyton Manning no less), handed the Falcons a victory on Monday. A tough start to the season intensifies now as Houston come to town, with their brash offense and stout D. Denver's passing game will need to improve against the Texans, and whilst the interceptions are ‘credited' to a quarterback, many are the responsibility of the intended receiver, and both Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas have run poor routes throughout the first two games.
For the Texans, losing some key members of their offensive line and linebacker corps seems to have not affected the roster. Arian Foster and Ben Tate combine to create perhaps the most potent rushing offense in all of football, and with Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels receiving, Matt Schaub has an elite WR and reliable TE to find regularly. In a 3-4 set, having J.J. Watt and Antonio Smith at DE, whilst Brooks Reid and Connor Barwin line up as Sam and Will LBs respectively creates a fear inducing pass rush. The Texans play in one of the weaker divisions in the NFL, and are strong contenders for the AFC Championship; however a trip to the Mile High City could prove a tough proposition.
Prediction: Houston 27-20 Denver