NFL Football

Week 2 NFL questions, stats and predictions

Taking a spin around the NFL to get you ready for Week 2:

The big questions

How bad are the Colts?

Putting aside the fact that quarterback Andrew Luck is still out indefinitely, the Colts appear inept in every area after losing 46-9 to the Rams. That was the most points allowed in a season opener by the Colts since the 1954 Baltimore Colts allowed 49 points to the Los Angeles Rams.

The Colts gained only 225 total yards and turned the ball over three times. Even the reliable Adam Vinatieri missed a field goal and a PAT. With the return of Luck apparently nowhere in sight, just how bad can things get for Indianapolis?

Who replaces David Johnson in Arizona?

The Cardinals suffered a huge blow when running back David Johnson was placed on injured reserve this week with a dislocated wrist. Johnson was the heart of their offense after running for 1,239 yards and 16 touchdowns last year. He also figured heavily into their passing game, catching 80 passes for 879 yards and four touchdowns.

The Cardinals’ offense averages only 3.3 yards per rush and 4.4 yards per play without Johnson, compared with 4.5 yards per rush and 5.6 yards per play with him. They convert only 34 percent of their third downs without him, and 42 percent with him.

Kerwynn Williams has been named the starting running back in place of Johnson, but it’s possible the work could be done by a committee of Williams, Andre Ellington and the recently re-signed Chris Johnson. It might take more than one player to replace David Johnson.

Will the Bengals’ offense improve after Cincy fired the OC?

The Bengals fired offensive coordinator Ken Zampese on Friday, marking the first time the organization has fired a coordinator during the season in the team’s history. The team felt it had to make a change after going back-to-back games without a touchdown.

Quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor will call plays going forward. The Bengals need to find a way to get the most out of players such as A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert. The Bengals were touted all summer as one of the teams to beat on offense, but have scored only nine total points. Now they go to Green Bay facing the possibility of an 0-3 start.

Numbers that matter

1: Receiving touchdowns Antonio Gates needs to reach 111 and pass Tony Gonzalez for the most by a tight end in NFL history.

9: Adrian Peterson‘s Week 1 offensive snaps with the Saints, the second-lowest number on the team.

9: Quarterbacks the Texans have started under coach Bill O’Brien since 2014. That’s tied with the Browns for the most starting quarterbacks in that time span. Rookie Deshaun Watson is the latest.

51: The Buccaneers’ franchise record for most passing TDs in the first three seasons of a quarterback’s career. The record is held by Josh Freeman. Jameis Winston is one game away from tying it.

1,361: Combined yards from scrimmage by rookies in Week 1. That’s the most yards accumulated by rookies in the opening week of the season since the 1970 merger.

1939: The last year a team failed to score a touchdown at home in two games. The Bengals (0-2) have tied that record.

30,000: Capacity of the StubHub Center, where the Los Angeles Chargers will play their home opener this weekend. The average attendance for an NFL game last season was 68,913.

What we’ll be talking about after Week 2

The Chiefs are the real deal

The Chiefs shot from 8th to 1st in ESPN’s Football Power Index after defeating the Patriots and are now the favorites to win the Super Bowl, according to FPI.

They travel to face the Eagles on Sunday after that Thursday-night victory over the Patriots on Sept. 7. Chiefs coach Andy Reid boasts a 78.6 win percentage in games in which his team had at least nine days of rest. That’s the third-best record among coaches with at least 15 such games.

The Chiefs have plenty to be excited about with their weapons on offense, like rookie Kareem Hunt, whose 246 yards from scrimmage last week are the most in Week 1 since the 1970 merger.

The biggest question the Chiefs now face is how to replace All-Pro safety Eric Berry, who is out for the season after rupturing his Achilles in Week 1. The Chiefs will have to fill a big hole in their secondary going forward, and that first test starts with the Eagles.

The Patriots avoid an 0-2 start

The Patriots haven’t started 0-2 since 2001, when the Tom Brady era began. They went 11-3 after Brady finished the season for an injured Drew Bledsoe and then won Super Bowl XXXVI.

ESPN’s FPI gives the Patriots a 59 percent chance to win their matchup against the Saints in the Superdome.

Against the Chiefs, the Patriots allowed big performances by Alex Smith, Tyreek Hill and Hunt, giving up three plays of 50 or more yards, which is more than the Patriots have given up in any season since 2012. They have never allowed a player to have more than 200 yards from scrimmage in consecutive games in franchise history.

Since 2014, the Saints are two games under .500 at home and are looking to avoid their fourth straight 0-2 start after giving up 29 points in a loss to the Vikings last week. The Saints have a 1-10 record in September since 2014, the worst in the NFL.

These are not the same Jaguars

The Jaguars, who defeated the Texans 29-7 last week, are in sole possession of first place in the AFC South for the first time since Week 15 of the 2010 season.

The Jaguars will host the Titans in Week 2 and are looking for their first 2-0 start since 2006, the fourth-longest drought in that time.

The long-suffering Jaguars appear to finally be on the upswing after registering 10 sacks and four turnovers against the Texans. The Jags have committed to improving the defense through the draft and it appears to be paying off.

Offensively, rookie running back Leonard Fournette became the first player in Jaguars history to rush for 100 yards in his NFL debut.

The Titans have lost nine straight divisional road games and 14 of their last 15 divisional road games. The Jaguars ended Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota‘s season last year when he broke his leg, and also ended Tennessee’s playoff hopes in the process.

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