Football fans, listed below is everything you need to know to get ready for Week 3 in the NFL. This will be a weekly post going up every Thursday with all the match-ups, narratives and games you should be keeping an eye on over the weekend. Below is your NFL Week 3 Primer – Preview of what to Watch:
Key Match Ups
Seattle Seahawks @ Tennessee Titans
Two teams with aspirations to win their division and make a statement in the post-season. Both teams are 1-1 and yet to really get going in 2017. Russell Wilson for yet another year appears to have no competent blockers in front of him, ruining Seattle’s game plan offensively. Marcus Mariota has not got going yet for Tennessee and their O-Line does not look as dominant as it was last year – however, it is still very early in the season.
This game should come down to Seattle’s dominant defense trying to contain the exotic smash mouth offense that Tennessee runs. Strong safety Kam Chancellor or LB Bobby Wagner will have their hands full trying to deal with TE Delaine Walker while Tennessee will look to establish a strong run game through DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry early. This could be a defensive showdown as the Titans strong front seven will look to unleash havoc on Wilson. Seattle has so far failed to establish their run game or find somebody, anybody who can hold up in pass protection long enough for Doug Baldwin to get open. This could make for fun viewing in Nashville!
Atlanta Falcons @ Detroit Lions – Show down between the two hottest teams in the NFC
Atlanta’s young defense looks to be coming of age. Head Coach, Dan Quinn, the master-mind behind the Seahawks Super Bowl winning defense has got plenty of young talented track stars to work with. Keanu Neil looks like a next-generation type safety who plays as a ‘tweener’ between the secondary and linebacking corps. The linebackers are all extremely athletic and mobile with Devondre Campbell and Duke Riley outside and Deion Jones playing MIKE. All three are excellent in coverage and fly across the field – something that should be particularly prevalent playing in a dome in Detroit. The Falcons have three excellent corners in Desmond Trufant (top-5 in the league), Robert Alford and Brian Poole – while Jalen Collins has all the intangibles of a future star. The Falcons will miss DE Vic Beasley but Adrian Clayborn and Brook Reed have played well while rookie Tak McKinley has also contributed. On the interior, Atlanta’s Grady Jarrett and Dontari Poe have consistently collapsed the pocket and harassed QBs in week 1 and 2. It should be interesting to see how Mathew Stafford and co. match up against what looks to be a loaded defense with an abundance of play makers.
On the other side of the ball we have Atlanta’s juggernaut Offense going up against Detroit’s overachieving defense. While no position stands out as elite, Lions DC Teryl Austin has managed to get the most out of his players in weeks 1 and 2. The loss of rookie LB Jarrad Davis will hurt them Sunday as they’ll need to find a way of slowing down Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman out of the backfield. Lions CB Darius Slay and DE Ezekiel Ansah are looking like their former selves and will both need to perform at a high level to get the better of WR Julio Jones at LT Jake Matthews. This has all the makings of a classic or a blow-out, lets hope for the former!
Cleveland Browns @ Indianapolis Colts – Hunt for the first W
Both teams started 0-2 and are likely to be in the running for a high draft pick in 2018. If this game does not tie then one of these two teams will pick up their first victory of the season. Jacoby Brissett has been a Colt for only 3 weeks but will need to have a complete grasp of the playbook as Browns DC Gregg Williams is likely to dial up pressure early and often.
Cleveland’s linebackers struggled mightily against the Ravens and Brissett’s favourite target in week 2 was tight end Jack Doyle. Indianapolis’ subpar offensive line will also face a young and talented pass rush who look to overload blockers and get home quickly.
If rookie QB DeShone Kizer starts for Cleveland, he will be without his favoured target, WR Corey Coleman – he is struggling with a hand injury for the second year in a row. The Colts defense does not look much on paper and Kizer will likely have plenty of time to find his receivers down field. Look for tight ends Seth Devalve and rookie TE David Njoku to be more heavily involved this week. RB Isiah Crowell has asked for more carries so we could see a good mixture of ground and pound with deep shots down the field. Please football gods, don’t let this end in a tie…
Match Up of the Week – Buccaneers receivers vs Vikings secondary
My match up of the week is the much improved Bucs receiving corps squaring off against the Vikings impressive secondary. We’ve got the “Legion of Boom” and “No Fly Zone” but the Vikings have a dynamic group of their own. Harrison Smith is one of the best safeties in the NFL while Andrew Sendejo is a force in the run game from the strong safety position. Cornerback duo Terence Newman and Trae Waynes are tall, physical and aggressive on the outside. Second-year nickel corner Mackenzie Alexander has performed well so far and is the ideal build for an agile, shifty slot cornerback. While Waynes has struggled since entering the league, he is a physical corner (at times too physical) and has the ideal skill set to develop into a no.1 lock down CB. 39-year old Terence Newman has seen a surprising amount of snaps in the first two games and is a savvy veteran who always seems to find himself in the right position.
On the flip side you have WR Mike Evans, the greatest receiver in the NFL not named Julio Jones (yes I did just put him above OBJ and Antonio Brown). The Buccaneers also have newly signed DeSean Jackson, a speedster who can take slants to the house or blow by safeties on go routes. Adam Humphries is an ideal possession receiver in the slot while the Bucs also have two game-changers at TE. Vikings safety Harrison Smith is likely to see a lot of TE Cameron Brate and rookie OJ Howard as the Bucs will try to line up their two miss-matches on linebackers. Smith will likely draw the assignment of covering these two athletic tight ends which looks set to be an interesting match up. It will be fun viewing, watching Waynes, Rhodes, Newman and Mackenzie try to deal with the diverse and complimentary skill sets of Evans, Jackson and Humphries. Sprinkle in 3rd round rookie Chris Godwin and it’s going to be interesting to see how Bucs QB Jameis Winston trys to beat this secondary and who will be his go to receiver on 3rd down.
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NFL Week 2 Primer – Preview of what to Watch