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What to Watch For: Week 2 Part 1

Houston @ Tennessee – 1:00 CBS

Texans: Andre Johnson had owners giddy as fantasy drafts wore on over the course of the summer, but fell flat in Week 1 when he only had 35 yards on a meager four catches. While

Tennessee was one of the top defenses in the league in 2008, Ben Roethlisberger torched them for over 300 yards in Week 1. Don’t panic on A.J. yet, but cross your fingers for a big day on Sunday to justify what was very likely a second-round pick.

Titans: Chris Johnson was a Top 5 pick for some of you and most definitely a Top 10 in most leagues. So when “every coach’s dream” put up a weak 68 total yards (and only one catch for those of you in PPR leagues), I’m sure it made many of you swallow hard and had you thinking sophomore slump. But have no fear, because this week Johnson will live up to expectations when he goes up against the Texans who got slashed for nearly 200 yards by the Jets last week.

New Orleans

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Philadelphia – 1:00 FOX

Saints: One of the popular late waiver pickups last week was Mike Bell. Well, starter Pierre Thomas fully practiced on Wednesday and head coach Sean Payton has said that he will be good to go in Week 2. However, it’s still not known how much of a load Thomas or

Bell will carry against

Philadelphia, who had a stellar first week against

Carolina’s DeAngelo Williams. As much as

Bell thrived last week, I’d be hesitant to touch any

New Orleans’ backs this week.

Eagles: They rolled the Panthers last week, but fans are still having trouble coping with the idea of Kevin Kolb starting at quarterback. The team signed Jeff Garcia this week and this wasn’t a deal to just bring in some old veteran off the street. Garcia didn’t play in

Philadelphia that long ago and Andy Reid’s offense definitely hasn’t changed much since he left. If Kolb looks shaky in the early goings (likely) don’t be surprised if Garcia trots onto the field and looks for some redemption against the team that he last played against when he was wearing midnight green.

Arizona @ Jacksonville – 1:00 FOX

Cardinals: Even though I predicted the 49ers would beat the Cards in Week 1, I was definitely in the minority, and whispers of Kurt Warner’s job stability have already come into question. Warner’s QB rating last week came in at 67.2 and this Sunday he goes against a

Jacksonville defense that is even worse than

San Francisco’s against the pass thus far. If Warner doesn’t get it done this week, we could be seeing Matt Leinart much earlier than we thought.

Jaguars: All eyes will be on David Garrard this week. He had a completion percentage of exactly 50 (14/28) against

Indianapolis and racked up only 122 yards on those completions. That’s not exactly what you want to see out of a QB who is said to have a revamped offense around him, including a more talented group of wide receivers. Garrard needs to be much better than average this week if he wants to start out the season 1-1.

Oakland

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Kansas City – 1:00 CBS

Raiders: I will be the first to admit that I have never been that high on Darren McFadden. But I bit the bullet this year and have taken him in several leagues on upside alone. Sure, he averaged four yards per carry in Week 1 and had 25 receiving yards, but his 93 total yards of offense just weren’t enough for me. On top of that, Michael Bush got the lone rushing touchdown for the team, and I have to wonder if he might get all of the goal line work.

Kansas City has one of the weakest defenses in football so I want to see McFadden go off against them so that I don’t have to say “I told you so.”

Chiefs: It honestly pains me to watch this team. While I was surprised that they put up 24 points against

Baltimore’s defense, part of me has to think that the Ravens weren’t even trying, and I know that the 14-point difference between the two teams makes the game look closer than it really was. If the Chiefs want any chance to win they have to run the ball and Larry Johnson will have a better opportunity (albeit not that much better after what Oakland did to Darren Sproles and LaDainian Tomlinson) to put up some numbers this week. If KC can’t get the run going, they’re going to be in for a long afternoon.

Cincinnati

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Green Bay – 1:00 CBS

Bengals: I can’t say enough of how terrible it was to watch

Cincinnati’s offense sputter over and over last week. Laveranues Coles was supposed to help ease the loss of T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chris Henry was supposed to have been a man reborn. Instead, Coles had one catch for 11 yards (and seemingly endless drops) while Henry also had a whopping one catch for 18 yards. Andre Caldwell looked good, but these wide receivers really need to step it up this week if Carson Palmer wants any chance at having a rebound year in 2009.

Packers: Call me crazy, but I just was not that impressed with Aaron Rodgers against

Chicago. He threw for under 200 yards and his only touchdown pass came about 59 minutes into the game. Granted, it was a big throw, but I think all of us expected a little more from him.

Cincinnati’s pass defense held up OK last week (minus that last-second miracle), but they were playing against Kyle Orton, and any defense can look OK against him. I think Rodgers will take off this week for over 300 yards and put many owners at ease.

Minnesota

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Detroit – 1:00 FOX

Vikings: I think everyone was pleasantly surprised with Adrian Peterson’s performance last week, but all I saw with his quarterback was rust, rust and more rust. Brett Favre didn’t have his feet under him in the pocket, he struggled a lot at times and all in all just doesn’t seem like he did much better than Tarvaris Jackson could have. Between getting into regular season mode and syncing up with his receivers after an extended offseason, Favre has a lot of work to do. Luckily for him,

Detroit’s defense could be a nice way to get him back in stride.

Lions: Is there anywhere to look for an intriguing story line in this game for

Detroit? I try to give them the benefit of the doubt, but it’s hard. However, one person I will be looking for in Week 2 is TE Brandon Pettigrew because he might as well have not even taken the field last week. He didn’t have one ball thrown his way and that shocked me. Rookie QBs typically like to rely on tight ends for underneath routes that are easy completions, but Matthew Stafford instead leaned on RB Kevin Smith, who led the team with seven catches. Pettigrew could do wonders to open up Calvin Johnson down the field, and I hope he gets some looks this week.

St. Louis

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Washington – 1:00 FOX

Rams: Talk about another team who just can’t seem to hit bottom. The Rams were shut out by

Seattle last week and the entire offense looked off. However, one man opened a couple sets of eyes and that was WR Laurent Robinson. Robinson was a deep sleeper coming into the season, but was second on the team in catches last week behind Donnie Avery, and actually led all receivers in yards with 87. If he can keep up this production, QB Marc Bulger will have no more excuses as to why the

St. Louis offense is not getting the job done.

Redskins: Someday I will learn my lesson and I will not select Santana Moss in fantasy drafts. This guy burns me every single year, but for some reason, I always find an excuse to select him in at least one draft. He seems to give great numbers one week and then flop the next. Well, Moss lived up to the latter of these two options in Week 1 when he caught just two passes for a whole six yards, and only one of those catches was for positive yards. I’m not off the Moss train already in 2009, but this guy has to step it up or his reputation will be completely shot (and so will the Redskins’ season).

New England @ New York Jets – 1:00 CBS

Patriots: New England should be about done worshiping Leodis McKelvin right now, but still counting their lucky stars that they’re not 0-1 heading into this week. The team wasted no time in getting Tom Brady back into the groove, having him throw the ball 53 times and allowing four different backs to run it just 23 times. I expect that trend to continue this week when they go up against a Jets defense that held Steve Slaton to just 17 yards on the ground. It sickens me to say this, but … Brady is back.

Jets: Boy Mark Sanchez sure looked good in Week 1. He was aided by a solid running game which saw almost 200 yards on the ground and even had two 90-yard receivers in TE Dustin Keller and WR Jerricho Cotchery. However, that was against a rebuilt Texans defense, and this week he goes up against

New England’s group of skilled and veteran defenders. I expect Sanchez (and the rest of the Jets offense) to face a harsh drop back to Earth in Week 2, but it will be a game that teaches Sanchez a lot when it comes to what he has to learn about being a starting quarterback in the NFL.

All of the late games, including the Sunday and Monday night matchups of the New York Giants vs. Dallas and Indianapolis vs. Miami will be included in part two of Week 2’s What to Watch For, so be sure to check back soon for the second installment.

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