By Jason Bryden
Elm Senior Writer
Philadelphia (2-0) at Arizona (2-0)
Not many people expected this to be a matchup of two undefeated teams, but that is the case on Sunday out in suburban Phoenix as the Eagles travel west to play the Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium in a battle of undefeated teams. Only six teams in the NFL are undefeated.
The Eagles eked by the Baltimore Ravens last week 24-23 at home despite committing four turnovers. Philadelphia went ahead for good with 1:55 to play in the game on a quarterback Michael Vick one-yard run and extra point by kicker Alex Henery. The Eagles stopped the Ravens at midfield on Baltimore’s last drive to win it. Philadelphia is the first team to win its first two games in the first two weeks by one point, but how long can they keep doing that and turn over the ball like they have? The Eagles have turned it over nine times in the first two games, but the defense has forced six of their own.
The Cardinals traveled to Foxboro and stunned the New England Patriots 20-18, holding on in the end when the Patriots missed a game-winning field goal of 42 yards in the waning seconds. The first Cardinals touchdown was set up by a blocked punt. Arizona has gone 9-2 in its past 11 games dating back to last season. The Cardinals are seeking to go 3-0 for the first time in their time in Phoenix/Arizona years which dates back to 1988.
The Cardinals lead the all-time series 55-53-4 and have won two of three playoff games, including the 2008 NFC Championship Game.
Atlanta (2-0) at San Diego (2-0)
The other game pitting a pair of 2-0 teams will take place on Sunday afternoon in Southern California as the Falcons travel west to play the Chargers.
Atlanta comes off of a 27-21 win on Monday night against the Denver Broncos as the Falcons raced out to a 20-0 lead and held off a furious Denver comeback. The Falcons forced four turnovers in the first quarter, three interceptions and one fumble. Quarterback Matt Ryan threw for two touchdowns in the win and has five in the first two weeks. The Falcons have a short week and a cross-country trip. Will this affect their chances out in California this Sunday?
The Chargers raced out to a 17-0 lead en route to a 38-10 beating of the Tennessee Titans on Sunday at home. Quarterback Philip Rivers threw for three touchdowns despite not having tight end Antonio Gates who was out due to injury. San Diego is 2-0 for the first time since 2006 when they went 14-2 in Rivers’ rookie season.
Atlanta has won seven of the eight meetings, including the last five. San Diego’s lone win in the series was a 10-7 win in 1988.
Houston (2-0) at Denver (1-1)
The Houston defense will see a very familiar face on Sunday when it sees Denver quarterback Peyton Manning as the Texans travel to the Mile High City to play the Broncos. The Texans faced Peyton from 2002-10 and went just 2-16 against the signalcaller. On Sunday, the Texans will hope for better success against Manning.
Houston improved to 2-0 with a dominating 27-7 win at Jacksonville on Sunday where the Texans held the Jaguars to just 117 yards of total offense and the Texans’ offense controlled the ball for 43:17 and ran for 216 yards. Running backs Arien Foster and Ben Tate had 110 and 74 yards rushing and one and two touchdowns respectively. The Texans are seeking their first ever 3-0 start.
The Broncos fell 27-21 on Monday night in Atlanta where they committed four turnovers in the first quarter and trailed 20-0 at one time. Manning tossed three interceptions in the first quarter. Running back Willis McGahee ran for 113 yards and two touchdowns for the Broncos.
The Broncos have won two of the three all-time meetings.
New England (1-1) at Baltimore (1-1)
Last season these two teams met in the AFC Championship with the Patriots prevailing in Foxboro 23-20 as the Ravens dropped the go ahead touchdown and then missed the game-tying field goal in the final minute. On Sunday, the two teams meet again, this time in Baltimore with the loser dropping to 1-2.
New England dropped a 20-18 result to Arizona in Week 2 in Foxboro. The Patriots had a chance to win the game in the final minute, but a 42-yard field goal by kicker Stephen Gostkowski went wide left and the Patriots lost their first home opener since 2001. New England will need to protect Tom Brady as last week the Cardinals defense netted four sacks and one interception.
The Ravens could not hold onto a 17-7 halftime lead and dropped a 24-23 result to the Philadelphia Eagles in Philadelphia. Running back Ray Rice had 152 total yards, 99 rushing and 53 receiving. However, he only had 20 touches and the Ravens usually do better when Rice gets higher touches. Can the Ravens defense get to Brady like the Cardinals did in Week 2?
New England has won all six regular season meetings, while the two teams have split a pair of playoff games.
Green Bay (1-1) at Seattle (1-1)
The Packers travel to the Pacific Northwest to play the Seahawks on Monday night at one of the toughest places to play in the NFL: CenturyLink Field in Seattle.
Green Bay bounced back from a Week 1 loss to the San Francisco 49ers to down the Chicago Bears, 23-10, last Thursday night at Lambeau Field. The Packers netted seven sacks, 3.5 sacks from linebacker Clay Matthews, and four interceptions in the win. The Packers offense only scored one touchdown in the game, but the special teams recorded a touchdown for the second straight game. Will this be the week the Packers offense will get in gear?
After a tough 20-16 loss to Arizona in Week 1, the Seahawks rebounding with a 27-7 pasting of the Dallas Cowboys this past Sunday at home. The Seahawks special teams scored the first 10 points of the game, including a touchdown on a blocked punt by safety Jeron Johnson. Seattle also got 122 yards and one touchdown from running back Marshawn Lynch. The Seahawks will need another strong effort from Lynch to keep Green Bay’s offense on the sidelines.
The Packers have won both playoff meetings and lead the regular season series 8-5. Both teams were coached by Mike Holmgren who led Green Bay from 1992-98 and Seattle from 1999-2008. Holmgren went to two Super Bowls, winning one with the Packers, and took the Seahawks to one Super Bowl.