One week into the season, and the San Francisco 49ers are the only winless team in the NFC West, just as we all predicted. Losing divisional games put pressure on teams. History isn’t kind to teams that start 0-2. Only 12% of NFL teams make the playoffs after losing their first two games, and one of those teams made it with an 8-8 record.
For the second week in a row, the 49ers are touchdown favorites. That Week 1 line was too high without hindsight because the Cardinals are a divisional opponent, played San Francisco well last year, and have a mobile quarterback and a top-flight receiver. The Bills/Jets score looks a lot closer than the game was. New York’s offense was abysmal last week. They finished the game on offense with a -21% DVOA. We all were fed up with the Niners offense, and they finished at 2.3%. As poorly as Jimmy Garoppolo played, he finished with a 35 overall quarterback rating, Sam Darnold’s QBR was 19! The Jets were already thin at wide receiver, then, on Thursday, Jamison Crowder hurt his hamstring. That’s good news for a 49er secondary that’s banged up.
The Jets gave up over 300 yards passing to Josh Allen. That game would have been a blowout had Allen not fumbled twice in Jets territory. Even if the 49ers are short-handed on offense, there’s no reason for this game to be close.
The Rams beat the Cowboys, but were they that impressive? Sean McVay was, but Jared Goff is still Jared Goff, and Los Angeles struggled to run the ball. That Aaron Donald guy seems good, though. Philly could do the Niners a favor here by knocking off the Rams at home. Let’s hope Carson Wentz figures out which team to throw the ball to, because their tight ends looked impressive during Week 1, and Desean Jackson and Jalen Reagor have the speed on the outside to make the Rams pay.
Here’s to hoping the Eagles defensive line overwhelms the Rams and makes plays. I think the Eagles win.
Washington @ Arizona 1-0, -7
There’s no need to spend a lot of time on this. Washington was gifted a victory last week after the Eagles and Wentz threw the game away. Dwayne Haskins struggled before having a short field to work with. I don’t think Washington will be able to keep pace with Kyler Murray and the Cardinals. I will say Arizona’s defense wasn’t impressive, and Kyler won’t be able to throw it to Hopkins every play against every team, but Washington isn’t going to challenge them.
Russell Wilson threw 35 passes and had four incompletions and four touchdowns. It’s annoying how good he is. DK Metcalf looks better, and Tyler Locket is dangerous. With that said, the Falcons looked like a high school defense that couldn’t get lined up. The Patriots aren’t going to let Seattle do whatever they want as Atlanta did. Stephon Gilmore will likely shadow Metcalf, and the Patriots should slow Seattle down. The question is whether New England has enough pass rush to get after Wilson and if they can generate enough of a passing game to outscore the Seahawks.