Aaron It Out: 2018 Week 2: Patriot Games

Week One of the NFL Regular Season did not disappoint. We had surprises, comebacks, heroic efforts, and everythink in-between. It was nuts and I can’t wait to see what week two and beyond holds.

Man, it’s hard to not talk about Aaron Rodgers and his historic performance last Sunday night. He really put it all out there, risking his knee and everything, and led the Packers to a victory. He says he didn’t take any painkillers, I’m not sure, but here we are. What a game that was. Chicago surprised everyone when they were able to go toe-to-toe with Green Bay, and actually get to Rodgers and take away some of his scrambling ability. It was kind of impressive. Rodgers really did play a masterful second half of that game, though, and if anyone had any more doubt of him being a Hall of Fame caliber quarterback, that should have convinced them. The problem here is that Green Bay isn’t the top of the division anymore – the Vikings are. They won pretty convincingly last week and continue to be the cream of the crop there. Can Green Bay, Chicago, or Detroit stop them? We’ll see as time goes on.

The Browns did it – they finally didn’t lose a game. The problem is, they also didn’t win. The week one tie with the Steelers was a testament to how the Steelers are going to do this year (not too great, but probably enough to win the division) and how the Browns are not much improved. Cleveland desperately needs a culture shift that Hue Jackson cannot provide. The problem here is that the Browns seem to be all-in on his regime. We’ll see how this year goes, and if either Tyrod Taylor or Baker Mayfield can truly end the years of crap at the QB position.

Let’s pause for a second as I reveal one of our new features. I’m trying out a video post that will supplement these articles. It is embedded below – and I hope you like it. I am awkward and I don’t actually look at the camera until about halfway through. Please let me know if it’s a feature you enjoyed, hated, or were indifferent to – I’ll continue tweaking the concept over the next couple of weeks, next week I’m thinking about going over my picks record and things of that nature. Enjoy!

Finally for this week two beginning blurb, I have to say that I am well and truly excited about the Jaguars. Overcoming the loss of their star running back right before halftime and bringing the passing game together really helped in their win over the Giants. So did that defense – the players executed well. I am hopeful of a victory against New England this week.

And then, this tweet came out:

Look, the Jaguars are staring greatness and legitimacy in the face. This franchise has only one win against the Patriots in its history. That is a wild-card playoff win after the 1998 season. New England has a record of 4-1 when playing in Jacksonville. The Patriots are the franchise everyone hates, because they are good. (I’m leaving the whole cheating thing out of this conversation.) They have one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time and one of the greatest coaches of all time. However, Jacksonville now employs again the coach that won that one playoff game against the Patriots. The team is young and hungry. The team has the talent. The matchup is everything you hope for as a Jaguars fan: the Patriots are dealing with injuries, their defense hasn’t gelled yet, and their offense has Some Dude as their starting wide receiver. You cannot tell me that the players have moved on from the AFC Championship game last year. You can’t tell me that #MylesJackWasntDown isn’t motivating them right now. And they will have a stadium full of people that were just as pissed as they were that they didn’t go to the Super Bowl, and they are wearing their classic teal on white uniform combo.

It’s either going to lend the Jaguars national legitimacy as one of the NFL’s best teams and one of the teams to beat in the AFC, or it will bring about a week of hand-wringing, second-guessing, and what-ifs.

What an incredible sport.

AARON IT OUT TOP FIVE
1. Jaguars
2. Vikings
3. Rams
4. Eagles
5. Chiefs

GAME PREVIEWS AND PICKS

Ravens @ Bengals – I am not super interested in this game, but that’s not really a surprise when it comes to Thursday games anymore. The Bengals squeaked out a win against the Colts while their players were getting ejected for being too violent. What a surprise! The Ravens beat the Bills, but ya know, who couldn’t? I think Baltimore will edge out Cincy here; even if we make fun of Flacco there’s too much of a talent gap between the two teams on offense. Ravens win.

Chiefs @ Steelers – Last week, this game looked really good. A spotlight game for the early set and a fun matchup. Today, the Steelers just barely managed to squeak by the freaking Browns last week and the Chiefs looked absolutely dominant, with Patrick Mahomes making good decisions and Tyreek Hill looking like someone keeps pushing the turbo button when he has the ball. Chiefs win.

Dolphins @ Jets – In week one the Dolphins beat a gassed and not-all-together Titans team. Also, the Jets beat the stuffing out of a Lions team that sure looked gassed and not-all-together. That being said, I like the Jets here – they look like they are more capable of winning a divisional matchup like this. Plus, I like their QB more. Jets win.

Eagles @ Bucs – The Bucs surprised everyone last week by beating the Saints, but they won’t surprise the Eagles. The Eagles pretty soundly beat the Falcons last week, and it’s no surprise that they still look like one of the most dominant teams in the league. I think Eagles D-Coordinator Jim Schwartz will throw too many looks at Bucs QB Fitzpatrick for him to be as effective, and the Eagles will win.

Browns @ Saints – This game will end in a tie.

Colts @ Redskins – The Redskins surprised me a bit last week, looking competent on offense but not too hot on defense. That’s probably mostly due to Alex “I’ll always wear some shade of red” Smith, on his third team, controlling the offense and doing his job. The Colts wound up not doing much and it’s partially because they’re still getting things going. Who do I like here? I think the Redskins D is one that Luck, back in his prime, would have had an easy time picking apart, and I believe he will do the same and this game will look more like a shootout. However, I think the Colts come out on top.

Chargers @ Bills – The Bills looked awful last weekend, the Chargers didn’t look great either but they looked better than the Bills did. Easy one here – Chargers win.

Vikings @ Packers – I enjoyed Aaron Rodgers’ heroic win last week as much as anyone, but the Packers’ line is suspect at best and the Vikings are a WAY better team than the Bears. No matter who plays at QB for GB, this is a Vikings win.

Panthers @ Falcons – Cam may be okay working with Norv. Matty Ice working with Sark, though? I’m not sure. The Falcons seem to always come back from a loss and surprise everyone and I think they will do that here. Falcons win.

Texans @ Titans – Houston will bounce back from their loss to New England in week one, if you ask me. I think Tennessee made a bad coaching decision, and one of Mariota’s favorite offensive weapons is gone for the year. Let’s give Deshaun Watson at least one more week before calling him overrated or something. Texans win.

Cardinals @ Rams – Oooh, yikes. This has the signs of a smackdown in the making. The Cardinals were good-not-great against the Redskins. The Rams were great against the Raiders. Particularly since LA will have their home debut in this game. The Rams have a pretty clear path to winning their division if they keep up what they have been. Rams win.

Lions @ Niners – I may be able to see all the smoke signals coming from Detroit, which are saying that they are ticked off about their loss to the Jets and won’t get made fun of again. I can’t see many smoke signals from San Francisco or wherever their stadium is now, other than they got beat by Minnesota last week which wasn’t too surprising. In this matchup, I foresee the Lions bouncing back and winning.

Raiders @ Broncos – The Broncos looked relatively competent last week against the Seahawks, but then again this year I think that will be the case for anyone, especially with one of Seattle’s top receivers down with an injury. Oh, and the Raiders look kind of bleh, with their young offensive star quarterback and wideout in a new system. I think that the Broncos’ revised pass rush will get to the Raiders, and Denver will win.

Patriots @ Jaguars – I don’t want to curse the team but as I said above I really like the Jaguars in this matchup. It’s early in the season and the Patriots are most vulnerable this time of year. 53 Patriots vs. 53 Jaguars (yes I know it’s actually 40-something) and a whole crowd of screaming, pissed off fans because of the AFC Championship game… well that’s something, if you ask me. Jaguars win.

Giants @ Cowboys – The Giants held up pretty well against a dominant team last week, but the Cowboys don’t look like much and their offense struggled last week, with some wondering if offensive coordinator Scott Linehan would continue to call plays. Here, I like the Giants – they’re a more well-rounded team and I think they have the better running back as well. Giants win.

Seahawks @ Bears – The Seahawks looked pretty pedestrian last week against Denver, who nobody is really expecting to make any huge impact this year. Seattle’s offensive line is shaky at best and their defense looks pretty patchwork. Meanwhile, last week Chicago looked surprisingly decent, of course with Khalil Mack providing some pass rush and the offense looking healthy. So here in Chicago’s home debut, I’m definitely looking for a Bears win.

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