Taking a spin around the NFL to get you ready for Week 3:
The big questions
Can Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers’ offense get going versus the Detroit Lions?
It was an intense week in Green Bay following the team’s 17-14 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Rodgers was ready for questions about the team’s offensive struggles, told reporters he knows he has to play better and emphasized that he’s not worried about outside opinions. There was also spirited debate about whether it makes any sense to prepare for the rain by practicing with wet footballs (Rodgers does not think so).
The Packers are averaging 4.49 yards per play, which ranks 30th, ahead of only the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams.
The discussion about their offense goes back to last year, when the Packers ranked 16th in passing efficiency. Since the start of 2015, Rodgers has completed 60.3 percent of his passes (28th) and averaged 6.59 YPA (32nd).
Whether it’s scheme, quarterback play or something else, the Packers will look to get on track at home against the Lions.
What kind of fireworks will Giants-Redskins produce?
Since the start of last season, about 29 percent of Beckham’s receiving yards have come when he’s lined up in the slot. So if the Giants want to dictate matchups, they can.
Even with Norman having played well through the first two games, opposing quarterbacks have completed 73.1 percent of their passes (30th) and averaged 8.84 YPA (28th) against Washington.
There’s clearly more riding on this game for the Redskins, who have been outscored by 26 points (tied for second-worst margin in the NFL) and are looking to avoid going 0-3.
Which Pennsylvania team will remain undefeated?
Through two games, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz has completed an NFL-best 80 percent of his passes when blitzed, according to research by ESPN Stats Information. But that’s unlikely to be a factor against the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have blitzed a league-low 11.9 percent of the time this season.
On the other side of the ball, the Eagles are shorthanded in the secondary and will have their hands full with Antonio Brown and company. Since the start of 2013, Brown has a league-high 5,196 receiving yards. No other receiver is within 705 yards of that number.
The Eagles’ defense is seeing the benefits of playing fewer snaps this year. From 2013 to 2015 under Chip Kelly, they averaged a league-high 71.1 snaps per game. Through two games, they are playing a league-low 50 snaps per game.
Take a look
Retirement life greets every player differently. Can’t say I saw this coming for Calvin Johnson, though:
A photo posted by Calvin Johnson, Jr. (@megatron) on Sep 19, 2016 at 6:06pm PDT
Numbers that matter
465: The number of points the Jacksonville Jaguars have been outscored by since Gus Bradley took over as head coach in 2013. That’s dead last in the NFL over that period, 89 points worse than any other team. The Jaguars get the Baltimore Ravens at home this week after last week’s 38-14 blowout loss to the San Diego Chargers.
1: The number of touchdowns the Seattle Seahawks have produced on 22 offensive possessions. In the second half of last season, the Seahawks averaged 32 points per game, second in the NFL. They were hoping to pick up where they left off, but that hasn’t happened. The Seahawks have been slowed by offensive line issues, Russell Wilson‘s ankle injury and an inconsistent run game. They’re 9.5-point favorites against the 49ers this week.
48.1: The percentage of drives that have resulted in three-and-outs for the Carolina Panthers’ opponents through two weeks. That’s the top mark in the league. The Minnesota Vikings have overcome early-season adversity en route to a 2-0 start, but Sam Bradford and company face a big-time challenge against the Panthers.
Headlines you won’t be reading Monday
Buffalo Bills have to beat the Arizona Cardinals to avoid an 0-3 start. Rex Ryan’s group allowed 37 points to the New York Jets in a Week 2 loss.
Cody Kessler leads Browns to first win: The Browns are down to their third-string quarterback, and it’s only Week 3. Kessler is spending every waking moment at the practice facility, and by Tuesday night he had watched the Miami Dolphins’ first two games on film six or seven times. The Dolphins are 0-2 but are the biggest favorites (10 points) of the weekend.
Raiders shut down Marcus Mariota, Titans offense: Opposing quarterbacks have posted a passer rating of 131.4 against the Raiders through the first two weeks, and Jack Del Rio has taken some play-calling duties away from defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. The Titans needed a late touchdown last week to avoid an 0-2 start, but facing the Raiders may help fix their offensive woes.