The Carolina Panthers have the topped ranked defense after two weeks of action, they completely shut opponents down:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Carolina Panthers have been absolutely dominant after two weeks of NFL action surrendering only 196 yards to both opponents. When a defense is allowing under 100 yards a game they will get acknowledged quickly and clearly this is the backbone of Ron Rivera’s team. In the past Cam Newton and Kelvin Benjamin were known for turning heads but now Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis, and Julius Peppers are making their mark down in Carolina. The Panthers have only given up 6 points all year so that tells you just how fantastic they’ve been and if they keep playing like this Carolina should be a playoff team. Maybe the most fundamental trait of successful football is playing outstanding defense and two recent Super Bowl Champions (Broncos and Seahawks) proved that’s still the winning formula. Carolina isn’t necessarily emulating what those teams did instead they get it done with their own style of play. That’s mainly made up of outstanding linebacker play and a good presence upfront. Obviously when you’re talking about the Panthers defense you have to start with the veteran Linebacker Thomas Davis. Davis has been outstanding so far leading the team in tackles with 14. Thomas Davis has also added 1 sack too so he is getting it done as a run stopper and a pass rusher. Luke Kuechly is the other stand out at the linebacker position. Kuechly has contributed 12 tackles and is always a force in the middle of the field defensively for Carolina. Julius Peppers leads the team in sacks with 2.5 on the year. The addition of Peppers has disrupted opposing quarterbacks and it gives the Panthers another gear on the defensive line. That acquisition alone has put Carolina in the elite category and Peppers is a big reason this team is ranked number 1 in the league defensively. Carolina has gotten a boost from Mario Addison and Wes Horton too, each guy has a sack this season and will be counted on to make significant contributions throughout the season. Together all of these players have gelled well and helped this franchise achieve a very impressive start in 2017. If Carolina can maintain this padlock style of defense the Panthers are going to challenge the Falcons in the NFC South. Remember defense wins championships.

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Bruno Mars

Carson Wentz is currently a top 5 quarterback in terms of passing yards, the Eagles need their young QB to keep up his high level of play:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Philadelphia Eagles knew they were getting a good player when they drafted Carson Wentz a season ago but so far Wentz has been very impressive in terms of passing yards amassed. Wentz is currently a top 5 quarterback with 640 passing yards over his first two games and that is significantly better than Eli Manning who Wentz will face off against this weekend. If the Eagles want to come away with a win from that match up they will need Wentz to be at his best and that means he has to elevate his level of play against a tough Giants defense. New York has struggled so far with an 0-2 record but make no mistake about it they will present a challenge to Philadelphia. The Giants are going to be as hungry as ever to get their first win and Wentz has to do his best to control the time of possession in this contest. If Philly can keep their offense on the field and keep Manning on the sidelines that will go a long way in securing a win. Philadelphia should trust LeGarrette Blount and Darren Sproles in the ground game and then let Wentz work against a defense that is on their heels. Ultimately that will help the Eagles entire offense be optimized which should help Wentz continue to put up big numbers. That’s a much better strategy than forcing Carson Wentz to throw 40 times per game and then completely abandoning the running game. When that happen Wentz puts up big numbers but Philadelphia’s overall chances to win significantly diminish. It will be a much better scenario for Doug Pederson’s team to walk away from this weekend with a 2-1 record than it would be for Wentz to be the league leader in passing yards. A 1-2 record would completely undermine all the success Wentz has on the field so while the Eagles need their second year quarterback to be better than ever they also have to play the game with fundamentals. Regardless you have to praise the second year quarterback’s offensive output heading into this weekend.

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The Eagles tickets at Ticket Liquidator

Todd Gurley scores 3 touchdowns to lead the Rams to a 41-39 victory over the 49ers, Watkins catches 2 TDs:

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Author:Jon Kuzma

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The Los Angeles Rams are a completely different team than a season ago. After struggling to put together any offense during the Jeff Fisher era, Sean McVay has came in and completely changed the Rams culture. That has resulted in a whole lot of points being put on the board for Los Angeles and now this team has already put together two 40 point performances this year. Todd Gurley was especially impressive in the Rams win over the 49ers, Gurley scored 3 touchdowns and ran with heart the entire night. Whether it was with his initial burst or second effort attempts Gurley made San Francisco defenders pay all night and it was exciting to see the 3rd year player get back in his groove. Ultimately that paved the way for Jared Goff who responded by throwing for 3 throwing touchdowns in this game. Goff also looks like a brand new man and make no mistake about it the second year quarterback is the main reason Los Angeles has a wining record. Sammy Watkins has made the most of his time on the West Coast too, the former Bills receiver had 2 touchdowns in the Thursday night match up proving the change of scenery has benefited the former first round draft pick. When Goff, Gurley, and Watkins play like this the Rams are a lot of fun to watch and very tough to beat. In the opposite jerseys Brian Hoyer had a strong outing throwing for 2 touchdowns and over 300 yards. Carlos Hyde ran hard for most of the night as well churning out 2 touchdowns and 84 rushing yards. Pierre Garcon was San Francisco’s most notable receiver he hauled in 142 receiving yards. At the end of the day though the Niners were no match for the Rams potent offense and fell two points short of Los Angeles’ 41 points. Defensively Alec Ogletree played spectacular for LA recording 9 tackles. Connor Barwin and Aaron Donald both added a sack too. Jimmie Ford was the top performer for San Francisco’s defense he came up with 7 total tackles. DeForest Bucker also played well with 5 tackles and a forced fumble. Los Angeles improves to 2-1 on the season and should make a push for the NFC West division title. Kyle Shanahan’s team drops to 0-3 and they look like they could be in serious trouble.

Charity of the day: Unbound

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SPRI.com

Toilet Bowl: 49ers, Colts, and Jets are the worst teams in football right now

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Everyone thought the Jets were going to be the worst team in football for the 2017 season but it appears New York has some competition for that title. The San Francisco 49ers are 0-3 right now and seem to be fading fast in the Kyle Shanahan era. Now that’s not to say Shanahan is a poor coach it’s more about how depleted the 49ers roster truly is. Chip Kelly couldn’t win with this team in 2016 and Kyle Shanahan can’t win with this team now. San Francisco will have to acquire as many talented free agents as they can in the off-season and also draft extremely well if they want to be competitive next season. The Colts are in pretty rough shape too. After Andrew Luck failed to recovery health wise from a shoulder injury Indianapolis hasn’t been able to find any rhythm on the field. The Colts did make a good move by acquiring Jacoby Brissett in a trade but until Jim Irsay’s team adds a whole bunch of competent players they are going to continue to struggle Finally the Jets are who we thought they were. After opting to sign Josh McCown to a $6 million contract New York has fallen to 0-2 on the year largely because McCown has failed to put up over 200 yards passing in either contest. The best quarterbacks in the league throw for 300 and even 400 yards per game, something McCown will have to do if he wants to prove he is worthy of a starting job. The Jets should have started Bryce Petty after his strong preseason performance and then allowed the 26 year old quarterback to grow. Instead they decided to go with a 38 year old QB who has a very short future ahead of him. To be honest the Jets might not be the worst team on this list either. San Francisco has a long way to go in order to play winning football and the Colts would have been the worst team by far had they not landed Jacoby Brissett.

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SPRI.com

If the NFL renews Roger Goodell’s contract they deserve to fail, the commissioner is booed often for a reason:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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NFL insiders are already projecting that Roger Goodell will get a contract extension but that would be a huge mistake for the league. Goodell was an effective commissioner at the beginning of his run but since then the NFL has been plagued by a number of issues mainly in the form of disciplinary mishaps. NFL fans got sick of hearing about Tom Brady and the Deflategate case which loomed like a dark cloud over things for a couple of years. As soon as that situation got cleared up and we thought everything smooth sailing, Goodell dropped another bomb in our laps with the Ezekiel Elliott trial. The problem hasn’t been with the games or the talent on the field at all, it’s been the extra curricular off the field blunders that constantly happen under Goodell’s command. Obviously those circumstances are pushing some fans away from the game and it’s kind of hard to blame those people. Pro sports are supposed to be a release from all the struggles of our own life and now the NFL is full of drama itself. The NBA, MLB, and NHL handle similar setbacks with much more grace and all of these failures have to fall on the leader’s shoulders. Unfortunately for Roger Goodell those are his burdens to carry and it would be foolish for the league to give this man another contract. If you’ve been paying attention to attendance and the television ratings the NFL is trending downward for the first time in awhile. Goodell has played a large part in digging pro football’s hole and the best course of action would be to omit the current commissioner from the equation. There’s a reason fans boo Goodell every time he tries to speak publicly, it’s because they know the damage this guy has done to the shield particularly in the last five years. There has to be someone else out there who is qualified to run the show but understands how to handle the letdowns without giving the league a black eye. Finding that person would be the best course of action for the NFL.

Charity of the day: Gary Sinise Foundation

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SPRI.com

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