Andy Dalton and A.J Green star in the Bengals 34-23 win over the Ravens. Cincinnati starts off the year 2-0:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Another Thursday Night Football is in the books and the Cincinnati Bengals came out on top 34-23 against the Baltimore Ravens. Cincinnati started the game off hot and A.J Green is the main reason why. Green hauled in three touchdown receptions all in the first half. Andy Dalton was also on fire finishing the night with 265 yards, 4 touchdowns, and no interceptions. The combination of Dalton and Green looks better than ever and they’re a big reason why the Bengals are 2-0 so far. When Cincinnati’s offense is on they have a chance to be extremely potent. This game should’ve been a blow out but give the Ravens credit because they fought until the final whistle. Joe Flacco tried to rally the troops by throwing for 376 yards, and 2 touchdowns. One of those touchdowns went to John Brown who also chipped in 92 receiving yards. Outside of those two guys Baltimore didn’t have a whole lot going on. The same can’t be said for the Bengals defense though. They played solid recording 4 sacks, 2 interceptions, and recovering 1 fumble. Geno Atkins in particular dominated upfront against the Ravens offensive line. Atkins stat line for the night was 5 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 4 quarterback hits. Flacco had no chance with Geno Atkins breathing down his neck for all four quarters and that was very disruptive for the Ravens offense. Shawn Williams was the other top performer for Marvin Lewis’ defense. Williams had 8 tackles, 1 sack, 1 interception, and a clutch forced fumble to seal the victory. Baltimore wasn’t as lucky. First C.J Mosley went down with a knee injury and they couldn’t force any turnovers like the Bengals did. Tony Jefferson led the Ravens with 9 tackles. Kenny Young also played well he tallied up 8 tackles and 1 TFL however it just wasn’t enough. Cincinnati improves to 2-0 and they’re currently in first place in the AFC North. Give Dalton and Green all the credit they were spectacular all the way till the end.

Charity of the day: Marine Mammal Center

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Andy Dalton and AJ Green star in a huge 34-23 win over the Baltimore Ravens. Cincinnati looked took in this match up.

If the Browns want to salvage their season they should start Baker Mayfield. Cleveland has a decent defense now they need to score some points:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Baker Mayfield was drafted number one overall in the 2018 draft but he struggled a little bit throughout OTAs and training camp. However once the preseason rolled around Mayfield showed exactly why he was the most coveted player in all of America. Mayfield has amazing mechanics in the pocket and knack for throwing the football. Even though Tyrod Taylor is a great leader. Cleveland should seriously consider starting Mayfield going forward because he gives this team a chance to compete on the offensive side of the ball. Myles Garrett and company will force stops and keep points off the board. So why not give Mayfield a chance to prove himself and if he doesn’t play up to the Browns standards this team can always go back to Tyrod Taylor. Letting Taylor remain the number one quarterback though almost guarantees that Cleveland isn’t going to score enough points. Hue Jackson can’t afford to concede another season after going 1-31 over the past two years. Josh Gordon and Jarvis Landry only have so much value if they don’t have a quarterback who can put the ball in their area. It’s not that Taylor is terrible it’s just that he’s limited from a throw power and accuracy standpoint. All that does is put a cap on the Browns big play potential. There’s no sense in sitting around and losing games because this organization wants to keep Mayfield’s training wheels on. You drafted this kid number 1 overall for a reason and he should get a chance to lead this team out of the darkness. It’s only a matter of time before Jackson will have to hand Mayfield the reigns anyway so really the Browns are delaying the inevitable. The bottom line is Cleveland can’t unravel again and if a rookie quarterback can avoid that. There’s no doubt you have start that player regardless of his inexperience. Baker Mayfield is the answer and at this point he’s their only real shot at winning.

Charity of the day: Marine Mammal Center

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If the Browns salvage heir season they should make Baker Mayfield their starting quarterback.

Jacksonville will have their hands full with New England. Especially since they struggled with the Giants last week:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Jacksonville Jaguars barely pulled out a win against the New York Giants last week and that’s not a good sign heading into a match up against the New England Patriots. Even though the Giants have improved quite a bit from a year ago the Patriots are a whole other caliber of team. New England has the greatest quarterback of all-time in Tom Brady and he’ll challenge the Jaguars regardless of how strong they are defensively. Rob Gronkowski will also be a tough draw for any linebacker or safety that is lined up against him. So the Patriots have weapons that can go toe to toe with Jacksonville. New England also eliminated the Jaguars in the playoffs last year so this is quickly turning into an AFC rivalry. Jacksonville will have that in the back of their mind when they take the field this weekend. Now if there is any positive for Doug Marrone’s team it’s the fact that Dante Fowler will be available. Fowler was suspended for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. That additional pass rusher will significantly bolster the Jags defensive line rotation. It’s not like Fowler is slouch either. The 24 year old defensive end recorded 8 sacks in 2017. Those are the type of plays this group needs to throw Brady off of his game. To be honest though it feels like Jacksonville should’ve beat the Giants a little bit more convincingly and that has to be a concern. We heard about the the fights that kept happening at this team’s practices and you have to wonder if their culture is turning toxic? That would explain why the Jaguars haven’t looked that good to start the season off  because with all the talent they have very few teams should stand a chance against them. If Jacksonville loses against the Patriots look out because there might be some tension brewing below the surface.

Charity of the day: Action Against Hunger-USA

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If Jacksonville struggled against the New York. They might really have their hands full against New England.

Rare talent: Eight seasons of NFL action haven’t slowed down Von Miller one bit.

Photo credit: Denver Post / AAron Ontiveroz

Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Denver Broncos are riding high after beating the Seattle Seahawks 27-24. There’s no doubt the Broncos would’ve had their hands full if Von Miller wasn’t on the field. The Seahawks played the Broncos very tough and the score indicates that. Miller was a game changer for Denver because he produced so many big plays. The 29 year old linebacker (Miller) recorded 7 tackles, 3 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. There’s so many different phases to Miller’s game and the two most important factors are number 58’s ability to rush the passer and strip the football. First Von Miller gets after it by getting a good jump once the ball is snapped. Most offensive lineman struggle to keep up with the veteran pass rusher and if they do engage him Miller usually has a lethal spin move he can deploy. Then there’s Von Miller’s ability to simply rip the football out of a ball carriers hands. We saw that happen when Chris Carson was taking a hand off for Seattle and Miller out muscled Carson. Make no mistake about it these plays are possible because Von Miller trains harder than everybody else. This guy wants to be best and now he’s off to an amazing start to the season. Miller only had 2 forced fumbles in all of 2017 but he’s already achieved that total in one game. The 3 sacks is pretty spectacular too and if the early indications tell us anything it’s that Miller is on track for a huge season. Defensive Player of the Year would be the perfect goal for Miller but we all know he’d rather have a winning season. Von Miller is selfless and he’s the total package from a leadership standpoint. This is an elite player with an outstanding attitude. If there’s any individual out there that you’d like to build your team around there’s no doubt it’s Von Miller.

Charity of the day: Action Against Hunger-USA

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Rare talent: Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller is all action.

Reshad Jones and Kenny Stills helped the Dolphins make a splash against the Titans. Miami has a lot of potential when those two guys play well:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Miami Dolphins were a train wreck a year ago but Adam Gase’s team started 2018 off on the right foot. Miami was able to knock off Tennessee 27-20 and the biggest reason why was Reshad Jones and Kenny Stills. Reshad Jones was outstanding for the Dolphins defense racking up 7 tackles and 2 interceptions. When you have a ball hawking safety like Jones it makes it so hard for opposing quarterbacks to operate. Marcus Mariota stood no chance with Jones over top and the Titans offense suffered without a functioning passing game. It’s apparent that Reshad Jones is healthy and his instincts are as good they’ve ever been. By reading the quarterback’s eyes and anticipating routes Jones has a chance to put together a Pro Bowl caliber season. That would be the third of Jones career so the former 5th round pick has been exceptional and he’ll be a key component in Miami’s resurgence. The other stand out player was definitely Kenny Stills. Still made an impact by hauling in 106 yards and 2 touchdowns. Somebody had to step up after the departure of Jarvis Landry and it looks like Stills can be that guy. The 26 year old (Stills) is also a former 5th round pick and can be a match up nightmare for defenders. With 4.38 40 yard dash speed it’s hard to stay in Kenny Stills’ pocket because he is a step ahead of everybody else. Ryan Tannehill took note of that and capitalized against Tennessee’s secondary. With Jones and Stills solidifying themselves as the alpha dogs of this team it’ll be up to them to lead that locker room throughout the next fifteen weeks. Miami will also take on their first AFC East rival in their next game against the Jets. Therefore Jones and Stills must pick up right where they left off if the Dolphins want to pull out the win.

Charity of the day: American Brain Tumor Association

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The Dolphins have so much potential when Reshad Jones and Kenny Stills play well.

Top Defender: T.J Watt is Pittsburgh’s next great linebacker

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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When you think about the Pittsburgh Steelers one of the first things that comes to mind is the Steel Curtain. That defense was led by linebackers Jack Lambert and Jack Ham. Then there was the next wave of Steelers linebackers which included Jason Gildon, Joey Porter, and eventually James Harrison. It always seems like Pittsburgh has a talented defender at the mid level and their latest star is definitely T.J Watt. Watt came out and recorded 4 sacks in his first game against the Cleveland Browns. The Steelers underperformed as a whole but if you take T.J Watt out of the situation Pittsburgh might have lost that game. Both teams ended up tying 21-21 however Watt’s performance was on another level. When you have an edge defender that can rush the passer and swallow up the run on every snap. You have a complete football player who can change the outcome of games. Watt didn’t just make Tyrod Taylor’s day rough he also tee’d off on Jarvis Landry on a shuttle pass. It’s plays like that which make the offense timid and the other players on the Steelers defense rally around Watt. They know if their top guy is playing well they have a shot to go against some of the best the league has to offer. Everything else seems to fall into the place from there. The secondary also gets a huge boost from playing with Watt. If the quarterback is under pressure than they’re much more likely to throw ill-advised passes. Then guys like Sean Davis, Terrell Edmunds, and Artie Burns have to break on those routes. It all starts with Watt getting after it though and winning at the line of scrimmage. The other challenge for the 23 year old (Watt) is how long can he sustain this high level of play? Watt has to come out and do this every single week. Based off everything we’ve seen against the Browns it’s very likely he’ll do so.

Charity of the day: American Brain Tumor Association

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Top Defender: T.J Watt is going to be a special player. You can already tell.

The Rams overcome a slow start and beat the Raiders 33-13. Jared Goff came alive in the second half:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Monday Night Football’s second game was in Oakland where the Raiders were hosting the Los Angeles Rams. Jon Gruden’s team came out and took an early lead but after half time it was all Los Angeles. On one particular drive in the third quarter Goff found Brandin Cooks for a couple of passes and then connected with Cooper Kupp for the go ahead touchdown. Goff ended up finishing the contest with 233 yards, 2 touchdowns, and no interceptions. Maybe the biggest factor for LA was Goff’s ability to protect the football. Derek Carr wasn’t nearly as good in that regard. The Raiders quarterback finished the night with 303 yards, no touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. Those costly mistakes were the difference between winning and losing the game and that’s something Carr will have to work on moving forward. Todd Gurley was another player who was very impressive for Sean McVay’s offense. Gurley rushed for 108 yards and caught a receiving touchdown. That performance was good enough to show up Marshawn Lynch who tallied up 41 yards and 1 touchdown for Oakland. If there was any positive takeaway for the silver and black it was definitely Jared Cook. Cook hauled in 180 receiving yards against a tough Rams defense. Expect the veteran tight end to have a key role as the season continues on. It should also be mentioned that Marcus Peters had a pick six late in the game to secure the victory for LA. John Johnson had a heck of a night too he went for 9 tackles and 1 interception. The Raiders got a big game out of Tahir Whitehead who had 7 tackles and 1 TFL. Bruce Irvin also made some plays he contributed 1 tackle, 1 sack, and 1 tackle for loss. When you reflect on everything that transpired in this game it’s evident that Jared Goff is vital to the Rams success. If Goff has an off night then Los Angeles is beatable. So the former number 1 pick has a lot of pressure on his shoulders because this team has Super Bowl expectations. In his first test Jared Goff certainly held his own though and now he must build on this strong performance.

Charity of the day: Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance

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Jared Goff helped the Rams overcome a slow start.

Air Raid! The Jets defense records 5 interceptions in a 48-17 victory over the Lions:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The New York Jets defense came to play in a Monday Night Football match up against the Detroit Lions. Darron Lee set the tone in this contest intercepting two passes and taking one of them to the house for a defensive touchdown. It’s plays like that which significantly increase your team’s chances of winning. Lee also added 7 tackles too so he was everywhere and Todd Bowles has to very pleased. Morris Claiborne, Trumaine Johnson, and Jamal Adams were the other Jets defenders to pick off a pass. Proving it was a group effort and if New York can keep forcing takeaways likes this they might have something special. The other big story line of the game was definitely Sam Darnold. Darnold threw a pick six on his very first pass but he settled in and eventually played a good game. The rookie finished the night with 198 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception. With quality quarterback play like this the Jets are only going to get better. Robby Anderson and Quincy Enunwa both caught touchdown receptions from Darnold. Isaiah Crowell was the best running back on the field he racked up 102 yards and 2 touchdowns. It was a rough night for Lions Quarterback Matthew Stafford. Stafford threw for 286 yards, 1 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Besides all the mistakes, Stafford also battled injuries throughout the entire game. It’s because the Jets were blitzing and collapsing the pocket on every snap. Detroit did get a big game out of Kenny Golladay though. The second year receiver finished with 7 receptions for 114 yards. Golden Tate also chipped 1 touchdown and 79 yards. Quandre Diggs was the Lions top defender he intercepted a pass and took it to the house early on. Outside of that all the highlights came from New York.

Charity of the day: Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance

Go donate! www.ocrfa.org

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Brandon Marshall is finding a role within Seattle’s offense. Very few people expected Marshall to defy the odds like he has:

Photo credit: AAron Ontiveroz / Denver Post

Author: Jon Kuzma

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Just a few months ago Pete Carroll wasn’t guaranteeing Brandon Marshall a roster spot but now Carroll has to be excited he kept Marshall around. The veteran receiver made his presence felt in the Seahawks week one match up against the Broncos. Even though Seattle lost the game Marshall hauled in a touchdown receptions and 46 yards for the day. With the departure of Jimmy Graham this past off-season it’s going to be up to guys like Marshall to produce some offensive output. We know Russell Wilson is going to create some opportunities downfield. Tyler Lockett and Brandon Marshall did a good job of converting those chances into points against Denver. However this team has to find a way to keep their opponents from scoring. Bradley McDougald and Earl Thomas did a great job creating turnovers but the Seahawks let the game slip away. If Seattle can’t get the stops they need that just means the offense will have to score even more. So you can anticipate the rookie Will Dissly and Marshall being a factor in this passing attack all the way to the end. The offensive line has improved too so Wilson can buy even more time and let the play develop. For Marshall he needs to take advantage of that by continuing to be sure handed down the field but his best work must be done in the red zone. Brandon Marshall has a frame that can out body a lot of the defensive backs he goes against. Whether it’s on a slant or a fade down by the goal line. Marshall has to go get the football and prove he still has enough in the tank to be a real contributor. If that happens Seattle could bring him back in the future so the 34 year old has a lot riding on this season. All Marshall has to do is take it one snap at a time and put together a string of good catches.

Charity of the day: Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance

Go donate! www.ocrfa.org

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Brandon Marshall is carving out his role in the Seahawks offense.

Aaron Rodgers late game heroics helps the Packers rally from a 20 point deficit to beat the Bears:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Aaron Rodgers injured his knee early on in the Packers and Bears week one match up but the 2x MVP came back for revenge in the second half. Even on one leg Rodgers was able to lead the Packers back from a 20 point deficit. That was largely because of a couple of big plays from Geronimo Allison and Randall Cobb. At the end of the day Rodgers finished with 286 yards, 3 touchdowns, and no interceptions. Cobb was also outstanding racking up 142 receiving yards and 1 TD. Davante Adams was the other Green Bay receiver to find the end zone and he hauled in 88 yards too. The Bears started the game off hot offensively but cooled down after halftime. Mitchell Trubisky was at the forefront of Chicago’s attack he threw for 171 yards, no touchdowns, and no picks. Jordan Howard was one the most notable skill players for the Bears recording 82 yards on the ground. However Matt Nagy’s team couldn’t get the stops down the stretch and they failed to produce points in the most crucial moments of the game. Defensively Nick Perry really stepped up for the Packers. Perry had 5 tackles, 1 sacks, and 1 forced fumble. Kentrell Brice played tough as well he accumulated 9 tackles and 1 sack. Khalil Mack had a huge game for the Bears. Mack put up 3 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumbled, and an interception that went for a touchdown. Most of that was done in the first half and Mack was the only one who was making plays for this team. Akiem Hicks had 3 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 forced fumble but collectively there wasn’t enough from Chicago to hold off Green Bay. If there’s any takeaway from this contest it’s got be the Packers ability to persevere when Rodgers on the field. You can’t let his ball club hang around or this is exactly what will end up happening. Overall it was an amazing opening night for the fans in Wisconsin and now the Packers have a division win under their belt.

Charity of the day: National Audubon Society

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Aaron Rodgers’ heroics are the reason Green Bay is now 1-0.

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