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It’s Packers vs. Falcons in an NFC Title-Game Rematch: NFL Week 2 Preview

NFC Championship - Green Bay Packers v Atlanta Falcons
Getty Images

A rematch of last season’s NFC Championship Game highlights Week 2 of the 2017 NFL season. Here’s a preview of this week’s most interesting storylines:

Sunday, September 17

The Andy Reid vs. Doug Pederson Death Match
Kansas City Chiefs v Philadelphia Eagles
Getty Images

Philadelphia at Kansas City | Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City; 1 p.m. (ET) on Fox

Once upon a time in Green Bay (1997-98) and Philadelphia (1999), then back-up quarterback Doug Pederson learned all he needed to know about standing on NFL sidelines from his QB coach: Andy Reid. Pederson later coached under Reid for a combined seven seasons with the Eagles and the Chiefs.

This Sunday, Pederson leads Philadelphia (1-0) against Reid and Kansas City (1-0). Both teams had surprising Week 1 wins over Washington and New England. While the pre-game hype may focus on the chess match between the former pupil and his mentor, the game will likely be decided by which offensive line and quarterback can weather its opponent’s furious pass rush. Chiefs’ running back Kareem Hunt gets a chance to prove his NFL-record-setting debut was no fluke.

Tom Brady & Drew Brees Both Look to Rebound

Brady Brees

New England at New Orleans | Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS

Who remembers when Tom Brady and Drew Brees were two of the best quarterbacks in NFL history? So long ago, right? It doesn’t take much to get football pundits to start writing the obituary of your NFL career, as both signal callers know after struggling through lackluster Week 1 losses. New England (0-1) needs Brady to find a comfort level with his receivers so he can convert third downs and extend drives. He should have an easier time doing that against the Saints weak defense.

Brees and New Orleans (0-1) can’t do much about their awful defense, but their offense has to be more productive than it was in Monday night’s loss to the Vikings. Does that mean more Adrian Peterson? That could be the answer against a Pats defense that looked weak against the run in Week 1.

Does Los Angeles Care About NFL Football?
Indianapolis Colts v Los Angeles Ram
Getty Images

Miami at L.A. Chargers | StubHub Center, Carson, Calif.; 4:05 p.m. (ET) on CBS

Washington at L.A. Rams | Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles; 4:25 p.m. (ET) on Fox
Another week, another chance for Southern California “fans” to show how big a mistake the NFL made by (re)relocating two franchises in L.A. This Sunday, the Chargers (0-1) will play their first home game at soccer-ific 30,000-seat StubHub Center in Carson. The bad news: they still aren’t filling those few seats. Meanwhile, the Rams (1-0) will welcome the Redskins to the half-empty Coliseum. Ugh.

The reality may be that neither L.A. team is currently good enough to attract fans to their temporary homes. The franchises’ shared new home stadium in Inglewood is scheduled to be completed by 2020, which may give each franchise time to develop a true fan base. Or not. Maybe the NFL can make USC an expansion franchise?

The NFC’s Best Teams Duel in Atlanta
NFC Championship - Green Bay Packers v Atlanta Falcons
Getty Images

Green Bay at Atlanta | Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta; 8:30 p.m. (ET) on NBC

Until the Cowboys prove otherwise, last season’s NFC Championship Game participants are still the best teams in the conference. Green Bay (1-0) looked solid in an opening week win over Seattle, while Atlanta (1-0) got a tougher than expected test against the Bears.

The Packers need to stop Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense in ways they weren’t able to while being routed last January. They also need to protect quarterback Aaron Rodgers from an aggressive Atlanta pass rush. This game has all the makings of a prime time track meet.

Monday, September 18

A Battle of Overrated Quarterbacks

Lions NYG

Detroit at N.Y. Giants | MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.; 8:30 p.m. (ET) on ESPN
Take your pick: the NFL’s highest-paid quarterback ever with absolutely zero career postseason wins, or the guy who has two Super Bowl rings because of miraculous catches four years apart? The $135 Million Man, Matthew Stafford, leads Detroit (1-0) into battle against two-time Super Bowl-winning QB Eli Manning and the Giants (0-1) on Monday night.

Stafford’s four touchdown passes led the Lions to a Week 1 win over the Cardinals. Of course, he threw a fifth — to Arizona defensive back Justin Bethel. Fans might see more of the latter when the New York pass rush bears down on him. The Giants offense looked inept in a Week 1 loss to Dallas. The return of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. — and the Lions shaky defense — should help Manning get going this week.

Other Games

Thursday, September 14
Houston at Cincinnati | Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati; 8:25 p.m. on NFL Network

Sunday, September 17
Cleveland at Baltimore | M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Buffalo at Carolina | Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Arizona at Indianapolis | Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis; 1 p.m. (ET) on Fox
Tennessee at Jacksonville | EverBank Field, Jacksonville; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Minnesota at Pittsburgh | Heinz Field, Pittsburgh; 1 p.m. (ET) on Fox
Chicago at Tampa Bay | Raymond James Stadium, Tampa; 1 p.m. (ET) on Fox
N.Y. Jets at Oakland | Oakland Coliseum, Oakland; 4:05 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Dallas at Denver | Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver; 4:25 p.m. (ET) on Fox
San Francisco at Seattle | CenturyLink Field, Seattle; 4:25 p.m. (ET) on Fox

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