NFL Week 2: Games, players & teams to watch
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was in a revealing mood when talking about Antonio Brown on Wednesday.
OK, obviously he was not. He never is when he talks. That can easily be seen by his answers to questions about the wide receiver who has been accused of rape and sexual assault by his former trainer.
Q: Were you aware of the lawsuit when you signed Antonio Brown?
BB: I'm not going to be expanding on the statements that have already been given.
Q: Don't you think the fans deserve to hear a little bit more from you…
BB: When we know more, we'll say more.
Q: … on such a major development that could impact the team?
BB: Yeah, I just said that.
Q: Don't you think fans deserve to hear a little bit more?
BB: When we know more, we'll say more.
Q: Are you preparing to have Antonio Brown at practice today?
Q: And are you preparing for him to play on Sunday?
BB: We're taking it one day at a time. Just like we always do.
Q: Are you preparing for the possibility that he could be on the commissioner's exempt list?
BB: We're preparing for one day at a time.
Q: How much would the allegations against him weigh into if you play him on Sunday?
BB: Yeah, I appreciate all of the questions, and what's been said has been said.
We do not know if Brown is going to play this week, but it is a storyline to follow. Even if he plays though, the Miami Dolphins are likely in a lot of trouble.
Despite the drama that follows Brown, there is a lot of good on-the-field football stories this week, including a rematch of a very controversial game in the playoffs last year.
Here is your NFL countdown to Week 2:
Three must-see NFL Week 2 games
Vikings (1-0-0) at Packers (1-0-0) — This will be a decent indicator of how good the Green Bay Packers' new defense is. Green Bay looked very good against the Chicago Bears last week, but a lot of that was because Mitchell Trubisky was awful and the Bears refused to run the ball. The Minnesota Vikings have just about everything going for them offensively. They will be a stiff challenge for Green Bay.
Cardinals (0-0-1) at Ravens (1-0-0) — Lamar Jackson looked absolutely incredible last week. But, it was against the Dolphins who — in sum — played like Team Trubisky. Do not get us wrong, Jackson is good, but the Arizona Cardinals certainly present a tougher test defensively than Miami. Also, Kyler Murray looked amazing in the fourth quarter and overtime in his NFL debut. He was awful for the first three quarters, though. Can he develop more consistency — hopefully on the positive side — against a very tough Baltimore Ravens defense? We are not holding our breath. The Ravens might have the best defense in football.
Saints (1-0-0) at Rams (1-0-0) — It is a rematch of last season's NFC championship game. Do not remember what happened there? Here's a refresher:
The Los Angeles Rams went on to win and went to the Super Bowl. A controversial no-call play prompted the NFL to make pass interference reviewable. A Saints fan then filed a civil suit against the NFL for robbing his team of a shot at a championship. Yeah, you need to watch this game.
Two players to watch in NFL Week 2
J.J. Watt, Texans DE — For the first time in Watt's career Monday, the three-time AP Defensive Player of the Year was held without a tackle, quarterback hit or sack. The Houston Texans star likely will not let that happen again, and he is facing a rookie quarterback — come on down, Gardner Minshew! — against the Jacksonville Jaguars this week. A three- or four-sack game might not be out of the question.
Joe Mixon, Bengals RB — Mixon suffered a sprained ankle in the Cincinnati Bengals' Week 1 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Coach Zac Taylor's offense is very much based on the play-action game and not having Mixon will likely affect it. However, Andy Dalton threw for 418 yards in Week 1, so clearly it can work either way. It will likely work better with Mixon, listed as questionable for the San Francisco 49ers, so the Bengals will certainly want him back.
One bold NFL Week 2 prediction
Jags fans will wonder: Did they find a franchise QB by accident? Gardner Minshew started only one season at Washington State, but won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award given to the nation's best senior quarterback. He threw for 275 yards, two touchdowns and posted a 76.8 QBR in Week 1 in relief of Nick Foles, who is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury. Minshew has legitimate talent, and team-mates love to play for him. Look for him to again throw for 250 or more yards and two or three touchdowns against a good Texans defense. If he does that, the Jaguars may have found their quarterback of the future in the sixth round.