It’s a bit early for the NFL to have its biggest game of the season, but the Kansas City-Baltimore game fits that category.
The winner will be favored to go to the Super Bowl as the AFC team. Among other things, the game is the youngest QB matchup of MVPs with 22-year-old Lamar Jackson facing 24-year-old Patrick Mahomes.
The Mahomes-Jackson matchup may be the Manning-Brady matchup of this generation.
One key factor is that the Chiefs No. 2 receiver, Sammy Watkins, is questionable with a concussion and neck injury. He will be missed if he can’t play.
The surprising thing is the game will be played on Monday night instead of Sunday night. The NFL will be looking closely at the TV ratings for this game.
—The big question this week is whether the defenses start catching up to the offenses. First two weeks were all offense – most yards, touchdowns and points. Did the offense get an edge because of the lack of an offseason?
—The NFL continues to do a good job containing COVID-19. The Falcons’ A.J. Terrell became the first player to be placed on the COVID list – which means he tested positive or was exposed to it – since the season started. The players must be taking the proper precautions and the league has already warned them to stay out of bars and clubs or face fines.
—The window may be closing for the Eagles and Falcons, who were both in the Super Bowl a few years back but now look like they won’t be returning any time soon. Both are 0-2 and Atlanta has a tough task against 2-0 Chicago while the Eagles face 0-2 Cincinnati. Neither the Eagles nor the Falcons can afford to fall to 0-3 if they are to be contenders.
—Tom Brady, Cam Newton and Philip Rivers are all 1-1 after losing their openers and winning their second games. Brady’s Bucs go to Denver, Newton’s Patriots go to Las Vegas and Rivers’ Colts hosts the hapless Jets. Bucs and Colts should win easily but the Patriots could face a tough test against the Raiders.
—Jalen Ramsey is toning down his act in Los Angeles. While he said Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen was “trash” when he was in Jacksonville, he now says he is “talented” as Rams defense prepares to face the Bills.
—Rookie Justin Herbert makes his second start for the Chargers against Carolina and this time he has a week to prepare. He was a surprise starter against the Chiefs last week when a doctor punctured Tyrod Taylor’s lung giving him a shot for cracked ribs. Herbert might have upset the Chiefs if coach Anthony Lynn hadn’t taken the ball out of his hands by not going for it on fourth-and-1 in OT. A first round pick, Herbert was supposed to be the quarterback of the future but the future may have already started for him. If he plays well, Taylor may not get the job back.