New digs for Fal­cons as they wel­come for­mi­da­ble Pack­ers

Texarkana Gazette - - SPORTS -

Green Bay (1-0) at At­lanta (1-0)

Green Bay com­pletely shut down Seat­tle—yet an­other highly touted NFC con­tender—at Lam­beau Field. At­lanta strug­gled with lowly Chicago be­fore a goal-line stand, helped by a dropped pass that should have been a touch­down, al­lowed it to sur­vive.

Now, the Fal­cons, who fol­lowed that NFC cham­pi­onship win with a Su­per col­lapse against New Eng­land, open their new digs of­fi­cially. The roof will even be open for the first time dur­ing a game, it ap­pears. So the Fal­cons would play their first open-air home game since 1991, their fi­nal sea­son at At­lanta Ful­ton-County Sta­dium.

Dal­las (1-0) at Den­ver (1-0)

Af­ter man­han­dling the Gi­ants, Dal­las can re­ally prove it is an NFC power again by cross­ing over, head­ing to the Rock­ies and beat­ing the Bron­cos. The Cow­boys had the ball for so long against New York that the Gi­ants' for­mi­da­ble de­fense with­ered. Den­ver's D is just as good, so it's a matchup of Dak Prescott, Zeke El­liott, Ja­son Wit­ten and that ter­rific of­fen­sive line against Von Miller, Aqib Talib & Co.

Dal­las last beat Den­ver in 1995, a Su­per Bowl sea­son for the Cow­boys.

The Bron­cos might have found yet an­other dan­ger­ous re­ceiver in Ben­nie Fowler III, who had two TD re­cep­tions as they held on to edge the Charg­ers on Mon­day night. But the run game must be sharp in this one.

Philadel­phia (1-0) at Kansas City (1-0)

Both come off im­pres­sive road wins. Ea­gles coach Doug Ped­er­son is a dis­ci­ple of Chiefs head man Andy Reid. Their forte is of­fense, and Kansas City was op­por­tunis­tic and, at times, dom­i­nant in New Eng­land with the ball.

RB Ka­reem Hunt set a rookie de­but record with 246 yards from scrimmage, while WR Tyreek Hill has a 60-plus yard TD in five con­sec­u­tive games.

Philly's Car­son Wentz, 4-0 in Septem­ber matches, must watch for Chiefs line­backer Justin Hous­ton, who had 4 ½ sacks the last time the clubs met.

New Eng­land (0-1) at New Or­leans (0-1)

Yes, it re­ally did hap­pen in the 2017 kick­off game: New Eng­land got ham­mered in the fourth quar­ter at home by Kansas City.

Usu­ally, the Pa­tri­ots re­spond af­ter a loss, es­pe­cially one in which Tom Brady strug­gled. Since 2003, the Pa­tri­ots are 42-6 in the reg­u­lar sea­son af­ter a loss.

“What you are in Septem­ber is dif­fer­ent from what you're gonna be as the sea­son goes on,” Brady says. “You're try­ing to see where your de­fi­cien­cies are and you're try­ing to make im­prove­ments. Ob­vi­ously what we did the other night is not good enough, by any means.”

New Or­leans had far too many de­fi­cien­cies at Min­nesota, and its loose cov­er­age of re­ceivers could be its

demise against Brady. But Drew Brees can make up for some is­sues.

Min­nesota (1-0) at Pitts­burgh (1-0)

The Vik­ings, par­tic­u­larly se­cond-round run­ning back Dalvin Cook (127 yards rush­ing) were im­pres­sive on Mon­day night against New Or­leans, but a short turn­around for a trip to the Steel City is never en­vi­able. Their last win in Pitts­burgh came on Sept. 24, 1995.

Cleve­land kept it close against archri­val Pitts­burgh, which seemed out of synch. Maybe star RB Le'Veon Bell will be more im­pact­ful af­ter not re­port­ing un­til Sept. 1; he had 32 yards on the ground last week, ty­ing a ca­reer low.

Of note is how the Steel­ers ap­pear to be build­ing a de­fense to com­ple­ment their all-world of­fense led by Bell, An­to­nio Brown and Ben Roeth­lis­berger.

Chicago (0-1) at Tampa Bay (0-0)

It's im­pos­si­ble to know what the Bucs have af­ter be­ing forced by Hur­ri­cane Irma to move their bye up to open­ing week. They could be dy­namic on of­fense and im­proved on de­fense, which would put them in the mix.

“We are play­ing a game on Sun­day, so it doesn't mat­ter what it's like. It's prob­a­bly go­ing to be hard on them, but I don't think any­body is go­ing to be feel­ing sorry for us,” coach Dirk Koet­ter says. “I know the Bears aren't go­ing to be feel­ing sorry for us.”

For­mer Bucs QB Mike Glen­non played well in his first out­ing for Detroit and was a dropped pass away from an up­set of the Fal­cons.

“We all knew his time was com­ing,” Bucs re­ceiver Mike Evans says. “He's too good of a player to be on the bench.”

Mi­ami (0-0) at

Los An­ge­les Charg­ers (0-1)

It's im­pos­si­ble to know what the Bucs have af­ter be­ing forced by Hur­ri­cane Irma to move their bye up to open­ing week, too. They've spent the week in Cal­i­for­nia and fig­ure to be rusty.

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