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Chiefs vs. Chargers: Keenan Allen among matchup concerns in Week 2

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KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI – SEPTEMBER 10: Head coach Andy Reid of the Kansas City Chiefs talks with Patrick Mahomes #15during the first quarter against the Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium on September 10, 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

A closer look at the matchups that will decide the outcome of the Week 2 game between the Chiefs and Chargers.

In Week One of the NFL season, the biggest surprise for the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs was not that they dominated the Houston Texans (again) to claim their 10th consecutive victory. Rather, it was the way they did it.

Not only did they shut down Deshaun Watson and the Houston offense for the vast majority of the game, but they also punished the Texans defense with an unstoppable run game that resulted in Clyde Edwards-Helaire being the NFL’s leading rusher after Week 1.

To some, what was also surprising was just how much the Los Angeles Chargers struggled to put away the Cincinnati Bengals. In fact, if not for a questionable offensive pass interference call against wide receiver A.J. Green in the game’s final minute, they would have lost to last season’s worst team. Certainly one could have expected the Chargers to regress slightly, at least, with the losses of Derwin James in August due to injury and longtime franchise quarterback in Philip Rivers this offseason. But on Sunday, Los Angeles looked like a team closer to competing for the top pick in the 2021 NFL Draft than they did to a playoff team.

As a result of Week One, we can all likely agree that Kansas City should waltz through the contest without much difficulty. But, what matchups will play the biggest role in determining the final score?

Tyrod Taylor and L.A.’s offensive line vs. the Chiefs’ pass rush

In their Week 1 contest, Chargers quarterback Tyrod Taylor was constantly under pressure from the unheralded defensive front of the Bengals. Sacked only twice, but hurried many more times, Taylor had difficulty standing in the pocket and finding any sort of rhythm in the team’s victory.

In the Chiefs’ contest against the Texans, the Super Bowl LIV victors kept Watson under pressure all day and ended the game with four sacks for their efforts—most of those recorded with only a four man rush.

What do you get when you pit a bad offensive line against a great defensive line? You get pressure, confusion, turnovers, and sacks. Kansas City’s defensive line should live in the backfield on Sunday and make life very difficult for Taylor and the Los Angeles offense. Maybe they won’t get four sacks again, but the front four for Steve Spagnuolo’s bunch should do plenty of damage.

We should expect to see screens, delays and quick slants from L.A. in an effort to get the ball out of Taylor’s hands quickly and neutralize the Chiefs’ pass rush.

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Josh Allen wins AFC Offensive Player of the Week after Week 2

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Josh Allen is having a career start to his season for the Buffalo Bills and after his first career game with over 300 passing yards, he followed it up with his first 400-yard passing game against the Miami Dolphins in Week 2. He also threw for four touchdowns and didn’t have a turnover.

That performance in Week 2 was good enough to earn his first AFC Offensive Player of the Week award in 2020.

Josh Allen loves to play the Miami Dolphins

This is Josh Allen’s third time winning the honor. Amazingly the other two times he has won the award came after games against the Miami Dolphins the first time when he was a rookie in 2018 after his Week 17 performance. In this game, Allen threw for 224 passing yards, added 95 rushing yards, and had five total touchdowns with three passing and two rushing touchdowns.

He would his second AFC Offensive Player of the Week award in Week 11 last season after he had 256 passing yards and four total touchdowns with three through the air and one on the ground.

There is no question that Josh Allen enjoys playing the Miami Dolphins and for his career, he has thrown for over 1,300 passing yards with 17 total touchdowns and only three interceptions in five games. He also has won four out of his five career starts against the AFC East rival.

The development Josh Allen has shown this season has been truly remarkable as he has looked the best he has at any point in his three years. Allen has always had that athletic ability to make plays with his legs but he is now making great throws from the pocket.

Next: 4 Rams the Bills will need to gameplan for in Week 3

This progression for Josh Allen is a big reason for the Buffalo Bills’ success and they will look to continue that this Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams.

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This Falcons DL will be a problem for Chicago Bears interior

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The Chicago Bears interior offensive line has played well, but they have not seen a test like Grady Jarrett yet

One of the biggest developments in the Chicago Bears 2-0 start in the impact of their interior offensive line. Germain Ifedi coming in and taking over for Rashaad Coward has been a major upgrade, and James Daniels staying at left guard this season has had an impact as well. Beyond that, the team is more committed to the run, and their new run scheme.

On one hand, you have to applaud these two. On the other, it is fair to note the Detroit Lions pass rush has been bad under Matt Patricia, and the New York Giants have some young talent, but nothing elite.

The Atlanta Falcons defensive line is not much better overall, but from a matchup standpoint, there is one player who stands to have a strong day. Grady Jarrett flies under the radar for some but is an elite interior lineman for others.

He plays with a low center of gravity and physical hand usage to get into the backfield. His play over the past two weeks has been reminiscent of Akiem Hicks. Do not believe me, here are their stats over the past three years?

Totals Table
Tack Tack Tack Tack Fumb Fumb
Rk Player AV G Solo Ast QBHits TFL Sk FF FR
1 Akiem Hicks 16 23 56 17 23 15 10.5 3 1
2 Grady Jarrett 18 32 68 63 35 21 15.0 5 1

So far this season Jarrett has seven pressures, and two sacks, Hicks has six pressures and two sacks. According to PFF, Jarrett has a 6.3 pass-rush productivity rating, and Hicks has a 5.8.

This is not to tear down Hicks but highlight the type of player Jarrett is. Like a younger Hicks, he is being overshadowed by the rest of the defense not living up to his skill.

Beyond that, he has been dominant in the run. The play below does not show up in any stat sheet, but it turned a simple run play into a loss for Dallas as Jarrett redirects Ezekiel Elliott to the outside after manhandling Connor Williams.

Williams is not an elite guard but has profiled similarly to James Daniels in the NFL ups and downs as a young player. Daniels has had two games without huge errors, but when Dexter Lawrence challenged him with power, he still has his issues. Daniels has mainly been able to excel due to the new scheme. However, Jarrett is a player who can blow up lateral plays, but also play sideline to sideline as well. This is what puts him in that elite interior lineman category.

What also makes Jarrett dangerous is that he will be testing Daniels and Ifedi in this game. According to PFF, he has lined up over the right guard on 36% of his snaps, and the left guard on 48%. He even has 16 snaps, or 9% of his snaps against tackles, both right and left. Still, that means that Daniels will see him the most, and Ifedi will get a heavy dose as well.

Next: Mitch Trubisky week 2 advanced stats review

Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence are great players, but both were the appetizer for Grady Jarett who brings a four-course meal of destruction. We will have a much stronger learning point on the upside of this duo after Sunday.

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Twitter reacts to Cowboys come-from-behind victory over Falcons

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Social media exploded following the Dallas Cowboys’ last-second win over Atlanta

Down 29-10 at halftime, the Dallas Cowboys appeared doomed to lose their second-straight game of the regular season under new head coach Mike McCarthy. This after four first-quarter fumbles resulted in the Atlanta Falcons taking an early 20-point lead.

And while the Cowboys offense was able to make up for their early mishaps, the Dallas defense continued to struggle. Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan would finish the game throwing for 273 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions while completing 24 of his 36 passes.

Ryan’s favorite target? Former first-round wide receiver Calvin Ridley, who posted seven receptions for 109 yards and two touchdowns while routinely beating the Cowboys’ secondary.

Fortunately, Dallas was able to generate a lot of offense as well with quarterback Dak Prescott rushing for three touchdowns while throwing for 450 passing yards and another score. Both wide receiver Amari Cooper and rookie CeeDee Lamb finished with over 100 receiving yards each.

Tight end Dalton Schultz posted a career day, recording nine receptions for 88 yards and a touchdown. Running back Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 89 yards and a score while averaging 4.0 yards per carry. Zeke had six receptions for 33 yards but was also responsible for two early fumbles.

Defensively, the Cowboys struggled to get pressure on Ryan all game long. Defensive end Everson Griffen recorded the only sack for Dallas. While linebackers Jaylon Smith and Joe Thomas combined for a total of 25 tackles.

In the end, it was special teams that made the difference. Down to the Falcons 39-30 with less than two minutes left in the game, Prescott would score on a one-yard touchdown run. After the successful extra point made the score 39-37, the Cowboys would get the ball back on an unlikely onsides kick by kicker Greg Zuerlein.

And it was Zuerlein who would boot the 46-yard game-winning field goal with no time left on the clock to seal the Cowboys come from behind victory over the Falcons, 40-39. Following the game, fans, media members, and players alike took to Twitter to express their feelings. We’ve included some of those tweets below.

Next up, the Dallas Cowboys will travel north to face off against the 1-0 Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on Sunday, September 27 at 3:25 p.m. CDT on the FOX network.

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