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LA Chargers: Keenan Allen severely underused – Week 1 game grade

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Though the LA Chargers pulled out a 16-13 win on Sunday, star receiver Keenan Allen was severely underused.

In what was a game full of atrocious play on offense, the LA Chargers and offensive coordinator Shane Steichen failed to put the ball in the hands of their most dangerous weapon on offense.

Keenan Allen had an unproductive day, especially for someone who just signed an $80 million extension this past offseason. He had eight targets, catching four of them for 37 yards and no touchdowns to show for it. One of the four incomplete passes was broken up, the others just not on target from quarterback Tyrod Taylor.

For Keenan Allen’s game grade, he’s getting a C+. Unfortunately for Allen, there is not much he could’ve done on his own to increase that. Here’s why Keenan Allen is only receiving a C+ for his play in Cincinnati.

Breaking down Keenan Allen’s C+ grade:

As was the case with Austin Ekeler, Keenan Allen did what he could when he was able to touch the ball. The difference? Tyrod Taylor was able to hand the ball off to Ekeler, as opposed to throwing it down the field like he had to with Allen. That is why Ekeler had a bigger impact, because he got the ball more consistently and did not have to worry about Taylor making a bad throw.

MUST-READ: Three areas that must improve from Week 1 to Week 2

I wish Allen could’ve gotten a higher grade and made a bigger impact on the field, who doesn’t want to see the guy succeed? He was locked down for another four years, and we all want to see him retire as a member of the LA Chargers.

Luckily, it’s one week into the season, and the offense will more than likely look much smoother as we get deeper and deeper into the season.

Keenan Allen is a route running savant. Shane Steichen needs to set up plays for Taylor to throw the ball 8-12 yards down the field after Allen has gotten himself some separation. Allen was open underneath throughout the game, but Taylor seemed to already have his guys in Hunter Henry and Mike Williams.

The LA Chargers will need a much better performance on offense if they hope to have even a slight chance of pulling off an upset against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 2.

Next: Bosa earns his extension – Week 1 game grade

Hopefully, the play calling can improve a lot, and Tyrod Taylor can hit Allen more often than he did in Cincinnati. Who knows, maybe they didn’t want to show off the entire playbook before Week 2. Only time will tell.

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Arizona Cardinals look to fly into win streak after upset win

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If expectations weren’t high enough for the Arizona Cardinals this season, things are going to get even tougher as they look to build their first winning streak of 2020.

To some, the Arizona Cardinals aren’t expected to do much in 2020. They weren’t supposed to beat the reigning NFC Champions on the road for the season opener. Kyler Murray wasn’t supposed to get away from Nick Bosa and their defense. And the defense wasn’t supposed to get the stop at the end of the game for the win.

They fell behind 10-0 and things looked bleak early on. But they fought back, and Kyler Murray showed the NFL world that his MVP mentions aren’t just a fantasy, but a reality for the second year quarterback.

Kyler and Co. will look to follow up the upset at home, as they face off against the Washington Football Team in Glendale on Sunday. Washington defeated the the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 1. A game in which their defense only allowed 57 yards rushing and 208 yards passing. Carson Wentz was also sacked 8 times, as Ryan Kerrigan and rookie Chase Young dominated the battered up offensive line. The nameless team looked like a hungry bunch looking to establish a name of their own against a division opponent.

The Cardinals will look to combat that pass rush with their high-flying offense after putting up 404 yards of total offense against the Niners. Murray finished the day with 230 yards passing, 91 yards rushing and two total touchdowns. WR DeAndre Hopkins will look to also follow up his Cards debut after catching a career-high 14 passes for 151 yards. Certainly an established rapport for the new duo.

Entering Week 2, the Cardinals have won their season opener, are over .500, and in first place in their respective division, for the first time since 2015. If they want to keep riding this momentum, they’ll need to filter out the extra attention, welcome the adversity and just play Cardinal football. The sky will truly be the limit for the Red Birds.

Next: 3 key matchups for Cardinals vs Washington

Again, to some, they aren’t supposed to be a playoff contender. To some … but not the Arizona Cardinals.

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Atlanta Falcons secondary will be the key to winning versus Cowboys

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After a terrible game plan in week one, the Atlanta Falcons have a chance for redemption.

The Atlanta Falcons secondary gets a second chance Sunday, for fans to see what they’re all about. In fact, the Falcons defensive backs versus the Cowboys receivers will be the key to winning the game Sunday.

The last time these two teams matched up in 2018, Julio Jones made the Falcons best play as a defender. Matt Ryan overthrew him, Jones turned and leveled the defender breaking up a for sure interception. If Raheem Morris is smart, he would be showing his young guys that play.

The Cowboys will roll out Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup. You can expect them to get the bulk of the targets as the Boys will be without their top tight end. But don’t forget about that man Ezekiel Elliott.

The Atlanta Falcons would be wise to stack the box against him just about every chance they get. That’s a running back that can change the game.

And if they do that, they are going to have to rely heavily on man to man coverage in the secondary. The Atlanta Falcons forced just four incompletions last week versus Seattle on 35 attempts. That’s real life, not a Madden statistic. And while Dak Prescott is no Russell Wilson, any professional quarterback should be salivating seeing the way the Falcons secondary performed last week.

What do the Atlanta Falcons put more emphasis on in Week 2?

The Falcons are going to have to pick their poison: sell out to stop the run, or allow Zeke to carve them up so they can stay comfortable in their outdated Cover 2 scheme. For some reason, the coaching staff still sees potential in Isaiah Oliver despite receivers being more open than Waffle House when they’re going against him.

You can expect him to be matched up on Amari Cooper. The Cowboys would also be smart to make sure Cooper gets plenty of chances against AJ Terrell. While a rookie cornerback might be the hardest position in the NFL, we expected him to struggle at points this year. ACC, SEC, whoever he faced in college, you’re going against talent on a different level.

Next: Recent history favors the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday

If the Falcons hope to win Sunday and save their season and keep Dan Quinn’s seat just warm, Oliver and Terrell are going to have to play like the professionals they are getting paid to be. If not, the Cowboys might have their way on the ground and through the air. If the two young corners step up, we might see a glimpse of what the Falcons defense can be.

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Buffalo Bills: Inactives for Week 2 against the Miami Dolphins

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Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano were ruled out Friday. Both linebackers suffered injuries in Week 1 and with Edmunds practicing on a limited basis and Milano not practicing at all, this wasn’t much of a surprise.

The additional players that are inactive this week are: quarterback Jake Fromm, running back T.J. Yeldon, linebacker Del’Shawn Phillips, offensive lineman Ike Boettger, and tight end Lee Smith.

The loss of Edmunds and Milano is certainly big for this defense. Tyrel Dodson is expected to start at middle linebacker while A.J. Klein will be the second linebacker when they go to their nickel defense.

As for the third linebacker, this will be a team effort as the Bills will look at a combination of Deon Lacey, Andre Smith, and even possibly Siran Neal in certain passing situations. Lacey is an interesting active because the Bills just added him this week. While he may see some time on defense, he will likely see a majority of his playing time on special teams.

On the positive side, Bills fans for the first time this year will get to see defensive tackle Vernon Butler, who is active for today’s game. He missed last week after dealing with a hamstring but should get a full workload against the Dolphins this week.

Next: Who will be the X-factor for the Buffalo Bills in Week 2?

In addition to Butler, the Bills second round pick A.J. Epenesa will be active for the first time in his NFL career. He was a surprise inactive against the New York Jets but the question now is how much playing time will he get. The Bills will have nine defensive linemen active for today’s game against the Miami Dolphins.

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