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Panthers head coach Matt Rhule: ‘Go out there and have fun’

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Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule is calling for his roster to have fun during their Week 1 clash against the Las Vegas Raiders.

If Matt Rhule has any nerves ahead of his first game as head coach of the Carolina Panthers, he certainly isn’t showing it.

The head coach was brought in from Baylor with the sole task of leading the Carolina Panthers back to prominence after a series of disappointments in recent years. He has come across well in the early stages of his leadership. But that will count for nothing if his roster cannot get it done on the field when it matters most.

Today’s game against the Las Vegas Raiders represents a good chance for the Panthers to get off on the front foot. It will be a game devoid of any atmosphere with no fans permitted to enter Bank of America Stadium. But if they can generate their own energy then it might to with an all-important first victory.

Matt Rhule wants the Carolina Panthers to enjoy themselves.

The stakes are high for Rhule, who made some bold decisions regarding personnel alongside general manager Marty Hurney this offseason. Panthers’ assistant director of digital/broadcasting Bill Voth caught up with the head coach prior to warmups and he has made it clear to his roster to enjoy the occasion and remember why they fell in love with the game in the first place.

I’m not nervous. I told our team, ‘Let’s go out there and attack, not have a spirit of fear but a spirit of joy. Let’s play the game like 10 & 12-year-olds playing Pop Warner. Let’s go out there and have fun.’

That might be easier said than done if Carolina struggles early on. But there is every chance this team can hit the ground running should things click into place right away.



Much will depend on their offense and whether they can live up their lofty billing. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has an incredible amount of pressure on his shoulders and it will be interesting to see how Joe Brady’s dynamic scheme at LSU transitions to the pro ranks.

Rhule will know more than anyone the glaring deficiencies that could emerge from his defense., particularly at cornerback. The Raiders will look to gain significant yards in the passing game early and often. So it will be up to certain individuals to raise their game accordingly.

The coaching staff will be learning as they go. Rhule is getting his first taste of overseeing a game at the next level and is aiming to avoid being another name on the list of those with impressive college resumes that failed to make an impact in the NFL.

This is a long-term project, in no uncertain terms. Rhule might be getting a free pass in terms of any notable winning record in 2020. But that doesn’t mean the pressure isn’t on in pursuit of getting the Panthers going back in the right direction.

NFL Football

Kyler Murray is Arizona Cardinals Week Two MVP

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Kyler Murray completed two of his biggest passes this season. One was a 54-yard pass to Andy Isabella, while the other was a 48-yard pass to Christian Kirk. Both passes led to a score for the Cardinals. Murray ended the game with 285 passing yards on 26 completions, with DeAndre Hopkins and Larry Fitzgerald combining for 15 of them.

Besides finishing with a touchdown pass, he also had two touchdown runs – one for 21 yards. This makes Murray the first Cardinals quarterback since 1969 with a rushing touchdown and a passing touchdown in consecutive games.

The second-year quarterback had another record in Sunday’s win as well. Last year, he was the first rookie to start the season with at least 25 completions in his first two games of the season. This year, Murray started his first two games of the season with at least 25 completions.

The defensive front that recorded eight sacks against Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz ended up with only three against Murray. His elusiveness allowed him to escape Chase Young and company and he ended up with over 60 yards rushing.

There were also a couple “firsts” in Sunday’s win. Hopkins caught his first touchdown pass, and linebacker Devon Kennard recorded his first sack. Hopkins is also the first player in NFL history to have the most receptions in his first two games on a new team.

Speaking of the defensive side, linebacker De’Vondre Campbell wins the MVP for Vance Joseph’s defense. Campbell finished with 10 total tackles and two pass breakups.

Campbell played well in coverage as well. He was all over tight end Logan Thomas and did not allow a touchdown in coverage.

Next: Cardinals 2-0 for first time in five years

Campbell also stopped numerous Washington players from getting a first down.  Both Murray and the defense look to continue their success against the Detroit Lions next Sunday in Arizona.

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Can the Atlanta Falcons avoid 0-3 against the Chicago Bears?

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The Atlanta Falcons are hoping to avoid an 0-3 start in 2020.

The last time the Atlanta Falcons started the season with three straight losses, it was 2007. While the 2020 team is far more talented, they cannot get it together on the field. Getting a win this week will be tough as the Falcons defense will be without as many as four starters.

How does it week three go with the Bears in town? The Blogging Dirty staff weighs in.

Jeff Benedict – Site Expert

Rookie corner A.J. Terrell was a bright light on a very dark defense last week against the Cowboys. He only allowed two catches for seven yards.

If you haven’t heard, the Falcons will be without the corner this week as he becomes the NFL’s first COVID casualty and will miss this week. Unfortunately, that means that the Falcons are going to have to rely on Isaiah Oliver and Darqueze Dennard, who has been atrocious.

No Takk McKinley, Ricardo Allen, and Dante Fowler could spell disaster for the Falcons. Matt Ryan and the offense will have another terrific day but it won’t be enough.

Ross Terrell – Contributor

All the pressure is on Atlanta with this game. An embarrassing loss in week two, a listless loss in week one, and they’re still question about the run game.

Atlanta, sorry, Dan Quinn – needs this win for his coaching career.

If Atlanta has any hopes of making the playoffs, they need to show what they’re about Sunday, on the road. But seeing this team so far, they don’t.

Joe Beasley – Contributor

The Falcons are 0-2 heading into a game with the Chicago Bears. Dan Quinn jas expressed to us for the 100th time that everyone is pissed off. It might be in his best interest to make sure his team shows that on the field. Matt Ryan has played great, the offensive line is doing a good job as well.

Russell Gage has been producing when given the opportunity to do so. I’m going to go out on a limb and say this Falcons team will do just enough for the victory but Quinn loses his job after the game.

Next: Injury report wont be kind to Atlanta Falcons in Week 3

Ethan Johnson – Contributor

The beginning of the season couldn’t possibly get any worse for the Atlanta Falcons. As for the Bears, they are 2-0, and Mitchell Trubisky should be salivating at the thought of facing the dreadful Falcons secondary.

With that being said, I think this game could actually be rather close thanks to the Falcons offense. Chicago will score a lot, but so will Atlanta. Ultimately, I cannot pick the Falcons because, as I said last week, I have no confidence in this coaching staff.

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Buffalo Bills: How to watch in Week 3 and final thoughts

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This is where to watch the Buffalo Bills in Week 3 against the Los Angeles Rams as well as some final thoughts about the game.

The Buffalo Bills will be returning to Bills Stadium for a Week 3 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams. This is one of the marquee games on Sunday as it is the only one with two undefeated teams facing each other.

How to watch the Buffalo Bills in Week 3

Game time: 1 PM EST

Channel: FOX

Broadcast Team: Chris Myers, Greg Jennings, Brock Huard

Final Thoughts prior to the Buffalo Bills Week 3 matchup

Is Josh Allen for real?

All eyes will be on Josh Allen to see if the start to the year is real or just a result of playing against lesser teams. Through the first two games, Allen is leading the league in passing yards with 727 yards, six passing touchdowns, no interceptions along with one rushing touchdown.

While it is early, he should be discussed among MVP hopefuls and a win here will only cement his place in those discussions.

Can a return from Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano turn the defense around?

On the defensive side of the ball, the question is how the defense will look hopefully with Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano back. They both missed the game last week against the Miami Dolphins and Ryan Fitzpatrick was able to move the ball almost at ease.

This is a good Rams offense and if the Buffalo Bills defense has a similar performance, this could end up being a shootout.

Big matchup on the outside

Among the individual matchups, there may be none better than Stefon Diggs going up against Rams’ corner Jalen Ramsey. The addition of Diggs has really unlocked this offense and the wide receiver has had a tremendous start to the year with 239 receiving yards, which is tied for the league lead.

Next: Who are the X-Factors for the Bills in Week 3?

It remains to be seen just how often the two will lineup across from one another but when they do, it will be must-watch TV.

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