Baltimore Ravens (1-0)
The Ravens could not have scripted a better start to the season as second-year quarterback Lamar Jackson threw for five touchdowns, leading to the offense setting a franchise record of 59 points against the Miami Dolphins. Now, Baltimore will host the Arizona Cardinals in their home opener, meaning Terrell Suggs will make his return to M&T Bank Stadium.
Suggs and Chandler Jones will test the Ravens offensive line, something Miami had little success doing. Luckily for Baltimore, All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson is currently suspended and will miss Sunday’s game. Arizona’s secondary was already the weak point of their defense so Jackson could be in for another big day passing the ball.
The Ravens defense will have their hands full with former Heisman-winner and first-overall pick Kyler Murray and the new air raid offense implemented by rookie head coach Kliff Kingsbury. Murray is similar to Jackson with his ability to evade pressure and escape the pocket. Murray has a knack for making throws on the run so Baltimore will need their corners to play up to the challenge.
Cincinnati Bengals (0-1)
Despite losing in Week 1, the Bengals under rookie head coach Zac Taylor turned some heads with their strong showing against the Seattle Seahawks. With all eyes on veteran quarterback Andy Dalton, he answered by throwing for 418 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. Now the duo will see if they can get their first win as they host the 1-0 San Francisco 49ers.
With star wide receiver A.J. Green still sidelined, Dalton will need one of his young receivers to step up, such as third-year first-round pick John Ross did in Week 1. Running back Joe Mixon is expecting to play despite being limited in practice with an ankle injury this past week. Cincinnati's offensive line remains a major weakness for the offense, and they will face a major challenge in the from of San Francisco’s pass rush, which includes rookie Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, and DeForest Buckner.
On defense, pressuring quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will be key in forcing him into mistakes. Garoppolo is returning from tearing his ACL last season and is still knocking the rust off. Look for Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap, and Carl Lawson to make Garoppolo uncomfortable with stepping up in the pocket and forcing him into some poor throws.
Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1)
The season started about as poorly as you could imagine for the Pittsburgh Steelers are they lost 33-3 to the New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football. Pittsburgh was unable to move the ball effectively in their first game without superstar wide receiver Antonio Brown and the defense was unable to slow down the Patriots offense, through the air or on the ground.
The Steelers will look to bounce back at home against the 1-0 Seattle Seahawks. Seattle’s secondary does not present the same challenge as New England’s stifling unit, so wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster could be in for a big Week 2 performance. Look for second-year receiver James Washington’s role to increase going forward as well.
Pittsburgh’s defense will face yet another elite quarterback, this time being Russell Wilson. Wilson is extremely dangerous with his ability to escape the pocket and extend plays through the air. The Steelers will have to improve their coverage if they want to contain Wilson.
Cleveland Browns (0-1)
After an offseason of sky-high expectations and hype, the Cleveland Browns came crashing back down to Earth in Week 1 as they suffered a 43-13 loss to the Tennessee Titans. Cleveland has a perfect opportunity to regain their composure, however, against the injury-riddled New York Jets on Monday Night Football.
Luckily for the Browns, quarterback Sam Darnold is expected to miss mutliple weeks with Mononucleosis. Backup quarterback Trevor Siemian will receive the start in Darnold’s absence. Cleveland’s vaunted defensive line will have an opportunity to take over the game and make life difficult for Siemian.
The Browns offense dodges some bullets as well, as both linebacker C.J. Mosley and rookie third-overall pick Quinnen Williams have been declared out for Monday night. Mosley, acquired through free agency, was playing like a man possessed in his first game for the Jets. Once he was injured, the Buffalo Bills were able to march their way back from a 16-point deficit to win the game. Running back Nick Chubb is in store for a big game on the ground and quarterback Baker Mayfield has a perfect chance to rebound against a poor New York secondary. Look for him to connect with wide receiver Odell Beckham continually in this game.