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Are Raiders that bad? Are Dolphins that good? They meet next

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On this Sept. 13, 2018, file photograph, Cincinnati Bengals defensive deal with Geno Atkins (97) pursues Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) earlier than finishing the sack in the course of the first half of an NFL soccer recreation in Cincinnati. Atkins has seemed tremendous, getting three sacks and loads of pressures. (AP Photograph/Bryan Woolston, File)

There have been some basic video games between the Oakland Raiders and Miami Dolphins. Whereas Sunday’s assembly doesn’t carry the load of a playoff contest between two powers, it definitely brings loads of intrigue.

Corresponding to: Are the Dolphins (2-Zero) actually good, and are the Raiders (Zero-2) fairly dangerous?

The solutions will come over the next few weeks, however this might be a robust indicator of the place every workforce is headed in 2018.

Miami has been profitable the sector place battle, is tied for the NFL lead with 5 interceptions — the Dolphins had 9 all final yr — and has allowed solely seven factors in 4 red-zone possessions by opponents. Wholesome QB Ryan Tannehill is 9-1 in his previous 10 begins; he missed the 2017 season with a knee damage.

In the meantime, the Raiders are permitting 5.7 yards per rush, worst within the league. They are tied for final with just one takeaway and have all of two sacks. Did somebody say they miss Khalil Mack?

But the important thing could possibly be when Oakland has the ball and whether or not it may generate something towards a protection that performs most everyone who fits up.

“The addition of (DE Robert) Quinn is huge,” says Raiders coach Jon Gruden, whose return to the sideline had Raiders followers all giddy earlier than the Mack commerce and the 2 defeats.

“He has given them supreme effort opposite Cameron Wake. And they have a very good unit inside that can generate pressure as well. It’s a combination of new players, new energy and the scheme. It’s fun to watch them.”

Perhaps not for Derek Carr, the quarterback who has to face them.

The weekend started Thursday night time with Cleveland’s first win in 635 days, a 21-17 residence victory over the New York Jets.

The No. 1 general decide Baker Mayfield changed injured starter Tyrod Taylor and sparked the Browns (1-1-1) , who received two 1-yard landing runs from Carlos Hyde of their first win since Dec. 24, 2016. And so ends Cleveland’s 19-game winless streak, the NFL’s second-longest because the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. The Jets are 1-2.

Indianapolis (1-1) at Philadelphia (1-1)

One among a number of video games with tasty matchups.

The Tremendous Bowl champions get again Carson Wentz, whose main knee damage final December led to Nick Foles taking up at quarterback — and profitable the title. Wentz is wholesome, which suggests he’ll play.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Wentz says. “It’s been quite the grind of an offseason. There’s a lot of excitement, a lot of built-up almost anxiety over when it was going to be.”

It is going to be towards the offensive coordinator, Frank Reich, who had an enormous position in Wentz’s fast improvement. Reich now coaches the Colts, who’ve their very own star QB again from damage, Andrew Luck.

Luck has thrown a TD move in 25 consecutive video games, the league’s longest lively streak.

The Colts are one win from 300 since shifting to Indianapolis in 1984.

New England (1-1) at Detroit (Zero-2)

Matt Patricia spent 14 seasons working for Invoice Belichick in New England. Not often did he cope with what has gone on the previous two weeks with the Lions. They have appeared inept at occasions, Matthew Stafford has little safety and has thrown a league-high 5 picks. Detroit is 30th in dashing protection, which should make defensive guru Patricia cringe.

Belichick is 14-Eight towards former assistants. New England is 45-6 after dropping a recreation since 2003 and didn’t lose two straight in 2016 or 2017. It fell at Jacksonville final Sunday.

Denver (2-Zero) at Baltimore (1-1)

Yet one more spicy matchup, this one on the defensive aspect.

Led by Von Miller , the Broncos appear to have rekindled the Orange Crush. He leads the NFL with 4 sacks, a price that would give him a document 32. Don’t guess towards him.

Denver has allowed solely 5 third-down conversions in 22 tries, the perfect price (22.7 %) within the NFL.

The Ravens rank second on D, no shock there. However they’ll probably be lacking three-time Professional Bowl LB C.J. Mosley (knee).

New Orleans (1-1) at Atlanta (1-1)

In maybe the hardest division, each of those 2017 playoff groups have been means too inconsistent thus far.

The Saints opened with two residence video games, dropping to Tampa Bay and getting fortunate to beat Cleveland. The protection was terrible within the opener, the offense struggled final week.

Nonetheless, they’ve Drew Brees, on the lookout for his fourth straight street recreation with a passer score over 100. WR Michael Thomas has 28 catches, an NFL document for the primary two video games of a season.

Atlanta’s up-and-down nature has been partly brought on by accidents, notably on protection. That’s by no means a great way to strategy a matchup with Brees.

New York Giants (Zero-2) at Houston (Zero-2)

Probably the most watchable factor right here — when you like defenses creaming quarterbacks — is whether or not Eli Manning or Deshaun Watson can escape the push. Watson, who has terrific agility, already has gone down seven occasions, and he’s not come near the sensational showings he made as a rookie earlier than tearing up his knee.

Even worse, Manning has been sacked eight occasions and there haven’t been a handful of move performs on which he didn’t really feel strain. Now, he will get to see J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney shut up, with a brand new middle, John Greco, as well.

Dallas (1-1) at Seattle (Zero-2)

Extra sack time coming.

In years previous, Seattle’s protection can be flattening quarterbacks. This model of the Seahawks has three sacks because the unit is rebuilt.

In the meantime, Russell Wilson has gone down 12 occasions, and contemplating his escapability, that’s scary in Seattle. Dallas barely let Manning breathe final week, has 9 sacks from eight gamers and faces probably a much bigger sieve of a blocking unit this week.

Los Angeles Chargers (1-1) at Los Angeles Rams (2-Zero)

Keep in mind when LA had no groups? Now, each determine to be contenders of their divisions. Certainly, the Rams have probably the most expertise of any roster and are off to a strong begin.

This could possibly be a shootout. Since Week 11 of final season, the Chargers are tops in offense, averaging 436.9 yards per recreation. Philip Rivers has thrown three or extra TD passes and has a passer score over 100 in three straight regular-season video games, and has loads of weapons.

So does Rams QB Jared Goff, notably 2017 Offensive Participant of the Yr Todd Gurley. The fourth-year RB is off to a different sensible begin.

It’s the primary assembly between two Los Angeles NFL groups since Nov. 13, 1994, when the Raiders defeated the Rams 20-17.

Cincinnati (2-Zero) at Carolina (1-1)

Wait, the Bengals are unbeaten? Right here’s an actual probability to show they’re legit.

Cincinnati can get after the passer and can drive Cam Newton to be artistic. The Bengals are nicely rested — they beat Baltimore on a Thursday night time in Week 2 — and DT Geno Atkins has appeared tremendous, getting three sacks and loads of pressures.

However second-year operating again Joe Mixon is sidelined, and Carolina has its personal harmful RB from the 2017 draft in Christian McCaffrey. He tied WR Steve Smith’s franchise report with 14 receptions vs. the Falcons.

Carolina has gained six straight at residence.

Tennessee (1-1) at Jacksonville (2-Zero)

Jacksonville being 2-Zero is not any shock and the Jaguars might seize early management of the AFC South right here. They confirmed loads of moxie in beating New England final Sunday and hope to have prime RB Leonard Fournette wholesome. They haven’t been Three-Zero in 14 years.

Although the Jags gained the division in 2017, they have been swept by Tennessee, serving to the Titans earn a wild card. Tennessee has been very protecting of its passer, whether or not Marcus Mariota or former Jaguar Blaine Gabbert; opponents have one sack. Getting Mariota again from an elbow damage is essential.

San Francisco (1-1) at Kansas Metropolis (2-Zero)

It’s not that the Chiefs have gained two straight, it’s how they did it.

First-time starter Patrick Mahomes got here out firing and hasn’t let up. He has an NFL-record 10 TD passes via the primary two video games and has not thrown an interception. Mahomes had six TD passes at Pittsburgh, making him the youngest participant in NFL historical past to perform that. Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins all have 100-yard receiving video games this season.

San Francisco ranks 25th in move protection and won’t have the expertise to get in a scoring free-for-all.

Buffalo (Zero-2) at Minnesota (1-Zero-1)

The betting line was so excessive, above 16 factors all week, that it despatched followers and bettors scrambling for precedent.

Buffalo as soon as was a good greater underdog at 17½ factors towards Miami in 1985. The Dolphins gained 28-Zero.

And 80 groups have been 16-point or extra underdogs. 5 of these truly gained.

For the Payments to even come shut, they should give uncooked rookie QB Josh Allen time to throw, and discover a run protection.

Minnesota comes off a miserable 29-29 tie at Inexperienced Bay by which the Vikings made a strong comeback, however then couldn’t kick the ball straight sufficient to win. Daniel Carson is gone, changed by veteran Dan Bailey, who was sensational with Dallas earlier than getting harm.

Inexperienced Bay (1-Zero-1) at Washington (1-1)

A gimpy Aaron Rodgers stays a main menace, and he has a great deal of expertise to catch the ball in Davante Adams, Randall Cobb, Geronimo Allison and tight finish Jimmy Graham. The move protection is way too charitable, however rookie CB Josh Jackson recovered a blocked punt for a TD vs. Minnesota.

Alex Smith, the highest general draft decide in 2005 when Rodgers went 24th, now’s in Washington. He has a protection ranked No. 1 towards the cross, so an aerial contest with A-Rod won’t develop.

Pittsburgh (Zero-1-1) at Tampa Bay (2-Zero), Monday night time

With the Bucs on a roll and Ryan Fitzpatrick demolishing defenses, Pittsburgh could possibly be in hassle. The Steelers have displayed little tackling talent and quit plenty of huge performs. They rank 30th towards the run, a really un-Curtain quantity.

Their offense hasn’t been troubled a lot by star RB Le’Veon Bell’s holdout because of James Conner. This additionally has the makings of a high-scoring showcase, particularly if Ben Roethlisberger can restrict his group’s turnovers.

Chicago (1-1) at Arizona (Zero-2)

The Cardinals and Bears are the one founding members of the NFL nonetheless in existence. Whereas Chicago appears to have discovered its approach with Mack and a protection that leads the league with 10 sacks, Arizona is foundering. The Cardinals didn’t cross midfield vs. the Rams till the next-to-last play. Sam Bradford has not thrown a TD cross, has been intercepted twice and has a 55.6 passer score.

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