Opening week loss raises questions about New England

September 13, 2017

As we enter week two of the NFL regular season, there are a few games I will be watching closely. Week one gave us many surprises, devastating injuries and gave many fans minor heartaches. Besides the injuries, I don’t expect anything less in week two as all teams will be more in sync with one another.

One of the games to watch this week is the New England Patriots versus the New Orleans Saints. This is only a game to watch because the Patriots lost their season opener to the Kansas City Chiefs.

That was shocking, even though the Patriots lost an important contributing player in wide receiver Julian Edelman. They still have Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, which should be enough, right? But Brady is 40 years old with a key offensive weapon gone for the season.

Adding insult to injury, Danny Amendola, who is now in the concussion protocol, was injured in the season opener. Also, questionable for week two against the Saints is linebacker Dont’a Hightower who suffered a minor knee ligament strain in week one.

The Patriots don’t want to play without any one of those players but if they are forced to, it will bring more problems to the team which is already trying to put pieces together from their first loss.

I don’t doubt they will get it together but with a defense that was exposed, now missing a key linebacker and facing Drew Brees and the Saints in week two, they may need to make some more moves to secure themselves. You can never count the Patriots out. They will get it together.

The next game to watch is the Chiefs versus Philadelphia Eagles. I want to see if Alex Smith is for real or if he just had a good game against the Patriots. Some of the throws he made he doesn’t usually make and the accuracy of those throws surprised me.

I want to see if he can duplicate it against the awesome Eagles defense. I’m still a little skeptical of the Eagles offense so they still need to prove themselves, but I like how Carson Wentz looked in the opener.

He looked more poised when under duress. In addition, he has weapons that will help take some pressure off him. Along with his offensive weapons, that Eagles defense is serious. Though their cornerback Ronald Darby was carted off the field with a high ankle injury, the defense will be able to overcome it.

The Eagles will not have a walk in the park going against the Chiefs, though it may be a tad bit easier being that the Chiefs star safety, Eric Berry, suffered a season-ending Achilles injury. Berry was the heart of that defense and will be difficult to get past.

If they can get what they got out of rookie running back Kareem Hunt and quarterback Smith plays how he did in week one, that would make this an interesting game.

The last game to watch in week two is the Sunday night matchup, Atlanta Falcons versus Green Bay Packers. Both teams won their season opener and this could be a preview of the NFC championship game.

The last time these teams saw each other was in the 2016 NFC championship game which was the last game played in the Georgia Dome. Now the teams meet again as the first regular season home game in the new Mercedes Benz Stadium.

The Falcons barely escaped the Bears in Chicago but their defense came up huge holding the Bears four plays on their own five-yard line to seal the game. Edge rusher Brooks Reed came up with the game-winning sack, one of four the Falcons defense had in the game.

The shock came on offense. It did not look like the offense we saw dominating last season. It is safe to say they struggled a bit. If they have hopes of beating the Packers, this offense has to play better.

We know what the Packers offense can do as long as they have that man Aaron Rogers behind the center. Their defense looks better and was able to hold Russell Wilson’s offense to nine points. I don’t know how much I credit that to the Packers defense or the Seahawks offensive line just not being good.

This week will be a test. Can the Packers defense stall the Falcons offense? Whichever offense doesn’t succumb to the defense will come out victorious.

Shaquita Newton is a sports blogger. She can be reached at

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