NFL

Packers headline NFC North Pre-Season Week 2 by Jamie Farrin

Green Bay Packers @ Baltimore Ravens

The Packers come into the second week of preseason on a high after a 28-26 victory over the Texans. There were a number of stand out performances, especially in the defense. The Packers managed to turn the ball over four times during week one. Defensive coordinator, Mike Pettine, will be hoping for the same again in Week 2. However, the Packers have a tough looking matchup against the Ravens. We will see a lot more of the starters for the Packers with quarterback Aaron Rodgers expected to feature for at least a quarter. It will be his first game under new head coach Matt Lafleur. Expect to see plenty of back-up QB’s DeShone Kizer and Tim Boyle. They’re fighting it out to be the number two QB behind Rodgers.

Player to Watch:

With the defense impressing in week one, Rashan Gary is my player to watch. The outside linebacker out of Michigan had a good start to his NFL career against the Texans. He’ll be looking to improve on a good start and post some eye-catching numbers, as he comes up against the likes of Lamar Jackson and Mark Ingram.


Chicago Bears @ New York Giants:

The Bears come into week two off the back of a defeat against the Carolina Panthers. Despite the defeat there were plenty of positives to take from the game. These include rookie running back David Montgomery scoring his first of many touchdowns for the Bears. Chicago head coach, Matt Nagy, took a unique approach to Wednesday’s practice by moving it to the evening and replicating a match day atmosphere. The players ran on to the practice field through a tunnel with crowd noise in the background and a DJ playing the music that would be played on a game day. The approach was well received by the players. Nagy will be hoping it will pay off, as preparations continue for the regular season.

Player to watch:

With the kicking position still up for grab, Elliot Fry and Eddy Pineiro will be using the next three games to impress. Both want to lock down the number one kicker role going into the regular season. Fry impressed in week one making a 43 yard field goal. Meanwhile, Pineiro went one of two against Carolina. As a result it will be an interesting battle to follow throughout preseason.


Detroit Lions @ Houston Texans

There was not a lot to smile about for the Lions in week one, as they were convincingly beaten by the Patriots. They also saw wide receiver Jermaine Kearse break his leg to weaken the depth at the WR position. Add to that a concussion suffered by back up QB Tom Savage, and there is not much to be excited about if you are a Lions fan. However, there are positives for Lions fans! T.J. Hockenson is reported to be living up to expectations in practice, and with the likes of cornerback Darius Slay and wide receiver Kenny Golladay to come back in, the Lions will be looking to improve on their 6-10 season from last year.

Player to watch:

With Tom Savage out with a concussion, veteran QB Josh Johnson was signed as cover. However, he’ll be looking to jump ahead of Savage in the pecking order. This becomes Johnson’s 13th NFL team. He’ll know from experience that if he performs well in practice and preseason games, that there’s a chance of being Stafford’s back up for the upcoming season.


Minnesota Vikings host Seattle Seahawks

This will be the fourth consecutive year that the Vikings have met the Seahawks in preseason. The Vikings come into week two with confidence after beating the New Orleans Saints in week one. Rookie tight end Irv Smith Jr was used frequently in week one. Vikings fans will be excited at the prospect of fellow TE, Kyle Rudolph, being used alongside the rookie. With the Vikings also drafting centre Garrett Bradbury, and having one of the best wide receiving duos in the league in Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, the Vikings look very dangerous on offense. They also boast one of the league’s strongest defenses with pass rusher Danielle Hunter and Harrison Smith at safety. However, this defense will be tested against a Seahawks offense that will see QB Russell Wilson see his first involvement of preseason.

Player to watch:

The Vikings player to watch is Wide receiver Adam Thielen. Thielen joined the Vikings as a undrafted free agent in 2013 and has become one of the best WR in the league. With two pro bowl appearances and 113 receptions for 1,373 yards last season, Vikings fans can’t wait to see what numbers he can post this year.

This NFC North guest article was written by Jamie Farrin. He’s a New Orleans Saints fan and you can find him on twitter at @jamiefarrin.

Feature Image Credit: USA Today

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