Sportsball, 2019 Week 2 Preview: Special TNF Edition
Welcome back, folks! As we discussed last week, we’re trying a new experiment in writing about what’s going on in the world of American football. If you missed it, check out part I here and part II here.
We did promise last week we’d be getting back to writing about music very soon as well — and we’ve got a few articles and reviews in the works. Stay tuned for those. But first, it’s almost time (just another 20 minutes or so) for Thursday Night Football to kick off! As a real quick preview of the Sportsball article for the week, we’re going to try presenting just the Thursday night matchup here, to be followed shortly by the rest of the Sunday/Monday participants. Still playing around with the format — we’ll see how it goes.
As always, make fun of our predictions in the comments section, or tell us how stupid our opinions are on Twitter.
Thursday, 12 September (8:20 pm)
Buccaneers (current record: 0-1 / current prediction: 8-8)
Panthers (current record: 0-1 / current prediction: 11-5)
Well, Thursday Night Football is back. I know, I know, there was a game last Thursday night — but just like they do on Thanksgiving, that was one of those weird Sunday-Night-Football-on-Thursday things. This week officially kicks off TNF proper, including the requisite commercials featuring fans of each team trash talking each other, shown nonstop all week on NFL Network. This week’s ad spot seemed very lukewarm, although frankly these have not traditionally been the die-hard football-obsessed cities like Green Bay and Chicago last week; or, for example, Oakland — home of the fabled Black Hole, and certainly a place whose football team will always be a fundamental part of that area. Ummm… But anyway, the point of bringing up these commercials was mostly to formally file a complaint about the nickname for Christian McCaffrey. It was clever and novel when people called Darren McFadden “Run DMC” a decade ago, but substituting “CMC” is just sad and it needs to stop.
Speaking of stopping the third year running back, that will have to be a focus of this Buccaneers defense, who allowed exactly 100 yards rushing between a trio of runners in last week’s home loss to San Francisco. Although the 49ers scored 31 points in that contest, the blame there cannot be placed on the Bucs’ D, however — as two of Jameis Winston‘s three interceptions found their way into the opposite end zone. In tonight’s game if they want to avoid an 0-2 start, Tampa Bay will need to put more emphasis on hanging onto the ball (not always an easy task — especially with rain in the forecast for the Carolina region), and protecting their quarterback (who was sacked three times last week).
The quarterback on the other side of the field, Cam Newton, is now in his ninth year in the league — and has always been known as a threat by moving his legs just as much as by throwing the football around. But despite some concerns following shoulder surgery earlier this year, “Super” Cam surprised fans last weekend: not just by tossing a few bombs (averaging nearly ten yards per completion), but by accruing virtually zero rushing yards in the process. Despite this break from tradition, the Panthers kept it close, trading scores back and forth all night before ultimately falling to last year’s Super Bowl runners-up by the deficit of just a single field goal.
Previews for the remaining fifteen games this week — plus an updated look at the current playoff picture — coming up soon!