Thursday Night Football DraftKings Picks: NFL DFS lineup advice for Week 2 Bengals-Browns Showdown tournaments
The Browns and Bengals open Week 2 on Thursday Night Football. If you're putting together a DraftKings Showdown lineup, we have the picks, advice and sleepers to help in your NFL DFS tournaments.That's the call that will make or break this lineup -- fading Mayfield could help us win a tournament or send us hurtling toward the bottom of the leaderboard. But until Baker looks less likely to turn the ball over or throw bounce passes to his wide receivers, we're going to stay away from him and count on Cleveland's ground game to keep up with Burrow and company.
When the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns took the field for a Week 2 Thursday Night Football clash between two winless teams, many expected the game to be a snoozer. Instead, it was a thrilling duel between offenses led by former No. 1 overall picks on a big stage in a game filled with explosive plays. © Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett celebrates after the Browns beat the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium.
After having one of the worst quarterback performances in Week 1, Baker Mayfield responded with a gem in Week 2. Facing a much easier opponent, Cleveland’s offense rolled early on Thursday with big plays from Nick Chubb, Odell Beckham Jr. and Mayfield. By halftime, the Browns jumped out to a 21-13 lead.
Torn Achilles for Bengals TE C.J. Uzomah?
Uzomah was off to a hot start before he was carted off the field on Thursday night. Through two games – or, one game-and-change – Uzomah had eight catches for 87 yards.Uzomah was off to a hot start before he was carted off the field on Thursday night. Through two games – or, one game-and-change – Uzomah had eight catches for 87 yards, including last night’s 23-yard second quarter touchdown reception, Joe Burrow‘s first TD throw as a pro.
Not to be outdone, Cincinnati’s offense impressed with Joe Burrow thriving and star running back Joe Mixon producing in the first half. Trailing 28-13 at one point in the third quarter, the Bengals tried clawing their way back. Ultimately, it wasn’t enough against a superior team.
Let’s take a look at the winners and losers from the Browns’ thrilling 35-30 win over the Bengals on Thursday Night Football.
Winner: Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns
Once Cleveland found itself too far behind in Week 1, it ended Chubb’s chances of making an impact. When the game is close and the Browns need to punish their opponent, they know this 227-pound running back is precisely whom they want to feed. It was obvious on Thursday night.
Against Cincinnati’s defense, Chubb looked like a bulldozer plowing through construction cones. The Bengals bounced off him on nearly every carry, and he picked up every yard his heart desired. A 124-yard, two-touchdown game showcased why Chubb is one of the most dangerous runners in the NFL. If Cleveland can keep games close, Chubb will thrive.
Loser: A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals © Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Cincinnati’s offense is undeniably better with Green on the field, and he adds an essential weapon to this offense. It’s also evident Burrow trusts him, which is understandable since we’re talking about a seven-time Pro Bowl selection at receiver. Unfortunately for Green, he didn’t play like it in Week 2 and it raises long-term concerns.
It started with not getting his feet down on a catch that was ruled out of bounds. Even more unfortunate to watch, Green doesn’t look nearly as explosive after dealing with lower body injuries for years. We saw it limit his big-play ability, and he struggled more to separate from coverage. Rust could be a factor, but the truth is this is a 32-year-old receiver in physical decline.
Giants RB Saquon Barkley exits game vs. Bears with knee injury
Saquon Barkley, who had become the centerpiece of the New York Giants' offense, had to be helped off the field in the second quarter on Sunday.Running back Saquon Barkley exited the game against the Chicago Bears after the first play of the second quarter with what appeared to be a right knee injury. After being tackled by Bears safety Eddie Jackson, Barkley grabbed his knee and had to be helped off the field.
Winner: Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
Burrow gave himself a ‘D’ for his NFL debut in Week 1, a harsh grade considering he performed admirably. He’s clearly setting the bar quite high for himself, and that will help make him a great quarterback. After this performance, we hope he is kinder to himself after another tough loss.
Playing behind an atrocious offensive line, Burrow impressed under challenging circumstances. When Burrow wasn’t getting hit or forced to evade pressure, his wide receivers dropped quite a few of his dimes. Burrow’s box score stats (37-of-61 with 316 passing yards) are impressive considering everything he faced. Quite simply, he keeps proving why he can one day be an elite quarterback. Of course, that’s if Cincinnati can protect him.
Loser: NFL referees © Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Everyone talked about players needing the preseason to get in football shape, cut down on mental mistakes and to play crisper football. If we’ve learned one thing early in the 2020 season it’s that the refs needed the preseason far more.
Opinion: Two weeks in, Detroit Lions' season essentially over after flop in Green Bay
It's hard to find much reason for confidence in the Detroit Lions after Matt Patricia's crew got off to an 0-2 start this season.This time the Detroit Lions had the decency to implode in the first half, politely freeing up the rest of the Sunday afternoon for their heartsick devotees. It was the least they could do after teasing those who love them so mercilessly to start the game.
The gaffes started early with officials crediting A.J. Green with a catch when he was clearly out of bounds. Both teams knew it immediately, but the refs and replay system took an absurd amount of time to review it. We also saw Cincinnati’s cornerbacks frequently grab OBJ, like this obvious penalty, but the NFL’s crew missed blatant penalties. This will be a problem for a while.
Winner: Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
It would be an understatement to call Mayfield’s Week 1 start a disaster. He completed only 53.8% of his passes and averaged 4.8 yards per attempt, frequently missing open receivers and rolling out of clean pockets. In Week 2, we saw a very different quarterback.
Give credit to head coach Kevin Stefanski for finding ways to make Mayfield comfortable. Cleveland regularly used designed rollouts with Mayfield moving to his right or left, then delivering strikes down the field. He completed 16-of-23 attempts with 219 passing yards and two touchdowns. If he can clean up the costly turnovers and make smart decisions, the Browns might contend for a wild-card spot this season.
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Related slideshow: Predicting the division and award winners for the 2020 NFL season (Provided by Yardbarker)
Predicting the division and award winners for the 2020 NFL season
The NFL has thus far navigated the COVID-19 pandemic and is less than a week away from Week 1. With that in mind, here are some obviously spot-on predictions for how the league's 101st season will unfold.
AFC East: Bills stroll to first division title in 25 years
The centerpieces of the Bills' homegrown nucleus were not alive when the franchise last won a division championship. That happened in 1995, Jim Kelly's penultimate season. But the Josh Allen-, Tre'Davious White- and Tremaine Edmunds-led core will give Buffalo a postseason home game -- assuming the playoffs are not in a bubble. Top to bottom, the Bills' roster outflanks the Patriots'. Buffalo sports an intriguing, retooled defensive line rotation, and Stefon Diggs is a top-three NFL route runner. With the Dolphins and Jets non-factors, this well-constructed Bills roster will prevail -- and win the East by multiple games.
AFC North: Steelers re-emergence tests Ravens
With a .438 opponents' win percentage (from 2019), the Ravens have the NFL's easiest schedule. But the Mason Rudolph-quarterbacked Steelers and Freddie Kitchens-led Browns trainwreck contribute to that number. Both teams will be more formidable in 2020. The NFL's highest-variance team, the Steelers return 10 starters from DVOA's No. 3 defense last year. If Ben Roethlisberger looks close to his 2018 version, this is a Super Bowl contender. Kevin Stefanski's Browns cannot be worse than Kitchens'. However, the Ravens now employ Calais Campbell and J.K. Dobbins. They will win a third straight AFC North crown.
AFC South: Colts' front five resurrects Philip Rivers
In an offseason when continuity was paramount, the Colts not only returned their entire offensive line from 2019. This group was Indianapolis' primary O-line in 2018. The Quenton Nelson-fronted quintet enters 2020 as Pro Football Focus' top line. Philip Rivers is making a Baltic Ave.-to-Park Place move, in going from a broken-down Chargers O-line to this one, and the Marlon Mack-Jonathan Taylor ground game will be enough for a balanced Colts team to overtake the Texans and Titans. Houston's embattled defense, which may have gotten worse this offseason, will make it too difficult for Deshaun Watson to drag the team back to the playoffs.
NFC East: Cowboys' talent will break through
The defending division champs are already down four starters -- O-linemen Brandon Brooks and Andre Dillard and wideouts Alshon Jeffery and Jalen Reagor. Despite losing All-Pro Travis Frederick and Pro Bowler Byron Jones, the Cowboys are in a stronger position. They do have a new coaching staff -- a dicey prospect in 2020 -- but OC Kellen Moore's return and CeeDee Lamb's arrival give Dak Prescott luxurious amenities Carson Wentz lacks. Mike McCarthy will provide an upgrade on Jason Garrett and leave the Eagles to fend for a wild-card spot. Washington and the Giants do not factor into this discussion.
NFC North: division of closing windows
Each team in this division may be near the end of its respective chapter, and this collection of closing contention windows oddly gives the NFC North a competitive feel. The Packers still employ the division's top quarterback, though Matthew Stafford was pushing for that title last year before his back injury, and have several well-paid defenders. The Kirk Cousins-era Vikings are 1-11 against 10-win teams and will have rookies in key roles in a bad year to do so. Green Bay's continuity, even following a panned offseason, could be enough as Aaron Rodgers begins an audition for a late-30s gig elsewhere.
NFC South: football gods provide belated treat
Shades of Joe Montana moving into John Elway's division 27 years ago, the NFL schedule contains two Tom Brady-Drew Brees matchups. This is a rare opportunity for fans to savor the all-time greats' work. Brees' team has fewer questions, featuring the longest-running QB-head coach tandem -- with he and Sean Payton replacing Brady and Bill Belichick -- and possessing few noticeable weaknesses. The Bucs have done well to surround their 43-year-old passer with big names, but the switch from Josh McDaniels' offense to Bruce Arians -- after a nixed offseason -- may result in the Saints running away with this division.
NFC West: no division looks better
If the Cardinals can make good on their sleeper label, this NFC West iteration could be historically good. But DeAndre Hopkins and Kyler Murray have not shared the field much. The Rams and Seahawks still carry major questions about their respective offensive lines, with the latter again bizarrely testing Russell Wilson with an underwhelming blocking quintet. Kyle Shanahan's team possesses the division's most defensive talent, despite trading DeForest Buckner, and its best rushing attack. It would not be surprising if three NFC West teams made the playoffs, but the 49ers should have enough to secure the "home" playoff game.
Patriots will miss playoffs for first time in 12 years
The 2008 Patriots won 11 games but missed the playoffs. This year's Pats will need about everything to break their way to get to 11-5. Even if Bill Belichick, Stephon Gilmore and Co. give New England its 17th top-10 scoring defense in 20 years, a franchise that has lived off wide error margins no longer has one on offense. Cam Newton has not stayed healthy since 2015, his most recent above-average season, and the Pats have unreliable tackles and mostly unproven receivers. They also face the NFL's toughest schedule. It will be fun to see Belichick's solution efforts, but circumstances do not favor his team.
Beware the hype
These Buccaneers will not flounder like the 2019 Browns, but Tampanians and non-Florida-based Tom Brady supporters will need patience. The Bucs only have six games against teams that finished with winning records last year, but thrusting a 43-year-old quarterback into a new system without much practice time may limit Bruce Arians' team early. Brady's descent from No. 6 to No. 17 in QBR from 2018-19 can be attributed to shaky Patriots weaponry. However, the Bucs are gambling with their big swing for Brady. The Saints will also make the Bucs' push to play all postseason games in Tampa -- the site of Super Bowl LV -- quite dicey.
Washington set for seminal decision
Despite the Jaguars' purported tank operation, the Washington Football Team ends up with the 2021 No. 1 overall pick. Washington's lack of weaponry outside of Terry McLaurin and issues up front beyond Brandon Scherff end up minimizing the impact of its defensive line success. Ron Rivera will be in position to draft Trevor Lawrence, a near-lock to declare after his junior year, or trade the pick to the Jags, Panthers or someone else for a bounty of picks that could help salvage Dwayne Haskins' career in Washington.
Coach of the Year: Frank Reich
Kevin Stefanski guiding the Browns to the playoffs for the first time in 18 years will warrant consideration; so will Sean McDermott's Bills winning an AFC East championship. But Reich mounted a strong Coach of the Year case in 2018, when the award went to Matt Nagy. Reich piloting his team to the AFC South title will put him on the precipice. Philip Rivers rebounding at age 39 will cinch up the award for Reich, who is on his third starting passer in three Indianapolis seasons.
Comeback Player of the Year: Ben Roethlisberger
Finally given a reliable defense again -- something he has lacked since the early 2010s -- Roethlisberger has a chance to have a major say in the AFC playoff race. All accounts are Big Ben has recovered from the elbow injury that stopped his 2019 season two games in, and the Steelers' contention hopes rest almost solely with their 38-year-old quarterback. Roethlisberger may have four starter-caliber receivers, with second round size-speed freak Chase Claypool added to the mix, and Eric Ebron to target. The 2018 passing leader will do enough to reposition the Steelers as contenders and win this award.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Clyde Edwards-Helaire
Passing-game assimilation will be difficult, raising the bar for rookie quarterbacks and wide receivers. The coronavirus-altered landscape points to running backs having an easier time hitting their professional stride by comparison, and none is in better position than Edwards-Helaire. The No. 32 overall pick will play for the NFL's premier play-caller and its best quarterback; the Andy Reid-Patrick Mahomes tandem will turn the LSU product into an instant success. The Chiefs' bevy of aerial weapons will make Edwards-Helaire's tasks easier, and the tackle-eluding dynamo could make a big difference for the defending champs.
Defensive Player of the Year: T.J. Watt
Somewhat quietly, the Steelers have led the NFL in sacks in each of the past three seasons. Last year, that resulted in a defensive resurgence. At the center of the ascent: the youngest of the NFL Watts. T.J. Watt has registered 27.5 sacks and forced 14 fumbles over the past two seasons, and the Steelers franchise-tagged Bud Dupree to keep Watt's wingman around. With Cam Heyward and Stephon Tuitt representing handfuls up front, Watt is again in position to dominate. The 2019 All-Pro will help keep the Steelers as a difference-making defense and claim a fourth DPOY award for the Watts.
MVP & Offensive Player of the Year: Patrick Mahomes
No need to separate an offensive player of the year, because Mahomes is positioned to approach or surpass his stunning 2018 season. Now in his third year as a starter, Mahomes has the NFL's best set of weapons and the league's premier offensive architect. Andy Reid will have options at his disposal he did not have in 2018 or '19, with his 24-year-old superstar having proven himself through two full seasons and on the biggest of stages. With more ways to vex defenses than Lamar Jackson possesses, Mahomes is poised to match Kurt Warner by winning two MVPs in his first three QB1 seasons.
Barring playoff bubble, AFC will go through Baltimore
Seeds: 1. Ravens; 2. Chiefs; 3. Bills; 4. Colts; 5. Steelers; 6. Titans; 7. BrownsWild-card round: Chiefs over Browns; Bills over Titans; Steelers over ColtsDivisional round: Ravens over Steelers; Chiefs over BillsA Week 3 win over a Chiefs team that will be missing multiple defenders due to suspensions breaks the AFC's 13-3 tie in the Ravens' favor. The Bills pick up their first playoff win in 25 years, and Ben Roethlisberger moves to 2-0 over Philip Rivers in the postseason. Despite the Bills' superior defense, Josh Allen cannot keep pace with Patrick Mahomes in Round 2. Baltimore takes advantage of the solo-bye format to advance.
New Orleans atop stacked NFC field
Seeds: 1. Saints; 2. 49ers; 3. Cowboys; 4. Packers; 5. Seahawks; 6. Buccaneers; 7. EaglesWild-card round: 49ers over Eagles; Cowboys over Buccaneers; Seahawks over PackersDivisional round: Saints over Seahawks; Cowboys over 49ersTom Brady's Bucs finish well behind the Saints in the NFC South, and the Cowboys -- who feature fans at their stadium all season long -- end Year 1 of the "Tompa Bay" experiment. The Seahawks avenge last season's Round 2 defeat, while the Eagles' depleted offensive line cannot handle the 49ers' pass rush. Dak Prescott, however, outplays Jimmy Garoppolo a week later to give Dallas its first NFC championship game berth in 25 years.
AFC championship: new QB rivalry has definitive favorite
The Chiefs' low-level investments at cornerback do not cost them against the run-reliant Ravens, who are more dependent on a certain game script than the other AFC powerhouse. In this reality, Baltimore has defeated Kansas City on a Week 3 Monday night in Maryland, but Patrick Mahomes moves to 3-1 against Lamar Jackson in this potentially 2020s-defining series. Armed with a layered passing attack -- and reliable tackles in Mitchell Schwartz and Eric Fisher -- the Chiefs move to their fourth Super Bowl.
NFC championship: single-bye setup lifts No. 1 seed
The ability to rest starters in Week 17 and having earned the lone January bye -- thanks to the new seven-team bracket -- proves key for a Saints team built around a now-42-year-old Drew Brees. Mike McCarthy was 1-3 in NFC championship games in Green Bay. Although Sean Payton's team has endured some of the NFL's most crushing playoff defeats in NFL history over the past 10 years, the deeper Saints -- whose offensive line houses three Pro Bowlers and an emerging standout in center Erik McCoy -- move past the Cowboys and into their second Super Bowl.
Super Bowl LV: years-long quest produces championship
The Saints' stellar 2017 draft class helped reopen their Drew Brees-created Super Bowl window, but a historic misplay and a season-defining officiating mishap cost previous dominant New Orleans editions. The NFL's best roster finally puts it all together in Tampa, edging the defending Super Bowl champions in a tactical shootout between Sean Payton and Andy Reid. New Orleans' Emmanuel Sanders addition pays off, with the veteran -- who has already played in Super Bowls with three different teams -- giving Brees the WR2 he has lacked since the Saints traded Brandin Cooks three years ago.
Gallery: NFL Week 2: Picks and preview (Yardbarker)
Lions snap 11-game losing streak by booting Cardinals on last-second field goal .
Prior to Sunday, the Detroit Lions had an 11-game losing streak that dated back to last season before they beat the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.The Lions beat the Cardinals 26-23 on Sunday on Matt Prater's 39-yard field goal, ending a nearly year-long skid and giving the franchise a bit of life after starting the season 0-2.