NFL Picks: Interesting divisional matchups, rookie QBs squaring off and Aaron Rodgers’ devastating injury

Around the AFC

Hard Knock life: It’s difficult to imagine a more brutal letdown for the New York Jets than Aaron Rodgers rupturing his Achilles on the fourth play of his tenure there. Before he completed a pass. The Jets can still win games, but that’s the ultimate downer about Rodgers’ injury. Their defense looks elite. Running back Breece Hall is on the comeback trail, and receiver Garrett Wilson is special. But without Rodgers, what’s the ceiling?

KC’s road test: The start of Kansas City’s season is getting interesting in a hurry. The Chiefs dropped their opener against Detroit and now go to Jacksonville for a tough road test. An 0-2 start isn’t a disaster — Cincinnati did it last year and still had a great season — but it certainly wouldn’t be ideal even with the best quarterback on the planet running the show. Travis Kelce’s return will help, but Trevor Lawrence and company are no cakewalk.

Rookies clash: The Nos. 2 and 4 overall picks in the 2023 draft square off and three of the top four overall will be on the field when Houston and Indy play Sunday. Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud and Colts quarterback Anthony Richardson both lost in their debuts. Stroud threw for 242 yards on 44 attempts and rushed for 20, but Houston didn’t find the end zone. Richardson threw for 223, a TD and an INT and rushed 10 times for 40 and another score but was sacked four times.

Around the NFC

Love at first sight: Did the Packers do it again at quarterback? OK, it’s far too early to say that after back-to-back Hall of Famers, but Jordan Love settled in over the course of Week 1 and ended up throwing three touchdowns and playing turnover free in a rout of the rival Bears. Matt LaFleur’s team has a ton of young talent and a division that’s up for grabs amid Detroit’s resurgence and Minnesota’s potential regression. Love’s not going to throw three TDs every week, but if he plays well, the Packers should be in the NFC mix.

Best in the West: San Francisco looked dominant in Week 1 — it was out-gaining Pittsburgh 200-1 at one point in the first half — and Joey Bosa played like he hadn’t just held out the entirety of the preseason. Now the 49ers open divisional play against Sean McVay’s Los Angeles Rams, who started the year with a surprising blowout win over Seattle. The 49ers’ only loss since the trade deadline last year was when they had to play with Josh Johnson as their quarterback in the NFC title game.

Carr’s fast start: Derek Carr doesn’t have Davante Adams anymore, but he does have second-year wide receiver Chris Olave. The former Ohio State star eclipsed 1,000 yards as a rookie and caught eight passes for 112 yards in New Orleans’ season-opening win against Tennessee. Carr threw for 305 yards and a touchdown in his first game for the franchise. In a very winnable NFC South, the Saints look well …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports


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