Last Sunday, I went through each of our former Wildcat’s player profiles and team matchups for opening weekend in the NFL.
Where will your UK grads be this Sunday, and how did they fare in a crazy Week One in the National Football League?
Broncos at Giants
4:25 pm ET CBS
UK West will be playing on your TV again here in the Bluegrass, as Jacob Tamme, Danny Trevathan, and Wesley Woodyard head to New York for the Manning Bowl. Despite the very gif-able mistake by Trevathan in last week’s game against the defending Super Bowl Champs, Denver is riding high after the 49-27 trashing of the Ravens on Thursday night. Having a long week to rest up before heading to New York is an added advantage for the Broncos this afternoon.
The Giants had a rough outing on Sunday Night Football against the Cowboys, losing 36-31, and turning the ball over six times–two of which were brought back for defensive touchdowns.
As far as the Cats go in today’s Manning Bowl, don’t expect Tamme to see much of the field after having no passes thrown his way on his seven snaps against Baltimore. The number one option at tight end, Julius Thomas, had a monster game last week, catching five passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns; he burst onto the scene in a big way in Week One. Although Tamme is the number two option ahead of the injured Joel Dreessen (knee), his lack of strength as a blocker and the play of Thomas mean the former Cat may only be seeing the field in the red zone today. Though if Manning throws for seven touchdowns yet again Tamme could be on the receiving end of one right? The odds are in his favor.
Danny Trevathan had four tackles and that interception last week, but he’s moving on and looking forward to bouncing back from it. “It was a young mistake. I was just in the moment,” Trevathan said about the gaffe. “I thought I was in the end zone. Next time I’m going to hold the ball up high and give it to a fan or something.”
Redskins at Packers
1 pm ET CBS
The 49ers and Colin Kaepernick got the win at Candlestick Park last week, 34-28, in an epic battle that is undoubtedly becoming one of the NFC’s best rivalries. The hate between these two teams was nearly palpable, and I loved every second of it.
Despite the loss, Randall Cobb was his usual versatile, fearless self, catching seven passes for 108 yards and a touchdown in Sunday’s loss. Cobb looked strong in the middle as Rodgers’ slot receiver and was targeted twelve times. In addition he had two carries out of the backfield but only picked up six yards. Even with the shoulder injury he has been nursing since the offseason, Cobb got some looks on punt returns, totaling 16 yards.
Coming off a short week, the Redskins will be looking to recover from the 33-27 loss to the Eagles whose up-tempo offense made Washington look like a deer in the headlights in the first half. The 49ers’ secondary is clearly stronger than that of the Redskins, and they will have to deal with Randall Cobb in the slot, along with Jordy Nelson and James Jones on the outside, and Jermichael Finley at tight end. Rodgers is one of the best in the league at distributing the ball and not getting locked in on one guy, which could cause serious problems for the defense. I see them getting a lot of passing yards against a soft Redskins secondary, especially if RG3 and the Skins can’t keep the Packers offense off the field.
And don’t forget Tim Masthay who had six punts for an average of 46.2 yards against the 49ers. Washington’s rookie punt returner, Chris Thompson made some mistakes last week, fielding the ball twice inside his own 10-yard line. If he doesn’t clean it up, the Packers could capitalize forcing turnovers or pinning RG3 deep in his own endzone.
Panthers at Bills
1 PM ET
Two 0-1 teams, one AFC East and one NFC East face off in Buffalo today. Stevie Johnson and the Bills are coming off of a last second loss on the field goal by Gostkowski, 23-21 to the Patriots last Sunday. Cam Newton and the Panthers were in a low-scoring, defensive struggle (which featured no turnovers by either team) last Sunday at Seattle, falling 12-7.
Florida State product E.J. Manuel’s NFL debut was promising as he completed 18-27 of his passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns. He brought the Bills back to go up 21-17 early in the third quarter, with 18-yard touchdown to Kentucky’s own Stevie Johnson.
Stevie was targeted 6 times and had 3 receptions for 39 yards, a relatively quiet day for him, but look for him to lead the team at wideout again this year, as he did with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm. I’m curious how Manuel and Johnson will fare against a strong Panthers’ defense today in Buffalo.
Former Kentucky tackle Garry Williams left in the first quarter of the Panthers-Seahawks game after suffering a knee injury. An MRI Monday revealed it is a torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligament. Our thoughts are with Williams in his rehabilitation.
Lions at Cardinals
4:05 PM ET
Larry Warford, Kentucky’s top draft pick in 2013, has only played in one-regular season game, but he’s already turning heads.
Mel Kiper Jr. put Warford at No. 13 in this week’s rookie rankings after his first start at right guard in Detroit’s 34-24 win against Minnesota Sunday. The protection was clearly there for Matthew Stafford, who wasn’t sacked once in a 357-yard, 2 TD effort, helped along by 191 yards of total offense from Reggie Bush. 90 of Bush’s total yardage came from receptions.
Warford and the Lions will be facing off against a Cardinals team coming off a Week One loss to the Rams. Another Cat, Alfonso Smith, was on the field for 27 offensive snaps in the game at running back. The Cardinals are trying to keep their aging number-one option, Rashard Mendenhall at least somewhat healthy. Smith had a so so effort, finishing with 26 yards on 10 carries, but no one is expecting this Cardinals team to rack up the rushing yards–today’s game will be riding on Larry Fitzgerald and Carson Palmer.
Rams at Falcons
1 PM ET
Former Wildcat standout Corey Peters had a solid statistical outing in the Falcons’ 23-17 loss. It was Sean Payton’s first game back under the helm for the Saints and they got the W over the NFC South favorite Falcons.
The Rams started off the regular season with a win for the first time since 2001 in a thrilling victory, 27-24 against the Cardinals.
Corey Peters finished with 6 combined tackles, 3 assisted, and one sack on the day in the Atlanta loss in which the defense allowed 419 yards of offense. They will have to do better to get in the win column today against an improved Ram’s offense that had a great deal of production from Sam Bradford and its new tight end Jared Cook; he finished with 141 yards and two touchdowns.
Be sure to root on your NFL Cats today!