We’re with you every Sunday to provide the Sunday Six Pack, an article featuring six of the biggest storylines heading into each and every week of the season. Keeping tabs on these events will keep you prepared and informed throughout the season – just don’t drive within six hours of reading this. With that in mind, let’s take a look at week three’s Sunday Six Pack:
Can #1) Will The Real Chris Johnson Please Stand Up?
Javon Ringer is starting to get healthy, Kenny Britt should play a fully complement of snaps and the Detroit Lions and their 17th ranked running defense are coming to town. Will Johnson stop blaming everyone but himself and just run through the hole that’s being blocked rather than looking to hit home runs and avoid hits? Hopefully for his owners, he gets out of his funk this week because he’s got a murderer’s row of run defenses including Houston, Minnesota and Pittsburgh coming up. I, almost not jokingly, called my shot in the Ghost’s weekly article that Johnson would exceed 20 yards rushing and 2.0 yards per carry. If he does manage to have a good game, owners may want to think about moving him before that next slate of games possibly sends him into a timeshare with Ringer.
Can #2) Paging Elite Quarterbacks, Please Claim Your Elite Play
Drew Brees leads the elite quarterbacks as the current QB6 in most formats. Aaron Rodgers sits at QB13. Gisele just hides her head in shame at the thought that Tom Brady is the QB16 behind the likes of Matt Cassel at QB7. And I know owners of Matt Stafford did not think he would be the QB21 after week two behind Alex Smith (QB15) and Andy Dalton (QB18). Brady’s got a tough matchup against the Ravens having lost Aaron Hernandez for the immediate future. I expect Brees to have a top-tier game at home against a Kansas City defense that got sliced up by Ryan Fitzpatrick last week. I look for Stafford to recover as well against a Titans team currently ranked 19th against the pass.
Can #3) Continued Development from Rookie Quarterbacks Not Named Luck and Griffin
Brandon Weeden (26/37, 322 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs) and Ryan Tannehill (18/30, 200 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs, 1 rushing TD), both improved considerably from week one to week two. Tannehill likely will have a tough time continuing his improvement against the Jets who should get Darrelle Revis back from a concussion. Weeden plays at home against a Buffalo defense that melted week one in New York, but rebounded in week two at home against the Chiefs. Although he largely had a clean pocket, I saw signs from Weeden that he was improving in the face of pressure. Look to see how he handles Mario Williams and company.
Can #4) On Golden Ponder
Who leads the NFL in completion percentage through two weeks? That’s right, it’s none other than Christian Ponder, who has completed 75.8% of his passes while still ranking fifth in yards per attempt (8.31) with two touchdowns and no interceptions. His poise will be tested by the 49ers defense this Sunday. An apparently bionic Adrian Peterson running well, the league’s most dynamic receiver Percy Harvin and great mobility for his size have been the large contributors to Ponder’s solid start. If he passes this test, I’ll be excited to see what develops when Jerome Simpson returns in week four.
Can #5) Vicktimized
Michael Vick is currently the QB5 in most scoring formats with some help from 66 rushing yards and a rushing score. More troublesome is the six interceptions through two games. He goes up this week against Patrick Peterson and the Arizona defense ranked tenth against the pass without one of his top weapons in Jeremy Maclin. Being that turnover prone is going to come back to haunt Vick at some point and his decision making will have to improve for him to stay towards the top of the quarterback rankings.
Can #6) The Return of Ryan
Ryan Mathews is on schedule to return from his broken clavicle this week in a matchup against the Falcons who had a hard time with Willis McGahee last week. I think you have to start Mathews this week, but it will be interesting to see if the Chargers keep him on the field for passing downs (I’m guessing no). Owners will hold their breath every time he gets hit. It would certainly be nice to see him get between 15 and 20 carries and emerge from the game without any type of ding, no matter how minor.