Home / 2019-20 Game of the Week

After two weeks in the NFL, a few storylines have dominated headlines. Players demanding trades (Ramsey, Fitzpatrick, Alonso), quarterbacks dropping like flies (Rothlisberger, Brees, Foles) and a pair of unconventional players staking an early claim to the MVP award, Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes. Those two quarterbacks will take center stage this Sunday in our week three Finish Line Game of the Week.

Chiefs & Ravens

Baltimore Ravens vs. Kansas City Chiefs (Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET)

All-time Matchup: 5-4 Kansas City Chiefs

Last Five Results

  • Regular Season 12/09/18 (27-24 OT Chiefs)
  • Regular Season 12/20/15 (34-14 Chiefs)
  • Regular Season 10/07/12 (9-6 Ravens)
  • Regular Season 09/13/09 (38-24 Ravens)
  • Regular Season 12/10/06 (20-10 Ravens)

Ravens X-Factors

  • Lamar Jackson (quarterback)
  • Mark Ingram (running back)
  • Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown (wide receiver)

Chiefs X-Factors

  • Patrick Mahomes (quarterback)
  • Travis Kelce (tight end)
  • Sammy Watkins (wide receiver)

 

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Both of these teams come into this game with 2-0 records. The Chiefs have made easy work of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders, while the Ravens have throttled the Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinals to start the year. The early dominance of these teams is a direct reflection of the exceptional of their guys under center. Mahomes has followed his MVP campaign with even gaudier numbers. Thus far, he’s thrown for 821 yards, 7 touchdowns with a 71.4 completion percentage. For his efforts, Jackson has been equally impressive. Throwing for 596 yards, 7 touchdowns on a 71.9 completion percentage. Lamar’s also added 126 yards on the ground. This head-to-head matchup should boil down to Mahomes’ arm versus Jackson’s legs. For Jackson this game represents a chance at retribution. His only regular season loss as a starting quarterback came last at the hands of Mahomes and the Chiefs. The game ended on a 35-yard field goal from Harrison Butker. That chance at redemption will certainly be on the mind of Jackson.

 

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Past those two quarterbacks, both sides have some real playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. We all know about the Chiefs receiving corps, Sammy Watkins and Travis Kelce are two of the best at their positions and Demarcus Robinson had a hell of a game (6 receptions, 172 yards, 2 touchdowns) against the Raiders last week. The Ravens have found success with new additions Mark Ingram and Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown. Second-year tight end Mark Andrews has proved to be an excellent safety net for Lamar as well. With all these weapons on the field, I think it’s safe to expect a shootout.

Over the last three years, the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams have built one of the NFL’s biggest rivalries. Trading wins in their last four meetings [over that three year span], the two sides have proved to be pretty evenly matched. With their last meeting being the infamous NFC Championship “No-Call” game, tension should be high for this upcoming matchup. Thus the stage is set for our week two Finish Line Game of the Week.

Saints & Rams

New Orleans vs. Los Angeles (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)

All-time Matchup: 42-34 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams

Last Five Results

  • NFC Championship 01/20/19 (26-23 Rams)
  • Regular Season 11/04/18 (45-35 Saints)
  • Regular Season 11/26/17 (26-20 Rams)
  • Regular Season 11/27/16 (49-21 Saints)
  • Regular Season 12/15/13 (27-16 Rams)

Saints X-Factors

  • Alvin Kamara (running back)
  • Eli Apple/P.J. Williams (cornerbacks)
  • Taysom Hill (quarterback/h-back/special teams ace)

Rams X-Factors

  • Cory Littleton (inside linebacker)
  • Marcus Peters (cornerback)
  • Cooper Kupp (wide receiver)

 

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Both sides are coming into this game fresh off week one wins. The Rams handled the Carolina Panthers, while the Saints beat the Houston Texans in dramatic fashion on Monday Night Football. One would think that coming into this game on a short week puts the Saints at an immediate disadvantage. But with the high stakes of this game you have to figure that Sean Payton will have the Saints ready to go. Last week, the Rams struggled to handle running back Christian McCaffrey (209 yards from scrimmage). Which should bode well for Alvin Kamara, who brings an eerily similar skillset to the table. Whether he’s in the backfield or lined up in the slot, Kamara will present a challenge for the Rams front seven. Past this battle, both teams will need to look for ways to integrate role players into their respective offenses. For the Saints that means getting Ted Ginn Jr., Jared Cook and Taysom Hill involved to take some pressure off of Michael Thomas. While the Rams will need to get Robert Woods, Josh Reynolds and Cooper Kupp to lighten the loads of Brandin Cooks and Todd Gurley.

 

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The all-time matchup between the sides stands at 42-34 with the Rams franchise in the lead. Though as mentioned before things have been quite evenly matched over the last three years. League Defensive MVP and Rams lineman, Aaron Donald said that he expects “a dogfight” this Sunday.

“We’ve been playing them every season. We know what type of game it’s going to be. It’s usually a physical game. It’s a game with a lot of back-and-forth — usually a good game, a close game. That’s what we expect, we expect a dog fight,” said Donald to Rams Wire. You can surely expect that mindset is the same in the Saints locker room. Buckle up everyone, we’ve got quite the game on our hands.

Steelers vs. Patriots

Can we all take a second to praise the return of football? It’s been a long nine months en route to bringing 11-on-11 back into our lives. This season is particularly special, given it’s the NFL’s 100th season. To give this special season its proper due, here at Finish Line we’re going to highlight a marquee game each week and ask for your opinions on said game. The matchup may have a special wrinkle/storyline, be a rivalry, or have implications in the standings. Either way we’re going to provide you with some background on the game and help keep you informed before you make a pick.

FNL Game of the Week

Pittsburgh vs. New England (Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET)
All-time Matchup: 16-16
Last Five Results:

  • Regular Season 12/16/18 (17-10 Steelers)
  • Regular Season 12/17/17 (27-24 Patriots)
  • AFC Championship 1/22/17 (36-17 Patriots)
  • Regular Season 10/23/16 (27-16 Patriots)
  • Regular Season 9/10/15 (28-21 Patriots)

Patriots X-Factors

  • Sony Michel (running back)
  • James White (running back)
  • Stephon Gilmore (cornerback)

Steelers X-Factors

  • T.J. Watt (outside linebacker)
  • Cameron Heyward (defensive end)
  • JuJu Smith-Schuster (wide receiver)

 

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For our first game of the week we’re heading to Foxborough, MA and taking a look at the matchup between the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Coming into this season, expectations for both sides are high. While the game will feature future Hall of Fame quarterback’s Tom Brady and Ben Rothlisberger, the game should come down to Pittsburgh’s revamped defense and New England’s new look offense. As both of those units are working multiple new starters into the fold. The Steelers added cornerback Steven Nelson, linebacker Mark Barron and drafted linebacker Devin Bush. While the Patriots are using first-time starters Isaiah Wynn and Joe Thuney on the offensive line. In addition to having to replace Rob Gronkowski with Matt LaCosse at the tight end position. Whichever of those sides can best integrate those new players should have an edge in the matchup.

 

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Rain is a good thing ☔????

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All-time, the two franchises are tied at 16 wins apiece against one another. Though, the matchup heavily favors the Patriots since Brady took reins of the Patriots offense in 2001 (he’s 8-3 against Pittsburgh). During his week 1 presser, via Steelers’ official Twitter, Mike Tomlin said this of Brady: “he’s very difficult to trick, and even if you do, it won’t happen over an extended period of time or over the course of a football game.” Less concerned with tricking Brady, the Steelers head coach continued to explain that he was more concerned with limiting mistakes that teams commonly face in week 1. Easier said than done, especially when facing the defending champs. In fact, in season openers following Super Bowl wins, the Patriots are 5-1 all time.