Week 2 NFL 2015 Travel Guide

Week 2 NFL Guide

Eleven more NFL home openers take place in Week 2. If you’re traveling to one of them, or to any of the exciting National Football League games this week, we continue our efforts to help plan or tweak your vacation agenda. Check back here every week during the season for more travel ideas. Here is our week 2 NFL travel guide:

Thursday, September 17

Broncos (1-0) at Chiefs (1-0)

8:30 p.m., Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri

Storyline: Broncos QB Peyton Manning is 13-1 lifetime vs. the Chiefs and blistered them for almost 500 yards in his only loss, at Arrowhead in 2004. But he looked his age (39) last week while his counterpart, Chiefs QB Alex Smith, looked sharp.

Stadium tip: Behaving offensively rowdy is never acceptable fan behavior, but some fans feel emboldened if there’s no security in sight. That’s a particularly bad move for games at Arrowhead, where local police go undercover as opposing fans.

Making a weekend of it? Any word association game response to “Kansas City” that isn’t “Chiefs” is sure to be “barbecue.” If you’re going to stick around for a few days after the game, don’t miss KC Barbecue Tours, where you’ll visit big-name restaurants and locally preferred dives for samples of their best meats and tastes of their histories. You’ll probably be in the mood to skip dinner, but don’t pass up dessert. Visit Glacé Artisan Ice Cream. Go for the Goat Cheese & Wildflower Honey.

Sunday, September 20

Patriots (1-0) at Bills (1-0)

Patriots-Player
1 p.m., Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, New York

Storyline: How much credit do QB Tyrod Taylor and the Bills deserve for their emasculation of the inept Colts last week—as opposed to placing blame on the Colts? QB Tom Brady, TE Rob Gronkowski and the Pats provide instant context.

Stadium tip: Less expensive alternatives to stadium parking are abundant. They include private lawns on Abbott Road, Big Tree Road and Southwestern Boulevard. Most residents charge $15 or less and even allow tailgating within reason.

Making a weekend of it? If you’ve never been to Niagara Falls and ridden the Maid of the Mist, here’s your opportunity. This landmark wonder is just an hour away and a great way to spend your Saturday. For dinner, enjoy creative vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and organic meat cuisine in an eclectic downtown setting at Merge.

Texans (0-1) at Panthers (1-0)

1 p.m., Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina

Storyline: QB Cam Newton got the depleted Panthers past young Jacksonville last week. The Texans will pose a bigger challenge, even with star RB Arian Foster still benched with an injury.

Stadium tip: If you’re bringing children, take note of the Tag-A-Kid Program. Registered children are given wristbands with their seat locations. Register on the lower concourse.

Making a weekend of it? See the city and learn about its history in a most memorable manner with Charlotte Center City Carriage Tours. Then enjoy fine French and Italian cuisine for dinner at the Fig Tree in the historic Elizabeth neighborhood.

Cincinnati-BengalsChargers (1-0) at Bengals (1-0)

1 p.m., Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio

Storyline: Watch out for more fireworks from Chargers WR Keenan Allen (15 receptions, 166 yards)—and possibly more from Bengals TE Tyler Eifert (9, 104, 2 TDs), who faces a Charger defense vulnerable last week to Lions TE Eric Ebron.

Stadium tip: If you’re staying across the Ohio River in Newport or Covington, Kentucky, Southbank Shuttle provides frequent $1 shuttle and bus rides to the stadium from various pickup points beginning 2 hours before kickoff.

Making a weekend of it? Enjoy Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, the largest Octoberfest event in the country. Try to arrive in time for the annual Running of the Wieners, noon Friday at Fountain Square—100 dachshunds dressed in hotdog bun costumes race toward their owners in 75-foot heats until the champion is decided. Dinner? You’re at Oktoberfest! Enjoy brats, metts, sausages, sauerkraut, strudel, potato pancakes and more. Oh, and there’s probably beer there, too.

Buccaneers (0-1) at Saints (0-1)

1 p.m. (noon local), Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana

Storyline: Bucs QB Jameis Winston couldn’t match, and his defense couldn’t stop, fellow rookie QB Marcus Mariota last week. Good luck against Saints QB Drew Brees this week. Brees hit eight different targets for 355 yards in a loss at Arizona.

Stadium tip: For real-time game-day traffic updates and other information pertinent to your arrival, following @Saints on Twitter or download the Saints’ app.

Making a weekend of it? Pay tribute to American heroes at the National World War II Museum. There are probably are too many great restaurants to recommend one or two for dinner, but you can’t visit New Orleans without at least one beignet and coffee breakfast at Café du Monde.

If you’re in the Bluegreen Vacation Club: Bluegreen Club La Pension, on the corner of Decatur and Canal streets, is a mile from the dome—a 10-minute cab or Uber ride, or a pleasant walk along Magazine Street and then up Poydras Street.

SF-49ers-cheerleader49ers (1-0) at Steelers (0-1)

1 p.m., Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Storyline: The 49ers showed they’re committed to RB Carlos Hyde. In the continued absence of RB Le’Veon Bell, still suspended for substance abuse, the Steelers and QB Ben Roethlisberger will be no more committed to running against the 49ers as the Vikings were Monday—but might be less misguided in their thinking.

Stadium tip: You can enhance your game day experience by taking a water shuttle to the stadium from points on the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio rivers.

Making a weekend of it? Learn about the haunted William Penn Hotel, the ghost of Duquesne University, an more by taking the Haunted Pittsburgh Ghost Tour. For dinner, enjoy creatively updated takes on classic American cuisine downtown at Butcher and the Rye.

Titans (1-0) at Browns (0-1)

1 p.m., FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio

Storyline: After blowing away Jameis Winston last week in his rookie debut, Titans QB Marcus Mariota (209 yards, 4 TD, perfect 158.3 rating) steps right into another comparison narrative against a young gunslinger, Browns QB Johnny Manziel.

Stadium tip: Dress appropriately for season but bring extra layers. The stadium chills with winds off Lake Erie.

Making a weekend of it? If you’re in the mood to be creative, join professional artists and amateurs alike in transforming sidewalks outside the Cleveland Museum of Art into works of colorful, boundless inspiration at the annual Chalk Festival. Then enjoy an exceptional farm- and earth-to-table experience at The Flying Fig. Try the New Creations Chicken & Pork Crepinette (with farro risotto, roasted asparagus and oyster mushrooms).

Football-Stadium

Cardinals (1-0) at Bears (0-1)

1 p.m. (noon local), Soldier Field, Chicago

Storyline: The Bears need another big game from RB Matt Forte, and better red zone efficiency from QB Jay Cutler, if they are to keep up with the big play-loving Cardinals, directed by rejuvenated QB Carson Palmer.

Stadium tip: Parking lots open 4 hours before kickoff. The Will Call window opens 2½ hours before kickoff. Don’t plan on buying a ticket from scalpers onsite; strictly enforced ticket-scalping rules at this stadium subject both seller and buyer to arrest.

Making a weekend of it? Spend a day on Chicago’s stellar Museum Campus, which comprises Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium and Field Museum of Natural History. You won’t be able to fit all three in a single day, but try to squeeze in two. As for dinner, since you’re in Chicago for a Bears game, it’s hard to pass up a boneless ribeye from Ditka’s—except maybe for a gorgeously gooey deep dish from Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria.

If you’re in the Bluegreen Vacation Club: Hotel Blake is less than 1½ miles from the stadium. Call a taxi or Uber. Or if you’d enjoy the exercise and the weather’s nice, the 30-minute walk—partly through Grant Park green space—beats sitting in traffic.

Vikings-NFLLions (0-1) at Vikings (0-1)

1 p.m. (noon local), TCF Bank Stadium, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Storyline: Will still-in-prime, future Hall of Fame Lions WR Calvin Johnson be thrown more than four passes and catch more than two for more than 39 yards? Will still-in-prime, future Hall of Fame Vikings RB Adrian Peterson take more than 10 handoffs and gain more than 31 yards? (Or so their fantasy owners are asking.)

Stadium tip: Remember that Vikings home games are being played on a college campus while a new stadium is being built. Expect heavy congestion on campus streets. Arrive super early, park, and if it’s too early to tailgate or enter the stadium, enjoy thee campus on foot.

Making a weekend of it? Visit Mall of America to explore Star Trek: The Exhibition. It’s one of the world’s largest collections of artifacts from one of the most popular, enduring and influential franchises in Western science fiction if not all of Western pop culture. Then for dinner, enjoy classic fine dining upstairs or downstairs at 112 Eatery.

Falcons (1-0) at Giants (0-1)

1 p.m. (noon local), MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey

Storyline: Who shows up in a better frame of mind? The visitors, who tried to give away a victory only to have it given right back? Or the home guys, who pulled off the feat in spectacular fashion? Falcons QB Matt (Where Was He Throwing?) Ryan vs. Giants QB Eli (What Was He Thinking?) Manning makes for great theater.

Stadium tip: The parking lots usually open 5 hours before kickoff and close 2 hours after the game. Drivers who normally depart the game via the New Jersey Turnpike 16W interchange should plan an alternate route to avoid postgame delays caused by road construction specific go that interchange.

Making a weekend of it? Spend a day in Manhattan. Focus on free activities like admiring the public statues at Rockefeller Center or strolling the High Line. Save you money for a nice dinner at someplace that oozes New York like the Delmonico’s.

If you’re in the Bluegreen Vacation Club: The Manhattan Club in Midtown is about an hour combination subway-bus commute to the New Jersey Meadowlands.

Redskins-NFLRams (1-0) at Redskins (0-1)

1 p.m., FedEx Field, Hyattsville, Maryland

Storyline: If injured rookie RB Todd Gurley is back in the lineup, the Rams gain another playmaker to complement WR Tavon Austin. That could be too much for a Washington team unable to counter with big-play WR DeSean Jackson, who’s hurt.

Stadium tip: You can purchase single-game parking passes online. Cash lots are available, but traffic around the stadium and competition for spots can get your stadium experience off the wrong way.

Making a weekend of it? Spend Saturday strolling National Mall. Make a special effort to visit the National World War II Memorial. And don’t pass up a single opportunity to say thank you to any veteran you encounter there, especially if you’re in the company of your children. As for dinner, never pass up an opportunity for a meal at Old Ebbitt Grill. The food’s fine and reasonably priced, and you never know which D.C. insider will be seated in the next booth. It was the inspiration for Phil’s, the FYI gang’s hangout in the TV series “Murphy Brown.”

Ravens (1-0) at Raiders (0-1)

4:05 p.m. (1:05 p.m. local), O.co Coliseum, Oakland, California

Storyline: The season-opening Time Zone Tour continues for QB Joe Flacco and the Ravens, who lost last week in Denver. QB Matt McGloin likely will start for the Raiders after No. 1 QB Derek Carr injured his hand last week.

Stadium tip: Take Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) to the stadium if you can. Your pregame food choices are pretty good if you can talk your way into a tailgate and not so good if you’re expecting to find a restaurant nearby.

Making a weekend of it? Spend Saturday morning walking the trails among the redwoods in Muir Woods. Later, head to the beautiful bayside city of Sausalito, famous for shopping, galleries and many interesting restaurants that make dining decisions difficult. Go for seafood or Italian at Scoma’s, the iconic peninsular on Bridgeway Promenade listed in the National Register of Historic Buildings.

Miami-Dolphins-stadiumDolphins (1-0) at Jaguars (0-1)

4:05 p.m., EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Florida

Storyline: QB Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins last opened 2-0 in 2013, when they also played their first two games away from home. The Dolphins D should pose problems for QB Blake Bortles and the young Jaguars.

Stadium tip: You probably already know this, but you have the option to upgrade to a spa deck that includes a swimming pool—right inside the stadium.

Making a weekend of it? Spend a Saturday exploring the wonders of historic downtown St. Augustine. The Lightner Museum and Flagler College, both originally hotels built in the 1890s for the obscenely rich of the day, and many of the original artifacts, including Louis Tiffany glasswork, is on display. Grab lunch and enjoy live music at Café Alcazar, a repurposed former indoor spa swimming pool of the rich and famous at the Lightner Museum. Stay in St. Augustine for dinner and go casual——seafood outdoors at Cap’s on the Water.

If you’re in the Bluegreen Vacation Club: The resort in St. Augustine, Grand Villas at World Golf Village®, is just 32 miles from the stadium—24 via interstate.

Cowboys (1-0) at Eagles (0-1)

4:25 p.m., Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Storyline: The Eagles insist their secondary, league worst in ’14, is improved despite what Falcons WR Julio Jones, did Monday. They at least won’t have to contend this week with one of Jones’ few peers, injured Cowboys WR Dez Bryant. Fun subplot: How will Eagles RB DeMarco Murray perform against ex-team?

Stadium tip: Avoid stadium traffic by taking the Broad Street Line from Center City.

Making a weekend of it? If you’re staying in South Jersey and a Bruce Springsteen fan, take a leisurely drive up the shore for a pilgrimage to Freehold and Asbury Park. In Asbury Park, enjoy an eclectic menu, romantic views and gorgeous nouveau-Victorian ambience at Moonstruck.

If you’re in the Bluegreen Vacation Club: Bluegreen at Atlantic Palace, right on the storied Boardwalk, is just over an hour from Center City in Philly.

Seahawks-FansSeahawks (0-1) at Packers (1-0)

8:30 p.m., Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin

Storyline: Green Bay front seven, vulnerable against the run, say hello to Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch. Once-formidable Seattle secondary, now more deserving to be re-nicknamed Legion of Boom (or Bust), meet Packers QB Aaron Rogers.

Stadium tip: Consult the Wisconsin Department on Transportation site for the latest and best traffic advice. Otherwise a variety of road construction projects near the stadium could cause undue delays.

Making a weekend of it? Since the game is Sunday, sneak in a day at Wisconsin Dells on Saturday. Tour the scenic dells as the leaves change or, if you’re with the kids, take the to an indoor water park. Saturday night, enjoy magic and comedy in the superb Rick Wilcox Show. The next morning, fill up for your 2½-hour drive to Green Bay with an all-you-can eat breakfast at Paul Bunyan’s Cook Shanty.

If you’re in the Bluegreen Vacation Club: Bluegreen has two resorts in Wisconsin Dells—Christmas Mountain Village and Bluegreen Odyssey Dells. Avoid crowded Green Bay motels and make the leisurely 2½-hour drive Sunday afternoon.

Monday, September 21

Jets (1-0) at Colts (0-1)

8:30 p.m., Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana

Storyline: So far, infighting hasn’t hurt the Jets’ record, despite the preseason locker room punch that has sidelined QB Geno Smith. Perhaps the same isn’t true of rumored Colts infighting between Coach Chuck Pagano and GM Ryan Grigson.

Stadium tip: Almost 40,000 parking spaces are within easy walking distance of the stadium and may be reserved online.

Making a weekend of it? Relive some of the greatest moments from “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” with a visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum inside the speedway perimeter. Then enjoy thick steaks downtown at St. Elmo Steak House—and DO NOT pass on the Shrimp Cocktail appetizer, no matter how many people warn you about the hot-hot-hot horseradish. It’s worth it. And besides, water’s good for you.

Photo Credits: Matt Elwood, Jeffrey Beall, Dina-Roberts, John Martinez Pavliga, Matt Hecht, Joe Bielawa, Keith Allison, Stab at Sleep and Philip Robertson via cc