Week two is typically the week where a lot of questions truly begin to get ironed out in the NFL season. After all, week one is a lot of shaking off the cobwebs and getting a feel for other teams. And considering there is very little for coaches to scout for their teams in week one, you never know how things will change in week two as teams are better adjusted to prepare. There are a bevy of great games to look out for this week that will pit many of the top teams in the league against one another.
The highlight of this week could potentially be the Manning Bowl between Peyton and Eli in New York. The visiting Broncos come into MetLife Field after a few days extra rest after their week one victory in Baltimore. The Giants on the other hand are coming off a tough Sunday night loss against the Cowboys. Despite a 4th quarter comeback attempt that is typical for Eli, it wasn’t enough and allowed the Cowboys their first win over the Giants since Cowboys stadium has been built. Even with opposite records, the Manning brothers will certainly both be ready to battle each other this weekend. They are two of the top quarterbacks in the league and its always entertaining to watch when they face off against each other. For the Broncos, be sure to watch how Peyton does after his record-tying 7 touchdown passes. As for the Giants, they have added Brandon Jacobs back to the team in hopes of helping out Eli. Eli and Victor Cruz did perform well last weekend, but it was too little too late. The Giants will certainly hope to get out to a quicker start then last week, to assure Eli isn’t faced playing catch-up to big brother Peyton.
An intriguing matchup to look for this weekend is going to be the matchup between the Rams and the Falcons. The Rams are coming off a week one win against the Cardinals. Both the Cardinals and the Rams looked impressive in week one in a high scoring bout. The problem may be, the competition may have not been the best, considering where the Rams and Cardinals finished last year. However there is a lot of hope for this Rams team and there first real test will come against an angry Falcons team. The Falcons were the best team in the NFC last year, enjoying success in their own NFC South division. However last week they saw a loss against division rival New Orleans in Sean Payton’s return. The Saints are expected to be among the top teams in the league this year, as they are every year with Drew Brees running their offense. Expect the Falcons to come out strong and fast to prove that they are still in the running for a deep playoff run. An 0-2 start would be detrimental to the Falcons, while a 2-0 start for St. Louis would propel them into conversations among the best teams in their own NFC West. This game should show a lot in terms of what to expect for these two teams for the remainder of the season.
The Panthers and Bills will face off in a battle of winless teams. The Bills looked impressive last weekend against the Patriots in a 21-23 loss. The Bills are 1-19 against their AFC rivals in the last 20 meetings, so a two point loss should be a sign that the Bills are excited for this year. With Kevin Kolb leading the offense and C.J. Spiller looking impressive, the Bills will hope to offer a variety of offensive options against the Panthers. The Panthers had their own close battle in a 12-7 loss to the Seahawks. Many expect the Seahawks to battle it out with the 49ers all year long for a NFC West title and potential Super Bowl run in the playoffs so it doesn’t hurt that a young Panthers team started their year against such a talented squad. Cam Newton was an average 16 for 23 on passes, but only had 125 yards passing and one touchdown. The entire Panthers offense didn’t get much going, which they will have to fix this weekend against the Bills. Both teams showed promise against excellent opponents in week one, but the 0-1 records could be weighing heavy in the minds of both the Bills and the Panthers, two teams that have had porous season in recent years. Keep an eye out to see if a win can propel either of these teams into the conversation for improving teams to keep an eye on.
NFC North rivals will face off this weekend when the Vikings head to Soldier Field to face the Bears. The Bears edged out a tough Bengals team last week in a 24-21 win. The Bears looked precise throughout the entire game, putting up points in every single quarter, while the defense made late plays that stopped the Bengals from stealing a win in Chicago. The Vikings saw a 10-point loss to the Lions in Detroit, which may have exposed a lot of the weaknesses that Minnesota has. But when you have Adrian Peterson in every game, you are always one small opening away from breaking the game wide open. People are still waiting to see if this could be the year that Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshal take the Bears to the playoffs. This division is among the toughest in all of the NFL and every game matters, especially those against divisional teams. The Bears will want to push themselves to a 2-0 record to stay ahead of the Packers and Vikings. But a win by the Vikings would tie the two teams at 1-1. Depending on how the Packers and Lions do this weekend, the NFC North could have four teams that all have 1-1 records after this weekend, but the Vikings will need to do their part to make that happen.
Speaking of the Packers, they will have an opportunity to get to .500 with a week two win against the Redskins. But you can bet that this wont be any easy task. The Redskins carry their own 0-1 record after a loss to the Eagles on Monday Night Football. The bright spot for the Redskins is that they got the ball rolling and looked quite impressive towards the end of the game on Monday. Remember that RGIII didn’t play in the preseason, so last week was his first game action since being injured at the end of last year. The Packers will need their defense to keep RGIII contained, because all bets are off if he can get in a groove. Green Bay had its own tough matchup in week one against the 49ers. There isn’t much to complain about if you’re a Packers fan, as the team looked impressive against one of the best teams in the NFC. Aaron Rodgers looked good with 333 yards and 3 touchdowns. But the defense will need to step it up to make sure RGIII doesn’t have the same success that Colin Kaepernick had. Both the Redskins and the Packers look to have success this year and their week one losses shouldn’t discourage them throughout the remainder of the season. But an 0-2 record would be a much harder road to recover from, so expect both teams to give all they have to get back to a 1-1 record and stay in the thick of their respective divisions.
The Colts and Dolphins will square off in Indianapolis in a battle between two unbeaten teams. Both teams are led by sophomore quarterbacks, Andrew Luck for the Colts and Ryan Tannehill for the Dolphins, who have looked pretty good thus far. Luck only threw for 178 yards last week, but two of the catches were for touchdowns in a 21-17 win over the Raiders. Tannehill threw nearly 40 passes last week, completing 24 of them for 272-yards and two touchdowns in a 23-10 win over the Browns. Granted the Browns and Raiders aren’t expected to be challenging teams this season, but it can be very motivating to teams that start the season with a win. Expect both of these teams to play their hearts out as they try and reach 2-0. Considering both of these teams were among the worst in the league just two seasons ago, the future looks bright with their respective rookie quarterbacks at the helm.
Another pair of undefeated surprise teams will play one another as the Cowboys head into Kansas City against the Chiefs. The Cowboys started out hot in their opening game against the Giants, but had quite the square late in the fourth quarter as Eli Manning almost brought his team back to win. But as the ‘boys held the Giants off, it goes to their credibility and ability to hold teams off in the final quarters; something that the Cowboys have struggled with in recent years. As for the Chiefs, their teams is rebuilt and looking good to go for this season. Andy Reid coached his first game not in an Eagles cap and Alex Smith suited up at quarterback for only the second team in his career. Both couldn’t have asked for a better game to get the chinks worked out, as the Chiefs went into Jacksonville and walloped the Jaguars 28-2. You can expect the Cowboys to be a tougher test than Jacksonville. But with the confidence that they gained in their first win, you can also look to see Kansas City play well in front of their fans at Arrowhead and keep their record spotless in the “L” department.
The Chargers will look to rebound from the fourth quarter collapse on Monday Night Football against the Texans. The Chargers started their game undoubtedly on fire, as Phillip Rivers connected with Eddie Royal for two touchdowns and Rivers had four total. But costly turnovers and horrendous defense allowed for the Texans to sneak back into the game and squeak out a victory. On the other hand, Monday night couldn’t have gone any better for the week two opponent for the Chargers, the Eagles. Week one was the unveiling of Chip Kelly’s new fast-paced offense as his tenure began in Philly. And with a quick 26-point first half, he certainly had the attention of those in the league that wondered if a college offense could work in the pros. Week two will presumably present the Chargers trying to not fall to 0-2, while the Eagles try and show everyone that their week one victory wasn’t a fluke.
Check out who Handicapper Steven Newman is betting on for this game here
Speaking of the aforementioned Texans, they will take their 1-0 record and go up against the Titans, who are also 1-0. You already read how the Texans did in their win, but its worth noting that the Titans looked impressive in their own right. They went into Pittsburgh and defeated the Steelers 16-9. Beating the Steelers is never an easy task. Beating them in Pittsburgh is nearly impossible. The Titans looked well rounded with Jake Locker and Christ Johnson leading the offense. They will hope to continue their success against a tough Texans team who now has the confidence to come back from big deficits, which they did on Monday night.
An NFC South showdown between the Saints and the Buccaneers will also be an intriguing matchup to pay attention to. The Saints have been making headlines everywhere as they looked overly impressive in their week one victory over Atlanta with the return of Sean Payton. With over 350-yards passing, Drew Brees is looks ready to push his team to another playoff run deep into January. On the other hand, the Buccaneers were one of those teams that were mentioned as being teetering on the fence of success and defeat. And with a late 18-17 loss to the Jets, Tampa fan’s may have reason to believe it could be the latter. If its not bad enough that the Buc’s lost mainly because of a late foul that pushed the Jets into field goal range, team issues in the locker room have added salt to the wound. This week, quarterback Josh Freeman lost his title as offensive captain of the team. Its still early so its hard to say that the Buc’s season is spiraling out of control. But the Saints will be looking to make another example out of a division rival, so Tampa fans should probably look to week 3 to turn their season around.
One of the most entertaining games to keep an eye on this weekend is the NFL Game Of The Week on Sunday evening. This matchup will pit the 49ers against the Seahawks in a showdown that many people have been waiting all offseason for. This game will pit two of the best teams in the NFC against one another, and give the rest of the league an idea of how the teams will fair for the remainder of the season. Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson will look to lead their respective teams to victory, as the nation watches on at two quarterbacks who could be the faces of the league for years to come. But this game will be about more than just quarterbacks. Both teams boast tremendous talent throughout their roster that will certainly be hyped up and on display for a Sunday night game. The key factor could be Seattle’s home crowd, often dubbed “the twelfth man”, which are sure to be riled up and ruckus for a home game with a nationally televised audience.
Week two of the NFL season will conclude with a Monday night matchup between the Steelers and the Bengals. Even after a 24-21 nail-biting loss to Chicago last week, the Bengals remain on many people’s radar to possibly win their AFC North division. Divisional rival Pittsburgh will look to stymie that excitement in Cleveland, but after a 16-9 loss to the Titans where the offense never got going, fans in steel-town may have reason to worry. The entire nation will be watching on Monday night to see if the Bengals can break away from the other 0-4 teams in the division, or if the Steelers can instead take the advantage.
Week two looks to be an exciting one in terms of NFL matchups. A lot of the games this week will likely show fans a better idea of what to expect for the upcoming season. And as for the teams themselves, some teams are hoping for a week two win that can put them at 2-0, while others hope to avoid starting 0-2. As always, it should be another great weekend for NFL football.