With week 1 officially in the books, and the Packers handling division rival Chicago to kick off week 2 last night, it’s time to shift focus onto teams looking to establish themselves a place in the drivers seat in their division and those scrambling to avoid the dreaded 0-2 start.
Last week saw some big upsets and a few unexpected events. The Cowboys surprised the defensing champs in their home opener, Robert Griffin III impressed in his debut with an impressive win in the Superdome and the Niners established themselves as the conference favorite by defeating the Packers at Lambeau.
So what are the juiciest stories and match ups for week 2? Here are five games I’ll be watching closely.
Baltimore Ravens @ Philadelphia Eagles
These two had very different performances in week 1. The Ravens looked unstoppable on both sides of the ball in a shelling of the Bengals on the Monday Night Football debut. Meanwhile, Michael Vick struggled against the Browns defense and despite poor play from a rookie quarterback, the Philly defense was able to help Philly eke out a close victory.
Which statement is more true; Are the Ravens this good or are the Eagles this mediocre?
Detroit Lions @ San Francisco 49ers
How can one not be excited to see great offense face off against great defense? The Niners had a great showing in slowing down the explosive Green Bay defense last week, so the advantage has to be in their favor. Especially since Matt Stafford seems to be suffering from color blindness, as he keeps throwing it to the team in the wrong colored jerseys. It’ll also be fun to see the two coaches make a handshake at the end of the game.
Which statement is more true; the 49ers defense is the best in the league, or the Lions offense is the best in the league?
New York Jets @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Raise your hand if you thought there was even a realm of possibility that the Jets were going to put up 48 points in the first four games of the season, much less the season opener. However, with the Steelers losing a tough game to Manning and the Broncos, they’ll return to home field to avoid the dreaded 0-2 hole.
Which statement is more true; The Jets have figured out their offensive woes or the Steelers defense is starting to show its age?
Washington Redskins @ St. Louis Rams
While neither of these teams were blowing up people’s preseason playoff contenders lists, both appear to be on the right track. Robert Griffin III was most impressive in his debut and the Rams, now led by the stellar coaching of Jeff Fisher, almost pulled off the upset in Detroit last week. Two teams with young, talented quarterbacks headed in the right direction is always fun to watch.
Which statement is more true; The Redskins will push for a wild card spot this year or the the Rams will finish above .500?
Denver Broncos @ Atlanta Falcons
Yes, it appears that every Peyton Manning game is going to be nationally televised this year. But in this case, am I ever glad. This is easily my favorite game on the entire week 2 card. Manning showed last week that he just might still be Manning. He didn’t play just a bunch of scrubs on defense, either. The Falcons offense looked electric against the Chiefs on Sunday and they’ll need to let it fly against Denver to keep up with Peyton.
Which statement is more true; The Falcons losing Brent Grimes is a game changer or the Broncos losing Chris Harris evens the playing field?
There are a couple of rivalry games like the Texans and Jaguars as well as the Saints and the Panthers, but they fall behind the five I’ve listed above, in my humble opinion.