We learned a lot because we didn't know a lot.
While there were still several surprises, there was a bit of normalcy to Week 2.
10/14 teams in last year's playoffs won their games, and the 4 that lost took their L from another playoff team.
The biggest upset in Week 2 was the Cooper Rush led Cowboys knocking down the reigning AFC Champions. Dak Prescott, after playing just one season under his four-year $160,000,000 contract completed less than 50% of his passes in Week 1 before leaving with an injury. Had Prescott been 100% healthy going into this game with the Bengals, I would still have considered them an underdog on their home turf. The fact that Cooper Rush was going to be playing did not make their chances any better, or so I thought.
Rush started the first drive of the game going 4/5 with a TD pass to his practice squad teammate Noah Brown. He then led another TD drive on their second possession. The Defense was the story of the night - sacking Joe Burrow 6 times. They took full advantage of Joe Burrow's situation. I think Burrow is an incredible player - a true gunslinger type quarterback. However, he threw 4 interceptions in Week 1 against the Steelers. He knows it is not good for business to have two games like that in a row. He played much more conservative against the Cowboys and they were able to contain the Cincinnati playmakers from breaking any plays open. It's hard to blame a QB for a loss when he completed 67% of his passes with zero turnovers, but the gunslinger style we are used to seeing from Burrow was dialed back from Dan Marino to Ryan Fitzpatrick, which wasn't enough to win. In my opinion, this was largely due to the number Pittsburgh did on him last week.
Whether they had anything to do with that Bengals loss or not, nobody was happier to see that score than the Steelers. Pittsburgh took their first loss of the year from New England, but their 1st place position in the AFC North remains in tact after all four teams in that division suffered a loss in Week 2. We all knew that the Bengals were the team to beat in that division, but they currently sit at 0-2 and 0-1 in the division, thanks to the Steelers.
About a month ago, I wrote an article about a team that has the toughest schedule we have ever seen. The Chiefs have a heck of a gauntlet this year, but as I state in that article, I believe Patrick Mahomes is up for it. The Chiefs are now 2-0 with a huge divisional win against the Chargers. Mahomes leads the league in TD Passes (7), ESPN Passer Rating, and Interceptions (0). He is 3rd in completion percentage at 73%, which is higher than the 66% we've seen in each season of his career. He doesn't seem to be missing a beat without Tyreek Hill.
I am a Colts fan, so please sense the rage being pounded into the keyboard for this section. With the 24-0 dominant victory, the Jaguars are now #1 in the AFC South at 1-1. Both the Colts and the Texans have a record of 0-1-1 while the previous AFC #1 seed is sitting at 0-2. The truth is that there is a lot to love about the Jaguars. Trevor Lawrence is just as good as anyone has ever said he is. They spent the money to get him some quality weapons. And their defense is stifling. Through two games, they have already amassed 6 turnovers, 6 sacks, and 10 tackles for loss. Sure, they have only matched up with Matt Ryan and Carson Wentz, but I look forward to seeing what they do against Justin Herbert next week if he can suit up. If Chase Daniel has to face this defense, I would consider the Jaguars as a potential upset story.
The Bills are off to the hottest start I have ever seen. They had to start off against the reigning Super Bowl Champions and last year's AFC #1 Seed. They have outscored the pair 72-17. They are incredible in every aspect of the game. It's early, but I have not seen any team that could hold a candle to them yet.
Last night's performance from Jalen Hurts has a the league on notice. We knew the Eagles would have a legitimate run game, but Hurts being able to complete 84% of his passes in a prime time game - that's concerning for anyone who has to play them this year. The Eagles have scored 62 points with a fleet of potential scorers. Are they the team to beat in the NFC?
Okay, now I'm worried.
My Colts have played two of the worst teams from the 2021 season and have zero wins. Matt Ryan has been a total disappointment, but so has Frank Reich. Everyone in the state of Indiana knows that Jonathan Taylor is our best player. He had 9 carries while our QB completed only 16 passes on 35 drop backs. Reich used all his chips to get Carson Wentz, which didn't work out. The Colts proved they are ready to make instant changes when they fired the kicker after Week 1. Matt Ryan has a Super Bowl MVP and a young stud sitting behind him while Frank Reich's seat can't get any hotter.
I think the world of Russell Wilson, but he has not looked like the special player the Broncos paid $245,000,000 for. I diverted blame after his loss to the Seahawks but his win over the Texans was hard to watch. Wilson completed only 45% of his passes and threw an interception. He ended last year with the 2nd worst QBR of his career while missing the playoffs. I do not think Russ is on the decline, but I am concerned after this past Sunday.
Last week, I went 9/16 on my projections, but I feel like everyone is in the same boat - we just don't know what to expect this year! So here goes nothing:
Week 3 Predictions
Steelers > Browns
Bears > Texans (toss up)
Raiders > Titans
Chiefs > Colts
Bills > Dolphins
Vikings > Lions
Ravens > Patriots
Bengals > Jets
Eagles > Commanders
Saints > Panthers
Chargers > Jaguars
Rams > Cardinals
Seahawks > Falcons
Buccaneers > Packers
Broncos > 49ers
Cowboys > Giants (toss up)
Jerrick McKinnon RB, KC
Brashad Perriman WR, TB
Evan Engram TE, JAX