Only one week of the 2013 NFL season is in the books, but judgments are already being made across the board. Teams like the Eagles were flying high in their first games, but others like the Ravens weren’t so lucky. We’ll see if any of that changes this week. Here are the top five games to watch for Week 2:
The Cowboys and Chiefs are both entering this showdown at Arrowhead Stadium with 1-0 records. The Cowboys dispatched the Giants behind six forced turnovers, but that won’t happen against an Alex Smith-led offense. Tony Romo was also shaken up in that game, but reports are saying that he’ll be good to go for Sunday. The Chiefs, who had the worst record in the league last year, might have been the most impressive team in the league in Week 1. Yes, they were playing the Jaguars, but what their defense accomplished was still beyond impressive. We’ll see if they can perform similarly against a much better Cowboys offense.
The Cowboys defense played great against the Giants in Week 1, but half of their forced turnovers were the results of lucky bounces. They also didn’t even have to stop the run in that game, because the Giants running backs couldn’t hang on to the ball. They might be a little rusty this week when trying to stop Jamaal Charles. Tony Romo isn’t at 100%, and Brandon Flowers will be able to hang with Dez Bryant. The Chiefs will take this one at home.
Both teams lost their Week 1 games, but they are amazingly still tied for first in the AFC North. The entire division is 0-1 and up for grabs, and whoever wins this game will make a big-time statement. The Bengals actually played well in their Week 1 loss behind a monster game from A.J. Green. The same cannot be said about the Steelers. They only managed to put up 9 points against the Titans at home, and they lost star center Maurkice Pouncey for the season in the process. If you like hard-hitting, low-scoring battles, then this is the game for you.
The Steelers defense actually did a good job of containing the Titans offense, but the Titans don’t have a player like A.J. Green. Green will either torch the Steelers or open up the field for Andy Dalton by forcing double-teams. The Bengals defense remains of the best in the league, and the Steelers offense currently has no signs of life. Not a good combination for Pittsburgh.
The Redskins and Packers both won their respective divisions in 2012, but both lost their first games of 2013. Both of these teams have realistic Super Bowl aspirations, but a 0-2 start would lower the odds of reaching that goal. The Packers lost a close game in San Francisco, so they have as much of an excuse for losing as there is. The Redskins, however, have no one to blame but themselves. The Eagles offense was on fire in Week 1, but they did very little to stop them. Robert Griffin III was also terrible in the first half, and Alfred Morris had the worst game of his young career. One of those two is going to have to step it up for the Redskins to have a chance against the Packers.
RG3 will be much better in Week 2, but he still won’t be at Aaron Rodgers’s level. Rodgers is coming off of a loss and now has a home opener to make up for it. Let’s be real, he isn’t going to let the Packers lose this game.
It’s Round 3 of the Manning Bowl, and this will most likely be the final round. Unless these two teams meet in the Super Bowl in the near future, Peyton and Eli will square off for the last time on Sunday. Peyton is coming off of a historic Week 1 performance, where he threw for a record-tying 7 touchdown passes. Eli did throw for 450 yards in Week 1, but he also threw 3 crucial interceptions. To have a shot against this dynamic Broncos offense, Eli and running back David Wilson will have to cut down on the mistakes. Expect a lot of yardage and a lot of points in this battle of the brothers.
The reigning Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens were crushed by the Broncos in Week 1, but I still think the Giants will make this a close game. This is the home opener for the Giants, and Eli Manning always performs exceptionally under pressure. However, the Broncos offense will still prove to be too much. The Giants don’t have the secondary to hang with Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, and Eric Decker, especially with cornerback Prince Amukamara banged up. This game won’t be as easy for the Broncos, but they’ll still leave East Rutherford with a win.
In what has become the best rivalry in the NFL today, the 49ers and Seahawks will square off for the first time on Sunday night. Trash talk has been flying all week, and you know that both of these teams are going to give it everything they’ve got. The 49ers are coming off of a victory over the Packers where they looked like the best team in the league. Colin Kaepernick silenced his doubters with over 400 yards passing, Anquan Boldin caught everything thrown his way, and their defense didn’t miss a beat. The Seahawks won their season opener in Carolina behind an incredible defensive performance. Marshawn Lynch was shut down, so he’ll be running angry this week. These two teams might be the most legitimate Super Bowl contenders in the league, and a win in this game would make an enormous statement.
This game could easily go either way, but I’m taking the Seahawks to win in Seattle. The 12th man will be out in full effect, and the offense will respond to the energy. The 49ers run defense is borderline legendary, but they’ve always struggled to stop Marshawn Lynch. Behind Lynch and Russell Wilson, the offense will be much better in Week 2. The Seahawks also boast the best secondary in the league, so neither Kaepernick nor Boldin will repeat their Week 1 performances. This game will be as entertaining as it gets in the NFL, and the Seahawks will win in a close game.