The NFL season is continuing to pick up and it has certainly been exciting.
Quarterbacks throwing for 400-yards? How about another three last week (lead by Aaron Rodgers’ 480 yards) and eight more throwing for over 300 yards.
Last second finishes? The Bills, Bears, Saints and Chargers all won with 10 seconds or fewer remaining in the game, the Texans won in overtime and a total of 10 of the 16 games last week were won by a single touchdown or less.
For good measure, how about a blockbuster trade? It may not have involved many pieces, but the Browns traded last year’s No. 3 pick in the draft Trent Richardson to the Colts for a first-round pick next year.
Who will come out on top in Week 3?
Kansas City (2-0) at Philadelphia (1-1)
It will be a reunion of sorts when Andy Reid brings his new team to Philadelphia the same night the Eagles will retire Donovan McNabb’s number.
Philadelphia’s offense has been good to open the season. The defense hasn’t been as stellar, allowing an average of 30 points per game.
The difference maker in this game, despite how efficient the Chiefs have been this season, is injuries. Starting tight end Anthony Fasano is doubtful while his backup, Travis Kelce, is questionable. Cornerback Brandon Flowers is also questionable. Jamaal Charles isn’t on the injury report, but had a thigh contusion last week and had only 55 yards on 16 carries.
With a short week and going on the road, not giving players the ample time to heal well enough and having to prepare for Philadelphia’s new offense, the Chiefs just might not have enough going for them this week.
Green Bay (1-1) at Cincinnati (1-1)
The Packers will be on the road, but did you see what their offense did last week?
Aaron Rodgers was remarkable, throwing for 480 yards and four touchdowns. Equally impressive was the team’s usually non-existent running game. Filling in for starter Eddie Lacey, who left the game with a concussion, James Starks ran for 132 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. It was the first time the Packers had a 100-yard rusher since Brandon Graham had 115 yards on October 10, 2010 (fittingly, that too was against the Redskins).
The Bengals D is a lot better than that of Washington’s, and they are at home, but that’s still a lot of yardage for any defense to be dealing with. Especially for a team that isn’t quite lighting up the stat sheet as hoped.
Green Bay wins.
St. Louis (1-1) at Dallas (1-1)
This one surprisingly might be a shootout. Dallas and St. Louis rank 24th and 27th in passing yards allowed per game, respectively. And while Dallas is only 17th in passing yard gained per game, they are only about 20 yards behind Arizona, and Carson Palmer threw for 327 yards in Week 1 against St. Louis.
Neither team has run the ball very well in the early going.
It will be a close one, but Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray have played well against the Rams in the past. At home, they get the edge.
San Diego (1-1) at Tennessee (1-1)
Both teams have lost to the Texans this year.
The Titans have played fairly well in the early going, not turning the ball over. There have also been small improvements in individual play from Week 1 to Week 2.
But Philip Rivers is on too much of a roll right now. He has 614 yards, seven touchdowns and only one interception. He most likely won’t have Malcolm Floyd to throw to against Tennessee, but he still has team receiving leader Antonio Gates and Eddie Royal, who leads in touchdown receptions.
Just have to go with the hot hand here.
San Diego wins.
Cleveland (0-2) at Minnesota (0-2)
Both teams have had a rough go of it early this season, but Cleveland looks to be in shambles and already thinking about 2014 and beyond.
They just traded starting running back and the No. 3 pick in last season’s draft, Trent Richardson. They had no legitimate runners backing him up and are taking a look at Willis McGahee, who was dinged up at the end of last season and wasn’t even on a team getting reps in the offseason.
They are also down to their third-string quarterback.
The Vikings have not been sharp, but they do have Adrian Peterson.
Tampa Bay (0-2) at New England (2-0)
The Patriots have been far from impressive this early in the season. But they are still a team. They are working through it. Tom Brady is still the team’s leader and Bill Belichick still has the team working together.
Playing in Tampa Bay doesn’t seem to be a pleasant thing these days. Rumors have surfaced that quarterback Josh Freeman wants out and Darrelle Revis, who was just acquired this offseason, reportedly isn’t happy with head coach Greg Schiano.
The idea of malcontent players and media reports being “distracting” to a team may sound cliché, but in this case it may be appropriate.
New England wins.
Arizona (1-1) at New Orleans (2-0)
Neither team has run the ball particularly well in the early going, and that might be just the way the Saints like it.
When both teams strengths are in the passing game, how can you not favor Drew Brees? Especially when the New Orleans pass defense is eighth in the league in passing yards allowed per game.
New Orleans wins.
Detroit (1-1) at Washington (0-2)
In two games, the Redskins have surrendered 1,023 yards. That’s two shy of the most yards allowed in the first two weeks in history.
Matthew Stafford may be known for getting hurt a lot in the beginning of his NFL career, but he’s also known for throwing for a ton of yards, especially to Calvin Johnson – who is arguably the best wide receiver in the game.
New York Giants (0-2) at Carolina (0-2)
It has been an awful start for both these teams, particularly the Giants. They’ve turned the ball over 10 times in the first two games.
The Giants can’t be written off though. They tend to be inconsistent early in the year in recent history and tend to start off slow. They also tend to play fairly well on the road.
Since Cam Newton has been the starting quarterback in Carolina, the Panthers have just found way too many ways to lose games. Not saying Eli Manning hasn’t either, but the Giants do have two Super Bowl victories with him.
New York wins.
Houston (2-0) at Baltimore (1-1)
The Ravens will induct Ray Lewis into their ring of honor this weekend, and they really could use him against Houston.
The Texans are one of the top offensive teams in the league right now, while the Ravens have not been quite as hot, especially in a tough 14-6 win over the Browns last weekend. Ray Rice was banged up last week and against an aggressive Houston defense it’s tough to imagine how well he will fare.
And while Lewis will return to Baltimore in some type of suit, former Raven icon Ed Reed will be showing up in a Texans uniform. You have to imagine he’ll be looking to have an extra good game.
Atlanta (2-0) at Miami (2-0)
The Falcons are a very good team with a lot of weapons. They will be the Dolphins’ stiffest test to date.
But they’ll be without Steven Jackson on Sunday. They will be on the road and they are 0-1 on the road so far this season. And on defense, Sam Bradford just torched the Falcons secondary for 352 yards and three touchdowns.
Ryan Tannehill threw for 319 yards last week and got Mike Wallace (better than any receiver the Rams have) into the mix more than in his debut. It’s Miami’s first home game of the season and they are riding a lot of momentum. Enough momentum, that is, to take down the Falcons.
Buffalo (1-1) at New York Jets (1-1)
It’s a battle of rookie AFC East quarterbacks in New Jersey this weekend. E.J. Manuel has vastly outplayed Geno Smith so far (although you would hope a first round draft pick would do exactly that).
Buffalo is supporting Manuel with better weapons, like C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson and Stevie Johnson. New York has gotten solid play from the likes of Bilal Powell, Chris Ivory and Stephen Hill, but nothing exceptional.
The Jets defense has been much better than that of the Bills, however. And against a rookie quarterback and at home, they might be able to do enough to pull one out despite any Smith interceptions.
New York wins.
Indianapolis (1-1) at San Francisco (1-1)
The 49ers just got figuratively punched in the mouth by the Seahawks last week. There is no way to drum up anything positive from that game from a 49ers perspective. But good teams – and San Francisco is a good team – make sure not to be embarrassed two weeks in a row.
They have more talent than Indianapolis does and they will be looking to rectify the situation.
San Francisco wins.
Jacksonville (0-2) at Seattle (2-0)
Seattle is known for being one of the toughest places to play on the road. They just beat the 49ers at home, 29-3. Is Jacksonville as good as San Francisco?
Chicago (2-0) at Pittsburgh (0-2)
The Steelers are 26th in the league in passing yards per game, 31st in rushing yards per game and 30th in points scored per game. They’ve also yielded seven sacks (tied for fifth in the league).
On the flip side, Jay Cutler has only been sacked once this season, Brandon Marshall is eighth in the league in receiving yards, and Pittsburgh has only one sack so far this season.
Oakland (1-1) at Denver (2-0)
Has any team looked as good as the Denver Broncos so far this season?
Peyton Manning is third in the league in passing yards, first in touchdowns (9) and has zero interceptions. And while the running game is currently 21st in the league, Knowshon Moreno bounced back from a poor first game to rush for 93 yards and two touchdowns on only 13 carries last week.
Oakland has the most rushing yards per game so far this season, but just watching the two teams play (with Denver playing supposedly tougher opponents) the Broncos just look sharper and better.
Last Week: 13-3
Eli Manning: AP Photo/Kathy Willens