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Top NFL Week 2 storylines: Where the New York Jets go from here

Our top NFL Week 2 storylines are ripe with intrigue after an interesting initial week of regular-season action around the league.

It obviously starts with the season-ending injury Aaron Rodgers suffered in just his fourth snap as a member of the New York Jets. Most believe that New York must now alter its goals with Zach Wilson under center. Head Robert Saleh is not too sure of that after his Jets showed grit by defeating Buffalo in Week 1. Can the Jets make a game of it against the Dallas Cowboys in NFL Week 2?

Speaking of NFC teams, the San Francisco 49ers are set to visit the division-rival Los Angeles Rams Sunday afternoon. They do so after destroying the Pittsburgh Steelers on the road in the opener. Is Brock Purdy the real deal in the Bay?

Related: Unlock Fantasy Sports Success! Get FREE Insights & Tips From Dr. Roto and His Team Of Big-Money Fantasy Winners!

We’re also intrigued to see how the two Ohio-based NFL teams do in Week 2 after going in different directions this past Sunday. After a disastrous season-opening performance, the Cincinnati Bengals go up against the Baltimore Ravens. Meanwhile, the Cleveland Browns will visit the aforementioned Steelers after a blowout win over Cincinnati.

These are among the top NFL week 2 storylines for each team.

NFL Week 2 storylines

Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles (Thursday, 8:15 PM ET)

nfl week 2 storylines: phildelphia eagles at minnesota vikings
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

It became clear last week that the Minnesota Vikings are going to have to rely on their passing game to remain competitive in 2023. Running backs Alexander Mattison and Ty Chandler combined for 34 yards on 14 rush attempts. This forced Kirk Cousins to drop back 49 times. He connected with Justin Jefferson and rookie Jordan Addison on a combined 13-of-18 targets for 231 yards in last week’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

For the Philadelphia Eagles, this can’t be seen as great news after they yielded the most completions (35) on the most attempts (54) in the NFL to Mac Jones during last week’s narrow win over the New England Patriots. With James Bradberry (concussion protocol) unlikely to go in this one, the onus is going to be on Darius Slay to hold down the fort. He did have a pick-six against the aforementioned Jones last week.

Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons (Sunday, 1:00 PM ET)

nfl week 2 storylines; green bay packers, jordan love

Jordan Love is a name we’re going to continue hearing all season. In his first start as the Packers’ full-time quarterback, the third-year player ate apart a Chicago Bears defense most figured would be better. He completed 15-of-27 passes for 245 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions in a 38-20 win. Even without top receiver Christian Watson (injury) in the mix, Love led NFL quarterbacks in adjusted yards per pass (11.3). Not too shabby.

Atlanta relied on a different dynamic to dispose of the Carolina Panthers in Week 1. Running backs Tyler Allgeier and Bijan Robinson combined for 177 total yards in helping young quarterback Desmond Ridder (15-of-18, 115 yards) play the game manager role. Differing styles will be on display during Week 2 of the NFL season at Atlanta.

Related: Ranking Jordan Love among the NFL’s 32 starting QBs

Las Vegas Raiders at Buffalo Bills (Sunday, 1:00 PM ET)

week 2 nfl storylines: buffalo bills
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Bills quarterback Josh Allen was a complete and utter distaster in a Week 1 loss to the New York Jets, throwing three interceptions and losing another fumble. It was just the continuation of his turnover-prone ways from a season ago.

“I hurt our team tonight. I cost our team tonight, It feels eerily similar to last year and I hate that it’s the same. I do,” Allen told reporters after Week 1. If the Bills are going to overcome their Week 1 loss, Allen must change this in short order. He’s now committed 21 turnovers in his past 12 games, postseason included.

On the other side, Jimmy Garoppolo put up a workmanlike performance in his Raiders debut. The quarterback completed 77% of his passes and hit Jakobi Meyers for a game-winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter against the Denver Broncos. Garoppolo is now an absurd 42-17 in his career as a starting QB in the NFL. A win in Western New York would continue to prove the naysayers wrong.

Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals (Sunday, 1:00 PM ET)

nfl week 2 storylines: cincinnati bengals
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Don’t expect the Bengals to shy away from airing it out this week despite the fact that quarterback Joe Burrow tallied 67 net passing yards on 31 attempts (those are real numbers) in last week’s 24-3 loss to the Browns.

“We’re going to load up and fire away again. We’ve played really well playing that style when we’ve been given those opportunities,” Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan said on Monday.

Burrow completed 0-of-5 passes that traveled over 20 yards. Tee Higgins did not catch a pass on eight targets. Ja’Marr Chase tallied 39 yards on nine targets. Cincinnati’s MO has been spraying the ball around the field. One dismal performance won’t change that.

As for the Ravens, they lost running back J.K. Dobbins for the season with a torn Achilles’ in Week 1. Justice Hill responded by scoring two touchdowns on the ground. Though, he gained just nine yards on eight attempts. Gus Edwards didn’t do much better (32 yards). One has to wonder if Baltimore turns to former Pro Bowler Melvin Gordon from the practice squad to help create balance for Lamar Jackson on offense come Week 2.

Seattle Seahawks at Detroit Lions (Sunday, 1:00 PM ET)

nfl week 2 storylines: detroit lions

No one expects the Lions to rest on their laurels after last week’s upset road win over the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs. Head coach Dan Campbell made it clear that the team knows exactly what it is after the game.

The broader question here is whether Detroit can turn that win into a streak after coming out victorious in eight of its final 10 games a season ago. Things will be electric inside Ford Field come Week 2 of the NFL season. That’s for sure.

Seattle heads into Week 2 in a completely different situation. It was shockingly manhandled by the Los Angeles Rams at home last week. That ugly 30-13 defeat also came with an added loss as left tackle Charles Cross (turf toe) will miss multiple weeks of action. Pete Carroll’s squad can’t afford to fall to 0-2 with the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC West. This is as much of a must win that a team can have in Week 2.

Related: NFL Week 2 power rankings

Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans (Sunday, 1:00 PM ET)

nfl week 2 storylines: houston texans
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

How fun! The No. 2 and No. 4 picks in the 2023 NFL Draft going up against one another after pretty solid performances from each in their regular season debut. The NFL could not have drawn this up better in Week 2.

Anthony Richardson played pretty good ball in last week’s loss to the Jaguars, completing 24-of-37 passes for 223 yards with two total touchdowns before leaving early due a knee injury. Colts head coach Shane Steichen said after the game that his rookie signal caller should be fine.

C.J. Stroud was even better for Houston in a season-opening loss to the Baltimore Ravens. He avoided the turnovers that hit both Richardson and Bryce Young. Stroud also completed a solid 28-of-44 passes while adding 13 first downs to the mix. In a rivalry that could end up lasting well into next decade, we’re intrigued to see how both youngsters do.

Kansas City Chiefs at Jacksonville Jaguars (Sunday, 1:00 PM ET)

nfl week 2 storylines: kansas city chiefs
Patrick Breen/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

The NFL season opener was not very Chief-like. Patrick Mahomes completed just 10-of-19 passes to his wide receivers, including 2-of-12 in the second half. We all know about Kadarius Toney’s struggles, but there was a lot more to this. Without Travis Kelce in the mix (knee), Mahomes didn’t have his safety valve. That could change heading into Week 2 against the Jags.

“Trav is getting better, he’s progressing. We’ll see how he does the rest of today and tomorrow and we’ll go from there,” Chiefs head coach Andy Reid told reporters on Monday.

Kelce obviously changes the dynamics on offense for Kansas City. But there’s still going to be a ton of focus on unproven receivers who failed to set themselves apart in the season-opening loss to the Lions.

Jacksonville is an entirely different story and heads into this Week 2 matchup with a ton of confidence. Doug Pederson’s squad might have its own iteration of the “Triplets.” The season-opening win over Indianapolis saw quarterback Trevor Lawrence (24-of-32, 241 yards, 2 TD), running back Travis Etienne (104 total yards, 1 TD) and wide receiver Calvin Ridley (8 receptions, 101 yards, 1 TD) all show out. The Jags have to be feeling good about this one heading in.

Chicago Bears at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Sunday, 1:00 PM ET)

nfl week 2 storylines: chicago bears
Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

A lot was made of Justin Fields’ struggles in the season opener. By all measures, the quarterback did not play well for Chicago. He lost a fumble and threw a game-clinching pick-six into the hands of Packers linebacker Quay Walker. But there was a lot more that went into the Bears’ ugly 38-20 home loss to open the NFL season.

Fields was hit six times and sacked another four times. Center Lucas Patrick and right guard Nate Davis struggled big time. Meanwhile, the Bears’ trio of running backs tallied 63 yards on 19 attempts. The onus is on Fields to up his game. That doesn’t mean the young quarterback doesn’t need more help.

Following a late-game comeback win over the Vikings, Baker Mayfield continues to draw praise from Tampa Bay’s brass.

“These guys follow him and they love him to death, and he’s a great leader,” head coach Todd Bowles said after the Week 1 win. The question here is whether Mayfield can turn in another solid performance Week 2. Consistency has always been an issue for the former No. 1 pick. In order to maintain his role as a starter and leader, playing good football in consecutive weeks has to be in the cards.

Los Angeles Chargers at Tennessee Titans (Sunday, 1:00 PM ET)

nfl week 2 storylines: los angeles chargers
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Chargers head coach Brandon Staley is firmly on the hot seat after yet another late-game meltdown in a loss to the Miami Dolphins last week. It’s his defense that failed to step up, yielding 536 total yards of offense and 30 first downs. Considering this has been his calling card as a defensive-minded head coach, the criticism falls at his doorstep.

“I didn’t do a good enough job today, getting us adjusted throughout the game,” Staley said following the loss. Any time you get torched like that, it’s on both the coaches and players. The good news here is that the Chargers might have a get-right game against Tennessee in Week 2.

Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw three interceptiions in last week’s 16-15 loss to the Saints. The question is now obvious. Is it time for Tennessee to turn to young quarterback Malik Willis once again? He struggled big time as a rookie last season, but showed promise during the preseason. Dating back to last season, the Titans have lost eight consecutive games. They are going nowhere fast. Just how quick of a hook will Tannehill have in Week 2?

New York Giants at Arizona Cardinals (Sunday, 4:05 PM ET)

nfl week 2 storylines: new york giants

Where to start with the Giants? It’s obviously back to the drawing board following a 40-0 humiliation at the hands of the Cowboys in Week 1. Nothing went right. There as not a single positive. Daniel Jones was sacked seven times and tallied 57 net passing yards on 28 attempts. He completed 5-of-14 passes to wide receivers while throwing two interceptions and fumbling twice.

“We dug a hole for ourselves early on and our execution was poor throughout the game,” Jones said of the Giants’ Week 1 performance. At this point, New York should just throw away the game tape and look forward Week 2 against the Cardinals. The Giants are much better than what we saw Sunday night. At least, they hope they are.

As for the Cardinals, they were much more competitive against the Washington Commanders last week than most expected. It was actually a game into the fourth quarter. This is a sign that a talent-stricken team has bought into new head coach Jonathan Gannon’s mentality. Whether that translates to upset win over an angry Giants team in Week 2 remains to be seen. But the early-season vibes in Arizona are not bad.

San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams (Sunday, 4:05 PM ET)

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Pittsburgh Steelers
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Brock Purdy is now 6-0 in the regular season as San Francsico’s starter. He’s the first QB in NFL history to win each of his first six starts while throwing two-plus touchdowns each time out after last week’s 30-8 thrashing of the Steelers in Pittsburgh

The 49ers have won 11 consecutive regular-season games dating back to last year, averaging north of 30 points per outing in the process. They look like a real juggernaut. But head coach Kyle Shanahan has to make sure that they’re not reading these press clippings. Divisional games are tricky. And while SoFi Stadium will see a majority of 49ers fans in attendance come Sunday, it is still a road game.

Speaking of SoFi Stadium, the Rams head home after a shocking 30-13 road win over the Seattle Seahawks last week. Not many gave Sean McVay’s squad much of a chance in that one. The team lacks talent across the board. Even then, it went into the Pacific Northwest and knocked off a playoff team from a season ago. We’re highly intrigued to see what Los Angeles has to offer up here after being outscored 55-23 in two games against the 49ers last season.

New York Jets at Dallas Cowboys (Sunday, 4:25 PM ET)

nfl week 2 storylines: new york jets
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

“I don’t know why people are starting to put an obituary to our team name,” Jets head coach Robert Saleh said the day after QB Aaron Rodgers suffered a torn Achilles. New Jersey was in a festive mood for its season opener and Rodgers’ regular season debut with the team in Week 1. Within four plays, the future Hall of Famer went down with an Achilles injury. He’s now lost for the season, creating major questions for a Jets team that entered the 2023 NFL season with Super Bowl aspirations.

The Jets will now turn to former top-three pick Zach Wilson to handle QB1 duties after his struggles of a season ago. Wilson’s initial task will be to go up against a Cowboys defense that shutout the Giants in Week 1. Enjoy that, bud.

When the season started, Dallas figured this would be a prime early matchup. That might still be the case with New York’s vaunted defense. But the narrative has switched a bit since Rodgers suffered the aforementioned injury.

What we do know is that Dallas’ passing offense was not hitting on all gears against the Giants last week. Dak Prescott connected on 13-of-24 passes for a mere 143 yards in his first game with head coach Mike McCarthy calling plays. Regardless of the outcome at home on Sunday, a top storyline is just how good (or bad) the Cowboys’ offense will look in this one.

Washington Commanders at Denver Broncos (Sunday, 4:25 PM ET)

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Denver Broncos
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A new head coach and pretty much the same story for Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos. The lack of anything offensively in the second half last week led to a 17-16 home defeat at the hands of the Raiders, Wilson’s 12th loss in 16 starts as the Broncos’ starting quarterback.

“Obviously, the thing offensively that stood out, is there weren’t any explosives,” Broncos head coach Sean Payton said about their performance on offense in Week 1. Wilson threw for just 177 yards on 34 attempts. Without Jerry Jeudy in the mix (questionable for Week 2), Denver receivers caught 10-of-13 targets. But they went for a mere 83 yards. This must change against a better defense in that of the Commanders come Week 2.

Speaking of Washington, it put up an uneven performance against an inferior Arizona Cardinals opponent last week. It took a 10-0 fourth-quarter run to erase a 16-10 deficit. Sam Howell was sacked six times in his first start as the Commanders’ full-time QB1.

Taking on a solid Denver defense in Week 2, Howell needs a lot more protection upfront. If he gets that, Washington should move to 2-0 for the first time since Mike Shanahan was the head coach back in 2011. Howell was just 10 yards old back then.

Related: 2023 NFL Playoff and Super Bowl predictions

Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots (Sunday, 8:20 PM ET)

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Los Angeles Chargers
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The talk of the NFL world following Week 1 has been Tua Tagovailoa’s brilliant performance in a win over the Los Angeles Chargers. The quarterback threw for 466 yards and three touchdowns in a brilliant overall outing. However, there’s some major concern in Miami after that season-opening win. It’s all about the lack of defense in Southern California this past Sunday.

Under new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, Miami yielded 433 total yards and 30 first downs, including 224 on the ground. It’s simply not sustainable to expect the performance we saw from Tua and the Fins’ offense on a consistent basis. That’s too much to ask.

New England played well on both sides of the ball last week. Unfortunately, turnovers on two consecutive offensive plays in the first half against Philadelphia sealed the Patriots’ fate. Mac Jones threw a pick-six into the hands of Darius Slay. On the very next offensive play, Ezekiel Elliott fumbled. It resulted in another Eagles touchdown. That was the difference in a 25-20 loss.

Hosting a Miami team with questions on defense, we expect Jones and Co. to be able to move the ball in this one. The Pats simply can’t afford the same ill-timed mistakes we saw last week.

“I’m sure everybody feels the same way that Mac does — that if we had all done one or two things a little bit better, it could’ve made a difference,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick told reporters after the game.

New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers (Monday, 7:15 PM ET)

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Pass protection remained an issue for the Panthers in Bryce Young’s first regular season start. The rookie was hit two times and sacked a total of seven times. But the issue was more about Carolina having to go with a quick strike offense and not allowing Young to air it out.

The end result was Young feeling flushed in the pocket and making several mistakes, including two interceptions into the hands of Falcons safety Jessie Bates. We understand protecting your young signal caller, but such a conservative game plan against the Saints come Monday night won’t work.

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Derek Carr’s first game as the Saints’ starter went as expected. He relied on a talented receivers group to throw for north of 300 yards. However, New Orleans had to settle for three field goals. Two of those instances came with the Saints having driven the ball into the red zone. This was an issue for Carr with the Raiders, and it continued in his Saints debut. Improvement must be in the cards against a talented Panthers defense in Week 2.

Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers (Monday, 8:15 PM ET)

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Pittsburgh Steelers
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Where to start with the Steelers’ performance on offense last week against San Francisco? The offensive line was a wreck, yielding five sacks of Kenny Pickett. The quarterback himself missed on several throws, leading to Pittsburgh dropping just seven points in a 30-7 loss to the 49ers.

“Disappointing day for us. Not how we wanted to perform,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said after the Week 1 loss. That puts it lightly. Expectations were high for Pittsburgh’s offense heading into the regular season after a brilliant exhibition showing. Unfortunately, it’s not going to get easier Monday night against a Browns defense that humiliated Joe Burrow and the Bengals last week.

From Cleveland’s perspective, this is more of an opportunity to get things sorted out on offense. We know what the team’s defense is capable of after holding the Bengals to 142 total yards and six first downs last week. At question here is whether Deshaun Watson and the Browns’ offense can up their game.

Primarily, it’s about the passing game. Watson completed just 16-of-29 passes for 154 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He connected with wide receivers Elijah Moore, Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones on 7-of-16 targets for a mere 92 yards. Facing an angry Pittsburgh squad in Week 2, a repeat performance here could lead to a 1-1 record.