|Andrew Weber/US PRESSWIRE|
|49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, left, and the Lions' Jim Schwartz will renew their "handshake" battle on Sunday|
Last year, the Buffalo Bills crumbled after losing Fred Jackson, who was as important to his team as the quarterback is to many other clubs. So this looks like a "get well" game for a Kansas City Chiefs defense that was on the wrong end of Matt Ryan's coming-out party for the Atlanta Falcons last week.
Who had the New Orleans Saints co-starring in someone else's show last Sunday? What caught the coaches off guard wasn't that the Washington Redskins threw Baylor-style stuff at them with Robert Griffin III. It was the amount of it. In a way, that prepared them for Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers this week.
The Cincinnati Bengals sure didn't look like the team I thought it would be on Monday night. And the Cleveland Browns' defense figures to make things tough on Andy Dalton in a short week. But I like the Bengals' prideful defense to be equal to the challenge here, and keep Brandon Weeden on the skids.
Just a feeling on this one. Andrew Luck threw three picks for the Indianapolis Colts in Chicago, but kept fighting behind an overmatched offensive line. Playing at Lucas Oil Stadium for real for the first time, Luck will look like he did in his preseason home debut, which is to say he'll riddle the Minnesota Vikings defense.
Incredible to think that 23 minutes into their season, the Houston Texans trailed the Miami Dolphins, 3-0. Seven minutes later, it was 24-3, Houston. That speaks to the all-around brilliance of the Texans' roster, which will be too much for the Jacksonville Jaguars to handle at this point.
One scout who followed Ryan Tannehill in the Big 12 said this week that it was asking a lot "for him to play well as a rookie, based on his experience. ... He's in for some trouble this year." The Oakland Raiders did show on Monday night that they can, indeed, create some trouble for the quarterback.
New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick pulled out this stat the other day: The Arizona Cardinals have won eight of their last 10. It's true, and it's because of an overlooked defense that will give Tom Brady and Co. some trouble. Just not nearly enough to overcome their own challenged offense.
Greg Schiano's Jersey homecoming with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be a nice story and all, but it's hard to believe the New York Giants won't come out with their guns blazing, given that they had 10 days to prepare after that season-opening loss.
Great as Joe Flacco looked on Monday, the challenge is different this week, with the disruptive Philadelphia Eagles defensive line facing a Baltimore Ravens offensive front that still has questions to answer. To pass this test, Flacco might need to do more on his feet.
The Seattle Seahawks' defense is, like the unit in Arizona, better than most realize and will give Tony Romo fits. But the Dallas Cowboys' corners will make things tough on Seattle's receivers and Russell Wilson.
Would you believe this could be the best game of the weekend? The St. Louis Rams didn't win last week, but they showed promise in Detroit, especially on defense. And this looks like a pretty decent spot for them to get Win 1 of the Jeff Fisher era.
Even though the Pittsburgh Steelers didn't win in Week 1, both teams acquitted themselves well last Sunday. As I stated in my column on the New York Jets, I really like the vibe in the locker room right now. But this is one of those where it's much easier to think that each team will come out at 1-1. So I'll go with that flimsy logic.
The Tennessee Titans' season-opening loss exposed problems on their offense line. In fact, one club official said Chris Johnson's struggles were about "80 percent" the fault of his blockers. Not good when facing what looks like a revitalized San Diego Chargers defensive front.
My favorite game of the week, and not just because it's The Handshake Bowl. What the Niners proved at Lambeau, again, is that NFL games can still be won at the line of scrimmage. That's where they'll win this one, too, in what should be a blood-and-guts affair at the 'Stick.
Fantastic matchup, especially if you're like me and you think Ryan's Week 1 performance was a sign of things to come. Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos win here, though, because of something that the 36-year-old veteran showed against Pittsburgh: He's adjusting to what he is, rather than trying to be what he was.
Follow Albert Breer on Twitter @albertbreer.