Jets-Steelers, Lions-49ers, Broncos-Falcons headline Week 2

The first impressions came fast and furious.

The Dallas Cowboys, with their beatdown of the New York Giants taking place before the nation last Wednesday night, forced everyone to take notice. Caution is requested on the inevitable conclusion jump, but that defense already looks like one that will give the 'Boys a chance every week.

The New York Jets shut down their big top, fired their ringmaster and sent the elephants and clowns home. For one game, at least, the circus closed. That's how you answer a preseason of discontent.

Oh, and the San Francisco 49ers emerged as maybe the most complete team, roughhousing the Green Bay Packers on defense and doing whatever they wanted on offense.

Yet don't forget how the Saints, Bills and Chiefs hit the deck hard, a rude introduction to the 2012 campaign.

What about Act 2? The march to find out what's real and what isn't is upon us, and this top-heavy slate of games has what we need ...

» Rex Ryan's crew against a real defense? Check.
» A high-octane grudge match that will (hopefully) end in a conclusive handshake? Check.
» An up-tempo, wide-open pass-fest between Peyton Manning and the newest upstart vying for inclusion in the pantheon of great quarterbacks? Check. And more.

Here is your Week 2 primer, with games ranked in order of intrigue, from 1 to 16:

Follow Ian Rapoport on Twitter @RapSheet

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.