Week 2 of the 2011 NFL season features four matchups between 1-0 teams -- Oakland-Buffalo, San Diego-New England, Jacksonville-N.Y. Jets and Arizona-Washington -- but those aren't the only premier games on the slate. Which Week 2 game are you most looking forward to watching, and why?
I'm anxious to watch the Philly-Atlanta game this weekend. The Eagles utilize a wide-9 defensive front that was very susceptible to the Rams' counter attack last week, and Michael Turner will look for similar success. This is the second straight year the Falcons will try to avenge a poor performance in Week 1; last year they did just that, beating the Cardinals 41-7. It won't be that much of a beat down, but I like Atlanta at home.
I'm intrigued to see what the Colts are capable of this weekend. Could they really be this bad, this fast, without Peyton Manning? Losing the home opener to a Browns team that managed to lose its home opener to the Bengals would send a strong message to the rest of the league about the 2011 Colts.
Will Manning's absence maim their defense and special teams, too? Does it run that deep? Because it was about more than just Kerry Collins in that debacle of a loss last week. Anything close to the Week 1 outing and the Colts could find themselves in that Andrew Luck derby, and the fans there are going to have to rapidly redefine any expectations for this season.
I like a lot of games on the schedule, especially the 0-1 teams with a little bit of pressure to win like Atlanta and New Orleans. But my favorite game is the Chargers-Patriots. There could be 100 pass attempts in this one and more than 800 yards of passing. Brady and Rivers should meet again in the playoffs and the winner of this game could go on to have homefield in the playoffs.
I love the AFL showdown/Uniform Matchup of the Week between Oakland and Buffalo, where the Bills will prove last week was no fluke: Bills 24, Raiders 20. And another AFL reunion -- Chargers at Pats -- is gonna have an ABA final score: Patriots 103, Chargers 101.
Oh sure, everybody wants to see the "superpowers" of the AFC -- the Patriots and the Chargers squaring off in a potential AFC Championship Game preview. And sure everybody wants to see the two best quarterbacks in the AFC going toe-to-toe. That game is fine if you like that kind of thing.
And really, I am just waiting to see what the Broncos crowd resorts to when Kyle Orton throws a couple of picks and the bloodlust for a Tim Tebow appearance reaches a fever pitch. That is what I will be watching.
I'm most looking forward to the Bears-Saints game. The Bears blew out the Falcons in Week 1, showing they could be a lot better than many of us originally thought. I love the way their defensive front gets after it and I think they could make things interesting early for Drew Brees and company. I'm also eager to see if the New Orleans defense can gain some traction. There is no shame in getting lit up by the Packers, especially at Lambeau Field in an emotional season-opener. However, the Saints also gave up 41 to Seattle in the playoffs. Regarding the defense, I'll be looking to see if defensive tackles Shaun Rogers and Aubrayo Franklin can regroup. They didn't have good games against Green Bay but if they get it together, they could really help shore up New Orleans' run defense.
Oakland at Buffalo is a compelling game because both teams could emerge as surprise playoff contenders. The Raiders, in particular, have the talent on both front lines to dominate any opponent in a physical manner. I'm curious to see if they have developed the maturity to string together a series of wins against opponents they are expected to beat. For Buffalo, this is a chance to create some momentum with two solid wins over AFC West teams. This would boost their confidence and get them off to the fast start needed to secure a playoff berth. This game has major implications for both squads, and I can't wait to see it unfold.