Everything you need to know as kickoff approaches ...
Key game-time decisions
All players questionable unless noted
Charles has been working with the scout team in practice while he recovers from a torn ACL. UPDATE: NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reports that Charles will not play on Sunday.
Coach Ron Rivera says he expects his starting running back to play. UPDATE: Rapoport reports that Stewart is ready to go vs. the 49ers.
Williams practiced for the first time on Friday since undergoing concussion protocol. UPDATE: Rapoport reports that Parker and Foster are expected to play.
Gronkowski could miss his second straight game to start the 2016 season. UPDATE: Rapoport reports that Gronkowski is not expected to play.
Armstead said he felt "sore" following Week 1 after sitting out much of the preseason with knee and quad injuries.
For what it's worth, J.P.P. assured Friday, "I'll be out there Sunday."
Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said Thursday he expected Levy to play despite his place on the injury report.
Wheaton is in danger of missing two straight games to start the season.
Perriman expects to play Sunday against the Browns: "I think I'll be fine."
Scandrick expects to be on the field against the Redskins, citing his ability to manage pain: "I'm definitely mentally strong enough to take on a sore hamstring."
Jay Gruden said Williams will be reassessed on Saturday.
Thomas has participated in practice this week, but was seen "grabbing his hip" and "grimacing", per The Denver Post.
Cooper was limited in practice on Friday, while Brockers and Joyner were full participants.
Franklin was added to the injury report on Saturday.
Ayers went down with his ankle injury in practice on Thursday.
Mathis' foot sprain is threatening to keep him out of the lineup for up to four weeks.
Shields was downgraded from doubtful to out on Saturday. This is the fourth concussion of Shields' career and his second in less than nine months.
Fuller was limited in practice all week.
*We could be in for a load of rain in our 11 outdoor games this week. We will update Sunday's prognostications for all non-dome contests as we drift closer to game times. *
49ers at Panthers -- 86 degrees
Ravens at Browns -- 74 degrees -- chance of thunderstorms (23 percent)
Dolphins at Patriots -- 77 degrees -- chance of thunderstorms (43 percent)
Saints at Giants -- 81 degrees -- chance of thunderstorms (60 percent)
Bengals at Steelers -- 74 degrees -- chance of thunderstorms (48 percent)
Cowboys at Redskins -- 85 degrees -- chance of thunderstorms (42 percent)
Seahawks at Rams -- 90 degrees
Colts at Broncos -- 85 degrees
Falcons at Raiders -- 81 degrees
Jaguars at Chargers -- 79 degrees
Eagles at Bears (MNF) -- 76 degrees -- slight chance of thunderstorms (13 percent)
Dez Bryant's five targets in Week 1 were a whopping seven fewer than Cole Beasley. Rookie quarterback Dak Prescott insists he won't force the ball to Bryant, but he could force the ball to his star wideout, especially in the red zone. Much was made of Washington corner Josh Norman not traveling last week. If Redskins DC Joe Barry employs a similar tactic, it will be interesting to see how much the Cowboys avoid putting Bryant on Norman's side of the field. Norman held Bryant to just one reception on five targets last Thanksgiving (the CB traveled with Dez for Carolina in portions of that contest). Whether it's Bryant or another receiver, Dallas must stretch the field more consistently in Week 2 after the rookie passer went just one of 10 on throws over 15 air yards last week.
The Redskins' rushing attack with Matt Jones should be in for a bounce-back week. Jones carried just seven times for 24 yards (3.4 YPC) in Week 1, continuing his inefficiency from last season. The Cowboys' front four got pushed around against the Giants, particularly late in the contest, giving up 113 yards on the ground. If Jones can't penetrate a Dallas defensive line lacking playmakers, it will be a long, long season for Washington's No. 1 back.
Say what? Stat of the week: In Week 1 the Cowboys ran 75 offensive plays and had only one play of 20-plus yards.
The Ravens' rushing attack of Justin Forsett and Terrance West should get right versus the Browns' front seven. The duo carried the ball 22 times for just 73 yards in Week 1 (3.3 YPC). The Browns gave up 133 rushing yards last week. Baltimore's offensive line didn't perform well against a stout Bills defense as Ravens runners earned 1.9 yards per rush before first contact. A key for John Harbaugh's O-line Sunday will be blocking Cleveland rookie Carl Nassib, a bright spot on a dismal Browns defense.
Despite his reputation, Josh McCown puts the Browns offense in a better spot to perform this season. He might not win games, but the veteran quarterback performed solidly in two of his previous three seasons. On a sad Cleveland team last season, McCown completed 63.7 percent of his passes for 263.6 yards per game with at 12-4 TD-INT ratio in eight games. His receiving corps is immensely better this season. After a rough first week, expect tight end Gary Barnidge to bounce back. The TE has much better numbers with McCown in the lineup.
Say what? Stat of the week: The Ravens have gone six straight games scoring 20 points or fewer, dating back to 2015.
The Titans' defense did not allow a touchdown in Week 1, but they aren't facing Shaun Hill. Since OC Jim Bob Cooter took over before the London game in 2015, Matthew Stafford has earned a 70 percent completion rate with 23 TDs to just four INTs, and the Lions have gone 7-3. In Week 1, Stafford was sublime, tossing for 340 yards and three TDs. He'll face a much stouter test in the Titans this week. If the Lions interior can't block Jurrell Casey, it could discombobulate the quarterback's rhythm. Tennessee will need to tackle in space. Detroit compiled 222 yards after the catch in Week 1 with running backs Theo Riddick and Ameer Abdullah doing much of the damage.
Expect a big day out of Delanie Walker. Detroit's linebackers and safeties had an atrocious time covering tight ends in Week 1. They face one of the most dynamic at the position in Walker this go-around. After a down week against speedy Vikings linebackers, Walker should explode as Marcus Mariota's security blanket over the middle. When he's not targeting Walker, the Titans quarterback will look for rookie receiver Tajae Sharpe, who earned seven receptions on 11 targets last week. If Lions corner Darius Slay doesn't follow Sharpe around the formation, the rookie could be in for a big week versus inferior talents.
Say what? Stat of the week: Mariota has actually been more effective on the road so far in his career: 11 TDs, 10 INTs at home; 10 TDs, 1 INT on the road.
Will we get the Chiefs offense that sleepwalked through the first three quarters of Week 1 or the one that blitzed its way through the defense in the fourth quarter and overtime? The Chiefs used running backs Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West a ton in the passing game last Sunday, and we should see a healthy dose gain. While J.J. Watt didn't have a usual Wattian performance in Week 1 after returning from a litany of offseason procedures, he'll be better this week. With Jadeveon Clowney lining up at defensive end more (and looking good) the Texans' pass rush of Watt, Clowney and underrated Whitney Mercilus will force Alex Smith to get rid of the ball quickly and target his check downs out of the backfield.
When the Texans have the ball, the matchup of DeAndre Hopkins and Marcus Peters will be entertaining to watch. In two head-to-head matchups last season, Peters was targeted eight times while covering Hopkins and gave up five receptions for 52 yards, surrendered two TDs and got an interception. Keenan Allen worked over Peters early in Week 1. Hopkins could do the same. If Peters negates Hopkins, expect another big day for rookie speedster Will Fuller, who will have a mismatch with the Chiefs' secondary defenders.
In Week 1, the Patriots rushed on 47 percent of offensive plays (6th most in the NFL) going for 106 yards on 31 carries. New England hasn't finished the season with a run percent of 47-plus since 2006 (47.3). Even after Jimmy Garoppolo's stellar opener, the plan could be similar facing a Dolphins defense that allowed 112 yards on the ground in Week 1. Pats receivers, however, will have an advantage against a weak set of Dolphins cornerbacks, if Garoppolo's line can keep Miami's pass rushers at bay.
The Dolphins will utilize the quick passing attack to Jarvis Landry to supplement the running game of Arian Foster. Foster looked spry but managed just 2.9 yards per carry on 13 totes (the stats don't tell the correct story). If Foster remains healthy, he'll be the workhorse. Getting the ball quickly out of Ryan Tannehill's hands will be key against the Pats defense. Tannehill was sacked five times in Week 1. The Patriots pass rush looks just as good as 2015 (49 sacks, second-most in NFL). Chris Long was a menace in Week 1. If Long's health holds, he'll more than make up for the Chandler Jones trade.
Say what? Stat of the week: Bill Belichick is 21-7 (.750 percent) versus first-year head coaches in their first meeting (excludes interim). Belichick has won seven straight of these matchups. His last loss was in 2009 to Jim Caldwell (Colts).
Last time these two teams locked horns, they scored 101 combined points in a shootout in New Orleans. Drew Brees looks primed to put up another monster season, spreading the ball around to his array of targets last week for 423 yards. With Brandin Cooks as the deep threat, Willie Snead the physical possession receiver, Michael Thomas making acrobatic plays and Mark Ingram proving a weapon in the passing game out of the backfield, Brees has his best set of weapons in years. But this is not the same Giants defense he torched last season. Big Blue's defensive front was one of the most impressive units in Week 1. The group might not have gotten sacks, but Olivier Vernon was a stud against the run, and the group pushed the pocket against a good Cowboys offensive line.
The Giants have a district advantage in the passing game. Not just with Odell Beckham Jr., who is a mismatch for any secondary. Rookie Sterling Shepard continued his exceptional play from the preseason with a TD and three catches in Week 1. Victor Cruz, after more than a year away, is back to being more than a mere corporeal entity. The Saints secondary is in woeful shape after losing No. 1 CB Delvin Breaux. P.J. Williams struggled in his first start, DeVante Harris was no better and rookie Ken Crawley was downright dreadful in 33 coverage snaps. It's hard to imagine Eli Manning NOT having a field day Sunday afternoon.
Say what? Stat of the week: Brees has passed for 300-plus yards in five straight games dating back to 2015. His longest such streak since going nine straight from 2012-13.
Let's start with A.J. Green. Too often forgotten in discussions about the NFL's top receivers, Green torched Darrelle Revis and the Jets for 180 yards on 12 receptions (13 targets) and a TD. Dalton had a passer rating of 144.4 when targeting Green and just 77.1 to all other receivers. Facing a Steelers secondary that played mostly zone last week to mask deficiencies, Green is in for another big day even with double- and triple-teams coming his way.
Hopefully, we get Green and Antonio Brown matching each other with spectacular plays. Brown's Week 1 torching of poor Bashaud Breeland was less about the Redskins corner and more about how unstoppable Brown is when Ben Roethlisberger is on the field. Big Ben had a 150.0 passer rating when targeting Antonio Brown (take that, Dalton-Green). Over his last 16 games with Roethlisberger, Brown has 151 receptions, 2,048 receiving yards, and 14 TD. Good luck to any secondary trying to slow AB down this season.
Say what? Stat of the week: The Bengals had only 57 rush yards in Week 1. In their previous 48 games, Cincinnati earned fewer than 57 rush yards once.
Will Carlos Hyde be able to duplicate his fast start in Chip Kelly's offense? The third-year pro ripped off 88 yards and two touchdowns on 23 totes. Hyde's size and lateral agility are a perfect match for Kelly's system. Sunday he'll face arguably the toughest front seven in the NFL. Even if Hyde can get to the second level of the Panthers defense, Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis are the fastest linebacker combo in the league and gobble up runners like hungry hippos. If Hyde is shut down, will Blaine Gabbert be able to move the ball at all Sunday? It seems doubtful.
The San Francisco defense pitched a Week 1 shutout, but was that a mirage aided by an inept Rams offense or the real deal? The further NaVorro Bowman gets from his ACL tear, the more dominant he becomes. The linebacking maven earned nine tackles, one TFL and an INT in the opener. His matchup corralling Cam Newton in space will be fascinating to watch. Kelvin Benjamin popped back from his own ACL tear to remind the world his massive size is a mismatch against any corner, especially in the red zone. We need to see more from Devin Funchess and the rest of Newton's wideout corps this week versus an overlooked 49ers secondary.
Say what? Stat of the week: Hyde loves Week 1 games, scoring 3 career TDs in Week 1s and averaging 102 yards per contest. In Weeks 2-17 the back as a combined 4 TDs and just 30.8 YPG average in 19 games.
Watching Buccaneers linebacker Kwon Alexander is becoming one of the true joys in life. The second-year tackling aficionado flies all over the field, engulfing ball carriers, smashing into lineman, hurling himself into receivers. In Week 1, Kwon had 17 tackles (15 solo), 2 TFL, 2 QB hits and a sack. Find Alexander and you find the ball. The linebacker's matchup with Cards stud running back David Johnson will be the key. For all his dynamic plays, Alexander sometimes gets lost in coverage, which Johnson could take advantage of.
We expect Patrick Peterson to stick on Mike Evans the majority of the contest, which could provide Vincent Jackson and tight ends Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Brandon Myers big days. Jameis Winston wasn't keyed in on Evans in Week 1, spreading the ball around to a plethora of targets (four passing TDs to four different players). Even with the addition of ex-Seahawks corner Tharold Simon, the Cards secondary is vulnerable. If Winston can withstand Arizona's pass rush (he didn't face one last week in Atlanta) there are yards to be had through the air against Arizona.
Say what? Stat of the week: In Week 1, Larry Fitzgerald earned 8 receptions on 10 targets for 81 yards and 2 TDs. According to Next Gen Stats, all eight of Fitzgerald's receptions came when lining up in the slot, most of any receiver to open the 2016 season.
Poor Todd Gurley. Saddled with zero passing threat -- going all the way back to 2014, the Rams have averaged the fewest pass YPG (191.7) in the NFL -- the talented running back faces a box loaded with defenders. In Week 1, Gurley was so often hit in the backfield he had to bowl defenders over just to gain a single yard. Sunday's outlook is even meaner. The Seahawks haven't allowed an individual 100-yard rusher since Week 11, 2014.
Russell Wilson won't be 100 percent on Sunday following an ankle injury. How much his mobility is hindered could determine the Seahawks game plan. After watching their offensive line get pushed around in pass protection, it's unlikely Pete Carroll wants to see Wilson trying his normal magic tricks versus a stout Rams defensive front. L.A.'s weakness remains its secondary after losing key players this offseason. Is Wilson healthy enough and mobile enough to exploit it or will get a persistent pounding attack of Thomas Rawls and Christine Michael into the strength of the Rams D?
Say what? Stat of the week: The Rams had the worst total offense in the NFL last season (297.6 total YPG), but fell more than 100 yards short of that average in Week 1 and averaged only 3.1 yards per play (worst in NFL).
It's strength on strength in Denver Sunday afternoon. Andrew Luck is back to his 2014 form, slinging the ball for 385 passing yards and four TDs. With tight end Jack Doyle looking like the player the Colts thought Colby Fleener was, Luck has a surplus of weapons. He'll need them all against a studly Broncos secondary. The Colts offensive line played above expectations in Week 1, keeping Luck clean as he propelled a comeback. The key matchup will be Denver's edge rushers, Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware, et al., against Colts tackles. The Broncos missed Malik Jackson pushing the interior in Week 1, so look for Luck to climb the pocket often to escape those edge rushing demons. In four career games versus the Colts (including playoffs), Miller has 0 sacks.
After facing the stout Panthers defense in his first start, going up against a banged up, talent deficient Indy squad might seem like a scurry through the park for Trevor Siemian. Colts linebacker Sio Moore played well in space last week. That's the only nice thing I can say for Chuck Pagano's defensive group. Indy was already without two of its top three defensive backs, then lost two more last week. Demaryius Thomas (if healthy) and Emmanuel Sanders should be open all day. Of course, after watching the Lions scamper all over the field, Gary Kubiak could decide to protect his young quarterback and hand the ball to C.J. Anderson and Devontae Booker 10 billion times.
For the second straight week, Derek Carr faces a defense that lacks pass rush oomph. After throwing for 319 yards without a sack in Week 1, he'll face a Falcons defense that didn't take down the quarterback and combined for just six QB hits in Week 1. Carr should have plenty of time to find Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree downfield against an Atlanta secondary that was diced up last week.
Can the Falcons get the running game going, or will it once again rely on Matt Ryan hurling passes? Devonta Freeman rushed for just 20 yards on 11 carries in Week 1. Atlanta's offensive line must do a better job creating holes versus Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin. Freeman and Tevin Coleman were often hit in the backfield in Week 1. It will be interesting to see how long a leash veteran corner Sean Smith is given after his benching last week. The combo of Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu could pick on Smith.
T.J. Yeldon should be in for a fine day, regardless of whether Chris Ivory (released from the hospital this week) plays. The Chargers were carved up by Chiefs running backs in the passing game last week. Yeldon has the ball-skills to torture San Diego linebackers in space. The Chargers boast a solid trio of corners that will make life slightly more difficult for Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, so look for Yeldon and tight end Julius Thomas to take advantage of good matchups.
The Chargers offense fell apart without Keenan Allen last week. Since 2013, in games without Allen, Philip Rivers has thrown for 25.4 fewer yards per game and a passer rating 18 points lower. Tyrell Williams will need to step up opposite Travis Benjamin, but the drop off sans Allen is large. We're likely to see Danny Woodhead used more in the passing attack this week. After earning just one sack against Aaron Rodgers last week, the Jags front needs to pressure Rivers more consistently to knock off the home team.
Say what? Stat of the week: Jacksonville is 0-6 in September road games under Gus Bradley, getting outscored 223-84 in those six tilts.
The expectation is Sam Bradford gets the start as the Vikings open their new stadium. Regardless of who is under center, Minnesota's ground game must improve. Hill was not a problem in Week 1, passing for 236 yards without a turnover. The stacked boxes didn't help, but even with Bradford under center, All Day will be the focal point of every defense this season. Peterson's 1.6 yards per carry in Week 1 were the second worst of his career (min. 15 carries). Most troubling was the -2 yards after contact Peterson earned. The revamped Vikings offensive line must be better versus a Packers defensive front that gave up just 48 rushing yards (1.8 yards per carry) in the opener.
Green Bay's offense looked more cohesive than last season's struggles but still managed just 294 yards passing. Aaron Rodgers' rapport with Jordy Nelson was key on plays that broke down, but the timing routes against a good Vikings secondary will need to improve in Week 2. The Packers' offensive line played well against Jacksonville, giving up just one sack (thanks in part to Rodgers' otherworldly pocket movement) but the test ramps up against Everson Griffen, Linval Joseph, Anthony Barr and Danielle Hunter, who jumped out on the Week 1 game film.
Carson Wentz impressed in the opener, tossing for 278 yards on 22-of-37 passing for two touchdowns and a 101.0 passer rating against the Browns. He'll have a slightly stiffer test against the Bears in primetime. Chicago's defense forced an interception and earned two sacks last week, but gave up 346 yards in the process. After a career-high 14 targets in Week 1, Jordan Matthews should see a lot of passes his way once again against a Bears secondary that was picked on last week without CB Kyle Fuller.
We can't take much from Jim Schwartz's defense against the anemic Browns. The Eagles will have a bigger challenge shutting down the Jay Cutler-Alshon Jeffery combo. Will we finally see more out of Kevin White after an anticlimactic beginning to his career? Philadelphia's corners didn't stand out last week and could be picked on by Cutler if he has time to throw. Fletcher Cox, as always, was a beast to open the year. The matchup between Cox and Pro Bowl guard Kyle Long should be fun to keep an eye on.
Say what? Stat of the week:Ryan Mathews earned 22 carries for 77 yards and a TD in Week 1. Mathews hasn't had consecutive games of 20-plus rushes since ending the 2013 season with four straight games of 24-plus rushes.