Share this article

print logo

Class back in session after Week One lessons

First impressions. How reliable are they?

In Week Two of the National Football League season we'll get an inkling whether those Week One impressions are valid.

Are the the Packers and Patriots souped-up versions of the 1984 49ers 15-1 ?

Have Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers become a turnover machine all of a sudden?

Can Donovan McNabb break 40 yards passing in a game?

Without Peyton Manning, are the Indianapolis Colts the favorites to Luck into the No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft?

San Diego's visit to New England and Philadelphia's stop at Atlanta tops off the week's schedule. There are only four games matching teams that were winners last week and there are another four games matching teams that opened with a loss on Kickoff Weekend.

>Game of the day

Chargers (1-0) at Patriots (1-0)

Kickoff: 4:15 p.m.

The line: Patriots (-7)

The scoop: The Chargers have won in Foxboro only once in 10 tries and that was in 2005. The Patriots made it look ridiculously easy in rolling up 622 yards of offense at Miami on Monday night. Actually, a Fish failure inside the 1-yard line and the subsequent 99-yard Tom Brady-to-Wes Welker pass produced a 14-point swing in the Pats' 38-24 win. New England can be passed against. San Diego held Minnesota to 187 yards last week, but lost defensive end Luis Castillo with a broken leg in the process and kicker Nate Kaeding (knee).

Outlook: In fair weather and after cross-country trip, Bolts won't be able to match Brady and Co. Patriots, 38-27.

***

>Top attractions

Eagles (1-0) at Falcons (0-1)

TV: Ch. 2, 8:20 p.m.

The line: Eagles (-2 1/2 )

The scoop: Defensive scores and scoring returns produce one-sided scores when the games actually are closely contested. The Eagles weren't as dominant as the 31-13 win at St. Louis appeared. The Rams had 335 yards despite finishing the game without injured RB Steven Jackson and QB Sam Bradford. Falcons QB Matt Ryan is 20-2 as starter at home in career.

Outlook: Atlanta better right the ship fast because divisional road game at Tampa Bay comes up next week. Falcons, 27-24.

*

Bears (1-0) at Saints (0-1)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Saints (-6 1/2 )

The scoop: Chicago dominated Atlanta in impressive fashion last week, but that was at Soldier Field. Now they must contain Drew Brees and his corps of receivers on the fast track inside Louisiana Superdome.

Outlook: Saints won't roll up 477 yards like they did against Green Bay, but they will frustrate the Bears' defense. Saints, 24-16.

*
Jaguars (1-0) at Jets (1-0)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Jets (-9 1/2 )

The scoop: Jags' defense shut out Titans on first eight possessions in last week's win, including four three-and-outs. Five of the Jets' first six possessions went nowhere in win over Dallas. Jaguars have won last three against Jets, the last a 24-22 win at Meadowlands in 2009.

Outlook: Expect both offenses to struggle again. Jets, 20-17.

*

Raiders (1-0) at Bills (1-0)

TV: Ch. 4, 1 p.m.

The line: Bills (-3)

The scoop: Everything went Bills' way in Kansas City last week in 41-7 win over demoralized Chiefs. Buffalo crowd will be fired up but Raiders looked very physical and fast in win at Denver before boisterous Mile High fans. Oakland has solid 1-2 RB punch of Darren McFadden and Michael Bush.

Outlook: Despite short week and long trip, Raiders dampen some of that Bills enthusiasm, 20-14.

*

Cardinals (1-0) at Redskins (1-0)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Redskins (-3 1/2 )

The scoop: Arizona avoided home upset at hands of rookie Cam Newton and Panthers last week while Redskins were ending their losing streak against rival Giants. Redskins coach Mike Shanahan is 4-0 against Arizona in his career and Ken Whisenhunt of Cards is 0-2 against 'Skins. Washington RB Tim Hightower, who ran for 72 yards last week, goes up against his former team.

Outlook: Except for the 1960s, Redskins used to dominate Cards when they were in same division. Arizona has lost last seven in series and hasn't won in Washington since 1998. The trend continues. Washington, 30-21.

***

>Best of the rest

Packers (1-0) at Panthers (0-1)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Packers (-10)

The scoop: As if they didn't have enough weapons, Packers unleashed receiver/returner Randall Cobb for two scores in win at New Orleans. Rookie QB Cam Newton looks like he may make fools of doubters with 422-yard passing game in loss at Arizona.

Outlook: Packers should be better prepared for Newton than Cardinals were. Rookie won't outduel Aaron Rodgers. Green Bay, 30-13.

*

Chiefs (0-1) at Lions (1-0)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Lions (-8)

The scoop: KC has look of team with problems, starting with three-headed play-calling setup. Then they lost star safety Eric Berry for season. Lions went 4-4 at home last season against tough schedule, playing well in losses to Eagles and Jets. Chiefs were 3-5 on road last season.

Outlook: Ford Field fans finally have something to really get enthusiastic about. Lions, 27-17.

*

Buccaneers (0-1) at Vikings (0-1)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Vikings (-3)

The scoop: A surprise last season, Bucs struggled in opener at home as RBs gained only 28 yards and averaged only 2.5. McNabb and Vikings' attack were almost shut down completely after second quarter at San Diego. Longest pass gain was 12 yards!

Outlook: Is McNabb washed up at 34? Buccaneers in unimpressive, 23-16 win.

*

Seahawks (0-1) at Steelers (0-1)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Steelers (-14)

The scoop: Steelers looking for ninth straight win in home openers and are 6-0 at Heinz Field in September under Mike Tomlin. Also they've won last six at home versus NFC teams. Seahawks trailed by only two at SF before 102-yard kickoff return and 55-yard punt runback by Ted Ginn broke game open.

Outlook: It would be a sign that Steelers have aged quickly if they lose this one. Pittsburgh, 31-7.

*

Ravens (1-0) at Titans (0-1)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Ravens (-6)

The scoop: Offense, not defense, was most impressive aspect for Ravens in 35-7 rout of Steelers last week with QB Joe Flacco and RB Ray Rice coming up huge. Defense yielded 312 yards but came up with seven turnovers. Titans RB Chris Johnson was shut down by Jaguars, and QB Matt Hasselbeck could produce only four first downs until late in the third quarter. Titans allowed no TDs after first series against Jax last week.

Outlook: Watch for Ravens' letdown after big win over Steelers. Baltimore, 27-24.

*

Cowboys (0-1) at 49ers (1-0)

Kickoff: 4:05 p.m.

The line: Cowboys (-3)

The scoop: Real goat of game Cowboys blew to Jets was TE Jason Witten for going for pylon, not goal line, and failing to score on 64-yard pass play in series that ended up with Tony Romo fumble. Despite big win over Seahawks, Niners managed only 209 yards, and Frank Gore ran for only a 2.7-yard average.

Outlook: Like Niners as home underdog. San Francisco, 28-27.

*

Bengals (1-0) at Broncos (0-1)

Kickoff: 4:15 p.m.

The line: Broncos (-3 1/2 )

The scoop: If rookie Andy Dalton (arm) can't go, journeyman Bruce Gradkowski will have to start at QB for Bengals. Broncos gave up 190 ground yards (4.9 average) in home loss to Raiders on Monday Night. Kyle Orton threw for 304 however, and targeted 10 different receivers in diversified attack. Mules ran for only 38 yards, however.

Outlook: Bengals defense will get sterner test than it got at Cleveland against Browns, who lack playmakers. Broncos, 35-21.

*

Texans (1-0) at Dolphins (0-1)

Kickoff: 4:15 p.m.

The line: Texans (-3)

The scoop: Colts made things easy for Houston last week, virtually handing Texans a 17-0 first-quarter lead. Houston won without 2010 NFL rushing leader Arian Foster, but he practiced this week and should play today. Miami showed some offensive punch Chad Henne passed for 416 yards against Patriots but gave up 4.8 per play on the ground and 16.2 per pass completion. Reggie Bush will have some help at RB this week.

Outlook: Dolphins have lost last five at home and eight of last nine. They're overdue. Miami, 28-21.

*

Rams (0-1) at Giants (0-1)

TV: ESPN, Monday, 8:30 p.m.

The line: Giants (-6)

The scoop: Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo, who was defensive mastermind behind Giants' upset of Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, returns to Meadowlands. St. Louis QB Sam Bradford probably will play with bruised right index finger. Giants keep losing players to injuries. WR Hakeem Nicks (knee) is questionable for this one.

Outlook: Giants still have potent pass rush and Bradford may labor, if he plays. New York, 24-10.

***

>Dog of the day

Browns (0-1) at Colts (0-1)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Browns (-2).

The scoop: Browns can't afford many mistakes because points still come hard for them. They made huge defensive gaffe in loss to Bengals last week struggling to take the lead. RB Peyton Hills held to 57 yards and 3.4 average in opener. Once Kerry Collins got fumbles out of the way, he played effectively against Texans, but by then it was too late. No sign Colts have a running game.

Outlook: This one will not be pretty. Colts, 17-13.

Last week's record: 8-7 outright, 6-7-2 versus spread.

email: mnorthrop@buffnews.com