Contrary to popular belief, there is still no team in NFL history to make or break its season with a performance in the second week. Many will overreact, jumping to conclusions after an upset loss or unexpected win, but the 16-week NFL season is designed to ensure the cream rises to the crop.
That said, a few teams made an impression during Week 2. While the records haven't changed considerably, there are some adjustments needed to be made in our season win-loss predictions.
(Note: I did not make any season predictions before Week 1. After the first week, I put out an update off my own assumptions and conclusions. That post can be found here. Reference that piece when wondering about changes made this week.)
Dallas Cowboys: 10-6
Not jumping off the Cowboys' ship after they got manhandled in a tough place to play in Seattle, but Dallas needs to bounce back in its home opener this week.
New York Giants: 10-6
The Giants avoided putting themselves in a big hole Sunday, as they finally snapped out of their post-Super Bowl hangover. With Eli Manning, this team will always have a chance to pull off crazy wins that defy explanation.
Philadelphia Eagles: 10-6
Eventually, Michael Vick's turnovers are going to cost this team a game. But the talent level around him has helped overcome the self-inflicted wounds, and the offense won't average 4.5 turnovers a game for an entire season.
Washington Redskins: 6-10
This is still a team that has maturing to do, and losing Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker on defense are huge blows. Seven wins would be a terrific first season in the RG3 era, but six (same as Cam Newton's first season) is more reasonable.
Chicago Bears: 9-7
The offensive line issues were again displayed in front of a national audience, and Jay Cutler probably couldn't have handled the difficult situation any worse in-game or post-game. Gut check time in Week 3.
Detroit Lions: 8-8
There's no shame in traveling to San Francisco and taking your bumps and bruises. Nothing about the performance made me think the Lions are ready to win more than eight games.
Green Bay Packers: 12-4
From a defensive perspective, the Packers couldn't have asked for a better Week 2 performance. Seven sacks and four interceptions doesn't happen very often in the NFL. Pressure on defense will define this Packers season.
Minnesota Vikings: 4-12
The Vikings will be kicking themselves for not getting to overtime Sunday. The momentum was fully on Minnesota's side, and it probably would've won that game in the extra session. But, like bad (and rebuilding) teams do, the Vikings found a way to leave with a loss.
Atlanta Falcons: 12-4
Over two weeks, Atlanta looks like it has the makings of an elite quarterback and a roster that is among the NFC's best. Without the Saints as big contenders, at least so far, the Falcons might run through the division.
Carolina Panthers: 8-8
Despite all the love for Robert Griffin III (or the "new" guy), Cam Newton is still pretty damn good. He put on a clinic Sunday, shredding the Saints' defense through the air and with his legs.
New Orleans Saints: 7-9
The Saints have a lot of issues to iron out. I dropped them a game because the offense can no longer make up for the defense's problems. Is there coaching leadership in place to get things turned around?
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 7-9
I hate having the Bucs at 7-9 because they've played better than that through two weeks. But playoff teams don't lose games like they did Sunday. Dominating three quarters but falling in the fourth is a good way to sap morale.
Arizona Cardinals: 7-9
Maybe these Cardinals have more than what meets the eye. At any rate, they've bumped up their expected win-loss record considerably. A win at home against the Eagles, and we may have to give it another two-game boost.
San Francisco 49ers: 13-3
The class of the NFC, hands down. Not only do the 49ers smash you in the mouth on defense, but they also don't turn it over on offense while still making big plays. This team is plenty capable of 13 wins.
Seattle Seahawks: 8-8
Huge test for this Seahawks team Monday night. Beating the Packers at home could spring-vault Seattle's entire season. Advice for Russell Wilson: Avoid that No. 52 guy with blond hair and you'll be just fine.
St. Louis Rams: 6-10
The Rams have played better than what a 6-10 team looks like. No doubt about it. But I still wonder how long that defense can continue holding up in the secondary.
Buffalo Bills: 7-9
The Bills needed a bounce-back performance in the worst way, and they got it at home versus the Chiefs. C.J. Spiller is an early MVP candidate after averaging over 10 yards a carry through two games. But this team has to beat the Browns in Week 3 if it wants to be considered a serious playoff contender.
Miami Dolphins: 3-13
You have to love how Joe Philbin used rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill in Week 2, giving him safe throws against running fronts. There will still be plenty of learning curves in 2012, however.
New England Patriots: 12-4
Sunday was one of the worst losses in the Tom Brady era, and losing Aaron Hernandez for five-to-six weeks is a big blow. But thinking this team is going to lose more than three more games is still a hefty prediction.
New York Jets: 8-8
That sound you heard Sunday was the Jets' offense crashing back to Earth. Mark Sanchez still has issues despite lighting up the Bills in Week 1.
Baltimore Ravens: 13-3
The Ravens made a fuss about the offensive-pass-interference call on Jacoby Jones, and they probably have good reason to. But championship teams overcome bad calls to win games. The Ravens never regrouped on offense in the second half.
Cleveland Browns: 3-13
Rookies Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson gave glimpses Sunday of how good they can be in this offense. While it may not all come together in 2012, there is hope.
Cincinnati Bengals: 7-9
Still hard to be sold on the Bengals. When they finally beat a good team, maybe we'll revisit their 7-9 record.
Pittsburgh Steelers: 11-5
Pittsburgh throttled the Jets' offense without Troy Polamalu or James Harrison. Another year, another Top Five defense shaping up for the Steelers.
Houston Texans: 13-3
The Texans should go 6-0 in the shaky AFC South, so finishing just 7-3 outside the division gives them a 13-3 mark. Sounds reasonable enough to me.
Indianapolis Colts: 4-12
The last 31 seconds of the Colts' win in Week 2 is exactly why Indianapolis has hit another home run at the quarterback position. Andrew Luck will be in the playoffs by 2014, at the very latest.
Jacksonville Jaguars: 5-11
The Texans are going to make a lot of young quarterbacks look silly in 2012, but Blaine Gabbert has to be better than what he was Sunday. Jacksonville needs him to win games with his arm this season.
Tennessee Titans: 5-11
I'm sure Jake Locker is thrilled that Chris Johnson decided to take the first two weeks off of the 2012 season. It's been tough sledding for the second-year quarterback without any semblance of a running game.
Denver Broncos: 10-6
I still like the Broncos out west, but Peyton Manning is going to have weeks where's he's erratic and unpredictable throwing the football. Denver probably would've won on the road in Atlanta if Manning avoided three turnovers in the first 11 minutes.
Kansas City Chiefs: 5-11
Few teams have looked as poor as the Chiefs through two games. The talent level in Kansas City isn't at a 5-11 level, but the execution most certainly is.
Oakland Raiders: 3-13
Like I said last week, 2012 is a transition year for the Raiders. GM Reggie McKenzie needs a draft or two to fill in the missing pieces.
San Diego Chargers: 10-6
Norv Turner is 2-0 for the first time in his NFL coaching career. Maybe this Chargers team is ready to turn the page on past transgressions.
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