In the NFL, good teams are often defined by their ability to win on the road.
In Week 1, seven teams managed to win their season openers away from home. The Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots and Houston Texans all managed to accomplish the task—it's no coincidence that all three are projected playoff teams in 2013.
Looking at the upcoming layout, a number of strong franchises will try to replicate those seven performances this week. The Denver Broncos, New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers are among the teams which will pack their bags and look to defy percentages in Week 2.
We'll take a look at three franchises poised to pick up important victories in unfamiliar cities below.
The Cowboys got off to a blistering start on Sunday night, forcing six turnovers en route to a 36-31 win over the New York Giants. Their NFC East foes almost orchestrated a late comeback, but Brandon Carr's interception for a touchdown sealed things for Dallas.
An important Week 2 clash with the Kansas City Chiefs awaits America's Team.
According to this post from Richie Whitt of NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth, the chances of a Jerry Jones trip to the postseason are extremely high with a 2-0 record in tow:
Kansas City had an impressive victory against the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, but the Cowboys pose a much tougher threat. Monte Kiffin's defense was impressive in the first half, and Tony Romo and the offense kept the turnovers to a low number.
Dallas won despite only averaging 4.5 yards per play.
The last time the Cowboys were in Kansas City, Miles Austin set a receiving-yardage record. It's not likely that a repeat performance is in order, but Dallas matches up well with a Chiefs team still unsure of whether or not Jamaal Charles will be available.
The Cowboys went 2-0 against Andy Reid last year and are 6-3 against him in their last nine games. On Sunday, that number will extend by one on the winning side.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints picked up a huge opening-week victory over the Atlanta Falcons.
Drew Brees had over 350 yards passing and two touchdowns for New Orleans, which managed to win without notable production from two of its top stars. NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal explains:
Great sign for Saints that Brees had vintage game despite only 68 yards combined from Moore and Graham.— gregg rosenthal (@greggrosenthal) September 11, 2013
Facing a second straight division rival on the road, the Saints will be ahead of the curve with a 2-0 record and two NFC South victories before Week 3 begins.
Who will win the NFC South?
Tampa Bay is coming off a demoralizing loss to the New York Jets. With 13 penalties—including one that allowed the Jets to extend the game-winning drive—the Buccaneers looked undisciplined and sloppy on both sides of the ball.
New Orleans was just the opposite in Sean Payton's first game back from suspension. The Bucs have a ton of talent, but to me, a road victory here is one of the locks of the weekend.
New York Jets
When the season began, not many people were giving the Jets a chance on the road in New England.
Fast-forward to Wednesday, and the Jets are a huge sleeper to pull off a stunning AFC East upset.
With a 18-17 win over Tampa Bay, New York made a major statement in Week 1. Sure, the Buccaneers gave the game away on Lavonte David's penalty, but the Jets took advantage of an opportunity given to them. Good teams do just that.
New England is reeling after surviving against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday and suffering through a rash of injuries leading up to the game. Foxborough is usually friendly to the Patriots, but this week could be the exception.
A potential injury to Danny Amendola could be disastrous to New England's chances at starting the year 2-0. If Amendola can't play, the Patriots will lose 260 yards of offense they recorded against the Bills. It's simply hard to make that production up against any foe.
Much less one like the Jets.
New York's defense and fortuitous start to the year combined with New England's injury situation make the Jets a smart pick this week on the road. The Patriots will be favored, but an upset shouldn't shock anyone.
Ethan Grant is on Twitter (@DowntownEG). Follow him for more sports news, opinion and theory.