09/20/15 by Matthew S. Vandriak
There were some surprises in the opening week of the NFL season, while some other things remained status quo. Who will hold form in Week 2 and who will be the shocker or the team(s) to be shocked? Let's take a look at the four best matchups this weekend.
New England at Buffalo
The surprise of Week 1 may have just been the Buffalo Bills and how they handled Indianapolis. The status quo would be New England, who didn't miss a beat in beating Pittsburgh. For the Bills, Tyrod Taylor looked good in his first career NFL start, passing for 195 yards and a touchdown while rushing for another 41 yards. One thing that may damper the Bills offensively this weekend is the status of RB LeSean McCoy, who has been limited in practice due to a hamstring injury. If McCoy can't go, rookie Karlos Williams will be called upon. Williams also made a nice NFL debut, leading the Bills in rushing last week and scoring his first career touchdown as well. Buffalo's defense was strong in the opening win as well, sacking Andrew Luck twice and intercepting two times as well. The Bills defense will be a little bit stronger for this week, as Pro Bowl defensive tackle Marcel Davis returns after a one game suspension. The Patriots offense looked completely in sync last week, and they'll also be getting a starter back. RB LaGarrette Blount returns after serving his one game suspension. Blount's return only adds to a potent Patriots attack that exploited the Steelers defense. Tom Brady threw for 288 yards and 4 TD's, 3 of those going to TE Rob Gronkowski, who had 5 catches for 94 yards. Julian Edelman led the Patriots with 11 catches for 97 yards. Brady has won 23 of 26 career meetings against Buffalo.
San Diego at Cincinnati
Two teams who lit up the scoreboard in Week 1 victories will collide in this matchup. The Chargers came back from 18 points down to defeat Detroit 33 to 28, while the Bengals throttled Oakland 33 to 13. Philip Rivers led the way for San Diego, passing for 404 yards and 2 touchdowns. Keenan Allen was his top target, catching 15 passes for 166 yards. For the Bengals, QB Andy Dalton passed for 269 yards and 2 TD's. Both of those touchdown passes went to TE Tyler Eifert, who caught 9 passes for 104 yards. San Diego is looking to start 2 and 0 for the first time since 2012. The Chargers have won the past four meetings between these teams as well, 3 of those in the regular season as well as in the playoffs in the 2014 AFC Wild Card game.
Dallas at Philadelphia
One team rallied for a Week 1 victory, while the other let a 4th quarter lead slip away. The comeback was by the Cowboys, who trailed by 10 points in the 4th quarter before coming back to beat the Giants on Tony Romo's scoring pass to Jason Witten with :07 seconds left. The Eagles battled back from a 20 to 3 deficit to take a 24 to 23 lead in the 4th quarter, before falling to Atlanta 26 to 24. The biggest storyline coming into this one would've been DeMarco Murray facing his former team. But the bigger story right now is who else the Cowboys will be without. Star WR Dez Bryant will miss at least the next 6 weeks with a broken foot sustained in last week's win. Defensive end Randy Gregory will also be out this week with a sprained ankle as well. Murray was held in check by the Falcons last week, gaining just 9 yards on 8 carries. Dallas has won their last 9 road games and 3 in a row at Philadelphia.
Seattle at Green Bay
A rematch of last season's NFC Championship game pit's the 1 and 0 Packers against the 0 and 1 Seahawks. Aaron Rodgers threw 3 touchdown passes in Green Bay's season opening win over Chicago, 2 of those going to the returning James Jones. The Packers will be without starting offensive lineman Brian Bulaga, who sustained a knee injury in practice and will be out 4 to 6 weeks. That's good news for Seattle, who was stunned by St. Louis, losing 34 to 31 in overtime. Last week both teams struggled defensively, as Green Bay gave up over 400 yards in total offense to the Bears, while the Seahawks surrendered 373 yards to the Rams. The Seahawks will be without Pro Bowl safety Kam Chancellor again, as he continues to hold out. Green Bay's defense will have a hole in it as well, as LB Sam Barrington was lost to a season ending injury in last week's win. Seattle was the only NFC West team to lose last week, while Green Bay was the only NFC Central team to win. The Packers were a perfect 9 and 0 at Lambeau Field last season.
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