With three of the four NFC East teams recording a win in Week 1, the pressure in Week 2 rests squarely on that one team that lost – the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants.
In the past 16 seasons, just 13 teams that started the season with two losses recovered to make the playoffs.
Less than 10 percent of 0-2 teams – 13 out of 138 (9.4%) – during that time span reached the postseason.
NFC East Division matchups this week feature inter-conference games, games in different time zones and one very intriguing contest that some peg as a possible Super Bowl preview.
Without further ado, here are “5 THINGS TO WATCH FOR” in Week 2:
· Super Bowl Preview?
Both Philadelphia and Baltimore have Big Game aspirations. Neither team has been shy about stating their intentions of competing for a championship this season.
Both seem to have the pieces in place to do just that – but both have QBs with something to prove in the 1 p.m. Sunday game in Philadelphia.
Michael Vick has to show he can stay healthy and lead a team to playoff success, which has always eluded him.
Plus, Vick has to bounce back from his poor showing in Cleveland last week (4 INTs, nearly a 5th, and a pair of fumbles which the Eagles recovered).
Interestingly, Vick has squared off against the Ravens just twice in his career, with the most recent meeting coming as a member of the Atlanta Falcons in 2006. He is 1-1 in those two starts.
Baltimore’s Joe Flacco has won a lot of games in his career, but the Ravens' defense has always received the bulk of the credit. Fair or not, Flacco has not been counted as a top quarterback, and that obviously bothers him. If his Week 1 performance in the rout of Cincinnati is any indication, Flacco is ready to step into that “elite” class of signal-callers.
If both quarterbacks play on Sunday like they did in Week 1, the Eagles are in for a long day.
· RG3, Act 2
What can rookie Robert Griffin do for an encore, following a flawless performance in Week 1? Griffin passed for 320 yards and rushed for 42 more, throwing two TD passes in the process, in the Redskins’ surprising win at New Orleans.
Washington (1-0) travels to St. Louis (0-1) for a 4:05 p.m. game on Sunday.
Griffin will be going against a team that ranked 26th in the league a year ago in terms of points allowed (25.4) and 31st in rushing yards allowed (152.1 YPG). St. Louis did a decent job against a high-powered Detroit offense in Week 1 (with 3 INTs helping the cause).
· Travelin’ Cowboys
Dallas (1-0) takes the confidence it gained from beating the New York Giants on Opening Night to the west coast for a 4:05 p.m. Sunday game in Seattle (0-1). The Cowboys are 18-15 all-time on the west coast in the regular season, but are 1-3 in Seattle since 2000, in addition to a heartbreaking playoff loss there in 2006.
The Cowboys are 4-4 against the Seahawks in the past 12 years, including a 23-13 win last season in Dallas.
The Cowboys took control of that game in the second half on the strength of a pair of Tony Romo TD passes.
Running back Marshawn Lynch was able to gash Dallas’ defense for 135 rushing yards on just 23 carries in that game – which DeMarco Murray matched with a 139-yard effort of his own (plus 47 receiving yards).
Seattle’s rookie quarterback, Russell Wilson, was limited in what he could do in Week 1, so look for how Rob Ryan’s defense attacks him.
· TCB (Taking Care of Business)
Tom Coughlin’s Giants (0-1) are favored to win at home against Tampa Bay (1-0). A New York loss would not only send the home team to an 0-2 start overall, but the team would also be 0-2 at home, with the prospect of playing three of the next four games on the road.
This is a very important game for the Giants.
While Washington has much to prove – especially considering they started 3-1 in 2011 before losing 10 of their final 12 games – the Redskins’ game against the Rams should also be a TCB game as well.
· Piling up the yards
Washington, Philadelphia and Dallas all accumulated over 400 yards of offense in Week 1 – in fact, those three teams rank 1-2-3 in the NFL in offensive yards. While that isn’t necessarily a surprise for the Eagles (who ranked 4th in the league last year by averaging 399 YPG), and even to some degree the Cowboys (11th with a 375.5 average), it’s certainly a step up for Mike Shanahan’s ‘Skins. Washington was 16th in 2011 with 336.7 YPG.
While Philadelphia will have to contend with the Ravens’ vaunted D on Sunday, Washington and Dallas should be able to continue to pile up the yardage.
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