Jan 9, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Ryan Shazier (50) hits Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard (25) during the third quarter in the AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Article continues below ...
After an exciting first weekend of football, here’s a look at the top five games to watch in NFL Week 2.
From the New England Patriots surprising the Arizona Cardinals with a win on the road to the Denver Broncos barely holding on against the Carolina Panthers, the first weekend of NFL action certainly lived up to the high expectations. And if football fans were satisfied with opening weekend, just wait until they see what’s in store for NFL Week 2.
The second weekend of football is filled with plenty of intense games between division rivals. What’s more, there will be a few rematches from last year’s playoffs that could go down to the wire. It may only be the second weekend of NFL football, but Week 2 is the perfect opportunity to make an early statement when it comes to being contenders.
With that in mind heading into the second weekend of action, here’s a look at the top five games for football fans to watch in NFL Week 2. And there’s no debating these matchups will not disappoint from an intensity perspective.
Nov 1, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) talk after the game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. New Orleans won 52-49. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports
5. Giants vs. Saints
Why would a game between the New Orleans Saints and New York Giants even be considered for this list in Week 2? Well, take a look at the box score from when these two teams met during Week 8 of the 2015 season as football fans can only hope for similar results this time around.
The Saints went on to win last year’s matchup 52-49. New Orleans’ victory came on the back of a stellar performance by Drew Brees in which the quarterback completed 39-of-50 passes for 505 yards with seven touchdowns (tying an NFL record) and two interceptions. And if that statistic wasn’t crazy enough, Eli Manning nearly matched that production. New York’s star under center threw for 350 yards with six touchdowns himself in the loss.
It may be a long shot for these two teams to score as much as they did a year ago, but the Saints’ defense is bad enough where Manning could easily have another field day and come close to throwing just as many touchdowns. Not to mention Brees could have another monster game himself if Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead—who combined for 315 receiving yards and three touchdowns on 18 catches in Week 1—come up big again in the passing game.
Nov 8, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) runs out of the pocket in the first half against the Denver Broncos at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports
4. Broncos vs. Colts
Peyton Manning has stolen most of the attention in the matchup between the Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts over the last few years, but things will be different this time around since the future Hall of Fame quarterback is enjoying retirement.
Even without Manning, this game should still be filled with plenty of excitement as the high-powered offense of the Colts will be heavily tested against one of the league’s top defenses in the Broncos. Andrew Luck is finally healthy and coming off a strong opening weekend performance against the Detroit Lions. The star quarterback threw for 385 yards with four touchdowns in the opener. But it unfortunately wasn’t enough in Week 1.
The Colts’ defense was a major concern in the preseason. Those concerns have carried over to the regular season with the way they looked against the Lions. Denver already finds themselves at an early advantage thanks to their defense. If the offense can take advantage of Indianapolis like Detroit did, the defending Super Bowl champions should cruise in this one.
Jan 3, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) tries to break a tackle by Green Bay Packers linebacker Jake Ryan (47) in the fourth quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
3. Vikings vs. Packers
Even without Jordy Nelson, the Green Bay Packers seemed to be the easy choice for finishing 2015 as NFC North champions. Instead, the Minnesota Vikings ended the season on a hot streak, earning the division title on the final day of the regular season with a win over these Packers.
With one of the league’s best defenses under Mike Zimmer, the Vikings seemed to be the early team to beat in the division. However, the loss of Teddy Bridgewater for the season forced this team to take a step back. Acquiring Sam Bradford from the Philadelphia Eagles certainly put Minnesota back in the running as strong contenders in the NFC, but nobody really knows what to expect from the quarterback until he actually steps foot on the field.
Aaron Rodgers has always been one of the most competitive players in the league. Subsequently, there’s nothing more he would love to do than win this NFC North battle in the national spotlight.
Sep 11, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler (17) celebrates with center Greg Mancz (65) after throwing a touchdown pass against the Chicago Bears during the first half at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
2. Texans vs. Chiefs
The Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs last met in January in the 2015 NFL Playoffs. However, don’t expect the same results in Week 2 of the 2016 campaign as this matchup will be much different this time around.
Over the years, the Texans have established a reputation for having one of the league’s top defenses. But the quarterback position was always the one factor preventing them from reaching an elite level. Now that Brock Osweiler is running the offense, it’s highly unlikely Houston will be shutout by Kansas City like they were in the postseason.
Offense could turn out to be the difference maker in this contest. Even still, there’s no denying the intense battle that will go down on defense with the Texans and Chiefs having two of the best units in the league. It’s still way too early in the season to be making any bold predictions. That said, there’s a good chance this could be an early playoff preview. There’s a strong likelihood that these two teams could be meeting up in January once again.
Jan 9, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict (55) hits Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) during the fourth quarter in the AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium. Burfict was called for a personal foul on the play. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
1. Steelers vs. Bengals
Prior to last year’s playoffs, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals already hated one another with a passion. After their meeting in the Wild Card round last January in which questionable hits were taken by both parties, it’s easy to say this rivalry between the Bengals and Steelers has been taken to a whole new level.
Intense is the best way to describe what’s in store for Sunday’s matchup between these AFC North rivals. Even better, both teams are coming off impressive wins in Week 1. While A.J. Green recorded one of the best games of his career against the New York Jets by catching 12 passes for 180 yards with one touchdown, Antonio Brown picked up right where he left off last season.
Against the Washington Redskins, Brown caught eight passes for 126 yards with two touchdowns. There’s nothing the wide receiver would love more than to put up similar—if not better—numbers against the Bengals. Keep in mind, revenge will be on the mind of Brown after he was knocked out of last year’s playoff game with a concussion on what was easily a cheap shot by Vontaze Burfict. That’s just another layer in what is a can’t-miss matchup for NFL fans.