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Week 2 of the NFL

Monday night football

Rams (0-1) at Giants (0-1)

8:30 p.m. Giants by 6, 431/2

The Giants are experienced enough to avoid panicking, even after losing by two touchdowns at the Redskins. But don't think coach Tom Coughlin has not tried to create a sense of urgency. The NFC East, per usual, is going to be a fight with the Cowboys back in the picture and the Eagles loading up on star power as if they're owned by the Steinbrenners. Eli Manning has to complete more than 56 percent of his passes. He has to be an efficient passer, and the Giants have to run the ball.

Giants 26, Rams 20

Ravens (1-0) at Titans (0-1)

1 p.m.

Ravens by 6, 38

Last season, no Buc had more than 41/2 sacks. Fire-breathing Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs, above, had three last week. And when a pass rusher is that unblockable, the trickle-down effect is obvious (see safety Ed Reed's two interceptions). On offense, coordinator Cam Cameron is effectively combining Ray Rice's efficient running and Joe Flacco's accurate passing. The Titans will get some plays from receiver Kenny Britt and running back Chris Johnson; just not nearly enough.

Ravens 27, Titans 16

Cardinals (1-0) at Redskins (1-0)

1 p.m.

Redskins by 31/2, 44

Rex Grossman, above, practically made Redskins coach Mike Shanahan look like a genius for jettisoning Donovan McNabb. He threw for 305 yards and two touchdowns last week and now faces a defense that yielded 422 yards to Panthers rookie Cam Newton. Just as surprising as Grossman was the apparent improvement on defense. Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, a first-round pick, has something to do with that. And consider this stat: The Redskins held the Giants to 1-of-10 on third-down conversions.

Redskins 24, Cardinals 17

Cowboys (0-1) at 49ers (1-0)

4 p.m.

Cowboys by 3, 421/2

Loss or no loss in Week 1, the Cowboys served notice they're much improved. If quarterback Tony Romo, above, hangs onto the ball tighter and the punt team actually, you know, blocks instead of giving up a blocked punt, Dallas would've earned a sizable upset at the Jets. Instead, it faces a San Francisco team that was surprisingly impressive in its opener. Linebacker DeMarcus Ware had two sacks against New York and Dallas had six quarterback hits. Its defense is for real. Ask Jets QB Mark Sanchez.

Cowboys 28, 49ers 17

Bengals (1-0) at Broncos (0-1)

4:15 p.m.

Broncos by 31/2, 40

The Bengals look to have struck gold in the draft. Quarterback Andy Dalton, above, was solid in one half last week before getting hurt. (He's back today). And A.J. Green caught a 41-yard winning touchdown. Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton and coach John Fox are under a lot of pressure. The Mile High crowd chanted the name of a certain backup quarterback and former Gator despite Orton throwing for 304 yards. But with Denver gaining 2.9 yards per carry, perhaps fans should chant for a backup running back.

Broncos 20, Bengals 17

Texans (1-0) at Dolphins (0-1)

4:15 p.m., Ch. 10

Texans by 3, 48

We know this much about the Dolphins: Their offense can make things happen. For all the abuse Chad Henne, above, took (fans jeered him at training camp while clamoring to acquire Kyle Orton), the guy passed for 416 yards against New England. Here's the thing: The Dolphins couldn't stop the Patriots if quarterback Tom Brady had one arm tied behind his back. They'll have no such advantage today against receiver Andre Johnson. And Houston's defense is now good enough to win shootouts.

Texans 28, Dolphins 24

Eagles (1-0) at Falcons (0-1)

8:20 p.m., Ch. 8

Eagles by 2, 491/2

Not so long ago, Michael Vick regularly made opponents uncomfortable when visiting the Georgia Dome. But quarterback Matt Ryan, above, has the keys to the place now, and he doesn't like company. The Falcons were shaky in a 30-12 loss to Chicago, but it's impossible to ignore Ryan's 20-2 home record with 32 TDs and 12 interceptions. Atlanta has the talent to match up, so it's debatable whether a Falcons win would be an upset. Either way, we'll know more about both clubs by the end of the night.

Falcons 23, Eagles 21

Chargers (1-0) at Patriots (1-0)

4:15 p.m.

Patriots by 7, 531/2

Monday's 99-yard touchdown by Wes Welker, above, has been replayed countless times. Yet the remarkable thing about the Patriots offense isn't its explosiveness, but adaptability. Obviously, Tom Brady can go deep. But he also can work underneath routes to backs and medium routes to splendid tight ends such as Aaron Hernandez. And every blue moon, they dial up runs for Danny Woodhead or BenJarvus Green-Ellis. The Chargers are solid, but the Pats' 622 yards were no fluke.

Patriots 30, Chargers 23

Packers (1-0) at Panthers (0-1)

1 p.m.

Packers by 10, 46

Cam Newton, above, lost his opener for Carolina but should feel a bit vindicated after all of the questions about his ability to be a pocket passer. His 422 yards against Arizona were the most in a debut. Unfortunately for Newton, today he faces a quarterback capable of that on any given Sunday. Aaron Rodgers' masterpiece against the Saints (132.1 rating) served notice that Green Bay is capable of defending its title. Carolina might make it interesting, but it needs a few more play­makers.

Packers 31, Panthers 17

Chiefs (0-1) at Lions (1-0)

1 p.m.

Lions by 8, 45

There's no good time to lose your best defender, but the timing of safety Eric Berry's season-ending ACL injury couldn't be worse. After a 41-7 loss to the Bills, the Chiefs face a red-hot passing game. Calvin Johnson has been slowed by an ankle injury, but quarterback Matt Stafford, above, is just fine. The Bucs, despite having their best defensive back, were torched for two touchdowns by Johnson. Meanwhile, the Chiefs' performance was one of the mysteries of Week 1. Was it an aberration or reality?

Lions 27, Chiefs 17

Browns (0-1) at Colts (0-1)

1 p.m.

Browns by 2, 391/2

How many times in the past decade have you read the following words: The Colts could lose the quarterback battle. Peyton Manning's replacement, Kerry Collins, above, wasn't terrible last week against the Texans, but he led an offense that produced just seven points. That means he wasn't a difference-maker, which is what Manning is every Sunday. For Cleveland, Colt McCoy didn't have his best day in a loss to the Bengals. Is the change of offenses too much for the second-year quarterback?

Colts 20, Browns 17

Raiders (1-0) at Bills (1-0)

1 p.m.

Bills by 3, 421/2

Anyone who has scoffed at the notion of Ryan Fitzpatrick, above, as an NFL quarterback is eating crow after his four-touchdown game last week. The question for the Bills is if they can contain a potent Raiders rushing attack. (Darren McFadden had 150 yards on Monday) Oakland stopped the run against the Broncos, forcing Kyle Orton to throw 46 times. If Fitzpatrick has another efficient performance and the defense makes things interesting, Buffalo has the edge, particularly playing at home.

Bills 23, Raiders 21

Bears (1-0) at Saints (0-1)

1 p.m.

Saints by 61/2, 471/2

The name of Matt Forte, above, is rarely uttered when talk turns to the most dangerous running backs. But his versatility is just as much a key to the Bears offense as quarterback Jay Cutler. In a Week 1 blowout of the Falcons, Forte led the Bears with 68 rushing yards and was their leading receiver with five for 90 yards. The question becomes what the Bears will get from their other playmakers. We know the Saints have more than a few, and it's clear Drew Brees has little trouble finding them.

Saints 26, Bears 24

Seahawks (0-1) at Steelers (0-1)

1 p.m.

Steelers by 14, 40

There's a rumor going around that the Seahawks won the West in 2010. Though at 7-9, "winning" is a relative term. It was hard to view Seattle as a champ in a 33-17 loss to the 49ers. For that matter, the Steelers didn't look like one in a 35-7 throttling at Baltimore. If Seattle had difficulty running Marshawn Lynch last week, facing linebacker James Harrison, above, won't be a picnic. Ditto for quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, who struggled — and that was without linebacker LaMarr Woodley closing in.

Steelers 28, Seahawks 14

Jaguars (1-0) at Jets (1-0)

1 p.m., Ch. 10

Jets by 91/2, 39

The Jags began the post-David Garrard Era by beating the Titans with ex-Buc Luke McCown, above, under center. But the Jets, after their Houdini act against the Cowboys, are far better than the Titans. The secondary, led by corners Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, is top notch. It's hard to see how Jacksonville gets near its 71 percent completion rate of a week ago. It has to go with a steady diet of Maurice Jones-Drew. Then all it must do is stop receivers Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress.

Jets 30, Jaguars 17

Week 2 of the NFL 09/17/11 [Last modified: Saturday, September 17, 2011 7:43pm]
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