Last week, three of the five games we told you to watch lived up to the hype, while two were blowouts (thanks, Pittsburgh and Indy). This week, well, we aren’t making any guarantees. Why’s it such a sketchy Week 2? Well, for the first time in NFL history, there’ll be no divisional games (lockout contingency plan).
(Team rankings are based on our latest power rankings.)
1. No. 2 Eagles at No. 11 Falcons (Sunday, 8:20 ET on NBC)
It’s naturally a game to watch because it’s Michael Vick’s first start back in Atlanta, but it would be the game of the week with or without the return of Vick. The Eagles are the most hyped team in the league and the Falcons put up the best record in the NFC last year. Atlanta has been especially good at home in the Matt Ryan era, and Philly was 6-2 on the road last year.
2. No. 5 Chargers at No. 3 Patriots (Sunday, 4:15 ET on CBS)
New England broke San Diego’s back in the playoffs in 2006 and 2007 and handed the Bolts a deflating early-season home loss in 2010. The Chargers finally feel as though they’re ready to get over the hump — a win in Foxboro would be massive.
3. No. 8 Bears at No. 4 Saints (Sunday, 1:00 ET on Fox)
Two NFC playoff teams go head to head. Chicago had one of the best defensive performances of Week 1, while New Orleans had one of the best offensive performances of the week. We’ll see if Jay Cutler and his shaky offensive line can hold up in the Superdome.
4. No. 1 Packers at No. 29 Panthers (Sunday, 1:00 ET on Fox)
Cam Newton had a record-breaking performance in Week 1. Now, he gets to return home, but he faces a real defense now. Don’t expect a close game, but it’ll be fun to see how Newton performs at home against an aggressive D.
5. No. 17 Raiders at No. 14 Bills (Sunday, 1:00 ET on Fox)
One of these teams will be 2-0. Scary. Matchup to watch: Darren McFadden vs. the Bills’ stellar run-stopping duo of Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus.