America’s most popular sport is back for what is sure to be another exciting season.
Week 1 of the National Football League was no exception, with seven season openers decided by three runs or less.
Week 2 features another slate of big matchups, with Tom Brady’s Buccaneers (1-0) meeting their Achilles’ heel the New Orleans Saints (1-0), Joe Burrow’s Cincinnati Bengals (0 -1) against the Dallas Cowboys without Dak Prescott (0-1), and another episode of the NFC North rivalry between the Chicago Bears (1-0) and the Green Bay Packers (0-1).
Brady made headlines this week off and on the field, discussing his retirement and marriage to Gisele Bündchen, and leading the Bucs to a comfortable 19-3 season-opening win over the Cowboys.
His second game of the season projects a bigger challenge as the Bucs travel to New Orleans to meet the team they just can’t shake. The Saints have won their last seven regular-season games against the Bucs, including four under the Brady era.
Most recently, the Saints handed Brady the first home shutout loss of his NFL career. The 45-year-old quarterback, returning for his 23rd season, hasn’t lost more than three straight games to a single opponent since the Patriots’ 0-3 streak against the Broncos from 2005-09.
The biggest challenge this Sunday for the Bucs? Eliminate flips and bags. In Brady’s last four losses to New Orleans, the Saints have an 11-2 turnover advantage and the defense has 13 sacks to Tampa Bay’s four.
On the other side, the Saints will have to do much better than they did in their opener against the Atlanta Falcons to keep the streak alive.
New Orleans ran out on both sides of the ball early in the game, putting them up 16-3 at halftime. However, led by quarterback Jameis Winston, the team rallied, producing a 16-point comeback in the fourth quarter behind Winston’s 213 passing yards and two touchdowns.
The Saints left Atlanta with a narrow one-point victory, but just barely. The Bucs are expected to be much stronger opponents and will demand the Saints deliver through all four quarters, not just the final minutes if they are to come away victorious.
It should also be noted that current Saints head coach Dennis Allen is the former defensive coordinator who orchestrated the defense that successfully stopped Brady in the past. He has a proven track record of finding and exploiting weaknesses in the game of the seven-time Super Bowl champion.
Even though it’s only week two, both teams have their first chance to fight for the top spot in the division. They will face off in their first of two regular season meetings Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.
Joe Burrow’s Bengals have had an uneven start to the season.
A disappointing performance from Burrow (he threw five interceptions) and a string of missed chances led to a wild overtime loss to the Steelers.
The Cowboys also opened the season with a miss as the only team in the first week not to record a touchdown, indicative of a lackluster performance from the offense.
To make matters worse, quarterback Dak Prescott injured his throwing hand in the fourth quarter, which will see him out for several weeks.
Despite the disappointment that follows the start of a 0-1 season, starting the season with a losing record is nothing to worry about for either team.
Since 2002, 59.4% of playoff teams have started the season 1-1 or 0-2. Last season, the Los Angeles Rams became Super Bowl champions after starting the season 0-2. All that to say, getting a week two win would be a big confidence booster.
The Cowboys will have to adjust to the offense without Prescott. Backup quarterback Cooper Rush has only one career start, which came in Week 8 of last year when Prescott was sidelined with a calf injury.
Rush had an impressive performance, throwing a game-winning touchdown to wide receiver Amari Cooper in the final minute of play. Still, his inexperience could show against a gutsy Bengals defense.
Kickoff is scheduled for Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET.
The Bears meet the Packers at historic Lambeau Field on Sunday night.
The Packers are looking to bounce back from a 23-7 thrashing by the Vikings and continue their reign over this lopsided NFC North rivalry.
The Packers have won 20 of their last 23 regular season meetings, with the Bears’ last win coming in 2018. But the way things have gone for Green Bay, this could be the Bears’ chance to move up into the league. victory column.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers struggled against the Vikings, clearly missing wide receiver Davante Adams. Throughout the game, he looked visibly frustrated as Green Bay failed to break the double-digit score, and Rogers went 22 for 34 for 195 yards without a touchdown with an interception.
Heading into Sunday night, the Bears are on the peak of a Week 1 win over the 49ers, in which they scored 19 unanswered second-half points on rain-soaked Soldier Field. The Bears have momentum, but the Packers have history. We’ll find out Sunday night, at 8:25 p.m. ET.
The Buffalo Bills beat the defending Super Bowl champion Rams in their first game of the season, with quarterback Josh Allen throwing for 297 yards and four touchdowns in the blowout 31-10 win.
What’s the key to the Bills’ wins? The numbers indicate Allen’s versatility. The team’s winning percentage is 20-1 when the QB rushes and passes for at least one touchdown in the same game.
Including the season opener, Allen’s 21 games with at least one rushing touchdown and at least one passing touchdown are the most in the NFL since entering the league in 2018.
Allen and the Bills will try to set their season record 2-0 against the Tennessee Titans on Monday night at 7:15 p.m. ET.
Here’s how to catch these and other teams across the league in action, wherever you are.
Australia: NFL Game Pass, ESPN, 7Plus
Brazil: NFL Game Pass, ESPN
Canada: CTV, TSN, RDS, NFL Game Pass on DAZN
Germany: NFL Game Pass, ProSieben MAXX, DAZN
Mexico: NFL Game Pass, TUDN, ESPN, Fox Sports, Sky Sports
United Kingdom: NFL Game Pass, Sky Sports, ITV, Channel 5
United States: NFL Game Pass, CBS Sports, Fox Sports, ESPN, Amazon Prime