Michael Vick's return to Atlanta ends prematurely, the Luke McCown experiment may be ending soon in Jacksonville, the Patriots are looking Super Bowl ready, and much more in Week 2.
Week 2 provided a bit more clarity as some teams have started to create some hype and emerge as outside contenders, while others seemed doomed for a terrible season.
The Washington Redskins and Buffalo Bills are clearly on the upswing at 2-0, but can they keep up the momentum and take down some of the league's heavyweights? Both will get a chance next week when the Redskins take on the Cowboys in Dallas and the Bills get the Patriots at home.
On the flip side of things, panic is starting to percolate in Minnesota and Kansas City. The Vikings can't seem to find a rhythm with new quarterback Donovan McNabb and seem to be missing playmaker Sidney Rice -- though Rice is yet to play a game for his new team, the Seahawks.
In Kansas City, the injury bug hit hard again as star running back Jamaal Charles could be out for the reason of the season with a torn ACL. Can the Chiefs find a way to generate offense without Charles? And more importantly, can coach Todd Haley find a way to inspire his team to step it up or ultimately lose his job?
Vick's Return to Atlanta
Michael Vick's return to Atlanta -- the first time as a starter -- was ultimately overshadowed by a third quarter concussion and a comeback effort by a third-string quarterback that fell just short.
In an effort to limit injuries, Vick attempted to stay in the pocket throughout the game and was largely successful. He did have his share of mistakes - two fumbles lost and an interception - but was effective in moving the ball down the field and getting the ball to his primary playmakers.
But Vick didn't get his chance at late game heroics after taking a shot in the third quarter that caused the star quarterback to spit up blood and head to the locker room early. Third-string quarterback Mike Kafka took over and actually had quite a bit of success in driving the Eagles down the field against a battered Falcons defense.
Kafka threw for 79 passing yards in a little over a quarter's work, but a late drop by Jeremy Maclin ultimately doomed the comeback.
This game did bring light to one of the biggest issues with the Eagles -- how do you handle Mike Vick? There's no denying that Vick is a bit more effective when he's free to run around and scramble out of the pocket, but as Vick runs more and more, the chances for injuries increase dramatically. The Eagles have undoubtedly made a push for Vick to stay in the pocket more often and try to pick his spots to run better, but the Falcons showed that it's easier to contain Vick when he's committed to staying in the pocket.
The Eagles are smartly trying to preserve Vick's health for as long as they can, but the team seems to flow better when Vick is allowed to be a magician on the field.
Ironically, Vick was hurt when he stayed in the pocket. Coach Andy Reid wouldn't speculate how long, if at all, the concussion would keep Vick out. It's certainly worth watching how the Eagles handle Vick's concussion and ultimate health in their play calling going forward.
Patriots looking Super
Boy are the New England Patriots looking awfully good after Week 2. The defense has struggled a bit against the Dolphins and Chargers, but was able to come up with some big plays in crunch time.
Tom Brady's on pace for another MVP season, Aaron Hernandez is looking like the next Tony Gonzalez, and the Danny Woodhead/BenJarvus Green-Ellis combo is working well.
The Patriots have put up an astonishing 1126 offensive yards in two games behind Brady and his motley crew.
After handling two relatively tough tests against the Dolphins and Chargers, the Patriots travel on the road to 2-0 Buffalo in Week 3 and 1-1 Oakland in Week 4. The two biggest tests of the year, though, could be at home against the Jets and Cowboys in Weeks 5 and 6, respectively.
Pressure heating up for Haley?
The Chiefs have looked absolutely abysmal in their 0-2 start and it's only a matter of time before the pressure on coach Todd Haley starts to heat up. The offense has managed a combined 10 points to start the year and could be without their best playmaker, Jamaal Charles, for the rest of the season to a torn ACL.
Not only has the offense been abysmal, but the defense has allowed a league-worst 89 points in the first two games. Part of that could be due to the loss of safety Eric Berry, but the team needs to find a way to get better in a hurry.
The defense doesn't get much of a break either -- the Chiefs take on the high powered San Diego Chargers in Week 3.
End of Luke McCown Experiment?
You've got to question whether Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio is regretting his decision to cut David Garrard after Luke McCown's pitiful performance against the Jets on Sunday. The Jets boast one of the league's best defenses, but that still doesn't justify a four interception and 1.8 QB rating day for McCown.
It got so bad that the Jaguars put in first-year quarterback Blaine Gabbert in the fourth quarter. The Jaguars appear hesitant to start Gabbert, but Del Rio and Co. might not have much of a choice when McCown puts up stinkers like that.
Could Gabbert get his first start against fellow rookie Cam Newton next Sunday? It's possible but Del Rio might be willing to give McCown one last chance.
Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens are a prime example of the inconsistency of the NFL. They destroyed a Super Bowl favorite, Pittsburgh Steelers, in Week 1 - only to lose to middling Tennessee in Week 2. The Ravens, similar to the Jets and Falcons, will go as far as its quarterback, Joe Flacco, can take them. The Ravens defense is strong, yet aging, and need Flacco, a fourth-year starter, to take that jump to elite status for long-term success.
Carolina Panthers: Although the Panthers dropped to 0-2 after a loss to the Packers, they've emerged as one of the more exciting teams to watch in the league. Rookie quarterback Cam Newton's thrown for more than 400 yards in both of his two starts and wide receiver Steve Smith finally has emerged from a two-year missing in action period. Ron Rivera's bunch still needs to figure out how to close out a game, but Carolina fans have a lot of reason to be excited going forward.
Dallas Cowboys: Boy would things have been bad in Dallas if the Cowboys didn't find a way to come back and beat the 49ers on Sunday afternoon. The team was able to find a way to outlast the 49ers in overtime, but suffered injuries to all of their offensive stars -- Tony Romo's ribs, Miles Austin's hamstring, and Felix Jones' shoulder. The game showed incredible determination by Romo to rebound from a ribs injury to throw for over 300 yards, but it bears watching going forward how much those rib injuries bother him.
Indianapolis Colts: It just keeps getting worse and worse for Indianapolis, as the Colts fell to a not great Cleveland Browns team on Sunday. Kerry Collins mentioned in his retirement speech in July that his willingness to commit to the preparation necessary to play another season has waned to a level that I feel is no longer adequate to meet the demands of the position and it it clearly shows with his lackluster performance through two games. Colts owner Jim Irsay tweeted after the team's first game that it was not in the running for the Andrew Luck Bowl, but it's beginning to look like the Colts may be a favorite, along with the Chiefs.
Minnesota Vikings: Vikings coach Leslie Frazier affirmed his support for quarterback Donovan McNabb, but the big question is for how long? The team doesn't want to rush rookie Christian Ponder into action, but it'd surprise no one to see the first round selection starting by mid-season.
Washington Redskins: Although it's only two weeks into the season, the Redskins are now solely atop the NFC East standings and deserve a lot of credit for that. The team's comeback win against the Cardinals wasn't pretty, but the team is showing a knack for pulling off some tough wins. Still a little early to call the Redskins a playoff contender, but another big win or two and the hype in Washington will grow tenfold.
Coaching Hot Seat Barometer
It's still a bit too early to say anyone is in grave danger of losing his job, but a few seats are starting to warm up.
1) Todd Haley, Kansas City Chiefs
The entire team is absolutely abysmal and shwos no signs of getting better. It could take a miracle for Haley to keep his job for next season.
2) Tony Sparano, Miami Dolphins
In Sparano's fourth season with the team, the Dolphins are 0-2 and the pressure is starting to mount. The 0-2 record was against two playoff caliber teams, the Patriots and Texans, but Dolphins management expects to be right with those teams. A loss to Cleveland next Sunday could be disastrous for Sparano.
3) Jim Caldwell, Indianapolis Colts
Caldwell will get some breaks because Peyton Manning is out, but it's not like Caldwell was known as a coaching wunderkind before Manning's injury. Most pundits pegged the Colts as a six or seven win team after Manning's neck injury was revealed, but this is looking more and more like a three or four win team.
Talty's Top 10:
1) Green Bay Packers (2-0) Last week's rank: No. 1
The defending Super Bowl champs were able to withstand a late Panthers rally to improve to 2-0.
2) New England Patriots (2-0) Last week's rank: No. 2
Patriots fans might not love Tom Brady's long hair and affinity for Uggs boots, but boy has he delighted them on the field.
3) New York Jets (2-0) Last week's rank: No. 5
Quieted a lot of criticism in a dominating performance against the Jaguars. The Jets didn't allow the Jaguars into the red zone once in their 32-3 victory.
4) Houston Texans (2-0) Last week's rank: No. 6
Still a lot to prove in Houston, but clearly the favorite in the AFC South.
5) Detroit Lions (2-0) Last week's rank: No. 8
The Lions continue to impress and are looking like strong playoff contenders, if Matthew Stafford can stay healthy.
6) Philadelphia Eagles (1-1) Last week's rank: No. 4
The Eagles probably should be 2-0, but last night showed just how important Mike Vick is to the Eagles. Without him, and the offense just doesn't flow nearly as well.
7) Baltimore Ravens (1-1) Last week's rank: No. 3
Ravens earned some serious Super Bowl buzz after rolling the Steelers in Week 1, but showed consistency issues in losing to a not great Titans team. Tough team to figure out.
8) New Orleans Saints (1-1) Last week's rank: No. 10
Rebounded well from a tough Week 1 loss to the Packers by destroying the Chicago Bears. The Saints are still rightfully considered a prime Super Bowl contender.
9) Buffalo Bills (2-0) Last week's rank: NR
It's hard to know just how much faith you should put in the Bills after beating the Chiefs and Raiders, but that Chan Gailey offense seems to be clicking awfully well. Still mighty tough to win in the AFC East with powerhouses in the Patriots and Jets, but the Bills could put up a formidable test.
10) Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) Last week's rank: NR
Steelers still have some issues to deal with, but a shutout victory against the Seahawks is a step in the right direction.