If week one was pretty good, then week two could be just as exciting. The NFL got “Back to Football” with a thrilling Kickoff Weekend. There were close games, standout performances and stars rising to the occasion.

“It’s a good start,” says Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan, who passed for 448 yards and three touchdowns in the Falcons’ 37-34 overtime win over New Orleans. He told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and WXIA-TV, “We’ve still got a long way to go. You can’t get too high or too low after Week 1.”

Everybody wants to get off to a good start as history has shown that teams that are victorious in their season openers are more than twice as likely to reach the playoffs than losers of an opening game. But that doesn’t mean an 0-1 start is impossible to overcome as nearly 25 percent of teams that lost the opener went to the playoffs.

Since 1978 when the NFL went to the 16-game schedule (and excluding the abbreviated season of 1982):

Of the 523 teams which won openers… 274 went to the playoffs (164 won division titles)

Of the 524 teams which lost openers… 124 went to the playoffs (70 won division titles)

(Note: There are a different number of winning and losing teams in season opening games due to the fact that the NFL had 31 teams in each season from 1999 to 2001, which creates an odd number for the total number of results.)

Week 2 kicked off on Thursday night with an AFC North matchup as Pittsburgh and Baltimore squared off. The contest kicked off the inaugural partnership between CBS and NFL Network in broadcasting Thursday Night Football, which features the most marquee match-ups ever on Thursday night, including 14 divisional rivalries. The schedule will feature games in Weeks 2-8 and Week 16 (Saturday) broadcast on CBS that also will be simulcast on NFL Network. The Thursday night contests in Weeks 9-12 and Weeks 14-16 will be televised on NFL Network and simulcast on over-the-air stations in the teams’ primary markets.

There will be 14 games on Sunday, capped by the first regular-season game played at Levi’s Stadium when the San Francisco 49ers host Da Bears on Sunday Night Football at 8:30 p.m. on NBC and week two concludes on Monday night when the Philadelphia Eagles travel to Indianapolis to face the Colts on Monday Night Football on ESPN at 8:30 p.m. Eatern.

HOME SWEET HOME: The AFC champion DENVER BRONCOS defeated the Indianapolis Colts at home by a score of 31-24 on Sunday Night Football. The Broncos improved their record to 41-13-1 (.759) in home openers, the top mark in the NFL. Denver has now won 18 of its past 21 home openers.

The teams with the best winning percentage in home openers:

TEAM (RECORD IN HOME OPENERS, WIN PCT.)
Denver (41-13-1, .759)
Chicago (65-26-4, .714)
Miami (34-14-1, .708)
Oakland-Los Angeles Raiders (37-16-1, .694)
Dallas (37-17-1, .685)
Note: Ties prior to 1972 did not count in winning percentage.

CLIMBING THE CHARTS: Denver quarterback Peyton Manning passed for 269 yards and three touchdowns in the Broncos’ 31-24 win against Indianapolis on Sunday Night Football, joining Brett Farve (71,838) as the only players in NFL history with 65,000 career passing yards. Manning has passed for 65,233 yards in his career.

New England quarterback Tom Brady passed for 249 yards and one touchdown in the Patriots’ 33-20 loss at Miami, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Moon (49,325) for sixth on the all-time passing yards list. Brady has passed for 49,398 yards in his career.

The top 10 NFL players with the most career passing yards:

PLAYER (YEARS, PASSING YARDS)
Brett Favre (1991-2010, 71,838)
Peyton Manning (1998-present, 65,233)*
Dan Marino (1983-1999, 61,361)
John Elway (1983-1998, 51,475)
Drew Brees (2001-present, 51,414)*
Tom Brady (2000-present, 49,398)*
Warren Moon (1984-2000, 49,325)
Fran Tarkenton (1961-1978, 47,003)
Vinny Testaverde (1987-2007, 46,233)
Drew Bledsoe (1993-2006, 44,611)
*Active

100+ CLUB: Eleven quarterbacks recorded a passer rating of at least 100 (minimum 20 attempts) on Kickoff Weekend, tied for the second-most ever on the opening weekend of a season since 1970.

The quarterbacks with a 100+ passer rating (min. 20 attempts) on Kickoff Weekend 2014:

PLAYER-PASSER RTG.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta – 128.8
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Houston – 109.3
Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco – 125.5
Russell Wilson, Seattle – 110.9
Matthew Stafford, Detroit – 125.3
Derek Anderson, Carolina – 108.7
Matt Cassel, Minnesota – 113.8
Carson Palmer, Arizona – 108.4
Peyton Manning, Denver – 111.9
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh – 100.7
Jake Locker, Tennessee – 111.4

The most quarterbacks with a 100+ passer rating (minimum 20 attempts) in season openers since 1970:

SEASON – QBs WITH 100+ PASSER RTG. IN WEEK 1
2012 – 12
2014 – 11
2013 – 11
2011 – 11
2007 – 11
2002 – 10
1999 – 10

As for picks last week? 10-6. Not bad. Could have been better but as ESPN’s Chris Berman once said, “that’s why they play the games.”

OVERTIME EXCITEMENT: Kickoff Weekend featured two overtime finishes – Atlanta defeated New Orleans 37-34 and Buffalo defeated Chicago 23-20. The two overtime games this weekend are the most on Kickoff Weekend since 2002. The three overtime games in Week 1 of 2002 ties the 1979 season for the most ever on Kickoff Weekend (three).

100+ CLUB: Eleven quarterbacks recorded a passer rating of at least 100 (minimum 20 attempts) on Kickoff Weekend, tied for the second-most ever on the opening weekend of a season since 1970.

The quarterbacks with a 100+ passer rating (min. 20 attempts) on Kickoff Weekend 2014:

PLAYER-PASSER RTG.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta – 128.8
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Houston – 109.3
Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco – 125.5
Russell Wilson, Seattle – 110.9
Matthew Stafford, Detroit – 125.3
Derek Anderson, Carolina – 108.7
Matt Cassel, Minnesota – 113.8
Carson Palmer, Arizona – 108.4
Peyton Manning, Denver – 111.9
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh – 100.7
Jake Locker, Tennessee – 111.4

The most quarterbacks with a 100+ passer rating (minimum 20 attempts) in season openers since 1970:

SEASON – QBs WITH 100+ PASSER RTG. IN WEEK 1
2012 – 12
2014 – 11
2013 – 11
2011 – 11
2007 – 11
2002 – 10
1999 – 10

KICKOFF NOTES: A look at some team notes from across the league on Kickoff Weekend 2014:

Denver defeated Indianapolis 31-24 on Sunday Night Football. The defending AFC champions own the top winning percentage in home openers (.759, 41-13-1) and currently has the second-best winning percentage in season openers (.648, 35-19-1) in the NFL. Denver has also won 18 of their past 21 home openers.

The teams with the best winning percentage on Kickoff Weekend:

TEAM (KICKOFF WEEKEND RECORDS, WIN PCT.)
Dallas (36-18-1, .667)
Denver (35-19-1, .648)
Houston Texans (8-5-0, 615)
Chicago Bears (54-36-5, .600)
New York Giants (49-36-5, .576)
Note: Ties prior to 1972 did not count in winning percentage.

Meanwhile…

· The Detroit Lions defeated the New York Giants 35-14 on Kickoff Weekend at Ford Field. The Lions now have 52 wins in home openers, the second-most in NFL history. The Lions also rank fourth in NFL history with 46 Kickoff Weekend victories.

· The Atlanta Falcons defeated New Orleans 37-34 in overtime on Kickoff Weekend. They have now won 10 of their past 11 home openers.

· The Miami Dolphins, who defeated New England 33-20 on Kickoff Weekend, have the fourth-best winning percentage in openers at home (.708, 34-14-1). The Dolphins have won their past three home openers.

START ‘EM EARLY: Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, who was chosen in the second round (No. 36 overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft, became the club’s first rookie quarterback to start a Week 1 game in the Super Bowl era. The NFL has now had at least one rookie quarterback start in a Week 1 game in seven consecutive seasons, the longest streak since at least 1950.

The rookie quarterbacks to start in Week 1 since 2008:
SEASON – QUARTERBACK (TEAM, STARTING RECORD)
2008 – Joe Flacco, Baltimore (11-5)
2008 – Matt Ryan, Atlanta (11-5)
2009 – Mark Sanchez, New York Jets (8-7)
2009 – Matthew Stafford, Detroit (2-8)*
2010 – Sam Bradford, St. Louis (7-9)*
2011 – Andy Dalton, Cincinnati (9-7)
2011 – Cam Newton, Carolina (6-10)*
2012 – Robert Griffin III, Washington (9-6)R
2012 – Andrew Luck, Indianapolis (11-5)*
2012 – Ryan Tannehill, Miami (7-9)
2012 – Brandon Weeden, Cleveland (5-10)
2012 – Russell Wilson, Seattle (11-5)
2013 – EJ Manuel, Buffalo (4-6)
2013 – Geno Smith, New York Jets (8-8)
2014 – Derek Carr, Oakland (0-1)
*No. 1 Overall Pick

Peyton’s beat them ALL! He’s crossed another item off his football “bucket list.” With a victory against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday Night Football, Denver’s Peyton Manning joined BRETT FAVRE as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to defeat all 32 NFL teams.

The most NFL teams defeated by a quarterback in NFL history:
PLAYER, TEAMS (NO. TEAMS DEFEATED)
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis and Denver (32)*
Brett Favre, Green Bay, New York Jets and Minnesota (32)
Tom Brady, New England (31)*
Drew Brees, San Diego and New Orleans (31)*
Kerry Collins, Carolina, New Orleans, New York Giants, Oakland, Tennessee and Indianapolis (31)
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh (30)*
*Active

With three touchdown passes, Manning now has 34 career touchdowns in season openers, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (33) for the most all-time.

MEGA(TRON) MONDAY: Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson had seven catches for 164 yards and two touchdowns in the Lions’ 35-14 win over the New York Giants in the first half of the Monday Night Football doubleheader. Since 2009 (including the playoffs), Johnson has 54 receiving touchdowns, the most in the NFL during that span.

San Francisco’s Vernon Davis (53) surpassed Johnson’s previous mark of 52 on Sunday.

RUNNING VIKING: Minnesota wide receiver Cordareell Patterson had three carries for 102 yards, including a 67-yard touchdown run in the Vikings’ 34-6 win at St. Louis. Patterson became the fourth player in NFL history to rush for 100+ yards with three or fewer rushing attempts in a game (Andy Uram, 1939; Ken Carpenter, 1950; Brian Mitchell, 2000).

The players to rush for 100+ yards with three or fewer carries in NFL history:

PLAYER, YEAR; TEAM and OPPONENT (ATTEMPTS, RUSHING YARDS)
Cordarrelle Patterson, 2014; Minnesota vs. St. Louis (3, 102)
Brian Mitchell, 2000; Philadelphia vs. Atlanta (2, 105)
Ken Carpenter, 1950; Cleveland vs. Baltimore Colts (3, 100)
Andy Uram, 1939; Green Bay vs. Chicago Cardinals (2, 108)

COMEBACKS GALORE: Comebacks were the order of the day in week one. Kickoff Weekend delivered many games with teams demonstrating impressive turnarounds. Four teams – Atlanta, Arizona, Miami and Philadelphia – overcame deficits of 10+ points to win. The last time there were more than four teams with comeback victories of 10+ points in Week 1 was 2002 (five).

The four teams that overcame deficits of 10+ points to win:
WINNING TEAM-OPPONENT (DEFICIT OVERCOME) (RESULT)
Atlanta-New Orleans (13-0; 20-7) (W 37-34 (OT)
Arizona-San Diego (17-6) (W 18-17)
Miami-New England (17-7; 20-10) (W 33-20)
Philadelphia-Jacksonville (17-0)(W 34-17)

INTERCONFERENCE ACTION: With the NFL’s late-season schedule packed with division games, the September slate features many exciting interconference matchups, including a Week 2 battle between quarterbacks Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts and Nick Foles of the Philadelphia Eagles in primetime Monday night at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN. Luck (Round 1, No. 1 overall) and Foles (Round 3, No. 88 overall) were both selected in the 2012 NFL Draft and led their teams to division titles last season.

Of the 32 games scheduled for Weeks 2 and 3, 12 will be interconference games, including eight this weekend.

The teams with the top five interconference records since realignment in 2002:

TEAM-RECORD, WIN PCT. (NEXT INTERCONFERENCE GAME)
New England – 39-9-0, .813 (Week 2 at Minnesota)
Pittsburgh – 33-14-1, .698 (Week 3 at Carolina)
Indianapolis – 32-16-0, .667 (Week 2 vs. Philadelphia)
Tennessee – 30-18-0, .625 (Week 2 vs. Dallas)
Atlanta – 29-18-1, .615 (Week 2 at Cincinnati)

FABULOUS AT 50: Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton completed 25 of 38 passes for 301 yards and a 98.7 passer rating last week against Baltimore. On Sunday, Dalton (11,661 passing yards in 49 career games) will play in his 50th game against Atlanta.

With 387 passing yards this week, Dalton would surpass Jay Cutler (12,047) for the fourth-most passing yards of any active quarterback through his first 50 games.

The active NFL quarterbacks with the most passing yards in their first 50 games:

QUARTERBACK-PASSING YARDS
Matthew Stafford-14,331
Peyton Manning-12,939
Carson Palmer-12,259
Jay Cutler-12,047
Aaron Rodgers-11,746
Andy Dalton-11,661*
*Through 49 games

Through 49 games, Dalton (81) already has the fourth-most touchdown passes of any active quarterback through his first 50 games.

The active NFL quarterbacks with the most touchdown passes in their first 50 games:
QUARTERBACK-TD PASSES
Peyton Manning-91
Carson Palmer-90
Matthew Stafford-88
Andy Dalton-81*
Aaron Rodgers-79
*Through 49 games

BREES-ING BY: New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees passed for 333 yards and a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1, his 79th career 300-yard game, the second-most in NFL history (Peyton Manning, 84).

Brees has passed for 51,414 yards in his career, which ranks fifth in NFL history. With 62 passing yards against Cleveland on Sunday, Brees would surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer John Elway (51,475) for fourth place all-time.

The players with the most career passing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER, YEARS (PASSING YARDS)
Brett Favre, 1991-2010 (71,838)
Peyton Manning, 1998-present (65,233)*
Dan Marino, 1983-1999 (61,361)
John Elway, 1983-1998 (51,475)
Drew Brees, 2001-present (51,414)*
*Active

BELICHICK MOVING UP: On Sunday, New England travels to Minnesota for an interconference matchup with the Vikings at 1 p.m. on CBS.

With a win on Sunday at Minnesota, Pats head coach Bill Belichick can become the sixth head coach in NFL history to reach 200 career regular-season victories.

The most career regular-season wins all-time among NFL head coaches:

HEAD COACH-TEAM(S) (W-L-T, WIN PCT.)
Don Shula-Colts, Dolphins (328-156-6, .677)
George Halas-Bears (318-148-31, .682)
Tom Landry-Cowboys (250-162-6, .607)
Curly Lambeau-Packers, Cardinals, Redskins (226-132-22, .631)
Marty Schottenheimer-Browns, Chiefs, Redskins, Chargers (200-126-1, .613)
Bill Belichick-Browns, Patriots (199-106-0, .652)

NFL TO HONOR AND SALUTE 200TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER: O Say, Can You See? The NFL, its players and fans will take time in Week 2 to recognize the 200th anniversary of Francis Scott Key writing the Star-Spangled Banner. Across all networks this week, beginning with Thursday Night Football on CBS, a 30-second NFL Films piece will run in-stadium and be broadcast on the network. The tribute will continue throughout the weekend during the FOX and CBS 1 p.m. broadcasts, Sunday Night Football on NBC and concluding during Monday Night Football on ESPN. The Thursday Night Football version on September 11 recognized the significance of that date in American history.

What’s in store for us this week? We’re not sure. Here are the games for Sunday and Monday in week two.

Sunday, September 14
Atlanta (1-0) at Cincinnati (1-0), 1 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 708, Paul Brown Stadium) Atlanta travels up I-75 to take on Cincinnati in the Buckeye State. Both teams come into Sunday’s contest with wins under their belts last week.

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan passed for a franchise-record 448 yards – the second-most ever by a quarterback on Kickoff Weekend without throwing an interception – and three touchdowns as he led the Falcons to a come-from-behind 37-34 overtime victory. Ryan recorded his 24th career game-winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime, the most in the NFL since he entered the league in 2008. He also became the franchise’s all-time leader in career touchdown passes with 156, passing Steve Bartkowski (154).

“It’s a good start for us and a good start in the division,” Ryan told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, WXIA-TV, WSB-TV and WAGA-TV. “It’s what we wanted to do. We’ll enjoy it but we’ve got to get back to work. We’re going against a very good defense in Cincinnati this week.”

In their overtime win over New Orleans in the Big Peach, Atlanta rallied late to tie the contest on a 51-yard field goal by K Matt Bryant as time expired in regulation and then got a huge break when they forced a turnover in overtime against their NFC South rivals and it was Bryant that sent a 52-yard field goal try through the uprights to take the win. Ryan threw for three TDs in the contest with no interceptions as Atlanta rushed for 123 yards (the Saints ran for 139). On third down tries, both the Saints and Falcons were above the 50 percent mark (New Orleans 8 of 13; Atlanta 6 of 11) and time was on the side of the Falcons (apologies to Mick Jagger!), as they kept the ball for 31:18, while New Orleans held it for 30:25.

The Bengals are also coming off a Week 1 division win as they defeated Baltimore 23-16. The defense stopped the Ravens deep in Cincinnati territory late in the game with consecutive sacks on Baltimore’s final two offensive plays. Defensive end Wallac Gilberry (1.5 sacks) was in on both plays, getting a full sack on the first one and then teaming with safety Reggie Nelson on the second.

“We wanted to make a statement,” says Gilberry. “And one way to do it is to come out here against a division rival and play your heart out. That’s what we did. We’re trying to create our identity and that’s what we’re doing.”  In their win over Baltimore in Charm City, Cincy took a 15-0 lead with them to the intermission and then held off the Ravens, who outscored them 16-8 in the second half. Neither the Bengals or Ravens managed to rush for over 100 yards in the contest (Cincy 79, Baltimore 91) and Cincinnati forced a pair of turnovers in the win. Neither team did anything to write or phone home about on third down tries (the Bengals were 4 of 14, Baltimore 8 of 17 and 1 of 2 on fourth down) and the clock was the ally of the Bengals, who kept the ball for 30:30 to the Ravens’ 29:30.

Among the players to watch in this week’s game will be wide receivers A.J. Green (Cincinnati) and Julio Jones (Atlanta). Both were selected in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft and were the first two receivers taken (Green, Nunber 4 and Jones, Number 6). Last week, Green had six catches for 131 yards and the game-winning 77-yard touchdown while Jones had seven catches for 116 yards.

Cincy may lead the series 7-5 and the Bengals may have outscored Atlanta 286-266 but Atlanta has won the last two meetings, including taking a 39-32 win in the Big Peach in 2010. The Bengals last win over Atlanta? 1996, when Bill Clinton was in the White House, a 41-31 victory in the Queen City. The Bengals are a 5 1/2 point favorite and the over/under is 48 1/2. The over/under makes sense. The 5 1/2? Different story. Falcons may not cover the 5 1/2 but they take the win on the road.

Miami (1-0) at Buffalo (1-0), 1 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 705, Ralph Wilson Stadium) A pair of 1-0 teams in the AFC East meets in upstate New York as the Dolphins leave the Sunshine State to take on the Bills in Orchard Park.

The Dolphins held New England to 89 yards rushing and sacked Tom Brady four times in the come-from-behind win, while RB Knowshon Moreno ran for 134 yards and QB Ryan Tannehill threw for a pair of TDS. New England was 5 of 17 on third down tries (2 of 4 on fourth) and kept the ball for 29:33, while Miami was 7 of 13 and held on to the pigskin for 30:27.

Meanwhile, Buffalo needed overtime at Soldier Field to beat Da Bears 23-20. Chicago did manage to tie things up in regulation as they would score on a 37-yard field goal by Robbie Gould with 30 seconds left to play before Buffalo stopped Chicago on its first possession in overtime, allowing K David Carpenter to kick his team to the win column with a 27-yarder with 9:46 left in overtime. Buffalo led 17-7 at the half before Chicago rallied to send the contest into the extra period of play. Buffalo held Da Bears to 86 yards rushing, sacking Jay Cutler twice and picking him off twice. Third down tries in the contest in the Windy City was nothing to write home about in the contest (Buffalo was 4 of 12, Chicago was 5 of 12) and the Bills kept the ball for 30:32, while Chicago had it for 34:42.

Miami leads the series 56-39-1 and the ‘Fins may have outscored the Bills 2,064-1,785 but Buffalo won the last two meetings, sweeping the series in the 2013 campaign. Miami’s last win over Buffalo came in 2012, when they came away with a 24-10 win in Miami.

In the week seven contest in the Sunshine State, the Bills hung to take a 23-21 win. Despite being held to 90 yards on the ground, Buffalo did manage to sack Tannehill twice and force three turnovers. Third down tries were nothing to jump up and down for joy in the first meeting for both squads, as the Bills were 9 of 19, while Miami was 3 of 13 and 0 for 1 on fourth down and the clock favored Buffalo, who kept the ball for 30:12 to Miami’s 29:48.

Buffalo made the sweep complete in week 16 in upstate New York, shutting out Miami 19-0. Miami was held to a dismal 14 yards on the ground and Bills RB Fred Jackson ran for 111 of their 203 yards in the contest, while sacking Tannehill seven times. Again, third down conversion was not top priority for either team in the second contest (Miami was 2 of 14 and 0 of 1 on fourth down, while Buffalo was 7 of 19. The Bills again ruled the clock, holding the ball for 36:31, while Miami kept it for 23:29.

In the first contest in the Sunshine State, Miami was a 7-point favorite and the over/under was 42 1/2. Buffalo won by 2, missing the spread but both teams managed to cover the over/under with their 44 combined points. Miami was also favored in the second meeting in windy upstate New York by 2 1/2 and the over/under was 43. Buffalo covered the spread with ease with their shutout win but both teams failed to make the over/under. As far as this Sunday’s concerned, the Dolphins are favored by 1 and the over/under’s 43. Buffalo’s going to make it close but Miami gets some revenge in upstate New York, coming away with the win on the road and covering the 1.

Detroit (1-0) at Carolina (1-0), 1 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 709, Bank of America Stadium) Felines rule the roost in the Tar Heel State as a pair of teams coming off huge wins last week meet in Charlotte. A pair of young guns (Matthew Stafford and Cam Newton) take the field at Bank of America Stadium in a North vs. South affair.

Detroit enters the Sunday contest with Carolina coming off a huge Monday night win in the Motor City against the New York Giants. In that contest, although the Lions were held to 76 yards (New York had 53), they did manage to sack Eli Manning twice and pick him off twice in the win. Once again, Megatron aka Calvin Johnson ran amok on the Giants, catching seven passes for 164 yards and two TDs. Stafford, for his part, threw for 346 yards in the contest and connected with Johnson on both TD passes with no interceptions. The Lions did quite well on third down tries against Eli and the G-men, going 10 for 15 and held the ball for 36:04, while New York struggled and went 3 of 13 (2 of 3 on fourth down tries) and kept the ball for 23:56.

The Panthers also won their opener last week in Tampa Bay, taking the Bucs 20-14. After taking a 10-0 lead into the locker room, Carolina held off a late Tampa Bay charge in the second half as the Bucs would outscore the defending NFC South champs 14-10, with K Gene Gano connecting on a 23-yard field goal with 23 seconds left in the contest. Carolina, without the services of Newton (ribs), managed to sack Bucs signal called Josh McCown three times and pick him off twice in the contest. Carolina was 6 of 15 on third down tries and 1 of 1 on fourth down, while Tampa Bay was 6 of 12 and time of possession favored the Panthers, who held the ball for 35:12 to Tampa Bay’s 24:48.

They’ve only meet six times and Carolina leads the series 4-2, outscoring the Lions 147-136. Carolina has won four of the last five contests in the series, with their last win coming in 2008 in Charlotte by a final of 31-22. Detroit’s last win over the Panthers came in 2011 in the Motor City by a final of 49-35. The Panthers are favored by 3 and the over/under is 43 1/2. Carolina struggled against Tampa Bay on the road without Newton and may struggle containing Johnson but the Panthers prevail at home in the Tar Heel State, covering the 3 at Bank of America.

New Orleans (0-1) at Cleveland (0-1), 1 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 710, FirstEnergy Stadium) The Saints travel to northern Ohio for a date with the Browns on the shores of Lake Erie. Both teams are coming into the contest with close losses under their belts and when this one ends, someone’s going to be .500 and someone’s going to be 0 and 2. New Orleans led 20-6 at the half against Atlanta in the Big Peach last week before the Falcons rallied twice to eventually tie things up and then take the win at home. RB Mark Ingram managed to rush for 60 of the Saints’ 139 yards in the contest but it was turnovers that did them in, with the key turnover coming in overtime when WR Mark Colston fumbled as New Orleans was marching down the field. New Orleans did reasonably well on third down conversions, going 8 of 13 (Atlanta was 6 of 11) and kept the ball for 30:25 (including the overtime) to Atlanta’s 31:18.

Despite Terrance West’s 100 yards in the contest with Pittsburgh (the Browns had 183; Pittsburgh rushed for 127, with LeVoon Bell rushing for 109), Cleveland still fell to the Steelers at Heinz Field 30-27 last Sunday. Browns QB Bryan Hoyer threw for 230 yards and a TD but was sacked three times and they would see Steelers K Sean Suisham nail a 41-yard field goal as time expired in the contest. Neither Cleveland or Pittsburgh did anything amazing on third down tries, as the Browns were 2 of 11, while Pittsburgh was 4 of 12 (1 of 1 on fourth down). Cleveland kept the ball for 27:33, while the Steelers kept it for 32:27.

The Browns lead the series 12-4 and have outscored the boys from the Big Easy 371-266. Cleveland’s last win in the series came in 2010, when they took a 30-17 win in New Orleans, while the Saints’ last win came in 2006 in Cleveland by a 19-14 final. New Orleans is favored by 6 1/2 and the over/under is 47 1/2. This one might the one to avoid (if you’re a Saints fan, by all means watch; if you’re a Browns’ fan, you’re better off watching that “NCIS” marathon on USA Network… yes, we still think that Ziva slapping Tony senseless is funny). Browns make this one somewhat interesting but the Saints march on to the win and may even cover the 6 1/2.

Jacksonville (0-1) at Washington (0-1), 1 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 707, FedEx Field) Jacksonville travels up I-95 to take on a Washington Redskins team that is also 0-1 and looking for their first win in the 2014 campaign.

The Jaguars blew a 17-0 lead at the half in Philadelphia and gave up 34 uncontested points to take a 34-17 loss. Jacksonville was held to 64 rushing yards in the city of Brotherly Love and QB Chad Henne was sacked three times on the day. Both teams struggled on third down tries in the contest (Philly was 8 of 19, 1 of 1 on fourth down; Jacksonville was 2 of 14, 0 of 1 on fourth down) and time held sway for the Eagles, who kept the ball for 30:46, while Jacksonville kept it for 29:14.

Washington trailed Houston 14-6 at the break but could pull no closer as they fell to the Texans 17-6. Robert Griffin III was sacked three times in the contest but managed to out-throw Texans QB Ryan Fitzpatrick 267-206 and Washington did rush for 131 yards, while Houston ran for 115 (Adrian Foster rushed for 103). Washington was 3 of 12 on third down tries (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:54, while Houston in keeping the ball for 29:06, was 7 of 14.

The two teams have not met since 2010, when the Redskins won in Jacksonville 20-17 in overtime. Washington’s last two wins over the Jaguars have been in overtime and Jacksonville’s only win in the series came in the Sunshine State 26-7 in Jacksonville in 2002.  Washington’s favored by 6 with a 43 1/2 over/under. Jacksonville’s good, even though they blew a lead against Philadelphia and Washington was never really in it against Houston. Someone’s got to win this one. “HAIL TO THE REDSKINS!” Washington covers the 6 and wins at home.

New England (0-1) at Minnesota (1-0), 1 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 706, TCF Bank Stadium). New England travels to the Twin Cities to take on Minnesota. The Pats and Vikings come into the Sunday afternoon matchup in Minnesota’s temporary digs on the University of Minneosta-Twin Cities campus until their new stadium is built. New England led 20-10 at the half against Miami before the Dolphins rallied in the second half, outscoring the Pats 23-0 to take the win. Pats QB Tom Brady was sacked four times and New England was held to 89 yards on the ground. New England was 5 of 17 on third down tries (2 of 4 on fourth) and kept the ball for 29:33, while Miami was 7 of 13 and held on to the pigskin for 30:27.

The vikings picked up their first win in St. Louis as they held the Rams to 72 yards rushing enroute to their 34-6 win. Cordarrelle Patterson ran amok on St. Louis in the contest in the great indoors, rushing for 102 yards on three carries, including a 67-yard TD run in the 3rd quarter. Minnesota was 3 of 11 on third down tries, while St. Louis 4 of 14. The Purple Gang kept the ball for 28:17, while St. Louis held on to the pigskin for 31:43. This weekend, the Vikings will be without the services of RB Adrian Peterson, who was arrested and charged with child cruelty in Texas. The team made the decision after it was learned that the star running back alledgedly spanked his son with a switch.

New England leads the series 7-4, have outscored the Vikings 237-230 and have won the last three contests, including a 28-18 win in 2010 in Foxboro, while Minneosta’s last win came in 2000 in Foxboro. New England’s favored by 3 on the road in the Land of 10,000 Lakes with the over/under at 49. Minnesota might have had it easy against St. Louis but they’ll be no match for a Patroits team that is seeking someone to beat up on. New England finds its punching bag in the Twin Cities and takes Minnesota to the woodshed, covering the 3.

Dallas (0-1) at Tennessee (1-0), 1 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 712, LP Field) The Cowboys leave the Lone Star State to take on the Titans/Oilers in Music City.

Dallas will attempt to get their ducks in a row after their 28-17 loss at home to San Francisco last Sunday. The Cowboys trailed 28-0 at the half and never could really recover, despite outscoring the 49ers 17-0 in the second half. Although Demarcus Murray would rush for 118 yards, it was Tony Romo that struggled in the contest, throwing three interceptions while being sacked three times in the loss.

Meanwhile, Tennessee took Kansas City to the woodshed last week at Arrowhead, coming out on top 26-10. The Titans held Kansas City to 67 yards rushing and sacked Alex Smith four times in the game. Tennessee led 10-3 at the half and never looked back in the win.

Dallas leads the series 7-6 and have outscored the Titans 307-244, which includes games played when the Titans were in Houston and known as the Oilers. Dallas’ last win in the series came in 2006, by a final of 45-14. The Titans’ last win in the series came in 34-27 in 2010. Tennessee is favored by 3 with a 49 1/2 over/under. The 3 point spread is a bit low but the 49 1/2 sounds pretty good. Tennessee is good but not great and Dallas is not that bad. Cowboys save Jason Garrett’s job for another week and cover the 3 with the win on the road.

Arizona (1-0) at New York Giants (0-1), 1 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 711, MetLife Stadium). The Desert Angy Birds travel east to face Eli and the Giants in the Meadowlands of upstate New Jersey. Arizona comes off a huge Monday night win over San Diego in the desert. Arizona trailed San Diego 17-6 after three quarters of play before mounting a huge rally that gave them the one-point win 18-17. The Cardinals’ game winning score came on a 13-yard TD pass to WR John Brown from Carson Palmer with 2:25 left.

Arizona, while rushing for 109 yards, held San Diego to 52 and Palmer would outpace Philip Rivers in passing 304-238 in the Monday night affair. The Desert Angry Birds were 6 of 13 on third down conversions in their win, holding the ball for 31:49. San Diego went 6 of 15 on third down tries (0 for 1 on fourth) and held the ball for 28:11.

New York looks to right its ship after their loss to Detroit Monday night in the Motor City. In the 35-14 loss to the Lions, the G-men were held to 53 yards on the ground and Eli Manning was sacked twice, while throwing a pair of interceptions in the contest. The Giants trailed 14-7 at the half but were outscored by Detroit in the second half 21-7, while going 3 of 13 on third down tries (2 for 3 on fourth) and kept the ball for 23:56, while Detroit kept the ball for 36:04 and went 10 of 15 on third down conversions.

Including contests when the Cards were in Chicago, then moved to St. Louis, then Arizona and the Giants played in Yankee Stadium and then the Yale Bowl, the G-men lead the series 80-42-2 and have outscored Arizona 2,746-2,126. The two teams last met in 2010 when New York took a 31-27 win in the desert while the Cards’ last win came in 2009 in the Meadowlands by a 24-17 final. The Desert Angry Birds are favored by 2 with a 42 1/2 over/under. Arizona’s good but they’re not that good. New York has been known to play better football than they have been of late. Giants recover in the Meadowlands by taking the win and covering the 2.

Seattle (0-1) at San Diego (0-1), 4:05 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 713, Qualcomm Stadium) The defending Super Bowl champs travel down I-5 to face the Chargers in a late afternoon interdivision matchup. Seattle RB Marshown Lynch was in early “Beast Mode” last Thursday night in the land of grunge, salmon and Starbucks, rushing for 110 yards and a pair of TDs. The Seahawk defense held Green Bay to 80 yards and sacked Aaron Rodgers three times in the contest, while Russell Wilson threw for a pair of TD’s without an interception. Despite being 4 of 11 on third down tries, Seattle was perfect on fourth down tries, finding success in their only try. Green Bay was 6 of 12 on third down (0 for 1 on fourth) and kept the ball for 26:40, while the Seahawks held on for 33:20.

The ‘Bolts are looking to even their record after their one-point loss to Arizona last Monday night in the desert. In the loss to the Desert Angry Birds, San Diego led 17-6 after 45 minutes of play before Arizona rallied in the fourth quarter to take the win. San Diego was held to 52 yards on the ground in the contest and neither team did anything to excite their fan base on third down tries in the contest (San Diego was 6 of 15, 0 of 1 on fourth down; Arizona 6 of 13) in the Monday night contest and the clock favored Arizona, who held on to the ball for 31:49, while San Diego kept it for 28:11.

Including contests when both teams were in the AFC West, Seattle holds a 26-23 lead in the series and the defending Super Bowl champions have outscored the “Bolts 1,028-1,012. The two teams have not seen each other since 2010, when Seattle edged San diego 27-20 in Seattle. San Diego’s last win over the Seahawks? 2006 in Seattle, as the Chargers came out on top 20-17. Seattle’s favored by 6 and the over/under is 44. Seattle s won five in a row, including the playoffs from last year. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Seahawks take San Diego to task at Qualcomm and come away with the win, even though they may not cover the 6.
St. Louis (0-1) at Tampa Bay (0-1), 4:05 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 714, Raymond James Stadium). Tampa Bay kept their contest with Carolina close last Sunday but came up short, losing by three to the Panthers, who did not have the services of Cam Newton. The Bucs trailed 10-0 at the half and then managed to outscore Carolina in the second half 14-10 but it wasn’t enough. Bucs QB Josh McCown was sacked twice and threw a pair of interceptions, despite throwing a pair of TDs in the contest. In the 6-point loss at home, the Bucs went 50 percent on third down tries at 6 of 12 (Carolina was 6 of 15 and 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 24:48, while Carolina played keep-away, holding the ball for 35:12.

New York Jets (1-0) at Green Bay (0-1), 4:25 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 716, Lambeau Field) The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! travel to the midwest to take on Green Bay at historic Lambeau Field. Green Bay returns to the land of bratwurst and cheese to open the home half of their 2014 campaign, while GangGreen is looking to make it two in a row.

The Jets under Geno Smith held off a late Oakland rally last Sunday in the Meadowlands, taking a 19-14 win on the East Coast. Oakland pulled to within five at 19-14 on a 30-yard TD pass to WR James Jones from QB Derrick Carr wtih 1:21 left. Oakland’s Sebastian Janikowski then tried an onside kick, which New York recovered and the Jets ran the clock out to take the win. RB Chris Ivory rushed for 102 of New York’s 212, while the Raiders ran for only 25. Neither team did well on third down tries in the contest (Oakalnd was 3 of 12, New York was 5 of 12) and the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! kept the ball for 34:50, while Oakland held on for 25:10.

Green Bay looks to right its ship after their 36-16 loss to Seattle in the Pacific Northwest, falling to the defending Super Bowl champs in the season opener. Green Bay trailed 17-10 at the half and then Seattle opened the floodgates, outscoring the Packers 19-6 in the second half. While they were held to 80 yards rushing, the Packers allowed Seattle to tally 207 yards (Marshawn Lynch ran for 110 yards with 2 TDs) on the night. Green Bay was 6 of 12 on third down tries (0 of 1 on fourth) and kept the ball for 26:40, while Seattle was 4 of 11 (1 of 1 on fourth down), keeping the ball for 33:20.

GangGreen leads the series 8-3 and have outscored the Pack 230-149. Green Bay managed to end a 3-game win streak by the Jets in the Meadowlands in 2010, coming away with a 9-0 win, while the Jets’ last win in the series came in 2006 by a final of 38-10. Green Bay is a 7 1/2 point favorite on the tundra of Lambeau Field and the over/under is at 46. The over/under makes sense. The 7 1/2? Plausible. Packers might not cover the 7 1/2 but they do come away with the win in the land of bratwurst and cheese.

Houston (1-0) at Oakland (0-1), 4:25 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 717, O.co Coliseum). It’s a late afternoon affair on the Left Coast as Houston travels to Oakland to take on the Raiders.

Oakland put on a late rally in the Meadowlands against the Jets but fell short 19-14. In the contest in upper New Jersey, the Silver and Black pulled to within five when QB Derrick Carr and WR James Jones connected on a 30-yard TD pass with under two minutes to play. The onside kick by Sebastian Janikowski failed, the Jets recovered and ran out the clock.

Oakland was held to a somewhat dismal 25 yards, while New York’s Chris Ivory ran for 102 (The Jets had 212 yards on the ground) and went 3 of 12 on third down in the loss.

Houston may lead the series 5-3 and may have outscored the Silver and Black 196-158 but the Raiders have won the last two meetings, including a 28-23 win in the Lone Star State last year. Houston’s last win in the series came in 2010 in Oakland as they would come away with a 31-24 decision. In that week 11 contest last year, the Texans blew a 17-14 lead at the half and allowed Oakland to outscore them 14-6 in the final 30 minutes of play. Houston was held to 90 yards on the ground, while Oakland RB Robert Jennings ran for 150 yards (Oakland rushed for 165 yards). Houston was favored by 7 last year in the Lone Star State and the over/under was 42. Oakland and Houston did manage to cover the over/under by scoring 51 points but the Raiders won by 5, missing the spread.  The oddsmakers like Houston again, this time as a 3 point favorite and the over/under is 39 1/2. Both numbers actually make sense, considering that both teams missed the playoff party last year. If you’re a fan of either team, by all means watch this one; otherwise, you’re better off watching that “South Park” marathon on Comedy Central (yes, admit it. You like watching Kenny die over and over!) Raiders “just win, baby!” at home and cover the 3.

Kansas City (0-1) at Denver (1-0), 4:25 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 715, Sports Authority Field) A pair of AFC rivals that were around when they played with leather helmets get together in the Mile High City Sunday afternoon.

The Chiefs, who are looking to go to the playoffs under Andy Reid’s leadership for the second year in a row, stayed close to Tennessee last week at Arrowhead, trailing 10-3 at the break before

Including contests when the Chiefs played their home games in Dallas and were known as the Texas and the Broncos played at old Mile High Stadium, Kansas City leads the series 56-51 and have outscored Denver 2,458-2,196. That’s the good news, Chiefs fans. The bad? Denver’s won five of the last six contests, including sweeping the season series last year. Kansas City’s last win over the Broncos came in 2011, when they left the Rocky Mountains with a 7-3 win.

In the first contest in week 11 in Denver, the Broncos took a 17-10 lead to the locker room at the half and came away wtih a 27-17 win. Manning outpassed Alex Smith 323-230 in the first meeting and both teams did manage to break the 100-yard rushing barrier (Kansas City-144, Denver-104) but both teams also struggled on third down tries (Kansas City was 4 of 13 and 0 of 1 on fourth down, while Denver was 6 of 16) and time was on the side of the Chiefs, who kept the ball for 30:07 to Denver’s 29:53.

Denver made it a clean sweep in 2013 in the second contest in the Midwest as they would rally to break a 21-21 tie to come away with the 35-28 win in week 13. Eric Decker and Manning connected on four TD catches, including the one that gave them the lead for good with 14:16 left to play in the game. Manning, with five TD passes, threw for 403 yards, while Smith had 293. Both clubs broke the 100-yard barrier (Denver-132, Kansas City-159) in the contest. As far as third down tries went, Denver did much better in the second meeting, going 8 of 14 to Kansas City’s 5 of 13 (the Chiefs were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and the Broncos held the ball for 28:04, while Kansas City kept it for 31:56.

In the first contest (week 11), Denver was favored by 8 and the over/under was 49 1/2. While both teams scored 44 points, missing the over/under, the Broncos managed to cover the spread with their 10-point win. Denver was favored by 4 1/2 in the second contest in Kansas City and the over/under was 49 1/2. With both teams scoring 63 points, the over/under was met and Denver winnning by 7 allowed them to cover the spread. Denver is a huge favorite in this first meeting at Sport Authority Field, coming into this contest as a 13-point favorite with the over/under set at 52. The 52 makes sense. The 13 points? Suspect at best, seeing that both teams made the post-season last year. Denver did struggle against Indy last week and still managed to win, while Kansas City stumbled against Tennessee. Then again, these two teams are old AFC foes, going all the way back to the 60s. This time, the Broncos are favored by 12, the largest spread so far this year and the over/under is at 50 1/2. Kansas City can be a dangerous team at times and they have given Denver problems of late. However, they’re on the road and in the thin Rocky Mountain air, which could actually help Denver. Broncos may not cover the 12 but they do take the Mile High win.

Chicago (0-1) at San Francisco (1-0) 8:30 p.m. (NBC, Levis Stadium). After decades at Candlestick, the 49ers will host their first regular-season game at Levi’s Stadium on Sunday night. San Francisco is coming off a 28-17 win at Dallas on Kickoff Weekend in which the team got scores on both offense and defense.

Last week, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick threw two touchdown passes and posted a 125.5 passer rating, improving his record as a starter to 14-0 when he has a 100+ rating (including the playoffs). Tight end Vernon Davis caught both touchdown passes and his 53 touchdown catches since 2009 (including the playoffs) are the second-most in the NFL (Detroit’s Calcin Johnson, 54). Defensively, cornerback Chris Culliver opened the scoring with a 35-yard fumble-return touchdown and the 49ers forced four turnovers (three interceptions, one fumble).

“Everyone was ready to get to the season, ready to play and ready to start putting these wins together,” says Kaepernick. In the win over Dallas in Arlington, the 49ers took a 28-6 lead with them to the locker room and then held Dallas off in the second half, despite allowing Cowboys RB DeMarcus Murray to rush for 118 of their 127 yards and forced four turnovers (three Tony Romo interceptions and a fumble). San Francisco, who rushed for 124 yards

San Francisco running back Frank Gore, now in his 10th season, reached 10,000 career rushing yards (10,033) last week. He is one of only 10 players in NFL history to rush for at least 10,000 yards and play 10+ seasons for a team.

Da Bears are searching for their first win of 2014 after a 23-20 overtime loss at home to Buffalo. Last week, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler threw touchdown passes to tight end Martellus Bennett and wide receiver Brandon Marshall. Running back Matt Forte had 82 rushing yards and 87 receiving yards to become the first Bear with at least 80 rushing and 80 receiving yards in a season opener since Pro Football Hall of Famer Walter Payton in 1983.

“We have 15 games left,” Cutler told the Chicago Tribune and WGN Sports. “We have a lot of football left. We’re going to get in a rhythm. We’ll move on. We have San Francisco – a tough road game – coming up.”

Chicago was held to 86 yards on the ground and Cutler was sacked twice, while throwing a pair of interceptions. Da Bears were 5 of 12 on third down tries, keeping the ball for 34:42, while Buffalo was not much better on third down, going 4 of 12 and held the ball for 30:32.

The series is even at 29-29-1 and San Francisco has outscored Da Bears 1,319-1,201 as well as won their last two contests, including a 32-7 win at Candlestick in 2012. Chicago’s last win over the 49ers came in 2009 in the Windy City by a 41-10 final. The oddsmakers like San Francisco in their new digs as a 7 point favorite and the over/under is 48 1/2.

Well, when you move into a new house, what do you do? You throw a party and this one’s “DRILL WORTHY!” (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?)

After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s 56 and dates a 41-year old ex-Marine, who’s now a football coach at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?” Yes, we warned you about her.

It’ll be a nice housewarming for Niner fans but in the end, Da Bears ruin the party and steal the picnic baskets. Chicago may not cover the 7 but they win on the Left Coast.

Philadelphia (1-0) at Indianapolis (0-1), 8:30 p.m. Monday night on ESPN, Lucas Oil Stadium) Week two closes out in Indy as the Colts go “Back Home Again in Indiana” to take on the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Eagles trailed 17-0 at halftime before rallying for a 34-17 win over Jacksonville in Week 1. With that win, Philadelphia is the first team in NFL history to win a game by at least 17 points after being shut out at halftime and trailing by at least 17 points. Quarterback Nick Foles threw two touchdown passes, running back Darren Sproles had a career-long 49-yard TD run and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox returned a fumble 17 yards for a score.

“The big thing is that as a team, we stuck together,” says Foles about the comeback win. “My teammates stuck with me and we never wavered. We just kept fighting and that’s why I love these guys. They’re going to keep fighting and we’re going to keep believing in each other.”

The Colts almost erased a 24-point deficit on the road at Denver last week but fell short, losing 31-24 to the Broncos. Quarterback Andrew Luck threw 252 of his 370 passing yards in the second half, including two touchdowns. In the fourth quarter, Luck connected with tight end Dwayne Allen on a 41-yard TD and teammed with wide receiver Hakeem Nicks on a nine-yard scoring strike to bring Indianapolis within striking distance but could come no closer.

“When you start the way we started, you dig yourself a hole you can’t come back from,” says Colts head coach Chuck Pagano.

It’s Monday night. “2 Broke Girls” are still in repeats until later in the month, so this one might be worth your time. The Colts are favored by 3 with the over/under coming in at 54 1/2. Both teams made the playoffs last year after being dismal the year before. The 3 point spread and the 54 1/2 are both numbers that even I can live with. Colts cover the 3 “Back home again in Indiana” and take the win.

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