<
>

The Big Story for all 32 NFL teams

play
Patriots' plan for Brissett (0:40)

ESPN Patriots reporter Mike Reiss breaks down New England's plan for backup quarterback with Jimmy Garoppolo out with a shoulder injury and Jacoby Brissett thrust into the starting position. (0:40)

NFL Nation reporters detail the biggest storylines to come out of Week 2 -- and what they mean going forward -- for every team.

AFC East | AFC North| AFC South | AFC West
NFC East | NFC North | NFC South | NFC West

AFC EAST

Buffalo Bills (0-2)

The Bills, winless after their loss on Thursday night to the Jets, have the Cardinals coming to town next Sunday. The big storyline this week will be how Anthony Lynn, thrust suddenly into a play-calling role after the Bills fired offensive coordinator Greg Roman on Friday, adjusts the offense to make coach Rex Ryan and ownership happier. Ryan has already dropped hints that he wants the ball in wide receiver Sammy Watkins' hands more often. -- Mike Rodak

Next game: vs. Cardinals, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Miami Dolphins (0-2)

The Dolphins' defense faces plenty of questions after allowing 31 points to backup quarterbacks Jimmy Garoppolo and rookie Jacoby Brissett in Sunday's loss to the Patriots. Miami's defense allowed 304 passing yards, three touchdowns and a combined 123.2 passer rating to New England's quarterback duo. Miami's defense, on paper, should have the advantage next week in its home opener against another backup in Browns quarterback Josh McCown. But you can't assume anything considering this group's up-and-down performance this season. -- James Walker

Next game: vs. Browns, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

New England Patriots (2-0)

Jimmy Garoppolo was knocked out of Sunday's win over the Dolphins with a right shoulder injury after a blazing fast start, and now the Patriots prepare for Thursday night's home game against the Texans with rookie Jacoby Brissett as their quarterback. That was a big theme in the locker room after the game, with players and Bill Belichick rallying around Brissett. Said Belichick, "He's been working for this for a long time, all the way back into the spring, all the way through training camp." -- Mike Reiss

Next game: vs. Texans, Thursday, 8:25 p.m. ET

New York Jets (1-1)

The health of three starters -- wide receiver Brandon Marshall (knee), left guard James Carpenter (calf) and linebacker Erin Henderson (foot) -- will be watched closely this week as the Jets prepare for a road game against the Chiefs. The early word is that all three are likely to play. Of the three, Marshall is the one they can least afford to lose. More will be known on Monday, when the Jets return to practice after a three-day break. -- Rich Cimini

Next game: at Chiefs, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET

AFC NORTH

Baltimore Ravens (2-0)

The Ravens' defense carried the team to victory for the second straight week. In the final three quarters, Baltimore held the Browns scoreless and limited them to 190 total yards. The Ravens admitted they had trouble early dealing with the emotions from losing defensive line coach Clarence Brooks, who died Saturday after battling cancer. Baltimore is now 2-0 for the first time since 2009, and it is taking advantage of a soft schedule. That doesn't change in Week 3. The Ravens play the struggling Jaguars in Jacksonville. -- Jamison Hensley

Next game: at Jaguars, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Cincinnati Bengals (1-1)

The Bengals' defense gave them opportunities, but the offense struggled and wasn't able to capitalize in the loss to the Steelers. A controversial late fumble by rookie wide receiver Tyler Boyd didn't help. The offense won't have an easy time next week with the defending Super Bowl champion Broncos coming to town. -- Katherine Terrell

Next game: vs. Broncos, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Cleveland Browns (0-2)

Could the Browns start their third quarterback in the season's first three games? It's possible, based on the health of Josh McCown. He replaced Robert Griffin III, who is out at least eight games, and played well until he needed his left shoulder checked. He was in serious discomfort for the rest of the game, and he needed X-rays when it was over. His status will be addressed on Monday, but he said Sunday that he plans to play in Week 3. -- Pat McManamon

Next game: at Dolphins, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0)

The buzz in the Steelers' locker room centered around the defense, particularly a pass defense that looks improved from a year ago. The Steelers forced the Bengals to settle for field goals and kept Andy Dalton to less than 50 percent passing well into the third quarter. And there's room for growth after one sack in two games. But linebacker James Harrison is tempering expectations. Asked about whether the secondary is better than a year ago, Harrison said, "I'm not ready to say that just yet," adding the defense needs at least four games to craft an identity. -- Jeremy Fowler

Next game: at Eagles, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET

AFC SOUTH

Houston Texans (2-0)

The Texans, unbeaten after their Week 2 victory over the Chiefs, have a short week as they prepare to play at New England on Thursday night. The biggest storyline this week will be how quarterback Brock Osweiler responds after his two-interception performance. The offense scored only one touchdown, and it was held to an interception and three field goals in four trips to the red zone on Sunday. The defense, which did not allow a touchdown, picked up the offense against the Chiefs, but it does not want to rely on that Thursday against the Patriots. -- Sarah Barshop

Next game: at Patriots, Thursday, 8:25 p.m. ET

Indianapolis Colts (0-2)

The Colts are looking at the possibility of being 0-3 for the first time in the Andrew Luck era. That's because the Chargers are coming to Indianapolis in Week 3 with an offense that's averaging more than 32 points a game through the first two weeks. That doesn't bode well for a defense that is without starting cornerbacks Vontae Davis (ankle) and Patrick Robinson (concussion) and lost two more -- Darius Butler (hamstring) and Rashaan Melvin (cramps) -- in their loss at Denver on Sunday. -- Mike Wells

Next game: vs. Chargers, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET

Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2)

One week after nearly beating the Packers, the Jaguars turned in an embarrassing performance in a loss to San Diego. It was a complete meltdown on offense and defense, and a bit of a surprising performance considering how much the players talked all week about the franchise making progress. The Jaguars are now 1-12 in September under coach Gus Bradley, who is 12-38 in three-plus seasons. Owner Shad Khan said a winning record in 2016 is "everybody's reasonable expectation" but an 0-2 start with Baltimore up next makes it even harder for that to become a possibility. -- Mike DiRocco

Next game: vs. Ravens, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Tennessee Titans (1-1)

With a gritty, come-from-behind win in an ugly game that was often hard to watch, the Titans really made a statement. A team that has rarely found a way to pull a game out in the past two years did just that. With quarterback Marcus Mariota cramping, he hit nine of nine passes including a fourth-down touchdown throw to Andre Johnson on the game-winning drive. It felt a little like the Steve McNair Titans. Over the past two years the Titans have won five games, four of them were followed with complete duds. To sustain this win and give it meaning, the Titans need to put up a good showing against Oakland next week. -- Paul Kuharsky

Next game: vs. Raiders, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

AFC WEST

Denver Broncos (2-0)

A Broncos defense that scored five touchdowns last season to power a Super Bowl season is at it again. Denver's defense scored twice Sunday -- a Shane Ray scoop-and-score fumble return to go with an Aqib Talib interception return -- on the way to a victory over the Colts. The Broncos' defense has eight sacks in two games and has wins over Cam Newton and Andrew Luck -- neither topped 200 yards passing -- on the way to a 2-0 start. -- Jeff Legwold

Next game: at Bengals, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Kansas City Chiefs (1-1)

The Chiefs thought they might have one of the NFL's highest-scoring teams this season, but they might want to rethink that after the loss in Houston. Between three turnovers, four sacks, some dropped passes and some penalties, the Chiefs had to settle for four field goals. That's a lot to get cleaned up in time for next week's game against the Jets at Arrowhead Stadium. -- Adam Teicher

Next game: vs. Jets, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET

Oakland Raiders (1-1)

Defense was supposed to be the Raiders' calling card after the offseason signings of pass-rusher Bruce Irvin, cornerback Sean Smith and safety Reggie Nelson and drafting safety Karl Joseph in the first round. But after giving up more than 1,000 yards of offense and 69 points in two weeks, the D needs it's ID checked heading into this next matchup against an improved Titans' offense. "We're not on the same page and it's showing," Irvin said. "We went from a bad performance [in New Orleans] to an even worse performance the following week. We can do all the talking we want to do, but it's up to the guys in this locker room to turn this [stuff] around. If not, that's what we're going to get, every week." -- Paul Gutierrez

Next game: at Titans, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

San Diego Chargers (1-1)

Facing what quarterback Philip Rivers called an eerily similar situation to San Diego's head-slapping loss to the Chiefs in Week 1, the Chargers built a big lead in the first half, then kept their foot on the gas pedal in blowing out the Jaguars. Rivers said he's pleased the Chargers had to deal with holding onto a big lead so early in the year so that feeling would not linger, and looks forward to getting San Diego's first road win of the season next week against the Colts. "It was good to get a win," Rivers said. "It's always hard to get that first one. Now hopefully we can start stacking them on each other." -- Eric D. Williams

Next game: at Colts, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET

NFC EAST

Dallas Cowboys (1-1)

An 0-2 start for the Cowboys might not have been disastrous, but they are glad they don't have to experience what that would be like this week with a win Sunday against the Redskins. "Now that we can sit here and have it with a win, I've been on a team that lost its first two and won a Super Bowl," owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. "I know better than to tuck it. But by the same token if this had been back to back division losses, I think we a had a little more at stake here with a division game." There's plenty at stake next Sunday against the Bears: It has been more than a calendar year that the Cowboys have won at AT&T Stadium, where they have lost eight straight. -- Todd Archer

Next game: vs. Bears, Sunday, 8:30 p.m. ET

New York Giants (2-0)

There are reasons for the Giants to be optimistic. They are undefeated and their offense hasn't even hit their stride yet. The reasons begin with wide receiver Victor Cruz and the defense. Cruz made another clutch play late in Sunday's victory over the Saints. The defense held quarterback Drew Brees and the explosive New Orleans offense to one touchdown. After four straight playoff-less seasons, the Giants finally have real reason for hope based off the first two weeks of the season. -- Jordan Raanan

Next game: at Redskins, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Philadelphia Eagles (1-0)

Rookie quarterback Carson Wentz makes his first road start Monday night as the Eagles play at Chicago. Coming off a strong debut against the Browns, Wentz now takes the national stage. "It's a Monday Night Football game and it's very exciting. Emotions are running extremely high," coach Doug Pederson said. "I'll be trying to keep [Wentz] as calm as I can along with myself and try to approach it the same way we approached the last one." -- Tim McManus

Next game: at Bears, Monday, 8:30 p.m. ET

Washington Redskins (0-2)

The Redskins are a shocked team after losing to Dallas and falling to 0-2. They can't afford an 0-3 start. There are defensive issues, but those were expected. That's why the big story after Sunday is: What's wrong with quarterback Kirk Cousins? He has been unimpressive, missing open targets for big plays and forcing interceptions. He has not looked like the same player who starred in the final nine games last season. The offense has done a good job creating open targets, but until he takes advantage the Redskins will struggle. -- John Keim

Next game: at Giants, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

NFC NORTH

Chicago Bears (0-1)

As the Eagles arrive at Soldier Field for Monday Night Football, it's worth reminding everyone that the Bears went a miserable 1-7 at home under John Fox last season. That kind of futility is unacceptable in the NFL, since holding serve at home is vital for team's that have true playoff aspirations. Fox admitted he contemplated changing up the Bears' home routine, but elected to keep it mostly status quo, for now. "We almost considered changing hotels, but we liked where we were and they did a great job," Fox said. "So we decided not to do that." To make matters worse, the Bears have not defeated an NFC team at Soldier Field since Nov. 23, 2014. -- Jeff Dickerson

Next game: vs. Eagles, Monday, 8:30 p.m. ET

Detroit Lions (1-1)

Injuries are the big thing to watch out of Sunday and heading into a rivalry week against the Packers. Detroit was down to two healthy linebackers at the end of Sunday's loss to Tennessee, and it has questions about starters DeAndre Levy (quad) and Kyle Van Noy along with reserve Antwione Williams (thigh). Then there are the injuries to impact players like pass-rusher Ezekiel Ansah (ankle) and running back Ameer Abdullah (foot) that could leave Detroit in a potential talent crunch early in the season. That's not a good sign. -- Michael Rothstein

Next game: at Packers, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Green Bay Packers (1-1)

How's this for a twist? The Packers' offense has more questions to answer than their defense. With the Lions coming to Lambeau Field next week, the Packers' defense has been near impenetrable the first two weeks of the season. The problem is quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the offense can't seem to get in sync. They survived the opener at Jacksonville but couldn't get by with a shaky showing against the Vikings. -- Rob Demovsky

Next game: vs. Lions, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Minnesota Vikings (2-0)

The Vikings will have to keep a close eye on the health of running back Adrian Peterson, who injured his right knee in the third quarter and had to be helped off the field. Peterson will likely need a MRI on his knee, and his status for the team's trip to Carolina next Sunday figures to be the big topic of the week. -- Ben Goessling

Next game: at Panthers, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

NFC SOUTH

Atlanta Falcons (1-1)

The Falcons finally solved their red-zone woes in a win over the Raiders. They converted three consecutive times in the red zone with touchdowns receptions by Jacob Tamme and Justin Hardy, and a 13-yard touchdown run by Tevin Coleman. This was after going 0-2 in the red zone in the first half, and seeing quarterback Matt Ryan throw his first red-zone interception of the season. The Falcons had a stretch where they scored on six of seven possessions. That's a positive they can take into Week 3. -- Vaughn McClure

Next game: at Saints, Monday, 8:30 p.m. ET

Carolina Panthers (1-1)

Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin said several times how good it felt to be back after Sunday's win over San Francisco. The 6-foot-5, 240-pound receiver is back in a big way, catching seven passes for 108 yards and a touchdown against the 49ers and catching three touchdown passes in the first two games. Quarterback Cam Newton said Benjamin simply makes everything he does "extremely easy.'' He could make the Panthers the top scoring offense in the NFL once again. -- David Newton

Next game: vs. Vikings, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

New Orleans Saints (0-2)

The Saints were so encouraged by their defense's performance Sunday -- and so disappointed that they still lost to the Giants anyway. As quarterback Drew Brees said, "If you told me prior to the game that we would get three takeaways defensively and not allow an offensive touchdown, I'd say your chances of winning are pretty good." Instead the Saints are 0-2. They know their offense can be great (see 4 touchdown passes in Week 1). And now they know their defense can be resilient. But can they figure out how to win? It's a question that's plagued them for too long. -- Mike Triplett

Next game: vs. Falcons, Monday, 8:30 p.m. ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1)

Quarterback Jameis Winston threw four interceptions and lost a fumble in the Bucs' blowout loss to the Cardinals. He said the biggest thing that he learned from the game was, "This is a week-to-week thing. We can't sit and praise people because we won a game. We have to be consistent, week in and week out. If there's something I need to do, I need to be more consistent." He also scoffed at the notion that he'd leave the game because it was blowout. "I play football for a living. I'm going to be out on the field fighting with my brothers until the end." -- Jenna Laine

Next game: vs. Rams, Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET

NFC WEST

Arizona Cardinals (1-1)

The Cardinals got the type of performance from both sides of the ball they needed to bounce back from a Week 1 loss to the Patriots. In the win over the Bucs, the offense put up 40 points for the sixth time in the Bruce Arians' era, and the defense had five turnovers, including four interceptions. Their test this week will be maintaining that momentum against a Buffalo team that's fighting for its life at 0-2. -- Josh Weinfuss

Next game: at Bills, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Los Angeles Rams (1-1)

The Rams got the win they needed against the Seahawks on Sunday, relying heavily on a dominant defense that held their division rivals to only a field goal. But Los Angeles has yet to score a touchdown this season. And in order to put more points on the board, they'll need to get star running back Todd Gurley going. Gurley, who finished third in rushing yards as a rookie last season, rushed for only 47 yards in Week 1 and 51 yards in Week 2. Said Gurley: "It's whatever. It's football. You're not going to have a great game every game." -- Alden Gonzalez

Next game: at Buccaneers, Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET

San Francisco 49ers (1-1)

The 49ers showed some fight in clawing back from a 21-point deficit to draw within one score in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 46-27 loss to Carolina but that grit won't get them far if the offense doesn't begin to find some consistency. During one five-possession stretch in the second and third quarters, the Niners mustered just 42 yards and two first downs as the Panthers turned a 10-7 deficit into a 31-10 lead that San Francisco couldn't overcome. There are no quick fixes in sight for this offense other than simply playing better but that won't be easy as next week they face a Seahawks team the Niners haven't beaten in their past four tries and haven't beaten in Seattle since 2011. -- Nick Wagoner

Next game: at Seahawks, Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET

Seattle Seahawks (1-1)

The Seahawks left Los Angeles with a 1-1 record and serious questions about what's going wrong offensively. They scored just three points In their loss to the Rams, and the offense went scoreless on its last eight possessions. Through two weeks, the offense has scored a total of 15 points. This comes after the Seahawks averaged 31.3 points per game in the second half of 2015. Quarterback Russell Wilson will continue to rehab from a high ankle sprain this week, and the Seahawks have other injuries to deal with. Wide receiver Doug Baldwin suffered a knee injury and will get an MRI Monday. Running back Thomas Rawls suffered a leg contusion and didn't play in the second half. And wide receiver Tyler Lockett played through a knee sprain. The Seahawks need to get healthy this week and come up with answers offensively. -- Sheil Kapadia

Next game: vs. 49ers, Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET