Monday NFL preview: Why Mariota, Manziel, Romo have people talking

Chiefs QB Alex Smith, Texans DE J.J. Watt earn game balls (1:19)

The Chiefs set out to improve their passing offense and found success with QB Alex Smith COMMA who threw three touchdown passes. Texans DE J.J. Watt had two sacks, his 15th multi-sack game since 2012; he's the only player to do that in that span. (1:19)

NFL Nation reporters look ahead to what Monday has in store for each team.


Buffalo Bills: The Bills are riding high after a 27-14 win Sunday over the Colts that saw the Bills' defense hold Andrew Luck to a dismal 63.6 quarterback rating. Next up for the Bills? The AFC's other finalist from last season, the Patriots. Rex Ryan said Sunday he'll enjoy a few beers before thinking about New England, but you can bet he has had that one circled on his calendar. -- Mike Rodak

Miami Dolphins: Dolphins players were not satisfied with their performance in Sunday's 17-10 win over Washington. A big focus going forward will be fixing Miami's red-zone offense and run defense, which gave up 161 rushing yards. -- James Walker

New England Patriots: Patriots players return to work after having the weekend off following their Thursday night victory over Pittsburgh. LeGarrette Blount's return from suspension is one storyline of note as he rejoins the team after officially being reinstated Saturday. -- Mike Reiss

New York Jets: The Jets will be awaiting the MRI results for cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who suffered a potentially serious knee injury in Sunday's win over the Browns. There's fear it could be season-ending. If so, Marcus Williams probably would step into Cromartie's starting role. Williams made an interception in the victory. -- Rich Cimini


Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens sustained a huge blow to their defense on Sunday when linebacker Terrell Suggs suffered a season-ending Achilles injury. Suggs recorded double-digit sacks in four of his past five seasons so it will be difficult for Baltimore to fill that type of production. The Ravens' options to replace their franchise leader in sacks are Courtney Upshaw, rookie Za'Darius Smith or someone outside the organization. The top free-agent pass rusher available is Dwight Freeney. -- Jamison Hensley

Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals have to feel fortunate they walked out of Sunday's physical contest at O.co Coliseum relatively healthy. Only safety George Iloka was injured as a result of the chippy contest. Defensive coaches may emphasize how their players toe the line of physicality entering the remaining 15 games after several were flagged for personal fouls and unsportsmanlike activity. -- Coley Harvey

Cleveland Browns: Johnny Manziel figures to start in Week 2 against Tennessee, and Monday will be his first day of preparation. Manziel said he got no reps prior to the opener, so how he uses his time this week may determine how he plays on Sunday. -- Pat McManamon

Pittsburgh Steelers: Don't worry so much about the Steelers' No. 2 receiving option -- they still have Heath Miller, the 32-year-old who looked spry with eight catches for 84 yards in the opener. With Martavis Bryant and Le'Veon Bell still suspended, expect Ben Roethlisberger to continue to find Miller in the middle of the field. The Steelers had Saturday and Sunday off and will commence at the team's South Side facility on Monday. -- Jeremy Fowler


Houston Texans: Ryan Mallett's numbers were significantly better than Brian Hoyer's when they passed outside the numbers in Sunday's loss to the Chiefs. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Mallett completed seven of 10 passes there, averaging 7.8 yards per attempt with one touchdown. Hoyer completed only nine of 17 attempts and averaged just 5.6 yards per attempt. He threw one touchdown and one interception. -- Tania Ganguli

Indianapolis Colts: The Colts hope to have the results of receiver T.Y. Hilton's MRI on Monday. Hilton left Sunday's game against Buffalo in the second half with a bruised knee. Team owner Jim Irsay believes Hilton may miss some time. The Colts' next game is Sept. 21 against the Jets. -- Mike Wells

Jacksonville Jaguars: LT Luke Joeckel was scheduled to have an MRI on his injured left ankle Sunday evening, and the Jaguars should find out his status on Monday. If he's going to miss extended time -- and he said his ankle kept collapsing -- the Jaguars are going to have to figure out a replacement plan. That could mean starting six-year vet Sam Young or moving Jeremy Parnell to the right side. -- Mike DiRocco

Tennessee Titans: As good as the Titans were in a blowout win at Tampa Bay, there is plenty to correct. Ken Whisenhunt spoke about penalties (eight for 55 yards and a first down) and tackling after the game, and those are sure to be addressed closely in meetings on Monday in Nashville. -- Paul Kuharsky


Denver Broncos: The Broncos will gladly welcome safety T.J. Ward back Monday. Ward, who was suspended for the win over the Baltimore Ravens because of a violation of the league's conduct policy, will be needed. Safeties David Bruton Jr. (hip) and Omar Bolden (foot) each left Sunday's win, and with a short turnaround for Thursday night's game in Kansas City, the Broncos will need to get reserve safety Josh Bush up to speed quickly in the game plan, just in case. -- Jeff Legwold

Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs have to decide on a short week whether Eric Fisher is healthy enough to start at right tackle Thursday night against Denver or whether they're better off going with backup Jah Reid, who played Sunday in Houston. The Chiefs held out Fisher from the Texans game after deciding his injured ankle hadn't healed to the point where he could be effective. -- Adam Teicher

Oakland Raiders: The Raiders may have to add players at two spots. They may need a backup quarterback with Derek Carr dealing with a hand injury. They also may need a safety with starter Nate Allen dealing with a knee injury. He left the game early vs. Cincinnati and did not return. Larry Asante took Allen's place. Fellow starting safety Charles Woodson got hurt near the end of the game. The only other safety on the roster is rookie Keenan Lambert, who was claimed off waivers from Seattle last week. -- Bill Williamson

San Diego Chargers: In his first career start, rookie Melvin Gordon ran hard, finishing with 51 yards on 14 carries for a 3.6 per carry average. Gordon also fumbled for the first time, but the Lions couldn't capitalize on the miscue. "Our offensive line has been working pretty hard, and I knew they would give me some holes," Gordon said. "When you get holes like this in the NFL, you have to make the best of them." -- Eric D. Williams


Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys pulled off a late victory against the Giants without their top receiver on the field. Now the Cowboys will have to prepare to be without Dez Bryant for a few more weeks as he suffered a broken bone in his right foot and will need surgery, according to coach Jason Garrett. The team expects he will be out four to six weeks. -- Todd Archer

New York Giants: The Giants didn't suffer any crushing injuries in Sunday night's game. Their healing will have to be of the emotional variety. Players were angry and sad as they left AT&T Stadium on Sunday night, believing they should have won and feeling as though it was taken away from them. Asked whether Tom Coughlin's mea culpa about the late playcalling make the players feel any better, RB Rashad Jennings offered a disgusted look and said, "No. We lost. Nothing's going to make you feel better about this." -- Dan Graziano

Philadelphia Eagles: It's finally here, the unveiling of Chip Kelly's rebuilt Eagles. Can Sam Bradford stay healthy and develop chemistry with Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor? Can the three-quarters-new secondary hold up against Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Roddy White? Most of all, can this become a special Eagles season? It begins tonight in Atlanta. -- Phil Sheridan

Washington Redskins: The Redskins await word on receiver DeSean Jackson's hamstring injury -- he'll undergo an MRI on Monday to determine the severity. If he's lost for any time, it's a big blow considering how much they want to use play-action deep passes. And he's their best deep-ball receiver by far. His replacement, Ryan Grant, is not fast. -- John Keim


Chicago Bears: Receiver Alshon Jeffery walked with a slight limp in the postgame locker room following Sunday's loss to Green Bay, a clear sign Jeffery is not fully recovered from a calf injury. Banged up wideouts Eddie Royal and Marquess Wilson also played vs. the Packers, but the Bears hope the trio will be more effective next week against Arizona. Only one player left the game and did not return: defensive lineman Cornelius Washington, who is day to day with a right quad strain. -- Jeff Dickerson

Detroit Lions: The Lions had two starters leave late Sunday with injuries: tight end Brandon Pettigrew and cornerback Darius Slay. Pettigrew wouldn't say what his injury is, but Slay hurt his ankle. If the Lions were to lose the emerging star corner, who had an interception in the end zone against the Chargers, for any length of time, it would be a big blow to Detroit's defense. -- Michael Rothstein

Green Bay Packers: The film review of the Packers' defense won't be pretty. They'll have to figure out how they can prevent running backs from chewing them apart like Matt Forte did on Sunday, when he rushed for 141 yards on 24 carries. But, as defensive tackle Mike Daniels said, it's better to make corrections after a win. -- Rob Demovsky

Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings played the first game of the preseason. They'll have the last regular-season opener when they face the 49ers on Monday night. Running back Adrian Peterson will make his long-awaited return, and he admitted it means something extra to him that he's coming back in front of a national TV audience. -- Ben Goessling


Atlanta Falcons: The thing to watch for the Falcons in their Monday night opener against the Eagles is how they handle the pressure. The offensive line will have a tough time against a potent front seven, so QB Matt Ryan will have to get the ball off quickly at times, move around the pocket and utilize the running and screen games. The tight ends and backs have to help protect him. -- Vaughn McClure

Carolina Panthers: It likely will be late in the week before the Panthers know whether middle linebacker Luke Kuechly will pass the concussion protocol, so they'll begin prepping for the home opener against Houston with A.J. Klein and fifth-round pick David Mayo. The bigger concern should be the offense that managed only 263 yards against Jacksonville. With the team leader on defense down, Cam Newton and company must find a way to step up. -- David Newton

New Orleans Saints: The Saints showed plenty of flaws in their season opener, but it was still a competitive loss on the road against a quality opponent in Arizona. They have the ultimate chance to bounce back next week in their home opener against the Buccaneers, who got blown out in Week 1 with rookie QB Jameis Winston struggling in his debut. The Saints stunningly lost their last five home games last year. They need to get their Superdome mojo back in a hurry. -- Mike Triplett

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs need to use this week of practice to get rookie quarterback Jameis Winston to make better decisions. Winston made two poor decisions that resulted in interceptions against Tennessee. He can't afford to turn the ball over against New Orleans next week. -- Pat Yasinskas


Arizona Cardinals: Monday will bring news on Andre Ellington's knee one way or the other. The Cardinals will either have to put their faith in Chris Johnson for the foreseeable future or they'll get a sore Ellington back for Week 2 at Chicago. Until they find out, however, the next day will be nerve-wracking. -- Josh Weinfuss

St. Louis Rams: The Rams found a way to upset Seattle on Sunday, but coach Jeff Fisher will quickly turn his attention to making sure his team doesn't get too high after the win. The Rams have the youngest team in the league for the fourth straight year, which would seem to make them susceptible to a letdown after such a big win. It falls on Fisher and the team's veteran leaders to quickly turn the page and look ahead to Washington in Week 2. -- Nick Wagoner

San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers officially open the Jim Tomsula era with the first Monday Night game in Levi's Stadium history, and the rebuilt team can only hope the alternate black uniforms and the stadium's grass issues are mere sidebars to a more successful headline. -- Paul Gutierrez

Seattle Seahawks: The regrouping will need to begin immediately. Nick Foles threw for 297 yards and completed 66.7 percent of his passes against the Seahawks. Next up is Aaron Rodgers, who threw just five incompletions against the Bears. The Seattle defense needs to figure out a way to allow fewer big plays, or it could be facing an 0-2 start. -- Sheil Kapadia