NFL Nation reporters break down the biggest worries for teams across the league after Week 2, from injuries that open up possible vulnerabilities to units that are already liabilities, and more.
The Bills gained only 6 net passing yards in the first half of Sunday's loss to the Panthers, their third-lowest first-half output since 2001. The passing game is the team's biggest worry entering Week 3, especially considering Tyrod Taylor's receivers must deal with tough cornerbacks Chris Harris and Aqib Talib. Buffalo's leading pass catcher Sunday was running back LeSean McCoy, with 34 yards. Much more is needed from Jordan Matthews and Zay Jones.
The Dolphins must figure out what's next at outside linebacker after starter Lawrence Timmons went AWOL this weekend. Head coach Adam Gase wasn't ready to discuss the situation in detail immediately after their win over the Chargers. Backup Chase Allen (four tackle) was a spot starter. But if Timmons continues to miss time, Miami must examine longer-term solutions.
The No. 1 worry for the Patriots after their win over the Saints is a growing injury list that includes four players who didn't finish the game: TE Rob Gronkowski (groin), WR Phillip Dorsett (knee), RB Rex Burkhead (ribs) and CB Eric Rowe (groin). Given his injury history, Gronkowski tops the list and as he walked out of the locker room Sunday he alleviated some concerns by saying, "I'm good."
The Jets' biggest worry is their run defense, which has allowed 370 yards in two games. This is a team that prides itself on strong front seven play, but the line and linebackers aren't working in sync and the secondary also is missing tackles. Against the Raiders, they allowed TD runs of 43 and 52 yards.
The growing concern for the Ravens is their offensive line after Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda suffered a season-ending ankle injury. Baltimore will replace the second best offensive lineman in franchise history with Tony Bergstrom, who's been with the team for 16 days. This continues an injury-filled year for the line. Since the start of training camp in late July, Baltimore has lost two starters (Yanda and left guard Alex Lewis) and two top backups (John Urschel and Nico Siragusa) along the line.
The Bengals have a few extra days to mull over how they'll proceed with offensive coordinator Bill Lazor after firing Ken Zampese. It's not going to be a magic fix, and Andy Dalton's play has to be concerning for Lazor, who will now split time between his job as QB coach and OC. Bengals need to get Dalton back on track, which is going to be a difficult task at Lambeau Field next week.
DeShone Kizer struggled and receiver Corey Coleman (seven targets, one reception) injured his hand in the loss to Baltimore. In an era when passing reigns, the Browns are bringing along a rookie quarterback with a lack of playmakers at receiver. Until the Browns solve this enigma, the offense will struggle to score points.
Averaging 2.8 yards per rush is not what the Steelers had in mind for its offense through two weeks. Le'Veon Bell said he's close to breaking 'explosion plays,' but as it stands his longest rush is 15 yards. The big holes the Steelers line created late last season aren't quite there yet, though Sunday's win showed improvement. Getting the average closer to 4 or 5 yards per game should unlock the Steelers' aerial attack.
The Texans have 10 days off between games after playing Thursday night, but even the extra days may not be enough for some of the players on the injury report to be back for Sunday's game in New England, especially the three players in the concussion protocol: tight ends Ryan Griffin and Stephen Anderson and wide receiver Bruce Ellington. If the three don't play, the Texans could have just one tight end and three receivers available against the Patriots.
The Colts have to figure out a way to overcome the mental obstacle of their fourth-quarter collapse against the Cardinals. They went from having a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter and looking like they were going to get their first victory to losing in overtime and having an 0-2 record for the fourth straight season. The Colts have never started 0-3 under coach Chuck Pagano. A loss to Cleveland, which is also winless, on Sept. 24 will cause for panic inside the Colts organization, especially when it comes to Pagano.
The Jaguars have to figure out a way to get defenses to loosen up and not just concentrate on on stopping the run game and RB Leonard Fournette. It's a tough task without WR Allen Robinson to make plays downfield, but one option would be to reverse their plan. Instead of running the ball to set up the play-action pass, maybe they should throw the ball more early in games to make defenses ease back and create more running room.
The injured hamstrings of DeMarco Murray and Corey Davis will receive a lot of attention at Titans HQs. Mike Mularkey said Murray's hamstring was tight and they were be careful with Davis, who returned to action in the fourth quarter. Tennessee scored 37 points Sunday, but it will be tougher next week if Murray or Davis has to miss time.
For as many things as went right for the Broncos Sunday in a 25-point win over the Dallas Cowboys, their injuries in the offensive line will be a concern. Guard Ron Leary, who was in the concussion protocol last week, was spelled in the fourth quarter some and the Broncos also fear left tackle Garett Bolles suffered an Achilles' tendon injury. Bolles left the stadium with a walking boot on his left leg while also using crutches.
Alex Smith has been sacked seven times through the Chiefs' first two games. The Chiefs will need to slow that pace considerably if they're going to keep Smith around for a full season. The Chiefs had trouble blocking the Eagles' sturdy front for much of Sunday's game but they won't always face an opponent so difficult every week.
Even though he's struggled through the first two games, Chargers undrafted rookie kicker Younghoe Koo said he remains confident in his ability to make kicks. "I've just got to move on," Koo said. "It sucks for sure, but every kick's a new kick, whether you make it or not. You're only as good as your next kick." Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn did not rule out the possibility of Koo having some competition next week after he pushed a 44-yard attempt wide right that would have defeated the Miami Dolphins, one of two missed kicks by the Georgia Southern product on the day. Koo also had a 44-yard attempt blocked that would have tied the game in the Chargers' season-opening loss against the Denver Broncos.
Bruce Irvin knows he is a marked man, so to speak, after picking up his second personal foul penalty in as many weeks with a spinning/slam tackle of Matt Forte. It was not nearly as bad as the slam job he had in Week 1 at Tennessee of Delanie Walker, though. "I've got to just be more mindful," Irvin said, "make a better tackle." Irvin had one of five 15-yard penalties against Oakland in the first half.
The Cowboys' success is built largely on Ezekiel Elliott's ability to run but will the Cowboys have Elliott going forward? Many pundits believe the running back will receive favorable news from the courts this week, which will allow him to play for the full season. But what if the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals grants the NFL's request of a stay and he is suspended for the next six games? He could be able to return Nov. 12 at the Atlanta Falcons. The Cowboys can say they have faith in backup runners Alfred Morris, Darren McFadden and Rod Smith, but none is as dynamic as Elliott.
The Eagles have a balance problem. Running backs carried the ball just 13 times while Carson Wentz had 46 pass attempts in a loss to the Chiefs. The projected lead back, LeGarrette Blount, didn't get a single carry. Ground game could be an issue all year.
The Redskins now have to concern themselves with injuries on offense, starting with RB Rob Kelley and RT Morgan Moses. TE Jordan Reed also was hurt, but returned briefly. With an inconsistent passing attack, they need all their run game weapons available.
The Bears biggest worry is that their season is over. For the third consecutive year, the Bears have an 0-2 record going into Week 3. And the schedule doesn't get any easier. The Bears host the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers next Sunday, and then travel to Green Bay on a short week for Thursday night football. Chicago already had three starters on injured reserve going into Sunday, and three more starters were unable to finish the Bears' 29-7 loss to Tampa.
Aaron Rodgers might not have any veterans left to block for him on the outside or any proven receivers to throw to. The Packers started the game without both starting tackles (Bryan Bulaga and David Bakhtiari) and then lost receiver Jordy Nelson to a quad injury and watched Randall Cobb suffer a shoulder injury. All that is going to be concerning for the Packers heading into Week 3.
The Vikings ‘shot themselves in the foot’ as the locker room put it with penalties that undid their own progress and made way for the Steelers to get ahead. Uncharacteristic of Minnesota’s disciplined defense were the offsides and pass interference calls that led to Pittsburgh moving the ball down the field, stringing together big plays and setting up the Steelers first three scoring drives. In total, the Vikings accrued 11 penalties for 131 yards.
The biggest concern for the Falcons right now has to be the status of pass-rusher Vic Beasley Jr., who left Sunday night's game against the Packers with a hamstring injury. Beasley is such a critical part of the defense after leading the league with 15.5 sacks last season, and if he has to miss an extended period of time, the Falcons might have to seriously consider re-signing veteran Dwight Freeney to help Adrian Clayborn, rookie Takk McKinley, and Brooks Reed rush off the edge.
The Panthers unsuccessfully have been trying the past couple of years in free agency and through the college ranks to find another receiving tight end in case something happened to three-time Pro Bowler Greg Olsen. With Olsen now out an extended period after suffering a fractured foot in Sunday's 9-3 victory over Buffalo they are in a bit of a bind. Maybe a lot of a bind. Ed Dickson is more than capable but after him is project Chris Manhertz. As Dickson said, "We're raw."
The Saints’ No. 1 worry through two weeks is obvious – the pass defense. They have allowed 777 yards through two games (the most in franchise history), and they have been plagued by repeated breakdowns in coverage leading to explosive plays. According to ESPN Stats and Info, the Saints have allowed more touchdowns (3) on pass plays of 15-plus yards than incompletions (2). The Saints have a lot of youth in their secondary, but veteran safety Kenny Vaccaro was also singled out with a temporary benching Sunday.
Both linebackers Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David left Sunday's game with injuries. David said it's cramping and he should be fine, and Alexander is dealing with a hamstring issue. That's a concern with Dalvin Cook -- the league's second-leading rusher -- on deck next week. The Bucs do have a lot of depth at linebacker though, with Adarius Glanton and Kendell Beckwith both looking strong filling in.
What's there not to be concerned with through two games? The offense looks like it's mired in a marsh early in games, getting going when it's too late and the defense hasn't lived up to its potential yet, with the exception of a few plays. Arizona lost its first game and barely won its second, scoring three points through three and a half quarters and letting an inexperienced quarterback basically have his way.
The Rams have to be concerned about their run defense. In a Week 2 loss, they allowed a Redskins team that has struggled for a while to run the ball effectively to rush for 229 yards, even though the Rams had Aaron Donald and the Redskins lost Rob Kelley in-game. Chris Thompson gained 77 yards on only three carries, and the Rams' front seven allowed a lot of holes throughout the game. It especially hurt them in Washington's game-winning drive, which saw it chew up about five minutes.
The 49ers biggest concern coming out of Sunday's 12-9 loss to the Seattle Seahawks is clearly their struggle to get anything going in the passing game in the first two weeks. QB Brian Hoyer was 15-of-27 for 99 yards with an interception for a passer rating of 48.2 against the Seahawks. Afterward, he said he felt bad about his early season performance and acknowledged he has to do better if the Niners are going to breakthrough.
The Seahawks have scored one touchdown through two games, and that came in the fourth quarter of an ugly win over the 49ers. Their running game showed some signs of life while closing out that victory. They'll need to build on that and eliminate the dropped passes and missed throws that continued to hold them back in this game.