And just like that, Week 2 is in the books! Here are some of the biggest winners and biggest losers from this week’s games in the NFL.
There weren’t a lot of people who were very high on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers heading into this season, and a lot of that was due to Baker Mayfield being the starting QB. The former first overall pick hasn’t had the career success that many thought he might when he was drafted, and after suiting up for three teams in the past two seasons, expectations weren’t as high for his tenure in Tampa Bay.
However, after beating the Vikings 20-17 in the opener, Mayfield once again turned heads in another Bucs victory against the Bears in Week 2. Through two games, he’s thrown for 490 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions and a 69% completion percentage. Players in Tampa Bay also reportedly love him in the locker room and playing like this will only add to their appreciation of their new teammate. As well as things have gone so far, the Bucs will be in for their toughest test yet next week against the Eagles. Mayfield shouldn’t be expected to get another win, but if he can play well under the pressure that Philadelphia will bring, Bucs fans should be confident that he can run this offence against anyone.
After a terrible first week, not many teams needed a bounce back in Week 2 more than the Seahawks. They did that in a big way on Sunday, as they came into Detroit and beat the Lions 37-31 in overtime. Although they had 30 points hung on them for the second straight week, Seattle’s defence did make some big plays and come up big in important moments. The highlight of the afternoon for the unit was Tre Brown’s pick-six in the fourth quarter, but rookie Devon Witherspoon’s pass breakup on an earlier 4th down was a great moment for the Hawks as well.
On offence, Geno Smith looked much better. He didn’t take a ton of shots downfield, but he took what the defence gave him all game, going 32/41 for 328 yards and two scores. The offence also did a great job of getting their best players the ball, as Tyler Lockett, D.K. Metcalf and Jaxon Smith-Njigba finished with the most receptions for the team and Kenneth Walker carried the ball seventeen times. Overall, this game was a statement from Seattle. They aren’t the team we saw last week, and they will a force to be watched in the NFC this year.
The Ravens are one of nine 2-0 teams following a big divisional win in Cincinnati. With J.K. Dobbins getting injured against the Texans, they proved to everyone this week that they would still be able to run the ball efficiently as Gus Edwards, Lamar Jackson, and Justice Hill combined for over 150 yards on the ground. As that has always been Baltimore’s identity on offence, being able to win without their top running back against a divisional rival like the Bengals was massive for the team’s confidence going forward.
Looking ahead, the Ravens will play the Colts in Week 3 before back to back divisional games against the Browns and Steelers. As they are the only team in the AFC North to start 2-0, they’ll have a great opportunity to take a good lead on the division after five weeks. Although it’s still very early in the season, every game matters in such a competitive division.
Denver’s offence had never scored more than 31 points with Russell Wilson starting before Week 2. On Sunday, they scored 33 and still lost. Not only did their defence give up 35 to Sam Howell and the Washington Commanders, the game also marked the ninth straight contest where they’ve lost after holding the halftime lead. To add to that, Sean Payton also became the first coach in ninety years to lose his first two games with a team by two points or less. Are the Broncos cursed?
Even the way they lost this game to Washington was brutal by itself. After getting out to a 21-3 lead, Russell Wilson and Brandon Johnson somehow connected on a hail mary with no time left to cut the lead down to two. On the ensuing two-point conversion, a lot of contact was made by Washington defender Benjamin St. Juste on Courtland Sutton, but the flag never came out and the game was over. After a disastrous twelve-loss season in 2022, the Broncos are still finding new ways to lose games and will try to avoid a fall to 0-3 against the Miami Dolphins next week.
The Cardinals have competed better than people thought they would through two games this season, but if you’re up 27-7 with less than four minutes left in the third quarter, you can’t lose in the NFL. Obviously, they don’t have the talent level to match up with many other teams, and that was certainly highlighted when momentum began to swing for the Giants in Week 2.
Despite the tough loss and the 0-2 start, the Cardinals have shown some encouraging signs for a team expected to finish at the bottom of the league. QB Josh Dobbs has been very serviceable and hasn’t turned the ball over yet this year, James Connor has rushed for over 160 yards on 37 attempts, and the defence has played well enough to keep both games close. At the end of the day though, the NFL is about winning games. If you can’t keep a 20-point lead, you’re going to end up on the loser side of this list.
It was a very rough Monday night for the Cleveland Browns in Week 2, but the biggest loss wasn’t on the scoreboard. The team is expected to miss superstar RB Nick Chubb for the rest of the season after he suffered a scary knee injury in the second quarter against Pittsburgh. For the Browns, no one has been more important to the offence than Chubb over the last few seasons, and having to find a way to win without him will be no easy task.
Things would be a little brighter if Deshaun Watson looked like his old self, but that’s not the case right now. Through two games, Watson has turned the ball over four times while throwing just two touchdown passes. His completion percentage is also just 55%, and he’s thrown for less than 400 total yards. The Browns started 2023 off on such a strong note with their win in Week 1 against the Bengals, but despite another solid performance from their defence, the season outlook has certainly soured after last night.
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