Top storyline for each Week 2 NFL game

Dak Prescott and his Cowboys aced their first major test of the season in Week 1. After losing both of his starts to the New York Giants as a rookie last season, Prescott completed 24-of-39 passes for 268 yards with a touchdown and zero picks in a 19-3 Cowboys win. This came against an elite Giants pass defense that yielded 15 touchdowns compared to 17 interceptions for a 75.8 quarterback rating last season.

The Cowboys’ Week 2 opponent — Denver — boasted the only defense that topped what we saw from New York last season. Led by Aqib Talib and Chris Harris at corner, the Broncos yielded an NFL-low 69.7 rating in 2016. Though, this unit is coming off a Week 1 performance that saw it allow three Philip Rivers touchdown passes. Considering it gave up just 13 touchdown passes through the air last season, that could be a bit alarming.

In any event, Prescott and the ‘Boys have yet another difficult matchup on the road in Mile High in Week 2. How the young quarterback performs will play a huge role in the outcome of what promises to be a great game.

San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks: Who will score for touchdown?

That’s a real question. San Francisco and Seattle combined for four field goals, 25 first downs and 442 total yards of offense in Week 1 losses. To put this into perspective, both Kansas City and Minnesota put up more yards than these two offenses combined. For both of these division rivals, it’s a crying shame. Their defenses more than came ready to play against Carolina and Green Bay respectively. It was the offenses that just couldn’t do anything of substance.

We can point to both Brian Hoyer and Russell Wilson struggling from a statistical standpoint. That’s fine. But the offensive lines were a complete mess. Going up against a Packers pass defense that ranked 31st in the NFL last season, Wilson was pressured on 44 percent of his dropbacks. Meanwhile, Hoyer faced continued pressure behind the interior of his line to the tune of four sacks.

There’s even worse news for both offenses heading into Week 1. Seattle and San Francisco boast two potentially dominant defensive line. How will the 49ers fend off the likes of Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett and Frank Clark? Do the Seahawks have any sort of an answer for DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead, Solomon Thomas and Elvis Dumervil? Yeah, this is going to be one ugly offensive football game.

Washington Redskins at Los Angeles Rams: Sean McVay to prove Rams aren’t a mirage

Set to take on his former Redskins team following a 46-9 blowout win over Indy in his Rams head coaching debut, McVay will be attempting to prove two things here. First off, he’s going to want to show Jay Gruden and the Skins that Kirk Cousins’ success over the past couple seasons were primarily due to his presence as the team’s offensive coordinator. After all, Cousins struggled something horrible in Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Secondly, it’s now time for the Rams to prove that last week’s dominating performance over the hapless Colts wasn’t a mirage. Second-year quarterback Jared Goff completed 21-of-29 passes for 300-plus yards without an interception — by far the best performance of his young career. Should Goff and the Rams keep this up against vastly better competition in Week 2, it might be time for the rest of a mediocre NFC West to take this team seriously.

Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons: NFC Championship Game rematch

One could easily conclude that Green Bay was much more impressive against better competition in Week 1 than the defending NFC champion Falcons. Whether that translates into a win on Sunday Night in the Falcons’ first game in their new digs remains to be seen. But we absolutely love the pressure Green Bay’s front seven, Nick Perry and Mike Daniels included, brought to the face of Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson in Week 1. Should that continue against reigning NFL MVP Matt Ryan, the Falcons’ offense could very well stall here.

On the other hand, it also wouldn’t be a stretch to conclude that Week 1’s win in Lambeau had more to do with an anemic Seahawks offensive line. Remember, Green Bay yielded the second-most passing yards and an absurd 95.9 rating to quarterbacks last season. Without much improvement in terms of personnel, is this pass defense really that much better? How it performs against Atlanta on Sunday night could very well dictate whether the Packers are true contenders to knock off the defending conference champs in January.

Detroit Lions at New York Giants: Lions defense for real?

Detroit’s defense handed it to Carson Palmer and the Arizona Cardinals in a big way this past Sunday. Palmer threw three interceptions, including a pick-six, as the Cardinals turned it over a total of four times in the game. This came after a 2016 campaign in which the Lions forced a grand total of 14 turnovers.

One week of action is not enough of a sample size for us to determine if the Lions’ defense is improved or if Arizona’s offense is just that bad.

What we do know is that the Giants’ offense did absolutely nothing of substance against a Cowboys defense that was considered a weak point heading into the year. In Week 1, Eli Manning and Co. scored a grand total of three points. They didn’t cross their 35-yard line until midway through the third quarter. Sure missing Odell Beckham Jr. hurt big time here, but their offense simply needs to perform better. It will definitely be a good test for both squads in Week 2.

Yardbarker: NFL

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