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2012 NFL Grades, Week 2: Market correction Sunday; Arizona ends your survivor pool

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

The beautiful thing about Week 2 of the NFL season is the market correction we always see. The Bills and Panthers, two hot "sleeper" teams this season, both bouncing back with big wins is the best example of this, along with the Bears laying an egg in Green Bay and the Dolphins not being nearly as bad as everyone thought.

Unless, you know, Oakland is just terrible. Maybe the Raiders are.

The biggest stunner in the early games, though, by far was the Cardinals topping the Patriots in New England. It was a terrible effort for Tom Brady and the Patriots, who haven't looked in sync on offense at all. More importantly, Arizona's defense looked stout again. Somehow, the Cardinals are 7-1 since late November 2011. Yes, they are still employing Kevin Kolb and John Skelton.

We'll keep updating the grades live as the games finish, so check back early and often to find out how your team did. And don't forget to leave your calm, rational comments below, or cyber-stalk me with your hate on Twitter @willbrinson.

TeamGradeAnalysis
Panthers 35, Saints 27

B+

Creative offensive game from Carolina in a critical home win that featured rushing TDs from three different guys. Defense looked energetic, pressuring Drew Brees and picking him off twice. Got dinked/dunked underneath, but a win is a win.

C-

Reality of 0-2 for the Saints is that their defense is awful. Drew Brees and the offense continued to struggle when put outside and if his ankle injury lingers it's a total nightmare. This team pretty clearly misses Sean Payton.
Eagles 24, Ravens 23

C+

Kiss the "Joe Flacco's elite" talk goodbye for a bit, but nice to see Dennis Pitta shining again. Ravens defense struggled in the second half.

B

How the heck is this team 2-0? Does it matter? Maybe: Michael Vick continues to get punished every week. They're not winning the way we expected, but they are winning. Good second half for the Eagles.
Bills 35, Chiefs 17

A-

After last week's beatdown, Buffalo needed to show something. It sure did, as C.J. Spiller went HAM, Ryan Fitzpatrick looked smart and the defense harrassed an ugly-looking Chiefs offense. Everyone back on the bandwagon!

F

Kansas City's having shades of 2011, with two flat-out terrible starts. Any stats you see from Matt Cassel and Dwayne Bowe are inflated from getting beat down by Buffalo early. The Bills own them over the past two years, 76-24.
Colts 23, Vikings 20

B

Didn't peg Indy as the team to bottle up Adrian Peterson, but it did. Donald Brown couldn't get going, but Andrew Luck looked very good and Donnie Avery emerged as a nice secondary target. Nice first win for Chuck Pagano.

C

Christian Ponder was efficient and they definitely made it close another week, but this secondary will be carved up all season. That's a real problem considering who they've faced so far. When will Jared Allen be a factor?
Bengals 34, Browns 27

B

Great game for Andy Dalton, though it helps when Joe Haden is suspended. Brandon Tate, Armon Binns and Andrew Hawkins all looked like nice complimentary weapons to A.J. Green. This defense should be very, very concerned though.

C+

They move to 0-2, but this was an inspired effort of sorts. Trent Richardson is, in fact, the real deal. Brandon Weeden didn't look great or anything, but he definitely took some steps forward. The defense will be better when Haden gets back on the field.
Texans 27, Jaguars 7

B+

Two games in and the Texans are who we thought they were: a really good team with a really good defense and a monster two-headed rushing attack. Downgrading them to a B+ for strength of opponent, something I should've done last week as well.

C

This was just an overmatched Jaguars team. Maurice Jones-Drew got going a little bit, but the passing game was absolutely non-existent. Not a good sign that Jacksonville was this dominated in the running game.
Cardinals 20, Patriots 18

C-

Aaron Hernandez is the short-term issue. The long-term issue is getting this offense in sync. Nice effort by the defense, but this sort of loss makes you think Bill Belichick simply wants to eradicate survivor leagues from the face of the earth.

A

This is a really, really good -- and really, really underrated -- defense Arizona's sporting. It has quarterbacking issues, running game issues and protection issues, but the Cards are 7-1 since late November 2011.
Giants 41, Buccaneers 34

B

378 receiving yards from Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks combined helped Eli Manning bust out for 510 yards. Andre Brown looked good rushing after Ahmad Bradshaw went down. They still have BIG issues in that secondary, though.

C+

It sure looked like Tampa would be up top of the NFC South on Sunday night until the secondary handed Eli Manning a knife and turned into a turkey in the second half. They're going to be a much bigger factor than most folks expected this season.
Dolphins 35, Raiders 13

F

About as bad a loss as you can suffer, even if the East Coast excuse exists. Defensive attrition since the new regime took over really showed up. How did someone give up those picks for Carson Palmer?

B+

Reggie Bush came out, went bananas and reminded everyone that 2011 was, in fact, not a a blip on the radar. Ryan Tannehill was impressive, especially with his lack of weapons. Dolphins defense limited Darren McFadden to 22 rushing yards.
Seahawks 27, Cowboys 10

C

Breaking news: the Cowboys aren't consistent. This letdown was awkwardly obvious but it also didn't feature any drama. The last two trips to Seattle for Tony Romo have not been particularly fruitful.

A-

Seattle wasn't necessarily explosive on offense, but Russell Wilson was incredibly efficient and Marshawn Lynch ran the ball well. The Seahawks snuffed out a Cowboys offense that looked quite dangerous in their opener.
Chargers 38, Titans 10

B+

Philip Rivers threw one bad pick, but was otherwise impressive. Jackie Battle and Curtis Brinkley stepped up in Ryan Mathews' absence. Same for Donte Rosario with Antonio Gates out. Don't sleep on how good this defense is.

F

The APB for Chris Johnson remains in full effect, 21 yards and 19 carries into the season. This team got shredded on the road and there was reason to wonder why Mike Munchak didn't try and turn to Matt Hasselbeck.
Rams 31, Redskins 28

B

A Billy Cundiff 62-yard field goal was short, but there never should've been a reason for him to take it: Josh Morgan gets an F-quadruple-minus for his behavior. RG3 looked great again,

B+

Decent game, Danny Amendola, with 15 catches for 160 yards. Daryl Richardson stepped up with Steven Jackson was out. Defense was just good enough to get it done for Jeff Fisher's crew this time around.
Steelers 27, Jets 10

A-

Hammered the Jets without much of a running game. Huge drive to close things out late. Doesn't really look like Mike Wallace missed a beat. Defense poured it on in the second half.

C-

Jets hung early but their nightmare at Heinz Field continued. They couldn't run the ball, which kind of limits the ground/pound. Longer field position makes scoring tougher too.
49ers vs. Lions

C+

Detroit has to find the end zone earlier than the fourth quarter if they want to compete with a top team like San Francisco. Another so-so performance from Matthew Stafford. Still no running game. Defense couldn't slow down Alex Smith.

A

Two-straight playoff teams on the schedule, two-straight dominating wins. Defense is stout, the run game is strong and the passing game is improved. 49ers look like the top team in the NFL.
Falcons vs. Broncos

INC


INC

Packers 23, Bears 10

B+

Packers D looked like the best since their run to the Super Bowl. Offense needs Greg Jennings and/or fewer drops. Cedric Benson big against the Bears, per uuuse. Love their creativity with Randall Cobb.

D

Their defense wasn't great, but this loss was all on the offense. The line was embarrassing. Jay Cutler threw four picks, generally looked bad and yelled at his teammates. Matt Forte got hurt and Brandon Marshall dropped a bad touchdown pass.
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