2013 NFL Grades, Week 2: AFC North still looks wide open

The Cincinnati Bengals have to be happy with a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers , beating a division rival in primetime. But they can't be that happy considering how hard the victory was and as such it's clear the AFC North is still wide open.

A win is a win is a win, but when you limp through an awkward performance in your home opener and let a putrid-looking squad like the Steelers hang around you can't feel that good.

Andy Dalton looked lost much of the night. For some strange reason he attempted 32 (!) passes in the first half, completing just 16 of them. For some other strange reason, Giovani Bernard only got eight rushing attempts. Nevermind that he scored once and also provided the clinching score on a jets-turned-on touchdown reception.

Cincy looked lost on offense for most of the game, frankly. Fortunately they were up against a team that decided this would be the best way to open the game:

Yes that is Felix Jones . No I don't get it either. Todd Haley's top scripted opening drive against perhaps the best defensive line in the NFL involved Felix Jones running three times. That tells you all you need to know about Pittsburgh's offense.

It's also the argument for why the AFC North isn't wide open. Cincy's still the clear-cut contender. The Cleveland Browns have major issues on offense. The Baltimore Ravens do too. Lord help the Steelers offense.

OK maybe the division is just ... bad? But Cincy hasn't done enough in the last two weeks to convince me they're the runaway favorite. For now we'll leave it wide open.

TeamGradeAnalysis
Bengals 20, Steelers 10
D+ There were lots of chances to steal this game. The David Paulsen fumble was crippling but it doesn't explain all of Pittsburgh's offensive woes. They're really, really bad on that end. The defense can't keep them in every single game and opponents won't let them hang around each week either.
C When you talk about the way a team should perform in its home opener on primetime, well, this isn't it. The Bengals have cause for red flags galore after Monday night's game. They won so that's good. But they sure didn't look good doing it.
Seattle Seahawks 29, San Francisco 49ers 3
D- The 49ers are a good team. Unless they're playing the Seahawks, that is. In their last two meetings, the 49ers have been outscored by Seattle 71-16. The first multi-interception game of Colin Kaepernick 's career didn't help things at all. 
A The Seahawks dominated Sunday night's game in every way a team can dominate another team. Marshawn Lynch beast moded his way to three touchdowns as Seattle went on to make the biggest statement of Week 2 with the 26-point win.
New Orleans Saints 16, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 14
C+ A division road win is a division road win, but it wasn't always pretty. Drew Brees threw a pick six that put the Bucs back in it, although he was deadly deep to Jimmy Graham for much of the day. The defense did a nice job limiting Josh Freeman , though they got lucky a few times.
D Are the Buccaneers spiraling out of control? Two tough losses this season means they could be undefeated, but they've looked ugly through two games. Josh Freeman is involved in a disastrous situation with Greg Schiano. The team is burning unnecessary timeouts. The defense isn't playing the way it's supposed to. There are major problems in Tampa right now.
Denver Broncos 41, New York Giants 23
B+ Peyton Manning put together a dominant "big brother" performance, beating up on Lil' Eli and establishing the Broncos as the top team in the NFL by throwing for 302 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Montee Ball fumbled early but Knowshon Moreno stormed into the picture with a pair of touchdowns.
F Eli Manning threw a career-high four interceptions, the Giants defense couldn't manage to stop Peyton at all and the David Wilson / Brandon Jacobs combo was horrible on the ground when they actually were given carries. Bad look at 0-2 for the Giants.
Oakland Raiders 19, Jacksonville Jaguars 9
F This was better than last week against the Kansas City Chiefs but that's not really saying much. They scored a touchdown, finally, in the fourth quarter on a Chad Henne pass to Clay Harbor . It was largely irrelevant because garbage time was already underway. Into the crevasse, Jaguars fans. Into the crevasse.
B+ Stunning to see a team this bad favored by that many points and actually back up the Vegas line. Oakland dominated Jacksonville thanks to Darren McFadden running well and Terrelle Pryor was efficient and multifaceted. This Raiders team is a little scary (ier than we thought).
Arizona Cardinals 25, Detroit Lions 21
C+ After Reggie Bush went out with an injury the Lions stalled almost completely on offense. They appeared to be in control of this game after a DeAndre Levy pick to the house made it 21-10 but didn't score after that. Bush is apparently fine but it's scary to think how much they hinge on him being healthy.
B Carson Palmer spread the ball around, "only" turned it over once, Rashard Mendenhall got going on the ground a little bit and the defense made some big plays late when they needed to. They were carved by Stafford and Megatron early but limited his damage later in the game.
Chiefs 17, Dallas Cowboys 16
C Great start for Dallas as Tony Romo hooked up with Dez Bryant early and often (his first five completions were to the star receiver). But the Cowboys cooled down quickly and only scored nine more points after the first quarter.
B It wasn't pretty on offense -- Alex Smith was 21/36 and Jamaal Charles only ran for 66 yards on 15 carries -- but the defense stepped up in a big way after an ugly third quarter. Dontari Poe had another two sacks and is vindicating his high selection from last year so far in 2013. Kansas City at 2-0 has already matched its win total from last year.
Atlanta Falcons 31, St. Louis Rams 24
D- Don't be fooled by Sam Bradford 's 352-yard day. He needed 55 attempts to get it and most of it came in garbage time. This supposedly vaunted defense was dominated by Atlanta from start to finish, producing no turnovers and just two sacks. The Rams run game was non-existent once again.
A- Not nearly as close as the score indicated as the Falcons were up 24-3 at halftime before the Rams kind of creeped back into this game. Not being able to run out the clock is a concern but man did Matt Ryan and Julio Jones (11 catches, 182 yards) get things going early and often.
Ravens 14, Browns 6
C- Another tough day for the Browns offense despite pretty good play from the defensive side of the ball. There's too much invested on offense to be this lethargic. Eighty-five yards in the second half of any game is unacceptable no matter the opponent. They better hope Josh Gordon can spark the offense when he gets back. Brandon Weeden was injured but that might not actually be such a bad thing.
C+ An ugly home opener for the Ravens, and one that really justified the concern with their offensive performance in the opener. Joe Flacco just doesn't have a ton of options in the passing game. Fortunately Marlon Brown stepped up late with Torrey Smith relatively smothered by Joe Haden . Ray Rice suffered a hip injury and that could be really scary news for this offense. The defense was much better this week, though.
Buffalo Bills 24, Carolina Panthers 23
C- What a backbreaking loss. The Panthers played OK for parts of the day and went up six points with 1:38 remaining, the Bills out of timeouts and looking like a lock to win. One big pass interference penalty later, everyone was reminded about their record in one-score games. There's no real excuse for why they lost but it has to come down to coaching. Kudos for having Cam Newton going vertical more than, um, once this week. Heartbreaker game that will put Ron Rivera on the hot seat.
C+ EJ Manuel (a.k.a. "Edge") led an impressive game-winning drive, going 6 for 8 down the field en route to hitting Stevie Johnson for a wide-open touchdown. Mario Williams set a franchise record with 4.5 sacks in the game and C.J. Spiller crossed the 100-yard rushing mark. There's no reason that the Bills should've won this game, but they did anyway.
Chicago Bears 24, Minnesota Vikings 23
C Christian Ponder struggled once more, completing just 16 of 30 passes and though Adrian Peterson eventually got going pretty well (26 carries for 100 yards) the Vikings weren't strong on offense. Fourteen of their points came on defense or special teams. But they still had a chance to win it before Cutler burned them late to seal the game. Harrison Smith , by the way, is going to be really good.
C+ Good Jay Cutler and Bad Jay Cutler showed up today. Fortunately for the Bears the former appeared on the final drive and nailed Martellus Bennett for a game-winning touchdown strike. This was a wild, sloppy affair that shouldn't have been this close. The Bears made some ugly mistakes on offense (Cutler's fumble, the decision to throw on first-and-goal) and were often times bailed out by their defense.
Green Bay Packers 38, Washington Redskins 20
F Another ugly start for a struggling Redskins team. At 0-2 they've been out of both games by halftime. Blame part of it on Robert Griffin III not being ready. He can't run and he's not healthy enough to be pinpoint with his accuracy either. The bigger problem is a young secondary and defense that's been absolutely smoked in two straight weeks. Whoever is running @Redskins would get an A+ from me, though. Talk about grinding out optimism through a tough game.
A An old-fashioned evisceration by Aaron Rodgers on a young Redskins secondary Sunday. Rodgers threw for a career high in passing yards, James Starks ran for more than 100 yards and the Redskins didn't do anything offensively until this game was completely out of hand. Massive beating.
Houston Texans 30, Tennessee Titans 24
C What the hell was Mike Munchak doing at the end of regulation? I guess it worked. Whatever. Decent day for Chris Johnson and no major disasters for Jake Locker . Two picks for the defense and a pair of sacks are pretty good, but the Titans didn't exactly do much to bottle up Arian Foster or Ben Tate . And they couldn't shut down DeAndre Hopkins in overtime, either, which led to a tough divisional loss.
C+ Far from a perfect game for the Texans and it appeared they gave it away late when Matt Schaub threw an ugly pick six. He took blame for it later on but it could've been DeAndre Hopkins' fault. No matter. The rookie Hopkins made up for it by dominating overtime with several huge, impressive catches to give the Texans the win. J.J. Watt picked up two sacks and two pass deflections in pursuit of his 20-20-20 quest.
Miami Dolphins 24, Indianapolis Colts 20
B+ Miami shook off the narratives of Week 1 and picked up a huge road win Sunday. Lamar Miller looked strong, rushing 14 times for 69 yards and a touchdown. Mike Wallace got on the board with nine catches, 115 yards and a score. I'm still hesitant to buy Miami this year but they've opened up 2-0 with a pair of road games. Impressive.
C+ Andrew Luck couldn't work his late-game magic this time around, coming up short on a game-winning 4Q/OT drive. Five sacks and two forced fumbles for the defense is good but I'm not sure Indy's D is going to be extraordinary this year. Having T.Y. Hilton step up and produce a big stat line is a nice indication of a bigger role in the passing game this season than the first week.
San Diego Chargers 33, Philadelphia Eagles 30
B+ Massive, massive win for Mike McCoy. The Chargers went on the road and beat Chip Kelly's vaunted offense. Philip Rivers going 36-for-47 with 419 yards and three touchdowns and moving past last week's nightmare choke job is really impressive. He's not "back" but he's not the same shell of a guy from 2011 and 2012. Eddie Royal ? What year is this? Dude has five touchdowns through two games this year. This defense has been surprisingly impressive through two weeks given the talent level. Thoughts and prayers with Malcom Floyd .
C- Ten first-half points for Chip Kelly isn't quite the sort of performance you want to see. That's especially true when the defense is getting carved up by Rivers. This is the Eagles' biggest issue: if the offense isn't working it puts a major amount of pressure on the defense. Not selling stock in Kelly or anything, but I think games like this, where opponents dictate tempo through their offense, will be more frequent than not. They rallied back impressively but ultimately came up short.

Thursday

TeamGradeAnalysis
New England Patriots 13, New York Jets 10
D+ For a while Geno Smith looked like he could pull off an impressive upset, but a trio of fourth-quarter picks ended any hope of that. He stood strong in the pocket but definitely made some rookie mistakes, didn't anticipate passes enough and lacked vertical prowess. The Jets defense was pretty good (although aided by the Pats offense) but if Muhammad Wilkerson is hurt that's a major blow. Limiting New England like this and not coming away with a win is a stinger.
D- You can't fail a winner right? The Patriots were about as bad as you can be offensively. Stevan Ridley couldn't get it going on the ground, Brady was an emotional mess in the first half and the wideouts, as noted above, are a major problem. The defense did nice work -- Chandler Jones emerged with a pair of sacks -- but we shouldn't give them too much credit against a weak Jets offense. Sloppy game all around.
CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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