Week 2 of the 2021 NFL season is officially in the books. Sixteen teams logged wins. Sixteen others fell short. But what did we learn about each of the 32 after one game of action? We're so glad you asked. As Week 3 draws near, here's a look at one thing we took away from each team thanks to the opening weekend of football:
After reeling off one highlight-reel shot after another in a shootout win over Minnesota, Kyler Murray is an early MVP candidate. And if he keeps it up, the Cardinals will be in the playoff race.
Despite a listless debut, Matt Ryan isn't completely cooked. He is, however, stuck on a team that's bound to get a good draft pick in 2022.
One thing's for certain: They absolutely own the Dolphins. Brian Flores can't figure out Sean McDermott, and that bodes pretty well for Buffalo's chances of repeating in the AFC East.
It's still early, but it sure looks like Sam Darnold just needed to leave the Jets to realize his potential. The young man has looked calm and in charge during Carolina's 2-0 start.
Strictly because of Andy Dalton's knee injury, Justin Fields is primed for a permanent takeover as the club's starting QB. The Bears insist Dalton is still atop the depth chart, but Fields will likely get a full chance to showcase his talent in Week 3.
While Joe Burrow's picks didn't help things in Week 2, Zac Taylor still can't be trusted to guide a steady winner in Cincy. Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase alluded to poor play-calling after Sunday's loss, and Taylor's offenses have stumbled since he arrived.
Craving even more NFL coverage focusing on previews, recaps, news and analysis? Listen below and follow the Pick Six podcast for a daily dose of everything you need to follow pro football.
Baker Mayfield is the real deal. Browns fans have probably been saying it since 2020's playoff run, but boy has he come on as the efficient torch-bearer of Kevin Stefanski's offense.
Despite putting up a fight against the 49ers and Packers, they've still got a long way to go. Jared Goff, for example, was sharp for much of Monday's game, but they still ended up losing by multiple scores.
With Tyrod Taylor now sidelined for up to a month, they're in for a big slide. That's not to say Davis Mills can't surprise at QB, but this scrappy assortment of spare parts was glued together by the veteran signal-caller.
It's still really early, but their division-title hopes seem dim. How else can we quantify an 0-2 start, with the Titans on deck and Carson Wentz now battling injuries to both ankles? This isn't pretty right now.
Contrary to external expectations, Urban Meyer seems genuinely surprised they aren't good. The coach literally released a statement telling fans to "hang in there" after their second straight loss. Rebuilds take time!
Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes will bail them out of almost any situation, but their defense is cause for concern. Outside of Tyrann Mathieu, who's making plays here? Few teams have surrendered so many yards through two weeks.
Their Week 1 win might not have been a fluke. An upset of the Ravens, followed by a road win over the Steelers? Is Derek Carr really onto something, or is he just teasing us again? Right now, their stock is up.
For all the talent they have at key spots, growing pains are inevitable under first-year coach Brandon Staley, whose frustrations were apparent on the sidelines against Dallas. They're still on an upward trajectory.
Again, it's early, but they might not be playoff-caliber. Throw in Tua Tagovailoa's injury, and there's just not a whole lot of juice with this team a year after Ryan Fitzpatrick helped them play spoiler down the stretch.
Kirk Cousins is still slinging it, and they have the firepower to stay competitive, but patience is growing thin with Mike Zimmer. Maybe more with fans than management, but no one is happy with the defense or play-calling so far.
Bill Belichick still owns rookie QBs. Zach Wilson out here seeing ghosts!
So maybe, just maybe, we jumped on the Jameis Winston bandwagon too early. The reality of Winston's value probably lies somewhere between his first and second performance, but this is kind of who he's been: boom or bust.
New York Giants
Daniel Jones was fine this time around, but his team was not. In fact, they look like one of the worst in the NFL, at least from a coaching perspective. Joe Judge's club has the makings of a future implosion.
For all the arm talent he boasts, Zach Wilson needs to play it safer when that's what's required of him. Just chucking it up because you're down big doesn't really work against an NFL defense.
He may have brought energy in a big Week 1 win, but Nick Sirianni needs to be smarter with key play calls. One red-zone sequence, in particular, may have cost Philly a winnable game against the 49ers.
With Ben Roethlisberger physically and/or schematically confined to a short-area approach, they need their defense to carry them. This was kind of apparent before, but it keeps getting reinforced.
San Francisco 49ers
While he finished strong against the Eagles, Jimmy Garoppolo might be on a shorter leash than most realize. He struggled quite a bit for a good chunk of Week 2, to the point that a Trey Lance appearance wouldn't have been crazy.
They have to be considered NFC favorites. Tom Brady is throwing it like he's 25. Their defense is back to making splash plays. Yes, a lot can happen between now and the playoffs, but they look explosive.
Washington Football Team
Taylor Heinicke probably offers as much as Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB. That's not saying a whole lot, considering Fitzpatrick entered as a 38-year-old journeyman. But it's notable considering he'll be sidelined for so long.
NFL Nike Zoom Pegasus 38 sneakers now available
Nike just released its all-new Zoom Pegasus 38 sneakers for many NFL teams. The Pegasus is the company's best-selling running shoe of all-time. Get sneakers for the Patriots, Giants, Bills, Saints, Raiders, Packers, Buccaneers, and more here. Shop now and support your favorite team.
We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.