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Five NFL Week 2 storylines to watch: Can Josh Allen rebound? Are Rams for real?


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As the NFL rolls into Week 2, some teams are looking to build on impressive showings as others try to correct the ills that caused them to stumble out of the gate.

The action kicked off with the Eagles’ 34-28 win against the Vikings on Thursday night and continues with 13 contests Sunday. A SaintsPanthers and BrownsSteelers doubleheader completes the game action Monday night.

Here are five of the most intriguing storylines to follow. (Find the NFL Week 2 schedule here. All games listed below are on Sunday.)

1. So-called contender responses

Six teams projected to make runs at the Super Bowl looked anything but dominant in Week 1. The ChiefsBillsBengalsSeahawksChargers and Vikings all opened the season with surprising losses. Then Minnesota lost again.

Avoiding the dreaded 0-2 start is important because only 9.5 percent of teams that started 0-2 since the 1970 AFL/NFL merger made the playoffs. Last year, the Bengals were one of them, but they certainly would prefer to not be in that hole again. On paper, the Bills should be able to bounce back against the Raiders. But the Chargers (at Titans), Bengals (vs. Ravens), Chiefs (at Jaguars) and Seahawks (at Lions) certainly don’t have gimmes. (All games 1 p.m. ET.)

2. Josh Allen under pressure

Allen generally is regarded as one of the most talented quarterbacks of this new generation of passers, but he entered the season with pressure mounting and questions over whether he can lead Buffalo to a Super Bowl before its window of opportunity closes. Then he went out in Week 1 and turned the ball over four times, almost single-handedly causing Buffalo to lose to the wounded Jets.

The three turnovers and fumble continued a disturbing trend for Allen, who leads the NFL in turnovers since 2018 (63 interceptions, 21 fumbles lost and 54 fumbles total). Allen is too gifted to be making repeated, costly mistakes like this, and he knows it.

“Same s—, same place, different day,” he said about his turnovers after losing 22-16 in overtime to the Jets.

A frustrated Stefon Diggs was seen telling his quarterback to “be smart” on the sideline. Yikes. But the wide receiver is right. The quarterback really does need to curb his turnovers and stop forcing throws. He must find that fine line of attacking with discipline. Otherwise, the pressure will continue to mount on Allen, and his Bills will go down as another entertaining team incapable of winning the big one when it counts. (Raiders at Bills, 1 p.m. ET.)

3. Another round of Detroit-Seattle fireworks?

When these teams meet, they put up points. In 2021, the Seahawks blasted the Lions 51-29. Then last season, Geno Smith and Jared Goff engaged in a 48-45 shootout, the highest-scoring game of the 2022 season, and one in which Seattle never attempted a punt.

The Lions are coming off a big win against the Chiefs and aim to continue to build toward what they hope is a special season. Meanwhile, the Seahawks got embarrassed at home against the Rams last week. Smith had 320 passing yards against Detroit last season but managed only 112 yards against the Rams. He’ll be looking for redemption Sunday. (Seahawks at Lions, 1 p.m. ET.)

4. Zach Wilson’s second second chance

Robert Saleh said Tuesday he doesn’t understand why everyone is writing obituaries for his team just because Aaron Rodgers is done for the season.

Uh, Coach, it’s because you’re now forced to go back to the kid your organization benched multiple times last season and, by trading for Rodgers this offseason, indicated isn’t good enough to lead it to a Super Bowl or even the playoffs.

Saleh said: “It’s Zach’s team, and we’re rolling with Zach.”

But for how long? To give the Jets a chance, Wilson has to display growth. The 2021 No. 2 pick has 19 career interceptions and 16 touchdowns and has completed only 55.6 percent of his passes. He doesn’t have to be Patrick Mahomes or Joe Burrow. The Jets just need him to take care of the football, be a facilitator and capitalize on the opportunities New York’s talented defense gives him.

Can he do it? Did four months of watching and listening to Rodgers help him grow? We’re about to find out as Wilson and the Jets face an absolutely nasty Cowboys defense in Dallas. (Jets at Cowboys, 4:25 p.m. ET.)

5. Are the Rams for real?

The Rams had a dismal and injury-plagued 2022 in which they went from Super Bowl champs to losers of 12 games. And because of their aggressive approach in free agency and the trade market in previous years, they lacked draft capital and cap space to make dramatic upgrades.

Yet with quarterback Matthew Stafford, defensive lineman Aaron Donald and their offensive line healthy again, the Rams looked a lot more like the formidable squad we’re used to in a Week 1 win against Seattle. But are the Rams really back? This week will offer a good indication because they host the 49ers, who are coming off a 30-7 drubbing of the Steelers and again look primed for a run at the Super Bowl.

Sean McVay is a lowly 3-7 against his former mentor Kyle Shanahan, and San Francisco’s stacked defense will present Stafford and company with a great test. We’re only two weeks in, but a win Sunday would speak volumes about the Rams. (49ers at Rams, 4:05 p.m. ET.)

“There he goes. One of God's own prototypes.

A high-powered mutant of some kind, never even considered for mass production.

Too weird to live, and too rare to die.”

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