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Around the NFL in Week 2

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Weekly review from a Baltimore Ravens perspective

AP Photo/Jared Wickerham

The Baltimore Ravens were able to overcome a horrendous first quarter to defeat the Browns in Cleveland. This was the second consecutive game where the Ravens defense pitched a shutout in the second half. The Ravens have plenty to work on, particularly their rushing offense and tackling in the secondary. Despite two sloppy performances, the Ravens are tied for first in the division, and have not incurred any serious injuries so far, which is the best possible outcome from the first two games of the season.

Elsewhere in the AFC North, the Steelers emerged with a rain soaked 8-point win in their showdown with the Bengals. Both teams did well to stifle the other’s star receiver, neither Antonio Brown or A.J. Green surpassed 40 receiving yards. The Steelers were able to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, limited the Bengals rushers to 2.5 yards per carry, while paving the way for another strong showing from DeAngelo Williams.

The AFC East also featured a pair of inter-divisional contests in Week 2. The Jets defeated the Bills in a Thursday night road game. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 374 yards and Matt Forte churned out 100 yards on the ground. The Jets combination of defensive lineman and receivers will present a serious challenge for the Ravens in Week 7.

The Patriots continue to roll while some of their best players are unavailable. The Patriots used an efficient offense to hold off a late rally from the Dolphins. Backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who has played terrific this season, exited with a shoulder injury that may keep him on the sidelines until Tom Brady returns from suspension in Week 5. However, the way the Patriots are executing their gameplan, even rookie third-string single caller Jacoby Brissett may be able to rattle off a couple wins.

Denver is off to a 2-0 start after they sacked Andrew Luck five times on Sunday. The Broncos defense closed out the game with two defensive scores in the 4th quarter. Edge rusher DeMarcus Ware suffered a broken forearm and will be sidelined for about a month. Indy is now 0-2.

The Chiefs dropped a road game to the Texans, failing to score a touchdown. Ball security was a major issue, they lost three fumbles. Their pass defense also allowed a 268 passing yards and 12 passing first downs to Brock Osweiler. Although the Ravens will not face either of these AFC contenders in the regular season, there is a possibility they will be jockeying with them for playoffs seeding down the stretch.

Philip Rivers and the Chargers dominated the Jaguars. Complimenting Rivers four touchdown passes, San Diego’s defense forced three turnovers and mostly bottled up Jacksonville’s offensive weapons. Unfortunately, the Chargers lost scatback Danny Woodhead for the remainder of the season due to a torn ACL. The Titans pulled out a tight road win over the Lions. Marcus Mariota spurred the comeback with two fourth-quarter touchdowns.

The Raiders lost a home game to the Falcons. Derek Carr played well, but their defense could not stop Julio Jones and company this week. Oakland will focus on improving their porous pass defense next week against the Titans before a trip to Baltimore in Week 4.

In the NFC, the Vikings earned a hard fought win over their rival Packers, but Adrian Peterson tore his knee meniscus in the process. Sam Bradford played well for Minnesota and Stefon Diggs exploded for nearly 200 receiving yards. Carolina got back into the win column this week with a decisive showing against the 49ers. Greg Olsen and Kelvin Benjamin combined for 230 yards and three touchdowns.

There is currently a four-way tie for first place in the NFC West, with each team sitting at 1-1. The Cardinals blew out the Buccaneers in Week 2 with a strong performance from Carson Palmer and a opportunistic defense that forced Jameis Winston into four interceptions. The Seahawks offense only managed three points in a road defeat to the Rams. With Russell Wilson hobbled behind a suspect offensive line, Seattle has only produced 15 total points this season.

Looking ahead to Week 3, the Ravens will travel to Jacksonville to face a Jaguars team desperate for their first win of the season. The Steelers have a winnable game in Philadephia. The Browns have a meeting with the Dolphins in Miami, Josh McCown has already been ruled out from injury after being pummeled by the Ravens on Sunday.

The Bengals have a tough home contest against the Broncos. Denver, who beat Cincinnati last December, could give the Ravens and Steelers some breathing room in the AFC North with a victory. Houston at New England on Thursday and the Jets at the Chiefs are the other marquee AFC matchups in Week 3.