NFL Week 2: 5 Things to Watch

Matt Cassel1. Matt Cassel’s performance. There’s been a lot of positive talk coming out of New England this week about how Cassel can more than hold his own replacing Tom Brady, who is out for the year with a knee injury. Watch for Jets’ head coach Eric Mangini to use different defensive fronts on Sunday in efforts to confuse Cassel and properly welcome him into the NFL. It’ll be interesting to see if Pats’ head coach Bill Belichick changes his offensive approach (i.e. relying on the run more and playing conservative), or if he’ll keep things the same now that Cassel is under center.

2. How Michael Turner, Matt Forte and Thomas Jones will fair against tougher defenses. All three of these backs were highly productive in Week 1, but they also faced suspect run defenses. This week, Turner takes on the Bucs, Forte faces the Panthers and Jones goes against the Patriots – all tough challenges. Which back(s) can be as productive as he was last week?

3. How the Chargers, Colts, Vikings, Jaguars, Seahawks and Browns fair. At the very least, all six of these teams were expected to make a run at the playoffs this year, if not the Super bowl in the cases of the Vikings, Colts and Jaguars. The Colts and Vikes square off in Minnesota, so one of those teams will still be winless on Monday. And the Chargers (Broncos), Jaguars (Bills) and Browns (Steelers) all have tough matchups this week, so one if not all of them could wind up 0-2 as well. The Seahawks catch a break by hosting the lowly 49ers, but even that game isn’t a guarantee with how banged up the Seattle offense is.

Jake Delhomme4. How the Bears, Panthers, Bills, Falcons, Broncos and Cardinals play. The reverse of No. 3; none of these six teams were supposed to do much this season, but all had impressive Week 1 performances. The Bears and Panthers play in Carolina, while the Bills (Jaguars), Falcons (Bucs) and Broncos (Chargers) all have tougher tests this week than they did last Sunday. Only the Cardinals have it easy with the Dolphins, who didn’t play that bad last week against the Jets.

5. Is the Bengals’ offense that bad? Last week Cincinnati put on one of the worst offensive performances of some time. Things don’t get easier this week, as Tennessee rolls into town after sacking Jaguars’ quarterback David Garrard seven times and completely stuffing Jacksonville’s potent running game. We could see a repeat performance of last week if Chris Perry and the running game can’t get going to help keep the Titans’ defense honest.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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