Here is how The Examiner breaks down this week in the NFL.
WEEK 2 STORY LINES
1. New England took the Patriot Act to new invasive levels last week by allegedly stealing the New York Jets’ defensive signals during a blowout win over their AFC East rival. Jets coach Eric Mangini, a former New England assistant, is rumored to have tipped off his team’s front office about the Patriots’ penchant for filming opponents’ coaches. This is a story that could reverberate for years and sully Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s Hall of Fame career. While he apologized to his team, he also had to talk to the NFL’s big, bad boss man — Roger Goodell, who levied a fine and took away draft picks.
2. Buffalo tight end Kevin Everett’s recovery from a potentially paralyzing hit has been nothing short of phenomenal. Everett was told he might not ever walk again as early as Monday evening. Within the next two days, he was voluntarily moving his arms and legs and many were terming it a “miracle,” although he still has a long road to recovery.
3. The clock is officially counting down on Cleveland Browns coach Romeo Crennel’s career. The Browns traded Charlie Frye, their opening-day starting quarterback a day after a blowout loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. How soon will it be before first-round draft choice and fan favorite Brady Quinn starts?
— Matt Palmer
GAME OF THE WEEK: Chargers (1-0) at Patriots (1-0)
In the AFC divisional playoffs last season, the San Diego Chargers walked off their home field with a loss to the New England Patriots and nothing to show for their 14-2 regular-season record. The NFL’s best player, running back LaDainian Tomlinson, came under fire for his reaction to the Patriots’ postgame celebrating, but L.T. and the Chargers have to prove they are a legitimate Super Bowl contender. The Patriots are the favorite, rightfully so after loading up with the NFL’s best free agents. This could be a preview of the AFC Championship Game.
— Matt Palmer
WEEK 2 PICKS
BILLS AT STEELERS Steelers look like they are back to old form, but the Bills will play off the emotion of losing Kevin Everett. Bills 26, Steelers 17
TEXANS AT PANTHERS Could the Texans finally be making the turn toward relevance? Texans 22, Panthers 13
SAINTS AT BUCCANEERS Are the Saints as bad as they looked against the Colts? Not when they are playing NFC bottom-feeders. Saints 31, Bucs 24
FALCONS AT JAGUARS Jaguars will be asking themselves if they made a mistake by releasing Byron Leftwich after this loss. Falcons 14, Jaguars 9
BENGALS AT BROWNS Explosive Bengals will make a push to score 50 points against woeful Browns, but fall short. Bengals 45, Browns 10
49ERS AT RAMS Two weeks into the season and this game could decide who wins the NFC West. 49ers 23, Rams 19
PACKERS AT GIANTS If the Giants fall to 0-2, lame-duck coach Tom Coughlin could get just a tad lamer, if that’s possible. Giants 27, Packers 13
COLTS AT TITANS Vince Young will get a lesson in NFL quarterbacking from Super Bowl MVP Peyton Manning. Colts 38, Titans 21
COWBOYS AT DOLPHINS Cam Cameron waited a long time to be an NFL coach. He’ll wait another week for his first win. Cowboys 20, Dolphins 14
VIKINGS AT LIONS The Vikings have a star in rookie running back Adrian Peterson, who knows how to win. Vikings 24, Lions 23
SEAHAWKS AT CARDINALS Cardinals are due for a surprise win — and they will surprise the reigning division champs. Cardinals 16, Seahawks 14
CHIEFS AT BEARS Bears will not lose their second game in a row. But they’re still a very boring team, even with that defense. Bears 12, Chiefs 9
JETS AT RAVENS Ravens are the walking wounded, but looking to lay a beating on the Jets. Ravens 20, Jets 10
RAIDERS AT BRONCOS Two former kings of the AFC West are just looking to be taken seriously these days. Broncos 22, Raiders 6
CHARGERS AT PATRIOTS Even without a video camera, everyone can see a Patriots victory coming. Patriots 34, Chargers 31
REDSKINS AT EAGLES Redskins have recent history on their side for last-second, shocking wins on “Monday Night Football.” Redskins 17, Eagles 16
— Matt Palmer
PLAYER TO WATCH
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo opened the season on fire, throwing for 345 yards and four touchdowns against one of his team’s NFL East rivals, the New York Giants. The Cowboys are on the verge of becoming an elite team in the NFC and could move to 2-0 with a win over the Miami Dolphins this week.