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NFL Week Two: The Way We See It


Antonio Gates had a big afternoon against the Cowboys.

Antonio Gates of the  San Diego Chargers

The Denver Broncos may have gotten hammered by the Seattle Seahawks in last season’s Super Bowl, but they have shown no signs of suffering any hangover to start the season.

The Broncos got all they wanted from the Kansas City Chiefs in Week Two, and Denver could not cover spread since they were 13-point favorites. Nevertheless, Peyton Manning threw for 242 yards and the Broncos were able pull out a 24-17 win and move to 2-0 on the season.

Now the Broncos can move on to their Week Three rematch with the Seahawks. The Broncos go into the lion’s den, traveling to Seattle to take on Pete Carroll and his charges.

The Seahawks will not bring an undefeated record into that game. Seattle went on the road for the first time this season and the San Diego Chargers were pumped up to see them. Philip Rivers may not have known it when he arrived at Qualcomm Stadium, but it was turn-back-the-clock day in San Diego.

Tight end Antonio Gates is a 12-year veteran, but he played like he was a fresh colt in his second or third year. He caught three TD passes to lead the Chargers to a 30-21 victory as five-point underdogs. Gates caught seven passes for 96 yards, and many of his catches were of the incredible variety.

Rivers, one of the most emotional quarterbacks in the game, had a brilliant day against Seattle’s defense. Instead of looking to merely survive, the Chargers stood up to the best team in football and beat them decisively. Rivers threw for 284 yards, and the aggressive San Diego defense held Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch in check.

While the Seahawks are not undefeated, the Buffalo Bills and the Houston Texans are both 2-0. The Bills pummeled the Miami Dolphins 29-10, and when explosive C.J. Spiller scored on a 102-yard kickoff in the third quarter, the Bills gained control of the game and never hinted at letting the Dolphins back in the game.

The Bills were 1.5-point favorites, and they had an easy spread victory for their backers.

The Texans may not turn it around and make the playoffs, but they have started the season with back-to-back wins for new head coach Bill O’Brien. The Texans followed up their Week One victory over the Washington Redskins with a one-sided triumph over the Oakland Raiders. Houston had no problems covering the spread as three-point road favorites.

While neither the Redskins nor the Raiders provided much of a threat, the Texans did what they needed to and they are at least in the process of putting last year’s disaster firmly in the rear-view mirror.

The Carolina Panthers breathed a sigh of relief as quarterback Cam Newton returned to the lineup after missing Week 1 action due to broken ribs. Newton was outfitted with a bulky flak jacket as the Panthers hosted the Detroit Lions.

Newton may have been uncomfortable and in some pain, but he did what he needed to do in leading the Panthers to a 24-7 victory. Newton threw for 284 yards, and when he hit Jason Avant with a 14-yard TD pass in the third quarter, it meant that the quarterback was on his game. The Lions, who looked so impressive in their Week One win over the New York Giants, just couldn’t do anything right in this game.

The New England Patriots rebounded from a stale performance in the second half against Miami and a loss in Week 1 to punish the Minnesota Vikings 30-7, who played without running back Adrian Peterson because he was deactivated following his indictment for child abuse.

The absence of the star running back had to hurt the Vikings, but the Patriots were dramatically better than they had been a week ago. They picked off Minnesota quarterback Matt Cassel four times, and defensive end Chandler Jones returned a blocked field goal 58 yards for a touchdown at the end of the first half.

That touchdown allowed the Pats to take a 24-7 lead in the lockerroom at halftime, and this time there would no second-half meltdown. By playing conservative offense and spirit-crushing defense, the Pats easily won and covered as 3.5-point favorites.

One of the week’s most surprising developments was a shockingly strong performance by the Dallas Cowboys. After self-destructing in their opener against the San Francisco 49ers at home, the Cowboys were dominant in registering a 26-10 road victory over the Tennessee Titans.

The Cowboys have three offensive stars in quarterback Tony Romo, running back DeMarco Murray and wide receiver Dez Bryant. They easily dictated the pace of the game as Romo did not throw an interception, Murray ran for 167 yards and a touchdown, while Bryant caught 10 passes for 103 yards and a touchdown.

The surprising aspect of the game is how well the Cowboys played on defense. They held the Titans to 82 rushing yardes and 232 passing yards, and they easily covered as 3.5-point underdogs.

The Cowboys may be in a position to surprise several opponents this season.

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