It's hard to say why some teams come out flat in Week 1, but it is usually a difficult indicator of what is to come during the season.
Last week saw a few contending teams struggle out of the gate, whether it was bad matchups or just overall poor execution. But Week 2 is here, and teams like the Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints and Buffalo Bills can start anew, knowing one early-season loss doesn't spell doom for their playoff chances.
These three squads looked less-than-stellar over the weekend, but expect them to bounce back with convincing wins in Week 2.
Green Bay Packers
The Packers ran into a matchup nightmare against San Francisco on Sunday. The 49ers possess arguably the best defense in football, and with the additions they made offensively in the offseason, they look to be one of the best teams in the NFC.
But Green Bay still has the core nucleus that won them a Super Bowl two years ago, and although they gave up 112 yards to Frank Gore and allowed Alex Smith to throw for 211 yards with a 76.9 completion percentage, they still make big plays when it matters. Green Bay finished last in total defense last season, but their first six draft picks were defensive players, and Clay Mathews and Charles Woodson are still patrolling that side of the ball.
Aaron Rodgers, meanwhile, torched the Bears last season, throwing for eight touchdowns and only one interception. This game is being played at Lambeau Field, where Rodgers has never lost to Chicago. I see Green Bay winning by 10.
The Saints struggled Week 1 containing Robert Griffin III, who threw for 320 yards and two touchdowns, but like any opening-round game it has to be taken with a grain of salt. The Saints, coming off a tumultuous offseason, are clearly working to find the right pieces on defense. The Saints opened up last year with a loss and still finished the season 13-3, so a good performance against Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers seems plausible.
Newton may be another fast, dynamic quarterback going up against a vulnerable defense, but the team played him well last year, holding him to 382 total passing yards in two games to go along with three touchdowns and two interceptions. He also only had 59 rushing yards in those two games, so he wasn't his typical all-around disruptive self against them. Newton also threw two interceptions last week, and seeing as he threw a total of 17 last year, that could be a problem for the Panthers on Sunday.
The Saints will bounce back with a two-score victory in Week 2.
The Bills got trounced on Sunday by the Jets, but their revamped defense and the solid play of C.J. Spiller spells a bounce-back in Week 2. The Bills possess the NFL's No.1 ranked rushing offense after last week, as the team totaled 195 rushing yards on 26 carries and two scores. Spiller, for his part, amassed 169 yards and two scores on a paltry 14 carries. The 25-year-old Clemson alum averaged 5.2 yards last season, and while he didn't see a bulk of the carries because of Fred Jackson's presence, he will not have that problem with the latter being out for a few weeks.
The Bills bulked up their defensive line in the offseason, and regardless of a little set-back against the Jets, look like a team that could win eight games this year. The Bills will get their first win Sunday with a seven-point victory.