Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports

Three-and-out: Best matchups of NFL Week 2

The best matchups are divisional rivalry games and Week 2 in the NFL has plenty of them, from a rematch of a nasty wild-card matchup last year in the AFC to two early-season intrigues in the NFC.


With both the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers winning their season openers, the early-season AFC North battle could have major significance down the road, but aside from the potential playoff implications is the leftover nastiness from last year’s wild card game with reckless hits, costly penalties, over $200,000 worth of fines and arguing with officials as the Bengals’ meltdown cost them in an 18-16 loss.

It’s hard to pass up this tantalizing matchup because of what happened in last year’s playoffs, but even if you prefer to wipe away the drama from the Bengals playoff meltdown, the matchup this week promises some fireworks, too.

Both quarterbacks were on top of their game in the season opener, with Andy Dalton throwing for 366 yards and a touchdown and Ben Roethlisberger throwing for 300 yards and three touchdowns. For the Bengals, A.J. Green had 12 catches for 180 yards and a touchdown; for the Steelers, Antonio Brown had eight catches for 126 yards and two touchdowns.

This game has it all: bad feelings from the playoffs, a divisional matchup and aerial attacks that could be among the best in the NFL.

It should be considered the game of the week.

STREAKS   4 of past 5
COACHES VS. OPP. Marvin Lewis: 8-18 Mike Tomlin: 13-5
LAST WEEK W 23-22 at Jets W 38-16 at Washington
LAST GAME 12/13/15: Steelers 33 at Bengals 20. Pittsburgh RB DeAngelo Williams rushes for 76 yards & 2 TDs. Steelers CB William Gay has 23-yard INT-TD.
LAST GAME AT SITE 11/01/15: Bengals 16, Steelers 10. Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger passes for 262 yards & TD. Steelers TE Heath Miller records 10 catches for 105 yards.
REFEREE Pete Morelli
BROADCAST CBS (1:00 PM ET): Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Evan Washburn (field reporter). Westwood One: John Sadak, Mike Mayock. SIRIUS: 121 (CIN), 82 (PIT). XM: 386 (CIN), 82 (PIT).

PASSING Andy Dalton: 23-30-366 (3L)-76.7-1-1-114.0 Ben Roethlisberger: 27-37-300-3-1-112.4
RUSHING Jeremy Hill: 9-31-3.4-1 DeAngelo Williams: 26-143 (1L)-5.5-2 (T1L)
RECEIVING A.J. Green: 12 (1L)-180 (1L)-15.0-1 Antonio Brown: 8-126-15.8-2 (T1L)
OFFENSE 381 435
DEFENSE 340 384
SACKS Geno Atkins: 1 ---
INTs Josh Shaw: 1 (T1L) James Harrison, Ryan Shazier: 1 (T1L)
PUNTING Kevin Huber: 48.0 Jordan Berry: 53.5
KICKING Mike Nugent: 11 (T3L) (2/2 PAT; 3/4 FG) Chris Boswell: 8 (5/5 PAT; 1/1 FG)


QB ANDY DALTON has won past 4 division starts with 10+ att. & has 111.6 rating (9 TDs, 3 INTs). Has 29 games with 100+ rating (incl. 114 rating last week) & Bengals are 26-3 (.897). Has 51-26-1 (.660) record, best by Cin. QB (min. 20 starts)…RB JEREMY HILL had rush TD in WC vs. Pit. Has 8 rush TDs in past 9 (incl. playoffs), incl. TD last week. RB GIOVANI BERNARD has 4 career TDs (2 rush, 2 rec.) vs. Pit…WR A.J. GREEN aims for 4th in row vs. Pit. with TD (incl. WC). In past 6 meetings (incl. playoffs), has 50 catches for 720 yards (120 per game) & 4 TDs. Incl. playoffs, has 74 catches for 1,008 yards & 7 TDs vs. Pit., his most vs. opp. Had 12 catches for 180 yards & TD (54 yards) last week…DE CARLOS DUNLAP has 4 sacks in past 4 vs. division. DT GENO ATKINS has 41 sacks since 2011, most by NFL DT. Has 6 sacks in past 8 meetings (incl. WC). CB ADAM JONES is only active player with 2+ INT-TDs (2) & 5+ PR-TDs (5) in career.


QB BEN ROETHLISBERGER is 19-7 (.731) vs. Cin. (incl. playoffs). Has 6,032 pass yards vs. Cin., his most vs. opp. Passed for 300 yards, 3 TDs & 112.4 rating in Week 1…RB DE ANGELO WILLIAMS rushed for 2 TDs in his last game vs. Cin. Last week, rushed for 143 yards & 2 TDs…WR ANTONIO BROWN has 36 catches for 498 yards (99.6 per game) & 2 TDs in past 5 vs. Cin. (incl. WC). Also has 71-yard PR-TD. Had 8 catches for 126 yards & 2 TDs in Week 1. Since 2013, leads NFL with 383 catches & 5,157 rec. yards. WR ELI ROGERS had 1st career TD last week…LB RYAN SHAZIER had 13 tackles, 2 FFs & FR in WC. Had INT & FF in Week 1. CB WILLIAM GAY had 23-yard INT-TD in Week 14 meeting. Has 5 INT-TDs since 2013, most in NFL. DE CAMERON HEYWARD has sack in 4 of past 5 meetings (incl. WC).



From a pair of winning teams in Week 1 with our previous matchup to a pair of losing teams in Week 1, we move from the AFC North to the NFC East, where the Dallas Cowboys lost 20-19 to the New York Giants in Week 1 and the Washington Redskins were blown out by the Pittsburgh Steelers 38-16 in the opener.

Both teams feature relative inexperience at quarterback, with Dak Prescott making only his second NFL start for the Cowboys after a decent showing in the opener (227 yards on 25-for-45 passing) and Kirk Cousins trying to follow up a solid season for Washington but throwing two interceptions and no touchdowns in the Redskins’ opening loss to the Steelers. Still, Cousins threw three touchdowns and had a 155.1 rating the last time these divisional rivals met.

While the quarterbacks try to get their feet under them again after a Week 1 loss, they will turn to young but promising running backs. Ezekiel Elliott came into Kickoff Weekend with the fanfare of a star but managed only 51 yards and a 2.6-yard average on 20 carries for the Cowboys. Matt Jones also struggled, rushing only seven times for 24 yards (3.4-yard average).

The loser of this game will put themselves in an early but shallow hole, knowing they can make up ground in a relatively weak division. The winner could find themselves in a first-place tie in the division.

STREAKS 4 of past 6  
COACHES VS. OPP. Jason Garrett: 7-4 Jay Gruden: 2-2
LAST WEEK L 20-19 vs. New York Giants L 38-16 vs. Pittsburgh
LAST GAME 01/03/16: Redskins 34 at Cowboys 23. Washington QB Kirk Cousins passes for 176 yards & 3 TDs. Redskins WR Jamison Crowder has 5 receptions for 109 yards & TD.
LAST GAME AT SITE 12/07/15: Cowboys 19, Redskins 16. Dallas K Dan Bailey kicks GW 54-yard FG with :09 seconds remaining in 4th quarter. Dallas DE Demarcus Lawrence records 2 sacks & FF.
REFEREE Bill Vinovich
BROADCAST FOX (1:00 PM ET): Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch, Pam Oliver (Field reporter). SIRIUS: 84 (Dal), 134 (Was). XM: 380 (Dal), 229 (Was).
PASSING Dak Prescott (R): 25-45-227-0-0-69.4 Kirk Cousins: 30-43-329-0-2-72.7
RUSHING Ezekiel Elliott (R): 20-51-2.6-1 Matt Jones: 7-24-3.4-0
RECEIVING Jason Witten (TE): 9 (T2L)-66-7.3-0 Jordan Reed (TE): 7-64-9.1-0
OFFENSE 328 384
DEFENSE 316 435
SACKS Benson Mayowa, Orlando Scandrick: 1 Ryan Kerrigan: 1
INTs Brandon Carr: 1 (T1L) Bashaud Breeland: 1 (T1L)
PUNTING Chris Jones: 49.0 Tress Way: 27.0
KICKING Dan Bailey: 13 (T1L) (1/1 PAT; 4/4 FG) Dustin Hopkins: 10 (1/1 PAT; 3/3 FG)


QB DAK PRESCOTTT & RB EZEKIEL ELLIOTT are 1st rookie QB & RB tandem to start season opener for Cowboys since HOF QB ROGER STAUBACH & RB CALVIN HILL in 1969. Prescott passed for 227 yards in Week 1. Elliott had 1st career rush TD last week. RB ALFRED MORRIS spent past 4 seasons with Was. Since entering NFL in 2012, ranks 2nd in league with 4,748 rush yards & is 6th with 29 TDs…WR DEZ BRYANT has 4 rec. TDs in past 4 vs. Was. TE JASON WITTEN aims for 3rd in row with 8+ catches vs. Was. Had TD catch in last meeting…LB SEAN LEE led team with 10 tackles in Week 1. Has 12 INTs since entering NFL in 2010, most by LB. CB BRANDON CARR recorded INT & 2 tackles last week. CB ORLANDO SCANDRICK had sack & FF last week. DE BENSON MAYOWA had sack in Week 1


QB KIRK COUSINS passed for 329 yards in Week 1. Had 3 TDs & 155.1 rating in last start vs. Dal. Aims for 3rd in row with 3+ TDs vs. NFC East…RB CHRIS THOMPSON had 1st career rush TD last week…WR DE SEAN JACKSON had 6 catches for 102 yards in Week 1. Has 80+ rec. yards or TD in past 3 vs. Dal. Has TD catch in 3 of past 4 vs. NFC East. WR PIERRE GARCON aims for 2nd in row with rec. TD vs. Dal. TE JORDAN REED had 7 catches for 64 yards in Week 1. Led team in catches (87), rec. yards (952) & rec. TDs (11) last season. In last meeting vs. Dal. (9/7/14 with SF), TE VERNON DAVIS had 2 rec. TDs…LB MASON FOSTER led team with 14 tackles last week. Has 8+ tackles in 3 of past 4. LB RYAN KERRIGAN had sack & FF in Week 1. Aims for 2nd in row vs. Dal. with sack. Since entering NFL in 2011, is 1 of 2 with 45+ sacks (48.5) & 2+ INT-TDs (2). CB BASHAUD BREELAND had 9 tackles & INT last week. CB JOSH NORMAN had 2 PDs & 6 tackles last week in 1st game with Was.



The Minnesota Vikings knocked the Green Bay Packers off the NFC North perch last year with a 20-13 win at Lambeau Field, but it was a perch the Packers had become accustomed to after four straight division titles.

A season-ending knee injury to Teddy Bridgewater on Aug. 30 means the Vikings approach this game with plenty of unfamiliarity at the quarterback position if Sam Bradford makes his first start since joining the Vikings four days after Bridgewater’s injury. The Packers have no such concerns with Aaron Rodgers. While the Vikings offense failed to score a touchdown in a 25-16 defense-led win in Week 1, Rodgers has thrown for a touchdown in 14 straight games against Minnesota and RB Eddie Lacy has 100 yards or more in five of his past six games vs. the Vikings.

The Vikings hope the combination of Adrian Peterson’s running – he has averaged 110 yards per game in his career against the Packers – and young receiver Stefon Diggs can generate enough offense to keep up with Green Bay as Minnesota opens a new era at U.S. Bank Stadium under the Sunday night lights.

STREAKS 3 of past 4  
COACHES VS. OPP. Mike McCarthy: 14-5-1 Mike Zimmer: 1-3
LAST WEEK W 27-23 at Jacksonville W 25-16 at Tennessee
LAST GAME 01/03/16: Vikings 20 at Packers 13. Minnesota RB Adrian Peterson rushes for 67 yards & TD. Vikings CB Captain Munnerlyn has 55-yard FR-TD.
LAST GAME AT SITE 11/22/15: Packers 30, Vikings 13. Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers passes for 212 yards & 2 TDs. Packers WR James Jones has 6 catches for 109 yards & TD.
REFEREE Walt Anderson
BROADCAST NBC (8:30 PM ET): Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya (Field reporter). Westwood One: Kevin Kugler, James Lofton. SIRIUS: 88 (WW1), 83 (GB), 81 (Min). XM: 88 (WW1), 226 (GB), 225 (Min).  
PASSING Aaron Rodgers: 20-34-199-2-0-95.1 Shaun Hill: 18-33-236-0-0-77.3
RUSHING Eddie Lacy: 14-61-4.4-0 Adrian Peterson: 19-31-1.6-0
RECEIVING Randall Cobb: 6-57-9.5-0 Stefon Diggs: 7-103-14.7-0
OFFENSE 294 301
TAKE/GIVE 1 +3 (1L)
DEFENSE 348 316
SACKS 3 tied: 1 Danielle Hunter, Linval Joseph: 1
INTs Joe Thomas: 1 (T1L) Eric Kendricks: 1 (T1L)
PUNTING Jacob Schum: 46.0 Jeff Locke: 37.7
KICKING Mason Crosby: 9 (3/3 PAT; 2/2 FG) Blair Walsh: 13 (T1L) (1/2 PAT; 4/6 FG)


QB AARON RODGERS passed for 2 TDs last week & added rush TD vs. Jax. Has 2+ TD passes in 11 of past 13 vs. Vikings. Aims for 14th straight with TD pass vs. Min…RB EDDIE LACY has 100+ rush yards or rush TD in 5 of past 6 vs. Min…WR JORDY NELSON had TD catch in Week 1. Has 5 TDs in past 6 vs. NFC North. WR DAVANTE ADAMS had TD catch last week. WR RANDALL COBB had 6 catches for 57 yards last week…LB CLAY MATTHEWS had sack in Week 1. Aims for 3rd in row with sack. S MORGAN BURNETT had 9 tackles & sack last week. S HA HA CLINTON-DIX recorded 5 tackles, FF & PD in Week 1. Aims for 3rd in row with sack vs. Min.


QB SHAUN HILL passed for 236 yards in Week 1. Passed for 331 yards & 2 TDs in only start vs. GB (10/30/12 with Det.). QB SAM BRADFORD passed for career-high 3,725 yards with 19 TDs last year with Phi. Set single-season Eagles records for comp. (346) & comp. pct. (65.03)…RB ADRIAN PETERSON aims for 5th in row vs. GB with rush TD. Has 99+ rush yards or TD in past 9 vs. GB…WR STEFON DIGGS had 7 catches for 103 yards last week. Has 4 TDs in 5 games vs. NFC North. TE KYLE RUDOLPH had 6 catches for 106 yards & TD in last home start vs. GB. Has 2 TDs in past 3 at home vs. NFC North…DT LINVAL JOSEPH had sack & FF last week. LB ERIC KENDRICKS had INT-TD & 6 tackles in Week 1. Aims for 3rd in row with 7+ tackles vs. GB. CB TRAE WAYNES had game-high 10 tackles last week. S HARRISON SMITH had 9 tackles in Week 1.


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