Watching the 49ers struggle for a few quarters against the Rams served as a reminder that division rivals tend to play close games regardless of who has the better roster.

The Bengals have the better roster compared to the Ravens (feel free to debate me on that), but not many are surprised about it. Baltimore defeats its AFC North rival on the road in week 2.

In the initial game window, there were more reminders than lessons learned. Bills quarterback Josh Allen overcame a poor Week 1 performance by turning in a clean game in the win against the Raiders. The Chiefs leaned on their solid defense during their 17–9 victory against the Jaguars.

As for a new storyline, the Colts could be a team to watch because of rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson, who got off to a fast start against the Texans rushing for a pair of touchdowns before leaving to be evaluated for a concussion. .

But let’s boil down what we learned from Week 2 to five items, including the Cowboys’ dominant 30-10 win against Zach Wilson and the Jets.

Here’s what we now know about the Cowboys, Giants, Chiefs, Bills and Colts after Week 2.

1. Cowboys deliver complete performance against Jets

Parsons was dominant against the Jets with two sacks, four quarterback hits, three tackles for loss and a fumble recovery.

Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports

Last week I thought that perhaps I had exaggerated when I said This is finally the year of the Cowboys. after seeing very little from Dak Prescott and his offense in Week 1, which was not much needed in the blowout victory against the Giants.

But I made a bold statement because Prescott has wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, running back Tony Pollard and a solid offensive line. That’s more than enough offensively to go with a special defense led by Micah Parsons, who had two sacks, four quarterback hits, three tackles for loss and a fumble recovery.

After the Cowboys offense did its part against a talented Jets defense, I can now confidently say that I wasn’t exaggerating about Dallas being the favorite to win the Super Bowl. Lamb recorded 11 receptions for 143 yards and Pollard contributed 109 total yards, 72 of them rushing on 25 attempts.

As for Prescott, he had an outstanding performance, going 31 of 38 for 255 yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers. Some might be hesitant to fully back the Cowboys as Super Bowl favorites because it will all come down to Prescott moving up in the postseason, but this could be his best team since he entered the league in 2016 and that team finished with a record 13 -3. .

2. Giants survive against competitive Cardinals

Yes, I’m aware that the Cardinals blew a 21-point lead in a 31-28 loss to the Giants, but not many expected them to be this competitive over two games. Maybe it’s time to apologize to coach Jonathan Gannon and the Cardinals for questioning if they plan to compete this season. (Unless the two one-score losses to New York and Washington were part of a well-executed tanking plan.)

After the Cardinals traded for quarterback Joshua Dobbs and released Colt McCoy, that was an obvious sign they were looking to improve this season. Yes, Dobbs is not a top quarterback in the NFL and it’s not ideal that Arizona forced him to learn another playbook after spending most of the summer with the Browns. But he was an improvement over McCoy, the 37-year-old veteran who suffered multiple injuries over the past year.

The Cardinals scored on five of their six possessions to take a 28–7 lead (they missed a field goal on the first drive). On the defensive end, the Cardinals stifled Daniel Jones with constant pressure for nearly three quarters before Jones pulled off the comeback.

Jones desperately needed that rebound after the giants were crushed 40-0 by the Cowboys in Week 1. A loss to the Cardinals could have created a lot of columns about the Giants possibly having buyer’s remorse after signing Jones to a four-year, $160 million contract extension. The Giants are going to need more from Jones if Saquon Barkley wastes time after leaving with an ankle injury.

3. Chiefs defense shuts down Jags

With Chris Jones back on the field, the Chiefs defense turned in a dominant performance against Trevor Lawrence and his talented Jaguars offense in Jacksonville.

The next time the Chiefs and Jones meet at the negotiating table, Jones’ representatives should point out the big difference the All-Pro defensive tackle has made with and without his presence: The Chiefs lost to the Lions in Week 1 before it finished. I hired it from him.

Jones recorded 1.5 sacks and two quarterback hits, but this was a complete defensive effort for the Chiefs, who once again showed why they are more than just quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs held the Jaguars to 271 yards, which might not happen again this season for a team with Lawrence, running back Travis Etienne and wide receivers Calvin Ridley, Christian Kirk and Zay Jones.

That the Chiefs bounced back against one of the AFC’s best teams was no surprise. But not many expected the Chiefs to limit Lawrence to 5.3 yards per pass attempt.

4. Josh Allen delivers a clean performance

Allen found his groove against the Raiders, throwing for 274 yards and three touchdowns.

Gregory Fisher/USA TODAY Sports

the hot takes that materialized due to Allen’s poor start to the season summed up the overreactions of Week 1.

Many were quick to write off Allen as a top-five quarterback because of his three interceptions against the Jets, but they still expected the Bills to beat the Raiders on Sunday. Only the best quarterbacks can inspire such confidence among the football public.

Of course, the Bills crushed the Raiders, 38-10, at home, the easiest game to pick on the Week 2 schedule. Allen threw three touchdowns and didn’t take a turnover to regain his status as an elite quarterback , although it never stopped being so. Results may change week to week, but quarterbacks can’t suddenly become mediocre, especially one as good as Allen, who delivered three straight seasons of stellar play after struggling with accuracy early in his career.

Yes, Allen may get reckless at times, but he’s not going to suddenly revert to his younger self. Not surprisingly, Allen picked apart the Raiders defense, going 31 of 37 for 274 yards.

And if you’re looking for a surprise, Allen only contributed 22 of the Bills’ 183 total rushing yards on Sunday. If Allen can limit turnovers with an efficient running back attack, this could be the year the Bills can get over the hump in the postseason.

5. Anthony Richardson becomes essential television

Richardson put on a show against the Texans before the rookie quarterback left in the second quarter to be evaluated for a concussion. He has only played six quarters in the NFL, but he is already one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the league, rushing for two touchdowns in the first quarter. The 6-foot-4, 244-pound Richardson was expected to run for touchdowns, especially near the goal line, but his athleticism has made him a scoring threat anywhere in the red zone: His first touchdown was of 18 yards and the second was a 15-yard score.

The downside, however, is the amount of hits Richardson could take as a frequent ball carrier. He missed the final few snaps of Week 1 against the Jaguars due to a hit to his ankle. But Richardson and the Colts could make adjustments because the No. 4 pick in the 2023 draft has also shown improvement as a passer. Richardson was 6 of 10 for 56 yards before exiting late in the first half of Sunday’s 31-20 win against Houston.

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