Robert Griffin III one of top NFL Week 2 storylines to watch

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:19 AM ET

FIVE STORIES TO WATCH

1. Could Bears make Pack 0-2 at Lambeau?

Having lost the home opener to San Francisco, the Green Bay Packers are looking an 0-2 start at home squarely in the face. That may sound like heresy to the Packer backers, but it’s a very real possibility. The Bears may not match San Fran’s overall defensive strength, but in Jay Cutler they have a guy capable of picking apart the Packers’ sieve-like secondary. They also have plenty of versatility in the backfield in Matt Forte and the downhill running of Michael Bush. Frank Gore chewed up Green Bay’s defence. These two should do equally well or better.

2. Can the Bills rebound from Meadowlands massacre?

During the off season, it was all about how much the Bills’ defensive line had improved with the addition of Mario Williams and Mark Anderson. Then the defence goes out and makes Mark Sanchez look like Dan Marino. The pressure is on the Bills, particularly that front four, to live up to the advanced billing. Ryan Fitzpatrick also needs a big rebound game. The Chiefs, who sustained a big loss at home to Atlanta, will get two key starters back on defence: Linebacker Tamba Hali and corner Brandon Flowers.

3. Is RG3 the real deal or a one-hit wonder?

The Washington Redskins gave up plenty of its future to secure Robert Griffin III and a week into his NFL career Griffin is paying off like an under bet on the Leafs’ season-long win number. The No. 2 overall pick in the NFL draft takes his Redskins on the road to St. Louis, where all eyes will be watching to see if he can do it again. The Rams’ defence held Detroit’s Matt Stafford and Megatron in check for three full quarters before giving up two 80-yard touchdown drives in the fourth as the Rams disintegrated. It should only get tougher for RG3 this weekend.

4. Will they or won’t they shake hands?

When Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz last crossed paths on a football field, it almost came to blows. Schwartz didn’t like the post-game handshake and shove in the back that followed the game from Harbaugh. These two fiery coaches will no doubt have their respective teams fired up. But if it’s going to be a game at all, Matt Stafford and that Lions offence has to improve. Based on Week 1, Schwartz’s only hope for a win might come at the grip and grin after the game.

5. Is Manning really already all the way back?

As crazy as it sounds, Peyton Manning looked as comfortable behind the Denver Broncos’ offensive line as he did 20 months ago when he played for the Colts. All those neck surgeries and time lost did not seem to have any impact on Indy’s former favourite son. He’s lost a few miles an hour on his throws, but as far as returns go, Manning couldn’t have scripted his own any better with a big Sunday night win over a tough Pittsburgh team. Now all he has to do is do it again, only this time on Monday night on the road in Atlanta.

TAKING STOCK

Going up

Washington running back Alfred Morris had a pretty solid day himself with 96 yards on the ground and two touchdowns. The Redskins backfield has been a bit of a revolving door of late. Perhaps Morris can lock the job down for himself.

Going down

Michael Vick pulled it out in the end but four interceptions against a Browns defence that normally doesn’t scare too many teams has Vick trending down early in this NFL season.

ON THE HOT SEAT

This may be a bit premature, but Andy Reid has got to be a little nervous after watching his Eagles almost give away one of the few easy marks on the schedule. Reid has plenty of tenure in Philly, but in a city where they boo safe landings and Santa Claus, a dogfight just to get past Cleveland isn’t good for your job security.

WOULDA

We would have taken a much more conservative approach to overtime were we Jacksonville QB Blaine Gabbert. Fourth and two and needing a score on the drive or you lose and you throw deep? I don’t think so.

SHOULDA

The St. Louis Rams should have won in Detroit. The Lions had the ball three times in the final quarter and scored on two of them, both drives starting at their own 20. C’mon Rams, buckle down.

COULDA

The Cleveland Browns could at least have gotten to overtime and maybe knocked off Philadelphia had Pat Shurmar made the right call and elected to attempt a two-point convert when his team took a 15-10 lead with 14 minutes to go. You’re no Shur-manator.

HYPE WE’RE BUYING

New England’s defence is for real. Jake Locker deserved a much better fate but the pressure he was under all day from that front seven and the fact they took away his running game entirely masked a pretty decent afternoon. This defence could wind up going from among the worst in the league to the best.

HYPE WE’RE NOT

Enjoy it while it lasts Kevin Ogiltree. That was a fine performance against a solid Giants defence, but you’re still behind Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten in the Cowboys pass-catching hierarchy. Tony Romo has and always will have his go-to guys and while you might surpass Bryant, Witten and Austin are there to stay.

GOAT OF THE WEEK

We’ll give it to Roger Goodell for pinching pennies in a billion-dollar industry. Pay your officials and restore the game’s integrity. The paying public doesn’t want to watch countless sideline conferences while fill-in officials try to get it right. And we say that after Week 1, where the replacements weren’t all that bad. You won’t get this lucky much longer.

HERO OF THE WEEK

Plenty of heroes, but we’ll give it to rookie Vikings kicker Blair Walsh (above) who kicked a 55-yarder to force overtime and had the eventual game-winning kick from 38 yards in a perfect 4-for-4 NFL debut.

ZERO OF THE WEEK

Buffalo’s Mario Williams gets it for his no-show at the Meadowlands. Facing an opponent with two games of experience under his belt, Williams had zero sacks, zero quarterback hits and just one tackle in the game.

ROUGHING THE REF

In an effort not to pile on the replacement refs, we’ll place the blame for the bogus call of the week at the hands of the NFL-appointed overseer up in the booth in Arizona who failed to step in and correct officials when they handed Seattle an extra timeout they never should have had. Had Seattle gone on to win that game, the league would have been doing a fancy two-step trying to justify it, particularly with full-time NFL staff there to help out with exactly this type of scenario.

QUOTE/UNQUOTE

Jake Locker has his left arm in a sling, but probably earned himself the kind of cred it takes years to build with his play and words following Sunday’s loss to New England.

“It’s football. I know I’m the quarterback, but I’d do the same thing again.”

— Locker when asked if he’d make another tackle after injuring his left shoulder in the fourth quarter.


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