It's fair to say that, eight weeks into the 2022 NFL season, it has been a year of surprises.

The New York Giants have six wins, the Seattle Seahawks lead the NFC West and two preseason NFC favourites, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Green Bay Packers, have collapsed to 3-5 starts.

This is a campaign in which to expect the unexpected and, as such, three of the top quarterback displays from Week 8 heading into Monday Night Football are entirely in keeping with the theme of 2022.

While one star still shaking the rust off following an injury lay-off delivered the kind of game most have come to anticipate from him, the degree of accuracy displayed by the trio of signal-callers surrounding him at the top of Stats Perform's well-thrown rate chart by the end of Sunday's action was eyebrow-raising to say the least.

And there was one quarterback who tried and failed to find a new team in the offseason who rose above the rest. 

Jimmy G's perfect day

There will never be a game that definitively decides the endless Jimmy Garoppolo debate in the Bay Area, where the San Francisco 49ers' quarterback who was meant to be elsewhere this season remains a beloved but polarising figure.

But nobody could argue Garoppolo was not excellent in Week 8 as the 49ers scored 24 unanswered points to sweep the Los Angeles Rams with an emphatic 31-14 win at SoFi Stadium.

So much of the attention in the immediate aftermath was rightly on Christian McCaffrey, who became the fourth player with a touchdown pass, rushing touchdown and touchdown reception in a single game since the 1970 merger in a remarkable performance just 10 days on from his trade from the Carolina Panthers.

However, Garoppolo also deserves a share of the spotlight following what was, by at least one measure, a perfect game from a quarterback frequently criticised for his volatility.

Garoppolo ended the defeat of the Rams with a 100 per cent well-thrown rate. Each of his 25 passes, excluding throwaways, was deemed to be accurate and well-thrown.

He is the 35th player to achieve such a feat and the second this season following Trevor Lawrence for the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 2 against the Indianapolis Colts.

While Garoppolo averaged only 6.76 yards per attempt, he still completed a host of big-time throws, including a third-down touchdown shot to a leaping McCaffrey and a 56-yard bomb down the left sideline to Ross Dwelley that was followed by a perfectly placed ball to George Kittle in the back of the endzone on a sprint out pass that iced the game.

At 4-4 heading into the bye with a star-studded offense and a series of players still to return from injury on defense, the 49ers are ideally positioned for a surge down the stretch. They won't get perfect every game from Garoppolo, but if he maintains a level close to what he produced in Inglewood on Sunday, San Francisco will be a major threat in the NFC.

Air Marcus has Falcons on top

Marcus Mariota had hardly been trusted to throw the ball over the four games prior to Atlanta's wild win over the Carolina Panthers by head coach Arthur Smith.

Only once over those four games had he registered more than 20 passing attempts, but Mariota was allowed to air it out on Sunday, and the Falcons should be delighted by the manner in which he did so.

The former second overall pick delivered an accurate well-thrown ball on 92.6 per cent of his 27 pass attempts, maintaining remarkable accuracy while pushing the ball down field with consistency in a captivating shoot-out.

Mariota averaged 10.15 air yards per attempt against Carolina. Just five quarterbacks – Josh Allen (12.96), P.J. Walker (12.33), Tua Tagovailoa (11.79), Russell Wilson (11.04) and Jalen Hurts (11.04) – were more aggressive in that respect.

Of that quintet, Tagovailoa (82.4 per cent) and Wilson (84.6 per cent) were the only two signal-callers to even post a well-thrown rate of 80 per cent.

Mariota blended accuracy and deep-ball aggression in a way most quarterbacks struggle to replicate and, though he tossed an overtime interception that should have cost the Falcons the game, his performance may convince Smith to diversify his approach and shift to a more balanced attack as the 4-4 Falcons look to make a surprise run at the NFC South title.

Dak looks all the way back

The case could be made that the Cowboys were still running the 'Cooper Rush' offense in Prescott's first game back from a finger injury in Week 7 against the Detroit Lions.

Dallas laboured somewhat in that one before pulling away and, though the Week 8 performance was not a faultless one from Prescott, it was one to breed hope the Cowboys can legitimately contend to go deep into the NFC playoffs with him at the helm of the attack.

Prescott posted a well-thrown rate of 92.3 per cent in the Cowboys' 49-29 win over the Chicago Bears, with arguably his most aesthetically pleasing throw coming on his first touchdown pass as he split safeties Eddie Jackson and Jaquan Brisker on a 21-yard rope to CeeDee Lamb on third-and-nine.

Third down did not prove a challenge for Prescott at any point. He completed five of his six third-down throws for 85 yards and a touchdown, with a Bears defense ill-equipped to stop the Cowboys consistently frustrated when they got into positions to get off the field. 

An interception by Jackson was the sole blemish on the day for Prescott, who also had a rushing touchdown, and the room for improvement he clearly still has after a showing of this calibre should be of great excitement to the 6-2 Cowboys as they attack the second half of the season.

Fields fills Chicago with hope 

The Bears did not produce the all-round performance to keep pace with the Cowboys, but it was another effort by last year's first-round pick Justin Fields to boost optimism around his prospects of blossoming into one of the league's better quarterbacks.

After finally building a gameplan around his athleticism in the Monday Night Football win over the New England Patriots, the Bears once again leant on Fields' mobility. He threw seven times on the move, with Chicago also implementing play-action and the quarterback bootleg into the attack.

The results were impressive as Fields finished the game with a well-thrown rate of 90.9 per cent while averaging 9.5 air yards per attempt. On top of that, he did not throw a single interceptable pass, though he did have one pick called back because of a roughing the passer penalty.

Fields was perfect on play-action, with all six of his passes from those concepts well thrown, and he would have had significantly more than 151 passing yards to his name had rookie receiver Velus Jones not dropped an outstandingly placed moonball down the right sideline from the Chicago 47-yard line in the second quarter.

But Fields still accounted for three touchdowns, throwing two and rushing for another in a 60-yard display on the ground. Though the Bears' decision to trade defensive stars Robert Quinn and Roquan Smith will play a role in limiting their wins in 2022, the Bears will be increasingly convinced Fields is the right man to rebuild the team around if he continues in this vein of form.

The Chicago Bears' tear down continues.

The Bears traded two-time All-Pro linebacker Roquan Smith to the Baltimore Ravens on Monday for a 2023 second-round pick along with a fifth-round selection in next year's draft. Chicago acquired linebacker A.J. Klein in the deal.

Smith becomes the second high-profile defensive player traded by the Bears in less than a week after sending pass-rusher Robert Quinn to the Philadelphia Eagles last Wednesday.

Smith leaves behind the rebuilding Bears to join a 5-3 Ravens team that is in first place in the AFC North.

Selected eighth overall in the 2018 draft, Smith requested a trade prior to the start of the season after being unable to work out a new contract before ultimately agreeing to play out his rookie deal.

The 25-year-old has been one of the league’s top linebackers and was looking to be paid like one.

He leads the league with 83 total tackles this season while also registering 2.5 sacks and two interceptions.

Since his rookie season, his 606 total tackles trail only Bobby Wagner for the most in the NFL and his 47 tackles for loss are tied for 14th.

In his final game with the Bears on Sunday, Chicago's defense was shredded in a 49-29 loss at Dallas, surrendering a season-high 442 yards with the Cowboys averaging 7.8 yards per play.

The loss dropped the Bears to 3-5, and the team has essentially conceded this season as general manager Ryan Poles goes into the offseason looking to build around Justin Fields, who put together a second straight encouraging performance in Week 8.

Chicago received a 2023 fourth-round draft pick for Quinn, who set a Bears franchise record for sacks in a single season last year with 18.5.


Micah Parsons believes he deserves to play some snaps on offense after his stunning fumble return for a touchdown in the Dallas Cowboys' Week 8 win over the Chicago Bears.

Parsons put the Cowboys in command in the third quarter of their 49-29 win at AT&T Stadium on Sunday when he returned a David Montgomery fumble 36 yards for the score.

Dallas' star pass rusher forced Justin Fields from the pocket before he found running back Montgomery, who subsequently coughed up the ball after a hit from Leighton Vander Esch.

Parsons got back in position to recover the ball and, after realising Fields had leapt over him rather than touch him down by contact, evaded several scrambling Bears players to find the endzone and give the Cowboys a 42-23 lead.

It marked Parsons' first touchdown of his NFL career, and he now feels he should have the chance to add to that tally on offense.

"Zeke [Ezekiel Elliott] said I look just like him," Parsons said of his touchdown.

"I think I definitely deserve a rep now. They can't say they haven't seen it in a game. So hopefully I get thrown in a goal-line package or red-zone package."

Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy, whose team are 6-2 behind only the 7-0 Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC East, is concerned the score will lead to him being pestered by Parsons to play on offense.

"I was obviously very excited," McCarthy said. "But part of me is annoyed because he wants to be on offense already.

"Now I'm going to have a hard time keeping him out of my office."

The big boys are back in Week 8 as the NFL season edges its way closer to the playoffs.

The Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills and Minnesota Vikings all return after a bye week, as do the defending champion Los Angeles Rams, who will look to increase the pressure on the San Francisco 49ers.

The Eagles are aiming to maintain their 100 per cent record when the Pittsburgh Steelers come to town, while the Bills host Aaron Rodgers and his wobbling Green Bay Packers.

Stats Perform has taken a look at the numbers ahead of Sunday's games, starting in the city of brotherly love.

Pittsburgh Steelers (2-5) @ Philadelphia Eagles (6-0)

It promises to be a tricky trip for Pittsburgh, as the Eagles own a nine-game winning streak at home against them, a streak that started in 1966 (Pittsburgh's last win there was Week 6, 1965). It is the Eagles' longest home winning streak against a single opponent in franchise history.

The Steelers lost 16-10 at the Miami Dolphins last week, and are averaging just 15.3 points per game, the second fewest in the NFL (Denver Broncos, 14.3). The last time they finished in the bottom two of the NFL in scoring was 1969 (15.6 points per game, second worst).

The Eagles have held a lead of at least 14 points in each of their six games this season. The last team to do so in seven straight games to begin the season was the 2007 Patriots (eight straight).

Philadelphia have won Jalen Hurts' last nine starts, tied for the longest quarterback win streak in franchise history with Carson Wentz (2017), Donovan McNabb (2003) and Norm Van Brocklin (1960). The Eagles were 6-10 in Hurts' first 16 career starts in the NFL.

San Francisco 49ers (3-4) @ Los Angeles Rams (3-3)

Including a 24-9 home win in Week 4, the 49ers have won seven straight regular-season games against Los Angeles, their second-longest streak against the Rams all-time (17 straight from December 1990 to December 1998). However, the Rams beat the 49ers in last season's NFC Championship Game at SoFi Stadium.

San Francisco lost to the Kansas City Chiefs, 44-23, at home last week. It was the first time they have lost back-to-back games by at least 14 points since Weeks 9-10 in 2020. They followed those games up with a 23-20 win against the Rams in Los Angeles.

Last week, Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 303 yards, the 11th game in his career with at least 300 yards. The 49ers won the first seven of those games but are just 1-3 in the last four. The only win in that span came on the road against the Rams in Week 18 last season.

Rams QB Matthew Stafford is 1-6 in his regular season career against the 49ers, his worst record against any NFC opponent. He has thrown four touchdown passes and five interceptions in his three games against them since joining the Rams, losing each one.

Green Bay Packers (3-4) @ Buffalo Bills (5-1)

The Packers have won their last four home games against the Bills, but are 0-6 all-time in Buffalo, most recently losing a 21-13 game there in Week 15, 2014. The Bills are the only active franchise the Packers have never beaten on the road.

Green Bay lost 23-21 to the Washington Commanders last week, and have lost three straight games for the first time since Weeks 11-13 in 2018. They have not lost four straight since Weeks 8-11 in 2016. The last time they lost four of their first seven games was in 2006 (also 3-4).

The Bills are coming off their bye week following a 24-20 win in Kansas City in Week 6. Since the Bills' last Super Bowl appearance in 1993, they have begun a season 5-1 four times – 1995, 2008, 2019, and this year.

Buffalo's offense has faced a blitz on 35.3 per cent of its passing plays this season, the fourth highest in the league. The Packers have faced a blitz just 20.2 per cent of the time, second lowest in the league (Miami, 18.2). The Bills have blitzed opponents just 12.9 per cent of the time, the lowest in the league.


Dak Prescott should face the Chicago Bears (3-4) after making his return in the Dallas Cowboys' (5-2) win over the Detroit Lions last week, moving his career record as a starter to 54-33 (.621). Since 2016. The Cowboys are 9-8 when Prescott does not start (.530) while averaging almost 60 total yards fewer per game when he is not the starter (382.3 with, 322.9 without).

The New York Jets (5-2) enter their clash with the New England Patriots (3-4) with a chance to break their current 12-game losing streak against them, which dates back to the 2016 season. With a loss, the streak would match Denver's 13-game losing streak to Kansas City as the longest active one in the NFL.

Saquon Barkley (110 rushing yards) and Daniel Jones (107) each ran for over 100 yards last week, the third time a New York Giants (6-1) duo has eclipsed that mark. Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw did so in Week 14, 2010 and Week 16, 2007. The only other team with such a duo this season was the New Orleans Saints in Week 5 against the Giants' opponents for Week 8, the Seattle Seahawks (4-3).

The Tennessee Titans (4-2) own a four-game win streak after a 19-10 win at home against the Indianapolis Colts. This is the Titans' sixth-straight season with a winning streak of at least four games, and it could go to five with a win at the Houston Texans (1-4-1).

The Philadelphia Eagles have bolstered their defense by acquiring pass-rusher Robert Quinn from the Chicago Bears on Wednesday.

Quinn, who set a Bears franchise record for sacks in a single season last year with 18.5, leaves a rebuilding Chicago team and joins an Eagles team who are 6-0 with Super Bowl aspirations.

Philadelphia have the NFL's fourth-ranked scoring defence at 17.5 points per game and sent a fourth-round pick to Chicago for Quinn, whose 102 career sacks are tied with three-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald for the sixth-most by an active player.

Quinn has one sack, three quarterback hurries and two tackles for loss in seven games this year, and although the 12-year veteran is not stuffing the stat sheet like he did in 2021, his inspired play on Monday helped the Bears upset the New England Patriots in a stunning 33-14 victory.

Despite the encouraging win, the 3-4 Bears have their eye on the future.

A first-round pick by the St. Louis Rams in 2011, the 32-year-old Quinn is under contract through 2024, with a base salary of $12.8million this year.

Quinn was in his third season with the Bears, and the Eagles will be his fifth team after spending 2018 with the Miami Dolphins and 2019 with the Dallas Cowboys.

The Chicago Bears ran the ball for 243 yards in their dominant 33-14 win against the New England Patriots on Monday night.

Four Bears rushed for at least 29 yards on the night, with receiver Dante Pettis taking a jet-sweep 29 yards on his only carry, while quarterback Justin Fields rushed 14 times for 82 yards, and running backs David Montgomery (15 carries for 62 yards and a touchdown) and Khalil Herbert (12 carries for 62 yards) both received strong workloads.

Their 243 yards on the ground are the third most this season by any team in a single game, trailing only the New York Giants (262 yards) against the Bears in Week 4, and the Bears themselves (282 yards) in their Week 3 win against the Houston Texans.

Fields ran in for a three-yard touchdown in the first quarter to give the Bears a 10-0 lead after returning Patriots quarterback Mac Jones struggled, and when he was pulled to begin the second quarter, rookie Bailey Zappe seemed to win the starting job.

Zappe led two quick touchdown drives – culminating in a 30-yard touchdown pass to Jakobi Meyers and a four-yard Rhamondre Stevenson touchdown run – to put the Patriots up 14-10 with six minutes remaining in the first half, but they would not score the rest of the game.

The Bears continued to have success, with Khalil Herbert taking a screen pass 25 yards into the endzone for Fields' only passing touchdown of the night, and Montgomery rammed in the last score of the game in the fourth quarter from the one-yard line.

Fields completed 13 of his 21 passes for 179 yards, one touchdown and one interception, while defensively, Bears linebacker Roquan Smith finished with a sack and an interception.

Ron Rivera angrily hit out as suggestions he was not an enthused as Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder by the signing of quarterback Carson Wentz.

In the wake of Thursday's 12-7 win over the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field, coach Rivera was in fiery form at his post-game press conference, eventually calling a halt to proceedings himself.

ESPN this week quoted an unnamed source as saying that the signing of Wentz in a March trade from the Indianapolis Colts was "100 per cent a Dan move".

Wentz came into the Bears game carrying a bicep injury, managing only 12 of 22 passes for 99 yards with no TDs.

However, Rivera wanted to make it clear that his own role in the signing of Wentz was integral to the trade going ahead.

"Everybody keeps wanting to say, I didn’t want anything to do with Carson," Rivera said.

"Well bull****. I'm the f****** guy that pulled out the sheets of paper, that looked at the analytics, that watched the tape when we were in Indianapolis.

"That's what p***** me off, because the young man doesn't deserve to have that all the time. I'm sorry, I'm done."

The expletive-laden torrent from Rivera followed an assessment of how the team's 1-4 start had been wearing on his players.

Finally getting a second win, after losing four straight games, came as a relief to Rivera, prompting him to unload.

Brian Robinson Jr scored the decisive touchdown, two months after being shot in the knee and glute in an attempted carjacking on August 28.

"Honestly it's been hard. It really has. You lose four games in a row and everybody wants to get on you," Rivera said.

"They've played their a**es off. They've played their a**es off for everybody. They come out, they show up, and they work hard, they don't complain.

"They hear all this stuff and they've got to deal with that. I respect them for that because they're resilient."

The Washington Commanders snapped their four-game skid in a dour 12-7 win over the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field with Brian Robinson Jr scoring the decisive touchdown two months after being shot.

Commanders running back Robinson finished with one TD from 17 carries for 60 yards in his career-first start and second game back since being shot in the knee and glute in an attempted carjacking on August 28.

The Bears almost snatched victory with their final drive when QB Justin Fields' fourth-down pass for Darnell Mooney was completed but juggled just short of the goalline. In the previous play, Dante Pettis had dropped a Fields' throw under pressure from Darrick Forrest, although no pass interference was called.

Robinson provided the highlight in a game where no touchdowns were scored in the first half, with Joey Slye's field goal late in the second quarter snapping the scoreless deadlock.

The Bears, who fell to their third straight defeat and a 2-4 record, had taken the lead in the third quarter when Fields found Pettis in the corner. Fields completed 14 of 27 attempts for 190 yards, with one TD pass and one interception, and had 88 running yards on 12 carries.

After Slye added a 28-yard chip-shot field goal, Chicago were undone when rookie Velus Jones Jr fumbled a punt, handing the Commanders position which Robinson capitalized on in two drives.

Slye missed the chance to move the lead to eight points when he missed a 48-yard field-goal attempt inside the final two minutes, but the Bears could not capitalise.

Commanders quarterback Carson Wentz came into the game carrying a bicep injury, managing only 12 of 22 passes for 99 yards with no TDs.

Carson Wentz will start for the Washington Commanders in their clash against the Chicago Bears despite not being 100 per cent fit due to a bicep injury.

The 1-4 Commanders were unsure whether Wentz would be available for Thursday's contest due to the short turnaround after Sunday's loss to the Tennessee Titans, when he sustained the injury.

However, he threw the ball well in practice, albeit in a walkthrough session, and will lead the offense from the start against the Bears, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports.

The Commanders will hope that Wentz can get through the matchup against the Bears unscathed and then heal up with extra rest before their Week 7 clash at home to the Green Bay Packers, with a 10-day gap between the games.

Wentz's availability is a boost for a Commanders team already without significant members of their offense, with receiver Jahan Dotson and tight end Logan Thomas set to miss Thursday's game.

The Commanders sit bottom of the fiercely contested NFC East, where all their division rivals currently rank 4-1 or better, with the Philadelphia Eagles leading the way as the only undefeated side left across the NFL (5-0).

A pair of NFC North running backs were injured in their team’s Week 3 wins, including superstar Minnesota Vikings rusher Dalvin Cook.

Cook injured his shoulder late in the third quarter in the Minnesota Vikings' 28-24 victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday, while David Montgomery hurt his right knee and ankle in the first quarter of the Chicago Bears' 23-20 last-second win over the Houston Texans.

Neither injury is believed to be particularly serious at this point and both running backs will be considered day-to-day, according to their coaches.

Cook was enjoying his best game of the young season before getting hurt on a play where he fumbled on a first-down run near midfield in the final minute of the third quarter.

He lost control of the ball when he ran into the back of his left guard Ezra Cleveland and the Lions recovered. It was uncertain if he got hurt when he collided with Cleveland or in the ensuing scrum while trying to recover the fumble.

Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell said during the postgame press conference that Cook will have some tests done. A shoulder injury last season forced Cook to miss one game.

Prior to the injury, Cook scored his first touchdown of the season and finished the day with a season-high 96 rushing yards.

Montgomery was coming off one of his best games of his career, rushing for 122 yards on just 15 carries in last Sunday’s 27-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers, but he carried the ball just three times for 11 yards against the Texans before exiting.

He was injured when his right leg got rolled up under him when he was blocking on a pass play. He was able to walk off the field under his own power.

After the game, Bears coach Matt Eberflus said it appears Montgomery avoided anything serious.

Second-year backup Khalil Herbert stepped up in Montgomery’s absence, rushing for 157 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries.

The Bears finished with 281 rushing yards – their most in a game since September 30, 1984, when they ran for 283 yards, including 155 from Hall-of-Famer Walter Payton – in a 23-14 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

Two weeks down in the NFL and the action has been sensational so far.

Late comebacks were the name of the game last week and Week 3 promises to bring even more excitement.

Sunday sees the Buffalo Bills and the Miami Dolphins battle it out to remain undefeated, the Baltimore Ravens will aim to respond to a Week 2 defeat against the New England Patriots, while the Las Vegas Raiders and Tennessee Titans fight to pick up a first win of the season.

There's plenty more on the agenda and Stats Perform has used Opta data to preview the action.

Buffalo Bills (2-0) @ Miami Dolphins (2-0)

The Bills travel to Florida having won their past seven games against the Dolphins, outscoring them by better than a two-to-one margin (258-123). That marks Buffalo's longest winning streak against Miami, beating a run of six consecutive victories from 1987 to 1989.

Buffalo have outscored their opponents 72-17 so far this season to stand 2-0, with the +55-point differential their second-best through the first two games of a season. In 1981, they won their opening two matches by a combined score of 66-3 (+63 points).

The Dolphins overcame a 21-point fourth-quarter deficit (35-14) in last week's 42-39 win at Baltimore, marking the sixth time since 1925 that an NFL team has won a game in regulation time after trailing by such a margin in the fourth quarter. The last such comeback win was in 2010, when the Eagles beat the Giants 38-31 in Week 16, having trailed 31-10.

Tua Tagovailoa threw six touchdown passes, including four in the fourth quarter, against the Ravens last week. Since 2001, the only other player to throw four touchdown passes in the fourth quarter of an NFL game was Sage Rosenfels for the Texans against the Titans in Week 7 of the 2007 season, though Houston lost 38-36.

Baltimore Ravens (1-1) @ New England Patriots (1-1)

The Patriots have a 9-2 record against the Ravens in the regular season, the best record by any team against Baltimore in their history – though they have split four postseason matches.

Lamar Jackson became the first player in NFL history to have a 75+ yard passing touchdown and a 75+ rushing touchdown in the same game during last weekend's defeat to the Dolphins.

In week 2, the Patriots beat the Steelers 17-14. Since Bill Belichick became head coach in 2000, the Patriots are 42-23 in games decided by three of fewer points, the best such record in the NFL.

Nelson Agholor recorded 110 receiving yards in Week 2, becoming the first Patriot with a 100-yard game since Jakobi Meyers in Week 15, 2020. That brought an end to a 20-game streak without a 100-yard receiver for the Patriots, which was the longest spell in the Belichick era.

Las Vegas Raiders (0-2) @ Tennessee Titans (0-2)

The Raiders have won their past three games on the road against the Titans. The last time the Raiders won four straight road games against a single opponent was a six-game streak against the Chiefs from 2007 to 2012.

An 29-23 overtime loss to the Cardinals in Week 2 came despite them holding a 23-7 lead in the fourth quarter, marking the biggest fourth-quarter blown lead for a loss in franchise history.

The Titans are 0-2 for the first time since 2012 and last started a season 0-3 in 2009. The 41-7 loss to the Bills last week was the largest defeat suffered by the Titans under Mike Vrabel.

Both the Raiders and Titans are 0-2 this season after making the playoffs a season ago. Neither franchise has ever started a season with two defeats and rallied to make the playoffs, while the last NFL teams to do so being the Texans and Seahawks in 2018.


Chicago host the Texans with just 432 offensive yards to their name so far this season, the worst in the NFL and the fewest yards the Bears have gained in the opening two weeks of a campaign since they had 335 net yards at the same stage in 2003.

Patrick Mahomes rallied the Chiefs offence to a 27-24 victory against the Chargers last week, overcoming a 17-7 second-half deficit, and are eyeing a third-straight win this season against the Colts. Since his first NFL season (2018), the Chiefs have more comeback victories after trailing in the second half (17) than any other NFL side.

The Saints travel to Carolina on the back of a 20-10 home defeat to the Buccaneers last week. Dating back to last season, New Orleans have scored 17 or fewer points in five of their past nine games (1-4). When they have scored 18 or more, they stand at 4-0.

The Cincinnati Bengals have plenty to do offensively against the Jets, with Joe Burrow having been sacked 13 times so far this season and thrown four interceptions. The last QB to be sacked that many times while throwing as many picks in the opening two weeks of a season was Danny White of the Cowboys in 1987.

Aaron Rodgers showed that he still owns the Chicago Bears after leading the Green Bay Packers with two touchdown passes in a 27-10 victory at Lambeau Field on Sunday.

Running back Aaron Jones was outstanding with two touchdowns for the Packers, who bounced back from their 23-7 Week 1 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Green Bay have now won their home opener in 10 consecutive years.

Rodgers was the center of attention, given his history against NFC North rivals Chicago, improving his all-time record against the Bears to 24-5. On Sunday, he had two touchdown passes, completing 19-of-25 for 234 yards, meaning in his past four games against the Bears he has 14 touchdowns with no interceptions.

The Packers QB brought up his 450th career passing touchdown for Jones' first as Green Bay piled on three second-quarter touchdowns after Justin Fields had run into the endzone to give the Bears an early lead.

In the second half, Rodgers also tied a career-high 14 consecutive completions, matching a mark he set back in 2014 against the New York Jets.

Beyond Rodgers' contribution, Green Bay had almost 200 rushing yards from Jones (15 carries for 132 yards) and AJ Dillon (18 carries for 61 yards) adding variety to their offense. Wide receiver Sammy Watkins had three receptions for 93 yards including a fourth-quarter 55-yard gain to flip the field.

Jones got the first 'Lambeau Leap' of the season after weaving his way into the endzone, before he also ran around the edge from Rodgers' pass to open up a 17-7 lead. Rodgers found Randall Cobb to pick up 20, before sending a laser to Allen Lazard for their third TD before half-time.

Fields, who twice fell short of a running touchdown on the goal-line in the fourth quarter, completed seven-of-11 attempts for 70 yards with one interception, with David Montgomery running 122 yards from 15 carries. Jaire Alexander's late interception sealed the win for the Packers.

Trey Lance conceded the San Francisco 49ers made too many mistakes in their shock opening defeat to the Chicago Bears in a game Kyle Shanahan felt they had control of.

The 49ers were seemingly given a soft landing to start the season by going on the road to face a Bears team starting a rebuild under new head coach Matt Eberflus.

San Francisco looked to be cruising to victory when they led 10-0 early in the third quarter following Robbie Gould's short field goal.

However, Justin Fields' improbable 51-yard touchdown pass to former 49er Dante Pettis on a third-down scramble turned the tide in the Bears' favour.

The Bears scored 19 unanswered points to claim a stunning 19-10 win, with the 49ers unable to mount a comeback after falling behind amid a deluge at Soldier Field.

San Francisco committed two turnovers, a Deebo Samuel fumble in the red zone in the first quarter and a Lance interception that led to the Bears' final touchdown.

The 49ers went one for three in the red zone and had 12 penalties accepted against them for 99 yards, two of which extended Bears scoring drives.

Those mistakes ensured the 49ers lost a game in which they outgained the Bears 331 yards to 204, with Shanahan believing a failure to punch the ball in from the Bears' two-yard line and Fields' subsequent touchdown throw to Pettis to be the turning point.

"We felt very in control... I thought we had every chance to run away with it in those first three quarters, especially those first two drives," Shanahan said. 

"Having a fumble inside the 10, and the next drive getting down there and ending up getting a sack on third down that knocked us out of field goal range.

"Getting all the way down there [in the third quarter] and only come up with the field goal. I thought we had every chance to run away with it. We were going to get it right back to go again, then that penalty on third-and-long gave [the Bears] new life and they scored a touchdown. We never got the momentum back."

Lance pinned much of the blame on himself. Beginning his first season as the Niners' starting quarterback, Lance completed 13 of his 28 passes for 164 yards and an interception and carried the ball 13 times for 54 yards.

The 2021 third overall pick produced some impressive downfield throws but was frustrated by one he missed in the first quarter to tight end Tyler Kroft, who was wide open and likely would have strolled in for a touchdown.

"We made too many mistakes. Defense kept us in the game. I had a big miss to Tyler Kroft in the end zone," said Lance. 

"I tried to throw a perfect ball, but I should've just put it right on him, he was wide open. Turned the ball over, took a sack, then knocked us out of field goal range. I shouldn't have missed Deebo Samuel on the third down, missed another third down to Jauan Jennings – just too many mistakes.

"I have a lot of stuff to clean up for sure. But man, I'm excited. I've still got my head up. I'm excited to get ready to go next week."

The worst game of Joe Burrow's NFL career almost turned into a memorable Week 1 win for the Cincinnati Bengals, who instead blew their chance for an overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Bengals went down 23-20 to the Steelers after missing kicks at the end of regulation and in the additional period that would have secured a winning start.

Instead, Chris Boswell kicked the game-winning field goal for the Steelers in the final seconds of overtime.

Burrow had put the Bengals in position to succeed despite his dismal start, looking nothing like the 2021 Comeback Player of the Year who led Cincinnati to the Super Bowl.

The quarterback had four turnovers before half-time – a career high for an entire game – including a pick-six for Minkah Fitzpatrick from his very first pass.

Burrow finished with four interceptions, a lost fumble and seven sacks, but he also threw two touchdown passes, including one for Ja'Marr Chase that appeared to set up a stunning Bengals win.

However, Fitzpatrick blocked Evan McPherson's PAT, and McPherson missed his target again in overtime.

Boswell similarly squandered a chance to win the game, hitting the left post, but he made amends just as it looked as though the NFL would see two ties in the same week for the first time since Week 2 in 1973, with the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts also tied 20-20.

Browns deny Baker's Panthers

The Bengals were the only team not to win in the AFC North – a division that had it all on Sunday. While Lamar Jackson guided the Baltimore Ravens to victory over the New York Jets, the Cleveland Browns celebrated their first Week 1 win since 2004 as former QB Baker Mayfield saw his Carolina Panthers beaten 24-23 by a late field goal.

The Miami Dolphins' 20-7 win over AFC East rivals the Patriots was far more straightforward, with Tua Tagovailoa becoming the first QB to remain unbeaten against Bill Belichick in the regular season having started at least four games against New England.

49ers flounder at sodden Soldier Field

Miserable conditions in Chicago hampered the San Francisco 49ers as they suffered a shock 19-10 loss to the Bears, with Trey Lance's miserable 13-of-28 passing including an awful fourth-quarter interception for a quarterback rating of just 50.3.

Elsewhere in the NFC, Jalen Hurts also did not throw a single touchdown pass in the Philadelphia Eagles' 38-35 victory over the Detroit Lions – he contributed one of four rushing scores – but the QB connected with A.J. Brown for 155 yards on 10 catches. Marquee offseason trade signing Brown had 128 receiving yards before half-time, the most in the first half of a team debut by any non-rookie since at least 1991.

The idea of "any given Sunday" is what makes the NFL so compelling.

Any one team can beat another, and that means at this stage of the season, with the first snap still to be taken, every team can have Super Bowl aspirations.

Sort of.

The Cincinnati Bengals, for example, may have been slightly surprising contenders in 2021, but there remain some teams whose title hopes are so remote as to be non-existent.

For some, this is because they have missed their shot at glory in recent years; for others, the plan is to challenge in seasons to come.

So, this leads us to draw up a preseason tier system, ranking all 32 teams by their Super Bowl windows with the help of Stats Perform AI predictions...

Nowhere near

This is unlikely to be a season to remember for the teams grouped in this category, for a variety of reasons.

The Houston Texans won the AFC South in 2018 and 2019, but the Deshaun Watson saga and two down years have them looking at a rebuild, with the data forecasting just 4.8 wins this year. That at least ranks them ahead of the Atlanta Falcons (3.6 projected wins) and the New York Giants (4.2), while the Texans did gain draft assets in the Watson trade.

The Chicago Bears are the fourth and final team projected to earn fewer than six wins (4.9), with second-year quarterback Justin Fields receiving little help on offense and playing behind an offensive line ranked 31st in pass protection.

Meanwhile, the Washington Commanders rank 31st in terms of skill players – better only than the Falcons – with faith in Carson Wentz long since having diminished. In Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold, the Carolina Panthers have two high-draft-pick QBs unlikely to trouble the postseason. The New York Jets are in a similar boat, even if Zach Wilson is still young.

The Detroit Lions might argue they do not deserve to keep such company after a 3-3 finish to last season, but nobody could seriously argue they are title contenders.

Entering contention

If that first group was a mixed bag, so too is the second.

Anyone who has paid any attention to the New England Patriots' preseason would suggest they are very fortunate to be given any hope of success in the near future, but they finished with 10 wins in 2021 – even if that number is projected to shrink to 7.7. Despite a trade for Tyreek Hill, that still ranks the Patriots comfortably ahead of the Miami Dolphins (7.0), although the losing team in their Week 1 meeting will face a long slog of a season.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Philadelphia Eagles are forecast to have 11.9 wins – the second-most in the NFL – after a very strong offseason. But Jalen Hurts, for now, is unproven in the postseason, so Philly fans may have to stay patient.

The San Francisco 49ers are even younger at QB after promoting Trey Lance to a starting role, which explains why the prediction model looks so unfavourably on a team many consider contenders right now. Just 7.1 projected wins speaks to the potentially low floor Lance brings.

NFC West rivals the Arizona Cardinals have to be considered among this group of future hopefuls, with Kyler Murray hugely talented and now committed long term but frustratingly inconsistent, while the Jacksonville Jaguars will hope Trevor Lawrence can follow in the footsteps of the Bengals' Joe Burrow – the number one pick the year before him.

The Los Angeles Chargers, with 9.8 projected wins, have Justin Herbert to lead their charge, while the Cleveland Browns might have been contenders already if not for Watson's suspension, which is enough to limit them to a still strong 9.3-win forecast.

In their prime

The Chargers may have Herbert, but they also have three division rivals who intend to win and intend to win now. Indeed, all four AFC West teams rank in the top half of the league in terms of projected wins, with the Chargers second – behind the Kansas City Chiefs (11.5) and just ahead of the Denver Broncos (9.7) and the Las Vegas Raiders (9.2).

The Chiefs lead the AFC in this regard, although their playoff win over the Buffalo Bills last season came down to a coin flip, and the two are set to be similarly tough to separate this year. Buffalo are down for 11.1 wins.

The two teams coming off a Super Bowl run are of course prominent among the contenders, even if the model has far greater optimism for a Los Angeles Rams repeat than for another Bengals charge. The Rams are backed for a league-leading 12.4 wins and given a 15.3 per cent shot at defending their title, while the Bengals are actually projected to dip below .500 with 8.2 wins.

The Bengals' route to the Super Bowl will be complicated not just by the AFC West and the Bills but also by any return to form for the fit-again Lamar Jackson's Baltimore Ravens, who are counted among nine teams on course for 10 or more wins (10.4).

Also in that group are NFC pair the Dallas Cowboys (11.0) and the Minnesota Vikings (10.9), who may not even be the best teams in their divisions but might be nearing a point when they must seriously challenge or start again, which brings us to...

Last chance saloon

As long as Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are the QBs for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Green Bay Packers, those teams are in with a chance. The question is how long that will remain the case.

Brady is 45, briefly retired this offseason and then missed a chunk of the preseason. Rodgers is 38, has repeatedly been linked with a move away from Green Bay and lost top target Davante Adams ahead of the new season. Still, the Buccaneers rank eighth for projected wins (10.7), with the Packers up in third (11.5).

They are not the only ageing teams in the NFL, however.

The Indianapolis Colts hope they have upgraded in moving from Wentz to Matt Ryan, yet the former MVP is now 37 and last played in the postseason in 2017 – when Wentz's Eagles took the title.

Tennessee Titans QB Ryan Tannehill is a little younger at 34, but of greater concern would be Derrick Henry's durability after the injury that limited to eight games last regular season. The Titans need to make the most of any seasons they have left of the superstar running back going at full tilt.

Missed their chance

Russell Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees won Super Bowls with the Seattle Seahawks, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New Orleans Saints respectively, but with all three having now moved on, it is difficult to see those teams plotting a path to the title.

For the Seahawks and the Steelers, this will be their first year without their stalwart QBs, even if things had already gone stale in 2021. Wilson dipped below the .500 mark for a season for the first time in his career, while Pittsburgh were attempting to stay competitive in spite of Roethlisberger rather than because of him.

Still, with both gone – Wilson to Denver and Roethlisberger to retirement – there is a void under center that has not been suitably filled. Seattle also rank 32nd in pass protection, likely leaving Geno Smith hopelessly exposed.

The Saints have had another 12 months to come to terms with Brees' exit, albeit they spent it juggling Jameis Winston, Trevor Siemian and Taysom Hill at QB. Winston's season-ending injury doomed the Saints' hopes of contention last year, and New Orleans' outlook for 9.5 wins with the entertaining but erratic former number one pick is at least far more positive than that of the Seahawks (6.2) or the Steelers (7.0).

Regardless, each of these three teams have provided an example in how not to do succession planning. They all could have won additional honours with their departed veterans and now face long waits for further title tilts.

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