The Green Bay Packers got the victory but it was far from pretty as Aaron Rodgers had a poor night and the quarterback admitted that "way of winning is not sustainable".

The Packers won 27-24 in over-time against the New England Patriots, who were fielding a third-string rookie quarterback in Bailey Zappe for the majority of the game.

Green Bay trailed 10-7 at the long break after Rodgers had the lowest passer rating (11.2) of any half in any game he has started throughout his career, including a pick-six right on half-time. That was only the fourth pick-six of Rodgers' career and second at Lambeau Field.

Eventually, Rodgers got the Packers off the hook, driving them down the field in over-time to set up Mason Crosby's 31-yard game-winning field goal.

Rodgers finished the game with a completion rate of 60 per cent on 21-of-35 passing for 251 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

"This way of winning, I don't think is sustainable because it puts too much pressure on our defense," Rodgers told reporters. "Obviously, I've got to play better and will play better.

"I think we're going to have to play a little bit better against starting quarterbacks and if our defense isn't playing as well as they can."

On his poor first-half, Rodgers added: "I settled in and usually don't have two terrible halves, so I kind of returned to the form I expect from myself, and we started moving the football."

The win means the Packers improve to a 3-1 record, with running back Aaron Jones playing a key role with 110 rushing yards on 16 carries.

Green Bay may have wrapped up the win in regulation time when Rodgers found Romeo Doubs with a 40-yard pass in the endzone with 2:02 remaining, but the rookie wide receiver clearly did not secure the catch.

Despite that, Packers head coach Matt LeFleur threw the red flag to challenge what he thought was a touchdown, costing his side a timeout that would have helped his side win in regulation time.

"I'm not too proud of that moment," LaFleur said. "That was an emotional decision, and I think it's a great learning lesson that you can never make those emotional decisions in the heat of battle.

"You know better. You've got to survive the ground. [Packers assistant quarterbacks coach] Connor Lewis was in my ear, he's up in the box and he's in my ear, and he said, 'I don't think so.' And he said that we shouldn't challenge it.

"Just made an emotional decision, and it was almost like throwing a Hail Mary. That could have came back and bit us in the butt."

The Packers next face the New York Giants (3-1) in London on Sunday.

The Las Vegas Raiders rode a massive game from running back Josh Jacobs to a 32-23 home win against the Denver Broncos, marking their first win of the season.

Desperate for a result after an 0-3 start, the Raiders largely played a risk-averse style as they trusted Jacobs to carry the ball 28 times for 144 yards and two touchdowns, while quarterback Derek Carr posted 188 yards and no touchdowns.

The Raiders led 19-16 at halftime after Russell Wilson completed first-half touchdown passes to both Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy, but when starting running back Javonte Williams was forced to leave the game with an injury, the offense began to stall.

A pair of field goals gave the Raiders a 25-16 lead, which was trimmed to 25-23 when Wilson was able to scamper in for a three-yard rushing touchdown.

But the Raiders would not be denied, marching down the field one more time and punctuating it with Jacobs' second touchdown

The Broncos were yet to concede 100 rushing yards to any player in a single game this season, which was broken by Jacobs, and also had not faced a 100-yard receiver, which was broken by Davante Adams as he collected nine catches for 101 yards.

K.J. Hamler led the Broncos in receiving yards, and all 55 of his yards came on one catch as Wilson completed 17 of 25 passes for 237 yards and two scores.

Dynamic duo deliver for the Packers in overtime

Arguably the best running back duo in the league, Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon were both strong in the Green Bay Packers' 27-24 overtime win against the New England Patriots.

After backup Patriots quarterback Brian Hoyer suffered an injury in the first quarter, it was up to rookie fourth-round pick Bailey Zappe to lead New England the rest of the way, and he was more than respectable. He completed 10 of 15 passes for 99 yards and a touchdown, leading two touchdown drives in the second half to force overtime.

Rookie Packers receiver Romeo Doubs was the man to tie the game at 24-24 with his 13-yard touchdown catch, giving him touchdowns in back-to-back games as he tries to establish himself as Rodgers' top target.

In overtime, the Packers mounted a 13-play, 77-yard game-winning drive that featured seven runs, with Jones reaching 110 yards on 16 carries while Dillon had 73 yards on 17 carries.

Rodgers finished with a solid line of 21 completions from 35 attempts with 251 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

An MRI on Monday confirmed what the New England Patriots feared regarding Mac Jones' ankle.

Jones suffered a "pretty severe" high ankle sprain in Sunday’s 37-26 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, according to NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero.

The team is hopeful the 24-year-old quarterback will be able to recover without needing surgery, and though they haven't given a timetable for a return or confirmed if a stint on injured reserve is necessary, it seems unlikely he'll be able to play on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.

That means veteran Brian Hoyer would be in line to make his first start since Week 4 of the 2020 season, when he threw for just 130 yards with no touchdown passes and one interception in New England's 26-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Jones was hurt on the Patriots' final offensive play on Sunday, an interception with 1:55 remaining. The 2021 first-round pick landed hard on the turf from a hit by Baltimore defensive lineman Calais Campbell, then hobbled to the sidelines while grabbing his ankle before being taken straight to the locker room.

Jones threw for 321 yards in Sunday's loss, but was intercepted three times, giving him five through the 1-2 Patriots' first three games.

Lamar Jackson's sensational start to the 2022 season is "a natural next step", according to Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh, who always believed the quarterback could be "everything he is".

The Ravens improved to 2-1 with a 37-26 win over the New England Patriots on Sunday, in which Jackson threw four touchdown passes and rushed for 107 yards and a further score.

The fifth-year QB became only the second player in NFL history with at least four TD passes, 100 rushing yards and a rushing TD in a game after the Philadelphia Eagles' Randall Cunningham – also against the Patriots – in Week 9 of the 1990 season.

But Jackson also had three TD passes and 100 rushing yards in Week 2 against the Miami Dolphins.

Only seven other QBs (including Cunningham) have previously enjoyed such a performance, and none of them have done so more than once. Jackson has achieved that feat in consecutive games and four times across his career.

Surely a contender again this year, Jackson was the MVP in 2019 when he led the league in passing TDs (36), as he does now (10).

The failure to agree a new Ravens contract in the offseason would likely have made Jackson more determined to bounce back from an injury-hit 2021, but Harbaugh has never doubted his star man.

"No one has to tell me about Lamar Jackson," the Baltimore coach said.

"I believe in him. I love him. I just believed him the first day we drafted him, the first day we talked about drafting him. I felt like he could be everything he is.

"I just think it's a natural next step in terms of like finding his rhythm during the week, what he's looking at, how he studies defenses, how he breaks defenses down.

"It's not a lightbulb thing; it's an evolution of studying the game that you see quarterbacks go through."

Jackson offered his own take on his development, adding: "I'd just say [it is down to] maturity, just because of my age, just knowing the game of football just basically inside out.

"You've just got to stay locked in. That's probably the thing, just being locked in no matter what's going on during the game."

The New England Patriots are bracing for the possible loss of starting quarterback Mac Jones after he injured his left ankle in the final minutes of Sunday’s 37-26 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

Jones was hurt on the Patriots’ final offensive play, an interception with 1:55 remaining. The 2021 first-round pick landed hard on turf from a hit by Baltimore defensive lineman Calais Campbell, then hobbled to the sidelines while grabbing his ankle before being taken straight to the locker room.

NFL.com reports that X-rays on Jones’ ankle were negative, but the team is concerned he may have sustained tendon or ligament damage. A later update indicated the team believes Jones has suffered a high-ankle sprain, which could sidelines him for at least a month.

The 15th overall pick of last year’s draft, Jones started all 17 games for New England as a rookie and helped the Pats to a 10-7 record and a playoff appearance. The 24-year-old completed 67.6 per cent of his passes while totaling 3801 yards with 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

Jones threw for 321 yards in Sunday’s loss, but was intercepted three times, giving him five through the 1-2 Patriots' first three games.

Should Jones not be able to play, veteran Brian Hoyer would start at quarterback for New England’s game at Green Bay next Sunday.

The 36-year-old Hoyer has made 39 career starts, but just two since 2018. His most recent starting appearance came in Week 4 of the 2020 season, when he threw for just 130 yards with no touchdown passes and one interception in New England’s 26-10 loss to Kansas City.

The Miami Dolphins moved to 3-0 for the season and handed the Buffalo Bills their first defeat with a narrow 21-19 victory at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday.

The Bills had lived up to their pre-season Super Bowl favourites tag after outscoring their opponents 72-17 in their first two outings, but they came unstuck in Florida.

Two touchdowns from Chase Edmonds propelled the Dolphins to a first win in eight against the Dolphins and gave them sole possession of top spot in the AFC East.

The Dolphins came out on top despite being outgained 497-212 in total yards, with Buffalo picking up 31 first downs to their opponents' 15.

Josh Allen has often been a menace against the Dolphins and completed a career-high 42 passes from 63 attempts for 400 yards and two touchdowns, but it was not enough for the Bills.

Miami took the lead with 10 minutes remaining through the second of Edmonds' touchdowns, and held on despite punter Thomas Morstead bizarrely kicking one into his own teammates' rear end and out of bounds for a safety.
 
Allen drove the Bills as far as Miami's 41-yard line on a completion to Isaiah McKenzie, but he was unable to get out of bounds and the clock struck zero before Allen could spike the ball for a potential game-winning field goal.

Jackson's five inspires Ravens

Lamar Jackson's five touchdowns inflicted a 37-26 loss on the New England Patriots and moved the Baltimore Ravens 2-1 in the AFC North.

Jackson became the first player in NFL history to register three-plus pass touchdowns and 100+ rushing yards twice in the same season, doing so in back-to-back games.

Mac Jones matched Jackson with a rushing touchdown and threw for 323 yards, but the Pats' offense ultimately self-destructed in a disappointing defeat at Gillette Stadium, with Jones limping off at the end to add insult to injury.

Mahomes interception proves costly

Rodney McLeod picked off Patrick Mahomes with eight seconds left for the latter's first interception of the season as the Indianapolis Colts beat the Kansas City Chiefs 20-17.

Mahomes finished the game 20 for 35 for 262 yards, one touchdown and that costly interception that saw the Chiefs fall to 2-1 for the year.

The Colts only took the lead with 24 seconds left in the fourth quarter as Matt Ryan and Jelani Woods hooked up for the second time with a 12-yard touchdown.

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.

Elsewhere…

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.

Three turnovers in the fourth quarter propelled the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 20-10 victory against the New Orleans Saints in a frustrating game for Tom Brady.

The seven-time Super Bowl champion angrily tossed a tablet on the sidelines as both offences struggled to get going, with just a field goal apiece at the end of the third quarter.

A Jamel Dean interception proved to be the turning point though, setting up Brady for an 11-play drive, which was capped off by a 28-yard pass to Breshad Perriman.

Dean struck again in the following drive for the Saints, intercepting Jameis Winston in back-to-back possessions for the Saints and putting the Buccaneers in a solid position on the opposition 29-yard line.

Brady was unable to capitalise, the Buccaneers instead settling on a field goal to extend their lead. The visitors would hold firm despite Michael Thomas giving the Saints hope with a seven-yard touchdown reception.

Having suffered four consecutive regular season losses to the Saints since joining the Buccaneers, Brady's run came to an end, but it was not a vintage performance for the veteran, who completed 18 of 34 attempts for a total of 190 yards.

Tagovailoa shines in comeback victory

Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens had a fine start against the Miami Dolphins, Devin Duvernay taking the opening kick-off for a 103-yard return and Jackson having three touchdown passes in the first half, as well as a 79-yard rushing touchdown.

When Jackson completed a 75-yard touchdown pass to Rashod Bateman, he became the first quarterback in NFL history to have 75-yard passing and rushing touchdowns in the same game.

Trailing by 21 points heading into the fourth quarter, Tua Tagovailoa threw four touchdown passes to secure a remarkable 42-38 comeback victory – finishing the game with six touchdown passes and 469 yards, completing 36 of 50 attempts.

Jets stun Browns with huge comeback

Victory for the Cleveland Browns at home against the New Yorks Jets would have secured a 2-0 record to start a season for the first time since 1993, and Kevin Stefanski's side looked to be set for a historic win, leading by two scores heading into the final stages.

Nick Chubb had starred with three touchdowns, totalling 87 yards from 17 carries, putting the Browns on the brink, but the Jets responded valiantly to score two touchdowns inside the two-minute warning.

Joe Flacco combined with Corey Davis for a 66-yard touchdown, before the Jets then recovered an onside kick and pulled ahead through a Garrett Wilson touchdown catch to win 31-30.

The New England Patriots are hoping to avoid starting the season 0-2 when they visit the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, and Bill Belichick's team could be in line for a piece of unwanted history should they fail to perform against their AFC rivals.

New England suffered a 20-7 loss the Miami Dolphins in Week 1, Mac Jones and the offense struggling to get anything going as the Patriots' quarterback battled back spasms.

Should they lose by double digits again at Acrisure Stadium, it would mark the first time they have started a season with double-digit losses since losing three straight by that margin to begin the 1969 season.

The bad news for New England is that since Mike Tomlin became Steelers head coach in 2007, nine of the 10 games between Pittsburgh and the Patriots have been decided by at least a touchdown, with the average margin of victory being 14.7 points.

The good news? The Patriots have won seven of those matchups.

Yet the Patriots are hardly in an ideal situation to continue their dominance over the Steelers.

Jones has battled illness this week but is set to play in Pittsburgh. Yet, going against a defense that picked off Joe Burrow four times in the Steelers' season-opening win over the Cincinnati Bengals – their 25th overtime victory since the extra period was implemented in 1974, the third-most in the NFL – he picked a particularly bad week to miss practice time.

The Steelers are without star edge rusher T.J. Watt because of the torn pectoral muscle he suffered in Week 1 but avoiding leaving Pittsburgh having done something no Patriots team has done for 53 years promises to be a difficult challenge for Jones and New England.

What a first week of the NFL season that was.

So much drama, so many late twists, and it's almost time to do it all over again as Week 2 looms on the horizon.

Sunday sees Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looking to follow up their opening win against the Dallas Cowboys when they head to New Orleans, the Los Angeles Rams will aim to get on the board when they host the Atlanta Falcons, while Russell Wilson's first home game for the Denver Broncos sees them welcome the Houston Texans.

With all that and more, Stats Perform has used Opta data to preview the weekend's action in the NFL.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0) @ New Orleans Saints (1-0)

The Saints have won their last seven regular-season games against the Buccaneers, matching the longest previous winning streak by either team in this rivalry, a run of seven consecutive wins by New Orleans from 2011 to 2014. Tampa Bay did beat the Saints in a Divisional Playoff game following the 2020 season.

Tampa Bay had one interception (by Antoine Winfield Junior) in their season-opening win at Dallas. The Bucs were 11-0 last season in games in which they intercepted at least one pass. The Green Bay Packers (also 11-0) were the only other NFL team to go unbeaten last season in games in which they recorded one or more interceptions.

New Orleans won their season opener in Atlanta, 27-26, after trailing 26-10 in the fourth quarter. It was the first time in franchise history that the Saints won a game in which they trailed by 16 or more points in the fourth quarter, and only the third time they won a game in which they were behind by 16 or more points in the second half.

Tom Brady and the Bucs lost their last game against the Saints, 9-0 (Week 15 last season). That is one of only three times that Brady's team has been shut out in his 317 regular-season and 47 postseason starts in the NFL. The other shutouts were in 2003 (Patriots at Buffalo, 31-0 in Week 1) and 2014 (Patriots at Miami, 21-0 in Week 14).

Atlanta Falcons (0-1) @ Los Angeles Rams (0-1)

Including their original stint in California and time in St. Louis, the Rams are 28-8-2 (.778) at home against their former NFC West rival, Atlanta Falcons. That is the best home record of any franchise against a single opponent (minimum of 30 games) in NFL history.

Cordarrelle Patterson rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown in Atlanta's season opener. At 31 years old, Patterson is the second-oldest player in team history to have 100+ rushing yards and a touchdown run in a game, behind only Warrick Dunn, who had two such games.

The Rams started the season with a 31-10 loss to the Bills, the largest home loss in a season opener ever by a defending Super Bowl champion. The team has not started a season at 0-2 since 2011 when they were in St. Louis and have not lost their first two games as the Los Angeles Rams since 1987.

Cooper Kupp tied a career high with 13 catches in the opener against Buffalo. Including playoffs, Kupp has at least five receptions in each of the Rams' last 22 games. Only Antonio Brown has a longer such streak of team games with five or more catches in the Super Bowl era (37).

Houston Texans (0-0-1) @ Denver Broncos (0-1)

The Texans opened their season with a 20-20 tie against the Indianapolis Colts, despite being outgained by 218 yards in the game. Prior to Houston on Sunday, the last team to tie a game while having 200+ yards less than their opponent was the Packers against the Broncos in 1987.

In his first game with the Texans, O.J. Howard scored touchdowns on each of his two receptions. Howard joins Jaelen Strong as the only players to ever have two TD catches in their team debut for Houston.

Denver committed 12 penalties in their 17-16 loss to the Seahawks on Monday. It was the most penalties the Broncos have ever committed in a season opener, surpassing the 11 penalties they had to kick off the 1970 season against the Bills.

Russell Wilson threw for 340 yards against the Seahawks in his Denver debut. It was the most passing yards by a Broncos QB on their debut with the team and Wilson's 12th career game with 340+ passing yards (his teams are 5-7 in those games).

Elsewhere...

The New England Patriots travel to the Pittsburgh Steelers after suffering a 20-7 loss to the Miami Dolphins in Week 1, and have not started a season with consecutive double-digit losses since losing three straight games by such a margin to begin the 1969 campaign.

Baltimore's Lamar Jackson threw for three touchdowns against the New York Jets after throwing three or more TDs just twice all of last season. Before they host the Dolphins, it is notable that, in his career, the Ravens are 13-1 when Jackson has three or more pass TDs, the second-best team record among active players behind Josh Allen at 14-1 (minimum 10 such games).

Starting with their 2013 NFC Championship game success over the 49ers, the Seattle Seahawks are 15-2 in their last 17 games against San Francisco, which includes season sweeps in 2020 and 2021. The 15 wins since January 2014 are tied with the Patriots (vs. Jets) for the most by an NFL team against a single opponent in that span (including playoffs).

The Arizona Cardinals will need to watch Davante Adams, who had 10 catches for 141 yards on 17 targets in his Las Vegas Raiders debut. That is the most targets for any player in their first career game with the Raiders in the past 30 seasons. The only other with player with 15+ targets in their Raiders debut over that span is Randy Moss in 2005 (15).

Mac Jones could return to action as soon as Week 2 despite suffering with a back injury after the New England Patriots' season-opening defeat to the Miami Dolphins.

On a day to forget for the Patriots, Jones had 21-of-30 passing for 213 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

That was only enough to see New England beaten 20-7, their fourth straight defeat to the Dolphins.

Worse was to come with news second-year quarterback Jones required a scan on a back problem, yet Monday brought more positive reporting.

The X-ray was negative, according to widespread reports, while NFL Network suggested Jones had been dealing with back spasms rather than an injury.

Jones was certainly optimistic he would be fit to face the Pittsburgh Steelers this week as he spoke with reporters.

"I definitely feel better," he said. "I want to be ready to play against Pittsburgh. I feel good.

"I wasn't feeling too hot after the game. I definitely feel a lot better. I don't expect any issues. Everything's good."

Tyreek Hill offered extremely colourful praise of Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel following their 20-7 Week 1 win over the New England Patriots.

The Dolphins delivered a performance to justify their offseason hype with a comfortable defeat of their AFC East rivals.

Miami held a 17-0 lead at half-time, with McDaniel making a decision that will likely increase his players' confidence in him late in the second quarter.

Leading 10-0 with the ball on the Patriots' 42-yard line on fourth down with seven yards to go, McDaniel - making his debut as a head coach - elected to go for it rather than punt the ball.

The move paid dividends, with Tua Tagovailoa hitting Jaylen Waddle on a slant route for a 42-yard touchdown to put the Dolphins in complete command.

And Hill, who arrived in a blockbuster trade with the Kansas City Chiefs in the offseason, found an interesting way to hail the bravery of his coach.

"He's going to need a wheelbarrow for his nuts to carry around," Hill said of McDaniel. "Because he's got a lot of cojones."

Waddle was more conventional in handing out plaudits for McDaniel, saying: "He's just got confidence in us. We're confident in him, every decision that he makes.”

Tagovailoa, who threw for 270 yards and a touchdown in an encouraging start to what many belive is a make-or-break year for the quarterback, added: "I love it. He has the utmost confidence in the entire offense. That's why."

Hill had eight catches for 94 yards in his Dolphins debut.

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.

The New England Patriots have not officially named an offensive coordinator and are installing a "new offense", but quarterback Mac Jones said he is not overly concerned. 

With longtime offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels now the head coach for the Las Vegas Raiders, the Patriots have not named anyone to fill his role. Instead, head coach Bill Belichick is spending more time with the offense and former Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia and ex-New York Giants coach Joe Judge are also working with the unit. 

"I’m going to figure it out. I always have. I always will," said Jones, entering his second NFL season. "At the end of the day, you’re going to have your ups and downs with anything new. I think we’re close on a lot of things. It’s just that 2 per cent we need to fix."

The notoriously tight-lipped Belichick has acknowledged that the Patriots have "streamlined" their offense this year, with multiple players saying the goal is to make it simpler so they can play faster.  

Jones and the new-look offense has struggled at times this preseason, with numerous breakdowns and rushers coming free too often. 

"It’s just getting the communication down," Jones said. "It’s different than what we’ve done in the past. It’s a little frustrating sometimes, but our offensive line – the players and coaches – are trying the best they can.

"I have all the trust in the world in those guys. It’s not going to happen overnight, but we’re trying to grow." 

Jones led the Patriots to a 10-7 record and a playoff berth in his rookie season, throwing 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.  

New England host the New York Giants in their preseason opener on Thursday night. 

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