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Grading Every NFL Team After Week 2 (2020)
After two weeks, it’s already somewhat clear who the best teams are in the NFL. The Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs are 2-0, and look much like the teams that dominated for much of 2019.
The NFC is a little less certain, but the Green Bay Packers are picking up where they left off following a trip to the NFC title game a year ago.
But how do these teams – and everyone else – grade out after week two? Join me as I dive into our week two NFL grades, and inspect the best and worst team performances.
Based on what you see here, you can then consider backing some of these teams at the top NFL sportsbooks. For now, let’s reflect on what went down in week two with our NFL week 2 grades.
Best NFL Teams in Week 2
This whole thing is obviously subjective, and let’s keep in mind we’re only grading NFL teams on each specific week.
This isn’t a weekly NFL power rankings; we’re just pointing out the teams with the best overall performances while considering some context.
Check out who graded out the best in week two.
Las Vegas Raiders (A+)
The Raiders debuted in Las Vegas with a very impressive win over a good Saints team. Derek Carr completed over 70% of his passes for the second week in a row, and fired in three touchdowns as the Raiders did as they pleased in this one.
The defense even held Drew Brees in check, giving Las Vegas one of the most complete wins of the week.
Are the Raiders a legit playoff contender? It sure seems like it, as they have the ability to compete at every level, and are now 2-0 after two weeks.
Green Bay Packers (A)
The green and gold stayed hot for another week. Destroying the Lions at home was less impressive than handling the Vikings on the road, but this was still too dominant of an effort to ignore.
What made it better, of course, was that Green Bay didn’t play well to start, and fell into a 14-3 hole. Aaron Rodgers was also victim to a slew of bad drops.
Green Bay could have truly put up even more points, but they corrected most of their mistakes, and went on a 42-7 run to win big over a rival.
The Packers weren’t perfect, but they were honestly pretty close to it, and they easily had one of the best week two NFL performances.
Baltimore Ravens (A)
Another team that excelled in week two was the Ravens. They weren’t quite as sharp offensively, but they were plenty good as they hung 33 points on the Texans in an easy win.
The reigning NFL MVP was extremely efficient, as he completed 75% of his passes and ran for 54 yards en route to a 33-16 win.
While the Ravens were strong offensively, they earned their week two grade on the defensive side of the ball. Not only did they return a touchdown on defense, but they held Houston to just 16 points, and sacked Deshaun Watson four times.
San Francisco 49ers (A)
You could also argue the Rams belong among the best week two NFL grades, and they were close. However, the Niners badly needed a win after losing in week one, and they responded accordingly.
This game with the Jets was never really close, as the 49ers struck early, and at one point held a 31-6 lead. Beating down the Jets doesn’t take much, but San Francisco was dominant with their backs against the wall.
On top of that, the Niners got the job done in the face of even more adversity. The team saw a slew of key players go down, with star pass rusher Nick Bosa perhaps being the most notable.
#49ers DE Nick Bosa has a torn ACL, the MRI has confirmed. He’s out for the season.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 21, 2020
Had San Francisco not run into a rash of major injuries, they may have dropped 50 on the Jets.
Worst NFL Teams in Week 2
While it’s important to highlight the best efforts in pro football, it has to be stated that you can’t enjoy the sweet without the sour.
There were also some really bad week two NFL performances, and if you’re wondering which teams not to bet on this year, this list isn’t a bad spot to start.
Here’s a look at the very worst week two NFL performances.
Atlanta Falcons (D)
I won’t give the Dirty Birds a failing grade, as they honestly were so close to having an excellent grade. For the majority of this game, they were on the road and completely destroying the Dallas Cowboys.
Atlanta went up 20-0 before Dak Prescott and company even scored their first points, while Atlanta rode a 29-10 lead into the break. Matt Ryan was flawless through the air, while the Falcons consistently did as they pleased despite not having an effective ground game, or utilizing Julio Jones.
Perhaps those two things came back to bite them in the end, though, as the Falcons blew a massive lead to lose this game.
What’s worse, of course, is how it happened.
Atlanta couldn’t hold onto a 15-point lead with under eight minutes to go, while their onside kick recovery team committed one of the most baffling recovery attempts ever witnessed.
Dan Quinn coached a good game for almost four quarters, and the Falcons appeared to be the better team primed to exit week two with a win. Then that monstrosity of an onside kick debacle completely ruined Atlanta’s week (and grade).
New York Jets (D-)
I’d grade the Falcons lower, but they did have a terrific game for most of week two. New York, however, did not.
The 49ers had one of the best week two grades, so New York naturally has to come in on the other side. Losing to the Niners, in general, doesn’t hurt them so much, but they hardly competed in a home game after getting smoked the week prior, as well.
Sam Darnold admittedly has little help around him, but he was largely ineffective throughout this one, leading the Jets to just two field goals before a meaningless touchdown with under two minutes to go.
New York has spare parts on their roster, but the effort still wasn’t great. The defense allowed the 49ers to do as they pleased, and the offense generated just 13 points in a game they had to have.
Had the Jets simply shown up and competed a bit better, they would have avoided my list for the worst week two NFL grades.
Minnesota Vikings (F)
Lastly, we have the Vikings, who were inexplicably worse than the Jets – and everyone else – in week two. Minnesota fell flat in week one, but they somehow regressed in a must-win situation against the Colts.
This was disappointing given the magnitude of the game, especially since Indy had fallen to a seemingly weak Jaguars team the week before.
That and the Vikings have too much offensive talent to put up just 11 points in such a crucial game.
Kirk Cousins was totally inept in this one, as he completed just 42% of his passes, ate three sacks, and threw three picks. It added to a rough start to the year.
Kirk Cousins has:— NFLonCBS (@NFLonCBS) September 21, 2020
– league-worst 4 INT
– league-worst 61.9 QB rating
– league-worst 0-2 record pic.twitter.com/mOuhhQL4YM
Cousins couldn’t get the ball to his main weapons, and Minnesota wasn’t able to get Dalvin Cook going for the second week in a row.
The Vikings were just as bad on defense, as they let rookie tailback Jonathan Taylor rack up 101 rushing yards, and lost the time of possession battle by a whopping 17 minutes.
Minnesota is better than what they showed in week two, but their effort got them a well-earned failing grade.
All Other NFL Grades for Week 2
Los Angeles Rams (A)
It seems reports of the Rams’ demise were a bit premature. L.A. moved to 2-0 with a thoroughly dominant win over the Eagles. Tyler Higbee scored three times in a big road win, where the offense was on fire, and the defense held the desperate Eagles to just 19 points.
Seattle Seahawks (A)
Seattle is 2-0 and the Russell Wilson MVP Tour is officially on. Wilson carved up a Bill Belichick-led defense to the tune of five touchdowns, and Seattle’s defense stuffed Cam Newton on an epic goal-line stand. The Seahawks still gave up 30 points, which keeps them from one of the best performances of week two.
New England Patriots (A-)
New England is right behind the Seahawks. Cam Newton was sensational, as he scored three times and put up nearly 400 yards. His defense let him down, and he was one goal-line conversion from being the hero.
Cleveland Browns (B+)
Baker Mayfield bounced back with a solid showing in week two, as he reignited his connection with Odell Beckham Jr. His running game did the rest, as Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt combined for over 200 rushing yards and three scores.
Los Angeles Chargers (B+)
L.A. inexplicably refuses to move forward with Justin Herbert, even though the rookie put up 211 yards and almost took out the Chiefs. He deserves praise, as does the Bolts’ defense for shutting Patrick Mahomes down for the majority of the game.
Buffalo Bills (B)
Josh Allen continued to look like a legit MVP threat, as he put up 417 yards and four passing scores. It was the Dolphins, but Buffalo’s passing game was on point. Their defense coughed up 28 points, though, preventing them from getting to an A this week.
Arizona Cardinals (B)
Kyler Murray dazzled for the second week in a row, as he ran for two scores and threw for one more. Arizona dominated in this one, taking a 27-3 lead before pumping the brakes and taking a 30-15 win. It was a complete performance, but arguably should have been a bit more dominant.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (B-)
Tom Brady’s winning ways came back in week two, as the veteran quarterback did what he needed to do to keep the Bucs out of an 0-2 hole. Brady still wasn’t perfect, but Leonard Fournette and Tampa Bay’s defense joined forces to get the clutch home win.
Dallas Cowboys (B-)
The Cowboys were en route to an atrocious week two grade, as they fell behind 29-10 at home against the Falcons. Dak Prescott and co. battled back, however, completing an improbable comeback to win 40-39. The win gets them this grade, but this was a very uneven performance.
Tennessee Titans (B-)
This was supposed to be a Derrick Henry game, but it was Ryan Tannehill (four touchdowns) who ruled the day. Tennessee did allow Gardner Minshew and the Jags to crawl back into it, of course, which limits their ceiling for their grade this week
Indianapolis Colts (B-)
Philip Rivers played mostly mistake-free football a week after throwing his Colts out of a win, and it led to a pretty dominant 28-11 win. Hats off to rookie running back Jonathan Taylor (101 yards) and a very impressive performance by the Colts defense.
Pittsburgh Steelers (B-)
Big Ben remained sharp in his second game back from offseason elbow surgery, as he dissected the Broncos to the tune of a 70% completion rate, 311 yards, and two scores. James Conner balanced things out on the ground with 106 yards, but Pittsburgh’s defense could have been better.
Kansas City Chiefs (B-)
It’s hard to hate on the Chiefs too much, as they fought back and got a road win in overtime. Patrick Mahomes was pretty awful for a good portion of this game, however, and KC fell behind 17-6 before turning things on late in this one.
Cincinnati Bengals (C+)
Joe Burrow tossed the first three passing touchdowns of his career on Thursday Night Football, offering some dazzling plays en route to 30 points. Cincy still can’t defend, though, so he’ll need a lot of performances like these going forward.
Chicago Bears (C+)
The Bears didn’t wait until the fourth quarter to earn their win in week two, but they still weren’t all that impressive. Mitch Trubisky did enough to get the 17-13 win over the Giants, however, and the defense registered four sacks in a solid performance.
Jacksonville Jaguars (C+)
Minshew Magic lived on in week two, as the Jags overcame a slow start to nearly upset the Titans. Minshew was not without his flaws in this one, but he still played well with 339 yards and three touchdowns. James Robinson topped 100 rushing yards, too, but turnovers and poor defense doomed Jacksonville in this one.
Miami Dolphins (C)
Ryan Fitzpatrick was much better in week two, as he kept Miami in a relatively tense game with the rival Bills. Fitzmagic enjoyed a solid 328-yard and two-touchdown effort, but Miami’s defense prevented the team from getting a huge win.
New Orleans Saints (C)
The Saints seemed to have control of the Raiders in week two, but blew a 17-7 lead, and eventually fell, 34-24. It didn’t help to not have Michael Thomas on hand, but Drew Brees wasn’t on point, and a normally strong defense rarely slowed Las Vegas down.
Denver Broncos (C-)
The Broncos were up against it in week two, as the team lost Drew Lock and Courtland Sutton to serious injuries. Denver pressed on, giving the Steelers a good game in a tight 26-21 loss.
Carolina Panthers (C-)
Carolina suffered their own serious injury, as superstar running back Christiah McCaffrey was lost to an ankle injury. The Panthers made too many mistakes but had an opportunity late in their 31-17 loss to the rival Buccaneers.
New York Giants (D+)
The G-Men fought the good fight in a 17-13 loss to the Bears, but they still didn’t get the win. They also lost Saquon Barkley for the season to a torn ACL, so it’s tough to imagine things getting much better from here.
Philadelphia Eagles (D)
Carson Wentz and co. overcame a terrible start to rally back into their game with the Rams, only to fizzle late. Overall, Philly was horrible on defense, and a Miles Sanders return didn’t provide enough of a jolt to a lethargic offense.
Detroit Lions (D)
The Lions looked well on their way to a huge road upset, going up 14-3 on the Packers. Detroit’s offense ran into a wall from there, however, as their defense gave up 39 more points in a crushing 42-21 defeat.
Washington Football Team (D)
Dwayne Haskins played controlled – albeit unspectacular – football for the second week in a row, but this time it wasn’t enough in a lackluster 30-15 loss in Arizona. Washington’s defense wasn’t nearly as impressive this time around, either.
Houston Texans (D)
Deshaun Watson was by himself once again in week two, and he couldn’t get anything going against a stingy Baltimore defense. Houston’s defense wasn’t any better, as the Ravens coasted with little resistance in a 33-16 win.
Week two really didn’t have as many truly dominating performances as we saw in week one.
That said, the Packers were the most impressive on offense, Baltimore gave the most complete performance, and the 49ers dominated in the face of serious adversity.
Las Vegas gives us four teams worthy of being thrust into the “best” section of this weekly NFL grades column.
A lot of teams have dealt with injuries and less than ideal situations, but those four teams stood out as the best franchises in week two.
You could argue for better week two NFL grades for the Rams, Cowboys, and a few others, but it doesn’t feel like I’m selling anyone short this week.
What do the week two NFL grades mean in the grand scheme of things? Potentially nothing. However, this does allow us to appropriately look back on the week that was, digest what took place, and assess just how good some of these teams are.
Can you now safely bet on the teams with the best week two NFL grades, and should the teams with the worst grades be written off? That’s for each bettor to decide.