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Follow along with The TImes as we track all the action from Week 2.

Predicting what will happen in the NFL in Week 2 is no easy feat

Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith outplayed Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in Week 1. Will that continue into Week 2? (Steven Senne / Associated Press)
Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith outplayed Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in Week 1. Will that continue into Week 2? (Steven Senne / Associated Press)

The hardest week to predict the outcome of NFL games isn’t the first week, it’s the second.

So many mirages. So many false impressions from Week 1. So much overreaction.

Look back to opening week of last season:

  • Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston threw four touchdown passes in a 31-24 victory over Atlanta, and the Buccaneers established themselves as the team to beat in the NFC South. (It was Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan who had the MVP season, with Atlanta reaching the Super Bowl and then suffering an epic meltdown after building a 28-3 lead against New England.)
  • Dallas rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott looked like, well, rookies in a 20-19 home loss to the New York Giants. (That first-year tandem would go on to have a tremendous season, with Elliott going from 2.6 yards a carry in the opener to 5.1 for the season to lead the league in rushing.)
  • San Francisco crushed the Rams 28-0, showing 49ers fans their team actually had a pulse. (Turns out, both teams were bad. The four-win Rams had no offense. The 49ers didn’t win another game … except for beating the Rams again on Christmas Eve.)

As NFL observers are reminded every season, you can’t believe everything you see. Earlier this week, I wrote about the 2014 Patriots bouncing back from a humiliating 41-14 loss to Kansas City in Week 4 to go on to win the Super Bowl. So their loss to the Chiefs in this season’s kickoff game should at least be tempered by the memory of that. Tom Brady and the rest of the defending Super Bowl champions aren’t going to curl up in a corner and call it a season.

For more Week 1 developments that should be viewed with at least a skeptical eye...

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