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    What we learned, and didn't learn, in Week 2

    NFL’s Week 2 filled with wild finishes (1:46)

    Many games from Week 2 of the NFL regular season came right down to the wire, with game winning field goals, touchdowns and defensive plays coming late in the fourth quarter. (1:46)

    Week 1 is a liar.

    The first week of the NFL season assured us, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that the Rams were an irretrievable trash fire, the Cardinals were in trouble, Jameis Winston was an MVP front-runner, and the Cowboys couldn’t score with Dak Prescott at quarterback.

    • Seattle can’t score, the Giants are awesome, the old Kirk Cousins is back, the Texans are world-beaters, the Raiders can’t stop anything … are we overreacting?

    • The Patriots, who have rolled without their two best players, look like the league’s best team. But what about the other six 2-0 teams?

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    Remember? Yeah, not so much on those.

    Week 2 is also a liar, as is any NFL week if taken as a singular entity. The difference is that Week 2 is only 50 percent of our evidence when we sit down to sort through it. Week 1, at its expiration, is 100 percent.

    With that in mind, here’s a look at what we think we learned from Week 2, and a few things we think will turn out to not matter much at all.

    Rex Ryan is toast

    This is from Thursday, but it bears resurrection. The Bills are 0-2, have already fired their offensive coordinator, and face the Cardinals and the Patriots the next two weeks. That smells a lot like 0-4, and the dysfunction is obvious from miles away. Ryan said he’d be the first to go if the team didn’t win, and instead it was Greg Roman. So I’m not buying anything he says. Instead, I’m buying Frank Reich head-coaching futures in upstate New York, especially if Carson Wentz has a big year in Philly.

    The Steelers and Bengals should play two more times this season

    All the pregame talk about ugliness and hatred obscured the fact that these are two really good teams, capable of just trying to outplay each other without anyone fighting or getting suspended. No one should be surprised if they meet in the playoffs again. Pittsburgh’s defense has started out hot. And after the Bengals get done with this September combination of body blows the schedule-makers dealt them, they should find themselves a nice rhythm.

    DeAngelo Williams and the Steelers beat the Bengals on Sunday, but both teams weren’t at full strength. Joe Sargent/Getty Images

    What’s ‘real’ about the Giants is their opportunity

    The Giants started each of the past three years 0-2. They started each of the past five years 0-1. Now they’re 2-0 for the first time since 2009, back when the Tom Coughlin narrative (believe it or not) was that his teams started strong and faded down the stretch. This sets up the Giants in a way they haven’t been set up in some time and gives them a chance to just about put away 0-2 defending division champ Washington in Week 3. Now look … the Giants have won their two games by a combined four points, they haven’t finished .500 since 2012, and their October schedule features trips to Minnesota, Green Bay and London. So I’d hold off a few weeks before printing the playoff tickets. But what we know about the Giants for sure is that they’re 2-0 and it’s been quite a while since they’ve been in that position.

    Seriously, Rivers is the most underrated quarterback of his generation. He loses Keenan Allen in the first half of his Week 1 game. He loses Danny Woodhead in the first half of his Week 2 game. But who has eight kids and the third-best passer rating in the NFL right now? That’s right. THAT guy. The Chargers might not be on your AFC West-contender radar, but they still have — easily — the division’s best quarterback. And one of these weeks, he’s going to make it through a whole game without losing a critical offensive weapon.

    The Browns can’t have nice things

    Josh McCown spent the first half of Sunday’s game lighting up the Ravens and making it clear that coach Hue Jackson hadn’t chosen the best quarterback on his roster as his Week 1 starter. But then McCown got hurt and the Browns gave away a 20-point lead, and now they will start their fifth different starting quarterback in as many games. It remains entirely possible that Cleveland, which has an insufficient number of NFL-caliber players on its roster, will lose all 16 games this year. It’s also still possible (though somewhat less likely) that the Browns will use 16 different starting quarterbacks to do it. No matter who they throw in there, they won’t be able to protect him. The only thing that can start to fix this is a dozen or so 2017 draft picks.

    Josh McCown was injured in the Browns’ loss to the Ravens, and so Cleveland will turn to rookie Cody Kessler in Week 3. AP Photo/David Richard

    I know it’s not that simple — that there’s plenty of blame to go around on a Raiders defense that has allowed more than 500 yards in each of its first two games. But the absence of Edwards from the line might be a bigger deal than was originally thought when he went on PUP to start the season. If you think of the Broncos’ defense — the one Jack Del Rio was running before he became the Raiders’ coach — Edwards plays the Derek Wolfe role. Edwards can disrupt on the edge or mix things up inside, and his versatility allows the edge rushers to move around and do their thing. Oakland has only two sacks, and the pass rush may not fully come around until the front seven gets whole again.

    There’s no reason to change your opinion of the Rams

    A week ago, everyone was ripping the Rams for looking lifeless against the Niners. Then L.A. goes out and knocks off Seattle in a touchdown-free wreck of a game for which the Rams should be ashamed to have charged admission. But don’t buy it. The Rams are 4-1 against Seattle and 10-19 against everyone else since the start of 2014. Their defensive line is all they’ve got, and it’s all they had last year when they went 7-9. They have the Seahawks’ number, but they’re also the only team in the league that’s still in single digits in points for the year.

    The Cardinals and Panthers can still whip you

    After tough losses to AFC powers in Week 1, last year’s NFC Championship Game participants combined for 86 points in their Week 2 get-right games. Whether you prefer Carson Palmer’s pregame marshmallow-man suit or Cam Newton’s postgame carnival-barker hat, you have to realize these teams aren’t going away anytime soon. – TOP

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