Quarterback injuries and surprise contenders highlight Week 2

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Brook Ward | Flickr

Kyle McKee

Week 2 of the NFL season saw several major storylines, none bigger than two superstar quarterbacks suffering severe long-term injuries. 

Future Hall of Famer Ben Roethlisberger is set to undergo surgery on his right elbow and will miss the rest of the 2019 season, according to Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. 

Another future Hall of Famer, Drew Brees is set to undergo thumb surgery after being hit by Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, which could sideline the New Orleans Saints quarterback for about six weeks. 

The NFL loses two of its main attractions in Brees and Roethlisberger, and the Saints and Steelers go from Super Bowl contenders to likely missing the playoffs really quickly.

The Saints cannot catch a break, especially in the last three years, from the “Miracle in Minneapolis” two years ago, to last year’s pass interference no-call, and now losing their franchise quarterback so early in the season. 

However, the Saints do have a solid back-up quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater, who made the Pro Bowl back in 2015 with the Minnesota Vikings. Nonetheless, losing Brees for six weeks may ruin the Saints’ season. 

The Saints play in Seattle, home against Dallas and Tampa Bay, on the road at Jacksonville, at Chicago, and home against Arizona in the six weeks that Brees will miss.

If the Saints lose four or five of those six games, even an all-time great in Brees may not be able to dig the Saints out of that hole, especially if he comes back not fully healthy, or just not himself. 

On the flip side, if the Saints can go at least .500 in those six games, that would put them with a record of at minimum 4-4 heading into their Week 9 bye week. 

Brees would then come back fully healthy, and the second half of the Saints schedule looks to be a lot easier than the first half, so Brees could come back and lead the Saints back into Super Bowl contention. 

After coming into the season as the AFC North favorites, and a lot to prove, the Steelers find themselves at 0-2 and without their starting quarterback for the rest of the season. 

The Steelers’ Super Bowl aspirations are long gone, and they will probably miss the playoffs. 

They got absolutely blown out by the New England Patriots in Week 1 and blew their home opener to the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2. 

Even with Big Ben, the Steelers’ offense has looked atrocious. 

Juju Smith-Schuster has struggled so far this season, learning what life is like as the number one wide-receiver, no longer the number two. 

Pittsburgh other receivers — Donte Moncrief, James Washington and Ryan Switzer — have all struggled more than Smith-Schuster. 

After a monster season last year, through two games this year, running back James Conner has only 54 rushing yards. 

The Steelers’ defense has looked just as bad as their offense, giving up 33 points to the Patriots and 28 to the Seahawks. 

This all occurred with Big Ben as quarterback. 

On top of all of that, the Steelers have a tough schedule and play in one of the best divisions in football. 

A rough season is ahead for Steelers fans, which might lead to Tomlin being on the coaching hot seat. Despite all of that, the season has just begun, so no team can get written off yet. 

Football is a very weird sport and weird things happen every week. Backup quarterback Mason Rudolph might step up and lead the Steelers to the playoffs. 

Weirder things have happened, like some guy named Tom Brady being a sixth-round pick and becoming arguably the best football player of all time.

Two other headlines came out of week two on a more positive note. The San Francisco 49ers and Buffalo Bills are 2-0. 

These two teams came into the season with very similar questions surrounding their young quarterbacks and their offensive ability. 

On the other side of the football, there were no questions, as both the 49ers and Bills have played solid defense thus far. 

The 49ers and Bills both looked shaky in their week one wins, but came out stronger in their week two wins. 

Both teams’ two wins occurred on the road and were against some of the weaker teams in the NFL. 

The 49ers beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Cincinnati Bengals, whereas the Bills beat the New York Jets and New York Giants. 

With all the questions surrounding both teams, young quarterbacks Jimmy Garoppolo and Josh Allen have performed well. 

It is remained to be seen if both teams and starting quarterbacks can keep this up, but the 49ers and Bills could end up being sneaky playoff contenders.

Last but not least, the Patriots look like they might go undefeated. Through the first two weeks of the season, the Patriots have out-scored their opponents 76-3. 

The Pats have the easiest schedule in the NFL and play in the easiest division in the NFL. The addition of Antonio Brown makes the Patriots unstoppable. 

Even if Brown’s time with the team doesn’t work out and the Patriots have to cut him, it does not make that much of a difference. 

The Patriots would still be the favorite to win the Super Bowl. 

If the Patriots go undefeated this season, or even claim the top seed in the AFC, Tom Brady will likely win his fourth MVP.