We covered the Week 2 NFL Preseason games with our pre-weekend predictions, and now it’s time to take a look at what we can learn from the results. We’re just weeks away from the opening of the regular season, and while these early games don’t necessarily matter in terms of points and records, they’re still important for gauging player fitness and potential performance for the teams in the NFL. Here’s what we’ve found most interesting from the weekend, and how it could relate to the upcoming season.

The Oakland Raiders Aren’t as Good as Most Analysts Predicted

It wasn’t too long ago that a number of experts had high hopes for the Oakland Raiders and their 2017 campaign. Before any of the players had taken to the field, it looked like this would be a team that could put a serious challenge to the Patriots in the AFC. Now, with two games behind them, things look quite different for the Raiders, particularly when it comes to their defense. Khalil Mack still looks like a powerful defender and the best that the team has, but there’s nothing significant around him to make this team look any good. Defensive coordinator Ken Norton is going to need to work closely with his players to find out where the problems are, and he will be hoping that rookies like Breon Borders and Marquel Lee can be brought up to speed quickly so that they can make a difference on the field.In their two opening games, the defense has looked particularly ineffective against opposing quarterbacks, and the first three road games of the season are going to be tough ones. Luckily the offensive side looks potent, and that will be essential while the team takes time to sort out its defense. Their earliest game where a win is near guaranteed will be in their second outing against the Jets, but Week 1, 3, and 4 will be difficult, as they take on Tennessee, Washington, and Denver respectively.

The Falcons Have an Impressive Defense

Let’s forget about Oakland for a moment and take a look at the Atlanta Falcons. The Steelers met a quick and competent defense from the Falcons over the weekend, and early suggestions are that this team have a highly efficient defensive side. There are a number of young players that they have the option of running, and their speed and early season enthusiasm could work out well as the season progresses. Players like Takkarist McKinley, Duke Riley, and Damontae Kazee are all important rookies that should start making names for themselves this season. Don’t forget that Dontari Poe is on this team, along with Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen in safety, and it’s not hard to imagine this team going all the way to another Super Bowl campaign. This time, they might just have the defense to ensure that they don’t fall apart in the final quarter. Grady Jarett has already been impressive in the tackle. Jarrett has the ability to cause chaos in the backfield, and it was clear on the weekend that the Steelers had no idea how to contain him. Although the Falcons are yet to face the #1 quarterback in either of their preseason games, it’s still exciting to see their defense in action, and they will be very interesting to watch as the lead up to the regular season continues.

The Redskins Have a Number of Players Worth Watching

Washington went 8 – 7 – 1 last year, a record that was painfully mediocre and only secured them 3rd place in the NFC East. They didn’t qualify for the playoffs and this season they are looking to perform much better. Although there are early signs that they have a powerful offense that could help them to win games, it’s still a little too early to be making predictions about how far they will go.However, we can take a look at some of their most promising players who are likely to produce results this year. Running back Mack Brown has been part of the Redskins practice squad since 2015, and appeared in nine games in 2016. His main duty has been on special teams, and he’s now on the active roster with (hopefully) more chances to play. He put in some great rushes last year and he already looks far better than Matt Jones, who has failed to impress this year. Jones appears to clumsy with the ball and has only made a handful of three yard carries this year. If we were to pick today, we would have to say that Mack Brown is more likely to be on the team than Jones. Chris Thompson is another player to watch. He’s made a number of quality catches already this year and could find himself in regular rotation on special teams for the Redskins. Samaje Perine didn’t look impressive in the opening game of the preseason, but he turned that around with conviction in the second game. He’s a good catcher and he can carry for good distance. If he continues to perform well this preseason, then we could see him in a significant role for the team once the regular season gets underway. Although he hasn’t proven himself yet with one good and one bad preseason game, he’ll still have some chances to show the coaching staff that he’s a future starter.

The NFL Preseason Continues

There are a number of stories developing throughout the teams, and it’s inevitable that many of the initial power rankings and player predictions will change once we’re a few games deep into the season. The teams will be back on the field this weekend, and we’ll be able to deliver more insights and predictions as we get closer to the first regular season game on September 7.