New York Jets fill-in quarterback Zach Wilson will face the NFL's most formidable defensive unit on Sunday while defending champion Kansas City tries to rebound from an opening defeat.
The second weekend of the NFL season arrives with the league still coping with the season-ending injury to 39-year-old Jets star Aaron Rodgers after only four plays in an opening victory over Buffalo.
The four-time NFL Most Valuable Player has vowed to rise again after suffering a torn left Achilles tendon but Wilson, meanwhile, must direct the Jets' attack when they visit Dallas, also 1-0 after a 40-0 blanking of the New York Giants.
"We've got a lot of faith in Zach," Jets coach Robert Saleh said. "It's a 'next man up' mentality. Sunday's coming and we have to put our best foot forward to be successful."
The injury stunner swiped attention from reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City's 21-20 opening loss to Detroit, the team's first opener defeat in nine seasons. They face game two in Jacksonville on Sunday.
"Last year is over with," Chiefs safety Justin Reid said. "Whatever we did last year won't help us win a game this year."
The Chiefs signed holdout defender Chris Jones this week and injured tight end Travis Kelce made a limited return to practice, bringing future hopes for Patrick Mahomes and his teammates.
Hopes were dashed for Jets' fans, whose club has the longest US sports playoff drought dating to 2010, but the Jets have confidence in Wilson.
"It's a great opportunity for Zach," tight end C.J. Uzomah said. "Zach was awesome in training camp."
Jets running back Dalvin Cook says rushers can help ease the pressure on Wilson.
"He's going to play his game, come in the huddle with a lot of confidence, ready to deliver," Cook said. "There's no panic in him. The past is the past. We got to rock out with him and be better around him, and I feel like we will.
"We're going to put the ball in Zach's hands and let him do what he does. It's Zach's team, so let's go and try to win."
The Cowboys, meanwhile, come off the most lopsided shutout victory in the club's 63-year history.
Dallas defenders made seven sacks and forced three turnovers, with Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy saying the NFL's best defensive unit at creating turnovers the past two seasons is even better in 2023.
"I clearly feel we've taken another step," he said. "The pass rush was relentless."
Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons says the Giants rout was a warning to the NFL.
"I think we're making a statement. We're the best defense in the NFL," Parsons said. "We never let up."
Two other NFL games on Sunday feature clubs that worth won their opener with the Green Bay Packers, the club where Rodgers played for 18 years before a Jets trade in April, at Atlanta and San Francisco at the Los Angeles Rams.
Matthew Stafford led the Rams over Seattle 30-13 last week, completing 24-of-38 passes for 334 yards.
"It was a good start," Rams coach Sean McVay said. "But it's one game. And we've got to continue to keep it rolling."
The 49ers visit coming off a 30-7 romp at Pittsburgh.
- No panic by Bengals -
A day after signing a new deal that made him the NFL's highest-paid player, Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow completed only 14-of-31 passes for 82 yards in a 24-3 loss at Cleveland.
"Nobody is panicking," Burrow said. "Week one doesn't define anybody's season.
"But we've been in this spot before. We've come back stronger and had a great year, so that's what we're going to do."
The Bengals will try to regroup Sunday when they entertain Baltimore.
Sunday's other NFL games find Las Vegas at Buffalo, Chicago at Tampa Bay, Indianapolis at Houston, Seattle at Detroit, the Los Angeles Chargers at Tennessee, the New York Giants at Arizona, Washington at Denver and Miami at New England.
On Monday, New Orleans visits Carolina and Cleveland travels to Pittsburgh.