ID'ing the best, most important games of NFL Week 2

Matt Ryan's Falcons will look for another win over the Packers, whom they took down in the 2016 NFC Championship. Jason Getz/USA TODAY Sports

What are the five must-watch NFL games this week? ESPN's matchup quality metric, which utilizes ESPN's Football Power Index to rank games on a 1-100 scale based on the quality of teams and projected closeness of the final score, tells us the top games of Week 2.


1. Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons (Sunday, 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC)

Matchup quality: 79 out of 100
FPI win projection: Falcons, 58 percent

This rematch of last year's NFC Championship Game features two teams that FPI considers to still be extremely close in strength. Interestingly, the model slightly downgraded the Packers even after they beat a tough opponent in the Seahawks. The reason is that as much as Green Bay's defense performed above expectation, its offense fell far short of what the model anticipated.

Even still, it's no surprise that this showdown pits what FPI considers to be the second-best offense (Atlanta) against the sixth-best offense (Green Bay).

2. New England Patriots at New Orleans Saints (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS)

Matchup quality: 72 out of 100
FPI win projection: Patriots, 59 percent

FPI downgraded the Patriots by three whole points in a single week after they got beat up by the Chiefs. That's a big move, and it's the third-largest drop in the week behind only the Texans and Colts. Most noticeably, FPI dropped New England's defensive rank from second all the way to 16th. We'll learn a lot more about that defense when it takes on Drew Brees and the seventh-best offense in New Orleans.

3. Dallas Cowboys at Denver Broncos (Sunday, 4:25 p.m., Fox)

Matchup quality: 70 out of 100
FPI win projection: Cowboys, 56 percent

The Cowboys received a decent-sized FPI upgrade after handily beating the Giants, whom the model previously had pegged as having the best defense in the NFL. Now it believes Dallas is the third-best team in the NFL, behind the Chiefs and Patriots, with an overall FPI of +5.0. That's 4.9 points better than FPI's rating of the Broncos, whom the metric has been skeptical of since the preseason. That difference in strength is enough to make the Cowboys favorites in this one, even on the road.

4. Minnesota Vikings at Pittsburgh Steelers (Sunday, 1 p.m., Fox)

Matchup quality: 69 out of 100
FPI win projection: Steelers, 64 percent.

A matchup featuring 2017's total QBR leader -- and also Ben Roethlisberger. That's how these two quarterbacks are usually described, right?

Sam Bradford's magnificent game against the Saints on Monday Night Football prompted more than a two-point bump in the Vikings' offensive FPI. While Roethlisberger also had a solid day at the office, that the Steelers could only beat the Browns by three points in a game in which they scored a special-teams touchdown is really an indictment of their talents. And FPI noticed, dropping them five spots in overall FPI rank to No. 8.

5. Philadelphia Eagles at Kansas City Chiefs (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox)

Matchup quality: 65 out of 100
FPI win projection: Chiefs, 75 percent

The Eagles' sternest test of the season comes early, as they head into Kansas City. On top of playing at an already difficult venue in Arrowhead, the Eagles are at a rest disadvantage, as Kansas City played their Week 1 matchup on Thursday. The result: the Eagles' only game of the season in which FPI gives them less than a 30 percent chance to win.

An unexpected win would be a boon, however, raising the Eagles' chances at making the playoffs from 46 percent to 63 percent.

High-leverage game of the week: Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS)

Matchup quality: 48 out of 100
FPI win projection: Jaguars, 57 percent
FPI playoff leverage: Titans, 28 percent; Jaguars, 26 percent

The route to the playoffs for any team in the AFC South will be as the division winner, and this game is evidence of that, as the winner will become FPI's clear favorite to win the division.

A Titans win would make them 53 percent favorites to win the division (with a 60 percent chance at making the playoffs), while a loss would drop them to a 23 percent chance at the division and 32 percent chance at the playoffs overall.

The Jaguars can become 68 percent favorites to win the division -- with a 75 percent overall chance at making the playoffs -- with a win. A loss would drop that to a 38 percent chance at the division, and 49 percent at making the playoffs.

The swing in the division for both teams is roughly 30 percent, while the Titans have slightly more to lose when looking at qualifying for the playoffs at a 28 percent swing, compared to Jacksonville's 26 percent. No other team this week has an overall playoff leverage over 20 percent.

For more from ESPN Analytics, visit the ESPN Analytics Index.