The 49ers couldn't lose. The Browns couldn't win. The Vikings were the sleepers. The Jets were the snorers.
In the ever-changing NFL, though, that was . . . so last week.
New York Giants.
PHOTOS: The Week in Sports
Cleveland, which entered the weekend as the only winless team, halted an 11-game losing streak with a 34-24 win over Cincinnati, the Browns' first victory over an AFC North opponent in nine tries.
"It was fun to see guys jumping around and happy," said Cleveland kicker Phil Dawson, noting several of his teammates were new to the sensation of winning an NFL game. "They never had that feeling before and it was great to see."
Minnesota, the surprise team of the season so far, was undone by Washington rookie Robert Griffin III, who returned from a concussion suffered the previous Sunday to throw for a touchdown and run for two more in a 38-26 Redskins win.
And the New York Jets, seemingly locked in a downward spiral, pulled together their most impressive performance with a 35-9 win over Indianapolis that included no turnovers for the first time in 17 games, a leaping body bump between Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow, and some pinball wizardry by running back Shonn Greene: 161 yards, three touchdowns.
"We want to be a team no one wants to play," Jets Coach Rex Ryan said. "And we're on our way."
Heading into the weekend, the 49ers were that team. They had outscored their previous two opponents, 79-3, and looked poised to avenge their loss to the Giants in the NFC championship game — or at least turn the page on that memory.
Through the first five games, Smith had the league's best passer rating, and eight touchdowns to only one interception. He was picked off three times by the Giants, and the 49ers couldn't establish their usual steadfast run attack.
The other Bay Area team gave a surprisingly competitive performance. The Raiders threw a scare into the undefeated Falcons, intercepting three Matt Ryan passes in the first half at Atlanta — Oakland's first three interceptions of the season — but ultimately losing, 23-20, on Matt Bryant's 55-yard field goal.
Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer said the turning point in the loss was an interception late in the fourth quarter that Atlanta's Asante Samuel returned 79 yards for a touchdown, even though Oakland came back to forge a tie.
"We fought hard all game," Palmer said. "We had a great game plan, and I let the team down. I let our fans down. Making the mistake I made was crucial, and that's on me. That's my fault."
Then again, there's always next week. And in the unpredictable NFL, sometimes that's all it takes.
The Redskins reportedly will incur a "hefty fine" for not immediately disclosing that Griffin had suffered a concussion during their previous game against Atlanta, according to a Fox Sports report. During the game, the Redskins had announced that Griffin was "shaken up" but provided no update. After the game, Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said Griffin had sustained a "mild concussion."
The quarterback participated in limited practice Wednesday and Thursday but worked out in full Friday and started Sunday against the Vikings.
Doing the legwork