After two weeks of the NFL season, it's easy to marvel at the Seahawks, Chargers, Saints and Falcons at 2-0, and the Bucs and the Redskins at 0-2.

Don't get excited, some of it's a mirage.

Here's a look at some highs and lows of the first two weeks.

SAINTS AND FALCONS: Remember that the Saints have beaten the Rams and Panthers and the Falcons have beaten the Panthers and Eagles. The Rams, Panthers and Eagles are in the bottom third of the NFL.

Yes, Dan Reeves and Mike Ditka have done nice jobs. And the Falcons, if Chris Chandler stays healthy (he never has) could contend for a wild-card spot against a soft schedule. But it's too early to get excited yet,

CHARGERS: Ryan Leaf is better than Peyton Manning. So far. Defense is why the Chargers are 2-0.

SEAHAWKS: Beating the Eagles and Cardinals by a combined 71-14 sounds nice. This week they get the Redskins, coming off their Monday night thumping at the Kingdome - a short week followed by a cross-country trip.

But then Seattle goes to Pittsburgh and Kansas City and plays host to Denver.

Decide then if the Seahawks are for real.

BUCS: An 0-2 start was predictable - at Minnesota and Green Bay.

But there are problems beyond that, particularly the running game. Mike Alstott, who missed all of training camp resting a hip, has just 22 yards in 13 carries and Warrick Dunn is averaging 3.5 yards a carry, a full yard lower than last year. They'd better win at least two of the next three - Chicago, at Detroit and the Giants at home.

REDSKINS: They go to Seattle this week, then get Denver at home. That's 0-4 unless things change drastically. Norv Turner's a good guy, but his team is undisciplined - Michael Westbrook continues to take stupid, game-turning penalties, and the team quit when it got way down in the second half of the 49ers' game Monday night.

On the other hand, the Redskins are in the . . .

NFC EAST: This is a division that could be won with an 8-8 record. The Eagles are bad and not getting better. The Cards could improve, but Jake Plummer isn't Joe Montana yet. The Giants and Cowboys are probably the two best teams, but Dallas can't win consistently without Troy Aikman, and the Giants still need to find an offense and figure out how to beat AFC teams.

Some other developments of note:

QUARTERBACKS: Twelve starting QBs (Trent Dilfer twice) have been forced to leave games in the first two weeks. Most important are the three who went out Sunday - Aikman, John Elway and Brad Johnson.

The Vikings can survive with Randall Cunningham, and Denver is good enough to get by with Bubby Brister if Elway is out for a while. As for Dallas, Jason Garrett isn't Aikman, but he's smart, which should help the Cowboys stay in the division race (see above) until Aikman gets back.

But the injuries demonstrate that the NFL is not only short on starting QBs, it's also short on backups, because many of the starters should be backups.

BEARS: Nice competitive 0-2. Nice rookie in Curtis Enis. Still could go 3-13.

DOLPHINS: Much has been made of how the running game and the defense have carried the Dolphins, and Dan Marino's only part of the supporting cast.

But remember this - the Dolphins' two victims are the Colts and Bills, neither of which are huge challenges to defenses with Peyton Manning and Rob Johnson getting on-the-job training. Starting this week against the Steelers, Marino will be needed.

THE 49ERS: With Garrison Hearst running the way he is and Steve Young in top form and three outstanding wide receivers, this could be the best offense San Francisco has had since . . . say 1989.

But the defense was awful against the Jets and not much better in the first half against Washington. Without Dana Stubblefield, Bryant Young is double-teamed on every play and the pass rush is nonexistent.

Antonio Langham, the free-agent cornerback, has been awful - when Marquez Pope gets healthy, he could replace Langham instead of Darnell Walker.

AND FINALLY: The season is only two weeks old. A lot of things can change.