Another week in the books as the NFL season begins to take full swing. Here is what we learned about everyone in Week 2’s action.
New York Jets 37 @ Buffalo Bills 31
The Jets are a good team if they can clean up the big plays on defense- The Jets offense is rolling and right now they are fourth in the league in total yards. Their defense though has given up 54 points in two games. Three of those touchdowns were on big plays and one was on a fumble returned for a touchdown. Cleaning up the big plays and mistakes could prove the Jets are ready to make some serious noise this year.
Rex Ryan is on the hot seat- After losing a 3rd quarter lead in a game that the Jets pretty much controlled, there was a players-owner meeting that Rex Ryan wasn’t present for. The Bills also decided to fire offensive coordinator Greg Roman, a move Ryan took credit for. Many believe Ryan was using this move as a scapegoat maneuver, because it was the defense that gave up 493 total yards to the Jets.
San Francisco 49ers 27 @ Carolina Panthers 46
Maybe the 49ers are better than we thought- Depends on what you thought of the 49ers of course. Most believed them to be a bottom of the league type team, and after a 28-0 beating they put on L.A. last week, they hung with the Panthers until late in the 4th quarter. This isn’t a playoff team, but they did put up 27 points on the Panthers defense, and should be a harder test for teams than once thought to be.
Good teams know how to finish games- After struggling most of the afternoon with the 49ers, the Panthers decided enough was enough. After San Francisco scored on a long touchdown pass with 8:03 left on the clock, the Panthers scored 15 straight points to close out the game. The Panthers are too good of team to start out 0-2.
Baltimore Ravens 25 @ Cleveland Browns 20
Joe Flacco and the Ravens are making Mike Wallace a relevant threat again- After a slow start for the offense that saw them facing a 20-2 deficit in the first quarter, the rest of the game was all Ravens. A big part of that was a nearly forgotten Mike Wallace scoring two touchdowns, giving him three in his first two games. he now has surpassed all of last year’s touchdown total of two, which is why he eventually fell out of relevance. Now it seems if you take him lightly you will be seeing him celebrating another touchdown.
It’s going to be another rebuilding year for the Browns- Okay this isn’t something we learned, more like something that’s now been confirmed. After losing starting quarterback RG3 last week, they have lost backup Josh McCown to an injury as well. Rookie Cody Kessler will man the offense next week, a guy who many believe isn’t close to being ready. He is the 5th quarterback to start for the Browns in there last five games. (Johnny Manziel, Austin Davis, RG3, Josh McCown, Cody Kessler)
Tennessee Titans 16 @ Detroit Lions 15
Marcus Mariota is showing a lot of promise- The Titans found themselves down 15-3 entering the 4th quarter of Sunday’s contest. Mariota showed incredible poise in this game, throwing a game winning nine yard touchdown pass to Andre Johnson on 4th down with 1:13 left on the clock. Don’t sleep on the Titans who’s new found offensive weapons seem to be coming through for the up and coming Titans.
The Detroit Lions defense needs to show up for the Lions to be successful- Last week they gave up 35 points to the Colts. This week they fared better, but allowed a 13 play 93 yards drive to give up the winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter. If they want to be competitive this year in the NFL North, they need to have the defense play like they did in the first three quarters of this game for the entire game.
Kansas City Chiefs 12 @ Houston Texans 19
We don’t know what the real Chiefs offense is- The Kansas City Chiefs could not finish out drives against the Texans on Sunday.. They played much like they did in the first half of their week 1 match up against the Chargers. The running game is there, even without Jamaal Charles who should be back on the field this week. Time to open up the playbook through the air and show who you really are. They play the Jets this week who have been getting beat deep and shutting down the run. Better make adjustments or next week will not be a positive one.
This isn’t the same Texans team that was embarrassed in the playoffs last year- When these two teams met in the wild card round of the playoffs last season, the game was over after the opening kick. This however is a new look Texans, and they proved it on the field on Sunday. The Texans will look to make a statement to the world that they are for real against their second straight opponent who attended the 2015 playoffs, even if it is without Tom Brady. (and possibly Jimmy Garoppolo
Miami Dolphins 24 @ New England Patriots 32
The Miami Dolphins defense needs a lot of work- The Jimmy Garoppolo led New England Patriots had their way with the Dolphins defense. There was little pass rush to force Garoppolo to throw the ball early. The Dolphins left the Patriot wide receivers wide open. Legarrette Blount ran wild as well. The offense began to click towards the end of the game and mounted a furious comeback, but it wasn’t enough. With the money they have vested in the defense, Adam Gase and company need to see better results or things could be much different next year.
Injury bug bites the Patriots and at an unfortunate time- Jimmy Garoppolo was really cruising before leaving the game in the 2nd quarter with a shoulder injury. The Patriots offense was only able to sustain one touchdown drive after he went down. With how well he was playing and knowing their was only a four week window for him to play in, it’s a shame to see him lose his chance to shine due to an injury. Rookie Jacoby Brissett looked okay after he went down, but with the Texans coming to town Thursday, he needs to be better than okay. Enter Bill Belicheck.
New Orleans Saints 13 @ New York Giants 16
The Saints can’t win games unless they put a complete game together- After the defense was absent in week 1 giving up 35 points to the Oakland Raiders, they held the Giants and their trio of wide outs to 16 points. Of course it was the defense that allowed the Giants to drive down the field to kick the game winning field goal, it was the offense that didn’t put together enough drives to pull this out. If they don’t find a way to have both units show up on game day, it’s going to be a long season.
If this defense can find consistency the Giants will win the NFC East- After trying to give away the game last week to the Dallas Cowboys, the Giants defense held the high powered Saints defense in check this week. If they can find a way to force turnovers, this Giants team has the ability to be scary good.
Cincinnati Bengals 16 @ Pittsburgh Steelers 24
The Bengals need to find a way to beat the Steelers if they want to have success- The Bengals are a good team that hits a brick wall when the playoffs arrive. They need to find a way to beat the Steelers and shake off the Steelers AFC North ‘younger brother’ label. After suffering a embarrassing playoff loss last year, this one ended badly as well. After pulling to within eight, they Bengals ended the game with two straight turnovers and were unable to take out the Steelers.
The Steelers are playing like the top team in the AFC- DeAngelo Williams continues to fill in nicely, Ben Roethlisberger is a never out of a game, and the Steelers overcame two turnovers to beat their division rivals. Can anyone slow down the Steelers especially with Le’Veon Bell set to return in two weeks?
Dallas Cowboys 27 @ Washington Redskins 23
Tony Romo’s job is in danger- Yes, it has only been two games, but Dak Prescott is looking like the future of the franchise. He has yet to turn the ball over in the Cowboys first two games, and that has to make Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett happy. We hinted at it last week, but if his success continues, there is a good chance Romo comes back from injury wearing a headset.
The Redskins are in deep trouble- The odds are stacked against them. The Eagles and Giants are off to 2-0 starts and the 1-1 Cowboys now have a win against them. They are 0-2. The division title hasn’t been defended successfully since the Eagles did it back in 2004. There is growing grumbles in the locker room over Kirk Cousins and his ability to lead the team. The running game is all but absent. This team has cellar dwellers written all over them if they don’t find a way to improve chemistry and play in a hurry.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7 @ Arizona Cardinals 40
The Buccaneers were a classic case of insult to injury- This was a rough loss in more ways than one. Jamesis Winston was hot off an NFC Offensive Player of the Week award, and turned it into a five turnover day. The defense was caught napping all afternoon, especially Lavonte David who didn’t even record a tackle in the contest. Then to make matters worse, Doug Martin went down with a hamstring injury during this contest, and is expected to miss three weeks. Going to be interesting to see if rookie head coach Dirk Koetter can have the Bucs shake this game off and move on to the Rams next week.
Arizona was not happy about last week, and it showed- After loosing last week against the Patriots without their top two offensive weapons (Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski), the Cardinals called the loss unacceptable and were eager to get back on the field and prove that they are still one of the top dogs in the NFC. Boy did they ever. They forced five turnovers held the up and coming Bucs offense to just seven points, and put 40 points on the board of their own. Statement heard loud and clear Arizona.
Seattle 3 @ Los Angeles Rams 9
It’s way too early to bet against the Seahawks offense- The mighty Seahawks seem to struggle with the lowly Rams every year. They also seems to get no offensive production early on in the year before Russell Wilson and company start to light up the league as evident by their run last year when from week 10 on he threw 24 touchdowns to one interception. That may be a tall order to follow, but it’s too early to put the Seahawks offense on life support.
There are no logical reasons for the Rams to not see what they have in Jared Goff- Almost the same lesson as last week that we learned from the Rams but come on now. After two weeks, Case Keenum has managed to lead the Rams offense to nine whole points, and somehow they are actually 1-1. If they believe they made the right choice in taking Goff over Carson Wentz, and they see the success Wentz is having in Philly, what is the problem here?
Indianapolis Colts 20 @ Denver Broncos 34
The Colts are who we thought they were- Andrew Luck and the Colts offense are good. They are going to be able to hang in games because of their offense alone. They are like the AFC version of the Saints, though. The defense isn’t going to win any games for them. Exactly what we saw coming and why even with the return of Andrew Luck, can’t see the Colts winning the AFC South.
Loosing DeMarcus Ware is going to hurt- The Broncos defense has done a good job plugging the holes left by the departure of Danny Trevathan and Malik Jackson, but Ware may be a different story. Loosing Ware will help opposing offenses have a little more time to find open receivers, and should also provide lager running lanes. Don’t get it twisted this is still a top notch defense, but Ware is a big loss.
Atlanta Falcons 35 @ Oakland Raiders 28
Matt Ryan appears more than willing to carry the team- Knowing full well the Falcons defense isn’t going to win them may games, calm and cool Matt Ryan seems to have no issues with carrying the team on his back. The fact that the running game was successful int this game doesn’t hurt matters, but Ryan threw for 396 yards and 3 touchdowns in this game, and was good ol’ Matty Ice when it came down to crunch time.
The Raiders defense was supposed to improve this year, but it has been downright awful- So far no return on the investment of improving the defense. They rank dead last in the league in total yardage and passing yards given up and second to last in points allowed. The offense has been doing their part, and haven’t turned the ball over yet. For a team expected to compete for compete for the AFC West crown, they better find a way to improve on defense and fast.
San Diego Chargers 38 @ Jacksonville Jaguars 14
Another week, another huge injury- After losing Keenan Allen to a torn ACL last week, the injury bug strikes again in San Diego. Dynamic running back Danny Woodhead went down, clutched his knee, and for the second straight week they lost an offensive play maker. The good news is this time they didn’t falter like they did against the Kansas City Chiefs last week and improved to 1-1. They signed running back Dexter McCluster to try and fill Woodhead’s shoes.
Good on paper doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t translate to on-field play- We have seen this before. A team that looks fantastic on paper that doesn’t pan out on the field. Just ask the Philadelphia Eagles fans about the ‘dream team’. Don’t count the Jags down and out yet as sometimes such big changes require chemistry to be built. They better find chemistry fast if they want to compete in the AFC South, where the new look Texans have gotten off to an early 2-0 start.
Minnesota Vikings 17 @ Green Bay Packers 14
When Teddy Bridewater went down, we underestimated the ability of the Vikings as a team- The Vikings traded for Sam Bradford and it was seen as a move to remain competitive this year, albeit at a high cost losing their first round pick next year. We all were banking on huge improvements out of Bridgewater this year, as the Vikings pass attack was nothing to write home about last year. If Bradford can protect the football and make some plays, the defense will be more than willing to carry this team into the playoffs. The loss of Adrian Peterson does hurt, especially since it appears it will be for most of the season.
After making the bold claim that Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the league last week, it’s time for him to prove it- The claim last week was made based on his ability to make a play from any situation. After the offense struggled in this contest, and all the talk about Aaron Rodgers not breaking the 100 mark in passer rating in 14 straight games, Rodgers needs a big game against the beatable Lions defense to prove he still belongs in the conversation of elite quarterbacks.
Philadelphia Eagles 29 @ Chicago Bears 14
This Carson Wentz kid is for real- Time to jump on the Wentz train. Alright, understood that he has looked good against the Browns and the Bears, but the most impressive part of his game is both he and the Eagles as a team have yet to turn the ball over in their first two games. He is the first rookie quarterback since the 1970 merger to win his first two starts without throwing an interception. his first real test will this week against the Steelers, but betting against him may not be the smartest move.
Injuries galore won’t do anything to improve a struggling team- The Bears were expected to have a successful 2016 campaign, but losing both safeties, your nickel corner, quarterback, and inside linebacker all in the same game isn’t going to do you any favors. If Brian Hoyer steps in at quarterback and has any sort of success, say goodbye to the Jay Cutler era in Chicago. If not, there is always the Cubs right?
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