Every Monday, I’ll recap the previous week’s NFL games, trying to tame everybody’s instincts to overreact to one week of football. It’s very difficult; I completely understand. Here’s Week 1.
And now, here’s our Week 2 NFL recap, telling you what we really learned about every team, after I’ve had a chance to calm down, have a glass of water and think about these things while you had much more important things to do.
The Seahawks aren’t Super Bowl favorites.
I’m not dissing the Seahawks at all, nor am I saying they aren’t among the Super Bowl favorites. If we’re ranking teams’ chances to win the Super Bowl, Denver is a clear-cut No. 1, because the AFC is undoubtedly weaker than the NFC, and the Broncos are clearly the best team in the AFC right now. It doesn’t matter how they compare to the Seahawks and Niners; they have a much better chance of making the Super Bowl, because of their lack of competition.
As far as the Seahawks, I don’t see any reason to put them ahead of the Niners by more than a hair. Sure, they won, so give them a tiny, tiny edge. But the fact is that they haven’t had a chance to answer the few questions we had about them.
We knew that the Seahawks defense is unbelievable, almost unbeatable, at home. Last year, they were undefeated at home, yet did not make the Super Bowl. This year, there is a very good chance they’ll go undefeated at home. They can do that again, and not make the Super Bowl, again.
But they were 3-5 on the road last year, and that’s why they didn’t earn home-field advantage in the playoffs. They had an impressive Week 1 road win against the Panthers, but that wasn’t enough to answer the questions:
Are they a good enough road team to make the Super Bowl without home-field advantage? Are they a good enough road team to earn home-field advantage, upon which they’d be heavy favorites to reach the Super Bowl? Then, finally: Are they a good enough team away from home to beat an equally-good team in the Super Bowl?
Maybe, maybe and maybe.
We have no idea yet. While suffocating an elite team at home was impressive and surpassed our very-high expectations, it ultimately means little. They also averaged just 4.1 yards per play on offense, the same number as San Fran. Neither team was good on offense. That’s a product of the defenses, but it also shows that they both need to improve.
The Seahawks will still be underdogs in San Francisco. They’ll still have to win on the road. They’ve passed the eye test through two weeks, but they’ve got a long way to go. Just like everyone else.
The Giants aren’t screwed.
Last week, I asserted that David Wilson isn’t the devil. I still hold that belief.
The Giants lost twice as underdogs. They’re not screwed; they’ve done what they’re expected to do. Lose sloppily to good teams. If they clean up the mistakes, they’ll start beating good teams. We don’t know if that will happen. But it has in the past. Don’t freak out. Yet.
The Jets aren’t the worst team in the NFL, and the Patriots aren’t the best.
The Jets aren’t very good. But their defense might be, and as I’ve been arguing, they’re not nearly the worst team in the NFL.
And as we saw, the Patriots have a long way to go to reach their potential, especially with their young receivers.
The Redskins are in trouble, but their season isn’t over.
This should be common sense, since it’s Week 2, but it’s not. Tony Dungy was saying something about benching RGIII for Kirk Cousins. I think other people are agreeing with him.
I could go on a rant, but Bill Barnwell of Grantland evaluated the Redskins level-of-screwedness expertly, so I’ll defer to him. Read Barnwell on the ‘Skins. They’re not screwed. Yet. (But they should panic more than Giants fans.)
The Bucs have a very good defense and will be tough at home.
Second straight game in a row where the Bucs had a >95% win expectancy inside two minutes and lost. http://t.co/n6hyaWbCp4
— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) September 16, 2013
But lost in these jokes is the fact that the Bucs’ defense has been very good and just played very well against Drew Brees. Josh Freeman is a huge question-mark, but the fact is that the Bucs should have beaten the Saints, should be 2-0, and will be a tough matchup, especially at home.
Ron Rivera is an idiot.
No, really, he is. Again, I could rant, but Barnwell already took care of it.
Basically, Rivera could have called a low-risk Cam Newton sneak to seal a win over the Bills, but kicked a field goal and wound up losing. Here’s the conclusion.
It’s also the biggest reason why Carolina is so dreadfully bad in close games — it’s now 2-14 in games decided by seven points or fewer under Rivera, a historically dismal performance. Some of that is bad luck, but a fair amount of it is Rivera putting his team in situations to lose. If Rivera continues to coach his team like he’s never actually seen it play, he’s not going to be a head coach much longer.
Come on, Ron.
The Eagles are and bad. The Chargers might be solid.
Before the season, nobody expected anything from the Eagles, strangely. Then they beat down the Redskins. People were calling them unstoppable. They are somewhere in the middle. They have a very explosive offense, but one that isn’t unstoppable, and a very shaky defense. It’s very simple. They have a shot at the playoffs, but they aren’t unstoppable, and they aren’t awful.
And now the Chargers have shown a pulse in two-straight games, and more importantly, Philip Rivers has shown a pulse. He was in a multi-year coma. This is very good news for Chargers fans. They might not be a bad team.
The Browns can’t score.
The Ravens will have to get very lucky to make the playoffs.
The Titans might be a decent team.
The Texans are probably very overrated.
The Chiefs are good.
The Cowboys barely lost to the Chiefs, who are good, especially at home, so I still think the Cowboys are going to be very good.
The Cardinals aren’t awful.
The Lions are talented but still have major question-marks.
The Raiders still probably suck; beating the Jaguars at home means nothing.
The Jaguars are god-awful, Henne, Gabbert, Tebow or Denard Robinson at the helm.
The other teams played football, except for the Bengals and Steelers, who will play tonight. All won or lost. Nobody tied. There are no ties in football. Except for the rare occasion that there are.
See you next week.