Monday, September 15

NFL Week 2 De-Cleeting: Forget What You Know

Despite the much anticipated match-up tonight between the Eagles and Cowboys, but after such a wild Sunday I take my weekly look back on what I saw in the NFL and one thing is now sure, nothing is a sure thing this year in the NFL.

Maybe it is just that the anticipation for the NFL season to start that gives birth to so many prognostications for the season, but especially this year the play on the field is for the most part unpredictable. Many teams had their games apparently sealed up but when the final tick went off the clock, they were leaving the stadium with a loss. The point is that we have to view this season with a clean slate, and forget what we thought was going to happen or what should happen this year.

No, the Patriots are not telling you their number 1, they're flipping you off (NE 19, NYJ 10)

The game was textbook Patriots pre-explosive offense. Cassel played well enough to win, meaning he did not turn the ball over but was not that impressive either. He misfired on a few passes including a wide open Randy Moss (Randy did not seem pleased) but it was only his first start and he acknowledged there is room for improvement and realistically the Jets do have a tough defense. On the New England defensive side, they were brilliant. Aside from a few Favre scramble plays and the one TD drive, they kept Thomas Jones and Favre in check. It was classic Belichick from a defensive standpoint; drop 8 into coverage early, then later on throw in some blitzes. Adalius Thomas had the exclamation point on his 20 yard sack of Favre while he took Leon Washington along for the ride. I said it many times on this site and I'll say it again, a healthy Richard Seymour is bad news for opponents. And once again Kevin Faulk came in and returned punts and made key third down plays, he truly is a modern day Dave Meggett. This might quell the Favre love for a little while, well until next week or tonight when Kornheiser gets on the mic.

Push it, Shove it, Score less effective when using field goals (IND 18, MIN 15)

The Viking fan base has to be upset this morning. The defense did a great job on Peyton and kept them in check for the first half and really the whole game. Peterson did his work gaining over 160 yards, but the Vikes could not punch it in. Right or wrong this is going to fall on Tavaris Jackson. Personally you have to feel for the young man, but the running game and the defense is too good to be 0-2. The Colts on the other hand look rather pedestrian. Harrison may be healthy, but I think he has finally lost that extra burst of speed. Anthony Gonzalez made a big play late with a catch and lateral to Reggie Wayne and they will need those two this year.

New NFL Barometer introduced (NYG 41, STL 13)

I think how a team can be measured this year is what the final score of their game versus the Rams is. New York, by use of this new tool, is doing quite well. Although I think the Giants tougher tests are still to come, Justin Tuck and the defense are doing a more than adequate job replacing Strahan and Osi. The Giants don't face a really tough game until they play Pittsburgh in Week 8. I won't go as far to say the Rams will not a game, especially since they play in the NFC West.

Lions give their fans a second to lift bags from over heads, then crush dreams (GB 48, DET 25)

I thought it was a graphics typo when my TV told me Detroit was leading Green Bay in the fourth quarter but then they showed the game break of Calvin Johnson scoring and doing a very nice double clutch dunk on the crossbar. The moment of glee was fleeting at Ford Field as Kitna threw three straight picks to ice the game for the Packers. "Brett Favre would have made the Lions collapse like a that" grizzled Packer fan was heard saying.

Me so Zorny, Me love you long time (WSH 29, NO 24)

Just when everyone (including me) had written off the Redskins and joined the hate train for Jim Zorn. However, the Skins showed some offensive prowess against the Saints. Clinton Portis had another solid effort and Jason Campbell unloaded on a long bomb to Santanna Moss. I am completely neutral to the Redskins (besides hoping the former Hurricans do well) but I was very happy for Campbell who was beginning to get some heat for his play in Week 1. The Saints had the lead early but as was the story for most of the NFL this week, Washington came roaring back. Reggie Bush had another good game including a punt return but decided to go with the bye-bye wave on the TD. That earned him a tauting penalty and gave the Redskins good field position. You think Reggie would have learned from the last time he gave the wave that it was not a good luck charm for winning, but maybe now he knows. As they used to say on the big show, "Real men don't taunt."

First-round picks set to good use for Panthers (CAR 20, CHI 17)

Another comeback for the Panthers which puts them at 2-0 and finally gets that losing home-opener streak off their backs. The Bears dominated the first half, including a punt block with coverage so blown, the blocker had to slow down to make sure he got the kick. Devin Hester left with what looked like a painful rib injury and you could really see the difference in field position not having Hester meant to the return game and the kicking game of the Panthers. Jonathan Stewart took over in the second half but if it wasn't for some Bear mistakes Chicago probably would have held on. Stewart is hard to bring down with just a solo tackler, similarly to Matt Forte. A trend now standard in the NFL was the home Panthers wearing white in the heat and making the road team wear their home dark jerseys. You used to see Miami do it all the time and now with the hot games in September, all teams are employing it when it works to their benefit.

Blue Suede and Falcons fall to earth (TB 24, ATL 9)

I thought the Falcons would keep the momentum going, but it turns out the Bucs hada little more on D for Atlanta than the Lions, go figure. Still, the Falcons have the chance to get to 4 or 5 wins this year, which anyone would see as a success. The man-drama between Jon Gruden and Jeff Garcia is mounting. Brian Griese played well enough to win, so Jeff better tread lightly or Gruden might just Keyshawn him.

Wise Wisenhunt (ARI 31, MIA 10)

The Cards have to be viewed as the favorites in the NFC west now, not jsut because they have the only 2-0 record in the division, but because their worries at QB are finally over. Kurt Warner is slinging the ball to Fitzgerald and Boldin in ways Leinart just can't, and it is showing on the scoreboard. The Cards secondary has a chance to be special this year. This means Arizona fans can forget about the slumping Diamondbacks and focus on the winning Cardinals, whoa that sentence seems backward.

Mike Shanahan has some brass ones, son (DEN 39, SD 38)

In what may prove to be the craziest game all year, the Broncos got a reprieve after Cutler fumbled away the ball and San Diego recovered. Ed Hochuli and his massive arms admitted that those massive arms brought his whistle to his mouth prematurely blowing the ball dead. The Broncos certainly were not going to feel sorry for their division rival and scored the TD and then added the 2 point conversion for the win. Brandon Marshall was unstoppable with no McDonald's wrappers in sight, and although Cutler threw an inexplicable INT late and did fumble the ball away, he made plays. The diagnosis of his diabetes has helped him physically and mentally forget about last year. Darren Sproles was doing made work for the Chargers in LT's absence, dude is just way too fast for defenders to try to even get an angle on him. Norv is rightfully upset, but either way, his team is below the Raiders in the standings, that's right, the Raiders.

No comments: