NFL Week2 Breakdown
Monday, September 20, 2010 | Author: Mad Typist
Well, after a rusty first week out of the gate, it was good to see many NFL teams start clicking better in Week 2. There were some really exciting matchups this week, so let's get right to it.

"Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry." Clearly Peyton Manning was still upset about the loss the previous week to the Houston Texans, and he decided to take all his rage out on the poor visiting Giants. I say "rage", but despite my pithy section headline, it was more HAL 9000 than Incredible Hulk, as Manning methodically and relentlessly made the Giants defense suffer. Short of running across the field at halftime, pinning younger brother Eli to the ground and mercilessly wet willying him until he screamed, there wasn't much more Peyton could have done to make poor Eli suffer that night. The Giants need not panic about the loss - Peyton has made better teams look more foolish in his career - but the one thing that happened during the game that SHOULD concern the team is the way Brandon Jacobs behaved. He had already been quoted in the press complaining about losing the starting job to Ahmad Bradshaw. Last night, in a fit of childish anger, he tossed his helmet into the stands, almost striking a fan and then engaging in a shouting match with the startled and angry fan.

Reports of your demise were greatly exaggerated. So after the media panic of last week, you would have thought that Mark Sanchez was just one more poor game away from being cut from the Jets for being unable to live up to their expectations as a QB. Sure, Sanchez looked hurried at times and he certainly had poor numbers, but people forget how often over the past few years the Baltimore Ravens defense has made otherwise capable QBs look like frightened bunnies in the pocket. This week against the much more vulnerable Patriots defense, Sanchez looked clutch, making some great throws and coming away with 277 yards and 3 TDs.

Speaking of premature demises, Sanchez's teammate LaDanian Tomlinson has looked excellent over the past few weeks. Though he's sharing the load with RB Shonn Greene, LT has shown flashes of his old speed and he's converted some big first downs for the Jets. I think that if the Jets get LT more involved in the passing game and get Santonio Holmes back in a few weeks, they're going to be a much better offense than people think. They're still a work in progress, and they certainly aren't doing Sanchez any favors by having a very conservative offensive game plan, but this team may still live up to the hype. The real test will be how they perform next week versus the tough-looking 2-0 Dolphins.

Reports of YOUR demise, however, were completely accurate. Once upon a time, Trent Edwards looked like a very promising young QB for the Buffalo Bills. Unfortunately, ever since the massive hit a few years ago that hit him with his first NFL concussion, Edwards has never looked that good again. After just two weeks, "Captain Checkdown" (as he's not so kindly referred to in media circles) has been benched, probably for good, barring some massive meltdown by Ryan Fitzpatrick. At this point, it already looks like a lost season for the hapless Bills, who are probably just counting the weeks until they finish at the bottom of the NFL and have the chance to draft a Jake Locker type to be their savoir.

Meanwhile, down in Carolina, Jimmy Clausen (the rookie QB the Bills certainly could have drafted if they wanted to) has been given the starting reins. Poor Matt Moore may have finished strong last year, but starting 0-2 in a division that has the Saints, Falcons and the surprising Tampa Bay Bucs is pretty devastating. We all knew it was only a matter of time before Clausen would get the start in Carolina, but Moore squandered his chance to have a great year that would have set him up to go start for another team in 2011. The door may still be open to Moore if Clausen struggles greatly, but we'll see.

Studs of the week. Pity the poor Detroit Lions for their two heartbreaking losses (both games they could have won) and their vicious upcoming schedule. But don't pity them for drafting Jahvid Best, who is responsible for the team's first 5 TDs of the year so far. This week he put up some heady numbers (78 yds rushing, 154 yds receiving, 3 TDs). The way he runs certainly invokes memories of another Lions RB great from the past.... Meanwhile, though I can never forgive Michael Vick for the dogfighting incident that sent him to jail, I must acknowledge how much he has improved since 2006. Though his stats weren't as flashy as other QBs this week (284 yds, 2TDs), he finally (FINALLY!) looks like he's learned how to be a pocket QB, versus a great RB who happened to throw on occasion. His passes have touch on them and he has shown a willingness to look downfield even after forced to scramble out of the pocket (the old Vick would have looked at his primary receiver, seen him covered and immediately scrambled with the ball). That was a lesson that Donovan McNabb had to learn once upon a time.

Speaking of McNabb, he looked great against the Texans, putting up 426 yards and 1 TD (and indeed, he would have been over 500 yards if Joey Galloway makes that catch in the end zone). Unfortunately for McNabb and the Redskins, Houston QB Matt Schaub out-dueled him, putting up 497 yds for 3 TDs.

Tim Tebow who? In two weeks, Kyle Orton has over 600 yards passing and certainly looks like the QB of the future.

Lastly, the entire Pittsburgh Defense (though particularly the high flying Troy Polamalu) simply dominated the Tennessee Titans, forcing 3 INTs, 4 fumbles, and 1 starting QB benching.

Duds of the week. Houston's offense looks great and they're at 2-0, so you can't argue with those results. However, their defense deserves a dud of the week, for again leaking like a sieve against opposing QBs. In the first two weeks they've given up almost 900 yards in the air. Meanwhile, Matt Cassel seems to be the only thing not working out for the Kansas City Chiefs (10 of 22, 68 yds, 1TD in week one and 16-28 for 176 yds, 0 TD and 2 INT for week two). When you pay a guy that much guaranteed money at the most critical position in the game, you expect him to perform as good if not better than the guys around him. Unfortunately that's not the case, and I think it's going to hurt the Chiefs long term.

Teams I like this week. Chicago is 2-0, and it's looking like the Martz-Cutler marriage is already paying dividends. Matt Forte certainly has benefitted from the new offensive scheme. Imagine how scary this team might be if their offensive line were any good. We'll see how much I still like them after they face their first real test when they play the Green Bay Packers this weekend. I also like the Miami Dolphins, who look really tough on defense. If Henne and Marshall start really clicking, we might just have an exciting 3 way race in the AFC East. Josh Freeman is quietly becoming a star down in Tampa Bay, and the Bucs are looking good these first two weeks. Last, I like the Saints, who I think will benefit in the long run from having to actually break a sweat to win a game this year.

Teams I don't like this week.
The Dallas Cowboys look really shaky after their 0-2 start. This just doesn't seem like a team with the mental toughness to win when the going gets tough. Countless media analysts have commented on the lack of leadership in the locker room, and that's definitely a bad sign. Meanwhile, the Vikings continue to pay the price for their decision to abandon a team-first concept by embarrassing themselves courting Favre this off season, allowing him to skip camps and so forth. I think the Vikings are too talented not to bounce back and make a run at it all this year, but they've got a lot of work to do. Last and certainly least, the Cleveland Browns are in big trouble. If you can't beat the Chiefs or the Bucs, then how can you expect to win any of the next 5 games against the Ravens, Bengals, Falcons, Steelers or Saints?
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On 9:14 PM , Darin said...

Nice work! Cowboys are the dumbest team in the NFL. How often can you shot your own foot?