Thursday, September 24, 2015

My take on the 2-0 and 0-2 teams of the 2015 Season

2-0 Teams

Tom Brady is just too good and in the quarterback driven league that is all you need, well that and a Gronk. Rob Gronkowski is simply inhuman. Seriously, his 207 yards and 4 touchdowns is a decent season for a tight end. He has those stats through 2 games. His gaudy stats are a large reason why Tom Brady has thrown for a 69.2 completion percentage, 754 passing yards, and 0 interceptions. On the flip side of the ball, the Pats have crafted a solid defense, headlined by talented players like Dont'a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Devin McCourty, and Chandler Jones, who are able to get the job done. With a solid defense, the best QB this season thus far and a pedestrian schedule, the future looks bright for the Patriots.

Tom Brady may be the seasons best quarterback but, Aaron Rodgers is still the best overall quarterback. He just makes it look so easy, the way he maneuvers in the pocket and throws the most beautiful pass right into the receivers hands every time. He single-handedly wins games but, play makers like Randall Cobb, Clay Matthews, Eddie Lacy, and Julius Peppers certainly help. No one ever doubts the Packers and they really shouldn't. Of course this team will win a lot of games this year.

Two words, Bruce Arians. Arians has changed the culture of Arizona and they just look like a different team than the Ken Whisenhunt ones of the past. Arians biggest asset though is his ability to make the quarterback better. He turned Carson Palmer, who didn't even want to play football a few years back, into an absolute stud with 7 TDs and 1 interception through week two. The 2-0 start doesn't surprise me and as long as the master work of Arians continues I could definitely see the Cardinals taking the division this year.

The Bengals once again have talent seeping from their roster and look to continue their brand of consistency during the NFL regular season. Since Andy Dalton and A.J. Green were drafted, the Bengals have had at least a 9-7 record every year. I would be shocked if they did anything less. The only difficulty this team will face this year is competing in the tough AFC North with Pittsburgh and Baltimore. But, this challenge is nothing new so it looks like playoffs for the Bengals yet again.

I really like the Falcons this year and starting off 2-0 only confirms my feelings. I love the Matt Ryan and Julio Jones connection that allows the Falcons to have a great areal attack and I think Dan Quinn is beginning to turn around a now very interesting Falcons defense. I think the Falcons are the surprise team in the NFL and take a very winnable division.

This team rides on the shoulders of Peyton Manning and with his deteriorating play, I think the Broncos are in trouble. But, the last two Bronco wins have been absolutely phenomenal play by a really strong defense. The Broncos just keep winning and while I think Peyton's declining play will eventually lose them games, they keep winning so I can't count them out.

With Romo and Dez out, Dallas fans look to be in panic mode right about now. I think they will be just fine. They have a phenomenal offensive line, a solid running game, and a defense that has looked pretty good the last 2 games. Brandon Weeden will be better than expected and keep Dallas in the playoff hunt by the time Romo returns. I'm not saying they will make the playoffs but, I like their odds more than any other NFC East team.

The Panthers are the same team last year minus Kelvin Benjamin and that's not good enough. I think they win 7 games, like last year, and have the same season they always do. They beat the Jaguars in week 1 and the Texans in week 2. There isn't anything special about their 2-0 start, which they also has last year. The Panthers are the same team as always.

The Jets defense has impressed me. Whether it's holding teams to an average of 8.5 points per game, a +8 turnover differential, or domination of a very good Colts offense the Jets defense has shown they are not to be messed with. But, can Ryan Fitzpatrick lead this team to the playoffs? I don't think so. He just doesn't have the capabilities to give the Jets wins when the defense doesn't play the shutout football they have through the first two games. Is this a talented team? Yes. Will their defense be good? Yes. But, is the offense good enough to cover for Fitzpatrick? I don't believe so. I think this is a good team and one that will have a much improved record but, is not be good enough to make the playoffs.

0-2 Teams

Anyone who thinks that the Seahawks season is over because they are 0-2 needs to "R-E-L-A-X". Their first loss was to the Rams, who the Seahawks have a record 2-4 in the Edward Jones Dome during the Pete Carroll regime and the second loss came to the Packers who are unmistakably one of the best teams in the NFL. Both losses also came without All-Pro Saftey Kam Chancellor who just ended his hold out earlier in the week. Most importantly their first games of the season were both on the road. The Seahawks are known for their great home field advantage, not winning on the road. The Seahawks may not win the division but, it would be an absolute shocker if they don't make the playoffs.

Would you be surprised to find out that the Colts started last season 0-2? Yes, the Colts have been in this position before and subsequent to last seasons 0-2 start, the former AFC championship participants continued the season with a 5 game win streak. Even if this team is not as good as last years Colts, who didn't have Andre Johnson, Frank Gore, Todd Herremans, and Philip Dorsett, they are in the leagues weakest division by far. Neither the Titans, Jaguars, or Texans are playoff teams. That leaves the Colts, who not only play the Titans, Jaguars, and Texans for 6 out of their 14 remaining games but, are yet to play a full game with a 100% T.Y. Hilton.

The Ravens are always a team to fear. They have the most underrated coach in the NFL in John Harbaugh, Joe Flacco, a quarterback who always seems to come up big in the important games, a solid offensive line, and a very good defense. Yes, they are without team leader Terrell Suggs and they do have an incredibly harsh schedule for the remainder of the season but, this team will find a way. At the bare minimum they will have and 8-8 season and I would not be surprised if they make the playoffs. Never count this team out.

The Lions are a talented team. Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, and rising star Ameer Abdullah head the offense and the defense will be good when star Deandre Levy returns. But, the Lions are behind in a division with the Packers and, my personal dark horse team, the Vikings. They just aren't good enough to make the playoffs this year. I think they have an 8 to 9 win season.

This looks like the same old disappointing New York Giants football team that we have come to expect. As shown by the past two games, the Giants just can't finish games. This seems like the same team as last year and the year before.While they will win some games think they finish with 7 wins, which is 1 more than last year.

I am done with Chip Kelly and the Eagles. I predicted the Eagles to start hot and go 2-0 to start the season, then peter out and miss the playoffs with a 9-7 record. But, after these last two games I have realized the Chip Kelly gimmick is over. First off, Sam Bradford is not a good starting NFL quarterback. I have never been high on him, as shown by leaving him of my Top 10 Quarterbacks under 25 in the NFL list back in 2013. Next, you don't become a better team by getting rid your talent. In last year alone the eagles allowed Trent Cole, LeSean McCoy, Jermey Maclin, Evan Mathis, and Nick Foles to leave and that's just the pro bowlers. Lastly the scheme isn't even that good. If it is then how come Sam Bradford has 89 passing attempts and eagles running backs have 31 attempts? Sam Bradford has 33 more passing attempts this season than Aaron Rodgers and Demarco Murray, Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles have less combined rushing attempts than T.J. Yeldon. That is insane for a team whose only offensive talent is good running backs. This team is a mess and it starts with the head coach who has driven this team into the ground. I think, at best, the Eagles win 6 games.

The Saints, like Drew Brees, are far past their prime. They are without last years best player, Jimmy Graham, and have a mess of a defense that allowed Jameis Winston get a win and a 114.6 passer rating. The Saint offensive line is also in trouble allowing Drew Brees to be sacked 6 times through the first two games of the season. I don't see this team doing a lot, maybe 5 wins. That should be enough to get this team a high draft pick and dare I say a new QB.

J.J. Watt can't single-handdedly lead the Texans to the playoffs, they need a supporting cast and they don't have that. Besides J.J. Watt, Deandre Hopkins, and the aging Vince Wilfork the Texans have a pretty marginal team. On top of that the quarterback play is abysmal. While the return of star running back Arian Foster, in a week or two, will help this team the Texans always look outmatched. They don't ever feel dominant and you can't be a good football team if you don't dominate. Personally, I think a bad season might be the best thing for Houston because a high draft pick may get them the QB they need to make them relevant.

The Bears are in for a long season and despite the immense offensive talent don't have the quarterback, whether Jay Cutler or Jimmy Clausen, to get wins. They also have the worst defense in points allowed at 39.5 and have managed to do all of this in only home losses. With 8 away games remaining and being in a division with the Lions, Vikings, and Packers I don't feel good about the Bears this year. But, John Fox is a good coach and in a few years the Bears may be competitive again.

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