Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What I Learned-NFL Week Two

Here are a few things I learned in this second week of the NFL season. Let's go game by game.

Oakland 23-Kansas City 8

First impressions aren't always what they seem. The Chiefs barely lost to a deflated Patriots team in Week One, and Oakland laid an egg against what looks to be a pretty tough Broncos squad. So what did I learn?? Darren McFadden really is a man child, but he won't be able to carry the Raiders. (Also, hold on to the ball son!!) JaMarcus Russell's miserable 6-17, 55 yd outing will take Oakland nowhere. As for the Chiefs, who is Tyler Thigpen and Larry Johnson might be finished.

New York Giants 41-St. Louis 13

Heck of a move on my part for not being a complete idiot and picking St. Louis to cover against a greater opponent two weeks in a row. What did we learn?? The Giants defensive line doesn't need Osi Umenyiora or Michael Strahan (especially when you have Justin Tuck returning interceptions for touchdowns)...at least not against one of the worst teams in the league. Marc Bulger got harassed. Also...is Steven Jackson going to prove he's worth all of that money he's getting??

Indianapolis 18-Minnesota 15

This game made me very upset. Usually I would be happy with a Colts comeback, but I took the Vikings so that screws up everything I'm about. So what did I learn?? The Vikings don't trust Tarvaris Jackson in the slightest. They hope he can make it through the game without losing it for them, and they won't even let him try to win it. Until they either let him play or get a new quarterback, this team doesn't have a prayer at the Super Bowl. And when your running back accounts for 60% of your total yards in a game, you're probably not going to win. The Colts?? Peyton Manning has shaken off the rust, and the rest of the team had better jump on his back because this year's team will go nowhere without him. Also...Anthony Gonzalez, as expected, has become Peyton's go-to-guy.

Tennessee 24-Cincinnati 7

The Titans went through the windstorm of the Queen City without anyone being killed...a feat not accomplished by some car windows parked beside Jason Koma on Sunday. What did I learn?? The Bengals are terrible. The thing is, I didn't really learn that though. It was simply affirmed. If you look back to my NFL preview, I said Cincinnati would win two games this year. That's right...two. Doesn't look so unrealistic now, does it?? Anyway, I also feel affirmed in my statement that the Titans are better right now with Kerry Collins than with Vince Young. Collins was an efficient 14-21 for 128 yards, not great, but there were 70 mph winds, and let's be honest. When was the last time Young completed 67% of his passes?? Chris Johnson is good.

Buffalo 20-Jacksonville 16

Buffalo was about the only team that pulled through for me in a close game. I didn't trust them in my preview, but I'm getting excited about this team. As for the Jags, not so excited. What did I learn?? Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor will continue to have trouble running the ball and David Garrard will continue his already career worst season for interceptions until Jacksonville can piece together some semblance of an offensive line. They lost one starter to a shooting and two to injury. Time for the defense to step up. And the Bills?? They have a legitimate defense, and Trent Edwards is starting to show that he could truly be a playmaker for this team.

Green Bay 48-Detroit 25

What a ridiculous game. Green Bay leads by 21, trails by 1, and wins by 23, while scoring 21 points in 1:24?? You've got to be kidding me. What did I learn?? Time to insert the foot in my mouth. Aaron Rodgers is legit, and I couldn't be happier to be wrong. The guy is mobile enough to avoid the rush, can hit the long ball when necessary and is flat out doing the job. As for the run game, Ryan Grant's hammy needs to suck it up because the Pack will need him soon. Also, the defense needs to learn to avoid the late game letdown. They let leads slip away in weeks one and two. On the other side, it's the same old Lions. They showed a little bite in coming back, but after taking a 25-24 lead, Jon Kitna was celebrating the win, not realizing he had 3 interceptions left in the tank. Kitna has a lot of yards and a lot of turnovers to give that team, and it's time for Detroit to get a quarterback so that Calvin Johnson can be fully unleashed. He is a superstar waiting to break free. Finally, Lions Safety Daniel Bullocks had 12 of his 21 tackles this year on Sunday. That's impressive, but at the same time, doesn't it say some pretty bad things about your team when the Safety is the leading tackler??

Carolina 20-Chicago 17

Another game that I'd usually love the outcome in, and yet I was upset. (only until I realized I got the win because they met the 3 point spread) Anyway...I learned that Jake Delhomme might have some magic up his Tommy Johned sleeve this season, and people better start watching out for Carolina. Steve Smith comes back next week, and Jonathon Stewart is on pace for 1,000 yards rushing. Also, Middle Linebacker Jon Beason is up to 26 tackles in 2 games. Wow. Speaking of rookie phenoms, Matt Forte is now over 200 yards for the season and really is proving invaluable to this team. 2 receptions and 2 fumbles for Tight End Matt Olsen. Inexcusable. The Bears defense seems to have its swagger back too after an injury riddled 2007. Bears...find a quarterback.

Washington 29-New Orleans 24

This one really ticked me off. The Saints led big, then handed the game to a team that looked completely inept in Week One. So what did I learn?? The Redskins are not inept, just against the Giants pass rush. Jason Campbell has a cannon arm (did you see that long touchdown pass?!?), and Santana Moss did what everyone's been waiting for him to do. He just needs to find some consistency. New Orleans...hold a lead!! Reggied Bush had a good game, so don't write him off quite yet, and Drew Brees is better than the game he had, but did anyone see Jonathan Vilma?? The guy had 16 tackles. I liked him in New York, I'll continue to like him in the Big Easy.

San Francisco 33-Seattle 30 OT

The first overtime game of the season if I'm not mistaken, and it was something. Seattle's defense showed it has a lot of work to do after being absolutely thrashed two weeks in a row by seemingly average offenses in Buffalo and San Fran. Wasn't this unit supposed to be a force to be reckoned with?? Rumors of Matt Hasselbeck having a comeback year took a hit with his 50% completion percentage, zero touchdowns and two interceptions. As for San Francisco, J.T. O'Sullivan was the man of the hour, completing over 60% of his passes for 321 yards and a touchdown, with no turnovers. And Joe Nedney did the rest, hitting four field goals, two in high pressure situations, to seal the win.

Arizona 31-Miami 10

Boy was I wrong about this pick. Anyone ready to jump on the Kurt Warner three-time MVP bandwagon?? Me either, but still a great game by the old guy. 19-24 for 361 yards and 3 touchdowns. No wonder they didn't care if Matt Leinart was playing. Everyone knows how good Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin are and they proved it. Their respective lines were 6-153 and 6-140-3 TD. Tough to stop two guys that good at the same time. Also, the defense is pretty tough. Miami is still Miami and Chad Pennington is still Chad Pennington. Chad Henne, though, played really well in garbage time.

Denver 39-San Diego 38

I could talk for an entire day about this game, but I won't. Ed Hochuli screwed up, and he knows it, and so does the rest of the world, costing San Diego its first win. The Chargers seemed to be a bit starcrossed right now, losing on the last drive two weeks in a row with LT hobbling both times. You can't overshadow Darren Sproles though. The little guy is absolutely electric and he showed it. Also, Quentin Jammer was a force on a day when Antonio Cromartie had probably his worst day as a pro. On the other side, Jay Cutler proved he belonged. Last week, the stats didn't look as impressive against Oakland, but this week, you see them for what they are. He completed 72% of his passes for 350 yards and 4 touchdowns, though he did have a near costly pick and a fumble that should have lost them the game. Cut down on mistakes, and this kid will be great. And has he found his go-to-receiver?? Clearly. Brandon Marshall caught the ball 18! times for 166 yards and a TD.

Tampa Bay 24-Atlanta 9

The Bucs won one they were supposed to win and did it in convincing fashion. They didn't have any amazing performances, although Earnest Graham had a nice 116 yards, but they got it done, and I think they'll win like this all season. Atlanta, on the other hand, needs Michael "The Burner" Turner in the game, or they're going nowhere. Matt Ryan showed his age and his inexperience.

New England 19-New York Jets 10

The Magic Man can't do it all. Favre had a rough day in the Big Apple, highlighted by a 20-yard sack by Adalius Thomas, and the Patriots continued to do what it takes to win. Matt Cassell had a very solid first start in 8 or 9 years, and the team seemed to rally around him. I give most of the credit to Randy Moss, who has changed his attitude and seems like he will stop at nothing to lead this team of veterans to the promised land. Also, new quarterback, same safety receiver. Wes Welker caught the ball 7 times for 72 yards. New England has to still be the favorite in the AFC East.

Pittsburgh 10-Cleveland 6

The Browns lost again, but this time the defense showed up, and showed they're not ready to give up on the season after one game, like a lot of their fans seem to already be resigning themselves to do. Derek Anderson is begging Browns fans to make the call for Brady Quinn, and Jamal Lewis needs to put it back together. As for Pittsburgh, Big Ben is injured, and that's not good. Not all is bad though. Willie Parker is setting himself up for another banner year.

Dallas 41-Philadelphia 37

I thought these teams had defenses?? Maybe they made a truce to just not play against each other. Whatever the case, the offenses torched the D's all night long, and made track meet of the game. First, Donovan McNabb is back. (except that he can't run anymore) He showed signs toward the end of last season, but after his Week One beating of St. Louis, followed by this week's 25-37, 281 yd, 1 TD performance, he's back in the saddle, and Andy Reid is breathing a sigh of relief that the Kevin Kolb era hasn't yet started. One thing though Donovan...hold onto the football!! Also, DeSean Jackson, if you're going to gain Donovan's trust and become a go-to-guy, use your brain. Cross the goalline! On the Dallas side, Romo was Romo, going 21-30 for 312, 3 TD's and 1 pick, and Jason Witten was himself as well, catching 7 balls for 110 yards. Does this Dallas team remind you exactly of last year's team?? Because it does for me.

Anyway...that's it. If you agree or disagree, let me know.



Luke said...

jake, I'm not giving up on the browns BUT I'm done with Romeo ... he's the oldest coach in the league, and boy does he act like it ... it's almost as if the game is too fast for him ... anyways, great post, and sorry to see you have a tough week in the picks, get 'em back in week three

Kevin Hunt said...

Jake, I enjoyed most of it -- I'm not quite giving up on the Browns. After all it's just week three. But being two games down to the Steelers and having a majority of their remaining games on the road just means a tougher task is at hand.

I've been over Derek Anderson ever since he was on ESPN's First Take and didn't quite seem to understand the idea of rapid fire word association. More "ummm"s and "uhhhh"s than complete passes in the first two games combined.

Wow... I guess I needed to vent...