The lockout is over. Teams had a very large hangover to deal with in week one of this season. It looked like very sloppy football, but i guess that is what you get when players have a matter of weeks to learn dictionary sized playbooks and prepare themselves to play one of the most violent games in the country. Week two looked a tad bit smoother. Teams actually looked like they didn't just put something together and make plays as they went like they were an Elks club flag football team. We are starting to see which teams are actually good like New England and the Jets, the teams that are actually bad, hello Kansas City, and there are some teams that confused us more, I'm looking at Baltimore and Tampa Bay here. The only thing that is a given is that it is going to be a crazy NFL season. Now with the surprises and the disappointments of week two of the NFL season.
5. Washington Redskins- I'm sorry, who is in first place in the NFC East? That's right, it is the Washington Redskins. They are the only team in this so called stacked division that is undefeated in the first two weeks. Not only that, they beat a team that most people had penciled in to make the playoffs this year, granted it is the team picked to win the lowly NFC West. The fact of the matter is that good teams win the close games. Bad teams blow the close games, the Washington Redskins are not. Does this make the Washington Redskins a good team? That remains to be seen, but this is definitely a step in the right direction. The Redskins will be seriously tested on Monday night against Dallas and that will be the ultimate test to see if Washington is for real. For now, Washington fans can rejoice that maybe they have a good team to root for, finally.
4. Buffalo Bills- Another team that comes out of nowhere and is undefeated so far. Buffalo beat an upstart Oakland team that I think will be better than people think. The Bills look very good on offense. Remember at the beginning of the season when everyone was saying how the Bills should try to lose every game so they could lock in the first pick for Andrew Luck? I'm pretty sure everyone in Buffalo is happy with their quarterback situation. Ryan Fitzpatrick is not playing like he was a Harvard quarterback. He seems to have the whole "this is what you were missing" attitude towards all the other teams that cut hi without even throwing a snap. The Bills are in the toughest division in my opinion, but they will make everything interesting throughout the season. Will they win the division? I don't think so. Do they have zero chance? I am going to have to go with no. They are finally good enough to be players in the top heavy AFC. It will be fun to watch them shootout with New England next week. That game will be the parameter to the Bills season.
3. Denver Broncos- For one day Denver finally had something positive to talk about. Coming into the season this looked like an easy win for everyone, but Cincinnati showed they are not as dead in the water that everyone thought they were. Denver took its game and put it in backup running back Willis McGahee's 29 year old hands. (That's 65 in running back years.) Kyle Orton made as little mistakes as possible, in a game where one more mistake would have most likely cost them the game and had all of Colorado calling for Tim Tebow, or Brady Quinn, or John Elway. Denver just wants a winning team. They may not be there just yet, but they are definitely going in the right direction. They need to figure out their Knowshon Moreno situation and need to have some finality in the quarterback situation. This team will be good eventually again, we just have to wait until 2012 to see it.
2. Atlanta Falcons- This is a game that i don't think the Falcons could lose. It is Michael Vick's return game. A loss would have put the much hyped Falcons with no wins and two losses already. Falcons fans needed to see their team "payback" Vick for the state their team was in after he was incarcerated. Down by ten going into the fourth quarter, and playing the self proclaimed Dream Team, this looked to be a dark day for Atlanta teams. The Falcons were not about to just concede to a loss just yet. Matt Ryan threw for four touchdowns and Michael Turner ran for over a hundred yards. If Ryan can throw for three touchdowns or more and Turner has over a hundred yards its clearly a winning formula week in and week out. This team showed that it has what it takes to hang with the big boys in the NFC. Watch out for this team because they're not dead yet.
1. Tennessee Titans- Baltimore came off a huge win over Pittsburgh in week one. Week two was a hell of a hangover. Tennessee came out firing from the start. They seemed very pumped up for this game. Older than dirt Matt Hasselbeck threw for over 350 yards. He threw for 350 yards one time before this in the last four years. Think about that. He went against one of, presumably, the best defenses in the league, and he made them look like Toledo with how he was throwing it. With Manning out for the Colts, the AFC South is completely wide open. The Titans can definitely make the playoffs this year. They were written off as in rebuilding mode and Hasselbeck was pegged as just a buffer while Jake Locker developed. Maybe calling the Titans playoff bound would sound better for everyone in Tennessee.
5. Kansas City Chiefs- My goodness do they look bad. I honestly never thought a playoff team from the year before could make such an extreme turnaround. They went from a surprise AFC West champion to "surprise Kansas City you still are getting nowhere near good again." I mean isn't it just irony that they lost forty-eight to three to the once lowly Detroit Lions. We are so used to Detroit being the one trounced that honestly I do not know how exactly to react to this. Is Detroit that good or is Kansas City just that bad? I am going with the latter on this one. Now I know that Detroit is much improved and can at least shoot for a Wild Card spot this year, but they aren't forty-five to three good. On top of everything the Chiefs lost their only hope in Jamaal Charles. He is out for the season with a torn acl. This is going to be the worst team in the NFL, bar none. Week two is just a taste of some of the lopsided losses the Chiefs are going to endure. Get ready Kansas City, because it is going to be a long year.
4. Philadelphia Eagles- Now I am going to start this off by saying that I understand that Michael Vick did not play at the end of this game, but he was there all last season and that team was not named the Dream Team. This team is supposed to win at all costs, and yes that means when they are playing with their thrid string quarterback. Great teams find ways to win, they don't find excuses. Allowing Matt Ryan to find his mojo again at the end of the game and seeing him finish with four touchdowns is unacceptable. The cornerbacks held the receivers to only nine catches so this one is on the linebackers. Turner ran all over them all day and Tony Gonzalez caught seven passes and got two scores. Admittedly, the offense does look good. They just cannot go into the fourth quarter up by ten and let them get two scores without so much as a field goal to go against it. The Eagles had multiple analysts and media members pick them to win the Super Bowl. Maybe their players are starting to believe the hype. They can't, period, or they will not live up to it.
3. Chicago Bears- After an impressive and completely surprising week one win over the Atlanta Falcons, the Bears looked completely flat in week two. The biggest question for the Bears is who is going to catch balls for them? Six different receivers caught balls for Chicago, but not one of them caught more than three. Matt Forte, their running back, caught ten passes for 117 yards. No other person had fifty. This is an issue. Their number one receiver can take it to the house on any play, too bad Devin Hester is most likely doing that on returns. Plus this offensive line needs to play better, period. For Jay Cutler to play well, hell, for Jay Cutler to survive this season they can't let him get sacked six times a game. The questions coming into this season were silenced when they won in brutalizing fashion week one. Expect those same questions to rear their ugly heads if the play of the Bears continues like it did against the Saints.
2. St Louis Rams- I have no idea what to say here. I honestly thought Steve Spagnola's Rams were ready for the spotlight. The only light they should want now is a flashlight, because this team looks like they are playing in the dark. The Giants looked very bad in week one against the Redskins. It looked as if it was going to be a down year for the Gmen. Sam Bradford played alright, even though he completed less than half of his passes. The running game looked completely lost sans Steven Jackson. You can almost never win a game when you rush for 59 yards as a team. You need your running game to establish a game early on, and the only thing the Rams established is that we all overrated them coming into the season. It is starting to look like the NFC West is doomed for eternity to be the bottomfeeders of the NFL for a long, long time. The Giants took advantage of every opportunity they were given. They returned a fumble for a touchdown and having two drives over eighty yards go for touchdowns. It may be too soon to declare the Rams out of it, but it sure isn't looking like St Louis is going to be big players in a stacked NFC, let alone the lowly NFC West.
1. Baltimore Ravens- One of the most obvious hangovers I have ever seen. After an astronomically huge win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore came out with a complete dud. Their first five drives went like this, three yards, two yards, six yards (turnover), twenty nine yards, ten yards (turnover). The Ravens took it to the Steelers early and set the tone for the game. Although the defense played well to start, the offense looks like it was their own defenses' worst enemy. With a running attack led by Ray Rice, there is no way you should let your defense get on the field four times in the first quarter, especially when you started the game with the ball. Holding Rice to forty-three yards in a game is the winning formula against these Ravens. The defense was obviously exhausted by the second quarter shown by the fact that the Titans scored two touchdowns and two field goals on four consecutive drives going into the third quarter. The Ravens need to sure up their offense if they ever think they are going to advance anywhere in the AFC this year. They better hope that this was a game they will look back and laugh at, instead of Pittsburgh laughing at how bad they played week one.