Drink up Cleveland, the time has come and you will finally end that long losing on Thursday as the New York Jets come to town. The Cleveland Browns could easily be 2-0 as they have played well so far, expect kicker Zane Gonzalez missed potential game winners in each game. Gonzalez has since been kicked to the curb, and they have a game that is made to order to win. The Jets are playing their third game in ten days, coming off a tough loss at home and playing a short week on the road. All factors that never play up well for even the best quarterbacks, let alone a rookie who still needs time to grow.
Through the first two weeks, the New Orleans Saints have not looked good at all, as they split their first two games at home. The Saints should have lost both games, as their defense did not show up in Week 1, giving up 48 points to the Buccaneers while their offense was late arriving last week against the Browns, as they needed a big comeback to win, and benefited from two missed PATs and two missed field goals. Seeing the archrival Atlanta Falcons across the way could bring out the best in them, but this series is so tight I always tend to take the home team no matter who it is.
Nobody can tell week to week which Baltimore Ravens team is going to show up. Will it be the one that dropped 47 points on the Bills in Week 1 or the one that was sluggish losing last Thursday to the Bengals? Back home, they face the 2-0 Denver Broncos who won both their games at home thanks to a stacked defense, despite Case Keenum showing an early propensity for interceptions. The one thing that is easiest to tell in this game is that scoring will be at a premium. In the end, the Ravens get a boost from the home crowd and win on a late field goal.
The Cincinnati Bengals have come out of the gate strong, winning the first two games, as they have shown improvement on both sides of the ball. While, splitting their first two games the Carolina Panthers have also played well, losing a tough one at Atlanta last week after smothering the Cowboys in the opener. This one looks like it should be a close defensive battle, in which case I like the Panthers, as Cam Newton will make the big plays when it matters most. In addition, I am not ready to buy into the Bengals as more often than not, Andy Dalton manages that big costly interception when the game is on the line while trying to force feed it to A.J. Green.
The Houston Texans come home after two tough losses on the road, to face a New York Giants team that appears to be sinking in quicksand at 0-2 as it does the Texas Two Step. The Giants spent all season looking to rebuild their offensive line, singing Nate Solder and drafting Will Hernandez. However, they forgot to take out the trash, as Ereck Flowers remains an embarrassment as Eli Manning is left running for his life again, while Saquon Barkley cannot find any room to run with defenders going through Flowers with ease. The Texans have a massive defense front that will only make things worse as Eli Manning begins to contemplate career changes while spending another Sunday getting a close up look at the field surface.
There appears to be a certain strut in the walk of the Jacksonville Jaguars after their impressive win over the Patriots brought them to 2-0. However, they should be wary of the Tennessee Titans who come to Duval County this week, as the Jaguars lost both games against Tennessee last season. The Titans coming off a solid win without Marcus Mariota hope to have their starting quarterback in time for a battle against the leaders in the AFC South. Though looking at the Jaguars front seven led by the hard-hitting Calais Campbell, perhaps he would be best waiting another week to return.
After two impressive road wins, the Kansas City Chiefs come home to their Arrowhead season opener, with Patrick Mahomes being the hottest new star in the league, with ten touchdown passes in his first two games. The San Francisco 49ers, also have their own young gun in Jimmy Garoppolo who after suffering his first loss in Week 1, bounced back at home against the Lions. Even in their win last week, the Niners had problems as a potential game-changing interception was wiped out by a penalty. The Chiefs offense looks like a machine that can’t be stopped. The Niners may get a big game from Jimmy G too, but it won’t be enough.
Last week the Miami Dolphins enjoyed a satisfying win in the Meadowlands against the Jets to start 2-0. However, the Dolphins have been here before and 2-0 starts, hardly seem to pick up playoff appearances. The Oakland Raiders come in 0-2, having let one slip away last week in Denver. The Dolphins over the last two decades always seem to build up their fans hopes only to have them come crashing down. With a big trip up to Foxboro next week, the Dolphins are caught looking ahead and suffer another letdown, as their offensive problems from the second week carry over as their fans suffer another letdown.
No team has looked worse than the Buffalo Bills in their first two weeks as they had their doors blow off early in each of their first two games. While, Vontae Davis quit at halftime the rest of the team did not and finished strong, losing 31-20, but that may have been more from the Chargers letting up on the gas pedal. At 1-0-1 the Minnesota Vikings, meanwhile have to be happy as Kirk Cousins led them back after trailing all day against the Packers, and when you are a visiting team, leaving Lambeau Field with a tie you must feel good about yourself. Back home against a sorry looking Bills team, look for the Vikings to win easily.
Coming off a loss in Tampa, the Philadelphia Eagles are happy to welcome back Carson Wentz, who has finally been cleared to play as the defending champions return home to take on the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts who know all about a star quarterback returning are coming off a solid win against the Redskins, and could easily be 2-0 if not for some late mistakes in Week 1. The Eagles have looked shaky in their first two games, but that could be due in large part of getting an opposing team’s best effort, one of the pitfalls of success. Expect a big game from Wentz as the Eagles soar to victory by picking apart the Colts secondary.
Last week was another classic letdown for the Washington Redskins, as they fell flat in the FedEx Field debut of Alex Smith against the Colts. The Redskins had looked so good in Week 1, but they may be a result of the Cardinals being so horrible. The Green Bay Packers, meanwhile feel like they have been through two playoff games already as they rallied to beat the Bears in Week 1, and battled the Vikings to a draw in Week 2. The Redskins should provide for a little relief, as the Packers barring a breakdown should win easily, with Aaron Rodgers lead the way, as the Redskins offense runs in circles.
It will be LA LA land at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum as the Los Angeles Rams host the Los Angeles Chargers in the first NFL battle of LA since 1994. In a few years, these teams will share the same stadium, with the Chargers playing the role of second banana. The Rams have looked like one of the best teams in the league the first two weeks as they have rolled over the Raiders and the Cardinals. The Chargers are a better team, but unless Joey Bossa is able to come back and be healthy enough to slow down Todd Gurley, it will be another day of rocking it all night and all day as LA knows how to ram it.
It may be time for Josh Rosen in the desert, as the Arizona Cardinals desperately need something to spark some life into them after looking dead on their feet in the first two games, being outscored by the Redskins and Rams 58-6. On second thought, I see Khalil Mack on the field, it might be better off getting Rosen to hide. Mack has been everything the Bears could have hoped for as the Monsters of the Midway lead the NFL in sacks in the first two weeks. The one concern is the play of Mitch Trubisky, which has been rather uneven, but with the Mack attack, it will not be a concern in Arizona.
The Seattle Seahawks limp home at 0-2, hoping the 12th man can get them revitalized as they play their first game of the season at CenturyLink Field. However, the Seahawks 0-2 start is no mirage, as the Legion of Boom has vanished into dust with the click of the fingers. The offense has not been much better, as Russell Wilson has been getting pummeled the first two weeks, with a terrible offensive line and few weapons to find. The Cowboys looking to repeat what they did to the Giants last week come out smoking and take the crowd out of the game on the way to a second straight win.
Bill Belichick may, in fact, be one of the two or three greatest coaches in the history of the NFL with his Super Bowl success, but he has yet to pass on his greatness to a protégé. Take Paul Brown a Hall of Fame coach, also among the best all time, had several other Hall of Fame coaches that once worked as an assistant or played for him. His coaching tree would resemble a might oak tree. Belichick’s assistants have yet to have a winning record with his coaching tree, looking like something only Charlie Brown would love. When his former assistants come back to face him the result usually is not very good. Look for that trend to continue as Matt Patricia’s Lions are taken apart on Sunday Night.
They say that winning is the great deodorant, right now things are pretty pungent in Pittsburgh as a 0-1-1 start has an odorous smell lofting out of the steel city. It’s not just the poor play that has to have fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers concerned its everything coming in and out of the team, with Le’Veon Bell’s holdout, Antonio Brown fighting with coaches, the press and fans while not showing up to practice. It appears that Mike Tomlin has lost control of the team. However, what has made the Steelers successful is their ways of overcoming adversity and shinning in the spotlight. Look for a big game from Ben Roethlisberger as they upend Ryan Fitzpatrick and the 2-0. Tampa Bay Buccaneers.