NFL Week Two Recap
American Football Conference (AFC) East
New England Patriots: The typically dominant Patriots are off to a rocky start. With starters Trey Flowers and Patrick Chung out, the defense could not hold Jaguars quarterback (QB) Blake Bortles. Coming up, a Sunday night showdown between Bill Belichick’s Pats and former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia’s Lions.
New York Jets: Poor Sam Darnold. The Jets rookie QB threw a pick six on his first NFL pass but rallied to have an excellent game with a 76% completion rate and 116.8 passer rating. Against Miami, he threw 334 yards but had two interceptions. The Jets have potential but it is unclear if they will be able to deliver.
Buffalo Bills: In a surprising turn of events, veteran Vontae Davis retired from the Bills at halftime on Sunday and abruptly left the stadium. Also at halftime, head coach Sean McDermott stripped defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier of play calling duties. With this much confusion, it is unlikely the Bills will be able to turn the season around.
Miami Dolphins: With two wins under their belt, the Dolphins have surprised many with their strong opening. QB Ryan Tannehill is doing well and wide receiver (WR) Albert Wilson continues to prove his worth. With a weak AFC East, the Dolphins can confidently consider a playoff run.
Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers are having trouble both on and off the field. Star running back Le’Veon Bell has refused to sign a franchise tag and wide receiver Antonio Brown used Twitter to lash out against criticism. On the field, the defense fumbled their way to a loss on Sunday. Head coach Mike Tomlin will need to make changes if the team hopes to make the playoffs.
Cincinnati Bengals: With a 2-0 start, the Bengals are excitedly looking towards the postseason. WR A.J. Green had two stellar games and QB Andy Dalton is playing well. Despite losing running back Joe Mixon, the Bengals are going still strong. Maybe it’s finally their year.
Baltimore Ravens: QB Joe Flacco just can’t catch a break in Cincinnati. On Thursday night, the Ravens almost mounted an amazing comeback but fell short in the fourth quarter, dashing hopes of a perfect season. Nonetheless, a great defensive showing from the previous week against the Bills still has fans excited for the season to come.
Cleveland Browns: Ah, the Browns. They don’t look good but they don’t look too bad, and in Cleveland, that’s cause for celebration. Defensive end Myles Garrett is forcing fumbles and making sacks. QB Tyrod Taylor is not playing well, but his backup Baker Mayfield has excellent potential. With a better kicker, Cleveland could actually win a game or two this season.
Indianapolis Colts: The Colts are mediocre. The offensive line is protecting QB Andrew Luck despite losing players and linebacker Darius Leonard is leading a strong defense. But there is room for improvement. Luck threw two interceptions against Washington and the Colts lost 23-34 in week one. Don’t hold out too much hope for America’s team.
Houston Texans: An early draft pick for the Texans, Deshaun Watson has the potential to be a franchise QB but the offensive line is struggling to protect him. On Sunday, he was sacked four times and hit another nine. With an improved offensive line, Watson would have space to play his best. Maybe next year.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Bortles! With high pocket awareness and a great arm, QB Blake Bortles has led the Jaguars to a 2-0 start. Despite running back Leonard Fournette’s absence, the offense is on fire with WR Keelan Cole making the catch of the weekend. Playoffs are looking probable!
Tennessee Titans: Despite Blaine Gabbert filling in for the injured Marcus Mariota, the Titans are 1-1. Safety Kevin Byard pulled off an epic fake-punt-for-a-touchdown with a pass to Dane Cruikshank. Next week, the Titans will have a difficult challenge as they face the Jaguars on the road.
Denver Broncos: The Denver Broncos had a strong 2-0 start with victories against the Seahawks and the Raiders. Despite bad officiating in the game against Raiders, the Broncos pulled out a victory. QB Case Keenum led a strong drive in the final two minutes and the defensive line pressured Derek Carr. The Broncos have strong potential this season.
Los Angeles Chargers: The Chargers are all about defense. Despite defensive end Joey Bosa’s foot injury, Melvin Ingram and Derwin James led the defensive line to great success including sacking Josh Allen five times. However, the Chargers playoff hopes rest on the Los Angeles showdown with the Rams this weekend.
Oakland Raiders: Jon Gruden is out of the announcing booth and onto the sideline! And he has already made a potentially season ending trade by giving up linebacker Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears. While he claims he does not regret it, the Raiders have had a disappointing 0-2 start. Better luck next year, Gruden.
Kansas City Chiefs: Kansas City is back and this time with Patrick Mahomes. In two games, the new QB scored a record breaking 10 touchdowns for the Kansas City Chiefs. While head coach Andy Reid has created a seemingly unstoppable team, the run game is a bit weak. Get that under control, and the Super Bowl is easily within reach.
National Football Conference (NFC) East
Dallas Cowboys: While the Cowboys beat the Giants, Dak Prescott needs help. His running is great, but his passing is unreliable. Despite a rough start against the Panthers, the defensive line effectively pressured Eli Manning. Playoffs hopes are looking good.
Washington Redskins: The Redskins have looked lost ever since Robert Griffin III injured his knee in 2012, and this year is no exception. The offensive line is struggling, the passing game is missing receivers, and the running game is practically non existent. Maybe in a few years.
New York Giants: Eli Manning was brutalized the entire game as the New York Giants offensive line failed to protect their QB. To make matters worse, center Jon Halapio was injured. Saquon Barkley is explosive, but he needs a better team to realize his potential. With a 0-2 start, the playoffs are highly unlikely.
Philadelphia Eagles: The defending Super Bowl champions had a rough start. The re-do of the Philly Special from the Super Bowl was a fun callback but was not very effective. Jason Peters and Mike Wallace are out with injuries but Carson Wentz is expected to return next week. With a little work, the Eagles could be amazing again. We’ll see.
Green Bay Packers: The Packers are in good hands with QB Aaron Rodgers. After leaving the first game with an injury, Rodgers returned to lead the Packers to an unexpected victory. Game two ended in a tie but Rodgers played well. If Rodgers can keep playing like he is now, Green Bay is looking good.
Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings needed a new kicker. Daniel Carlson missed three field goals including two in overtime in the tie against the Packers. On Monday, the Vikings released Carlson and signed veteran free agent Dan Bailey. Surely Bailey can create some momentum for Minnesota.
Chicago Bears: The Bears are doing well, although they aren’t quite living up to preseason hype. Khalil Mack is excelling with his new team, and new QB Mitchell Trubisky is playing well. They have all the right pieces, but only time will tell if they can put them together.
Detroit Lions: Something isn’t working for the Lions. QB Matthew Stafford can no longer throw his signature deep ball. A controversial holding call against defensive back Quandre Diggs nullified an interception, and the run defense needs serious help. Hopefully Matt Patricia can work some Belichick-inspired magic before the Lions-Pats prime time showdown.
Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton is unreliable at best. The Panthers’ QB had 161 yards and no touchdowns in week one but threw for 335 yards and three touchdowns in week two. With a lacking run defense and too many dropped passes, Carolina is hoping the return of Thomas Davis can pull the team out of its funk.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: FitzMagic in the house! The Buccaneers’ QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is the talk of the football community. Throwing over 400 yards and four touchdowns in both games, Fitzpatrick has made a strong case for the starting position during Jameis Winston’s suspension, creating uncertainty over who will start. Bucs fans everywhere should be excited because the playoffs seem like just the beginning for this team.
New Orleans Saints: The Saints are messy. They struggled to a victory over the Browns and lost 48-40 to Tampa Bay. QB Drew Brees has been playing well, but it just hasn’t been enough. Let’s hope head coach Sean Payton can get this team back on track.
Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons had a slow offensive start. In week one, they failed to convert in the red zone. The second week was much better but Damontae Kazee was ejected for a dirty hit on Cam Newton. Perhaps a better offense and clean play will make a difference.
Seattle Seahawks: Since winning the Super Bowl in 2014, the Seahawks have not looked the same. The notorious “Legion of Boom” defense is no more, and without a good offensive line, QB Russell Wilson can’t get anything done. At this point, playoffs are unlikely for head coach Pete Carroll and the 12s.
Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals need help, preferably in the form of a competent QB. Sam Bradford has been abysmal. The team is 4 for 20 on third downs. They scored six points in the first game and were shut out of the second. At this point Cardinals fans, hope for good draft picks and a better chance next year.
San Francisco 49ers: Despite the momentum built late last season, the 49ers are off to a slow start. QB Jimmy Garoppolo threw three interceptions in the first game and completed less than half of his passes. With games against the Chiefs and the Chargers in the upcoming weeks, the 49ers future doesn’t look good.
Los Angeles Rams: Let’s talk defense! The Rams are crushing it defensively. In the first two games, they scored 77 points and only allowed 13, and the defensive line isn’t even reaching the QB or forcing turnovers yet. In a few weeks, LA could have the best defense in the league. With little competition in the NFC West, the Rams have strong playoff potential.