The NFL has long hung its hat on the fact that it is a parity league; meaning any team, any day can win. And lo-and-behold the first two weeks of the 2015 season have further driven home that belief. The NFL has plenty of acronyms, some professional and some comical. Officially it stands for the National Football League. Some call it the No Fun League (in reference to taking celebrations out of the game) or Not For Long (in reference to length of playing career). However I think the most appropriate acronym is Not Freaking Logical. Let’s take a look at the wild first two weeks of the NFL season.
We should have known the NFL was back to its wacky ways when the Buffalo Bills thrashed the Indianapolis Colts 27-14 in week one of the season. Yes the same Bills who are starting Tyrod Taylor, a quarterback drafted in the sixth round back in 2011, who came into the season with a TOTAL of 35 passes during his four-year career. Those Bills man-handled the Colts, who have breezed through their division ever since Andrew Luck took the helm. Speaking of which Andrew Luck, the future of the NFL quarterback position, destined to ascend even further this year with the additional weapons of Andre Johnson and Frank Gore….oh yeah he has led the Colts to 21 points in two games this season and the Colts are at 0-2 after a loss to the New York Jets last night! Not Freaking Logical!
Speaking of the Jets, fresh off their pounding of the Colts last night, are now 2-0 on the season. The Jets are starting journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick after the Geno Smith preseason debacle and are missing their most explosive defensive player, Sheldon Richardson. Of course the Jets picked up an expected win over the Cleveland Browns in week one, but oh yeah then the Browns defeat the Tennessee Titans in week two to further confuse things. Because these were the same Titans that looked infinitely better in week one than at any point last year with Marcus Mariotta putting up Madden video game numbers. The Titans and Mariotta were unstoppable in their week one win over Tampa Bay. A Tampa Bay team who then in return, defeated the Saints in New Orleans. Not Freaking Logical!
Speaking of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde teams that looked one way in week one and totally opposite in week two…we can’t forget about my home team the St. Louis Rams. The Rams defeated NFC West bad boy the Seattle Seahawks, who are shockingly 0-2 now, in week one with a dominant defensive line and flashing offensive potential only to succumb to the “always something controversial going on” Washington Redskins in week two. Another team without a certain identity, the Oakland Raiders looked abysmal in a week one loss to Cincinnati but were somehow able to pull off a late win over the Baltimore Ravens in week two. And the Jaguars who put up just nine points in a week one loss to Carolina notched their first win of the season with a win over the revamped Dolphin defense in week two. Another Jekyll and Hyde team even has a player named Hyde starring for them…the San Francisco 49ers. Carlos Hyde is the team’s top running back and has a front row seat to a roller coaster team. After a dominant performance in week one the 49ers looked exactly as bad in week two’s loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Not Freaking Logical!
And the illogical doesn’t even stay contained to just the winless and inconsistent teams. Things still aren’t even settled among teams that are 2-0 this year. Dallas, who stole a game from the Giants in week one, is now without their starting quarterback and star wide receiver, and in addition to losing their star running back from last year; now have their top three offensive positions with question marks. Can any team survive a new quarterback, wide receiver, and running back? Well if you ask the Philadelphia Eagles, who have sent all three positions packing over the last couple of years, the answer is a resounding no; with the Eagles a sleeper pick sitting at 0-2 early in the season and averaging a whopping 17 points per game. Not Freaking Logical!
The Patriots are 2-0 as well with Brady and his bunch taking aim once again for people criticizing their antics. But their defense just allowed 31 points to the Bills. Denver was able to pull out two wins but in doing so have hardly looked like the powerful team of the last two years. The Packers are 2-0 based solely on the arm of Aaron Rodgers while the Panthers and Bengals, yes Panthers and Bengals, are also both 2-0. Not Freaking Logical!
There is one thing that looks certain after just two weeks though. The Chicago Bears will suck! Wow, as if things couldn’t get worse for the Bears. After losing top draft pick Kevin White to a shin injury during preseason the Bears drop their first two games and now will be without Jay Cutler because of a hamstring injury. And yes Bears fans are super critical of Cutler, but do you really thing Jimmy Clausen is the answer? All I know is the first two weeks of the NFL has provided few answers and plenty more questions. Thanfully there are 15 more weeks to go in the regular season before we attempt to sort anything out as to who the Super Bowl favorites will be.
But here are some logical thoughts after the first two weeks of NFL action and some important questions that still need answering:
- The Arizona Cardinals look legit. They have now won the last eight games Carson Palmer has completed and are a different team with him throwing the ball. With the Seahawks in a hole early could the Cardinals be the surprise divisional winner?
- Has the Saints run ended? With the Saints at 0-2, having lost their last six home games (a place they used to dominate) and now word of Drew Brees having should issues; could their run as a contender have ended?
- Will the Cowboys be able to survive without a legit running back, their all-world receiver, and Jerry’s fan boy Tony Romo?
- Is Peyton Manning able to reinvent himself? We saw a different Peyton Manning at the end of last season and that appeared to be carried into this year. Whether it was Gary Kubiak’s new offense Manning was running or the lingering effects of old man time, Manning was off to a slow start. Then the last three minutes of the game in Kansas City happened…which is the Manning we will see this year?
- The Falcons look like a typical Madden NFL team. They have a dangerous offense and will try to get by on defense. Their offense meanwhile consists of just throwing the ball to Julio Jones 10 plus times a game. Can it last?
- Is there a better quarterback out there than Aaron Rodgers? I mean this guy lost his top receiver so now he has a banged up Randall Cobb and a twice cut, picked up off waivers James Jones and is still slinging the ball around for touchdowns. Amazing.
- Is the Colts Luck running out? The Colts are 0-2 on the year. They have the franchise quarterback that everyone loves. But stats people have been preaching about the Colts luck on the field over the past few years; too many close games won, not enough defense or running attack. Is this the year that luck runs out?
- Seattle success finally too much? Seattle is off to an 0-2 start as well, and only 16% of teams make the playoffs after such a start. For a team that has made two consecutive Super Bowls and brought in Jimmy Graham in hopes of taking the offense to the next level, that is not the start they wanted. Graham has just seven receptions this year and pressure is mounting on the defense with Kam Chancellor holding out and Richard Sherman actually getting abused on Monday night by the Packers.