Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Rising or Falling: NFL Teams After Week 2

Past Flash Judgments
Week 1

We are 1/8th of the way through the 2008 NFL season. Here are my quick opinions and flash judgments after week 2.

Buffalo - Well they pulled one out against the team I chose to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. The Bills are looking like the team to beat in the AFC East. Their stock continues to rise as they prove they are one of the AFC's best.

Jacksonville - It's still early to hit the panic button but the Jaguars have all sorts of problems on offense. David Garrard has been inaccurate and careless and the patchwork line can;t open up holes for Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew. Is Tennessee the best team in the AFC South? Indianapolis and Jacksonville have proved to be more than vulnerable after 2 weeks. The Jaguars stock is falling but I still think they are a playoff team.

Carolina - They were able to pull one out too. The Briggs hit on Delhomme became a rallying point. Is there any question that the Jonathan Stewart/DeAngelo Williams duo can be lethal? Wow. Once their ground game gets going its hard to stop. Carolina is looking like the team to beat in the NFC South.

Chicago - They played well against a good team for a second straight week. Is Kyle Orton really the answer at QB? He is playing that way. If the Bears establish the running game, Orton avoids Grossman-like mistakes, and the defense plays like it did the first 2 weeks, Chicago could sneak into the playoffs. I still think it is a 3-team race in the NFC North. Sorry Detroit.

Washington - What a way to rebound. Here's yet another come from behind win. The Redskins took care of the Saints with a pounding running game. Clinton Portis gained 96 yards on the ground and scored 2 TDs. The Redskins looked much better this week and showed that they can be a playoff team. There stock is up a bit and they should contend for a wild card spot.

New Orleans - The Saints were working with a patchwork defense as 3 starters and 3 reserves missed the game against the Redskins. Some of those players should be back this week. They didn't look like the team I had contending for the NFC Championship. Their stock is down a bit this week and they will be in for a fight for the NFC South. They are still a playoff team.

Tennessee - I am starting to think I underestimated them for sure. I knew they had a stout defense but I didn't like their offense. I still don't love it but they have done too much for me to ignore them. Their lack of a top-notch receiver is balanced by a great running game with LenDale White and Chris Johnson. Kerry Collins is probably going to be the QB all year so, as long as he avoids the mistakes that plagued him at time in New York and Oakland, Tennesse could take the AFC South. Their stock is still on the rise.

Cincinnati - I can't say I am surprised. Their defense is still terrible and apparently Carson Palmer has been vastly overrated. He is having an awful year. When you have Chad Ochocinco, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, and Chris Henry at your disposal you shouldn't have a problem scoring points. Marvin Lewis is done for. Their stock remains the same. I predicted them to be terrible.

Indianapolis - That was close. Way too close for a team with that much talent. I knwo Marvin Harrison isn't the same and the offensive line has numerous injuries, but come on! The defense looked sloppy last week and this game would have been over if the Vikings had any sort of passing attack. The Colts need to get healthy but that may not happen for another 2-4 weeks. The Colts stock is still falling, even after the win. However, I see them fixing it and making the playoffs.

Minnesota - An NFC contender? Not right now. They were the chic pick to supplant the Packers and they have played terribly. Blowing a 15 point lead to Indianapolis with that defense and running game? Wow. The Vikings are looking like the 3rd best team in the NFC North. Stock still falling.

NY Giants - The Rams are everyone's punching bag this season. The Giants stomped St. Louis on their way to a 2-0 mark, the opposite of last season. I still don't think they have the talent to beat Dallas and Philadelphia but they have a shot at a wild card. Stock unchanged.

St. Louis - Ugly, ugly, ugly. The Rams look much worse than I thought they would. Their once potent offense hasn't even run a play inside the opponent's 20 after 8 quarters. Terrible. They are the worst team in the NFL right now. Stock way down.

Oakland - They rebounded nicely from the shellacking they too from Denver. Unfortunately it was against a bad team. The win may have saved Lane Kiffin for another week but Oakland is no more than a 6-win team. He'll be gone within the next month. Stock up a little, still not a playoff team.

Kansas City - The Chiefs have o-line and injury problems much like Indianapolis. The ground game can't get going. Kansas City is bad but not nearly as bad as St. Louis. They kept it close against the Patriots but looked much worse against the Raiders. Stock unchanged.

Green Bay - Aaron Rodgers, the real deal. I was always on the packers side in the Favre saga because I believe Rodgers could be a capable and serviceable QB. And I hate Brett Favre. But Rodgers has more than lived up to expectations. He has the Packers back where Favre had them. Green Bay looks like the team to beat in the NFC North again and could play for the NFC Championship. Stock still climbing.

Detroit - Highs and lows abound. They didn't give up for the 2nd straight week, fighting off large deficits 2 weeks in a row. However they couldn't maintain a lead and then got blown out. Detroit has offensive talent but the defense isn't close to being able to hold anyone below 24 points. Their stock takes another hit as they move to the cellar of the NFC North.

Atlanta - The Falcons looked pretty decent against Detroit but they ran in to a much better Tampa Bay team. After a wonderful debut by Matt Ryan and Michael Turner, the Falcons offense did little against a stout Tampa Bay defense. They weren't expected to win so their stock doesn't change. They are a 5 or 6 win team.

Tampa Bay - Brian griese lead the team to victory. He remains the starter. The Buccaneers will have their up and down games, much like they do seasons. The Bucs are pretty good but I still think they are the 3rd best team in the NFC South. Stock unchanged.

San Francisco - Nice win. They were down 14-0 early but fought back. The game was pretty ugly. The 49ers surrendered 8 sacks and yet still managed 33 poinst and the win. The line is pretty bad but they made a few holes for Frank Gore. If Seattle were healthy the 49ers would have lost. This team isn't that good. Stock unchanged, not a playoff team.

Seattle - The injuries continue to hurt the Seahawks. The defensive implosion didn't help either. They are better than San Francisco, despite not proving it this weel. The Seahawks demise may be this year and not next, like I predicted. The team has too many injuries. Stock way down. Fringe playoff team (only ebcause the rest of the NFC West is bad).

Denver - What a game! Mike Shanahan has balls of steel. Jay Cutler and the passing game look like the real deal. Eddie Royal has been one of the most impressive rookies after 2 weeks. The running game always works for them. Now the defense needs to tighten up a bit. A pleasant surprise after 2 weeks. Stock still rising. Are they the best in the (AFC) West? Right now they are.

San Diego - Another tough loss. They probably should have won based on the bad call but they still failed to stop the Denver offense from scoring the TD and the 2-point conversion. The team has talent but they need to get some players helathy. Where is the running game? Why can't the defense stop anyone? Not good for a team expected to challenge for a Super Bowl title. Stock down, still a playoff team.

Arizona - Best in the (NFC) West? Right now, definitely. They had an uninspiring win against San Francisco but the passing atack was on fire versus Miami. Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin are probably the best WR duo in the league. The defense is performing much better this year. There are still a few question marks but this could be their year. Stock on the rise.

Miami - Many things have changed yet the same putrid results remain. The close game versus the Jets is a distant memory now. Especially since the Jets appear vastly overrated by the media (as I have been saying). Miami's two greatest weaknesses were exposed against the Cardinals: their secondary and WRs. The Dolphins have a much better team this year but they haven't shown it. This is a 5-6 win team. Stock down.

New England - Many wrote off the Patriots when Brady went down. Others didn't. They saw the stout d-line, which was even stronger on Sunday. The Patriots aren't the menacing offensive juggernaut any more. But they never were until last year. They are back to winning games like they did in 2001, 2003, and 2004: strong defense and mistake-free QB play. The Patriots are very much alive in the AFC. Stock up a bit.

NY Jets - People prematurely crowned their ass and now look foolish. The offseason acquisitions did little to squash the Patriots dominance of the last 5 seasons. The Jets are still a playoff-type team but it is wild card or bust. Stock down.

Pittsburgh - It wasn;t pretty but a win is a win. The conditions didn't help. Pittsburgh maintained their dominance over the Browns with strong defense and just enough offense. The Steelers remain the team to beat in the AFC North. The test at Philadelphia will be a good one. Super Bowl preview? Stock unchanged.

Cleveland - Well everyone knew the schedule would be difficult. Here they are at 0-2. How do they respond? For this team to challenge for a playoff spot they have to fix the offense. Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow have done little. With such high expectations to begin the season, the same ol' Browns could appear. Will Crennel be gone? Or will Brady Quinn get a chance? Stock down.

Dallas - Another esciting game! The offensive ioutput was unbelieveable by halftime. 30-24!?!? Crazy. The Cowboys have one of the best offenses in the league and proved they can stop a division rival and NFC Championship contender. Now if they do the same to the Packers, then watch out! This Dallas team is bound for super things. Stock unchanged.

Philadelphia - And admirable showing in a hostile stadium. The offensive firepower was on full display. Unfortunately the defenses looked lost. The Eagles secondary was overmatched and looked confused and outplayed all night. Sean Cosniding and Brian Dawkins played awful. However the Cowboys will probably be Philadelphia's toughest game all year. And the next time they paly they'll meet in Philly. The NFC East - and top NFC seed - could come down to the week 17 matchup (December 28th). SWEET! Stock unchanged.

So there are my flash judgments for week 2. Agree? Disaagree? Let me know!

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