Two Weeks into the NFL Season
Okay, two weeks of the NFL season are in the books and folks are either jumping off a bridge or making plans to go to the Super Bowl.
It’s the overreact season so why can’t I play the game like everybody else.
But I live in the world of reality, so you may be disappointed in my take on what’s transpired after only two weeks, imagine two weeks of a 16-game season.
The Super Bowl champion Eagles.
The pulse: They’re not nearly as good as a year ago. Won’t be back in the big show.
My take: They’re still the best in a weak division. But won’t be back in the big show.
The pulse: Jacksonville did to them what they should have done in last year’s playoffs. Gonna be tough to get back for another Super Bowl try.
My take: True, but no one will challenge the Pats in their division and all that really counts is how they’re playing at the end. Never count them out.
The pulse: 2-0, beating the Saints and the Eagles. Who saw this coming? Is this the “surprise” team that always shows up?
My take: No. Shocking start. They’ll come to earth and won’t be a factor. But isn’t their backup QB a hoot? The bearded veteran from Harvard is a great early season
story. How do you kick him out when Jameis Winston comes back in another week? Good luck with that.
The pulse: They have Aaron Rodgers, so they have as good a chance as any to get to the Super Bowl.
My take: They’re too inconsistent, and have too many problems that pop up to overcome Rodgers’ greatness.
The pulse: Hey, is this the best team in the AFC?
My take: I think they are. Blake Bortles is no longer holding them back. He’s a weapon. But they’ll need a healthy Leonard Fournette to make it happen.
No way without him.
Those are just a few of the many teams with early season stories.
Here’s my take on the league in general.
Those who may not be as good as they’ve looked so far: AFC: Bengals, Dolphins, Broncos. All 2-0.
Teams who are 0-2 or 1-1 who will be playoff contenders or better: Chargers, Texans, Ravens, and of course, the Patriots.
Notice I didn’t include the Steelers. Not sure about them.
In the NFC: I’ve already discussed the Bucs. The other three teams in that division all made the playoffs last season and all will contend again.
The Vikings will be there, and the Cowboys may surprise.
The 49ers, with Jimmy Garoppolo at the helm and all that hype are still not ready for prime time.
Up and coming in a big way are the Bears. Watch this team.
When I was a kid, my father took me to Yankee Stadium for a Giants game. They were a power at the time, and they were playing the Packers.
The year was 1959.
It was Vince Lombardi’s first year as head coach of Green Bay. The Pack was 1-10-1 the year before.
Lombardi was on the Giants coaching staff before he left for the Packers.
The Giants won the game, 20-3. On the way out of the Stadium, my Dad and I looked at each other, and said the same thing…”This team is gonna be good!”
Despite the loss, the Packers looked like a well-coached team that clearly had better days ahead of them.
They were beaten but had that unmistakable “look” of a future winner.
The next year, the Packers nearly went the distance, losing to the Eagles in the NFL Championship game. It was the only playoff loss Lombardi ever had.
The following year, 1961, two years after we saw that game at Yankee Stadium, the Packers throttled the Giants 37-0 to win the title.
That’s how I feel about the Chicago Bears. Despite squandering a 20-0 lead in Green Bay in the opening weekend, they reminded me of the way I felt after that Giants-Packers contest in 1959.
I’m not saying they’ll become a dynasty like the Packers, but I believe the days of Chicago Bears misery is coming to an end.
The one team I should mention here are the Los Angeles Rams.
I had a chance to see them up-close and personal last weekend against the hapless Cardinals.
No team is without a weakness, but the Rams have all the ingredients to dominate, play in the Super Bowl, and win it all.
I know you can’t make a fair assessment considering the team they played.
But this is what they have: A leader with swagger at quarterback in Jared Goff who has the greatest attribute a player at his position must have …Accuracy!
A truly outstanding running back in Todd Gurley. A group of wide receivers, any one of whom can have a huge day. A staunch offensive line that protects well.
The highest scoring team in the league last year that will only get better, and the best of all: A defense that features six former number one draft picks,
filled with stars, and a coordinator in Wade Phillips who is a master at how to use them.
We all know that bringing on players who have been trouble is a risky enterprise.
The Rams added two such cornerbacks in Marcus Peters from the Chiefs, and Aquib Talib, formerly of the Broncos.
They also brought in defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.
Peters and Talib were acquired in trades. Suh was signed as a free agent. Often, players sign for the big money and then coast. They don’t live up to their reputation. They’re contented.
But, I feel, in the case of all three, this is their best and possibly last chance to win a championship. Ultimately, veteran players only want to play for a team that will get them the one thing they are missing: a championship ring.
Their head coach Sean McVay connects with his team in a unique way. He makes the hard decisions. As the offensive mastermind, he dials up exciting and out-of-the-box plays the athletes love to run. But he also makes himself accountable to his players. They buy in.
Sean McVay, head coach of the Los Angeles Rams
If there is one weakness, it may be in their corps of linebackers. But the rest of that unit is so impressive, they could very well overcome those issues
The Rams face the Vikings next Thursday. Two NFC Super Bowl contenders for sure. Just don’t hop on one bandwagon and off another after that game.
That’s what people do after a few weeks into the NFL season. By December, no one will even remember what went down this time of year.