Cincinnati vs. Houston
Cincinnati might be the worst team in football right now. That team is a total shell of themselves from the top down. Their offense is near non-existent and their defense looked awful going up against a rookie QB with about 2 quarters of NFL game time under his belt up until that point. Deshaun Watson should a bit of his electric playmaking ability but still has a long way to go to become comfortable and confident throwing the ball downfield. He is fortunate in that he has a good defense that can get the ball back in his hands and hold opponents to modest scores (normally). Regardless he performed well in his second start and I look forward to watching him develop this season.
Philadelphia vs. Kansas City
Building off last week Alex Smith looks like the QB he was billed to be all those years ago. The game started off slow and was mostly a will of defenses for the first half. Speaking of which both defenses are very respectable but Philly’s front 4 is monstrous. They got to Alex Smith over a half handful of times and made life difficult for the Cheif offense. After a while though the Chiefs found their rhythm. Though Philly’s defense did a good job of containing Tyreek Hill it was the rookie Kareem Hunt and Travis Kelce who stepped up. Hunt and Kelce exploded in the fourth quarter and allowed the Chiefs to pull away. Hunt, in particular, is just downright impressive. He is everything evaluators thought he was coming out of Toledo, it makes you wonder how he lasted until the 3rd round. The Eagles kept it close though and though they aren't the complete team the Chiefs are Carson Wentz at QB gives them a legit chance. I don’t envy having the Skins play Kansas City this season.
Washington vs. Los Angeles (Rams)
It wouldn't be a Redskins game if it wasn't won with less than 5 minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Skins started out hot and to my pleasant surprise leaned on the running game for the majority of their offensive production. It was clear that the OL unit was much improved from last week and so were the running backs as Rob Kelley picked up chunk yardage along with Chris Thompson and Semaje Perine. Inexplicably of course when the Redskins had the chance to really start and shut the door on the Rams the offensive call is two straight fade routes that were off target and resulted in the team having to settle for a field goal. But let's set one thing straight, Chris Thompson is a football player and he is worth every cent of his contract extension. With the recent impatience regarding draft picks and their physical and mental health issues, I hope the fan base can remember that these guys are drafted based on talent and if they have time and opportunity they will produce for the team.
I still feel the defense is improved overall but the Skins still managed to bust a few coverages and allow big plays down the sideline, not to mention letting Todd Gurley look like he had returned to his rookie form on a couple plays. There was a lot of individual playmaking happening on defense that kept the unit intact including great plays by Matt Ionnadis, Bashaud Breeland, Josh Norman, Ryan Kerrigan etc. One obvious flaw is that if the team thought Garcon and Jackson’s production was going to replicated by Terrell Pryor they look to be sorely mistaken. Pryor is a nice piece but he is not a natural receiver and is more WR2 than WR1 in my eyes. I hope Cousins can get on the same page more consistently not just with him but with all his receivers. And I hope Pryor remedies his drop problem.
New England vs. New Orleans
Don't fret, Tom Brady is back. As we all know by now even when the Patriots aren't on top they are a team built to rebound. When a player goes out another takes his place. That was on display today of course and Tom Brady carved up arguably the worst secondary in the league but did it using new guys like Rex Burkhead and Phillip Dorsett but of course, ole reliable Rob Gronkowski was a big factor as well. The Patriots look to have gotten back to their old form indeed.
New Orleans simply won’t be able to win many games (if any) with the state of their defense, particularly, their secondary. It’s atrocious. Drew Brees still looks great but it's clear he and the receivers can only take the team so far (it's looking like 19-20 points). If their defense can’t hold opponents to that threshold the Saints are in for a long and disappointing season.
Cleveland vs. Baltimore
I knew Deshone Kizer and the entire Cleveland team were going to have a rough outing against Baltimore’s defense. Kizer was harassed and threw an unfortunate pick that bounced off his receivers hands. He also must have been hit pretty hard on a play as he left the game with a migraine. One thing that stood out when watching was the effort of Kenny Britt. Cleveland has invested substantial draft capital into the WR/TE position which is why it's so puzzling that they went out and signed a 60% effort guy in Britt with young and hungry talent on the bench. Britt was noticeably uninterested in helping out Kiser when he was running for his life, something you would hope your veteran WR would do. Seeing as Britt is not a substantial part of the offense I’m simply not sure why he’s still around. Once Kizer left Kevin Hogan game in and performed above expectations bit also had limited success against the Ravens defense.
Speaking of the Ravens, Jeremy Maclin was a great pickup for them and Terrence West looks good as well. And if you remember Tyus Bowser (who I didn't like at all) even got in on the action with a great interception. I didn't think the Bengals would be as bad as they are but I can't see much competition for the AFC North outside of the Steelers and Ravens and the Ravens may take it. Through two games they've allowed 10 points, have 10 sacks, and 8 interceptions.
Chicago vs. Tampa Bay
One of the pregame show pundits said that Jamies Winston might start off slow due to having an extra week off. I laughed. I might be higher on Winston than most people, after all, I think he is becoming a star QB right before our eyes. Winston didn’t start off slow he came out slinging the football. He looks pretty comfortable with his receiver tandem of Evans and Jackson. Tampa Bay’s defense was dominant against the Bears and I’m really upset I didn't pick them in my Fanduel this week. I’m not sure why the Bears are still trying to start Mike Glennon. His ceiling is clear. The old reasoning of not wanting to throw a young QB into the fire is an interesting one when you trade up to the second overall pick to select a QB with the least starting experience possible it seems. Just play Trubisky.
Minnesota vs. Pittsburgh
The Vikings really struggled without Sam Bradford. Case Keenum is trash (nothing personal) he just isn’t a good player. I would have liked to see them rely on Dalvin Cook a bit more, and they did try. Cook just barely missed a touchdown with his knee getting down just short of the goal line. The Steelers came out and played this one much more balanced and cleaned up the penalty issues they had last week. Martavis Bryant is back! It was nice to see him score his first touchdown since the 2015 season. The Vikings are second in the NFC North standings right now but I cant see them staying there without consistent QB play.
San Francisco vs. Seattle
God this was boring. Both these teams suck. Save for a few individual performances it was really hard to watch two putrid offenses. Carlos Hyde is the best thing going for the 49ers. Russell Wilson is the best thing going for the Seahawks he just has no support. I realize Richardson caught the game winner but it shouldn’t have been that hard. I don’t want to get ahead of myself but if the Hawks keep playing like this that November matchup against them looks like a W.
Tennessee vs. Jacksonville
The Jaguars started the year off well but let's not kid ourselves, we knew it wouldn't last. Blake Bortles has to lose the game somehow and he didn't disappoint in this one. He tossed two interceptions and fumbled at least once. Outside of fulfilling his rookie contract, I can’t see why he would get another starting chance anywhere. Now that I’ve said a mean thing let’s get to the positive. Leonard Fournette still looks good even on limited attempts and the receivers are making the best of what they can get right now. The Jaguar defense cooled off substantially against the Titans.
Demarco Murray exited earlier with an injury but Derrick Henry came in though and filled in nicely running for almost 100 yards and a TD. I touched on this last week but Tennessee appears to have taken the extreme approach to what Seattle should do by giving Marcus Mariota a ton of weapons. There is no true WR1 there and I think that hinders their offense more than it helps it. There is simply no way Mariota can produce enough yards to get the ball to Rishard Matthews, Delanie Walker, Eric Decker, Tawan Taylor, and Corey Davis. I’d like the see if the offense becomes more methodic throughout the season.
Arizona vs. Indianapolis
It's a little sad to potentially see Carson Palmer play out his career in regressively. He’s not the player we’ve been accustomed to seeing much less the same player from last year. For the Cardinals, the next few weeks are when they need him to get back to his old form. Without his RB1 on the field, the Cardinals will have to rely on Palmer to carry them. I’m not so sure they make it past quality opponents on their schedule.
The Colts are terrible offensively, though they almost came out with a win here there are still so many deficiencies on that team. Obviously with Andrew Luck hurt they are missing a lot at the position but outside of Frank Gore they are nearly stagnant. One area where they are actually decent is on defense. They got to Palmer 4 times and picked him off. The Colts are going to have to find their way out of this slump fast if they want to salvage the season.
New York (Jets) vs. Oakland
I knew this one was going to be a blowout. I’m not sure what the Jets are going to do. It must be tough to be a player on that squad right now. The offense has obvious issues and the defense is porous which is allowing for huge plays. I don't envy the Skins having to defend Carr, Lynch, Cooper, Crabtree, and Jalen Richard next week.
Miami vs. Los Angeles (Chargers)
It must suck playing at StubHub arena removed from a large portion of the Chargers faithful. The images of that place are depressing and the Chargers are off to a depressing start to their season. While there was a nice moment in Antonio Gates catching his 112th career TD surpassing a record Tony Gonzalez set a few years prior the Chargers keep putting themselves in tough spots. The Chargers are going through a tough trend right now they have missed four straight game-tying or go-ahead field goals going back to last year.
The Dolphins are atop the AFC East at the moment. Jay Cutler actually looked good and the Dolphin defense is solid. If they can continue to pull out there tough wins they might have a wildcard shot down the road.
Buffalo vs. Carolina
This was boring and ugly to watch no ambivalence or insight regarding this matchup this week other than Carolina needs to fix their offensive line before Cam gets injured again.
Dallas vs. Denver
I love Denver’s defense. Trevor Siemian is not terrible for a 7th rounder leading your team on offense. C.J. Anderson still looks good. As for the Cowboys:
Green Bay vs. Atlanta
The Packers when into this one down two starters on the offensive line and it showed. Aaron Rodgers was under duress all night and never got into a true rhythm. Add to that his top receivers suffering injuries and the lack of a running game and Rodgers and co were unable to overcome the challenge. On the flipside, Atlanta looks like the best team in the NFC again. Thier defense looks great and the offense has a nice balance right now. I was watching this game thinking “I wonder how happy Muhammad Sanu was to get out of Cincinnati?”.
Detroit vs. New York (Giants)
I’m laughing that Jerry Reese drafted Ereck Flowers and Eli Apple in the first round. I’m laughing that those defensive FA acquisitions don't seem to be working past their first year. The Giants are in real trouble and definitely look like the worst team in the division. It has taken me by total surprise as I picked them to win the division and I thought they would do so definitively. We are only two weeks in but the offense looks like it's in complete disarray. The Lions, on the other hand, look like a potential playoff team again. Matt Stafford can’t be disappointing many with his play. But the real story here is how many times Ziggy Ansah got to Eli Manning. The Giants should be embarrassed.