Monday, September 18, 2006

NFL Week 2 Quickie: Best 2-0 Team?

Comments Question: Who are your biggest Studs (and Duds) from Week 2? (Also: Who is the best 2-0 team in the NFL? What does your Top 5 look like?)

After Week 2, I always like to look at the conventional wisdom after Week 1 to see how it's been modified, now that we've doubled our data points:

(Games involving 2-0 teams listed first. Using this first entry as a jump-off, which among the 2-0 teams is the best team in the NFL right now?)

Chargers 40, Titans 7
Bolts 1-0 CW: Rivers does enough
Bolts 2-0 CW: Best team in NFL?
Titans 0-1 CW: Better than this
Titans 0-2 CW: A. Peterson can help

Extra note: There's something to this "Who is the best team in the NFL?" question. My first instinct was San Diego, but I might have to flip that to the Bears.

Here's a simplistic debate-settler: If the Bears offered Rex Grossman to the Chargers for Phil Rivers straight up, would you do it as Chargers GM? If so, the Bears are the better team right now. If not, the Chargers.

Vikings 16, Panthers 13
Vikings 1-0 CW: Is the ship really righted?
Vikings 2-0 CW: Childress for Coach of Year!
Panthers 0-1 CW: Week 1 loss a fluke
Panthers 0-2 CW: About that Super Bowl...

Extra note: Who knew that Ryan Longwell was the best QB in the stadium? (Hell, the Packers could use him right about now.)

Bears 34, Lions 7
Bears 1-0 CW: Defense is awesome
Bears 2-0 CW: Grossman is awesome
Lions 0-1 CW: Offense is sputtering
Lions 0-2 CW: Defense is weak, too

Extra note: If you're looking for Rex Grossman as a waiver pick-up in your fantasy league this morning, you're probably 18 hours too late.

Bengals 34, Browns 17
Bengals 1-0 CW: NFL's most balanced?
Bengals 2-0 CW: AFC North rules, Part 1
Browns 0-1 CW: Maybe next year
Browns 0-2 CW: Maybe, say, 2010

Extra note: Chad Johnson didn't just do the "Chicken Dance," but he managed to do it with an injured wing. Now THAT'S "committing to the moment" any true entertainer needs.

Colts 43, Texans 24
Colts 1-0 CW: Is Peyton still rusty?
Colts 2-0 CW: "400 yards, bitches!"
Texans 0-1 CW: Need more than Mario
Texans 0-2 CW: Need, say, 4 Marios

Extra note: Unless Reggie Bush was going to play both ways, the Texans' problems against the Colts wouldn't have been helped by having him.

Saints 34, Packers 27
Saints 1-0 CW: Feel-good story of '06!
Saints 2-0 CW: Say it: Playoff hopes!
Packers 0-1 CW: Brett Favre sucks
Packers 0-2 CW: Nah, the D sucks worse

Extra note: It's not that Brett Favre totally sucks, per se; it's that the season is a complete debacle... already. (And, if you watched Saturday, it ain't like Brady Quinn is gonna be the answer.)

Ravens 28, Raiders 6
Ravens 1-0 CW: Are they THAT good?
Ravens 2-0 CW: AFC North rules, Part 2
Raiders 0-1 CW: Gonna be a long year
Raiders 0-2 CW: Just fire Art Shell now

Extra note: No one saw the Ravens coming. Let's see how they do against teams with slightly better offenses than the impotent Raiders and Bucs. (And again, Brady Quinn ain't the answer.)

Falcons 14, Bucs 3
Falcons 1-0 CW: Vick still overrated QB
Falcons 2-0 CW: Yeah? So? (127 rush yds)
Bucs 0-1 CW: Wow, the offense is bad
Bucs 0-2 CW: No, it's REALLY bad...

Extra note: 306 rushing yards a Birds team record. Who needs a QB who can pass when you can grind it out like that?

Pats 24, Jets 17
Pats 1-0 CW: Lucky to beat the Bills
Pats 2-0 CW: Most shaky 2-0 team?
Jets 1-0 CW: Mangini is the Man
Jets 1-1 CW: But Beli is the Daddy

Extra note: If you think about this, based on pre-season expectations, the Jets totally overachieved with this result.

Seahawks 21, Cardinals 10
Hawks 1-0 CW: NFC jinx?
Hawks 2-0 CW: Stop yer whinin'.
Cards 1-0 CW: It's 'Zona's year!
Cards 1-1 CW: Playoffs still a stretch

Extra note: I was so so SO wrong when I picked the Cards to win this game. I don't know what I was thinking. Sorry 'bout that.

Bills 16, Miami 6
Dolphins 0-1 CW: Drew tough first game
Dolphins 0-2 CW: '06 "trendy" pick a dud
Bills 0-1 CW: Suck!
Bills 1-1 CW: Sack!

Extra note: Watch how fast that Dolphins-as-breakout-team bandwagon collapses with the dreaded 0-2 start.

Giants 30, Eagles 24
Giants 0-1 CW: Eli's no Peyton...
Giants 1-1 CW: ...But comeback was clutch
Eagles 1-0 CW: No T.O. = Big win
Eagles 0-1 CW: Yes O.T. = Tough loss

Extra note: Did Eli and Company really win this game? Or did the Eagles simply choke it away? I'd prefer the latter interpretation.

49ers 20, Rams 13
49ers 0-1 CW: On the right track?
49ers 1-1 CW: Future playoff tem?
Rams 1-0 CW: All points from kicker?
Rams 1-1 CW: Justified Wk 1 concern

Extra note: You know you're in trouble early in your rookie season as head coach when you make fans pine for Mike Martz.

Broncos 9, Chiefs 6
Broncos 0-1 CW: Offense looks bad in L
Broncos 1-1 CW: Same offense, but a W
Chiefs 0-1 CW: Is it really this bad?
Chiefs 0-2 CW: Actually, it's worse

Extra note: I can't even imagine how bad fans in Kansas City are feeling right now. From great offense to zilch.

Cowboys 27, Redskins 10
Cowboys 0-1 CW: QB controversy?
Cowboys 1-1 CW: Who needs T.O.?
Skins 0-1 CW: Yes, O is that bad
Skins 0-2 CW:

Extra note: Who's got that stat handy about a team's chances of making the NFL playoffs after an 0-2 start? Someone fax it to Gibbs.

Comments Question: Who are your biggest Studs (and Duds) from Week 2? (Also: Who is the best 2-0 team in the NFL? What does your Top 5 look like?)

-- D.S.


Unknown said...

Dan I can't disagree with you more about the Patriots as the most shaky 2-0 team. If you saw that game yesterday they dominated every aspect - they fell asleep and allowed the Jets to score two fluke TDs (on crazy RAC plays).

The Chargers, Ravens and Bears haven't played anyone yet so let's just relax with them as the cream of the crop.

My biggest stud of the day goes to Frank Gore and the juvenated SF 49ers - good to see the kids getting a chance to compete.

Brien said...

My top three:

1) San Diego
2) Baltimore
3) Atlanta

I agree with the notion that the Eagles gacked one away yesterday. Andy Reid played his mea culpa card yesterday ... about the 10th time in his tenure that he's played the "I was too conservative" card.

Once, I can understand. Twice, well, maybe shit happens. Three or more times? No, you're just a bad play-caller. To win in the NFL is to put your foot on the throat of the opponent ... and press down ... HARD.

You get the G-Men down 17 ... get 'em down 24 ... then 31 ... then 38, if you can. Don't let 'em up off the floor. Too often, the Eagles let up on the gas ... and it always comes back to bite them.

Look at what Indy and San Diego did yesterday ... ran it up. No one's whining about it. That's life in the National. Football. League.


Brien said...

My biggest DUD is the Redskins O. What the hell??

Which begs the question:

Joe Gibbs. Coaching genius? Or, right place, right talent, right time?

When you look at what Parcells has done, and compare it to what the 'Skins have done under Gibbs, and you have to question the "genius" label. And I hate the Cowboys, so you have to know I think Parcells is that good.

Belichick is another one who is really a good coach. Look at the defections/departures from the Patriots ... and here they are again at 2-0. And, I hate the Pats, too.

I'd love to tell everyone how great a coach Andy Reid is ... but as long as he refuses to go out and get a punishing RB ... he's just a guy with a quirky "system".


Joe said...

Gotta love Carson Palmer racking up his second highest pass total...not bad, except he was upstaged by Rudi Johnson. Looking forward, how about the matchup next week against the Steelers? How banged up are the Bengals? And how does Big Ben bounce back tonight? Is there a more intriguing game next week?

TJ said...

Warrick Dunn baby. They should just bite the bullet and run nothing but the option. Unless the Bucs defense is a whole lot worse than I think it is, the Falcons ground game is going to destroy the league this year.

Jingoist said...

Biggest Stud and Rex Grossman in the same sentence. Who woulda thunk it?
Biggest Dud: Dare I say, Tom Brady. The guy looks listless. And it's not the lack of WRs/targets. His passes have not been good and he goes down the field too much hoping the running game and play action exposes holes, but he is best from 5 to 20 yards, not 20+. My Top 5:

1. San Diego
2. Chicago
3. Cincy
4. Baltimore
5. Seattle

The theme? They all have "D" to go with their "O"

Nick Lee said...

Which game is bigger next week? 2-0 Bears at 2-0 Vikings? 2-0 Cincy at (maybe) 2-0 Pittsburgh? Or how about 2-0 Atlanta at 2-0 New Orleans (on Monday night?)? I should abstain from week 3 picks, but I CAN'T!

Pete said...

Stud- Gorssman it seems

Biggest dud? The Fins/Dante of course!

Hopefully, with this win, the Bills will stop being the "overwhelming" underdog in the games they play this year. They have to earn respect clearly from the crappy treatment at the hands of the national media but hopefully teams won't be taking them so lightly after their great game against the Pats(and no it wasn't the Pats playing down to them) and their convincing win against the Fins.

jhawkjjm said...

KC fans aren't overly happy, but they're still blaming everything on Gaether's. That's the excuse around here right now. They're also ripping Edwards for the clock mismanagement, though still justifying it with having Huard and not Green at QB. However, me being a Pats fan and watching Edwards with the Jets over the years, I just continue to snicker at the hiring of Edwards in the first place.

On the flip side... is the Jay Cutler watch on yet in Denver?

Unknown said...

capricon I have to agree with you - I've watched the two Bills games this season and I don't really understand what makes them much different from San Diego.

That Buffalo defense FLYS around the field and Dick Jauron knows the limitations that Losman has so he just refuses to put the game in his QBs hands.

I'm not sure I'd be comfortable trying to come from behind with that offense of Buffalo but you could say the same thing about the Chargers.

I definately think that the Bills are the 2nd best team in the AFC East.

Also how about Saints/Falcons next week to open up the Superdome - that game has got to have the people over at ESPN all sorts of jacked up because that should be a ratings extravaganza.

Big D said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Big D said...

Uh, Dan...

There were a few of us who saw Baltimore coming...

That being said, here's my top (and bottom) five right now:

1) San Diego
2) Chicago
3) Indy
4) Baltimore
5) Seattle

5) Green Bay
4) Tampa Bay
3) Miami
2) Oakland
1) Houston

I'll be posting later today/tonight explaining all of this.

marcomarco said...

Boy am I glad I benched Culpepper for Grossman this week.

Great breakdown Dan.

Top five:
1. San Diego
2. Chicago
3. Indy
4. Cincy
5. Pats

D + QB + Coach = playoffs

Brien said...

I have to give a shout out to perhaps the best back you've not really heard of ...

Michael Turner of the Chargers, who lit up the Titans for 138 yards on 13 carries, including a scintillating 75-yard romp.

For those who do not know who he is, Turner played for Northern Illinois University (my alma mater and current employer), and graduated as the leading rusher in team history. He came about 32 yards from a 2,000-yard season in 2003, when the Huskies beat Alabama, Maryland, and Iowa State en route to becoming the first non-BCS team to crack the Top 15 in the BCS poll (#12).

Turner has lightning speed and is small enough to sort of "appear" out of nowhere from behind his offensive linemen. He was nicknamed "The Burner" while he was here, and really showed great promise.

And ... heads-up ... there's another NIU back (who currently leads the nation in rushing) ... Garrett Wolfe ... who could gain some serious Heisman consideration as the year goes on. He's on pace for a 2,200-yard season, and put up 175 yards on Ohio State on opening day (as well as 268 this past Saturday against Buffalo).


Christian Thoma said...

Dan said:
And, if you watched Saturday, it ain't like Brady Quinn is gonna be the answer

Which, amazingly, is what Packers fans have been saying for the last 12 months. The only people that have been saying that are people who don't watch the games (like Dan). We've said it before and we'll continue to say it: Brett Favre isn't the problem, and therefore replacing him isn't the solution. Someday Dan (and his ilk) will listen. Until then, I remain, faithfully
Christian (High Point, NC)

Brien said...

San Diego has LT. Just having him is good for 3-4 wins they wouldn't have had if Turner was the feature back. LT might get rundown towards the end of the year, but he is running behind one of the best fullbacks of all time.

And, as you saw yesterday, Turner is good for the yardage behind Lorenzo Neal. I don't think the Chargers miss much if LT needs a game off or is injured.

As for Lorenzo Neal ... I couldn't agree more. He's on a "streak" of something like seven straight seasons of blocking for RBs who have rushed for 1,000 yards or more. I've never seen a FB who was as good as Neal is at making good backs great. He's definite HOF material.


Unknown said...

When thinking about stud/dud I felt the need to post a link to the Jericho Cotchery catch from the Pats/Jets game yesterday.

Seriously when do you ever see something like this? If they redid this play 100 times this is probably the only time his knee doesnt hit the ground - just amazing job plus a little luck and it really changed the game from a blowout to much closer then it really was.

Kurt said...

* Waits for Patriots to become the most shaky 3-0 team after barely beating the AWESOME Broncos (19 points total in first 2 games) in Week 3. *

Dan Shanoff said...

It's pretty interesting: Though I'm taking SOME flack for not considering the Pats among the best 2-0 teams (even calling them "shaky"), it doesn't look like many of YOU consider the Pats among the Top 5 2-0 teams either. -- Dan

Christian Thoma said...

Peter King liked Brett's performance yesterday, and even named Aaron Kampman defensive player of the game (which wasn't a bad choice--he was mine if the Pack won).

So either Dan is an idiot, or Peter King is an idiot. Can we do a poll? I'm leaning towards Mr. King (despite my Packer-backer tendency)

Christian Thoma said...

(that should read Defensive Player of the Week, not Game)

Badass Of The Year said...

Stud: Roy Williams & the Cowboys D

Dud: Roy Williams & the Lions O

Honorable mention studs*:
Longwell, Rudi! Rudi! Rudi! Warrick Dunn, the Bills D, P.Manning, Rex Grossman

Dishonorable mention duds:
Based on expectation: Larry Johnson & the Cheifs, Carolina, Skins, Miami, Michael Koenen, St. Louis

*LT isn't named because his studliness is a given

BobbyStompy said...

They showed the stat on tv yesterday, only 13.3% of teams that start 0-2 have made the playoffs. The last to do it was the 2003 Eagles.

Trent said...

Top 5:

I think this is ironic in general, because, by my count, none of the teams have played two games against top-flight teams.

1. Colts - they're rolling
2. Winner of the Steelers/Jags game
3. Bengals - Drilling the teams they are supposed to beat.
4. Chargers - Just haven't played anyone with a pulse
5. Seahawks

Heavily AFC-centric, I know. But I don't think the Saints, Falcons, Vikings, or Bears really put the fear of God in any other team.

Chance for the Bengals to be the undisputed #1 if they win their next two games. Gonna be hard with all of their injuries though.

Brien said...

Brien, Turner is good but they played the Titans. A team that isn't good.

But ... wouldn't you agree that a good back *should* rack up those kinds of numbers against poor teams?

What if he had gotten 23 yards on his 13 carries? Folks would say what a bust he is.

Remember, Jim Brown, Emmitt Smith, Eric Dickerson, Barry Sanders ... they all piled up yardage against the bottom-feeders of their day ... they didn't play great teams *every* week.


El Padrino said...

doggin the jints huh?
Eli: 8-8, 82 yards 1 TD

DUD- JOHN FOX. Dumbest coachin decison of the week.

Sheldiz said...

In defense of the Ravens... maybe they haven't played anyone "big", but even still, they've beat both opponents handily and without much of a fight. no one has scored a touch down on them yet, and eventhough they've played some crap teams, i think that's gotta say something.

now if everyone can stay healthy and out of prison, we just may make a good season out of this!

Unknown said...

Is it possible that Jon Fox is catching a lot of heat for no reason? I saw the interview he gave after the game and I'm not sure that he came out and said "I am the one who called that play."

I really think he might be taking the bullet for his assistants and players on this one by saying he is the coach, all decisions run through him. I know they tried the play in practice and it worked but I'm not convinced that he called that play in at that time.

I believe Fox is too good of a coach to make a decision like that - and I think this might just be him taking the heat for a stupid stupid play.

Brien said...

Biggest stud ... and it really pains me to say this ... Eli Manning ... sacked eight times, but still slung the G-Men to a 17-point comeback and OT win. That's guts, folks.

Biggest dud ... Jon Gruden. He inherited a SB-quality team and has turned them into flops in less than three years. The Bucs have looked absolutely pitful on offense (and Gruden's a Brian Billick type who got his rep on the offensive side of the ball), and it's not all Chris Simms' fault.

Look for former Toledo QB Bruce Gradkowski soon in the Tampa huddle ... he is very, very, very good. Another MAC QB (Culpepper, Pennington, Roethlisberger, Frye).


Ingrid and Jim said...

Biggest Dud -

I predicted my beloved Raiders to go go 3-13. Looks like I was being a tad optimistic...

Mega said...


I play fantasy in Yahoo Sports for football and we can play 2 QB's.

I played McNabb (he did ok) and left Grossman on the bench this week, I played Culpepper instead.

This morning Culpepper just became a free agent. That bum cost me a W!

Jeff said...

Stud: Ryan Longwell!!!

Just wanted to give the Vikings a little ink. They have two (ugly) wins over teams that were predicted to be (but look like they aren't) good. They are not the best team, but I think that as the season goes on they will become the team that noone wants to play in the playoffs. Their style keeps games close and they don't beat themselves. I know I have purple colored glasses, but they just seem to be on there way to 11 wins by a field goal this year.

Next week will be a big test!

marcomarco said...

RE: Fantasy note

I played McNabb (he did ok) and left Grossman on the bench this week, I played Culpepper instead.

Dan Mega, that was an interesting choice. The Bills D was all over Brady in wk 1 and Rex had a field day against the hapless Packers.

Culpy was doomed, Grossy was promised (vs the hapless Lions).

Can I join your league?

TBender said...

Dud - Texans O-and-D-Lines. Forgot to block the DEs on the first play and then forgot to pressure Manning.

Bush/Young/Jesus can't help the Texans until the lines get fixed.

Stud - Grossman, until he trips and blows out both knees and an ankle.

Stud #2 - SD. Dominated two bad teams. Some don't want to give them respect for who they beat, but they beat them SOUNDLY.

Mega said...

Re: marcomarco

Funny man, I thought Daunte was poised for a break out. And I also thought Rex's first game was flukish (how long has it been since my Bears had a good QB?) They proved me wrong completely.

Oh and yeah, whoever said the Texans won't do squat until the D/O Lines are fixed- EXACTLY!

David Carr is still getting rushed/hurried/and sacked at a record pace. I think he is a good QB but needs a change of scenery. Hopefully for him, it ain't the Raiders.

Sheldiz said...

okay i didn't know where else to post this.... maybe i'm just going crazy or missing something, or maybe its just a really strong coincidence, or maybe they're really the same person i didn't realize it.... go to these two sites and read #1 on each list:

something seems very similar...

Marcus T said...

I hate all the Al Saunders criticism. I wasn't sure what to make of coordinators until Culpepper called his former Off. Coord. a "godsend", but I currently think they are important. Portis isn't healthy and Brunell is 87 years old. It's hard to execute an offense when you don't have any players to do it. Yes, they are talented at wideout, but w/o a good QB to get the ball to them, they are worthless.

Last year, the Steelers first team O scored 0 pts in the pre-season and looked like absolute shit. They came out in week 1 and 2 and just rolled over Tennesse and Houston with ease.

Lastly, picking up Vick in the late rounds of my fantasy draft sure is looking good.