Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Why the Jags Rule (This Week)

Again, apparently, yesterday's debate over who the best 2-0 team in the NFL is was premature:

After last night, the best 2-0 team in the NFL is obvious:

The Jaguars.
Did I pick the right moment to sit shotgun on the bandwagon or what?

How do I defend this claim of the Jags as the NFL's best 2-0 team, particularly because the Jags' offense isn't nearly as good as some of the other 2-0 teams?

I'm going to lean on one key metric: Strength of schedule.

Of all the 2-0 teams, the Jags have BY FAR had the toughest pair of games: the Cowboys and the defending champ Steelers, arguably the toughest opening schedule of any 2-0 team.

Look at the schedule comps among 2-0 teams:

Falcons: 0-2 Panthers and 0-2 Bucs?
Saints: 0-2 Browns and 0-2 Packers?
Bears: 0-2 Packers and 0-2 Lions?
Ravens: 0-2 Bucs and 0-2 Raiders?
Bengals: 0-2 Chiefs and 0-2 Browns?
Chargers: 0-2 Raiders and 0-2 Titans?
Seahawks: 0-2 Lions and 1-1 Cardinals?
Colts: 0-2 Texans and 1-1 Giants?
Pats: 1-1 Bills and 1-1 Jets?

Be honest: This is dog-shit competition compared to the Jags' first two games.

The Jags' opponents have combined for as many wins as the Falcons', Saints', Bears', Ravens', Bengals', Chargers', Seahawks' and Colts' opponents all put together.

That's why most fans can't take the Chargers or Ravens or Bears seriously yet, even though they look among the Top 5 teams in the NFL.

(Here's what those teams – and the Jags – all have in common: Ridiculously awesome defense. But none of the other 3 proved it against competition of the quality that the Jags have so far.)

The NFL's best team after 2 weeks?
Check the schedule: The Jags.

-- D.S.


Joe said...

And yet if they can't beat the Colts on Sunday, they'll be the league's best "yeah, but..." team. Amazing how those hurdle games can change everything.

Josh said...

No way. No frickin way. The Falcons schedule is at least as hard. TWO RETURNING PLAYOFF TEAMS IN THEIR OWN DIVISION! They are divisional games! NFC South is good! You need to get off Jax' nuts.

Nobody will take the Jags seriously until they can score points and/or beat the Colts. And seriously, beat the Steelers with a healthy Big Ben. He wasn't healthy at all last night and still almost won the game.

The Jags suck. Way to pick a loser Shanoff.

Brien said...


You're missing one key point ... it doesn't matter who you play ... you still have to win.

I argue that the Chargers are the best 2-0 team, not because of their strength of schedule, but because they whupped two teams that they should have whupped.

That's the argument you often hear in college ... that Team A is better than Team B because Team A crushes weak sisters, while Team B barely beats cupcakes.

In the NFL, strength of schedule is a crock. The difference between the very best team and the very worst team is not as great as it is in college. The Raiders, bad as they have been, possess NFL-quality talent, and can truly defeat any team on any given Sunday.

The Chargers have done what great teams do ... dominate weaker opponents when they are supposed to. They've run the ball very well (who wouldn't, with LT?), and Philip Rivers has done well in his first two games. The defense has been stifling ... as it should be against weaker foes.

I don't quite understand why the Bolts aren't getting any love. They've done what you expect a team to do against the Titans and Raiders ... beat them severely. What else could you ask for out of a 2-0 team?

Brien said...

Roethlisberger had a 104 degree temp and of course it was his first game of the season.

If he was out there on the field, then there's no excusing his performance. If he was too ill, or too out-of-practice to perform well enough to lead the Steelers to a win, then Charlie Batch should have been starting.

My wife is a huge (say it like Al Michaels ... "youuuuuge") Steelers fan, and her first reaction to how the Steelers were playing was this:

"Boy, do we miss The Bus ..."

The Stillers simply couldn't establish the run ... and the Jags were *begging* Roethlisberger to beat them. Then, when the Steelers got behind late, they sat back and waited for the passing game.

Great game plan by Del Rio and his staff ... and a blueprint for how you attack the Steelers this season.


Sheldiz said...

i'm still giving love to the Ravens. No one has scored a TD on them yet. I have to agree w/ Brien re: the strength of schedule issue. it's the NFL, every team should be able to score one touchdown against every other team, at the very least.

Christian Thoma said...

Unfortunately for Jags fans, they don't award playoff spots for being the best team after 2 games. They're going to have to score a lot more than 9 points to beat the Colts this weekend.

Lew said...

How can you rank teams on strength of schedule based on week 2? Seriously, there are many teams that have gone 0-2 and made the playoffs and ended up with a winning record.

Mega said...

I still have to go with Atlanta. They have a great defense and an awesome running game. The Jags are always underrated though.

Hox said...

Listed among the "dog-shit" competition of the Jags:
Pats: 1-1 Bills and 1-1 Jets?
Gee, I wonder who the Bills and Jets got their losses. The Packers?
If the Jags get past the Colts (as opposed to a Steelers squad with a 50% Big Ben), the Jags will deserve being named among the best in the NFL.

FreKy J said...

Here's a news flash. No current 2-0 team can claim to have strength of schedule, because at the most, the teams they've played can only be both 1-1. Your claims of strenght of schedule are based on last year's success and this year's dreams.

If you're talking the best 2-0 teams that have looked the best after 2 games, you have to say Atlanta or San Diego. The Jags did look good, and were even able to score 3 times (albeit FGs) on the very good Pittsburgh defense, but they didn't look impressively all around. Not just yet. If they down the Colts, then we can start talking.

Brian in Oxford said...

Seems kinda instant-history, tongue-in-cheek....classic Dan. Of course, only the Pats have *also* beaten two teams that won their other game, so does that make them second-best? (I'll take it!)

Matt Berg said...

As you pointed out here with Texas, teams ought to be ranked based on who they can beat, not necessarily who they have beaten. So with the Jags, they can probably beat half the other 2-0 teams, but probably not the Ravens, Chargers, Colts, or Patriots. We'll see this Sunday.

D. Ling said...

Ric Flair says....
"To be The Man, you have to Beat The Man"
The Jags beat the defending champs, which was nice but everyone is pointing at the Colts as the team to beat in '06/'07 so I refuse to drink the Teal Kool Aid until they meet up with Peyton in Indy.

Trey (formerly TF) said...

Of course the Jags get good a few years AFTER I graduate from UF.

For a few years there we only got TWO NFL games on saturday because Gainesville got the Jacksonville CBS and every game was frickin blacked out.

They look good.


marcomarco said...

Asking to be treated like kings after week 2 is premature.

Premature E-jax-ulation?


Sheldiz said...

(Sidebar b/c i have no where else to rant about this: i STILL can't get over how expensive NFL tickets are... i shouldn't have to sell my car to get to a Ravens game this year.)

anyway, carry on....

Jeff said...

Wanted to point out you forgot:

Vikings: 0-2 Redskins and 0-2 Panthers?

This shows that you really don't know much after week 2 because the Vikings have beaten two of the top 4 NFC teams from last year(based on last year's playoffs), but are they being considered one of the best teams this year? Oviously not if you can't even remember that they are 2-0!