Alabama Could Beat the Chiefs, and 9 Other Takeaways Week 2 In the NFL
- Photo credit: Real Clear Sports
1.Replace the replacement refs with non-replacement refs: They’re trying their hardest, and I appreciate that, but anyone who watched football during week two realizes that the replacement refs are dramatically affecting these games. Some contests ran nearly four hours, and key plays were frequently mishandled. At first I was skeptical that their impact would be drastic, but after witnessing the many debacles this past weekend, it’s clear the league should make a change. The Rams-Redskins game, in particular, was handled so atrociously that these replacement refs cannot be replaced fast enough. In the labor dispute between the league and its officiating crew, the league has undoubtedly lost. Now fix it, Mr. Goodell.
2. The Packers are better than the Bears: Whispers of a change in the NFC North power structure should get a little quieter after Thursday night’s game. The Packers destroyed the Bears, and after Cutler and the offense’s performance against an exploitable Green Bay defense, it seems the Bears will have some work to do just to be the second best team in the division. Those Detroit Lions are nipping at their cleats.
3. Everyone is looking up at the 49ers: It’s never too early to give Super Bowl predictions, and thus far, Jim Harbaugh’s gang seems to be the best team in the league. Alex Smith continues his quality play, and with new weapons at receiver, the offense is looking like a force to be reckoned with. Add in one of the all-time great defenses (they didn’t allow a single rushing touchdown last season and forced 43 turnovers), and you have a formula for a championship. I’d hate to be the Minnesota Vikings in Week 3.
4. The NFC West is much improved: The Arizona Cardinals, St. Louis Rams, and Seattle Seahawks all came away with victories this past week, despite being the underdog in all three matchups. It’s still early, yet it’s encouraging to see the Rams and Seahawks both look so good at home. And what a win by the Cardinals at Foxborough. Maybe the 49ers will have to wait to till week 13 to clinch the division this year.
5. Kansas City Chiefs Vs. Alabama Crimson Tide: The Crimson Tide would win. This is a bold statement, I know, but reasonable if you watched any of the Chiefs-Bills game on Sunday, or any single quarter of football the Crimson Tide have played all year. Matt Cassel and company were down 35-3 at one point to a Bills team that was down 41-7 at one point to Mark Sanchez and the New York Jets the week prior. The Bills are notoriously better at home, but still. And it could be yet another lop-sided loss on Sunday in New Orleans. The Saints are poised to punish someone for their early struggles, and the Chiefs seem ready to punish only their fans—and fantasy owners that drafted Jamaal Charles in the early rounds.
6. The Cleveland Browns’ offense: Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden have ignited a historically dormant Browns offense. Together, the duo led the Browns to match the Bengals in first downs, yet out gain them in total yards, 439-375. If only the Browns’ defense had performed like it did all of last season, or like it did in week 1. Although that’s what makes winning in the NFL so tough; it’s hard to get your defense and your offense to play well on the same day.
7. The Eagles are who we thought they were: The Philadelphia Eagles defeated one of the best teams in the league on Sunday despite turning the ball over to a dynamic Ravens offense four times. Though the comeback was facilitated by Mike Vick, the unsung factor in this ball game is the pressure that the Philadelphia defense was able to exert on Baltimore’s offensive line. Joe Flacco couldn’t step into several important throws in the second half, and his missed targets were the difference.
8. Sir Isaac Cam Newton: After a poor outing in week one against a much improved Tampa Bay Buccaneers team, Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers were able to finish off the New Orleans Saints, 35-27, dropping the Saints to 0-2 on the season and improving to 1-1 in the process. The Panthers were able to attack the Saints’ secondary and open up their front with a surprisingly balanced offense, gaining 244 yards in the air and 219 on the ground. Tonight, Cam will play in his first nationally televised game when he faces off against the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants. Although fantasy owners across the nation are scrutinizing his every performance, it should be noted that he’s only 18 games into his young career. There’s a lot of ball left to be played in Carolina, and much to be excited about.
9. Peyton Manning has some rust: After an emphatic performance against the Steelers in week 1, Manning struggled early against the Atlanta Falcons on Monday night. Despite ESPN billing Peyton and the Broncos as the must see show in town, we’ve got a long way to go before this team reaches its peak. Manning should struggle some, particularly in road games, and the defense will again be tasked with saving games, which it’s capable of doing. Their performance against the Steelers was largely overlooked, but they’re one of the best in league, and Manning and the offense should rely on them. I’m eager to see what this team looks like a little closer to the holidays.
10. Poetic justice, if only for a week: In the middle of May, some buddies and I went up to Fenway Park for a weekend series between the Red Sox and Orioles. When the O’s took a commanding lead by the 3rd inning, Sox fans began to rain taunts upon us. “Wide left,” they chanted, and cackled as they slapped hands and spilled their beers. What can I say? They knew how to hurt us. So after a long off-season of regret and self-loathing, and a week 2 loss to the Eagles, Baltimore fans were able to enjoy, if only for a brief, fleeting, regular season game, a little bit of catharsis when the mighty New England Patriots lost on a missed field goal at the end of regulation . My buddies and I are planning on returning to Fenway this weekend; we’re going to give them a taste of their own thrown stones: “Wide left!”
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