2018 NFL Week 2
Well, it’s Thursday of Week 2 and I think the Titans-Dolphins game just ended.
Seriously, what the hell was that about? Back in my day (pulls up a chair and lights a cigar), men were men and football games were played without consideration for the weather.
Snow? Bundle up and get after it. Rain? That’s why they invented towels that you can hang from your waist. Wind? Run the ball and shorten your routes. Lightning? Hey, if you can dodge a linebacker, you can dodge a little electricity.
But, no, not these days. They stopped Sunday’s game in Miami just because lightning was in the area. So, everyone had to get out of their seats and make their way to the concourse to stand around like dumbbells until an NFL official – who I seriously doubt is a qualified meteorologist — finally felt safe. Have you ever been to Hard Rock Stadium? I have and believe me, there’s not much to do out there except sweat.
Can you imagine the Ice Bowl being played today? No way, there would be an outcry.
I blame millennials. And the rise of social media. And gluten-free products. And smartphones. Now, get off my lawn.
OK, enough old man complaints. Aside from my atmospheric complaints, I spent all Sunday with a smile on my face. There weren’t a ton of great games, but it was just great to have football back. An increasing number of people feel guilt when they watch this sport, but not Uncle Sid. I’ve made my peace with it. I just love the game.
Let’s do a little ranking.
(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)
NFL’S TOP 10
1) Eagles: The defending champs don’t have Carson Wentz and it’s starting to sound like the wait will be a little longer than initially predicted. Which makes perfect sense, by the way. Wentz tore up his knee late in the 2017 regular season and to expect him back under center for Week 1 was foolhardy. That being said, if their defense continues to make potent offenses like the Falcons’ look inept, I see no reason why they shouldn’t be on top of this list. Doesn’t matter who is at quarterback.
2) Chiefs: What an electrifying performance. From Patrick Mahomes looking sharp in his first NFL start to Tyreek Hill making defenders look like they’re standing still, Sunday’s win over the Chargers was Andy Reid at his finest. While so many NFL teams struggle in the red zone, Reid had the golden touch.
3) Vikings: Yes, Jimmy Garoppolo threw three picks, but I would give most of the credit for that to Minnesota’s defense. They don’t appear to have lost a step from last season. However, there is a little reason to be concerned as QB Kirk Cousins didn’t complete a pass in the fourth quarter, which allowed the 49ers to make the game closer than it should have been.
4) Rams: I would have them higher on this list, but two things stopped me: I don’t want to be a homer and I wasn’t too thrilled with their first half performance. It’s fine, they got it together after halftime and looked like the team I couldn’t wait to watch in a meaningful game. I guess there will be a little early rust when most of your starters are held out of the preseason.
5) Patriots: Brady and Belichick. Belichick and Brady. I can’t believe I actually thought the Texans defense would cause problems for a quarterback who is more than 40 years old. That didn’t happen at all because Tommy Boy got rid of the ball before anyone could get near him. He’s just a machine.
6) Jaguars: That’s a championship defense holding up a JV offense. Anyone else getting a 2000 Ravens vibe from this team?
7) Ravens: The Bills are terrible, but I have to give credit where it’s due. If you can win 47-3 in the NFL, you’ve done something right. And the Ravens have some sneaky good weapons. I’m liking this team more and more every time I see them. Another positive of their blowout win? The starters got a ton of rest ahead of a Thursday game.
8) Packers: Aaron Rodgers rose like a phoenix after halftime and performed a miracle while playing on just one leg. Soon he will turn water into wine and provide bread for his throngs of worshippers. Good luck on Sunday vs. the Vikings though. They’re going to bring the heat. Let’s hope Green Bay is ready.
9) Panthers: A 16-8 win over a Cowboys team that looks lost offensively might not impress many people, but I liked seeing Christian McCaffrey gain almost 100 total yards. He just needs to hold on to the ball.
10) Chargers: I’m going to chalk up their Week 1 loss to a fluke. Not having Joey Bosa didn’t help either. However, I still think this is a top 10 team going forward.
CHECKING ON MY SUPER BOWL PICKS
Well, let’s see:
The Steelers “battled” the Browns to a tie game. And the Saints gave up 48 points at home to the Buccaneers and lost.
Not a great start, for sure. But there’s time. It’s a long season! Right? Right?
WHAT’S THE CHATTER?
Gruden groaner: Doug Gottlieb brought up a good point this week when he said there’s a lot of professional jealousy out there for the new Raiders. People see that $100M contract and their hackles are raised.
Why is he making so much money? Why does he deserve that? He only won one Super Bowl!
Oh, please. The man had a plum gig calling Monday Night Football games and the only way he was leaving that booth was for a sweet deal. And he got one. This is America. Deal with it. Don’t count people’s money.
That being said, the Raiders are clearly a project and shouldn’t be holding out hope to be truly competitive this season. And Derek Carr can’t throw the kind of interceptions he did on Monday night.
Hall of Fame: The initial list of nominees for 2019 was released on Thursday and it seems the two slam dunks are Ed Reed and Tony Gonzalez. Randall Cunningham is also on the list of quarterbacks. Those of you old enough to remember, he broke the mold for quarterbacks in the 1980s. He threw a beautiful deep ball, was tall and yet so athletic. He could also punt the ball a mile. I’d like to see him get in some day, but my hopes aren’t high.
Good luck, kid: Josh Allen is making his first career start for the Bills on Sunday. I have a feeling it’s going to remind us of a car crash. It’s going to be ugly, but we won’t be able to look away. Ugh.
Sammy!: Yes, as a USC honk, I was thrilled to see Sam Darnold rebound from that early pick-six and do some nice things in an unexpected Jets blowout win. However, I’m also pumping the brakes and putting down the bronze for his bust in Canton. It was one game. Jets head coach Todd Bowles said it best when asked during a press conference if Darnold is a franchise quarterback.
“We won one game, I can tell you after about 100 more of them whether we have one or not, right now it’s a little early.”
Matty Lice: It’s not cool to criticize the appearance of others, especially since I’ll never walk the runway at a fashion show myself. But Matt Patricia, dude, you gotta look the part. Once you win a few Super Bowls, you can slum it like Bill Belichick. But until then, maybe a fresh shave and take that stupid pencil out of your ear.
Really?: Drew Brees says Baker Mayfield “can be a lot better than me.” Really? We all know what’s going on here. That’s just one short quarterback sticking up for another. And I respect that.
WHAT TO WATCH IN WEEK 2
Panthers at Falcons: Atlanta probably can’t wait to get back on the field to get that bad taste out of their mouths. Expect the Falcons to start with a sense of urgency. The Panthers will have to survive that initial burst and keep their heads on straight.
Vikings at Packers: NFC North play at its finest. Always a good time.
Browns at Saints: If Cleveland goes into the dome and puts up 40-plus points, then I’m officially off New Orleans as my Super Bowl pick.
Dolphins at Jets: Sam Darnold, Act II. And it’s their home opener. Delicious.
Chiefs at Steelers: Speaking of wanting to rebound from a bad start, Pittsburgh is no exception. And it’s going to be difficult against Kansas City’s team speed.
Patriots at Jaguars: A rematch of the AFC Championship Game and Jacksonville CB Jalen Ramsey has been running his mouth. Except a chippy affair.