Kelly: After week 1, everyone and their predictions were riding high. The Seahawks and Chiefs snuck out late wins to excite their fans. Green Bay and Denver showed their strengths – both literally and figuratively – and everyone got excited about the up-and-coming teams like Oakland, Jacksonville and Tampa Bay. Week two came up and slapped all of those ideas and predictions aside. You think Tampa Bay is for real – prove yourself against the talented Arizona Cardinals. Oakland – you won a close game the week before, this is what a tight loss looks like. Week two broke many hearts, but we were able to snuff out a few winners who came out relatively unscathed.
Week 2 Winners
Max: That was a huge win the Vikings got Sunday Night. It’s effects are likely tempered a bit by that injury to Adrian Peterson, but make no mistake- the Vikings made a statement. Sam Bradford, acquired just two weeks ago, played brilliantly and showed an instant chemistry with possible star-in-the-making Stefon Diggs, who caught nine balls for 182 yards and a touchdown. Minnesota’s struggles running the football might be troubling, but their defense, which contained and frustrated Aaron Rodgers by the way, more than up for it. With or without Peterson, the Vikings are NFC North contenders.
Carson Palmer and the Arizona Cardinals
Kelly: After quite the disappointing loss to the New England Patriots on Monday night, the Arizona Cardinals and their potent offense roared back to crush the poor Tampa Bay Buccaneers 40-7. Carson Palmer looked like, well Carson Palmer of 2015, as he threw for 308 yards and three touchdowns. The Cardinals defense also stepped up after Jimmy Garoppolo made them look a little foolish. The defense racked up three sacks, four interceptions and a fumble recovery. Jameis Winston wasn’t really sure what hit him after that game. That was the bounce back performance the Cardinals needed and boy did they deliver.
New York Giants
Max: I was very skeptical of the revamped Giants defense entering the season. But on Sunday it looked like all the investments New York’s front office made in the offseason were already paying off. The Giants played a great game against Drew Brees, allowing no touchdowns in the first half and blocking a field goal attempt to boot. Their offense looked great as well- Sterling Shepard looks like quite a dynamic talent and the return of Victor Cruz has allowed Eli Manning to spread the field with three receivers and created more space for the running game. Yes, they only won their two games by a combined four points, but starting 2-0, with two close wins, feels huge after the way 2015 turned out.
Kelly: Somehow someway the coach of mediocrity has the number of the Seattle Seahawks and he has no problem dialing it up. It was a gross 9-3 game, so I mean Los Angeles continued their quest to go the longest ever without scoring a touchdown. Still, the Rams won four of the last five games against Seattle and somehow sacked Wilson 18 times (!) in that same game stretch. I don’t know how he pulled this out – I really don’t. Seattle’s worst nightmare lives on another day. Their defense looks quite good especially since they held the Rams to no touchdowns, and the offense is supposed to be good but now I’m not so sure. Good for you Jeff, you seemed to have cracked the code for the Seahawks – any chance you want share before the first week of October?
Week 2 Losers
Max: I know its early. I know the Seahawks have gotten off to slow starts before. But I’m officially worried. Their defense looks as stout as ever, but their offense has simply been unable to do anything. The Seahawks have scored just one touchdown in two weeks, putting up a measly 15 combined points against the Dolphins and Rams. The offensive line has failed to keep running lanes and made life even harder for a hobbled Russell Wilson. It’s still early, but the Seahawks, who have matchups with the 49ers and Jets the next two weeks, will have to get their act together quickly.
Kelly: Jimmy Garoppolo started the day on fire. He went 18 for 27 with 234 yards and three touchdowns in just 1.5 quarters. He looked incredible. And then Kiko Alonso crushed the hearts of Patriot fans and slammed their backup-star into the ground and crushed his shoulder in the process. This was not only crappy for the Patriot fans but for Jimmy himself who was auditioning for his next job. It’s never fun to see anyone get hurt, but for someone who looked like he had a bright future ahead of him, this one has to sting.
Max: This feels like another year where the Redskins win the offseason super bowl (the Josh Norman signing) and still fail to produce results on the field. Their defense looks very shaky, Norman sounds grumpy already, and there are already rumors of a possible QB controversy. Washington’s inability to control the game with the run hasn’t helped, but Cousins’ bad stats (just one touchdown and three interceptions) back up how uncomfortable he looks. He made not one, not two, but three fairly spectacular overthrows on Sunday that all might’ve led to scores. It’s never good to start 0-2, and things in Washington have a habit of unraveling in some pretty ugly ways.
Kelly: Heading into this year everyone was completely buying the “new, improved, revamped Jaguars team.” This was the year Blake Bortles was going to put it together with his talented receiving core of Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns. Their backfield added Chris Ivory to play alongside TJ Yeldon and they spent the last years signing and drafting talent to the defense, like Dante Fowler. And their tight game against Green Bay, which is considered one of the best teams in the league was enough to stoke the fire. However, Philip Rivers – yes Rivers without his two best targets – was enough to topple them handily, 38-14. Maybe we need to take it easy on the Jags right now.