After two weeks, there are seven undefeated teams in the NFL. Surprised? I am, a little. I expected bounceback from certain teams (i.e. Pittsburgh), but I figured there would be eight or nine undefeated teams at this point. It'd make it easier to do this, that's for sure. Anyway, onto the picks for this week.
Here are the standings for Week 2:
No, that's not a typo. King has started out amazingly well, to the point where he's calling out to himself how great he's been. Probably not a good idea, but we'll see how it goes through the rest of the season.
So where did I screw up? Well, I gambled on a few teams, namely Indy, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, and St. Louis. Baltimore failed all three of us (and anyone who picked them in a survivor pool).
I saw Cleveland as a beatable team, especially in Indy. Once again, Kerry Collins and company failed to deliver until late in the game, and by then it was too late.
Had I known Cincinnati can't win in Denver (they haven't won there since 1975, thanks Judge), I wouldn't have picked them. And I don't trust Denver, even with a new coach.
I thought Philly had a decided advantage over an Atlanta team that couldn't score on the Bears. We saw New Orleans carve up the Bears, and people have been trying to put Matt Ryan up in that rare air that Brees et al inhabit. Apparently, Philly's defense isn't good enough just yet. Michael Vick getting hurt didn't help, but Mike Kafka came in and played pretty well. One dropped pass from Maclin sealed it for Atlanta, which is rather hard to believe.
And finally, the Rams. Their offense was inconsistent at best, but considering all the injuries on the Giants' D, I thought it could be a walkover for Sam Bradford.
OK, so with that done with, here are the Rankings for Week 2. As usual, these are not meant to be predictive and only reflect the results of the games.
1.) Green Bay (2-0) [no change]
I'm not sure if I was wrong about the defense or what. Charles Woodson stepped up with two INT's and a fumble recovered, but Cam Newton still threw for over 400 yards. I guess as long as they keep winning, the defense will get a pass. Although I'm sure Dom Capers can't be pleased about his unit's progress thus far. After two weeks, they're undefeated, and still the defending champs. So let's not make too much of their "problems".
2.) New England (2-0) [+1]
If anybody is questioning who the best QB in the league is, I have a response: Tom Brady. With Peyton Manning on the shelf, there are no if's, and's, or but's about this. Tom Brady is the best QB in the NFL, period. The defense, on the other hand, is a lot like the Packers'. Not good so far. Next week, they get the Bills, which could be interesting. The stats say otherwise, obviously.
3.) NY Jets (2-0) [+1]
Beatdown! There's not much to say other than that. Well, Mark Sanchez is still throwing bad picks...but until they affect the result, does anyone really care? It's a question of aesthetics at this point.
4.) Detroit (2-0) [+2]
One of the surprising 2-0 teams, to be sure. It seems that anyone who has Kansas City on their schedule can lick their chops, as it were, because an easy win is in the offing. Matthew Stafford has been nothing short of spectacular thus far. Any team that gets as many takeaways as Detroit does will be in the game, no matter the opponent.
5.) Buffalo (2-0) [+4]
Another surprising 2-0 team. It could all go to hell next week, though, and I expect it to. I mean, it would be a really big surprise if they were to beat New England, especially given how well (i.e. poorly!) they've played the Pats since 2003 or so. But for these first two weeks, Buffalo has been quite good. Maybe not great, considering the competition (KC and Oakland, yeesh), but quite good.
6.) Houston (2-0) [+4]
Who needs Arian Foster when you have Ben Tate? I kid, of course. Once Foster is healthy, Ben Tate is going back to the bench. But until then, Tate has a great chance to impress a lot of people. Prisco and King both picked Miami this week, and the Texans did an admirable job in closing out the game. They didn't play their best for 60 minutes, again, but they played well enough. That's really all that matters, and like everyone else, as long as they keep winning, they're in here.
7.) Washington (2-0) [-]
I wasn't taking the Redskins seriously last week. After narrowly beating Arizona, I have them as the least of the undefeated teams, which seems to be a good move right now. I still don't trust Rex Grossman. But my own stuff aside, Washington has played pretty well in the first two weeks, though it seems like they made it harder on themselves than it needed to be against Arizona. If they're serious about winning the NFC East, beating Dallas in Week 3 would be a good start.
8.) New Orleans (1-1) [-]
Who's the best outside of the undefeated teams? My vote goes to New Orleans. They took a tough loss in Week 1, in a game they could have easily won. It wasn't a bad loss, in my mind. Then they came out in Week 2 and put a beatdown on the Bears, a team that people were changing their minds about. I didn't make too much of the Bears beating Atlanta; they weren't playing in the Georgia Dome, they were playing in Chicago. And Jay Cutler is still a whining pouter. Joe Buck attempted to trumpet Cutler for his toughness; by the end of the game, when the Saints' D had smacked him around and the Saints' offense had put up 30, there were no plaudits for Cutler or his teammates. Brees had an absolutely scintillating pass to Devery Henderson which went for a TD. I loved it, for sure.
9.) Pittsburgh (1-1) [-]
It's hard to know what to make of the Steelers thus far. On the one hand, you have that utter demolition against Baltimore. And then you have the beatdown they just laid on Seattle. My inclination is to say that because Baltimore lost to Tennessee, and Pittsburgh bounced back (albeit against a terrible opponent, which cannot be emphasized enough), that the Steelers are still an elite team. But because they beat Seattle, I'm not entirely sure. I guess that's not a bad thing; they just squashed grapes in Week 1 and drank wine in Week 2, to paraphrase Mike Tomlin.
10.) Atlanta (1-1) [-]
As it turns out, beating Philadelphia at home is good enough to get the Falcons into the Rankings. I was impressed, and Matt Ryan is money at home still. We'll see how they go from here; bouncing back from that loss at Chicago was good, though.
Finally, a quick note on the four teams that exited the Rankings. They were Baltimore (2), Philadelphia (5), San Diego (7), and San Francisco (8). Obviously, all four lost in Week 2. Still, I think that three of those four will be back in the Rankings at some point this season. All it takes is a win, or in some cases two or three of them. I'm still pretty high on Baltimore, but losing to Tennessee (especially after their Week 1 performance) is utterly inexcusable. I probably could have ceded them the tenth spot, but I like using this space to celebrate the winners. And, obviously, teams that remain undefeated. The other three losses were a bit more "expected", I would say. So I don't think there should be much controversy, and besides, this is just one guy's opinion on something that really doesn't matter all that much. I do this for fun.
That's all for this week. See you next week!