Written by Stephen Brown III
With the NFL completing another week, we’ve learned a little bit more about who’s good, who’s bad, and who has some work to do.
1. The NFC South might be in trouble
Week 1, the Saints looked great, the Bucs looked meh, and the Falcons looked like offensive juggernauts. Week 2 was a different story. The Buccs looked better, but against a defense like the Panthers, should’ve looked a lot better. The Saints (and specifically Drew Brees) looked 41 years old. He was missing receivers, his passes had no zip, and he wasn’t attempting any downfield passes. It turns out that maybe Michael Thomas has been masking Brees’ age for the past few years. And the Falcons? Well, they have shown that no matter how big their lead is, they can always find a way to blow it. Their loss was so egregious, that Arthur Blank should’ve fired Dan Quinn on the spot. Especially considering that he’s a defensive guy, and this defense has been atrocious for years. Oh, and the Panthers lost CMC for 4-6 weeks. So this division is just a mess right now.
2. Aaron Rodgers is on a warpath
Remember when the Packers used their first-round pick to take a QB rather than give help to Aaron Rodgers? I guess he took that personally because he’s playing like an MVP candidate so far this year. Rodgers is making absolutely every throw and making it look easy. Even with Adams hurt, with the way Rodgers is playing, this team should run away with the division and possibly the one seed.
3. The Niners could go from first to worst in the West
I wrote before the season that I think the NFC West would be the strongest in football. Through two weeks, that looks like a pretty safe bet. However, with everyone playing so well, all it takes is one key injury to derail a team. The Niners look to be that team. They lost the best defensive player, Nick Bosa, for the season, as well as Solomon Thomas. Richard Sherman and Deebo Samuel are still out. George Kittle and Jimmy G are questionable. Tevin Coleman and Raheem Mostert are also out, leaving Jerrick McKinnon as the starting back, who’s missed the last two seasons due to ACL tears. Fortunately for this team, they have the Giants, Eagles, and Dolphins their next three games. However, if they can’t get healthy, then their schedule gets a lot tougher. Considering how good the rest of the division looks, they need to get healthy fast.
4. Cam Newton looks really good
If anyone watched that Sunday night game, they could see that the Patriots team is still legit. Bill Belichick and co traveled across the country and had an epic duel with Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. Not only did Cam Newton look solid running the ball, but he also looked really good throwing it as well. He threw with accuracy, zip, and he even seems to be releasing the ball quicker than in the past. As long as Cam can stay healthy, there’s no doubt the Patriots are a playoff team, and should even complete for the division once again.
5. Speaking of the AFC East...
The Bills look good. Like, really good. And it’s largely due to Josh Allen. Allen threw for his first 300-yard game in week 1 and followed it up with his first 400-yard game in week 2. However, I’m still cautiously optimistic. This team will surely be a playoff team. But we also need to keep in mind that Allen played the Jets and Dolphins. And even against those teams, he made plenty of mistakes. He missed a lot of intermediate, open throws against the Jets, and against the Dolphins, he threw a couple of balls that probably should’ve been picked off. However, during the next six weeks, they play the Rams, Chiefs, Titans, and Patriots (as well as the Jets and Raiders). If they can go 4-2 during that stretch, then they are undoubtedly not only a playoff team but also a Super Bowl contender.
6. The Vikings might be a bottom-five team
The Vikings have looked absolutely terrible so far. After getting smacked by the Packers in week 1, they came out and looked like a college team in week 2 against the Colts. The kicked a field goal on the first drive and got a garbage time TD on their final drive. Every drive in between resulted in a punt or a turnover, including three straight drives ending in picks for Kirk Cousins. At one point, late in this game, Kirk Cousins had a 0.0 QB rating (and it didn’t end much higher than that). With their defense being a shell of their former self and the offense looking inept, this team could easily be fighting for the number one pick come December. Considering what they just paid for Kirk Cousins, it’ll be interesting to see if they’d take Trevor Lawrence. However, we are a long way from that happening.
7. Justin Herbert impressed in his debut
I like Justin Herbert a lot. He seems like a really nice, down-to-earth kid. However, I wasn’t very high on him coming into the draft. While he had tons of talent and athletic ability, he just wasn’t consistent enough in college, which is a big issue when transitioning to the NFL. However, after being inserted last minute as the starter (because the team doctor punctured Tyrod Taylor’s lung while giving him a pain injection), Herbert made the most of his opportunity. I thought Herbert would need a year to sit and learn before he was ready but that clearly wasn’t the case. However, this also could’ve been the case of the Chiefs having a game plan for a Tyrod led offense rather than a Herbert led offense. It’ll be interesting to see how he does in subsequent weeks once teams have film and time to gameplan.