It’s hard to imagine that in 14 days of NFL football there are teams that are already out of it, but the second week of the season showed a clearer definition of the haves and have-nots. There were those that we already knew about, like the Kansas City Chiefs and the Atlanta Falcons, but several squads had surprising victories that gave further proof they belong among the elite.
Of course there were also those that showed this is going to be a long year. Indianapolis and the New York Jets had displayed ineptitude in the first week and continued to show they’ll be fighting for the No. 1 draft pick, but others are also winless and if it continues head coaches will be scanning the want ads before December.
There was already a consensus this was one of the top divisions, but Sunday showed just how good they are. The Chiefs, Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos all won for the second time and this group will have at least two teams, maybe three in the playoffs.
New England Patriots
Any talk of quarterback Tom Brady or the defending Super Bowl champion’s demise was definitely premature. The signal caller sliced up the hapless New Orleans Saints for 447 yards and three touchdowns. The next three of four games are against manageable foes, including the Jets.
Paying Matthew Stafford a league record $135 million for five years raised some eyebrows but the veteran quarterback is returning on Detroit’s investment. The Lions are 2-0 after victories over Arizona at home and the New York Giants on the road. Now he just has to be able to get the team past the first round of the playoffs.
Los Angeles Football Teams
There was a reason LA didn’t hasn’t had a football team since 1995. Nobody cares unless they are winning and the attendance last week made that painfully obvious. The Rams played in the Coliseum and announced a crowd of 56,612, though the iconic stadium looked less than half full. The Chargers are playing at a soccer stadium that holds 27,000, but they had 25,381 attend. By comparison the USC Trojans had 84,714 come to the Coliseum for its match with Texas, more than both professional franchises combined.
Who will be the first NFL coach fired this season. Let the office pools begin.
Smart money would be on Chuck Pagano, who has seemed to be on the hot seat for the last couple of years. This might be the season. Others include Marvin Lewis of Cincinnati, John Fox of Chicago, and Sean Payton of New Orleans.
After defeating the New York Giants at home people thought the team was a favorite to win the NFC, but Sunday’s embarrassment at Denver showed this team won’t get far in the playoffs if they don’t make some adjustments. The running game was shut down and quarterback Dak Prescott was ineffective against a defense that overpowered one of the best offensive lines in football. If they play top teams, expect them to struggle, especially if Ezekiel Elliott’s six-game suspension is upheld.