Parity rules....only 7/32 teams remain undefeated two games into the season
Here are 16+ takeaways from the NFL's second week of regular season action:
(1) The NFL appears to be reverting back towards parity. In recent years, certain teams have dominated, while others seem to hopelessly struggle. This year, just 7 teams remain undefeated just two games into the season. More than half of the league – 18/32 teams – are even at 1-1.
(2) If there's an early "Coach of the Year" favourite, it has to be Matt Rhule of the Carolina Panthers. No one saw the rebuilding Panthers starting off to a roaring 2-0 record. Oh, and let's also tag QB Sam Darnold as the early fave for "Comeback Player of the Year." It remains to be seen if Carolina is for real. But they've dominated both the Jets and Saints in their first two games of the season, vastly outplaying both opponents. So, credit is certainly due.
(3) As for the Saints, what a disgraceful performance on Sunday versus division rival Carolina. Even with some personnel hits due to COVID protocols, New Orleans should not have been manhandled as they were. QB Jameis Winston reverted back into....the old Jameis Winston. This team should be embarrassed following up a five-touchdown win in Week 1 with such a lame performance in Week 2.
(4) Credit the Bears for a nice rebound at home hosting Cincinnati. Few saw it coming that Chicago would put up such a good game, especially after the Bengals rolled into down hoping to go to 2-0 and be atop the AFC North for the first time in a decade. But Cincinnati blew a great opportunity while Chicago used two QBs after much maligned starter Andy Dalton went down with an injury.
(5) Let's hear it for the first-place Houston Texans. Okay, so they're tied with Tennessee, but still. Houston has played pretty well, especially on offense in its two games. The Texans were forecast to be the NFL's worst team coming into the new season (O/U 4.5 wins). It looks like they'll get more wins than that with the offense scoring 58 points in two games.
(6) The NFC West is a combined 7-1, with three undefeated teams – San Francisco, LA Rams, and Arizona. Seattle blew it big time, surrendering a 15-point lead at home versus Tennessee. Otherwise, the best division in the NFL would be a perfect 8-0.
(7) Okay, so maybe the AFC West is just as good. Two undefeated teams are tied for first – Oakland and Denver. The LA Chargers could have been in the unbeaten ranks, too were it not for some horrible officiating in their game versus Dallas. Same goes for Kansas City, which lost due to a late turnover.
(8) Credit New England for playing better than expected in two games with a rookie QB. They could be 2-0 except for the late turnover last week. The Patriots demolished the NY Jets. QB Mac Jones is the first rookie starter since 1950 with 30+ pass attempts and a 70 percent completion percentage in each of his first two career starts. Who needs Tom Brady?
(9) Speaking of Tom Brady, just wow! We touted his opening night stats which were off the charts. This week against Atlanta, he was 24/36 for 276 yards, and no picks, with FIVE touchdowns. Could Brady possibly win the league's MVP award at age 44?
(10) The Raiders have a tough early schedule, but are 2-0 and have played outstanding on defense. What a stunning performance on Sunday by Las Vegas, which whipped up on Pittsburgh. The Raiders play Miami at home next week, their third straight opponent that won 10+ games last season. They also play in the brutal AFC West. But for now, the Raiders have exceeded everyone's expectations.
(11) New York has two horrible football teams. Maybe they can combine rosters, cut half the players, and field one decent team.
(12) We still don't know how good the Broncos are, even though they're undefeated. Denver has beaten two the the NFL's worst teams – NY Giants and Jacksonville. And, we might not know much more after this coming week, since Denver hosts the horrible Jets. Denver is looking in great shape to go 3-0.
(13) Not sure Vikings fans should panic just yet, even though they're winless. Minnesota, losers of two games by a total of just 4 points, lost in overtime last week, and went down to the wire in Arizona in Week 2. At least the Vikings were more competitive than we've seen in recent seasons. Now, back home for a stretch, Minnesota needs to win it's next few games to get back in the race.
(14) Miami has no excuse for the lame perfomance at home against Buffalo, a humiliating 35-0 loss. So, Tua Tagovailoa went out with a rib injury, Jacoby Brissett has enough experience to run an offense. As for fragile Tagovailoa, he's quickly turning into the next Marcus Mariota.
(15) Okay, so Kansas City is 1-1, but this likely remains the best team in the AFC. The Chiefs would likely be favoured against any team other than the champion Buccaneers. Kansas City should have won Sunday night's game at Baltimore were it not for an inopportune fumble in the closing minute. For this reason, we leave them in the Top 5.
(26) Note to CFL fans: Lock it up – Winnipeg Blue Bombers, 2021 Grey Cup Champions!
POINTSPREADS.CA POWER TOP 5
- Tampa Bay
- LA Rams
- Las Vegas
- San Francisco
- Kansas City
- Winnipeg Blue Bombers (just for fun)