Winners and Losers - Week 2 Sunday edition
I heard it was a beautiful day outside today. I wouldn’t know, was busy watching football all day. I always thought Week 2 was one of the easiest weeks to gamble on games, so I’m really glad I didn’t test that theory by taking Oakland and Baltimore on a parlay.
More referee controversy, and coaching controversy, and kicking controversy, and player controversy, just all kinds of controversy.
Let’s take a look at some teams who are now 2-0, and those that are in the vaunted 0-2 hole, amongst other things.
The Giants - After scouring my deep vocabulary of words, I’ve settled on calling Tom Couglin’s team: predictably unpredictable. Not sure if anyone was surprised that the Giants fell behind early against Tampa Bay this afternoon, nor was anyone surprised that they came out with a victory. This is so Eli Manning: he throws for 510 yards and 3 touchdowns (shouts to his two dynamic receivers Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz, who combined for 21 catchs, 378 yards and 2 touchdowns) but also threw 3 interceptions and ended with a QB rating of just 89.5. There’s just something about the other Manning that lacks appeal, even with two Super Bowl rings to his name. But that’s the nature of the whole Giants team. They’re so underwhelming for stretches, but always find a way to be there when it counts. At one point, it was possible that they would fall to 0-2 and be two games back of every team in their division. But here they are, tied with the Cowboys and Redskins and just a game back of the Eagles after week two. It could’ve been dire for the Giants had they lost, it’s always on the verge of being dire for these Giants, but they always find a way.
2-0 teams (Philadelphia, Arizona, Houston, San Diego, San Francisco) - It really doesn’t matter how you get your wins in this league, stop me before I quote Al Davis. The most surprising of this group are the Cardinals, but full points for their win in New England. Ryan Williams, don’t forget to send Stephen Gostkowski a Christmas card, or something. Just make sure it’s not bounty related. The ugliest of this bunch are the Eagles. Fun fact alert: they’re the first team ever to win their first two games of the season by a single point. Lots of turnovers, lots of mistakes, Desean Jackson and company threatening to lose their cool. Actually they did, punches were thrown but the refs forgot to keep the game in control. As for Houston and San Diego, the jury is still out based on the level of competition. San Francisco? Most complete team after week one, same after two weeks.
Antonio Garay - With a tribute to Junior Seau.
Reggie Bush - Do we need to reconsider the Mario Williams-Reggie Bush debate again before it’s all set and done? Remember all the talk of how Bush couldn’t be a feature back in this league? Not so sure if that’s still the case.
The refs, again - Hey, did you hear about the one about how the league had to pull a side judge from the Saints game today because he was a huge New Orleans fan? As in, there are photos of himself tailgating in Saints gear in the pre-season?
Andrew Luck - Win number one. Not as dramatic as Robert Griffin III’s in week one, but they all count just the same. Also, respect to Adam Vinatieri for still doing his thing at age 39. It’s good to have a reliable kicker in your back pocket for those late game drives. Sometimes it takes more then Luck. I can’t believe I just wrote that.
Greg Schiano - So on the last play of the game, the Buccaneers coach decided it was a good idea to have his team come after Eli Manning on a standard kneel down play, which earned a tongue lashing from Tom Coughlin in their post-game handshake. I’m all for the culture change and attitude that Schiano is bringing to Tampa Bay, but this is not the way you do things in the pros, or at any level of competition for that matter. His excuse that this is about sending a message to his team and the rest of the league that his guys will never stop trying until the game is officially over is just that: a poor excuse. You can preach and practice those values in many other ways, ones that don’t involved the possibility of unnecessary injury. Or embarrass your team in the process. Too late on that last one.
0-2 teams (New Orleans, Cleveland, Jacksonville, Tennessee, Kansas City, Oakland) - Most surprising of course are the Saints. Easiest thing is to say that the team misses Sean Payton. But I think it’s a simple fact that the defense has been terrible, which was masked by the record breaking offense last year, and the offense has not been sharp. Some of that has to fall on Drew Brees, who missed some time in preparing for the season due to his contract dispute. For Cleveland, Jacksonville, Tennessee and Kansas City: they are who we thought they were. Although I think Cleveland can be a competitive team coming down the stretch. As for Oakland? They remain as frustrating as ever.
A lot of survivor pools - Or as CBS Sports’ Will Brinson said: “And on the second week of the season, Belichick proclaimed there would be no more survivor leagues.”
Josh Morgan - For this. Somewhere, Andre Johnson empathizes.
Tim Tebow - 33 yards of total offense through two games. Strangest thing is, there will be some calls for him to start next week.
Wes Welker - Became the Patriots’ all-time franchise leader in receptions, on a day that he didn’t make the starting lineup. I think that contract dispute upset a few people in New England, the wrong people. I mean the wrong person. When Bill Belichick thinks you’re putting yourself above the team, he’ll go out of his way to put you in your place. Which makes me wonder whether we’re headed for a break-up between Gronkowski and the Pats, not this year, not next, but at some point.
Chris Johnson - He’s averaging 3.1 feet per carry this year.
The Cowboys - Same as what I wrote about the Giants above, except that the Cowboys always make things more dire than they need to be. Or maybe the simple truth is this: whether it’s the quarterback, the coaching or something else, this team just does not have the makeup of an elite team, and never will.