Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Week 2: Most Impressive 2-0 Teams

The second week of the regular season is in the books, and there are seven teams left unbeaten. Of those seven, I would say only three were expected to start the season off on such a high note.

What about the remaining four?

The Patriots and Jets respectively dominated each of its first two opponents.

New England put up 38 against Miami in the season opener, then went on to put up 35 in its home opener against San Diego on Sunday afternoon. During this stretch, MVP quarterback Tom Brady threw for a combined 940 yards, which is the second-most over a two-game period in NFL history.
New York may not have won by as large a margin in each of its first two games, but after scoring 17 fourth-quarter points and erasing a 14-point margin against Dallas, I'm certain that a three-point victory (27-24) is convincing enough. This past Sunday, Jaguars' starter Luke McCown posted an atrocious 1.8 QB rating (6/19, 59 yards, 0 TD, 4 INT) against New York's defense, scoring just three Jaguar points opposed to New York's 32.

Green Bay made its own impressive debut, dropping 42 points on New Orleans with some help from the defense and special teams. However, Drew Brees lit up Green Bay's pass defense for 419 yards and three TDs, coming just one yard shy of tying the game (barring a two-point attempt).

I was expecting Green Bay's top tier defense to have no trouble controlling Carolina's rookie quarterback Cam Newton this past weekend, but instead he passed for over 400 yards for the second consecutive week. A lack of a run game (Newton was leading rusher with 53 yards and a score on 10 carries) hurt Carolina in the end, who allowed the Pack back in the game after four turnovers.
Green Bay could easily be 1-1, or 0-2.

The other four teams: Houston, Washington, Detroit and Buffalo come as a bit of a surprise for most.

While, yes, I believe Houston is playoff-bound, and I picked Detroit as this year's surprise team in the NFC (but missing playoffs), I am still somewhat "shocked," in a sense, that they have come out of the gate swinging.

Houston had no troubled handling the Peyton Manning-less Colts (34-7 in week one), and was near-perfect in the passing category against Miami on Sunday (23-13). Washington has had some young guys step up, on both sides of the ball, with newly acquired Tim Hightower coming within four yards of topping 100 against Arizona this past week, and rookie defensive end Ryan Kerrigan recording eight total tackles, 1 sack, 3 PDs and an interception TD through two games.
Both Buffalo's Ryan Fitzpatrick and Detroit's Matthew Stafford have come out in the first two weeks looking to solidify themselves among the talks of "elite" status. Both signal callers have really taken off since last season, as Stafford is coming off a year-to-forget. With a guy like Calvin "Megatron" Johnson to his disposal, it's really not a surprise that he topped nearly 600 yards and seven TDs against Tampa Bay and Kansas City.

Stafford is just getting around to finally showing off his skills, after missing all but three games last season. Fitzpatrick, the 28-year old former Harvard grad, set career-highs in yards (3,000), touchdowns (23) and rating (81.8) in 13 games under center for Buffalo last year. It's likely this will be his first chance to be the No. 1 guy for the entire season, barring injury.

*Best 2-0 team: Patriots
*Most surprising 2-0 team: Bills
*First to lose: Bills
*Last to lose: Packers

Photo credit
Rivers/Brady: AP Photo/Charles Krupa
Jennings: AP Photo/Gerry Broome
Kerrigan: AP Photo/Cliff Owen

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