Posted 09/19/2011 at 07:11 PM
Over the last 30 years teams that start 0-2 are very unlikely to make the NFL playoffs, doing so around 14 percent of the time. The Giants did win a Super Bowl after a 0-2 start a few years ago but that was the exception and not the norm. Last week a few NFC contenders had great rallies to avoid the dreaded 0-2 hole with Tampa Bay, Dallas, and Atlanta delivering late wins to get to 1-1. One team in the Monday night game between the Rams and the Giants will go 0-2 and effectively be eliminated. Minnesota, Carolina, and Seattle are already there in the NFC. In the AFC Miami, Indianapolis, and Kansas City are staring at uphill battles despite two of those teams being in the playoffs last season.
The struggles from the Chiefs may be a surprise to some but the reports from camp were ugly this summer and the schedule is daunting. We feel quite good about our recommendation of taking the Chiefs ‘UNDER 7.5’ wins before the season started even though they were a 10-6 team last season. The AFC East is loaded with three 2-0 teams leaving Miami in a very tough position. If a team has a chance to still make a playoff run from 0-2 the Dolphins might be worth a look as they have faced two elite contenders in the first two weeks, but the schedule won’t be a whole lot easier. The Bills and the Redskins appear to be the most glaring phony 2-0 teams although both teams should be on track for substantial improvement from last season. Detroit and Houston are the two up-and-coming teams that have a bit more to prove before being placed in that upper echelon but both are dangerous.
Dallas survived last week and America’s team was dangerously close to 0-2, looking at a very tough schedule ahead. The Cowboys have an improved Washington team this week and then the red hot Lions. The first game after a week 5 bye is against New England, so while Dallas fans can relax this week this team could still be in line for another disappointing year especially with the injuries that are adding up.
Rookie QBs have been impressive so far with Cam Newton being the headline on every list despite still being winless. Newton has had back-to-back 400 yard passing games to start the season, briefly holding the NFL record in the first two weeks before Tom Brady eclipsed it. Andy Dalton quietly played extremely well in a loss and he looks like he can lead the Bengals to a respectable season despite dire preseason predictions. Blaine Gabbert appears likely to get his first shot at starting this week as the Jaguars QB play was horrendous behind Luke McCown last week.
Statistical oddities of the first two weeks: Miami has allowed the most yards in the NFL after being a top ten defense last year. New England and Green Bay, two of the Super Bowl favorites are second and third worst in the league in yards allowed. Houston has allowed the fewest yards through two weeks after being third worst in the NFL last season. The schedule has a lot to do with the numbers in a small sample but Patriots and Packers fans have to be a little bit worried, although the games will be entertaining.
Conference season is here for many colleges this week although the conference shake-ups appear to be headed towards a lot of action in the coming weeks. Huge opening conference games in the Big XII, Pac-12, and SEC will go a long way to shaping the season this Saturday. There are a few big undefeated showdowns led by Arkansas/Alabama, LSU/West Virginia, North Carolina/Georgia Tech, and Oklahoma State/Texas A&M, as well as a few surprises with Vanderbilt/South Carolina and Nebraska/Wyoming also featuring match-ups between 3-0 squads. In the Heisman race favorites Andrew Luck and Kellen Moore appear to still be in the driver’s seat. Moore’s team has a much better chance to be undefeated which will help the cause although Stanford has impressed through three weeks, including two blowout road wins for a team in transition. The gap after the top two looks steep at this point but keep in mind last year Denard Robinson was the overwhelming early season favorite. He is in the mix again this year for now. Close to home for us is a case building for Russell Wilson who has been sensational, albeit vs. a light schedule. Best of Luck, on to this week’s slate…