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NFL Week 2 Recap and Week 3 Questions

Major talking points from Week 2

  • The Pittsburgh Steelers defense is still frustrating to watch. By the end of the first half in Week 1 the Steelers were manhandling the Browns. Social media was running wild of a surprise 13-3 season and numerous theories on how much improved the offense and defense looked (finally). All was looking well……and then the second half happened. Although I am a proponent of “a win is a win”, that doesn’t fix the glaring issues this team had and still has this season. After holding on for a last second field goal victory in Week 1, it was a quick turnaround to play the Ravens on the road in Week 2. The opening drive ended prematurely with a turnover and the Ravens seemed to take over the game from there. The last six games the Steelers have played, four of them have produced opponent totals of over 100 yards rushing (two straight to start this season). The Steelers need a quick improvement with the rush defense before heading to Carolina to face the Panthers on Sunday night. If they can barely contain running backs this season, what’s going to happen when Cam Newton is under center?
  • Kirk Cousins has a chance to end former #2 overall selection Robert Griffin III’s career with the Redskins. Griffin left the game this past Sunday with a dislocated ankle. There is never a good time to be injured but for RGIII to have a potentially season altering injury this season, of all seasons, could change his career forever. RGIII has been one of the most criticized figures in DC and the NFL the past two years. Unconfirmed rumors from the preseason that mentioned new Head Coach Jay Gruden would have preferred to make Cousins the starter over Griffin in the first place all point to signs of RGIII’s time ending in Washington. The only thing that could possible give him another season was if Griffin showed significant improvement and promise this season. If Cousins can make this team salvageable and competitive every week then I can hear the discussions now; “How lucky were the Colts to take Peyton Manning over Ryan Leaf and then take Andrew Luck over Robert Griffin III?”
  • The Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers are not infallible. Last week I wrote about how impressive Seattle was in beating Green Bay and San Francisco simply made the Cowboys look like a collegiate team (somewhere between division 3 and 2). The Seahawks took an early lead on the Chargers Sunday on a play that should have been called back but that didn’t faze the Chargers. Antonio Gates looked like the Antonio Gates from 4-5 years ago (97 yards receiving, 3 TDs) and their defense was fast, physical and a constant in the Seahawks backfield. For San Francisco, they dominated the Bears in the first half and then….then…what? The Bears came all the way back to win in impressive fashion. Colin Kaepernick had 4 turnovers (1 fumble, 3 interceptions) and 49ers offense and defense clearly looked as a team that thought they had the Bears beat after a half and then clearly checked out. Despite impressive Week 1 victories, each team suffered equally impressive losses bring much of the NFL and myself back down to reality.

Questions for Week 3:

What’s the deal with Doug Martin? Doug Martin was one of the huge surprises in the NFL a few years ago. His rookie season he rushed for over 1400 yards and caught over 450. An injury plagued season last year left him with just a sliver over 500 total for both rushing and receiving and the first 2 games this year have left everyone wondering what’s left for him (early exit Week 1, DNP Week 2). Martin was supposed to be a huge reason for the Buccaneers to turn things around but mediocre to poor offensive play has lead the Bucs to a 0-2 start. Also, back-up Bobby Rainey has done a fine job when taking over for Martin. In a league that has proven the last few years that a viable Running Back can come from anywhere, Martin needs to concern himself with getting healthy and staying healthy. It won’t get any easier for the Bucs as they roll into Atlanta this week for Thursday night football.

My Guess: Doug Martin starts and plays the entire game Thursday but Bucs lose to Falcons and go to 0-3.

Can the Texans continue to capitalize off great scheduling to start the season? Houston is 2-0 with victories against Washington and Oakland in the first two weeks and now they head to face the New York Giants who have been a big disappointment to start the season. I didn’t expect the Giants to be world beaters here but just better than what they are currently showing on the field. Houston should easily win this game and go to 3-0 which is an amazing start to being 2-14 all of last season. Houston should get its first real test in Week 4 against a Bills team who is better than advertised. If Houston wins again New York and then defeats Buffalo, then I would think it’s safe to begin discussions on their legitimacy as a team. Kudos to the Texans if they can get an early 3-0 start due to scheduling. It will only get tougher from here as the season moves on.

My Guess: Texans win easily, move to 3-0.

Bold Prediction for Week 3: The Arizona Cardinals upset the 49ers to become 3-0 and the 49ers fall to 1-2. San Francisco will play better than against the Bears (preferably an entire 60 minutes) but in the end will fall short.

Guaranteed Lock for Week 3: Ravens over the Browns. I don’t see Cleveland making a comeback like they did against the Saints last week against the Ravens defense. Ravens 2-1, Browns 1-2.

Quick Recap from Predictions / Thoughts for last week

Titans would move to 2-0 —- WRONG —– I made a comment in the previous article that Tony Romo played Week 1 like he had never played against a NFL defense. Jake Locker proceeded to do his best Tony Romo impression and then the same Titans defense that held Jamaal Charles to 19 yards rushing in Week 1 was absolutely gashed by Demarco Murray for 167. I also predicted only 1 turnover for Titans and they finished with 2 total (both Locker interceptions).

Chiefs and Bears would fall to 0-2, Packers survive for 1-1 — RIGHT—WRONG—-RIGHT—- The Packers came out flat as possible against the Jets but made a nice comeback to get a home win (Green Bay has been near unbeatable in home openers the last 8 years with winning 7 including this past Sunday). The Chiefs put on a better performance than they did against the Titans in Week 1 and had a chance to tie the game late but in the end fell short and to 0-2. The Bears getting a win would be the most surprising to me here just because they were coming off the shocking loss to the Bills in Week 1, both Alshon Jeffrey and Brandon Marshall were not 100% and their first half against the 49ers was lackluster in every facet. They had a huge turnaround for the second half, terrorized Kaepernick and pulled out the come from behind win.

Colts would be arguably the most surprising team to fall to 0-2—RIGHT & WRONG— the Colts did lose and fell to 0-2 but I am finding it hard to overlook the New Orleans Saints at 0-2 as my most surprising team. Losing a tough opening week divisional game to the Falcons can be understood as divisional games are the toughest games every year. But they really, really should have beaten Cleveland and they didn’t. Drew Brees had an abysmal first half and although they had the lead late in the game, for the 2nd week in a row the Saints defense gave up a huge play and they fell in defeat.

Patriots easily handle Vikings for first win of season. —RIGHT—- the Patriots losing consecutive games is a proven rarity the last 10 years. Since the 2003 season the Patriots have only lost consecutive games four times. Even if Adrian Peterson was active for the game you might have seen a slight difference in point differential but not much. I was taking the Patriots all the way in a land slide regardless.

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Tony Bitkowski

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