Ten quick-hit thoughts from NFL Week 2

Editors note: This was written before Sunday Night Football because of the following: 

Grido

Tune in tonight! Will be rewatching the Giants-Cowboys game later and then the usual SWN Show and podcast tomorrow…see you then!

1) Patriots look awful, Jaguars deserved the win

The Patriots have had some fluke loses during their dynasty, this was not one of them. My concerns, that I thought were partially answered in their week 1 victory, all came back. Their offensive line got manhandled by the Jaguars front seven time and time again, the Jaguars shutdown Gronk (2 receptions for 15 yards) and their running game and then they had nothing, and their secondary got eaten apart.

While their O-line can be improved because of their genius offensive line coach, Dante Scarnecchia, and their offensive weapons will improve when Julien Edelman comes back in week 5, their secondary isn’t getting help any time soon. Eric Rowe, Stephon Gilmore, Jonathan Jones and company all got eaten apart.

While their talent is less than great in the backfield right now, it never has been great. You have to wonder how much the departure of Matt Patricia impacted this defense. While I am of the opinion Patricia will never be a good head coach, there is no denying he was a very good defensive coordinator who worked well with Belichick.

These are long term issues for New England, not short term. Luckily for them they play the Lions and Dolphins in back-to-back weeks.

2) Eagles and Buccaneers: *insert words*

It literally happens once or twice a season. A game leaves me nothing but speechless and well, this is one of them. Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Yes, that 35-year-old QB you forgot about until Jameis Winston got suspended for three games, passed for 417 yards and 4 TDs. Ryan freakin’ Fitzpatrick joins Tom Brady and Cam Newton as the only QBs in NFL history to throw at least 400 yards in the first two games of the season. Oh yea, he’s also about to take Winston’s job from him…seriously.

Fitzpatrick deserves credit. A ton of it, but can someone explain to me what the hell happened to the Eagles defense? I can’t. I don’t recognize this team. I talked myself into thinking they would experience no Super Bowl hangover, but damn, I’m not one to overreact, but I might be wrong. Eagles fans better hope and pray that Carson Wentz (reportedly returning) next week gives this team the boost they need.

3) Vikings deserved to beat Packers

You’ll hear it, you’ll hear it a lot, that the refs stole a win from the Packers because of this call:

Folks, in case you haven’t noticed, in the 2018-19 season that is going to be called. It’s going to be called every single time.

The Vikings deserved this win. Period. If they had a competent kicker they would have. Kirk Cousins answered many of my questions and their offense, with zero running game, stepped up. Minnesota’s D also held Aaron Rodgers to 9 points over the final 36:32 which at this point is an insane accomplishment. Yes, he should have had more if he had a competent kicker, but regardless, the Vikings made halftime adjustment against him and they worked.

If I’m the Vikings, I am feeling pretty good that we didn’t play out best football and still tied the Packers.

If I’m Green Bay, I would have more concern if my next games weren’t against the Redskins, Bills and Lions. If they lose, or even win in close fashion to any of them, then I’m hitting the panic button. There is a reason I didn’t have them making the playoffs and we are starting to see that.

4) Kickers, kickers, kickers

I mean I literally wrote that same headline multiple times last year. How many times do we need to see it to believe it?

Both the Vikings and the Browns lost (I guess, technically, a tie for the Vikings) today because their kickers completely failed. Oh and they weren’t the only ones struggling either. The Rams had their kicker injured, Stephen Gostkowski missed a FG early and a total of six PATs were missed. PATs. 33 yards. Inexcusable.

Fanbases who have good, reliable kickers should be thanking their lucky stars. Dan Bailey anyone?

5) Saints “earn” such an undeserving win; and well…the Browns…just the Browns

I mean you really can’t make this up. You just can’t. Looking to get your first win since Christmas Eve of 2016 and the following happens:

  • Led most of the game and then give up a TD with with 2:40 left
  • Answer right back with a TD, but miss the PAT and leave Brees 1:16 in a tied game
  • Saints drive right down and kick FG to give them the 21-18 lead with 0:21 left
  • Browns somehow get back into FG range and miss again

I mean you actually can’t make this up. The Saints did not deserve this win, the Browns did. Yes, you read that right. New Orleans looked awful again. The 18 points they gave up would have been 30+ to most other teams, they couldn’t get their running game going again, and outside of Michael Thomas, Brees and the passing game was average.

While we are here, let’s appreciate Thomas for a moment:

If I am Sean Payton, I am staying up awake tonight thinking about what happens next week against the Falcons, and the week after against the Giants and those offenses.

6) Patrick Mahomes might just be the real deal

I do not buy into young QBs easily at all. I never have, or am, fully bought in on Derek Carr, Dak Prescott, Deshaun Watson, the list goes on and on. Well, with the one exception admittedly being Jimmy Garopollo. And don’t get me wrong, I am not fully bought in on Mahomes either, but damn he took a big step in getting me there.

Yes, there are the stats: 23/28, 326 yards and 6 TDs. Oh, and by the way, he did this:

Over the course of the next week you will hear all the hyperboles: ‘The Chiefs have found their guy’ and ‘He’s a franchise QB’. And no, I am not there yet…you can probably tell I am trying really hard to calm myself down about him, but damn he looked real, real good. I don’t know if he will be consistently good, never mind elite, but it is certainly hard to imagine him being bad.

7) Young QBs still need time

As impressive as Mahomes performance was, we still must remind ourselves how much time most of theses guys need. Deshaun Watson’s average (at best) performance against an average (at best) Titans’ D, was only mildly concerning for his future long-term, but still reminds us all how much time it truly takes to develop a QB.

What was inexcusable was Watson running out the clock on his own team at the end of that game. Nine games into his starting career he can not have that mental lapse.

Meanwhile, Sam Darnold had an extremely up and down day finishing 25/41, 334 yards, 1 TD, and 2 INTs. The third overall draft pick showed great precision and patience at times, but at other times looked like a rookie. Again, long term, not too much concern, but yet another reminder of how much time this QB development takes despite fans wanting it to happen in a year or less.

8) Holy NFL

Nine. Yup, nine games in the 1 o’clock window was incredible. Anyone who was watching the ‘RedZone’ knows how incredible the last 15-20 minutes was. Drama, drama and more drama. Just a little reminder that yea, this league is just a little bit of fun.

Oh and the late window games were incredible too.

9) Cardinals and the Bills in a hot race

I mean woof, woof, woof. Holy cow. Both of these teams might as well just play for the number 1 overall pick already. While other teams might be close on their heels, specifically the Lions, they are clearly the best of the worst right now.

Josh Rosen (unfortunately for his long-term development) might want to start warming up in Arizona right now.

10) Raining on the 49ers parade

Don’t get me wrong, long term I am still super high on Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers future, but we have been reminded how hard it is to take that next step in the NFL. They lost to a good Vikings team last week, but then nearly gave up a big lead to what will be one of the worst teams in the league in the Lions.

They’ll be a deep postseason team eventually, but let’s not jump the gun. Even though I had them making the playoffs 😉

 -Article by Nick Friend

Tomorrow: The SWN Show and podcast

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