First weeks reveal good, bad, ugly of NFL teams

By Kevin Olsen

It has become obvious that the NFL has the most parity in major sports, and the first two weeks of this season have been no different. Yes, there have only been two games of a long season, but there have been some “good” teams that do not look very good at all (sorry Eagles fans), and some “bad” teams that are changing their recent history of losing into surprising 2-0 starts (Texans, Lions, Packers, 49ers).

The Colts and Patriots are as good as ever; the Patriots look unstoppable after dismantling a very good Chargers defense. And despite a lackluster start from the Bears on offense, they still look like the class of the NFC along with the Cowboys. No big surprises there.

But let’s focus on some teams that have played below expectations and do not even look like they can rebound for a playoff run. Unfortunately, a lot of these teams reside in the lowly NFC.

The NFC is loaded with playoff teams from last season that now look borderline dreadful. That of course would be the Giants, Eagles, Saints and even the Seahawks. The NFC was obviously the inferior conference last year and has not helped its case this season. Three of last year’s playoff teams are already 0-2 and have outright deserved to lose all those games due to bad defense and constant mistakes on both sides of the ball. The Giants have allowed 80 points already and will not be an offensive threat with a hobbled Eli Manning, an injured Brandon Jacobs and a retired Tiki Barber. If the Giants can have any consolation for their start, it may be looking at the Eagles and Saints, easily the two most disappointing teams in the entire league (unless you count the Bengals’ atrocious defense).

The Saints were a popular pick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl coming off an emotional, amazing season. But they have been outscored 72-24 by the Colts and Buccaneers and do not look like the same offensive juggernaut they were a year ago. Reggie Bush has not created much offense, and all of a sudden Drew Brees has a shortage of weapons at wide receiver and has no one to get the ball to. The weak NFC South is definitely going to be up for grabs this year with what looks to be three somewhat mediocre teams and one absolutely terrible team – the Falcons, who have lost their bite without Michael Vick. Sorry.

I would like to crown the disappointing Rams as the most underachieving team with their 0-2 start at home, but I will have to go with the Philadelphia Eagles. The thing with the Eagles is that I never felt they were that good of a team. Oh, and Donovan McNabb is overrated. However, all I had seen on ESPN is how good the Eagles are and how they will compete to go to the Super Bowl even though McNabb is still hampered by a knee injury. And they STILL don’t have any good wide receivers for about the 10th year in a row. They have managed only 25 points in two losses to the Packers and Redskins. I am aware those teams have above average defenses, but for how good these Eagles were supposed to be they should be beating those teams easily. They have looked like a shell of the team that finished so strongly last year.

The AFC is still completely dominant but had a few collapses. The Jets and Chiefs have predictably turned into mediocre teams, and will someone please tell me how an NFL defense can play as bad as the Cincinnati Bengals? They gave up 51 points to the Cleveland Browns, the consensus worst team in the AFC. Fifty-one points! And the week before, they barely survived Baltimore despite the Ravens’ four fumbles and six turnovers. A powerful offense will only carry the Bengals so far; just ask Peyton Manning before the Colts added a good defense.

In the end, though, it has only been two weeks. But don’t bet on any turnaround from the Eagles and Giants. It is becoming evident very early that the Colts, Patriots, Bears and Cowboys will fight for NFL’s top prize. Unless you are a believer in a Texans-Lions Super Bowl.

Kevin Olsen is a senior in Communications. He can be reached at [email protected]