The Second week in the 2013 NFL Season has been filled with many story lines, the biggest may have been the beating the 49ers took from the Seahawks up in Seattle yet again. Division by division, let’s review this week’s action!
The Seahawks pounded the 49ers again in Seattle, starting a widespread discussion if Seattle is the top team not only in this division but in the NFC as a whole. It’s only Week 2, so it’s far too early to tell if either one of those is the case. What can be said at this time is that they are 2-0 in the Division and seem to have San Francisco’s number at home. It was a sloppy game for both offenses, but Marshawn Lynch got lose(as usual) against the 49ers run defense and led the way for Seattle. The Legion of Boom, that outstanding secondary in Seattle did a masterful job working in concert with the pass rush resulting in the 49ers offense never getting on track. It’s a long season, but Seattle definitely got off to a great start two weeks into this season. The 49ers are now 1-1, they have a tough four game stretch to start the year as as Indianapolis and Andrew Luck head into Candlestick this week while the Seahawks will devour(play) the Jaguars this week at home.
The Rams continued their habit of starting slow, they were down 24-3 against the Falcons at the half. St. Louis stormed back into the game in the second half, even getting it down to a one possession game at one point. Atlanta was able to respond and stretch out the lead. If the Rams can finally put together a full game on the offensive end, everyone will get a chance to see how good they can be. They are 1-1, more important is that the one win came against a division foe.
The Arizona Cardinals won a tough game over the Detroit Lions, they were able to bottle up Detroit’s explosive offense as they won 25-21. Arizona couldn’t slow down Megatron as he had two Touchdowns and 116 yards receiving, but they limited everyone not named Calvin Johnson. This game came down to penalties, the Lions had eight for 101 yards with the biggest being a pass interference call late in the game by Bill Bentley resulting in 31 yards. That allowed the Cardinals Rashard Mendenhall to run the ball in for a score, the deciding score in this game.
The Denver Broncos continue rolling, they won the “Manning Bowl” convincingly to the tune of 41-23. The Giants carried their turnover issues from last week over into this week as they’ve now turned the ball over 10 times in two weeks(6 last week, 4 this week). Peyton is on a roll to start the season, having thrown for 769 yards and nine Touchdowns in just two games!! Denver is off to a great start considering they are without star linebacker Von Miller.
Kansas City moved to 2-0 as well by beating Dallas on Sunday, the Andy Reid era has gotten off to a great start. QB Alex Smith has been extremely efficient in two starts for the Chiefs, but this win was about their defense as they forced two key Dallas Turnovers. They’ve already tied their win total from last season, the talent is finally being utilized in Kansas City.
Oakland and San Diego both came very close to winning in Week 1, only to falter at the end of the game. San Diego gave up a lead, while Oakland couldn’t complete the rally. This week, the Chargers found themselves in a shoot-out with the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles scored late to tie the game at 30, Rivers led the offense down the field and Nick Novak kicked the game winning Field Goal. As for Raiders, Darren McFadden led the way by rushing for 129 yards while their defense provided a great defensive effort. Both teams head into Week 3 with a 1-1 Record.
The Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans were involved in a great battle on Sunday, the Titans appeared to have control over this contest late. Their eight point lead didn’t hold up as the Texans were able to score and covert the two-point conversion. The game went into over time and DeAndre “Nuke” Hopkins stepped up in Over Time for Houston as they strolled down the field for the game winning TD. Hopkins appears to finally be “that” guy who can play opposite Andre Johnson. Johnson left the game due to concussion like symptoms, Hopkins stepped up to the tune of seven catches for 117 yards and 1 TD. Houston rallied for the second straight week in a row to start the season 2-0, the Titans fall to 1-1 but have already proved that this is not the same team from last year.
The Colts fell to the Dolphins this week, Andrew Luck has led them to several game winning drives in his short career. This attempt fell short and the Colts will start the season 1-1, all the scoring was done in the first half in this one as the Dolphins held the Colts to just three points in the second half. The Colts head to San Francisco this week as Luck will face the team led by his former College coach Jim Harbaugh.
The Jaguars struggled to score yet again, it is only the end of Week 2 but this already looks as if Jacksonville is in for a very long year.
Carolina and Tampa Bay are struggling from a similar issue, a rather large issue at that, they struggle to close games. Both teams play well enough to win, but just can’t close the door on opposing teams. It’s almost as if they play not to lose versus playing to win. They are tied at the bottom of the division at 0-2; if both teams wish to compete for the division crown this year, they have to put together a full game’s worth of football.
Julio Jones carried the Atlanta Falcons to a victory over the St. Louis Rams, the third year wideout displayed his ability to take over a game. Jones hauled in eleven passes for 182 yards and one TD, Atlanta went up 24-3 before the Rams stormed back into the game. The Falcons have had lulls on the offensive end in each of the first two weeks that have allowed opposing teams to get back into games. Their defense stepped up when needed, but they are not yet able to be counted on consistently. The Falcons are now 1-1, they sustained two season ending injuries in this game. Defensive End Kroy Bierman and Fullback Bradie Ewing are out for the remainder of the year, their depth will be tested.
The New Orleans Saints have started the season 2-0 after their recent win versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Saints endured the elements and a tough Bucs team, the New Orleans defense continues to impress in the first two weeks of the season. Rob Ryan’s bunch forced two turnovers and kept Tampa from finding a rhythm offensively, Sean Payton is back and the Saints are atop the NFC South.
The New England Patriots survived the New York Jets, a huge emphasis on the word “survive.” The Patriots won 13-10, their defense forced four Jets turnovers. Let that sink in, forced four turnovers and won by just three. The Jets defense was exceptional, they refused to let the Patriots offense get rolling. Often making up for their own offensive issues by not giving up touchdowns in short-field situations. The Patriot’s offense should get back on track in the coming week’s with the return of Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola. As for the Jets, they have already show that they have one of the league’s better defensive units. New York badly needs their offense to get on track, possibly 17-20 points a game would be enough to win going forward. New England moves to 2-0 and the Jets are 1-1, the AFC East looks like it’s going to be an extremely competitive division this year.
The Buffalo Bills have lived on both sides of the late game spectrum, they lost courtesy of a game winning field goal and won courtesy of a game winning Touchdown pass. Rookie Quarterback EJ Manuel put together a masterful game winning drive, culminating with a beautiful two yard pass to Stevie Johnson. The Bills have to be proud of their young QB, through two games Manuel has thrown for 446 yards with three TDs and One Interception. Buffalo is starting the season 1-1 heading into the third week, a strong defense and running game are a Rookie Quarterback’s best friend.
It’s extremely sunny in Miami, the Dolphins are 2-0 this season. In the post game presser, Mike Wallace let it be known that he wasn’t fond of the way he was used in his first game as a Dolphin. Wallace was all smiles after this contest, he caught nine passes for 115 yards and one touchdown. The Dolphins appeared to have improved on both sides of the ball, it should be interesting to see how they do going forward.
Similar to the AFC North in Week 1, the NFC East posted a donut from a division standpoint as not one team won a game. The entire division was shut out, the good news is that no one is leaps and bounds ahead of anyone else. How will they fare in Week 3? Only time will tell!
Division battles, that is what Week 2 consisted of for this group. Baltimore and Cleveland were the first to meet, that game featured great defense with sprinkles of offense. The Ravens defense forced a turnover and Joe Flacco generated just enough offense to get by, Flacco passed for 211 yards and a TD. The Ravens were able to avoid starting the season 0-2, they are tied atop the division at 1-1.
The Steelers and Bengals appeared to have switched places within the division, the Bengals are now one of the favorites to come out of the division with the Steelers being a team in the hunt for the division crown. Cincinnati and Pittsburgh were locked in a defensive struggle, neither offense was able to sustain drives. The Steeler offensive line gave little to no resistance against the Bengal pass rush. Rookie running back Giovanni Benard was the difference maker, Benard caught a touchdown and ran for one as well. He and Tightend Tyler Eiffert have been great additions to the Bengal offense thus far.
The Chicago Bears won a shootout against division foe Minnesota, Jay Culter’s late TD pass to Martellus Bennett carried the Bears to victory 31-30. The game was filled with miscues on the offensive end for both teams, the Vikings turned the ball over three times while the Bears had four turnovers. Cutler’s last touchdown was his third of the day and a great way to close the door on the Vikings. Matt Forte showed off his dual threat ability by gaining 88 yards on 20 carries and catching seven passes for 73 yards. Brandon Marshall hauled in a TD en route to another 100 plus yards receiving. The Bears offense has continued to be explosive in their new scheme, Chicago is sitting atop the division alone at 2-0. Adrian Peterson ran for 100 yards this week, but it wasn’t enough as the Minnesota defense had trouble containing Chicago’s offense. The Vikings haven’t been able to get stops on defense and they’ve struggled with turnovers as well, while it’s only been two games there is cause for concern. The main reason being that their two losses came within the division, it means they have ground to make up.
The Lions fall to 1-1 after a tough loss to the Arizona Cardinals, mostly due to an inability to defend the pass. A late pass interference call against Bill Bentley resulted in 31 penalty yards. Detroit couldn’t stop Rashard Menenhall from scoring, they also couldn’t get going again offensively. The Lions scored 21 points in the second and third quarter, they did not score in the first and fourth quarters. Discipline or the lack there of, really hurt the Lions in this one. They amassed 101 yards on eight penalties, they have to get that under control. The good new for Detroit is that they’re tied for second place in their division.
The Green Bay Packers ran roughshod over the Washington Redskins, Aaron Rodgers passed for 3oo plus yards by halftime. Even more impressive, was the Green Bay running game. Specifically James Starks, he ran for 132 yards on 20 carries with 1 TD. That was the first time that Green Bay had an 100 yard rusher in 44 contests, oddly the last time it happened was against the Redskins as well. The Packers rebounded from a Week 1 loss against San Francisco to get back to .500, the Packer defense has improved and should make for an interesting race for the division crown.