Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Week 2 Rubdown - AFC North

What's Happenin Hot Stuff?


WK 1 W v. Atlanta 15-9, WK 2 W at Tennessee 19-11
Offense Rank 31st, Defense Rank 6th

One of the things I've been hearing a lot about these first two weeks is that there's no clear cut best team in the league. Maybe so, but I know who the best story is, and that's the Steelers. They are 2-0, with wins over two teams that probably will be playoff contenders, and they've done this basically without a quarterback. They passed for 29 yards in the win over the Titans. 29. They are now down to thawing out Charlie Batch and plugging him in, and bringing back Byron Leftwich, who is so horrible they cut him for Dennis Dixon, who is only slightly less horrible. I guess the question is then, how good will this team be when that handsome devil in the picture above comes back? The possibilities are mind boggling. You can tell because it looks like Ben is thinking about them in that photo. Look how mind boggled he is.

WK 1 L at New England 24-38, WK 2 W v. Baltimore 15-10
Offense Rank 10th, Defense Rank 18th

I have to hand it to the Bengals, they surprised the shit out of me in Week 2. They opened the season exactly the way I expected them to, failing on a colossal scale and getting pounded by New England in a game that wasn't as close as the score indicated. Then last week they go and maintain their spooky dominance over their own division by beating a Ravens team that a large percentage of the NFL cognoscenti have as the AFC's Super Bowl representative this year. I'm still not sold on them though. That win over the Ravens was more a function of how epically bad Joe Flacco played, then how good their defense is, and I say that because Tom Brady made them look silly in Week 1, and you don't get that much better overnight. Carson Palmer's switch still looks like it's set to "Meh", and Cedric Benson is plodding along at 3.2 yards per carry. Without question a great Week 2 win for the Bengals, but I'm still not convinced.


WK 1 W at NY Jets 10-9, WK 2 L at Cincinnati 10-15
Offense Rank 25th, Defense Rank 2nd

Just like the Steelers are playing without a QB, so are the Ravens. The only difference is Joe Flacco is supposed to be good. So far he's been anything but. Flacco was picked off 4 times by a Bengals defense the Patriots laid waste to a week earlier, and on the season he's completed just 48% of his pass attempts, and posted a passer rating of 41.2, last among starting QBs. I think it's safe to say he's better than that, but we'll see, maybe he isn't. Ray Rice is another guy who was supposed to be setting the world on fire this season and isn't, he's averaging under 4 yards a carry and hasn't done much as a receiver out of the backfield either. What hasn't disappointed is the defense, they are still elite. Basically so far this has been the same Ravens team we've all known for the past 10 years, great on defense, endlessly questionable on offense. That won't be good enough to get where they want to go, but there's still plenty of time for the talent they have on offense to perform up to expectations.

I Wonder If On His Resume He Identifies Himself as "Mangenius"?

WK 1 L at Tampa Bay 14-17, WK 2 L v. Kansas City 14-16
Offense Rank 17th, Defense Rank 13th

Having talented offensive players underperform is not a problem for the Browns, because they don't have any talented offensive players. You just know that they looked at the schedule heading into the year and thought, "Hmm, Tampa Bay and Kansas City, we could very easily be 2-0". Well, they're 0-2, and things aren't going to get any easier. Really though, nothing that happens with Browns this season matters anyway. Anything Mike Holmgren has ever done has always started with a young quarterback. In Green Bay it was Brett Favre, in Seattle it was Matt Hasselbeck. In Cleveland, that guy probably isn't on the roster right now. Maybe it's Colt McCoy, but I'm thinking probably not. In the long term, nothing the Browns do will matter until they see whether McCoy can play in the NFL or not, and I'm thinking we'll see him sooner rather than later.

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