Friday, September 24, 2010
Week 2 Rubdown - AFC West
Chiefs Not So Achy Breaky Anymore
1. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 2-0
WK 1 W v. San Diego 21-14; WK 2 W at Cleveland 16-14
Offense Rank 30th, Defense Rank 24th
Might want to do a screen capture of this Rubdown, because I'm pretty sure this is the last one you'll see that has the Chiefs in 1st place. Yes, they are 2-0, but a truer picture of this team's abilities lies in those offensive and defensive ranks, which are both in the bottom 3rd of the league. Matt Cassel is proving to be the second coming of Scott Mitchell, meaning he parlayed a few good games as a backup (Mitchell in Miami behind Marino, Cassel in Foxboro behind Brady), into a huge contract with a team foolish enough to give him one, then showing why he's a backup. The saving grace has been a strong running game driven by two quality backs. Thomas Jones has gotten around 60% of the carries, mainly serving the function of keeping Jamaal Charles fresh which has helped him to average over 6 yards per carry. I'm thoroughly unimpressed by the Chiefs, but the Week 1 win on national TV in a driving rainstorm over the Chargers was a nice day for the franchise. The pain is in the mail though.
A WACk First Couple of Weeks for Mathews
2. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS 1-1
WK 1 L at Kansas City 14-21, WK 2 W v. Jacksonville 38-13
Offense Rank 3rd, Defense Rank 8th
Given that it's well established that the Chargers don't get things going usually until after Halloween, I would think they have to be at least kind of pleased with their start. The potential for disaster was certainly there. They opened with an ugly, ugly loss in the rain at Kansas City. Philip Rivers was lobbing water balloons all over the place and the team looked like they had never touched a wet football before, which maybe they haven't. On top of that there's the Vincent Jackson and Marcus McNeill contract impasses, and the great, future Hall of Fame running back Ryan Mathews not living up to expectations so far. All those things together would have made it very easy for them to go into early season shock, but they pulled it together and blew out the Jaguars in their home opener, behind a great game from Rivers and some bruising running by fullback Mike Tolbert. The Chargers still look like the best team in this bad division.
3. DENVER BRONCOS 1-1
WK 1 L at Jacksonville 17-24, WK 2 W v. Seattle 31-14
Offense Rank 7th, Defense Rank 19th
The Broncos have played pretty well so far. Kyle Orton has posted a stellar 103.9 passer rating, and rookie WR Demariyus Thomas had a huge game in his debut last week. RB Knowshon Moreno will be out this week against the Colts, and if newly acquired Laurence Maroney can perform well in his absence, Moreno might be spending a lot of time on the bench even after he comes back.
And while I don't want to be ghoulish, it has to be mentioned. I'm sure you all know by now, Broncos player Kenny McKinley died of an apparent suicide early this week. Unfortunately in the NFL it's really not all that unheard of for players to die. The Bears just had Gaines Adams die in a car accident last winter, you'll remember Sean Taylor was murdered during the season a couple of years ago, and the Broncos have now had 3 players die in a relatively short amount of time. It sucks and I can't think of another sport that has this happen so much, it's only slightly less worse than pro wrestling at this point. Rule #1, no NFL team should allow its players to own a gun. Too many bad things have happened and these often violent young men can't be trusted with them. Start there, it's a start.
Turn Around, Home Plate is That-A-Way
4. OAKLAND RAIDERS 1-1
WK 1 L at Tennessee 13-38, WK 2 W v. St. Louis 16-14
Offense Rank 9th, Defense Rank 9th
It would be easy to look at the Raiders getting blown out at Tennessee in their opener, barely beating the perennially awful Rams in week 2, and already pushing the abort button on their new QB Jason Campbell, and conclude that the Raiders still suck. Well, maybe they do, but one thing that surprised me is that they are in the top 10 in both offense and defense. I know it's only through 2 weeks, and playing the Rams doesn't hurt that, but I think that should give the Raiders a little reason for hope. Darren McFadden has finally turned it on, and in 2 games has averaged 5 yards a carry, is on pace for 1900+ yards, and generally not looked anything like the Reggie Bush/Felix Jones-esque bust he has been up until this point. So the Raiders finally have one real offensive weapon, and that's something. Bruce Gradkowski may not be a good quarterback, but it can't be ignored that the Raiders do seem to show some life when he is in the game. Don't get me wrong, the Raiders are still bad, but they've improved, a little.
Posted by GRRM Jr. at 11:13 AM