NFL Predictions Week 2: Teams That Will Bounce Back After Disappointing Openers
There were some shockers in the inaugural week of the 2012 NFL season, but there are teams that will avoid the dreaded disaster that usually accompanies an 0-2 start.
According to a piece by ESPN's Len Pasquarelli, only 13.75 teams have made the playoffs after starting the year 0-2 since 1990.
That was as of the 2008 season, but the principle has remained the same. Here are three teams that will avoid a two-game slide to begin the year.
Green Bay Packers
In a game that pitted two legitimate Super Bowl contenders against each other, someone had to get off to the bad start. Unfortunately for the Pack, they were beat at home by the San Francisco 49ers for the first time since 1990.
The good news is that the Packers will remain within the friendly confines of Lambeau Field in Thursday's marquee NFC North matchup with the Chicago Bears.
A Green Bay defensive unit that was leaky a year ago continued its sloppy play against the Niners last week. San Fran ripped off big chunks of yardage and managed to put 30 points on the board despite going just 2-for-9 in third-down conversions.
That Niner offense is much more balanced than a year ago, and the Packers will face a similar attack against Chicago, led by Cutler and Pro Bowl running back Matt Forte.
It's hard to imagine the Packers starting 0-2 in what should be among the most competitive divisions in the league. It would also mean they'd already lose twice as many games as they did in all of 2011.
Aaron Rodgers and Co. will benefit from going up against a slightly more generous defense. The Packers will play smart football, and pull out a victory at home against their bitter rival.
Kansas City Chiefs
It was trendy in the offseason to pick the Chiefs as the champion of a wide-open AFC West, but Romeo Crennel's bunch got blown out at home against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1.
It was an enigmatic start to the season for KC, who was without key pieces on defense. Tamba Hali was suspended, and top cornerback Brandon Flowers didn't play.
As a result, Matt Ryan and the Falcon offense blew the Chiefs off the field through the air. The duo of Stanford Routt and Jacques Reeves wasn't cutting it against the likes of Roddy White and Julio Jones.
The offense showed signs of life, though, and Jamaal Charles ran for a game-high 87 yards. That should put to rest some concerns about him coming off of an ACL injury. What was shocking was that camp's stud receiver Jonathan Baldwin was nowhere to be found, as he registered zero catches.
Going on the road to Buffalo is never easy, but the Bills looked like the same old Bills in getting blown out by the New York Jets.
An improved defensive line with the addition of Mario Williams still couldn't stop an offense that didn't score a touchdown all preseason.
That bodes well for the Chiefs, who have even more weapons at skill positions than the Jets do.
Hali also returns for the game in Buffalo, according to C.J. Moore of CBSSports.com. The defense will bounce back after the Falcons debacle, which is more due to how good the Falcons are than how badly the Chiefs played.
New York Giants
A tough home loss taught us two things about the 2012 Giants. First of all, the secondary is beat up, which means their elite pass-rushers Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck will be leaned on more than ever.
Secondly, the running game has improved slightly, thanks to a healthier Ahmad Bradshaw. As phenomenal as Eli Manning has been in fourth quarters, though, asking him to pull out a victory every week is not a sustainable model for success.
The defending Super Bowl champions may be headed for a "hangover" this season, but as we've all come to know, it's never a good idea to bet on the Giants, and it's unwise to bet against them.
The G-Men have been the most consistently unpredictable team in the NFL, yet have won two Lombardi Trophies in the past five years.
It was basically a matchup nightmare for the Giants' secondary, but they'll get a crack at revenge in Dallas in Week 8.
In the meantime, another home game this week looms against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who knocked off the Carolina Panthers and limited their explosive ground game to just 10 yards rushing.
Running the ball isn't the Giants' forte as it is, but the Bucs' stellar outing is difficult to overlook. Important to note, though, is that Tampa's offense controlled the clock, possessing the ball for about a quarter longer than the Panthers did.
The move by Ronde Barber to safety was wise, but that also leaves free-agent acquisition Eric Wright as a starting cornerback.
Wright has been one of the most consistently burnt corners in the league over the past two seasons, and he will either be lining up opposite Hakeem Nicks or Victor Cruz.
That should generate enough big plays to get the Giants back on track, keying yet another run where the Giants will somehow, some way, be a factor when the playoff race rolls around.
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