There’s nothing worse than your favorite team starting 0-2 after an offseason full of hope and anticipation.
It’s a harsh reality for some hopeful fanbases, though, that their teams may be headed for an even worse 0-3 start.
There’s still time to salvage their seasons, but losing another significantly hampers any type of expectations these teams might have had coming into the year.
With that said, I’ve got three teams failing to get into the win column again this week.
CLEVELAND BROWNS (0-2) at Minnesota Vikings (0-2)
The Cleveland Browns weren’t supposed to struggle again this season. Another organizational house-cleaning promised positive changes fans could be proud of. Things have gone from bad to worse early on in 2013, though, as third-string quarterback Brian Hoyer gears up to start in place of injured quarterback Brandon Weeden, per team announcement:
BREAKING: Head Coach Rob Chudzinski has informed Brian Hoyer that he will start at quarterback Sunday at Minnesota.— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) September 18, 2013
Cleveland will get Josh Gordon, its top receiver, back in the lineup after he served a two-game suspension to start the year. But with Hoyer likely to play the role of game manager and the team’s porous offensive line that has allowed Weeden to be crushed for two straight games, he doesn’t figure to be a much of a difference.
Then this happened,via ESPN's Adam Schefter:
Filed to ESPN: Browns RB Trent Richardson to Indy for Colts' first-round pick.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 18, 2013
Without Richardson, the Browns offense is going to be even worse.
Expect this game to be a low-scoring grind between two teams that will struggle to move the football offensively. In the end, Cleveland’s D breaks and Adrian Peterson does what he does best—carry the Vikings to victory.
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (0-2) at Seattle Seahawks (2-0)
What happens when the league’s worst offense travels to the noisiest stadium to square off against its top defense? You’re going to find out in Week 3.
To this point, the Jags have managed to put just nine points on the board offensively. Most of their offensive production has come once games have already been decided. Without the threat of Jacksonville moving the ball in any fashion, Seattle’s defense will be able to tee off on Chad Henne all afternoon.
It’s going to be loud, it’s going to be one-sided, and it’s going to be a painful game Jags fans will be happy to put behind them moving forward. These are two teams on two completely different levels. That will be apparent at CenturyLink Field on Sunday.
Chicago Bears (2-0) at PITTSBURGH STEELERS (0-2)
The Chicago Bears haven’t exactly lit the world on fire with their first two wins of the season, but the Pittsburgh Steelers have looked much worse while dropping their opening matchups.
Disagree? Which team will avoid an 0-3 start?
Bears receiver Brandon Marshall labeled quarterback Jay Cutler “Mr. Fourth Quarter” after he led another late comeback to keep the team unbeaten. Ben Roethlisberger knows something about late comebacks, but to this point his team hasn’t been able to do much of anything—in any quarter.
Without any semblance of a rushing attack, Big Ben has been forced to do everything on his own. The problem with that, though, is that Pittsburgh’s offensive line has been offensive at best. Roethlisberger has been sacked seven times and pressured constantly through two games.
If the Steelers hope to avoid their first 0-3 start since 2002, they’ll have to hope they can get the ball moving on the ground and find a way to pressure Jay Cutler behind his new offensive line. I don’t see it happening; these teams are both trending in opposite directions.