B/R's NFL FC Showdown for Week 2: Gone To the Dogs?

Lou DiPietroAnalyst ISeptember 21, 2010

B/R's NFL FC Showdown For Week 2: Gone to The Dogs?

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    NFL Week 2 saw Peyton Manning bitch-slap Eli Manning in Manning Bowl II, Donovan McNabb have a 400-yard game but lose thanks in part to his kicker successfully being iced, and multiple starting quarterbacks get the hook.

    Sadly, none of that is covered (at least on their own merit) in Week 2 of the NFL FC Showdown!

    Welcome to the show everyone. I’m NFC Team Leader and Philadelphia Eagles Featured Columnist Lou DiPietro, and this week, my guest is my AFC Counterpart—Cleveland Browns FC and AFC Team Leader Daniel Wolf!

    In Week 2 of the Showdown, we’ll be talking about the next incarnation of the Philly QB Controversy, whether the Jets deserve a G-D snack, and which 2-0 or 0-2 teams are on the verge of collapse/stardom.

    So, without further ado, let’s get it started!

Vick Vs. Kolb, Take Two: Who You Got?

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    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    Yes, I know that Andy Reid has named Kevin Kolb the starter for Week 3.

    But any hopes of the controversy over the Eagles’ QB situation were dashed when Michael Vick led the Birds to Week 2 win over the Lions—and not just with his legs.

    In the victory, Vick had 284 passing yards, two TD tosses, and a QB rating of 108.

    But, he’s now headed back to the headset as Kolb will lead the Birds into action this Sunday, assuming all goes well this week in regards to his concussion.

    However, if Kolb struggles this Sunday against a Jacksonville defense that looked more like house cats than Jaguars in San Diego, the catcalls will only get louder.

    So, Vick vs. Kolb…Who Ya Got?

From The Wolf's Mouth

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    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    I’ve got Vick!

    Vick's play is no surprise to me and many others across the NFL. Andy Reid may want to stay true to Kevin Kolb, but bottom line is that Vick puts the Eagles in the best position to win games right now.

    I'm a Browns fan, and I know quarterback controversies and carousels, so let me be the first to say that I called this back when Donovan McNabb was traded.

    I said Kolb would struggle, which he did in the first half of Week 1, and I said that Vick would come in and take control of the team.

    I still believe this statement, and even if Kolb plays in Week 3, I see more of the same because I think he is still at least another season away from being a good quality starter for the Eagles.

    Is the controversy there? That’s up to Reid and what he decides is best for the team. If he picks Kolb, then I see the Eagles fans booing Kolb until Vick steps back onto the field and under center.

    Vick is an anomaly and the Eagles should use him, because he has that chip on his shoulder to prove all others wrong about his ability to play in the NFL after his disastrous personal issues.

Lou’s View

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    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    Funny how the Dawg Scooper goes for the dog killer…but I’m right there with you.

    As I said last week, I give Reid kudos for sticking to his guns. But there comes a point where sticking to your team plan despite better options goes from loyalty to stupidity, regardless of how expensive Kolb’s contract extension was (or how expensive Vick’s contract could be).

    Last week, Vick’s pure athletic ability kept so many plays alive that I lost count—and yet he was still technically sacked six times.

    There’s no doubt in my mind that if slow-footed Kevin Kolb was back there, the Eagles would’ve lost by two scores.

    This will all depend on how Kolb plays against Jacksonville. Their defense stinks, so No. 4 could have a similar game to the one he had against Tampa in Week 3 last year.

    If he does, the “controversy” will die for a week. But if he doesn’t, Reid may have no choice but to do what’s best for the team right now.

    Kolb’s not a rookie learning the offense like a Sam Bradford or Jimmy Clausen; if he hasn’t learned he offense (or can’t execute it) after three-plus seasons, then he should suffer the same fate as the two signal callers picked ahead of him in the 2007 Draft.

    Of course, it doesn’t help that Donovan McNabb threw for over 400 yards on Sunday, either.

Will The Real Jets Please Stand Up?

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Sexy Rexy slingin' the pigskin? There's a sight.

    But I digress.

    In Week 1, the Jets defense played an amazing game against an allegedly stacked Ravens offense, but their own offensive anemia cost them in a 10-9 loss to Baltimore.

    In Week 2, Mark Sanchez looked like Peyton Manning in dissecting the Patriots’ defense, and outside of one big play to Randy Moss, their own D held tough in a 28-14 win over New England.

    Thanks to Rex Ryan and Hard Knocks (and of course their run to the AFC Title Game last season), all eyes have been on the Jets for weeks.  

    So as we go forward, which Jets team is the “real” one that those eyes will see for the rest of 2010?

From The Wolf's Mouth

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    I think the Jets are both teams, and they will be hot and cold all season long.

    Why is this?

    I would assume it is because of all the egos that are on the team, but one thing is for sure: their defense is super tough…and it has been proven in the past that an NFL team can win a Super Bowl solely with defense.

    Will the Jets be the next team to join the ranks of the 2000 Ravens and 2002 Bucs who did it with D? Not too sure, but they’ll definitely be in every game if that unit plays as well as they have so far.

    The offense is the real issue and that is where the hot and cold play will plague them all season long.

Lou’s View

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Once again, we agree.

    The Jets D is for real, and considering what they did to New England without Darrelle Revis in the second half, it's legitimately scary how good they can be. They'll miss Kris Jenkins, and they'll miss Revis as long as he's out. But the Island will be open for business again soon, Calvin Pace will be back within a few weeks, and the rest of that unit rolls along.

    However, the key is the offense.

    If Sanchez looks more like a legit NFL quarterback, like he did on Sunday, they can be great. The Braylon Edwards situation that broke very early Tuesday morning may complicate things, but he gets Santonio Holmes back in Week 5 and still has two very good weapons in Dustin Keller and Jerricho Cotchery.

    If he doesn't, and is more of a game manager like he was last year, they're looking at 9-7 and needing help to get in (just like last year).

    It's obvious so far that Shonn Greene isn't ready to be the "feature" back, and with LT's recent history of breaking down, the Jets may need that passing game more and more as the year goes on.

Who's The Best Of The Undefeateds?

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    After the Saints’ thrilling win over San Francisco on Monday night, eight teams stand at 2-0.

    Two of them, New Orleans and Green Bay, are no surprise, and a third (Pittsburgh) is only a surprise because they’ve done it without Ben Roethlisberger.

    The other six, at least to some degree, are very big surprises.

    The Houston Texans went 9-7 last year, and you could assume they’d be decent—but after a big win against Indianapolis (only their second in 17 tries) and a come-from-behind OT victory at Washington (their first road win against the NFC East), they look poised to earn their first trip to the postseason.

    Chicago and Miami, two teams who regressed a lot in 2009 and finished 7-9, are 2-0 on the strength of a pair of big wins.

    The Bears hung on against the Lions and then defeated a Dallas team many thought was an NFC favorite, while Miami followed up a tough road win at Buffalo by doing something no one did last season—beating the Vikings in Minnesota.

    Finally, there are the Buccaneers and Chiefs, who are already more than halfway to their 2009 collective win total.

    Both teams beat Cleveland, and the Bucs’ win over Carolina was impressive but not as much as Kansas City’s domination of San Diego at Arrowhead.

    So of these six big surprises, which one is the likeliest to keep it up and which one is a false echo?

From The Wolf's Mouth

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    Larry French/Getty Images

    If you ask who is for real, I will have to go with the Texans.

    They have an explosive offense, as Matt Schaub’s insane almost-500-yard performance in Week 2 showed. He was great last year, but they now have an added dimension with running back Arian Foster.

    Defensively, they’re also coming together nicely, the toasting of the secondary on Sunday notwithstanding.

    Remember, they have a linebacker named Brian Cushing who is serving a suspension right now; when he returns to the defense, they become a very balanced in my eyes.

    They’ve already beaten Indy, Tennessee looks vulnerable, and Jacksonville looks worse…so if the Texans can avoid the injury bug, they could really push the Colts for the division title this year.

    As far as who is most likely to fall apart, it has to be Miami.

    Beating Buffalo is almost criminal at this point, and as impressive as a win in Minnesota should be, this year’s Vikings aren’t even close to the ones that went to the NFC Title Game last year.

    From here, the Dolphins have a brutal schedule. They play the Jets and Pats over the next two weeks, but both games are at home.

    Then, after their Week 5 bye, they still have to go to New England, New York, Green Bay, and Baltimore, plus have games with Pittsburgh (with Big Ben), Tennessee, and Chicago. That’s a tough road.

Lou’s View

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    I agree with you on the breakout front. Houston is for real, and getting Cushing back will make their front seven that much better.

    They have a tough schedule, but if their secondary can actually learn how to play defense, Schaub will keep them in games and they could see their first 10-win season and playoff berth.

    On the other end though, I lean more towards Chicago. Like Miami, they could’ve lost both of their first two games, and probably should’ve lost to Detroit.

    They play the AFC East and NFC East this year, which could amount to five or even six losses right there.

    Add in a pair with Green Bay and a Dec. 20 game at Minnesota (when Sidney Rice should be long back), and they could be 7-9 again.

BONUS TOPIC: What Does 0-2 Really Mean?

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Just as there are several surprises at 2-0, a few of the eight 0-2 squads are a little flabbergasting.

    Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, and St. Louis aren’t them; even though the latter two are much improved in 2010 so far, they still all had Top 9 draft picks last season.

    Carolina, meanwhile, isn’t really so much of a surprise in record as they are in flat-out listlessness.

    The 0-2 marks of Dallas, Minnesota, and San Francisco, however, make a lot of people scratch their heads.

    The Cowboys were many pundits’ Super Bowl favorites, the Vikings were seconds away from being there last year, and the Niners were a sexy pick as the “surprise” team of the year.

    Still, they’re 0-6 so far. Only 13 percent of the teams in NFL history who have started 0-2 have made the playoffs; which of these three has the best chance to personify that statistic?

From the Wolf’s Mouth

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Most likely to bounce back has to be the Cowboys; they have way too much talent on that roster not to.

    The same could be said for the Vikes, I guess, but I see Favre's skills diminishing right before my eyes after two weeks.

Lou’s View

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Agreed, and gratuitous cheerleader picture earned!

    Brett Favre looks old, and without his No. 1 receiver, he’s left with an overachieving tight end and a corps of guys I wouldn’t draft as my slot receiver in Madden.

    Dallas, meanwhile, should’ve beaten the Redskins and could’ve beaten Chicago. A couple lucky breaks go their way, and they’re a game up on their division, not a game behind.

    If they are to do it though, they need to get a kicker. David Buehler allegedly has a great leg, but he’s already missed two longer field goals and doesn’t inspire anyone with his accuracy on a good day.

Who Gets The Duke?

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    Jerry Markland/Getty Images

    Clint Bowyer did in the first race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase, and he won a big ol' lobster for his efforts.

    Meanwhile, here in the Showdown, I lost to Will Holt in a Week 1 nail-biter...and I know I didn't lay a second turkey this time.

    Or did I?

    Once again, you decide in the comments section!