Ah, the early days of the new season. When sportswriters, sports anchors, and especially fans, begin stretching the accomplishments (or lack thereof) of the first few games across an entire season. Of course, many of the prognostications will end up being true, but there are a few conclusions that seem to have entered conventional wisdom that I'm not quite prepared to buy in to just yet.
Let's begin with the poster boys, the reigning Super Bowl Champion New York Giants. Let me start this off by pointing out that I'm a Redskins fan, no lover of the Giants, Eli Manning in particular, who left a sour taste in my mouth in the days leading up to his being drafted. Still, they're the champs, and they've had two pretty decisive wins to start the season. Shoo-in for the playoffs, right?
Not so fast. Eli and the G-Men haven't looked as SUPER as one might think. Their 16-7 victory over the Redskins in Week One was over a team that simply wasn't yet ready for the big time. Rookie head coach, new offense, and a struggling offensive line. Redskins QB Jason Campbell didn't complete a single pass until the final two minutes of the first half. It didn't help that the Giants still have a dominant defense capable of pressuring just about any QB in the league. And yet they only won by nine points. Eli tried his very best to throw four interceptions (he only managed one), and after their first admittedly impressive touchdown drive, they never again saw the end zone.
As for beating the Rams, well, being impressed by that is like being impressed by Michael Phelps swimming faster than Stephen Hawking. The Rams are the worst team in football right now, and if you can't crush them, that Lombardi Trophy starts to look undeserved.
But don't get me wrong, I'm not counting the Giants out, far from it. They still have a devastating pass rush (as long as they stay healthy), and a bruising ground game led by Brandon Jacobs, whose embarrassment of Redskins safety LaRon Landry will be etched in my brain all season.
I'm simply saying that beating bad teams is something that average teams can do. I'm looking forward to their games against the Cowboys, Eagles, and Steelers. Heck, let's see how they play the Cardinals! Then we'll have a better idea of what the season holds for the Men in Blue.
Other, not as long-winded, notions I want to bring back to Earth:
Don't be too sold too quickly on Darren McFadden's huge game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Justin Fargas was on the way to similar numbers before he got hurt, and the Chiefs defense couldn't have stopped my little sister from getting a first down yesterday. I still think he'll be a Reggie Bush type of bust, meaning he'll have a decent career, but not one that justifies has draft position.
I'm a little torn about this, but I'll say it. The Buffalo Bills have beaten two teams, each with an entire position group lacking three starters. Seattle lost the third of its top three receivers in Buffalo, and Jacksonville was missing three starters on the O-Line. With glaring weaknesses like that, teams are easy to gameplan for. I can't be sold on Buffalo yet, but I am encouraged. Let's see how they fare against San Diego, New England, and Denver before we start throwing them parades.
And, Marshawn Lynch, who I love, has yet to break 100 yards, and that doesn't usually bode well for a team's prospects.
Speaking of New England, boy, is it early to be comparing Matt Cassel to Tom Brady. I mean, Brady didn't have those sorts of comparisons to deal with when he took over for Drew Bledsoe, who was a good but not great QB. The Pats have beaten the woeful Chiefs (barely), and a Jets team that is still on a first date with its own future Hall of Fame QB. Cassel is lucky to be playing for a coaching staff that will "Do whatever it takes" to position themselves for victory, and with players that know their jobs. But Brady's in the argument for best ever. Cassel, thus far, is just a guy.