Broncos, Bills, Packers, Oh My!
Week 2 in the NFL saw the rise of several 2-0 teams and many people have been quick to jump on the bandwagons that follow with such records. However, it is early in the season and you can guarantee the list of undefeated teams will get smaller as week 3 comes and goes.
Week 2 also saw many "playoff bound" teams fall to 0-2. Whether or not these teams deserved the blemished record (San Diego), rules are rules. What teams will remain undefeated and whose 0 will go you ask? Let's review shall we.
The Buffalo Bills, 2-0
One of the main teams I keep hearing about are the Buffalo Bills and how they, not the Jets, are set to dethrone the Brady-less Patriots in the AFC East. Their first two games consisted of a 34-10 blowout against the Seattle Seahawks and a close 20-16 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
That's two playoff teams from last year down, and maybe more to come. However, their next challenge (a word that doesn't accurately describe them) will be the Oakland Raiders. With a ground attack led by rookie Darren McFadden, the Raiders scored an easy victory over Kansas City in week 2, improving to 1-1.
With a secondary that gave up 41 points to the high-powered Bronco offense in week 1, you can expect the Raiders to give up similar points to Buffalo's passing assault. Oakland also allowed Denver's running game to rush 142 yards up the field, with it's top two runners averaging 6.1 and 5.1 yards a carry. Not exactly a sound run defense.
Defensive advantage: Buffalo Bills
Enter Marshawn Lynch, the Bill's number one rusher. In week 1, Lynch averaged 4.2 yards a carry against a much sturdier Seattle defense. He even rushed one in for a touchdown. In week 2, against another power-hitting defense, Lynch rushed 19 times for a total of 59 yards and a touchdown. Now, these numbers might not seem very impressive statistically, but if you compare them to say Marion Barber's stats on MNF (18 rushes for 63 yards and 1 touchdown), you'll find that both backs are of similar talent.
In direct contrast, Oakland threatens to pound the ball away with the rookie out of Arkansas mentioned above. McFadden rushed 21 times against the Chiefs for a total of 164 yards and 1 touchdown. Before you get too excited about these numbers, let's remember that these are the 0-2 Chiefs we're talking about, the ones who have looked wretched thus far.
In comparison, when McFadden faced the Denver D line, he only rushed 9 times for 46 yards.
Rushing advantage: Oakland
If you'd rather compare run defenses, the Buffalo Bills only allowed 98 rushing yards to Jacksonville, a team known for it's one-two punch of Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew. Oakland allowed a little over half that, 55 yards, against an unspectacular Kansas City running game.
The passing game can't even be compared. Both weeks, Trent Edwards has ended the game with a QB rating of 95 or better, ultimately earning a rating of 107.7, well above average. Raiders' QB JaMarcus Russell, on the other hand, has a QB rating of 84.9 right now. That leaves him a bit below average.
With Lee Evans averaging 89.5 yards per game, Buffalo's receiving corps seems solid. Oakland's top receiver, TE Zach Miller, is averaging 29 yards a game.
Passing advantage: Buffalo Bills
My Prediction: Buffalo improves to 3-0 with a 24-10 victory over the Raiders.
The Denver Broncos, 2-0
Probably the most pronounced bandwagon so far this year, the Broncos are currently sporting the number one offense this season. With Jay Cutler at the helm, rookie WR Eddie Royal backing up Brandon Marshall, and Selvin Young rushing up the middle, this offense is as high powered and tough as it gets. This offense is now averaging 40 points a game.
The undefeated juggernaut that is the Denver Broncos will move on to face offensive powerhouse New Orleans. The Saints have more weapons on their offense then the Patriots do right now. With Drew Brees, Reggie Bush, Marques Colston and Jeremy Shockey, the Saints are averaging 24 points a game.
Both teams haven't seemed nearly as strong on defense. New Orleans' defense has allowed 24.5 points a game and the Broncos' D has allowed an average of 26 points a game. However, most of these were allowed only when the Saints' key defensive players weren't on the field.
Defensive advantage: The New Orleans Saints (if they can keep healthy)
After a massive shootout pitting Jay Cutler against Phillips Rivers ending in a controversial 38-39 Bronco victory, Denver seems destined for yet another gunslinging battle. This time, Sheriff Cutler will be trying to outdraw Bandit Brees, an outlaw coming straight out of the rough and tough South. Guess it's a good thing that Cutler's a wild West lawman.
Both team's respective divisions are looking extremely competitive right now, the difference being that Denver is leading their division.
The Saints-Redskins game revealed a glaring hole in New Orleans' secondary, one that Brandon Marhsall and Eddie Royal should easily be able to take advantage of.
Passing game advantage: Denver Broncos
RB Reggie Bush is averaging 39.5 yards a game, with a total of 79. The average amount of yards for a RB this year so far is 59. He is also leading the Saints in receiving yardage, averaging 87.5 a game.
Opposite of him, Denver's Selvin Young is averaging 57 yards per game, with a total of 114. He also has a touchdown on his record.
Running game advantage: Denver Broncos
My Prediction: The Broncos improve to 3-0 with another close 37-30 victory over the Saints.
Thus far, the Packers have won a hard-fought victory over divisional rival Minnesota and a close game against the Detroit Lions. Don't fool yourselves Packers fans, the Detroit game was a close one no matter what the score says.
Come Sunday the 21st, Green Bay will face it's toughest challenge yet, the Dallas Cowboys. Coming off a fresh victory over the high-soaring Eagles, Dallas looks to improve to 3-0 and continue their expected Super Bowl run.
The Dallas Cowboys have allowed 23.5 points a game, the majority of which comes from the Eagles game. In comparison, Green Bay has allowed 22 points a game. The defensive difference being that Green Bay has faced a shallow Minnesota offense and a surprising Detroit passing game. Dallas has faced everyone's trendy AFC North pick, the Cleveland Browns and the aforementioned Eagles.
Defensive advantage: Dallas Cowboys
In the passing game, Aaron Rodgers has amassed 506 yards, 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. His favorite target, Greg Jennings, is averaging 129 yards per game. Donald Driver trails his teammate by averaging 45 yards per game and a single touchdown.
Dallas QB Tony Romo has 632 yards, 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Thus far, his favorite target has been TE Jason Witten, who is averaging 103 yards per game. Behind him is the famed WR Terrell Ownes, averaging 88 yards per game, with 3 touchdowns.
Passing advantage: Dallas Cowboys
On to the rushing game. In Green Bay, Ryan Grant has had 27 carries for 112 yards. Brandon Jackson follows Grant's example by averaging 36.5 yards per game.
On the Dallas side, Marion Barber has carried the ball 34 times for 143 yards. Rookie Felix Jones also averages 36 yards per game.
Rushing advantage: Dallas Cowboys
My Prediction: Green Bay's 0 will go, Dallas thwarts thier chance to remain undefeated winning 27-14.
0-2 Teams I Expect to Bounce Back:
The San Diego Chargers have narrowly lost two games against two teams on the rise. Even with defensive injuries I expect them to bounce back and end with a winning season.
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