Week 1 taught me many lessons which carried through to week 2 such as the 49ers are the best team in the NFL, RG III is the real deal and the replacement referees are horrendous. Another Sunday has gone by and here are 5 new lessons that the 2nd Sunday of the NFL season has offered…
1. Eli Manning is incredible. For him to bounce back from a three interception first half, to play like he did in the second half was a thing of beauty. Eli Manning has two Superbowls, two Superbowl MVP’s and comes from a family that amounts to the Kennedy’s of Quarterbacking. However, he is easily the most forgotten about Superstar in the NFL and his doubters are always quick to write him off. Hell, he was the third most talked about QB in the New York media this offseason, coming off a Superbowl VIctory! For Eli to throw for 510 yards (greatly assisted by Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks), proves that the Giants are never out of a football game. If there is time on the clock and the Giants are not mathematically finished, I am officially a believer that Eli will get his team in the end zone. Dude has ice in his veins!
2. The Saints will not overcome Bounty Gate. There was no doubt heading into the season that the Saints would be at a disadvantage this season, as losing a head coach for a season is an unprecedented obstacle to overcome. However, it was assumed by many that having Drew Brees lead the team would keep New Orleans respectable. To be fair, New Orleans has been able to move the ball on offense and score, however their defense that has looked god awful. The Saints have lost a few players to suspension due to Bounty Gate (though the punishments have recently been appealed and are again to be determined), but I don’t think anyone thought that rookie QB Robert Griffin II and sophomore sensation Cam Newton would make the Saints look like they’d be unable to stop your average high school pigskin team. The Saints are not a contender for the first time in a while, and Roger Goodell is loving every minute of it. Maybe their defensive players need a little more incentive?!
3. Thanks to the Arizona Cardinals defense, they are a serious contender in the NFC. Any team that could go into Gillette Field and beat Tom Terrific in his house is one to reckon with. Though the Patriots were able to put up a lot of yards off Brady’s quick passes, the Cardinals were able to avoid big plays by the Patriots and made a few of their own, stepping up each time it looked like Brady was going to lead his team to victory. They were able to put constant pressure on Brady, knocking him down ten times. Daryl Washington posted 13 tackles, following the 10 he put up in an impressive Week. Patrick Peterson is easily one of the fastest and best upcoming CBs in the game and D-end Darnell Dockett looks primed to have a pro-bowl season. The Cardinals were also able to get pressure from D-lineman Quinton Groves and Sam Acho, and if there is anything the New York Giants have taught us it’s that any team that can generate QB pressure without having to blitz is tough to beat. Look for them to contend for a Wild Card out of the improved NFC West.
4. Reggie Bush has finally emerged as the top back the Saints thought they were drafting in 2007. Bush was a major disappointment in New Orleans, gaining a reputation as a soft running back who couldn’t rush through the tackles. He has totally reinvented his game as a member of the Miami Dolphins. It appears Reggie has hit the weight room and now has the ability to be the #1 offensive threat for a team desperate for offensive leadership. Rookie QB Ryan Tannehill looks like he might have the ability to captain the Dolphins ship down the line, but as he develops, it is crucial that seasoned veterans step up around him. In leading the Dolphins to their first win of the year over the Raiders, Bush posted 197 total yards and 2 TDs. Even more telling is that Bush got 29 touches, showing that Miami is going to ride their workhorse back all season long. Maybe Bush wasn’t crazy when he told the world that he was going to win the rushing title this season.
5. The Houston Texans are the most complete team in the AFC and will meet San Francisco in the Superbowl. Last week I spoke about how the 49ers are the best team in the NFL, a hefty title to give a team after just 1 week. Well after they handled Detroit with ease this Sunday night, I see no reason to believe any different. The only thing that makes me a little worried about saying they are the best in the NFL is that the Texans might be more complete. The Texans offensive weapons are as good as any, featuring a QB in Matt Schaub who complete 70% of his passes, a two-headed monster at RB consisting of Arian Foster and Ben Tate and as good a WR as we have in the league in Andre Johnson. The defense has the potential to be just as dominating as Brian Cushing, Johnathan Joseph, J.J. Watt and Kareem Jackson lead a unit that is young and hungry to build a legacy in football crazed Houston, Texas. A good example of their total dominance in their 27-7 road win against Jacksonville was the fact that they out gained the Jags 411-117 yards. Arian Foster actually out gained the Jaguars on his own, putting up 147 yards, 30 more than the entire Jacksonville team. In the next few weeks the Texans will take on better talent such as Denver, Baltimore, Green Bay and the Jets, which will truly show how great the Texans can be this season. I am really confident they will get through this stretch of their schedule and let it be known that they are ready to take the next step towards being an elite team.