Week 2 is in the books. And it did not get much prettier in the NFC after week 1 went so poorly. Can the Eagles take advantage and rise to the top of a weak conference? Here is the State of the NFC after the second week.
16) Atlanta Falcons (0-2) (Last Week- 16)
Are there any good things to say about the Falcons? I suppose you could say they put up somewhat of a fight in the first two weeks, but they still lost. And there is not much talent here. Perhaps the most talented player on the Falcons is for some reason not being used. Kyle Pitts has just 4 catches on 10 targets this season. The smart money was for him to get a lion’s share of the targets on a roster bereft of names. But he has been a no-show early.
Even more baffling is Arthur Smith’s comments on the lack of snaps. “It’s not fantasy football. We’re just trying to win.” Well two problems there Arthur. One, you are not winning. Two, the way most teams win, is by getting their best player involved.
15) Carolina Panthers (0-2) (Last Week- 14)
Matt Rhule’s job is in grave danger. The once-promising head coach candidate continues to be allergic to winning football. After adding Baker Mayfield, a QB who at the least has won in this league, many thought the Panthers would turn a corner. But two games in things remain just as ugly. They have now lost 9 straight games, and Matt Rhule’s name is being floated for College jobs. Not a good sign for him.
They opened the game vs the Giants with two straight turnovers on their own side of the field. The fact their defense held the Giants to field goals two straight times is the only thing that kept them from being rankled last here.
14) Chicago Bears (1-1) (Last Week- 10)
They showed a lot of fight in week 1 with a win over the 49ers in sloppy conditions. But when the conditions aren’t that poor, it becomes clear just how lacking in talent this team is. Justin Fields has zero help. Through two games Fields has completed just 15 passes. Mismanagement of draft assets, and poor drafting on top of that, has left them with very little to build on. The good news is they are this bad, and actually have all their day 1 and 2 picks this year.
13) Seattle Seahawks (1-1) (Last Week- 9)
This week made it clear that week 1 was them riding off the energy of Russell Wilson returning. Because out of their home stadium, and away from that crowd, this team looked really bad. Geno Smith looked like Geno Smith again. I know he had that cool quote after the win over the Broncos, but he might want to consider writing back.
The Niners dominated them. On both sides of the ball. The only good play was a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown. Other than that they did nothing right in Week 2. They should only be grateful this is the NFC and there are worse teams than them.
12) New Orleans Saints (Last Week 11)
The Saints got worse this off-season. The one thing that made people think they may be a better team, was Jameis Winston being back. But now he is injured again. They say he is going to play through multiple fractures in his back. But if week 2 is any indication, he won’t do so at a very high level.
Jameis Winston playing with 4 fractures in his back today from L1 down to L4. Playing in a lot of pain with extra padding to protect the area but still playing @NFLonFOX— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) September 18, 2022
We saw how QBs with fractured backs look when Carson Wentz went through that in the year following the Super Bowl. Eventually, he had to go on the IR and it ended his season. That is probably the eventual fate of Winston. The only difference is the Saints aren’t hiding it like the Eagles tried to do. But they are trying to get us to believe that it somehow can’t get any worse from playing.
11) Washington Commanders (1-1) (Last Week- 8)
The first two weeks have been hard to read for the Commanders, still a dumb name. At times Wentz has looked better than he has since 2017. At other times Wentz has looked exactly like he has looked for the past several years. A bigger issue is now they are without their Center Chase Roullier. For an offensive line already struggling, that is a loss hard to overcome. They signed Nick Martin to replace him, and while he was once very good, there is a reason he didn’t have a job two weeks into the season.
So you feel good about giving up 35 to the Lions and Jared Goff…? https://t.co/hX0aeANf82— COMMANDERS FOOTBALL (@HogsHaven) September 11, 2022
Weirdly this account has been silent on how they feel about their team giving up 36 to the Lions and Jared Goff. And losing. Surely they just forgot their password.
10) Dallas Cowboys (1-1) (Last Week 15)
It was against a Bengals team that appears to be in crisis, but a win without Dak Prescott has to feel good. Their defense is legit. Thanks in large part to Micah Parsons being one of the best players in the league.
But on the other end, the problems on offense still exist. Cooper Rush is not good. Dak claims he will be back sooner than later, but I will believe it when I see it. Even if he does return how effective can he be? We are seeing with Bryce Harper now in this city that bone fractures don’t just magically heal and let a person get back to prior form.
9) New York Giants 2-0 (Last Week- 12)
Being 2-0 says more about the Titans and the Panthers than it does about the Giants. The fact they forced two turnovers in or near the Red Zone to open the game and came away with just 6 pts, shows that this offense has serious problems. It is beyond clear that Daniel Jones ain’t it.
But what Giants fans do have to be excited about is Brian Daboll. He has shown more talent as a head coach in two games than Ben McAdoo and Joe Judge did in their entire time in New York combined.
8) Arizona Cardinals (1-1) (Last Week- 7)
This was close to disaster. After getting run over by the Chiefs in week 1, it looked like the same was going to happen vs Las Vegas in week 2. But then Kyler Murray happened. It took multiple crazy scrambles, but Kyler Murray and the Cardinals made the comeback vs the Raiders. First, they forced Overtime, and then the defense returned a fumble to win in walk-off style.
The Cardinals still have issues. For one Kyler Murray is super inconsistent. We saw the heights he can reach, and the lows, all in one game. But his head coach is a bigger problem. Kliff Kingsbury has never had a winning record in the 2nd half of a season at any level. There is zero reason to have faith that is going to change.
7) Detroit Lions (1-1) (Last Week- 13)
The Lions have been the surprise of the year. The defense clearly needs some work. But the offense may be legit. They are putting up points despite having Jared Goff at QB. D’Andre Swift is a star, and so is Amon-ra St Brown. Add a legit o-line, and even Goff can put up points on this team. What I was most impressed by on Sunday was how they kept responding when their defense gave up a TD.
They have put up the 2nd most points in the NFL, behind only the Bills. But they have also allowed the 2nd most points per game. But there is a reason for Lions fans to be hopeful for the first time since the era of Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson.
6) Minnesota Vikings (1-1) (Last Week- 5)
What a tale of two games. After week 1 it felt like the new Kevin O’Connell offense would be a force. But then the Eagles held them to just 7 points and held them under 300 yards. But the bigger concern is probably the defense. Not only did they look bad, but the scheme itself was a disaster.
Jalen Hurts picked apart the soft zone defense all night. Maybe they thought Hurts wasn’t good enough to do that. We saw the Eagles run the same scheme all last year, and bad QBS did struggle to execute against it. But the gamble did not pay off. Their offense will likely be fine apart from having the consistently underwhelming Kirk Cousins under center. But I see no reason to be confident in their defense.
5) San Francisco 49ers(1-1) (Last Week- 7)
The Trey Lance injury is a big blow. Yes Jimmy G is competent enough to make them a playoff team. But time has proved he is not good enough to make them contenders. There is a good reason they gave up all those assets to take a risk on Lance. It is because Jimmy is not a good QB. He is a fine QB. You can win games with a fine QB. You very rarely win Super Bowls.
The Talent elsewhere on the roster is enough to give them the same floor they had last year. But the ceiling is now much lower.
4) Los Angeles Rams (1-1) (Last Week- 4)
They got blown out vs an elite team in week 1, and then almost blew it in week 2 vs a very bad team. This team will put up points. The talent to too good not too. And they will play some good defense. Players like Jalen Ramsay and Aaron Donald assure that.
But Matthew Stafford is incredibly inconsistent. He already has 5 interceptions. If he turns it on at the right time they can win any game. But if he goes cold they can lose any game. It makes it incredibly hard to rank them. I’d bet good money on them making the playoffs, given how weak the conference is. But I do not see them winning it again. It is too hard to trust Stafford. And it is too hard to repeat.
Matthew Stafford has 18 interceptions over his past 11 regular season starts— Patrick Daugherty (@RotoPat) September 19, 2022
3) Green Bay Packers (1-1) (Last Week- 3)
As expected the Packers bounced back from an ugly week 1. It’s still Aaron Rodgers. And as weird as he is, he is a perennial MVP candidate. He literally won it the past two years. This will be a good team, in the regular season. But at this point, it is impossible to look past the track record of playoff collapses.
They aren’t always the fault of Aaron Rodgers, but he is not free of blame either. And now he is down his two best weapons from last year. On one hand, they should have a VERY good rushing attack. But talent has never been the issue here.
2) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0) (Last Week- 1)
It’s still Tom Brady. But something feels off. That is two straight weeks where this offense seemed a bit off. And now they are down multiple WRs due to injuries and suspensions. The defense can still get after it, but I am not convinced this is going to be the same elite offense we saw in the past two seasons.
They will be tested this week vs the Packers. But the Bucs aren’t the scary team many might have thought they were. Cracks are showing in the armor.
1) Philadelphia Eagles (2-0) (Last Week- 2)
I feel uncomfortable putting them up here after just two weeks. And it may be an overreaction. But it is hard to argue any NFC team has been better so far. Jalen Hurts has been firing on all cylinders. He looked like a true star in week 2. Not just with his legs, with his arm. He was nearly perfect throwing the ball vs the Vikings. And after an ugly week 1, the defense bounced back and looked like we all expected they would with this roster.
The only questions coming into the season were can Jalen Hurts take a step, and will Jonathan Gannon coach a good defense? At least in week two, those two provided great answers. If that continues, this is easily the best roster in the NFC.