Thoughts from Week 2 of the NFL Season
As the season progresses, Ravens fans will likely develop a greater appreciation for Gary Kubiak’s system.
He boasts the most effective running scheme in the NFL, particularly benefiting non-elite running backs.
His adeptness at integrating this scheme with play-action promises to satisfy two Smiths.
Back in my days in Houston with Kubiak and Kyle Shanahan, we admired Steve Smith of the Carolina Panthers for his impressive combination of big-play prowess and tenacity.
Now, Smith is donning the Ravens’ colors. With Torrey Smith providing the home run threat, Kubiak possesses the know-how to connect with talented wide receivers effectively.
In Houston, it was common knowledge that they aimed to get the ball into Andre Johnson’s hands.
Despite defenses focusing on him, he still managed to haul in over 100 receptions most years.
Steve Smith voiced his frustration about not receiving the ball enough in Carolina.
I’m optimistic that, at 35, he’s poised for a resurgence. Thanks to Gary Kubiak, I believe he’s in for a standout year.
The Bills are a legitimate contender. They’ve secured victories against the Bears and the Dolphins, both of which have triumphed over the Patriots and 49ers.
This positions them as strong contenders in the AFC East. Their proficiency in running the ball and halting the run holds particular significance in the chilly November and December weather of Buffalo, NY.
With C.J. Spiller and Sammy Watkins as formidable play-making threats and E.J.
Manuel steadily maturing as a quarterback, and the team is on an upward trajectory.
While Manuel possesses some mobility, it’s not the focal point of his game.
His evolution as a pocket passer from year one to year two is evident, making the Bills a formidable opponent at present.
Aaron Rodgers is the linchpin of the Green Bay Packers. He’s essentially carrying the team on his shoulders.
The first week against the Seahawks revealed that the Packers don’t possess an abundance of top-tier talent.
They’re rather average in most facets of the team. Should Rodgers sustain an injury, their performance could plummet, potentially resulting in a 4-5 win season.
The Panthers have proven they’re not a flash in the pan. They’ve clinched victories with their backup quarterback and even with Cam Newton confined to the pocket due to his rib injury.
Their defense impressively limited one of the league’s most potent offenses to just 7 points, all without Greg Hardy in the lineup. Dave Gettleman, their General Manager, has done a commendable job enhancing the talent pool.
Given his extensive tenure, spanning 14 years, as the pro personnel director with the NY Giants, it’s evident that his approach is paying off in Carolina. His absence is sorely felt in New York.
Unfortunately, the Raiders find themselves in a familiar position – struggling once again.
The Bears’ season hinges on turnovers. Their offense stands among the best in football, but their defense still grapples with challenges, struggling to make stops.
However, if they can manage to generate turnovers consistently each week, they have the potential to ride their potent offense into the playoffs.
The Chiefs are facing significant challenges. Since their impressive 9-0 start in 2013, they’ve posted a record of 2-8.
Additionally, competing in the same division as the Broncos, and with San Diego recently defeating the league’s top team, the Chiefs are up against some formidable competition.
They need a turnaround, and facing the Oakland Raiders on November 20th could remedy it.
The NFC North appears to be wide open. No team seems to have a clear dominance, and all exhibit vulnerabilities in their defenses.
When uncertain, my inclination is to favor the team with the most robust quarterback situation, ranking them in the order of Rodgers, Cutler, Stafford, and Cassel/Bridgewater.
Beginning the season with a 0-2 record is certainly disheartening.
It’s even more discouraging to have suffered both losses at home.
Falling to a backup quarterback is unfortunate, and it stings even more to lose to an undrafted quarterback making his inaugural career start.
This sums up the Buccaneers’ performance over the first two weeks.
Despite their struggles, it’s worth noting that the NFC South stands out as one of the most robust and most competitive divisions in football.
With Lovie Smith at the helm, known for his ability to secure victories, and the addition of players like Josh McCown, I believe the team has improved since last year, even if it may not be immediately reflected in their win-loss record.
Returning to discussing football is a welcome change. Last week was marked by chaos stemming from the aftermath of the Rice/Goodell controversy.
While we may touch on it further at footballbyfootball.com, we prefer to focus on the insights that unfold between the lines rather than in courtrooms.