A few thoughts as we head into Week 2 ...
Not since 1998, have the Colts started the season 0-2 and playing the Vikings this week offers them a real viable chance of losing. But I really can't see it happening. The one thing I have learned during my 23-year NFL career is when a great quarterback plays bad, he rarely plays bad two weeks in a row. And Manning has never lost two games in a row in the month of September as he knows the importance of a fast start. His leadership and will to win won't allow the Colts to lose.
This game showcases two dramatically different philosophies of football. One team, the Vikings, can stop the run and can rush the football, but struggle to throw the ball consistently and effectively. The Colts, however, can rush the passer and throw the ball very effectively but will struggle to play the run especially on the road.
The Colts will spread the field in the game, from their base offensive unit and force the biggest linebackers in the NFL (
The Vikings will clearly be able to run the ball as it usually takes the Colts run defense the first part of the season to get into a grove. Last year, they allowed 4.5 yards per rush in September, but in the later months they brought that average down to 3.5. We all know for teams to win in the NFL they have to make some plays in the passing game and this is where the game turns in favor of the Colts.
Week 2 of the NFL season provides us with some very interesting games. We will hear all the stats about the percentage of teams that go 0-2 and still make the playoffs. For me being 0-2 is not totally fatal, but being 0-2 with both loses at home just might be.
The Cleveland Browns have had an awful summer and seemingly don't look anything like the 10-6 team everyone thought had playoff possibilities. Now after losing their home opener to the Cowboys, they face their dreaded rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers, in another home game. This is a must-win game for the Browns. They need to reach back and find a way to rekindle all that magic that allowed them to win 10 games last year.
How did the Browns get in this mess? Well for one, they seem to have the injury bug in areas that depth is hard to find. But the most obvious factors in their poor play were in the same areas that they struggled in last year. They cannot seem to find a pass rush and their skill players drop too many balls. Last year, the Browns ranked 26th in the NFL in dropped passes and based on their first game with the Cowboys they don't seem to have that problem resolved.
The Browns are the desperate team in the game, and desperation does help teams play better. To beat the Steelers, Cleveland will need to play its best game.
Back in the spring of 2005, as executives and scouts prepared for the upcoming draft, they made their usual visit to the lovely campus of USC to work out all the talented draft prospects. Most notable that year was wide receiver
Cassel, the venerable backup quarterback to
Four years later, due to the unfortunate injury to
Can Cassel do it? I really believe from the neck down he has all the skills to be an effective player. The accuracy, the arm, the courage, but the great unknown is: Will he be able to stand the pressure of the game? Much like a professional golfer, he will have to deliver in the clutch. I am extremely confident New England will do a wonderful job of managing his talents for the game, never placing the burden of winning or losing squarely on his shoulders. But once he makes any mistake and the doubters come calling, the critical question will be: Can he handle the pressure? Will he be able to put all the negative talk behind him and focus on what
What most people who follow the NFL don't realize about the Raiders is
I am delighted to hear Young is doing much better, and that he has put the events of last week's game behind him. Young has never heard the boos before in his life. From little league to high school to the University of Texas, life has been very good for him. Now comes the hard part in his career -- dealing with and overcoming adversity. He needs to win over his teammates and coaches in the locker room first and that might be the hardest sell of all.
I watched the tape of the game between the Bucs and the Saints this past week and the body language of both Garcia and
Let's hope that Hurricane Ike does not do severe damage and everyone in its path remains safe.