NFL Sky is Falling – Imploding 0-2 Teams
Week 3 of the (very) young NFL Season is upon us and the storylines are running hot and fast. Yet for every exciting tidbit concerning the resurgent Broncos, resilient Patriots, explosive Lions or focused Falcons there are headlines in some cities that are not dealing with titillating seasonal possibilities. Rather these lead titles blare in various fashion how the club is burning and getting rid of (enter any player or team official here) is the first step towards righting the ship! Yes New York, we are talking to you.
Did I mention this is all after the huge sample size of two NFL games? Knee-jerk reaction is the first term that comes to mind. Over-reaction is another. Fatalistic would be a third. It’s two freaking games after an offseason/preseason where teams are barely allowed to hit each other. It takes longer for teams to get in-sync under the new CBA. It’s the new norm.
Let’s circle back to that two game sample size. It’s too small. Unless your team is the Pats it’s way too early to start trumpeting any club as Super Bowl champs. You can’t win a season in the first few games of the year. You can however lose one as an 0-3 hole puts any team in a statistical stance you don’t want to be in. To wit from 1980 to 2016 only 5 of 164 teams that started the season 0-3 have made the playoffs. That means if your team is 0-3 they have a 97% chance of staying home and very likely the honor of fighting for the top pick in the next NFL Draft.
” .. if your team is 0-3 they have a 97% chance of staying home ..” – Steven Van Over
But five teams did fight their way out of this hole and 0-2 ain’t 0-3. Of the teams staring at the abyss what are their real prospects and are fans that are calling for heads to roll onto something or is that just the pain of a looming, losing season talking?
Chicago Bears – The club is struggling to find ways to win. Personnel issues on both sides of the ball are obvious yet rookie QB Trubisky is for real ergo the arrow is pointing up. They aren’t going to make the playoffs but they are going to win a few games.
Cincinnati Bengals – What a mess. The OC should have been replaced in the offseason if you ask me. IF they can find a semblance of an offense this team can make a run for it. IF. Did I mention maybe? You get the picture. They have the talent, it’s the scheme. Head Coach is all about defense. A dynamic OC has to be found or they should tear it all up and start over. You got A.J. Green man!! Don’t blow this.
Cleveland Browns – Youth, youth, youth. It’s a young team. LOADS of talent and the coach has ’em playing hard. No playoff, this year. Enjoy the run. This team seems to be on to something despite the occasional spat between coaching and the front office.
Indianapolis Colts – Andrew Luck’s contract is the big one and the entire team is in salary cap hell as the front office did a horrible job doing the math on this. Luck is good enough to elevate those around him and so it seems is recently acquired Jacoby Brissett. Tough division to not have a pass defense. They do have talent however so look for an emotional up and down season. It needs to be blown up at some point because of that contract.
New York Jets – It’s for real. Stick a fork in ’em, this team is done. Fans have every right to call for a clean sweep.
Los Angeles Chargers – Karma.
New Orleans Saints – Head Coach Sean Payton earned his accolades along the way. Now he’s earning the questions that are coming his way as well as a continued decline of his defense post-bountygate is real and it’s a glaring weakness in his tool bag. QB still has the juice even though Payton continues to trade away his targets. The team is a hot mess. It’s all on Payton. He has a long leash. It’s getting shorter.
New York Giants – I may have been hasty. The fans in New York may be onto something. McAdoo won his chops as a crafty, savvy, offensive coordinator. Yet Coughlin never let him get too cute and made the team stay true to it’s hard-nosed roots. That’s the missing ingredient for the GMen and the pass-happy McAdoo may very well be the direct and absolute cause. The flip is GM Jerry Reese hasn’t got him an OL that can block. To be frank it’s hard to tell if an offensive lineman has what it takes to get the job done in the NFL when a team refuses to run the ball in any meaningful fashion (just ask the Cowboys). Rumbles out of NY suggest McAdoo is considering giving up play calling duties to help deal with the issue. If he is serious about addressing the imbalance then the talent is on the team to make a run and as everyone remembers, they have done it before. Going to be a huge game in Philly this week.
San Francisco 49ers – Seriously. What did anyone expect. This is a team that “moved on” from a lot of things and has done so in fire-sale fashion. They are also the youngest, most exciting team on the west coast for the NFL. The hiring of John Lynch seems to be going well but not only is two games not enough of a sample size to properly assess a GM, it will take more than a couple of seasons to grade his impact. But as they say .. “it’s looking good so far.” Nice drafting, good effort on the field. This looks like a team on the rise, albeit the playoffs won’t be in the picture this season.
What say you Sports Nation?
Another Left Coast Sports Post: on Twitter – Steven Van Over