We are now in the second quarter of the NFL season and teams are starting to show which direction they are heading in. Some are trending upwards while others are plummeting. There’s a few teams stuck in a middling level and their path is not yet identifiable. This pas week we had a few good matchups of teams heading in opposite directions (or so we think).
Buy or sell
I’m buying Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay. The Rams (3-2) finished dead last in both points and total yards to finish last season. With a revamped offensive line and a new philosophy, L.A. has gone from worst to first in points (5th in total yards). Quarterback Jared Goff’s improvement is evident as well. After looking terrible in his rookie season, Goff has improved his passer rating to 94.4 (seven touchdowns and three interceptions) in five games. McVay will have to improve on the defensive side, which will take a little more work than the offense did. Their defense played great on Sunday while the offense not so much. The Rams were defeated by the Seattle Seahawks (3-2) by a score of 16-10. Goff failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time all season and added three turnovers. The defense stood up holding the (offensively challenged) Seahawks to only 16 points and a forcing two Russel Wilson interceptions. Despite the loss, Sean McVay has the team going in the right direction and boy is it fun to watch.
I’m buying Houston Texans (2-3) quarterback Deshaun Watson. The Texans went down to the Kansas City Chiefs (5-0) by the score of 42-34. In the loss Watson threw for 261 yards and five touchdowns, the second time in his rookie season he has reachead that total. The Texans would end up with injuries to both J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus. The Chiefs kept pounding away. Alex Smith threw for 324 yards and three scores. Running back Kareem Hunt, Watson’s main competition for Rookie of the Year ran for 107 yards. The Chiefs remain the only undefeated team in the league. Still, Watson went down swinging. He scored three times in the fourth quarter. The future is bright for this young man and the Houston Texans.
I’m selling Jacksonville Jaguars (3-2) quarterback Blake Bortles. The Jags thrashed the Pittsburg Steelers (3-2) by the final of 30-9. Jacksonville’s defense intercepted five (count them, five) Ben Roethlisberger passes, two of them for touchdowns. Leonard Fournette rushed for 181 yards and two touchdowns. Bortles finished with 95 yards and one interception. Which (surprisingly) wasn’t the lowest total for a winning quarterback on Sunday. Bortles averages 165.4 passing yards per game (seven touchdowns and four interceptions), a rating of 78.2 and a completion percentage of 54.8. Not gonna invest too much in those numbers.
The Los Angeles Chargers (1-5) defeated the New York Giants (0-5) by a final of 27-22. Phillip Rivers finished with 258 yards and three touchdowns (one interception). The Giants would finish the game with not one, not two, not three (in my best LeBron James voice) but four of their wide recievers injured. Their top two targets Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall are done for the entire season. The Giants remain winless, with nothing but questions in New York and no answers in sight.
The Indianapolis Colts squeaked by the San Fransisco 49ers in overtime 26-23. The Colts would enshrine legendary quarteback Peyton Manning into their ring of honor on Sunday and the team wouldn’t dissapoint their fans. Jacoby Brissett threw for 314 yards (one interception) and ran for a score. With 1:38 left in overtime, another legendary player, Adam Vinatieri, would knock in a 51-yard field goal to seal the victory. Brian Hoyer threw for 353 yards and two touchdowns in the loss. The 49ers find new ways to lose every week, whether close or blowout. They are searching for any way possible to win and get off this losing streak.
The Cleveland Browns (0-5) lost to the New York Jets (3-2) by a final of 17-14. Josh McCown finished with 194 passing yards and two scores. It was the Jets third straight win after an 0-2 start. The Browns are still searching for their first victory. Rookie quarterback Deshone Kizer was benched at halftime in favor of Kevin Hogan. The back up finished with 194 yards and two touchdowns. Cleveland held the 2017 first overall pick, a move they seem destined to duplicate in 2018.
The Arizona Cardinals (2-3) fell to the Philadelphia Eagles (4-1) by a final of 34-7. Carson Wentz threw for 304 yards and four touchdowns (one pick).
It was the Green Bay Packers (4-1) over the Dallas Cowboys (2-3) by a score of 34-31. Running back Aaron Jones finished with 19 carries for 125 yards and a touchdown.
The Miami Dolphins (2-2) defeated the Tennese Titans (2-3) 16-10. Safety Rashad Jones returned a fumble 38 yards for the touchdown. Quarterback Jay Cutler’s putrid play (92 pass yards, one TD and one pick) continues. He was met with boos from the home crowd and chants of “We want Matt Moore” (backup quarterback).
The Baltimore Ravens (3-2) defeated the Oakland Raiders (2-3) 30-17. Mike Wallace had three catches for 133 yards.
The Minnesota Vikings (3-2) defeated the Chicago Bears (1-4) by a final of 20-17. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky made his first career start and finished with 128 pass yards. The Vikings defense forced two turnovers.
NFC South Roundup:
The Carolina Panthers (4-1) got by the Detroit Lions (3-2) 27-24. Back up tight end Ed Dixon had the game of his life grabbing five catches for 175 yards. Cam Newton threw for 355 yards and three touchdowns. This marked the first time all season the Lions defense failed to force a turnover.