A bit of explanation before discussing the weird. Because of football, I barely have time for football. At 'the office' we have accepted an undertaking that is a deep time suck all Autumn long. I don't have time to research, or read stats or even game summeries. I will be surprised if I even make the playoffs in the fantasy league I am commisioner of, though in all honesty 3 other team owners are in the same boat as myself. So, if ever I treat my picks or discussion as an after-thought, please have a patience.
That sad, boy did my picks last week suck. That wasn't lack of effort. The experts hardly did any better. It was just a very weird week. Buffalo is 2-0. New Orleans and Indianapolis are 0-2. This is not the universe which nurtures and comforts us. This is reality turned on it's head.
I'll warn y'all up front, I'm back on the Brownie's bandwagon. Unlike most I know in Bronco Nation, I let my hatred of the Browns go when Modell moved them to Baltimore and renamed them the Carrion Thieves. Being an NFL traditionalist, I wanted, I needed a team back in Cleveland. Every year I have shared those fans disappointment. Last year, they were moving in the right direction quickly, and ownership dismanteled everything that propelled them in that direction. Yet what they did to New Orleans on Sunday was nothing short of terrific hard-nosed line-control football. I couldn't be happier for them, and I hope it continues (though to be honest, the Bengals look like the cream of the AFC right now.)
The NFL network is asking if the Chargers are "contenders or pretenders". Ask those of us familiar with the AFC west. They are for real. It's easy to say that the Seahawks just had a bad day, except, Percy Harvin didn't. Russell Wilson didn't. The defensive line didn't. But, y'know it's HOT in San Diego. No. No excuses for the 'Hacks. The Chargers just outplayed, out-muscled and out-hustled them. Rivers was as dogged as I've ever seen Brady to be. Antonio Gates looked old, tired and slow, and just like Kareem Abdul Jabaar before his old slow self, Gates casually grabbed anything thrown to him and turned that into points, with little regard for the young'uns covering him, including Richard Sherman. Maybe it's just me, but I still deeply adore watching the old guys school the puppies. Yes, these Chargers are for real, legit, going places. This is a very good team. And the Broncos get to play them twice, as well as a Seahawks team well pissed-off by a thumping in SoCal.
In overview, I think the years of Brady, Manning, Rodgers, Reggie Wayne, Kurt Warner, Ben Roesthlesberger have spoiled us into a certainty that we know how things will play out, in week 2. Balderdash! Great players who lift others around them have dominated the discussion for so long, that we have somewhat forgotten that *teams* rise and fall, and the next dynasty rises from the ashes of the Patriots, the Steelers, the Broncos and yes even the brief reign of the Seahawks. The Bills and Chargers (and the Texans too) are building teams, and we're mostly so focused on how our fantasy team looks that we put faith in players over really watching teams. That such focus would have periods of intense negativity was innevitable and the league has almost always poor response to such. Let me ask a few questions. How did the Ravens do without Ray Rice? Objectively, how did the Vikings do without Peterson? The Broncos without Welker? If anyone can still be focused on players over team, please answer this: How did Washington do without RGIII? There are those who would call this a defense of abusers and such, but not.
The NFL is about product, and that product is teams. Individuals give you water-cooler supremacy on Tuesday morning. That is important to some people. Teams give you a championship, a legacy, and players give you points, unless they were part of 'that team'. Its simple. Teams win football games, not prima donnas, abusers, dopers, or the guy you just want to see play on your fantasy team. And that's our 'in' as fans. We can control the rules if we follow team. We can get child abusers, murderers, spouse slappers, and Rapelesthsberger's out of league without demanding that the enforcer Goodell get involved. Peterson was inactivated, and then re-instated, and then de-activated because fans said "no". I guess we're not a bunch of folk who like switching kids. Who knew?
This year, for myself and others, the only real takeaway from week 2 is that the only thing one can learn from week 2 is which teams are gelling early and which ones, despite invidual talent, are just not working together. It's week 2, folks. There's a lot of season left, like Week 3:
Tampa Bay (0-2) at Atlanta (1-1) - Falcons
San Diego (1-1) at Buffalo (2-0) - Chargers
Dallas (1-1) at St. Louis (1-1) - Rams
Washington (1-1) at Philadelphia (2-0) - Eagles
Houston (2-0) at New York Giants (0-2) - Texans
Minnesota (1-1) at New Orleans (0-2) - Saints
Tennessee (1-1) at Cincinnati (2-0) - Bengals
Baltimore (1-1) at Cleveland (1-1) - Browns
Green Bay (1-1) at Detroit (1-1) - Packers
Indianapolis (0-2) at Jacksonville (0-2)- Colts
Oakland (0-2) at New England (1-1) - Patriots
San Francisco (1-1) at Arizona (2-0) - Cardinals
Denver (2-0) at Seattle (1-1) - Seahawks
Kansas City (0-2) at Miami (1-1) - Dolphins
Pittsburgh (1-1) at Carolina (2-0) - Panthers
Chicago (1-1) at New York Jets (0-2) - Bears
Last Week's Score: 6 - 10, 38% Overall: 17 - 15, 53%