Freud on the NFL: The Broncos may be 2-0, but still have issues
1. Rams (2-0) … Quietly very good.
2. Jaguars (2-0) … Not so quietly good.
3. Vikings (1-0-1) … Cousins proving his worth.
4. Eagles (1-1) … Wentz is back.
5. Packers (1-0-1) … Aaron Rodgers is still good.
1. Browns (0-1-1) … How long?
2. Bills (0-2) … When a guy retires at the half.
3. Giants (0-2) … Will Eli survive the season?
4. Cardinals (0-2) … And Bradford isn’t hurt yet.
5. Lions (0-2) … The Belichick coaching tree?
That was just so Browns.
Yeah, there were a lot of great games during Week 2 — including the Broncos squeaking by the Raiders, 20-19 — but man, the Browns.
Tyrod Taylor hits Antonio Calloway for a 42-yard touchdown on fourth-and-desperate against the Saints to tie the game at 18 and then Browns kicker Zane Gonzalez misses the extra point? For the second time in one game?
And then he misses a game-tying field goal?
Whenever you think the team of your choosing is cursed, remember the Browns. It really could be worse. It could be Cleveland.
I’m normally not a big fan of the “Thursday Night Football” series, but, man, have we got a showdown this week with the New York Jets at Cleveland. I am actually geared up for this one. The Browns are just a fascinating train wreck and the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets and Sam Darnold predictably fell back to Earth during Week 2.
Could this be the one? Stay tuned.
Denver’s 20-19 win over Oakland was great theater, but does it bode well for the Broncos?
Yes, they’re 2-0, but they’ve won two games by a total of four points against mediocre teams at home. While comebacks are nice, being down 12-0 and 19-7 to the Raiders isn’t something about which to brag.
Bigger picture, though, did the Raiders figure something out with Denver’s defense with a short-passing possession game? It “limited” Von Miller’s damage to a sack and one tackle for loss.
Remember, two years ago, the Raiders lined up six offensive linemen against the 6-2 Broncos, beat them, 30-20, and showed the path for the rest of the league on how to neutralize the defense. Starting with that game, Denver went 3-5 and missed the playoffs.
History doesn’t guarantee future results, but it’s something to watch.
Rookie Phillip Lindsay did go for 105 yards against the Khalil Mack-less Raiders, but I think we’re going to start to get a better read of the Broncos as they play a road game at Baltimore next and host Kansas City in Week 4.
• Speaking of those Chiefs, they look good … for now. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes has thrown 10 touchdown passes during the first two weeks. He’s on a pace to throw 80 touchdown passes this season, which would probably be a record.
Kansas City did have the fortune of catching Pittsburgh at the right time. The Steelers are a mess right now.
Remember that the Chiefs started 5-0, looking like world-beaters, and finished 10-6 last year. Mahomes certainly has skills and tools around him, but the league has a way of catching up with people quickly. K.C. remains the division favorite, but I doubt is running away with a 14-2 record.
• The Chargers beat the Bills, 31-20, and Buffalo’s Vontae Davis retired during halftime, another one of my favorite stories of the week. The Bills stink, and the Chargers did what they needed to do.
• With the Raiders starting 0-2 — oh, too bad — there’s a lot of talk about Jon Gruden’s move to ship Mack to Chicago. First off, remember that Gruden has a 10-year contract, so he isn’t going anywhere. Second, Raiders owner Mark Davis loves Chucky, so he isn’t going anywhere. And third, this is all about the Las Vegas Raiders — the franchise got to first-round draft picks from Chicago — and not the current Oakland Raiders.
• This week’s divisional schedule is the following: 49ers at Chiefs; Chargers at Rams; Broncos at Ravens; and Raiders at Dolphins.
News and notes
• Jacksonville took the early lead in the AFC with a 31-20 thrashing of New England. We issue our standard early-season warning about writing off the Patriots. The Pats have a history of looking bad early in the season. They’re going to be in the playoffs because nobody’s challenging them in the AFC East. (The Dolphins?)
Home-field advantage probably means more to the Jags than the Patriots, so Jacksonville gets the tiebreaker, if necessary, out of this game with the win, but like death and taxes, the Patriots still seem inevitable part of the AFC playoff picture.
• The Steelers have apparently forgotten how to play defense. Did they just get old? (It can happen quickly in the NFL.) Le’Veon Bell’s holdout seems like less of an issue. Bigger question: Does Cincinnati take advantage and take the North? That’s a strange thing to type, I know. But …
• Two ties in two weeks with Green Bay and Minnesota finishing at 29 last week. I do not like the 10-minute overtime rule. This is why we’re seeing more draws. A team can eat a lot of the period during a 10-minute extra session. The NFL’s excuse is player safety, which is hooey. If it really cared about player safety it wouldn’t have sold its Thursday TV package for $660 million per season.
• Marquee games coming up: Packers at Redskins; and Saints at Falcons.
On to Week 3.