The second quarter of the NFL season got underway Thursday night with the banged up Colts knocking off the Texans for their third straight win. The Texans are finding out the hard way that in the modern NFL, if you do not have a QB, you do not have anything. In this blog, I will be buying, selling, or holding on some storylines from around the league.
The impressive Bengals- We have seen great starts from Cincinnati before that have fallen by the waist side when the weather turns cold. However, this team sure looks different. They are blowing teams out… Good teams. Everyone is contributing and much talked about QB Andy Dalton is not making mistakes. They have not really been hit in the mouth by an opponent yet. Seattle and Buffalo will do just that in these next two weeks. I need to see how they respond to that before judging if this team can finally make a deep playoff run. Verdict: Hold
The Eagles being a mess- At 1-3, Mess is an understatement. Mad scientist/head coach Chip Kelly shipped his starting QB from last year’s playoff team out of town along with the top RB and WR. The replacement are all having their issues. Mainly RB DeMarco Murray. He led the league in rushing as a Cowboy last year, but most QBs have more rushing yards this year. It is not all his fault. Most Eagle runs start out six yards behind the line of scrimmage. Chip Kelly’s ego is killing this team. He is learning the hard way that no matter how good the “system” was/is, if the players do not fit, you are screwed, and they are. QB Sam Bradford seems to be afraid to get hit. After missing the last two years with ACL tears, I do not blame him. Also, no one in the receiving core has distinguished themselves. All this leads to turnovers, making things that much harder on an already mediocre defense. They will play meaningful games into December because the rest of the division is flat out bad or dealing with injuries, but they have too many issues to get out of their own way. Will Chip Kelly survive this? I do not know. Verdict: Buy
Mike Vick keeping the Steelers in it while Big Ben heals- Look, if the Steelers make one of two 4th quarter field goal attempts, Mike Vick and the Steelers beat the Ravens last Thursday. He moved the ball and did not make mistakes. RB Le’veon Bell is any QB’s best friend. I could conceivably see the Steelers running the table for the next month or so until Big Ben gets back. Verdict: Buy
The surprising 3-1 Jets- I have said it for almost two years. The Jets defensive front seven is as good as any team in the league. The return of Darrelle Revis has made the secondary formidable again. Combine that with steady QB play from Ryan Fitzpatrick and a rejuvenated Brandon Marshall catching anything within his reach, a trademark tough running game, and this team is going nowhere. They will not challenge New England for the division, but they will fight with division rival Buffalo for a wildcard down the stretch. Verdict: Buy
The 4-0 Falcons- With weapons like Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, the offense did not need much work, but new head coach Dan Quinn has this defense playing with its hair on fire. They also found a running game behind a few good young backs. However, division rival Carolina is also playing above its head at 4-0. Despite having two undefeated teams, I cannot see this division sending two teams to the playoffs. The rebuilding process in Atlanta is miles ahead of schedule and they should notch another win against Washington tomorrow, but I think they will be a victim of the numbers game. If I have to pick just one team from the NFC South, I think Carolina is better. Verdict: Sell