It seems that after five years of watching the modern day NFL, the media has finally gotten the memo: The first two weeks of the NFL season mean nothing. Other than the fact that the extra wins or losses can make or break a playoff berth, these two weeks offer nothing in terms of figuring out which teams are going to be Super Bowl contenders. I wrote about this last year when everyone was quick to talk up the Bills after their 31-0 shut-out of the Patriots. And for those of you who's memory needs a little jogging, this was also when the 2-0 Redskins were proclaimed kings of the NFC East over the 0-2 Eagles. However, this time around everybody seems content to just sick back and watch how things play out before they open their mouth. It seems everyone's finally learned their lesson and has avoided jumping to conclusions.
However, maybe I was wrong. Maybe you can jump to conclusions, as long as you know where to jump. If you know what you're talking about, it may be perfectly acceptable to jump on the Patriots' bandwagon after Week 2, and jump off the Lions'. You might also be very justified in thinking the 0-2 Chiefs are playoff bound, and if you've really got your stuff together you might even be able to sniff out 2004's version of the Carolina Panthers. And so even though I've preached that you can't make any real predictions based off the first two weeks, I'm giving it a try. However, unlike the media, I'm going to try and use my head, instead of the standings. So here's my view on who's going up, and who's coming down.
Let's start with those coming down:
Lions - A 2-0 record is a surprise and if they beat the Eagles, they'll start turning heads. But even a 3-0 start might not get the Lions into the playoffs.
Falcons - Another 2-0 team. However, unlike the Lions, the Falcons will make a playoff run. They're by far the favorite to take the division at the moment. However, Carolina's got too much heart and New Orleans has too much potential for me to jump on the bandwagon.
Broncos - Do you think Clinton Portis would've fumbled the game away on Sunday? I told you they'd regret that trade. And with Jake Plummer running the show, this team simply isn't going to reach great heights.
Rams - The Rams are the pre-season prediction that I regret the most. I was bitter that too many people caught on to the Seahawks who I was planning on picking for the Super Bowl last December. I acted irrationally, hoping the hype would cause them to implode, which doesn't seem to be happening. Instead, it looks like the Rams with Mike Martz running the show are the ones about to implode. Yes, I actually took a gamble in favor of a Mike Martz team. Told you I was irrational.
Seahawks - That being said, I still don't think the Seahawks are going to the Super Bowl, which means that they're coming down also. See, I would've picked the Hawks because I thought they'd be the team to sneak in. And I was willing to go against the odds and pick them. And that's what I think the Seahawks Super Bowl prediction is - against the odds. So now that everyone and their brother has them in the big game, I think it's even more likely that they'll stumble. I think they'll win the division, but I see them falling victim to an upset in the playoffs.
Titans - For a moment there on Sunday, I thought I might've been wrong about the Titans. But it was only for a moment. The Colts showed why they'll win the division, and why Jacksonville can sneak into the playoffs.
Eagles - They are a time bomb that's just ticking away, and nobody seems to notice. Pre-season skeptics have been quieted since they're 2-0 start. But just wait. It might not be this week. It might not be next. But it's only a matter of time. Tick. Tick. Tick.
Jets - They are NOT challenging the Patriots for the division. Enough said.
And now for those going up:
Vikings - The Vikes have what it takes, but need to do the little things that make you a winner. If they can avoid shooting themselves in the foot, their offense is good enough to run with anyone in the league.
Saints - Like the Vikings, the Saints have the talent. Now they just have to learn how to focus it. The Saints could be a really scary team if they learned how to play the game the right way. My guess is that after years of just missing the post-season, the Saints can finally put together a playoff worthy season.
Panthers - In perhaps the only blatant example of everybody jumping to conclusions too early, everyone was saying Carolina was finished after Week 1. What they don't realize is that Carolina's the type of team that can withstand some major injuries. They're a TEAM and they've got an amazing coach. And that's why I'm standing firm on my prediction that they'll take the division.
Chiefs - I know they're 0-2, but they're only a game out of first place. And with the lame competition in their division, it should be easy for a team with their talent to make it up. I really hate the way these team has been assembled, but don't count them out. They're headed for an early playoff exit, but they're still headed for the playoffs.
Jaguars - No 2-0 team is closer to being 0-2 than the Jaguars. You can argue that they should've lost both games. In fact, they should've lost both games. This team has enough talent to win a decent amount of games, but it just doesn't have enough talent to win enough games to make the playoffs. Thankfully, the Bills and Broncos just won two for them. Which according to my scorecard, puts them on pace to make the playoffs. There's just something special about this team. I could feel it before the season started, and that's why I've chosen to follow them along with the Pats. Will they be spectacular? Probably not. But they've been pretty exciting to watch.
Cowboys - It just seems that everybody's forgotten that Bill Parcells coaches this team. They're going to find a way to win. It will be tight for the playoffs, but don't write them off just yet.
Colts - A lot of people had this team dead in the water after Week 1. However, the Colts are too good to be counted out. Well, until they play the Patriots that is.
Patriots - When you're at the top, the only place to go is down. So why are the Patriots going up? Because an 18-1 finish to best last year's performance wouldn't surprise me at all. They're just that good. The Patriots locker room is like no other's. They just expect to win. No matter what circumstances they face or what the conditions are, they know they're going out there and winning. As long as they stay humble, there's not a team in the league that can top them.
And those staying put:
Packers, Ravens, Bengals, and Redskins.
These are four teams that nobody seems to really know what to expect from. And I can't say I really do either. My guess is none of them will tank, but none of them will take off either. My thought is that two of these four will make the playoffs. As for which two, it's anybody's guess. But here's mine:
But it is only Week 2...