Pro Ball Look-Ahead
After an interesting week 1 (interesting in retrospect, not in fact; there were a lot of blow-outs opening weekend) we find ourselves staing at week 2, and this is about the point in the week where fans who's teams either honked it or came out like gangbusters are beginning to look ahead to week 2 wondering if what they saw was an omen or an aberration (sp?). My top 5 is swarming with AFC teams, who take up 9 of the 10 spots on the list. Let's get right to it:
5. Jets/Dolphins - two teams that have their fans wondering whether last week was a fluke or not. The Jets are out to prove that it was, the Dolphins are out to prove that it wasn't. You hate to bury a team two weeks into the season, but if the Jets can't hold home turf against what should be an inferior opponent, it'll be tough to see them making the playoffs this year in a division where one team is the twice-defending Super Bowl Champions and the other two teams seem to be greatly improved. As for the Dolphins, they can't be thinking playoffs yet, but if they can go into New York and stick it to the Jets in their home opnener, then maybe they aren't as far away from the post-season as everyone thinks. That's a lot on the line for week 2.
4. Chargers/Broncos - in Denver, two teams are trying to prove that week 1 was a fluke. The Broncos had the more lopsided loss on the scoreboard (34-10 to those Dolphins), but they at least were on the road, in inhospitable conditions (90 degrees with 60% humidity - YUCK!). The Chargers lost at home, 28-24, to the Dallas Cowboys, a team they supposedly are much better than. In addition, this is a division game, so it's a chance for each team to put themselves a game up on the other.
3. Chiefs/Raiders - the other two AFC West teams are meeting in Oakland. The Chiefs made mincemeat out of the Jets in KC, now they head to Oakland, to meet a Raiders team that got pushed around in week one by the Patriots. The Chiefs defense is supposedly vastly improved, and they looked the part in the opener. But the Raiders are a lot more explosive on offense than the Chiefs are. In a division where all four teams have a legitimate shot, every divsion game counts extra. This should be a good one.
2. Patriots/Panthers - some people think this is a Super Bowl Preview. I don't, but it's tough to deny that these two teams aren't near, or at, the tops of their respective conferences. The Panthers had a miserable start to last season but rallied to almost make the playoffs, despite so many injuries nobody knew who exactly was playing by season's end. The Patriots are, of course, two-time defending Super Bowl Champions. Because it's an interconference match-up, the importance of it, relatively, is somewhat muted, but as compelling TV, there isn't much better on this weekend.
1. Jaguars/Colts - Peyton's crew stomped the Ravens down on their own turf last week. This week they head home, where they'll take on a Jaguars team that disposed of the Seahawks neatly last weekend. Byron Leftwich & Co. look to make the AFC South a two-horse race, and a good way to start would be beating down Indy on their home field. Meanwhile, Indianapolis is trying to take the next step to being in the Super Bowl, and if they want to show they've taken the step, they'll hand the pesky Jags their first loss of the season. Two great teams in a divisional match-up, this is my NFL game of the week.