NFL Report for Sunday 9-16
By James Turnage:
With the exception of tonight, Monday night’s game, the first two full weeks of the 2012 National Football League are complete. If the rest of the season is as exciting and interesting as the initial two weeks have been, it’s going to be a fun ride.
It appears as though there will be no undefeated team, no perfect record this year. The two teams that had the greatest chance of doing so in the past several years have a record of 1 and 1.
Green Bay lost its first game 30-22 to the San Francisco 49ers. ‘On any given Sunday’ any professional team can fall prey to another. What was surprising about this game, is that they lost it at home in Lambeau Field. This past weekend a weak defense in week one showed improvement, and the Packers beat the Bears 23-10 at home.
The New England Patriots gained a victory in week one over the Tennessee Titans 34-13 in Tennessee. New England rarely loses a game at home, but, yesterday they lost to the Arizona Cardinals 20-18.
Philadelphia, San Francisco, Arizona, Houston and San Diego are the only teams without a defeat as of yet. To expect any of this group to go undefeated is not realistic. Tennessee, Cleveland, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Oakland, and New Orleans are the only teams without a win. Of the six, only New Orleans is somewhat of a surprise.
It’s too early to make predictions in any division. Based on play so far, at least one division appears to offer the possibility of having the eventual winner coming from any one of the four teams.
Although Philadelphia is atop the NFC East, their play has not been stellar. Both wins have come near the end of the game. Dallas, who defeated New York on the first game of the season, Wednesday, September 5th, by a score of 24-17, once again looked like the Dallas of last year, and lost to the Seattle Seahawks 27-7 in the ‘emerald city’. Their excellent play in New York promised an improved season. It remains to be seen. The New York Giants, winner of last year’s Superbowl, will most likely follow last year’s pattern, and leave us guessing where they will be in February within the last third of the season. The Washington Redskins may surprise everyone in their own division, and possibly everyone in football. Led by their rookie quarterback, Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin the third, or “RG III”, they have shown a resurgence that will force their opponents to spend extra time preparing to play them. He makes them fun to watch.
The NFC West will apparently be a battle between San Francisco and Arizona. Both teams appear to be greatly improved, and both are undefeated. We’ll see where they both are when they play each other on Monday night, October 29th.
The AFC North will most likely follow its usual pattern. Baltimore and Pittsburgh have great defenses, and improving offenses, though Baltimore’s quarterback Joe Flacco was less than spectacular yesterday in losing to the Philadelphia with 1:55 left on the clock in the 4th quarter 24-23. We’ll know a lot more about them when they play each other on Sunday, November 18th, and again two weeks later on December 2nd.
The AFC West could get interesting. San Diego is undefeated, but the Peyton Manning led Denver Broncos may challenge them for the division.
Green Bay, Atlanta, New England and Houston should survive their divisions, barring critical injuries or suspensions.
Although they were winners yesterday, defeating Minnesota 23-20, first pick in the draft, Andrew Luck, is not expected to lead them to a divisional championship in his rookie season.
Tonight’s game may give us some insight about the two combatants. The Denver Broncos are on the road playing the Atlanta Falcons. It promises to be good game and should reveal strengths and weaknesses of both teams.