By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The season is really cooking now, folks. Let me tell you. It is a-sizzling.
Yet while we may feel like we’ve got a good grasp of what’s what in the NFL, the reality is that we don’t. Not at all. It’s still September, and most of what we believe to be very important at this point in time will ultimately be proven to be quite meaningless.
Example: In 2014 after two weeks, chatter about the demise of Tom Brady and the Patriots was starting to really gain some steam. They ended up winning a championship. Brady was the MVP. Last year, the Falcons looked mighty good after winning in the first two weeks of the season. In fact, they won five straight and six of seven to start the year. They finished 8-8. Folks were also high on the Jaguars last year when they played the Panthers tough and then beat the Dolphins in Week 2. They’d go on to finish 5-11.
You get the idea. Some of the teams that are bad now will continue to be bad all year. But some are better than their record might indicate. The same is true with the good teams.
So, with two weeks of football under our belts (congratulations, everybody, for consuming all of that football), let’s go ahead and POWER RANK our 2-0 teams and our 0-2 teams. But let’s do it the more fun way: let’s rank the worst 2-0 teams and the best 0-2 teams. The idea is, “OK, this time is 2-0, but they will definitely stink,” or, “OK, these guys are 0-2, but there’s a good chance that they end up not stinking!”
As a reminder, these rankings are very much official and non-negotiable. Thank you.
The Worst 2-0 Teams In The NFL
(Ranked Best To Worst)
8. Denver Broncos
Someone’s going to have to beat the champs if they want to claim the top spot. We’ll see how they do on the road, but right now, nobody wants to go to Denver. Nobody.
7. Pittsburgh Steelers
Have you watched the Steelers? The Steelers look good. Real good. They get the 2-0 Eagles this week, so they’ll have the opportunity to show just how perfectly correct and good these POWER RANKINGS really are.
6. New England Patriots
You can’t help but be impressed by the Patriots’ impression of the Black Knight in Monty Python. You can chop off their Tom Brady and their Rob Gronkowski and their Jimmy Garoppolo, and they’ll still sit there and fight. And somehow win. Considering they’ve already stored two wins away despite all those absences, you have to believe that the Patriots are only going to get better in the coming weeks.
5. New York Giants
Wins are win, yes. But two wins by a combined four points might indicate that some losses may be coming soon.
4. Houston Texans
They’ve beaten the Bears and the Chiefs. But is the offense going to be good enough? That’s the age-old question.
3. Minnesota Vikings
A team quarterbacked by Sam Bradford and his gigantic sleeves cannot rank higher than sixth on any list. This is in the CBA. Look it up. They also lose points for carrying the franchise through a swanky bar.
2. Philadelphia Eagles
Similarly, the Eagles’ wins came against teams that appear on our list of 0-2 teams — the Browns and the Bears. Carson Wentz looks awesome, but let’s see what happens to him when a defensive coach takes away his ability to roll right and throw on the run. That rookie wall may hit him hard.
1. Baltimore Ravens
When is a 2-0 record not really a 2-0 record at all? When that 2-0 record is earned against the Browns and the Bills. And with the Jags, Raiders and Redskins on deck, the Ravens could really be looking at 5-0. At that point, we’ll all have to go back and check what people were saying about last year’s Falcons.
So congrats to the Ravens. You are the worst! You did it!
Now to the really difficult part.
The Best 0-2 Teams
(Ranked Worst To Best)
8. Buffalo Bills
Oh, congrats, Buffalo. You have done it. You are the NFL’s worst team. It’s not just the players on the field. It’s the lack of control from Rex. It’s the owner holding meetings behind Rex’s back. It’s the firing of the offensive coordinator on a team that’s seen its defense swirl down the toilet over the past two years. It’s crazy, but the Bills were on the rise when Rex took over. Now they’re a 53-man version of the Crying Jordan.
7. Washington Redskins
A playoff team just eight short months ago, the Redskins are now a mess. “You Like That” has run its course, with an inside source bashing Kirk Cousins by saying, ““At least [Colt McCoy would] play with poise.” We’ve got inside sources openly pining for Colt McCoy. That’s where we are with the Redskins.
6. Cleveland Browns
The Cleveland Browns apparently won’t be riding that Cavs success to a Super Bowl title after all, huh? Bummer.
5. Indianapolis Colts
Hi, I’m Ryan Grigson, and I am completely oblivious to the concept of building a defense. Hiiii, Ryan!
For real though. The Indy defense has somehow only continued to get worse year after year. They currently rank 32nd in points allowed per game and they’re 30th in rushing yards allowed per game. They stink and they’ll always stink until or unless some people take over who take Phillip Dorsett and Bjoern Werner with first-round picks.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars
Longtime readers of this column know that this ranking pains me, as nobody loves a Jags Week more than I do. But facts are facts. And when you go on the road and get absolutely spanked by the San Diego Chargers, you’re going to end up smack dab in the middle of this list. A valiant effort in a loss to Green Bay was one thing, but getting roasted by the Bolts? No bueno, Jacksonville.
3. Chicago Bears
The Bears are getting lots of hate around the country because I think we’ve all just reached our saturation point of watching Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears. Seeing them on Monday Night Football just drove home that point. Nobody likes watching the Bears play football. Not even Bears fans. They’re probably not as bad as the perception is. But they’re still quite bad, folks.
2. Miami Dolphins
If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, then the Dolphins would win the Super Bowl every year. I get it. But a two-point loss in Seattle and a seven-point loss after a furious comeback in New England? That’s a decent little track record that could serve the Dolphins well as the year goes on.
1. New Orleans Saints
Yeah, they’re 0-2, but they’ve won at least seven games every year since 2006. The last time they fell short of that bar of mediocrity, their quarterback was Aaron Brooks and their head coach was Jim Haslett.
So there you have it. Feel free to check back on these rankings in January to see how prescient and correct I proved to be. (If you find different results, feel free to not share those with me or anyone else, thank you.)
OK, OK, OK, now that that is officially settled, let’s go to some rapid fire picks.
NEW ENGLAND (+1) over Houston
Because even if the quarterback is a guy named Fitzy picked out of the stands, the Patriots as an underdog at home is too enticing to pass up. The Patriots are also 4-0 against the Texans since 2012, outscoring Houston 144-79.
Arizona (-4) over BUFFALO
How many games are left in Rex’s tenure? One? Will they let him hang on to make the trip to Foxboro in Week 4? It’s too bad, really. The NFL is better when a cocky-as-all-hell Rex is in charge of an imposing football team.
Denver (+3) over CINCINNATI
I had to check this line in 100 different places. Did somebody hit the wrong button somewhere and the rest of the country is just going along with it? I don’t know. I will stop asking questions and I will take those points. What a laugh!
MIAMI (-9.5) over Cleveland
The 0-2 Bowl! It’s a passing league and the Browns can’t pass. That’s problematic.
Also problematic: If your friend offered you a ticket to attend this game.
CAROLINA (-7) over Minnesota
You and your massive sleeves can’t fool me, Samuel.
That’s an outrageous look!
NEW YORK GIANTS (-4.5) over Washington
Congrats to Josh Brown. Glad to see a good redemption story for a man who has humbly accepted his faults and has paid his penance. Ohhhh, wait, he’s completely unapologetic and if anything gets combative when forced to speak about his history of domestic violence. But he’s good at kicking a football. Cool. Sports rule.
GREEN BAY (-7.5) over Detroit
This would definitely fall under the “inadvisable” category, but I’m not going to declare the Packers dead until that last scoop of dirt gets placed on their casket. A home game against Jim Caldwell is a great opportunity to rise from the dead.
JACKSONVILLE (Pick ’em) over Baltimore
Can the 0-2 heroes beat the league’s worst 2-0 team? I have no idea but I will tune in to watch* (and to see the stadium swimming pool)!
*I probably won’t tune in to watch.
Oakland (+1) over TENNESSEE
San Francisco (+9.5) over SEATTLE
TAMPA BAY (-5.5) over Los Angeles
San Diego (+2.5) over INDIANAPOLIS
KANSAS CITY (-3) over New York Jets
Pittsburgh (-3.5) over PHILADELPHIA
DALLAS (-7) over Chicago
Oh, ha ha, NFL. Giving us the Bears in prime time twice in six days. Ha ha very funny, good one, you got us. Thank you for this prank.
NEW ORLEANS (-3) over Atlanta
This game goes up head-to-head against the first presidential debate. There is no right choice.
Last Week: 8-8