5 Lessons Learned – NFL Week 2

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How good was Week 2 in the NFL?

Half of the games were decided by one score with most of those being decided by the final play.

Just seven teams remain perfect as the scores are all over the place.

Punters have had another rough week with just six favourites covering the line however the upsets have produced plenty of on field drama.

As bad of a week as some may have had, spare a thought for Paul Allen, the voice of the Minnesota Vikings radio as his team lined up for a game winning field goal.

We’ve gone through the gamebooks, dissected the coaching tape (which is actually digital now) and found our five big takeaways from the weekend that was in the National Football League.

1 – Prime Time Deliveries

The prime time games in the US are the perfect ones for Aussie fans, kicking off in the late morning and lasting into the lunch break.

So far this season they have also produced some of the most entertaining contests.

Sure they might not always be the highest quality (see Washington-New York Giants) but they have been thoroughly entertaining

It kicked off with that classic between Dallas and Tampa Bay before the Rams and Bears had as close to a dud as we have seen so far, before the Ravens and Raiders went ballistic.

This week we saw Washington and the New York Giants produce a wacky finish where the visitors thought they had won the game, only for Washington to steal it thanks to a penalty that gave Dustin Hopkins a do-over.

Monday’s action finished with a heavyweight bout between Baltimore and Kansas City with Lamar Jackson getting the last laugh.

We can only hope the Texans-Panthers game this Friday morning (AEST) lives up to the its predecessors.

When betting on that game it is worth noting that these games have been dominated by the underdogs.

Four of the six have managed to cover the line including both Thursday night teams and every game has gone over the total points number.

2 – Plenty of Teams Levelled Out After Week 1

Remember this time seven days ago when we were all stunned by some of the Week 1 results?

Plenty of preseason predictions were set alight when the Titans struggled to get anything going against the Cardinals and when the Eagles belted Atlanta or when the Saints looked like a much improved side with Jameis Winston at the helm.

Week 2’s action saw plenty of levelling out for those teams as they showed those respective performances might have just been aberrations that for seven days, represented their entire 2021 sample size.

Buffalo ran over, around and through the hapless Miami Dolphins to bounce back from their first up defeat with a 35-0 win over their AFC East rivals.

It was a beatdown in every sense of the word and if you were looking for a reason to think the Bills are going to be in the AFC’s elite again this year, that was it.

New Orleans looked almost unstoppable in Week 1 against Green Bay but Jameis Winston could not replicate that magic, throwing two interceptions as the Saints dug a 17-0 hole the could not get out of.

On the other end of the scale Philadelphia came back to earth dropping a grind of a game against San Francisco, only managing one touchdown on this QB sneak.

Tennessee easily had the best response of the weekend though, having been outclassed by Arizona at home, before heading to the always tough Lumen Field in Seattle.

Down 24-9, the Titans remembered what they did best, turning to their beast of a running back Derrick Henry.

On the day Henry tallied 182 yards and three touchdowns on the ground, plus a measly 55 yards receiving as well as the Titans took the game 33-30 in overtime.

So, what’s the big takeaway from all of that?

Don’t abandon your preseason thoughts because of a September performance that might not have lived up (or down) to expectations.

3 – It’s Not Too Early to Worry About Zach Wilson

When he was drafted by the Jets with the second overall pick in the draft, the jokes came flying in about Zac Wilson likely being a bust because of the team’s history with highly drafted signal callers.

The scouting reports knew there was plenty of talent there but with a few issues that would need to be coached out of him.

You can see the talent on the plays that go well, but through eight quarters, there is plenty to be concerned about as well.

Let’s just sum up his afternoon against New England, this was his first pass attempt of the day.

And this was his second.

This one came a little bit later in the game after a few more pass attempts.

We’re not even at halftime yet so it was just as ugly as you would think, but it wasn’t done just yet.

On the Jets first possession of the second half, he threw a ball straight to Devin McCourty which would have been his best completion of the day, except for the fact that McCourty plays for the Patriots.

It was not even close to a teammate.

Maybe in a few years we are laughing at the fact he started his career with five interceptions in two defeats is not an encouraging beginning.

Given the Jets’ history with guys like Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith, Christian Hackenberg and most recently Sam Darnold, the warning signs are definitely there.

4 – Arizona Is Guaranteed Entertainment

You have to admire the approach of the Arizona Cardinals over the last few years.

With the hiring of Kliff Kingsbury and the drafting of Kyler Murray, the Cardinals apparently have opted for the Madden NFL approach of “screw it, we’re just going to outscore everyone.”

They have surrounded him with some incredibly talented and/or incredibly fast receivers giving him plenty of options on every play… if he just doesn’t decide to run it himself.

And when he does opt to pass, he has the ability to extend plays and find the open guy.

While it has not been a perfect start to the season with three interceptions, his 689 passing yards, five touchdowns and two scores with his legs are worth taking notice of.

The Cardinals have put up 72 points in the opening two games and seem destined for another 30+ total against Jacksonville next week.

It’s also why the “Kyler for MVP” campaign has kicked off with the one-time ninth overall pick in the MLB draft is the joint favourite for the NFL MVP award at $6.

5 – It’s All On Lamar Jackson

Perhaps the biggest individual winner of Week 2 was Lamar Jackson, who recorded his first career win against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Playing for a mega contract extension, Jackson was simply sublime after his nightmare first drive which ended in an interception returned for a touchdown.

Jackson rebounded to star in Baltimore’s stunning 36-35 win coming up with play after play as he duelled with Patrick Mahomes in a true classic.

This was arguably his best throw of the game, making a jump pass to Hollywood Brown.

With a depleted stable of running backs, Baltimore’s success this season is going to come down to the performance of number eight.

And then with the game on the line, his coach backed his quarterback to make the right call, facing a crucial fourth down.

Jackson converted for the first down allowing Baltimore to run out the clock and pick up a huge win after last week’s loss in Las Vegas.

If Baltimore make the playoffs, it will be because of him and he will be in the conversation for MVP.