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Woe and Two

Joe Burrow Face Palm

Though we are only two weeks into the 18-week regular season, there have been more theatrical showdowns out the gates than I can remember in several years.  We have caught our breaths after the wild endings and can take a look at the teams who have joined the dreaded 0-2 fraternity. 

It is a club no franchise wants to be part of given the disheartening data from Stathead:

  • Since the 1970 merger, only 38 teams out of 400 have made it to the postseason with an 0-2 record

Yes, we are saying there is still a chance as it is the National Football League after all.  However, we are all curious as to which of the teams outlined below may be first on the draft board in April 2023.

Titans

One question: How? Tennessee was the AFC’s #1 seed last season so forgive the bewilderment. Coach Vrabel won the Head Coach of the Year award for the same season at the NFL Honors! Aside from AJ Brown’s departure, the Titans are competing with the rest of their same core.

It seems like Tannehill can’t find any of his targets, Henry is struggling to break off on his runs (a measly 25 yards in prime time?!), and the defense looks mediocre. They just cannot put together a clear game plan.  Their only saving grace this season may be their easier upcoming stretch of games after a blowout by a hot Buffalo team. 

Raiders

Lots of turmoil surrounding former Head Coach Jon Gruden resulted in a 2021 (mid-season) exit and in came Special Teams Coordinator Rich Bisaccia to lead the pack.  The interim coach was able to manufacture a fairly respectable season, even leading the black and silver to their first playoff game since 2016.  Although it resulted in a wild card loss to the Bengals, things seemed to be going in the right direction.

I’m not sure if Marc Davis thought new Head Coach Josh McDaniels would come in and wave a magic wand.  Maybe adding Davante Adams would propel Derek Carr’s almost-there offense over the hump?  Neither of these seem to be the case unfortunately for the Las Vegas team. 

Blowing a 20-point lead AT HOME to the Cards week two was just simply embarrassing.  Not only is this team not able to close out a game, but they are in a merciless AFC West division. I would not expect them to gain any momentum based on their upcoming schedule.

Cincinnati

From Super Bowl to stunning the league, this offensive line is quite frankly very offensive to watch.  Thirteen sacks to 23-year-old Burrow and a struggle to score points is a glaring miss thus far.  It’s not always time to hit the panic button as some teams take longer to adjust to growing pains than others. I would certainly grab the magnifying glass and really keep an eye out on how Zac Taylor’s squad progresses.

Both games did come down to the wire (what else is new for this team?) so they have not been chewed up and spit out like some of these other teams.  Scoring just three touchdowns on the season, if Joey B continues to scramble for his life and they struggle to get a solid rush going, this could be a long and tough season for Cincinnati, who still are at O/U 8.5 wins this season 

Panthers

Nine straight losses in the Queen City.  YIKES.  Baker was supposed to be the answer, but that is just one of numerous issues. There is so much more going on in Carolina than just needing a quarterback as evidenced by a second tango with Cam Newton as well as flops with Darnold and Bridgewater. Baker was just 2-12 on third down conversions against the Giants.

Matt Rhule will almost certainly be packing his bags by no later than the end of October without urgently making strides.  Coach Rhule got his start in 2019 after taking the Baylor football program to new heights.

The Panthers’ franchise has approached that tiring fork in the road where a fresh start is desperately needed.  They need creative play callers on both sides of the ball and who can craft plans to win close games.

Falcons

This is the third consevutive year that the Falcons have begun the season defeated through week two.  With or without Matty Ice, the team has not had a clear identity for several years. Since the historic 28-3 Super Bowl squander in Super Bowl LI, Atlanta has taken a slow and steady decline, only making a quick appearance in the 2017 playoffs.

  • Records by season:
    • 2016: 11-5 (Lost SB)
    • 2017: 10-6 (Lost in divisional round)
    • 2018: 7-9
    • 2019: 7-9
    • 2020: 4-12
    • 2021: 7-10

Marcus Mariota would be a serviceable offensive leader if there were not other glaring hitches.  Unfortunately, for Atlanta, problems lie on all sides of the ball. To add insult to injury, two division rivals are legit contenders (TB and NO).

Yes, both games came down to the wire but resulted in failed rallies.  Yes, first rounder Drake London is a hell of a player and will be for years to come.  But unless the Dirty Birds can get some traction and create a solid game plan, this may take a few years to see a turnaround.

Honorable mention goes out to Indianapolis and Houston who, of course, tied in that week one matchup to dodge an official 0-2 start; nonetheless, a 0-1-1 start isn’t much to write home about.                                        

Here are the predicted draft spots for the above-mentioned teams:

  1. Panthers
  2. Falcons
  3. Raiders
  4. Titans
  5. Colts
  6. Texans
  7. Bengals

 

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