2010 NFL Week 2 Preview

The return of quarterback Michael Vick as a starter for the first time since December 2006 is one of the highlights of 2010 NFL Week 2

After the glitz and glamour of the opening week of the 2010 NFL Season is over, Week 2 begins our standard weekly journey around the league. I am so glad that this week’s schedule only has two game days with 15 games on Sunday and our usual one game match-up on Monday Night Football.

 Week 1 had a lot of drama including an NFL-record 11 games that were decided by 7 points or less and ton of surprises — Houston Texans led by RB Arian Foster dominating the Colts, Chiefs taking out the Chargers in the 2nd MNF game, Seahawks pounding Niners who were supposed to be the NFC West favorites and several photo finishes.  But I am expecting Week 2 to provide just as much excitement along with starting the separation process that is inevitable every football.  As I like to always like to say, “NFL teams are either preparing for the playoffs or the upcoming draft”.  And now is the time where teams start their trek toward one destination or the other.

 Unfortunately after only one week of play, some NFL fans are already panicking a little over whether they think their team is a pretender or contender.  I know some fans, like the San Francisco 49ers’ faithful, have to be a little disappointed by their team’s effort from Week 1 – Niners suffered a lopsided 31-6 loss at the hands of the resurgent Seattle Seahawks.  But everyone around the league should remember that it is way too early to start making season-long assumptions based one week of play.  To anyone feeling the pinch of the NFL season after one week, please relax as the NFL regular season is a 17-week marathon with many twists and turns ahead. 

 It is way too early to paint broad conclusions on teams and players’ futures.  Sure injuries and areas to fine tune are prevalent throughout the NFL, but take the results from Week 1 as partial results.  I am urging all fans to wait until at least 5 to 6 games have been played before jumping on or off their respective teams’ bandwagons.  As we saw last year with the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints unsuccessful quest for perfection (both started their seasons 13-0), it is almost unthinkable that a team can get through an entire season undefeated in today’s NFL –– this fact should make you truly appreciative of the Herculean effort of the undefeated 1972 Dolphins.

 An interesting stat is that at the end of Week 2, no more than 14 teams will be able to claim a perfect 2-0 record, leaving at least 18 clubs at 1-1 or 0-2.  However whether a team is 2-0, 1-1, and 0-2 after two weeks of play, it still doesn’t matter as everyone has a chance to make a playoff run — even the hapless Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns who were both bad losers in Week 1. Since realignment in 2002, 54 of the 96 playoff teams (56.2 percent) began the year at either 1-1 or 0-2.  Four of the past nine Super Bowl champions began their seasons with a 1-1 or 0-2 record. Plus last year half of the NFL’s 12 playoff teams started 2-0 and the other half at 1-1 before righting themselves. 

 Even though records should not be first on NFL teams’ minds, they still should be mindful that you don’t want to dig too big of a hole to recover from in time to make a playoff run.  Sure, history has shown that 0-2 teams can advance to the playoffs — since 1990, 22 teams have started 0-2 and still qualified for the postseason, including three teams in 2008 – Miami Dolphins (won NFC North), Minnesota Vikings and San Diego Chargers (won AFC West).  But it is still a daunting task to comeback from 0-2 and a season death sentence of 0-3 is too close for comfort to that record, so teams should be fighting for more than pride in Week 2.

 This is an odd weekend as there are only 3 divisional games (Baltimore at Cincinnati, Tampa Bay at Carolina, and the New England Patriots at NY Jets), but there six inter-conference games.  We will see if all of these non-familiar match-ups will equate to some great action on the field. 

 Some Games to watch are:

 New England Patriots at New York Jets — One of the NFL’s fiercest rivalries will take center stage at New Meadowlands Stadium on Sunday as the Jets host the Patriots in a clash of AFC East contenders.  Both clubs advanced to the postseason last year, with the Patriots winning the division and the Jets securing a Wild Card berth and advancing to the AFC Championship Game.  The HBO series Hard Knocks has heightened the Patriots-NY Jets rivalry even more.  Brash NY Jets’ head coach Rex Ryan who definitely likes to take a page from his father, former NFL defensive guru Buddy Ryan, has stirred the pot talking about the AFC East is their division. Several NY Jets have said that they don’t like Patriots QB Tom Brady and his team. With Captain America countering by saying, “The feeling is mutual”.  So we will see if Ryan’s team can knock-off the Patriots, like they did early in 2009.  Before that win, Ryan said of the J-E-T-S playing the vaunted Patriots, “I didn’t come here to kiss (Patriots coach) Bill Belichick’s rings. I came here to win. … I’m certainly not intimidated by New England or anybody else.”   — LV’s Pick: New England Patriots

 Philadelphia Eagles at Detroit Lions – This is a must win for the Eagles as they travel to Detroit very injured.  The Birds lost FB Leonard Weaver (ACL) and center Jamaal Jackson (torn triceps) for the season to injuries.  Plus concussed players QB Kevin Kolb and MLB Stewart Bradley will sit this one out too.  However the Eagles do have quarterback Michael Vick – had 100 yards rushing and over 170 yards passing in last week’s 27-20 loss to the Packers – making his first start in the NFL since December 31, 2006.  The Lions will look to their young rookie playmakers RB Jahvid Best and DT Ndamukong Suh to make plays.  — LV’s Pick: Philadelphia Eagles

Week 2 Featured Game

 NEW YORK GIANTS (1-0) AT INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (0-1) – Sunday Night Football @ 8:20 PM ET on NBC

 Broadcast Team: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, and Andrea Kremer (Field Reporter)

 Manning Bowl 2 – Sunday night’s matchup on NBC will feature the Manning brothers.  I guess former NFL quarterback Archie Manning and his wife will be wearing ½ Giants and ½ Colts jerseys this week in Lucas Oil Stadium.  There will be some serious in-fighting within the NFL’s first family as Big Brother Peyton Manning’s Colts host younger brother Eli’s NY Giants. For only the second time the two poster boy brother quarterbacks will meet as pros.   

 In 2006, the Colts defeated the Giants 26-21 in the first game in NFL history that two quarterback brothers started for opposing teams.  “It is rare that you get to face your brother,” said Eli Manning.  “You kind of appreciate that when the National Anthem is being sung and you look over and see your big brother.  That’s pretty special.  You have to try and enjoy it and have fun with it and understand it’s something that doesn’t happen often.”  Indy is coming off a disappointing opening loss to the Houston Texans, so I fully expect No. 18 to be an in formidable host to younger brother Eli. 

 The Giants showed last week that they can bring defensive pressure as they dominated the Carolina Panthers 31-18, mostly by producing turnovers. Also New York wide receiver Hakeem Nicks led the way with three touchdown catches and became the first player in more than 20 years to score three touchdowns in the first game at a new stadium. Indianapolis will look to rebound from a rare September loss. 

Entering 2010, the Colts had posted a 26-6 (.813) record in the opening month over the past 10 years (2000-09).  However all is not lost as Indianapolis head coach Jim Caldwell said, “The season is a long haul.”  Caldwell added, “It’s Round One of a 16-round fight.  What we have to do is continue to get better each and every week.  That’s what we’re focusing on.” 

The Colts look as vulnerable as we’ve seen in a long time and the Giants’ pass rush (featuring four defensive ends) will be a handful for Indianapolis’ depleted offensive line. Could the Colts possibly go 0-2???

 In their favor, the Colts have won five straight against NFC opponents.  And Indianapolis defensive end Dwight Freeney has a sack in his last four games vs. NFC opponents.  I am sure Eli’s team will try to control the clock by running the ball and letting their defense attack the Colts’ suspect offensive line.  Simply put the Colts have to do better in stopping the run and running the football.  Last week the Houston Texans outrushed them 257 to 44, which was a record-high for the Colts’ franchise.

 You can expect a ton offense in this game, but in the end how can you go against Peyton Manning in his home-opener

 LV’s Pick: Colts 24, Giants 17

2010 NFL Week 2

 Sun, Sep 19 

 BAL @ CIN, Paul Brown Stadium 1:00 PM —- CBS          

 MIA @ MIN, Mall of America Field 1:00 PM —- CBS          

 CHI @ DAL, Cowboys Stadium 1:00 PM —- FOX          

 PHI @ DET, Ford Field 1:00 PM —- FOX          

 ARI @ ATL, Georgia Dome 1:00 PM —- FOX          

 KC @ CLE, Cleveland Browns Stadium 1:00 PM —- CBS          

 BUF @ GB, Lambeau Field 1:00 PM —- CBS          

 PIT @ TEN, LP Field 1:00 PM —- CBS          

 TB @ CAR, Bank of America Stadium 1:00 PM —- FOX          

 STL @ OAK, Oakland Coliseum 4:05 PM —- FOX          

 SEA @ DEN, Invesco Field at Mile High 4:05 PM —- FOX          

 HOU @ WAS, FedEx Field 4:15 PM —- CBS          

 JAC @ SD, Qualcomm Stadium 4:15 PM —- CBS          

NE @ NYJ, New Meadowlands Stadium 4:15 PM —- CBS          

NYG @ IND, Lucas Oil Stadium 8:20 PM —- NBC          

Mon, Sep 20 

 NO @ SF, Candlestick Park 8:30 PM —- ESPN     

Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and Sports Journey Network , who is also an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)