Crushed Optimists

We are twin brothers who grew up in Central Washington. This blog is devoted to the life of Seattle sports fans, as well as various other topics that we will espouse for your enjoyment. We could be called another OFFICIAL SEATTLE SEAHAWKS site, but we'll take our uneducated crack at the Mariners, Sonics, and Huskies as well. A Seattle Sports Blog? Must be the land... of crushed optimism!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Land of Conclusions: Week 2

Two weeks have passed in the National Football League. Every team has played two games. 8 quarters. 120 minutes of football per team. That's enough time to make sweeping claims about the playoff possibilities for certain teams, right? Well, if listening to sports radio has taught me anything at all, yes. It's just that there are good conclusions and bad conclusions to be reached.

Allow me to give you a few examples of each.

Good Conclusions:
The Tennessee Titans will be a better team at the end of the season then they were at the beginning: Jeff Fisher is a tremendous coach, and will bring out the best in the glut of young players that are being thrust into key positions.

The Chicago Bears will have a shot to make the postseason: The division is weaker then expected, especially the Packers, and that means that everyone but the Lions have a shot.

The Green Bay Packers will struggle to make the postseason: This is not due to their record. 0-2 teams can make the postseason. Heck, most teams lose 2 games in a row at some point during the season. However, Ahman Green hasn't impressed, the injury to Walker is huge, and the defense allowed Trent Dilfer to throw for over 300 yards. That's right. Trent Dilfer. At Green Bay.

These are some good 1st year coaches: The 49ers are playing hard under Mike Nolan. Romeo Crennel got his first win on the road, and looks like he is putting his will in his team. Nick Saban got a quality win over the Broncos, and almost pulled out a win over a Super Bowl pick in the Jets. Looks like GM's got it right this offseason. However, I still believe that the best of the available coaches was Charlie Weis, and he will show it at Notre Dame.

The Kansas City Chiefs will make the postseason with a stronger defense: This team has yet to score 30 points in a game, and yet has two convincing wins over the Jets and Raiders. Their defense has played with real fire early on, Trent Green has looked as confidant as usual, and Larry Johnson is a HUGE "addition", giving Chiefs' fans protection in case Priest Holmes goes down per usual.

The Houston Texans' offense needed an overhaul: The decision to fire their offensive coordinator was a correct one. However, it needed to be made during the offseason, not now. The new offense has to find a way to protect David Carr, who has met the ground over 10 times ALREADY this season. That's pathetic. Use Domanick Davis. Use Andre Johnson. These guys are weapons. This should not be the worst offense in the league. So far, it has been, and, in fact, they have looked like the worst overall team in the NFL.

Coaches that should be fired by the end of the season: Mike Tice (should already be fired), Mike Shanahan (Jake Plummer does not equal savior), Norv Turner (great coordinator, awful head coach), Dom Capers (for reasons listed above).

Coaches that might be fired by the end of the season: Mike Holmgren (too many 4th quarter collapses), Steve Mariucci (put a flaming bag of poop on Harrington's doorstep), Jim Haslett (watch the Saints' inevitable collapse), Mike Martz (has been blowing timeouts AGAIN this season).

Arizona is not as good as expected: I'm not going to majorly gloat here, because it's still too early in the season. But anyone can see that the offense is not unbeatable and Kurt Warner is not the savior needed. The defense is good, but also not all-world. The offensive line is terrible, and they have ZERO running game. Are they still a better team then Seattle, pundits? Huh? I guess we'll find out some of our answer on Sunday.

Tampa Bay is better then expected: Definitely. Cadillac is awesome. That defense looks stellar once again. The running game takes the onus off of Brian Griese to produce. They might not make the playoffs, but they will be right there at the end. I can readily admit that I was wrong about this team.

Bad Conclusions:
Cincinnati WILL make the postseason: Um, maybe. But I'm not jumping on the bandwagon yet. Does anyone remember that the Detroit Lions and the NY Giants both started 3-1 last year? Anyone? Rememer how those teams finished? Hint: Not in the playoffs. Here's the thing. They are in Pittsburgh's division, which automatically means they are gunning for a wild-card. To do THAT, they have to be a better team then the Chargers, Jaguars, Jets, Bills, Ravens, and Broncos (or at least all those except one). I just don't see that. They have to play Pittsburgh twice, Baltimore twice, and an improving Cleveland team twice. Yes, they have looked impressive. But so did the Seahawks through three games last year.

Minnesota is finished: Again, maybe. But I don't completely buy that. They still have the most talent, on paper, in that division. Their defense is improved. Culpepper proved that he could win with those wide-receivers last year. Obviously he did not feel comfortable with his new O-Coordinator, but a change has already been made there. They could easily make the playoffs with 9-10 wins, and that is definitely still a possibility.

Brett Favre is done: This myth happens every year around this time. Response: No. They probably won't make the playoffs, but not because of him.

Baltimore is done: Last year, Baltimore lost by 30 to Cleveland in Week 1. 30. To Cleveland. They were something like 1-3 the year they won the Super Bowl. Seriously. When that defense kicks in with any semblance of an offense, watch out for this team.

San Diego is done: This might be the stupidest of all the conclusions. Absolutely not. They still have LT, they have had two tough losses, but I still expect them to get up to the 10 win mark at the end of the season.

Washington/Giants/Dallas are all much improved and possible playoff teams: I've heard a LOT of this for some stupid reason, and so will spend a little more time here. Washington had not scored an offensive touchdown for their first seven quarters of existence. They then scored two LUCK touchdowns when Mark Brunell suddenly found his anti-suck cream for two long throws. Their defense is super, but that offense is simply horrendous. Worse defense then Baltimore, worse offense then Baltimore. They will struggle for seven wins this season. The Giants manhandled the Cardinals, who were playing on the road (who doesn't), and manhandled the Saints, who remembered that their defense was simply terrible and Aaron Brooks was their quarterback, regardless of being America's team. Eli Manning has looked better, but the offense still runs through Tiki Barber, and that automatically means inconsistent, while that defense sure looks soft in the secondary. They might reach eight wins, tops. Same with Dallas, who finally understand that they have Drew Bledsoe at quarterback. They stole a win from San Diego, and then had a win stolen from them by Washington. That type of maddeningly inconsistent results will be the norm in the awesome Bledsoe era. These are not definite playoff teams. Now, this is the NFC, so one of these teams might make it to the postseason. But I wouldn't count on it.

I'm not big into power rankings. Simply put, who cares? The goal at the end of the season isn't to be ranked in Pete Prisco's Top Ten. The goal is to get to the postseason. Thus, I wanted to check in on every team's chances in that regard.

Now, after all those conclusions, here is the brief picture we get after the first two weeks:

Playoff Picture after Week 2
Locks: Pittsburgh

High Probability: New England, Indianapolis, Kansas City

Possibility: Jacksonville, Cincinnati, Buffalo, NY Jets, Denver

Still Alive: San Diego, Baltimore, Cleveland, Oakland

No Shot: Miami, Houston, Tennessee

Locks: Philadelphia

High Probability: Carolina, Atlanta (with Vick)

Possibility: Tampa Bay, Seattle, St. Louis, Chicago, Dallas, NY Giants, Washington

Still Alive: Minnesota, Green Bay, Detroit, New Orleans, Arizona

No Shot: San Francisco

I'll be updating that picture every few weeks. You'll notice that, in the NFC, everyone is still in it except for San Fran. That's simply because the NFC is weaker, and the baseline for a playoff berth will be as low as 8 wins, while the AFC will require at least 10 wins.

posted by colin_hesse @ 11:03 AM  1 comments


At 7:33 PM, Anonymous ajax(Packer fan) said...

Nice analysis
Keep up the good work


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