Week 2 of the NFL season is in this books, and we dissect which teams are moving on up in our Power Rankings, and which are dropping like a NY Giants wide receiver.
The Jaguars were a Survivor Pool's worst nightmare this week with an enormous 23-20 upset win over their Sunshine State rivals, the Miami Dolphins. Blake Bortles looked like the best quarterback in the AFC South this week and Allen Robinson bounced back from a poor week 1 to notch 27 fantasy points with a 155 yard, 2 TD performance. The wide receivers mitigated drops, TJ Yeldon displayed excellent lateral movement, and Brandon Linder absolutely man-handled the $100 million dollar man Ndamokung Suh. Even Sam Young, who filled in for an injured Luke Joeckel, played well, and contributed to a zero sack performance, which was the first time in Bortles' young Jaguars career. On defense, Jared Odrick exacted revenge on his former team with a crucial sack forced fumble in the 4th quarter to help seal the game. The Jaguars are finally looking like they are playing NFL football, and the Dolphins game just had a different feel than any other win in the Gus Bradley era. The media is taking notice, too, with Elliot Harrison of NFL.com jumping the Jaguars up 10 spots to #18 in the weekly power rankings.
In recent years, the Falcons have always had to score 28+ points to compensate for the poor play of their defense. Under the guidance of new Head Coach Dan Quinn, this seems to no longer be the case. Through the first two weeks, rookie pass rusher Vic Beasley is the highest-rated defender on the defense according to Pro Football Focus, and there seems to be much more urgency with players swarming to the ball. It also helps that Julio Jones is easily the most dominant WR in football right now, and the progression of LT Jake Matthews has been a nice storyline so far this season. The Falcons were very soft under Mike Smith, and with two impressive back-to-back wins where they had to rise to the occasion in the 4th quarter in consecutive weeks, Dan Quinn has definitely made his mark on this team.
NEW YORK JETS
10 Turnovers in 2 Weeks. Absolutely unreal performance by the Jets defense, and talk about a Head Coach putting his thumbprint on the team. Todd Bowles has these players rolling. Ryan Fitzpatrick was probably the perfect stopgap QB that this team needed, because while he is not a dominant player, he is extremely cerebral and (usually) won't lose you a game. This was the absolute opposite case last year with Geno Smith/Mike Vick, who were wildly up and down week to week, so it's nice for the Jets offense to have some type of consistency. New GM Mike Maccagnan looks like a sorcerer for flipping a 5th round pick for Brandon Marshall (guy's still got it, btw), while Vince Mayle was a 4th round pick for the Browns. Let that sink in. Going forward, the Jets will challenge in the AFC East and potentially a wild card spot, which is a crap shoot right now in the AFC.
What happened to the Colts? Well, GM Ryan Grigson did. Ready for a /fire emjoi take? Grigson is the worst GM in football. And it's not even close. The entire team is built around one player in Andrew Luck, which is great until that one player struggles (in back-to-back weeks now), and the team goes down with the ship. When you have your franchise QB like Luck is, building the rest of the team should be child's play. Seriously. Look at the teams around the league who are constantly bad - they are bad because they constantly keep missing on QBs and have to keep burning high draft picks on the position and spinning in circles. It's like being in debt and continuing to use your credit card. There is no reason for the rest of the Colts team to be as bad as it is. The offensive line is terrible outside of Castonzo, and it seems to have drawn the ire of Head Coach Chuck Pagano who recently criticized the organization for its lack of addressing these needs. Grigson keeps bringing in free agents that are a year or two a way from being eligible for a Senior Citizen's discount at the local Cineplex (Andre Johnson, Frank Gore, Trent Cole). If Luck doesn't get it figured out soon, this team is in serious trouble. Does anyone want to win the AFC South? Bueller? Bueller?
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
For too long, the Saints have been relying on Brees to do too much of the work, and it is finally catching up to them. There are conflicting reports on Brees as to whether or not he has tweaked his rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder. Whether or not it is torn, it doesn't really matter. He is an NFL QB and his rotator cuff is clearly bothering him - that spells trouble in the Bayou. They got rid of their biggest weapon and red zone threat in Jimmy Graham and failed to replace him. Also, when Willie Snead (and no offense to Willie Snead here), is your third best receiver on the roster, you are in deep trouble. The secondary has also failed to develop under DC Rob Ryan (high draft pick last year Stanley Jean-Baptiste is on the Lions practice squad), and it is only a matter of time before Ryan is gone in New Orleans. The only bright spot for the Saints through two weeks is that it looks like they may have had some hits defensively in this draft with Ha'uoli Kikaha, Stephone Anthony, Tyeler Davison and undrafted rookie Bobby Richardson. We'll see if Drew can right the ship after a grisly loss to the Buccaneers.
Is it time to hit the panic button yet in Philly? The fact that Demarco Murray did not absolutely go off on his former team this past weekend really troubles me. If he can't get at least 100 yards vs. the Cowboys, Demarco's career outlook in Philly is looking pretty grim. With such good pieces to their offensive line in Jason Peters, Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson, (and Andrew Gardner has played very well in the first two weeks), it is incomprehensible why they can't get anything going. Bradford doesn't take shots down field, and it looks like blockbuster addition LB Kiko Alonso may be missing time with another knee injury. Byron Maxwell has looked terrible in the first two weeks, and Malcolm Jenkins and Fletcher Cox may be single-handedly leading the team on the defensive side of the ball right now. Chip Kelly may be sitting at the dinner table engulfed in flames thinking, "This. This is fine." But it certainly is not fine, Chip, especially when the early deficiencies on this team are the players you personally went out and hand-selected in the offseason.