Week 2 is the point in the NFL season where you start to get an idea of what a team is made of. Since 1990, more than 60 percent of teams that start 2-0 make the playoffs, as opposed to about 12 percent of teams that start 0-2.
That doesn’t mean overreactions don’t still happen. There were a lot of big storylines as the NFL wrapped up its second week of action, and we sorted through the big stories to determine what is real and what is not:
Kirk Cousins lays an egg against Colts: are the Vikings toast?
Vikings QB Kirk Cousins is the textbook example of a player who excels when the circumstances around him are ideal, and struggles when they are not. Cousins had a career-high 107.4 passer rating in 2019, and the Vikings went to the playoffs on the strength of a stout defense, excellent running game and two dynamic receivers in Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. In other words, the circumstances were ideal.
The Vikings’ first two games showed this year may be an entirely different story. They lost several key pieces on defense this offseason, and have fallen quickly behind in both games, including Sunday against the Colts. Playing from behind, Dalvin Cook hasn’t been able to get cooking. Without Cook’s impact, their play-action passing has taken a hit, which is where Cousins excels. And without Diggs, Cousins has less help. In other words, the circumstances are not ideal, and it showed in Cousins’ stat line (11-for-26, 113 yards, 3 INTs) against Indianapolis.
Minnesota has a very young defense and there’s a chance it starts clicking as the season goes along. But so far this team looks like a mess, and Cousins has been a big part of the problem. Sitting at 0-2, they’re already two games behind the Bears and Packers (who stomped them in Week 1) and it’s not an overreaction to think this team may be sitting on the couch in January.
Cowboys come back to stun Falcons: is the NFC East theirs to lose?
28-3, meet 29-10. The Falcons managed to blow yet another massive lead in epic fashion Sunday, punctuated by a Cowboys onside kick recovery where Atlanta might have forgotten the rules of football. But Dallas won the game just as much as Atlanta lost it, and there was a ton to like from Dak Prescott and company on Sunday.
For Prescott’s part, he looked every bit like he deserves a market-setting contract in the offseason. Put into a hole by a number of fumbles and questionable fake punts, Prescott dug his team out of it, throwing for 450 yards and racking up four TDs (three of them on the ground). Especially in the fourth quarter, Prescott sat back in the pocket and dropped dime after dime, willing his team to victory when it seemed like it had no chance.
Elsewhere in the NFC East, the Eagles lost by double digits again, Washington got throttled by the Cardinals and the Giants fell just short of engineering a huge comeback of their own to the Bears. The Cowboys are clearly the most talented team in the division and have playmakers all throughout the offense (rookie CeeDee Lamb had 106 yards in his second game). Unless the Eagles get healthy and fix their offensive line quickly, it wouldn’t be an overreaction to say the division is the Cowboys to lose.
Bills stomp a division rival again: is Josh Allen the real deal?
You’d be hard pressed to find a more criticized QB during the offseason than Josh Allen, who despite leading the Bills to the playoffs in 2019 had major accuracy concerns going into Year 3. The rocket arm wasn’t producing results downfield, as Allen was the least-accurate full-time starter on deep balls, according to Football Outsiders.
However, the Wyoming product has shown immense improvement through two games in 2019. Allen leads the NFL in passing, following up the first 300-yard day of his career in Week 1 with his first 400-yard day in Week 2 in a win over the Dolphins. He has been doing it with huge chunk plays down the field, showing impressive accuracy with his deep ball. Stefon Diggs has been a huge addition. The star WR racked up 153 yards on eight receptions against Miami.
Allen still had a couple questionable decisions (he almost threw a pick-six near his own end zone) and still isn’t a finished product. It’s also fair to mention that the Jets and Dolphins aren’t exactly the stiffest competition – the Rams will be a much tougher test in Week 3. But the young signal-caller has made huge strides and looks set on proving the doubters wrong.
Seahawks beat Patriots in thriller: is Russell Wilson the MVP?
Did you know that Russell Wilson has never received a vote for the MVP in his eight NFL seasons? You probably do, since the NFL media loves talking about it, but it’s still stunning to think about considering Derek Carr, Carson Palmer and Bobby Wagner have all received votes since he’s been in the league. It’s only two games in, but it seems like that could change in a big way.
Through two games, Wilson has a passer rating of 140. He has completed 82.5 percent of his passes on 9.7 yards per attempt. He has almost as many TDs (nine) as incompletions (11). It seems like the coaching staff is finally “letting Russ cook,” and he has responded by slinging the ball downfield at will.
There is currently no QB playing better than Wilson. Lamar Jackson and Aaron Rodgers both have looked outstanding in their two games, but the Seahawks QB is in another stratosphere, and just out-dueled a revitalized Cam Newton and the Patriots on national television. It’s a bit silly to crown an MVP after Week 2, but if he keeps it up, the award is his to lose.
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