Conor Dunleavy & Rob McGreevy
As two avid sports fans, and big time New York Giants fans (yes feel bad for us), we thought it would be suited for our first post to be about the NFL. With Week 2 of the season in the books, there are a few things we can take away from the season thus far. First off, and most important to Rob and I is the Giants have somehow managed to lose two games in which they were up 10 points in the 4th quarter. Whether it’s poor clock management, or just a shitty display of talent, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that the Giants have started off the season as the most disappointing team in the league.
The other biggest disappointment so far this season is the Eagles as whole, and more specifically the newly revamped offense led by stud running back DeMarco Murray. To put their failure into perspective, the entire Eagles offense has rushed for 70 yards over two games, whereas the new starter for the Buffalo Bills, Tyrod Taylor has rushed for 84 yards in two games. If that isn’t enough in itself, Murray has totaled 11 yards on 22 carriers for the season, an average of 0.5 yards per carry. His week 2 performance against the Cowboys amounted to a depressing 2 yards on 13 carries, coming in at an average of 0.15 yards per carry. That stat is impossible for me to comprehend, so to help others, and myself, .15 yards per carry converts to 0.462 FEET per carry. To showcase the Oklahoma grad’s futility, the average stride of a human being is 2.5 feet per step. DeMarco can’t outpace the average New York businessman.
A bright spot for any of you Cincinnati fans out there is that Andy Dalton is beginning to show glimpses of why the Bengals signed him to a long-term multi-million dollar deal. Although he hasn’t had a 300-yard passing game yet, he does have 483 yards, 5 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions, with a 68.3% completion rating on the season. His yard total isn’t where most fans would want it, but who can complain with 5 touchdowns, 3 coming against a talented San Diego secondary. Cinci’s run game has definitely helped Dalton loosen up, because who wouldn’t be loose with Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard coming out of the backfield. Ultimately, Dalton’s performance throughout the season will be an interesting one to watch, as he tries to take his team on a legitimate playoff run this season, and finally earn that elusive first playoff win.
Lastly, although they looked good on paper coming into the season, the Arizona Cardinals were a shocker to me in how lethal they are on both sides of the ball. We already knew their defense was rock solid, led by a frightening secondary unit led by Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu. And it surely needs to be seeing as they face division rivals Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, and St. Louis Rams all twice; but the real surprise is the dominance of their offense. They’ve had Larry Fitzgerald for as long as I can remember, and Carson Palmer we all know can be a stud when he’s healthy, but even past the two obvious names have been some surprises that have lifted the team’s offense. Sophomore Receiver John Brown out of small time school Pittsburg State has been a spark for a receiving core that has been heavily dependent on Fitzgerald for years. Along side Brown, the performances from David Johnson in the first two games have been exciting for coach Bruce Arians. With Andre Ellington being out for a few weeks (and will undoubtedly get hurt again at some point during the season), it’s nice to know that veteran Chris Johnson is not the only player the Cardinals can count on for production.
After two weeks, the NFL has had no shortage of surprises. The Seahawks lost to the Rams, who lost to the Redskins (The Redskins?!) who lost to Dolphins, who lost to the Jaguars, who lost to the Panthers. Confused yet? Don’t worry, we are too. Eli has yet to throw an interception and Johnny Football is Johnny Cleveland. So these predictions may amount to a nice steaming pile of Cleveland Browns. But lets take a look at our picks for the rest of this season.
NFC East Winners:
Conor: Giants – Despite their depressing start, a Cowboys team with no Romo or Dez, a pitiful Eagles team, and an inconsistent untrustworthy Redskins team lead me to believe the G-men will be back in the playoffs come January
Rob: Giants – If I could I would pick nobody. If the Cowboys lose Romo for an extended period of time, I do not think there is a single team in this division that deserves to be in the playoffs, that being said, someone has to win it. So I’m picking my Giants because they’ve played surprisingly well for 6 of the 8 quarters they’ve played this season. Of course, the other two quarters are the only ones that actually matter, but whatever it’s just football right??
AFC East Winners:
Conor: Patriots – Brady and the defending Super bowl champs, that’s all I have to say.
Rob: Patriots – I want to pick the Bills, I really do, but c’mon, this Pats train is not slowing down any time soon. This may just be the best division in football though, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw three teams coming out of the east to make the playoffs.
Conor: Packers – Aaron Rodgers makes everyone around him better, so regardless of the Nelson injury, a Rodgers led offense and a defense featuring Clay Matthews is too dominant in what looks like the weakest NFC North in the past 5 years.
Rob: Packers – After watching Rodgers carve up the Seahawks (albeit without Kam Chancellor) it’s impossible not to pick the green and gold.
Conor: Steelers – I think that the Steelers have the best offense in the NFL and I think their defense, although young, has enough talent to hold off the rest of the division.
Rob: Browns – Soak it in Cleveland, your savior is here. Johnny Football has arrived to lead the Brown’s to the promise land. I know this is a long shot, in a very talented division, but I think the Browns sport one of the most talented defenses in the AFC with a strong O-line, and a potential hidden gem in the run game in former Miami star Duke Johnson, the Browns may finally deliver the playoff berth their fans deserve.
Conor: Falcons – I think the rest of this division is pretty weak, and with the Falcon’s relatively easy schedule and the Matt Ryan – Julio Jones connection, I think the only team that can rival them in this division is the Panthers
Rob: Panthers – I would’ve picked the Saints and it wouldn’t have even been close before the news of Drew Brees’ injury. But with a weak division to claim last year, the Panthers snagged their playoff spot, and with the multi-faceted Cam Newton, I think they do it again.
Conor: Texans – In a division that is completely up in the air, after the Colts’ Monday Night loss to the Jets, once Arian Foster returns and stabilizes an out of control offense, their defense won’t be relied on as heavily, and will be able to thrive in the way they were expected to coming in to this season.
Rob: Jaguars – Another long shot, possibly the longest shot of all. The Colts are the obvious choice here, even after opening up 0-2 the Colts are still the Colts, and Andrew Luck is still Andrew Luck… but the Jaguars, they’re creeping up. After a poor showing against Carolina they came out against a tough Miami team and showed that this year they came to play.
Conor: Seahawks – I don’t see the Seahawks not paying Kam Chancellor the money he’s holding out for, with that said, if/when they get him back on the field, their defense becomes lethal once again, and an 0-2 start didn’t stop them from making the Superbowl last year
Rob: Cardinals – This is a no-brainer to me. I think Carson Palmer is the most underrated QB in the league, I think Bruce Arians is the most underrated coach in the league, and I think the Cardinals defense is stellar. Their out of division schedule is barely intimidating, and their biggest threat to lose the division is without the best strong safety in the league.
Conor: Chargers – Although it really comes down to how well they do against their division, I think the Chargers have the most dynamic offense in the division, with two of the most talented backs in the league coming out of the backfield, and a solid enough defense to keep teams from running up the score.
Rob: Broncos – Peyton Manning is not leaving until he gets himself another ring. Injuries on the line are a slight deflation to the offense, but a sly pickup of Evan Mathis should improve the unit’s production. Though I would be weary of the two headed monster of Woodhead and Gordon in San Diego.
Conor: I’m taking the Packers against the Steelers. As I said before, I think the Steelers have the most dangerous offense in the league, and with an AFC that isn’t as strong as previous years; their true challenge will be facing the Patriots. Although they lost to the Seahawks in the NFC championship game last season, they were up through most of the game and would have won had they recovered the onside kick. With their team staying essentially the same other than the key loss of Jordy Nelson, I don’t see any team beating the mighty Aaron Rodgers.
Although I would like to see the Steelers take one away from the Packers, I think the Pack will add another ring to the collection come February, and another accomplishment onto Rodgers’ already glowing resume.
Rob: Packers vs. Patriots, Packers winning it all. Shocker right? The two best teams with the two best quarterbacks, squaring off in beautiful Santa Clara, CA for the 50th Super Bowl. The Pats only real weakness is an inexperienced secondary, and I believe that Aaron Rodgers is going to exploit it and tear them up.