by Blake Krantz
Believe it or not, the Seattle Seahawks are 0-2 and in last place in the NFC West, the Baltimore Ravens are 0-2 after losing to the Raiders, the Indianapolis Colts are 0-2 after falling to the Jets at home Monday, and Chip Kelly’s Philadelphia Eagles, with so much expectation, are also 0-2 after gaining a total of negative two rushing yards from running backs in a loss to the Cowboys Sunday. That’s right, negative two on the ground.
However, some things have gone as expected in the first two weeks of the 2015 NFL season, with the New England Patriots, Denver Broncos, Dallas Cowboys, and Green Bay Packers sitting at 2-0 to lead the AFC East, AFC West, NFC East, and NFC North, respectively.
Dallas, however, is in a slightly more precarious position than the rest of the division leaders in the NFL thus far. The Cowboys have lost their two franchise players, wide receiver Dez Bryant and quarterback Tony Romo in the first two weeks of the season, both of whom will be out for an extended period of time.
Nonetheless, in a division with the winless Giants and Eagles and a harmless 1-1 Redskins team, quarterback Brandon Weeden and the Cowboys shouldn’t have any issues holding the division lead for at least a few more weeks.
In Week 3, there are, like always, several intriguing games to follow. Among the best are division matchups between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Baltimore Ravens, the New Orleans Saints and the Carolina Panthers, and the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins.
In the first, the Ravens should finally pick up their first win of the season at home in a crucial game against the division-leading Cincinnati Bengals.
Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for the Saints, as I see Panthers quarterback Cam Newton putting in another solid performance at home to hand the Saints their third straight loss to begin the season.
In an AFC East game worth taking note of, the Bills and Dolphins will face off to avoid falling to last place in the division. Both teams need a win to keep pace with the Patriots and Jets, who should both improve to 3-0 with home victories against the Jaguars and Eagles, respectively, in Week 3.
In the end, despite what should be a spirited effort from Buffalo following a near 20-point comeback against the Pats, I believe that young quarterback Tyrod Taylor will make one too many mistakes in the fourth quarter on Sunday, giving the Dolphins a close and much-needed win at home.
Finally, the Monday night matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers is compelling for several reasons.
First, the Chiefs will look to recover from a heartbreaking loss against the Broncos Thursday night, and all eyes will be on star running back Jamaal Charles, whose two fumbles last week helped seal the deal for Denver.
Additionally, Packers’ running back Eddie Lacy is questionable for the game, and if he doesn’t play due to injury, an already Jordy Nelson-less Green Bay team will be left with only one weapon not named Aaron Rodgers in Randall Cobb, who is still recovering from a shoulder injury himself.
A tough Kansas City defense, especially on the pass rush, will be able to put pressure on Rodgers throughout the game and apply stress to a handicapped Packers offense.
That being said, a handicapped Packers offense is still one of the best in the league as long as number 12 is under center, and the Packers should improve to 3-0 with a seven-point win over the Chiefs Monday night to finish off Week 3 of the 2015 NFL season.