Ever since Patrick Mahomes became the starting quarterback prior to the 2018 season, the Kansas City Chiefs have taken the NFL by the scruff of the neck.
Crazy comebacks, broken records, injuries galore. It hasn’t taken long for the 2020 NFL season to get wild.
Last week: 1
You could look at the Chiefs a couple of different ways. A close win over a team that had to revert to plan B at quarterback. However, the champs are still the champs and they’ve won two straight, so at the top they remain. The Bolts really did make them work hard for it, though. The upcoming Monday Night Football game will provide us with some more clarity on numero uno.
Last week: 2
The hungry birds just strolled into NRG Stadium and low-key notched up their 14th straight regular-season win. A 33-16 victory over the Texans is nothing to be sneezed at, especially considering Lamar Jackson left the gear stick in neutral and gently rolled downhill with Mark Ingram running hard and the defence coming up with a score of their own. Next week they host the Chiefs. Oh, baby.
Last week: 3
My word, it’s a cruel world we live in when you can pile up 40+ points in two straight victories and make zero progress in the rankings, but something tells me that Matt LeFleur and the Packers won’t be losing any sleep over it. Falling behind by 11 points early on didn’t faze them and, when Aaron Jones got going with three touchdowns and 168 rushing yards, it turned out to be just another day at the office. Things will get more interesting next week against New Orleans.
Last week: 4
Can you remember what you were doing in 2008? No, me neither. But that was the last time the Titans started the season 2-0. Despite going into the game without wide receiver AJ Brown and with Corey Davis questionable, Ryan Tannehill stepped out and calmly piloted four touchdown passes, two of which were caught by tight end Jonnu Smith, who has become Tennesee’s new Delanie Walker in terms of consistency. The defence stepped up when needed, as did Clutchy McClutchface – Stephen Gostkowski – with the game-winning field goal. Keep on rollin’.
Last week: 5
Let. Russ. Cook. Well, he’s cooking with gas right now, and may be headed for a Michelin star (too far with the analogy?) Yeah. Too far. Seriously though, Ciara’s husband followed up a stellar week one outing with an even better one. Five touchdowns – against Bill Belichick and the Patriots, no less. The ground game is also strong, Jamal Adams is a beast on D and DK Metcalf is using his immense frame to maybe have a breakout year. Oh yeah, and they nearly blew it at the end.
Last week: 6
Look, I flippantly mentioned the ‘Super Bowl hangover’ last week, but it’s starting to look very much like it. Sure, the 9ers overpowered the Jets 31 – 13, but the injury toll coming out of the game is now getting ridiculous. The league-wide injury plague is being beautifully led by San Fran with George Kittle, Richard Sherman, Dee Ford and pretty much any wide receiver ruled out for this game, then – just to add to the fun – Jimmy G, Tevin Coleman, Raheem Mostert, Solomon Thomas and Nick Bosa were all DNF in this game. Bosa and Thomas are now gone for the season. Ouch.
Last week: 8
Never write off Uncle Bill. He led an under-manned team into the lair of one the league’s hottest teams and if Cam Newton had a better block, they could have actually stolen this match. Speaking of Cam, he played well again – throwing for 397 yards, a touchdown and rushing for a further 2.8 touchdowns (the 0.8 was on the final play). But given a few weeks to get the defence back in sync, these Pats can be back in the hunt.
Last week: 11
Josh Allen had his best statistical performance in week one and this week he bettered that. Slinging 417 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions he had himself a time against the Fins in Miami. Seeing Allen zip the ball to all parts will have had Bills fans dropping tables with glee. And even though Miami hung tough, it was just not enough to stop the Bills jumping out to a perfect start.
Last week: 12
The battle of the 2016 draft saw the number one overall pick (Jared Goff) take on the second (Carson Wentz), with number one coming out on top. By a mile. Sean McVay has his side playing with great energy as the Rams kicked in the door on the Eagles’ home turf. Goff threw three touchdown passes to tight end Tyler Higbee, but there were a lot of clever offensive formations and play action that simply left Philly flummoxed. Great word that. Flummoxed.
Last week: 13
Attack is the best defence. In the case of the Steelers, that’s literally the case. Their defence is going to attack whoever they come up against. They piled up seven sacks, 19 quarterback hits, an interception and sent Drew Lock from the game injured. If they can carry on that form while Big Ben keeps throwing for 300 plus yards and James Conner runs for over 100, they’re going to be just fine.
Last week: 7
Heard a bit of chat around this lately, but are the Saints not quite the Saints anymore? Their defence started off well against the Raiders in Vegas, but after jumping out to an early lead, they let them pile on the points. Speaking of which – I know not having Michael Thomas impacts the team greatly, but things just don’t seem the same right now. Alvin Kamara is rolling as an all-purpose back, but Drew Brees didn’t seem to have the spark that we normally see from him.
Last week: 14
“Two-and-oh is delicious” was defensive tackle Akiem Hicks’ assessment of the current situation in the Windy City. Last week the Bears finished fast, this week they started fast – zipping out to a 17-0 lead. Despite less than stellar play again from Mitch Trubisky, any Nick Foles chat is still on hold until they start losing. Seems fair.
Last week: 16
Well, it was a rumblin’, stumblin’, fumblin’ start this week for Dem Boys. Four first-quarter fumbles spotted the Falcons with a 20-point head start. But, you know what? Mike McCarthy’s men hung in there and gradually got going. Zeke got rolling, Dak became the first quarterback in NFL history to pass for over 400 yards and rush for three touchdowns. Still trailing by 15 in the fourth, they kept a cool head. They came up clutch retrieving an onside kick, rookie CeeDee Lamb got them within field goal range, then ‘Greg the Leg’ stole a one-point victory. Whoa.
Last week: 19
Viva Las Raiders! Playing their first game in Allegiant Stadium was hugely successful, led in no small part by tight end Darren Waller, who is really becoming something. Scary moment in the first quarter as Safety Johnathan Abram collided with a television cherry-picker. It became almost like a real-life ‘Rod Tidwell moment’ as we cut to the commercials, then Abram sprung to his feet and ran excitedly back to join his teammates. That was definitely scary.
Last week: 23
Arizona hosted its first party at Kliff Kingsbury’s house. Just kidding – Kliff’s house is way fancier. Maybe we could start calling State Farm Stadium ‘Kyler’s Killing Field’? I don’t know – needs work. Anyway, these sneaky little Cardinals have started off the season in winning fashion. And as for Murray, well, he’s looking every bit the number one draft pick – throwing well and scuttling across the turf without defenders seeming to touch him. In his first rushing touchdown, it almost appeared like he teleported through the defence. Wow.
Last week: 20
While Uncle Tom does not look nearly as comfortable behind the Bucs offensive line, there are a number of things to like about the big picture in Tampa. The defence was dominant against Carolina and with able rushing support from the Jones-Fournette-McCoy axis, there is a tonne of promise, as the NFC South lays there for the taking. Belichick 1, Brady 1.
Last week: 9
I wonder if the Texans are asking the scheduling gods ‘what did we do to deserve this?’. Getting slotted against the Chiefs and Ravens in the first two weeks is rough. The running game got bottled up – averaging three yards per carry, so there’s obviously work needed there. Also, Deshaun Watson needs to start getting comfortable without his safety net wide receiver. Next week they line up against Pittsburgh. Goodie gumdrops.
Last week: 10
A bit like an old car on a cold morning, these Vikings have now cut out twice. Quarterback Kirk Cousins did his best Mitch Trubisky impersonation – finishing with a 0.0 passer rating late into the third quarter. He finished the game with just 11 of 26 completions, 113 passing yards and three interceptions. They better get the engine tuned real quick, cause next week they host Mike Vrabel’s Titans.
Last week: 15
Out-enthused and outsmarted, the Eagles are staring at a winless start to the season. The third-quarter interception on the Rams goal-line was a telling blow, especially considering the struggles on the secondary – allowing far too much time and space for their opposing receivers. It’ll be interesting to see what adjustments are made ahead of hosting Joe Burrow and the Bengals.
Last week: 17
Boy, oh boy… I mean it’s not like the Falcons haven’t choked before, but jeez, fellas. That was a special effort to lose that one. But let’s think about the positives – Calvin Ridley is showing his route running expertise and now has four touchdowns this season. Dan Quinn said the defence ‘got going’ in the first half – forcing a bunch of turnovers. However, the second half saw them fade badly and special teams chimed in with one of the worst onside kick off bungle you’ll see. Just fall on the damn ball!
Last week: 18
The Broncos will be sweating on the injury to young quarterback Drew Lock, as he has a few decent pieces surrounding him on offense. Courtland Sutton’s return was timely, however, it won’t count for much if there’s no one to throw it to him. Coach Vic Fangio has troubles of his own, with a $100,000 fine for incorrect use of his COVID facemask. Which is rough, but getting paid enough to be fined 100K kinda puts things in perspective.
Last week: 21
The Jaggies are proving to be a bit of a feelgood story to start the year. Having tipped up the Colts in week one, they wandered into Nashville and gave the Titans all they could handle. Quarterback Gardner Minshew threw for three touchdowns, which was only shaded by his opponent throwing four. He also threw two picks – including the game-ender. But it’s hard not to like this team, lead in the running game by my guy James Robinson (who?) rushing for over a hundy and picking up his first career touchdown.
Last week: 22
That’s more like it. Philip Rivers got his first win in Indy. But this game wasn’t about the quarterback who just about has a child for every NFL season he’s played. This week was about the Colts rookies making solid contributions. Running back Jonathan Taylor ran for 101 yards and a touchdown, while Michael Pittman Jr, Julian Blackmon Khari Willis and Rodrigo Blankenship all played a part. Looks like another solid Colts draft class.
Last week: 24
Having drafted their quarterback of the future in sixth overall draft pick Justin Herbert, it turns out the future ended up being right now. Tyrod Taylor aggravated a rib injury during the pregame, so the keys got thrown to the young man who looks more like he’s from a Disney Channel movie. But he sure looked good – rushing for a touchdown and throwing one of those perfect slow-mo tight spiral passes that they show on Hard Knocks or Any Given Sunday. Probably not Anthony Lynn’s plan, but the future is bright in LA.
Last week: 25
The vaunted Washington defensive front found the going a lot tougher against the shifty little Kyler Murray. Apparently the …team… had practised earlier in the week using Kyle Allen to try and replicate what Murray would have on game day. Yeah, that didn’t work. Losing Brandon Scherff to injury also didn’t help, but they’ll need to regroup quickly for a winnable game against the Browns next week.
Last week: 27
Thursday Night Football, but no Colour Rush? That’s a shame. I must’ve missed the memo. But for all the hoopla around Baker Mayfield and his receivers, this Cleveland offense runs through Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. If they can land body blows on the ground game, it’ll open up the play-action for guys like OBJ – as displayed by the first-quarter touchdown. That’s the blueprint, Brownies.
Last week: 26
Let’s start with the positives – the Jets were tied with the 49ers for the second half. Though that was about the time that everyone with a 49er uniform on left because of injuries. Should we be worried that Sam Darnold and co. couldn’t challenge a team that had both arms and a leg tied behind their backs – while wearing a blindfold? Yeah, maybe we should.
Last week: 28
Remember the song Oh Carolina by Shaggy? Those were the exact words that sprung to mind as the news of Christian McCaffrey being out for four to six weeks with a high ankle sprain. That’s the type of news that could have their fans asking ‘how long until the 2021 Draft’. Matt Rhule sure has his work cut out for him, as they head to LA to take on the Chargers.
Last week: 29
Sure, the result reads “L”, but the Dolphins hung in this ballgame. If not for a goal-line stand by the Bills late in the third, followed by a missed interception by Kyle Van Noy, this result could have gone the other way. They still snuck in front, until Josh Allen and the Bills surged back. Hell of a game this one, so no sign of Tua just yet.
Last week: 30
Football is not an individual sport. But, golly gosh darn is that Saquon Barkley injury a hammer blow for the G-Men. ‘Saquad’ tore his ACL on the first play of the second quarter and you couldn’t help but feel the same way as when Ned Stark got his head removed in Game of Thrones. Like the Stark family, things may not get better for the Giants for quite a while.
Last week: 31
Things started well for the Lions. First-quarter touchdowns to Kerryon Johnson and Marvin Jones got them out to an early lead. But just as Simba did in the Lion King – these cats remembered who they were and promptly gave up a stack of points. And as much as I’d like to think Matt Patricia is telling his team ‘Hakuna Matata’, this team has plenty of worries.
Last week: 32
If there’s one thing that’s evident about the Zac Taylor edit – it’s that these Bengals will fight this year. Wide receiver AJ Green had one hell of a battle against the opposing corner, Denzel Ward. If he can stay injury-free, he could start to get fed by Joe Burrow. Speaking of ‘Joe Exotic’ – this kid looks really, really good. Extremely cool in the pocket and sneaky good running outside it. I’m buying the hype.