Two weeks into the season is too soon to panic in the NFL. Unless, maybe, you are one of those four teams off to an ugly start. Here’s a look at some of the teams that have not met preseason expectations thus far and if they should sound the alarm.
New England Patriots
The Patriots just lost to the freaking Cardinals. At home. As 13.5-point favorites. Ouch. Time to panic? Well, the injury to Aaron Hernandez is far from good and the offensive line is a big problem, too. It’s only one game, though. For a poor team, a game this bad would be a disaster. With a core of Belichick and Brady, though, this obviously isn’t a poor team. They’ll be fine. They need to be. Their next seven opponents are all better than Arizona.
New Orleans Saints
Twice they have been favored - once on the road. Neither time have they come even close to winning, never mind covering the spread. Neither Washington nor Carolina should be scary opponents for the Saints, but both made winning look easy. It doesn’t take a genius to diagnose the problem here. The team suffered an unprecedented psychological blow thanks to the bounty saga and they are struggling to shake it off.
Next week’s game at home versus Kansas City is now a must-win and it’s daunting to see a game like that happen this early in the season. The following six games are just brutal, so an 0-3 start would likely lead to a disappointing season. It may not yet be time to panic, but ask me again Sunday night.
Kansas City Chiefs
This year was supposed to make us forget how bad last year was. So far, though, it’s just more of the same. Injuries are a problem again. The offense is mostly incompetent. Focus is non-existent. I’m not ready to panic yet, though. Matt Cassel would be dramatically better if he would just protect the damn ball - five turnovers in two games have killed him. Those turnovers force the offense to be one-dimensional and they aren’t good enough to overcome that.
Defensively, Tamba Hali, Brandon Flowers and Kendrick Lewis have all missed time and they are three of the best players on the field. They should all be together as soon as next week and that will be huge.
I hope they lose to the Saints. That 0-3 record will open up some really nice value down the road when they turn the corner - and they will.
Chris Johnson has 21 rushing yards on 19 carries and he’s blaming everyone else for it. Jake Locker has struggled and now has a banged-up shoulder. The defense seems to have skipped the first two games. They have come three scores short of covering a spread, and they’ve been underdogs both times. Time to panic? I’d say so.