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0-2: a bad set of numbers in the NFL

Ed Wyatt

Ed Wyatt

Written on Wednesday, 21 September 2011 10:39

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As absurd as it sounds, the difference between being 2-0 and 0-2 in the National Football League is massive. 

Obviously with 14 games still to play, an 0-2 team is not out of the playoff hunt. But it's a brutal way to start the season; fans are restless, self-doubt creeps in and - believe it or not - we already start hearing talk about coaches in the hot seat. 

The AFC South is a perfect example of this 2-0/0-2 corollary. The Houston Texans are hoping to unseat perennial division champs, Indianapolis, and have started with two straight wins. 

The Colts, meanwhile, are without injured superstar Peyton Manning and have opened with two losses. In addition, one of those defeats was to the Texans, and head-to-head record is one of the tiebreakers come playoff time. 

So we're two weeks in and the Colts already have a mountain to climb if they want to defend their title. 

Teams we expected to be 2-0

Packers: The defending Super Bowl champs look good although far from invincible.

Patriots: Have put up 73 points in two games but have some worries on the defensive side.

Jets: Struggled to beat Dallas in Week One, then hammered Jacksonville in Week Two. 

Surprising 2-0 teams

Bills: Easily the biggest surprise of the first two weeks, but get a reality check this week when the Patriots come to town.

Lions: If they can stay healthy, this could be a very good football team.

Redskins: Big Monday Night Football game at Dallas this week.

Texans: Not shocked at 2-0 record, but prior to the season most would have penciled in opener with Indy as a loss. 

Teams we expected to be 0-2

Panthers: Cam Newton has been a revelation, but this is rebuilding team. No disgrace in close losses to Arizona and Green Bay.

Seahawks: Had to worry when they decided that Tarvaris Jackson was their man at quarterback. 

Surprising 0-2 teams

Chiefs: Have been outscored 89-10 and suffered another serious injury, this one a season-ender for Jamaal Charles.

Rams: It doesn't get any easier with the Ravens coming to town this week.

Vikings: Unfortunately, it looks as if Donovan McNabb might not be the answer at QB.

Dolphins: A loss to Cleveland this week would put them at 0-3 heading into a brutal Week Four game at San Diego. 

Short Yardage Situations 

The Washington Post had a nice writeup on Sav Rocca, who made an important tackle on the final play of the Redskins 22-21 win over Arizona. 

The Panthers may be 0-2, but their decision to draft Auburn quarterback Cam Newton with the first overall pick is proving to be a shrewd one. Newton has thrown for more than 400 yards in Carolina's first two games, and at this point has answered critics who wondered if he could adapt to the NFL passing game. 

Speaking of #1 draft picks, there's little doubt that Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck will be the man in 2012. Luck would have gone first in this year's draft, but he chose to remain at Stanford. As the NFL season rolls on, keep an eye on the teams at the bottom and see who might need a quarterback (hello Jacksonville, Seattle and maybe even Indianapolis).

This year's Colts team will be hated by television network programmers. Schedules are made in the off-season and normally powerful Indianapolis features prominently in big TV games. But without Peyton Manning, the Colts are far from glamorous and could end up on the short end of some lopsided scores. Next week's Monday Night Football matchup has the Colts hosting Pittsburgh, and most early point spreads have the Steelers as double-digit favourites.

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