Reasons to be Cheerful

With week 2 of the NFL season in the books, a number of teams remain winless. We’ve all seen the statistics about team’s probability of making the playoffs from an 0-2 start. It can be a tough place to be when you’re staring at a horrible season just 2 weeks in. January is a long way off. So, here are some reasons for each of the 9 winless teams to be cheerful for the rest of the season.

Cincinnati Bengals

It would have been easier to construct and argument for why things were looking up for the Bengals after week one. The shellacking from the 49ers put on them puts a damper on things somewhat. However Zach Taylor has already managed to work miracles in Cincinnati. John Ross not only looks like a violable NFL wide receiver, but one who actually deserved to be drafted in the first round. The Bengals also have one of the more interesting players on their roster in Damion Willis. Looked over by the Last Chance U film crews and Troy university stand out he was not expected to make any NFL roster, but he has. I personally will be looking to see how this gritty receiver does over the course of the season. If the Bengals can get their run game going then their offense should be just fine.

Pittsburgh Steelers

So, Ben Roethlisberger is out for the season. However, Mason Rudolph looked very good in relief of Roethlisberger. 12 of 19 for 112 with 2 scores and an interception are decent numbers for a backup who played half a game. Also, the Steelers have faced two of the better teams in the whole NFL for their opening salvo of games. The Pats seem other worldly in their talent and the Seahawks are going to be making a serious playoff contention. If Mason Rudolph continues to play at a decent level then the rest of the talent on the Steelers roster should be able to carry them to the post season. The AFC North might not be the colossal powerhouse it seemed to be in the offseason. The Browns have not for filled their promise thus far and the Bengals still look like the Bengals.

Also, have hope Steelers fans, I’m pretty sure Donte ‘stone hands’ Moncrief is unlikely to see the field again.

Jacksonville Jaguars

You all saw Gardner Minshew get off the plane, right? I’ve got a lot of time for his antics. He also played decently in the final drive of the game. He was on fire leading the final charge towards the end zone and eventually getting the TD. Playing outside of the pocket he looked like the second coming of Russel Wilson. Also, I thought the decision to go for two to win the game was the right decision, however I absolutely hated the play call. With Minshew being so good in the build-up to the touchdown, handing the ball off to Fornette who was being his usual Fornette self was disastrous. Keep the ball in Minshews hands, have him boot to the pylon with a backside drag route would have been my preferred option as it keeps the ball in the hot hands and gives both running and passing options. Hopefully Minshew can be the catalyst in Jacksonville as they’ve got a lot of other ‘distractions’ going on.

Denver Broncos

No one wants to lose to the Chicago ‘Doink Doinks’ on a last minute field goal. However Denver still have a number of things going for them as a team. Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman anchor a decent run game. Their pass rush is till frighteningly good. The problem in Denver is still the same problem its been ever since Manning left. They can’t seem to get a half way decent QB under center. I’ve never been a big Flacco fan and he doesn’t seem to be flourishing under a new regime. Hopefully Drew Lock is the key to unlock this offense.

Washington Redskins

Its been a tough start to the season for the Redskins. They started off against possibly the best NFC roster and played them very close. Next they were on to a resurgent Dallas Cowboys who have the new darling offensive coordinator on their roster. Again they played them very close. All this along with losing their starting running back and contract disputes with their left tackle. Unfortunately, Redskins fans I can’t see things getting much better for you. There is just too much disfunction behind the scenes for things to go well. However currently it looks like the players are balling out for their coach which should be a boost with everything that’s happening in the background.

New York Giants

Its finally happened, the day many thought would never come is here. The Eli Manning era is over in New York. Its Daniel Jones time in the sun. This combined with having the best running back in the league and a great safety valve for Jones in Evan Engram, should give the offense a spark it needs. The offensive line is beginning to gel. Things are looking up for the giants offensively…lets not talk about that defence though.

Carolina Panthers

As much as it pains me to say it, I don’t think Cam is the problem in Carolina. Having watched him against the Bucs he looked like the same old Cam to me. The problem appeared to be his reluctance to run and as a pure pocket passer he’s just not as dangerous. Whether this is direction from on high as they don’t want to get Cam injured so they don’t want him taking hits as a runner, or its Cam himself who doesn’t trust his shoulder at this point. Using Andrew Luck as a comparison from last season, as he trusted his repaired shoulder more and more he grew into the season and ended up leading a talented team deep into the playoffs (and having said all that I see he’s just re-aggravated a foot injury. Dude can’t catch a break). The panthers are still talented in most areas. McCaffery looks to be a all-pro back, Greg Olsen can still contribute effectively in the pass game and Curtis Samuel looks like a great draft pick. If the Carolina Offensive line can get it together and not get their quarterback killed every play they should be just fine.

New York Jets

The injury bug is a cruel mistress. However the Jets ‘healthy’ roster is far superior to its previous roster…but damn the injury bug bit hard. Hopefully the season will start to turn itself around as players shake off their injuries and return to the roster.

Miami Dolphins

Er…you’ve got a lot of draft picks I guess…


Like the article? Hit Will up on twitter (@WClaringbold) or the gents (@gridirongents). Don’t forget to listen to this week’s pod where we take a look at all the 2-0 teams.