This is the time of year when NFL coaches start getting the axe. Jack Del Rio was canned earlier this season in Jacksonville, and on Monday, two more teams fired their head coaches.
Todd Haley is out in Kansas City. The Chiefs won the AFC West last season, but 2011 has been a disaster. The Chiefs are [5-8], and while not mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, it would take an epic miracle for them to make the postseason. Injuries have hit this team hard, most notably QB Matt Cassel, but there are others as well. That said, it’s been a disappointing year. Romeo Crennel will coach the rest of the season.
In Miami, the Dolphins parted ways with Tony Sparano. Miami lost its first seven games, and currently sits at [4-9] after losing at home on Sunday to Philadelphia. Yet, I know a diehard Dolphins’ fan who thinks even more change is needed in south Florida, so we’ll see if that happens. Secondary coach Todd Bowles will take over as the team’s interim coach.
Who else is on the hot seat?
Since I’m a Buccaneers’ fan, Raheem Morris’ job has to be in jeopardy in Tampa. The Bucs have lost seven in a row, and in the last two weeks have given up 79 points to Carolina and Jacksonville – not exactly the upper echelon of the NFL. Tampa Bay could use a house-cleaning, starting with the owners. I have a few things to say about the Glazers, but will save my rant on them for another day.
RAIDERS 25, TEXANS 20: This is my “Game of the Day.” One day after the passing of longtime owner Al Davis, Oakland picked up a last-minute, emotional win in Houston. Jason Campbellthrew two touchdown passes, while Matt Schaub led a last-minute drive for the Texans, but was picked off in the end zone by Michael Huffwith no time left on the clock. Oakland coach Hue Jackson broke down in tears on the sidelines, overcome by the emotion. Both teams are now [3-2].
BILLS 31 – EAGLES 24: Look who’s [4-1], and look who’s [1-4]. Buffalo forced five Philadelphia turnovers – including four interceptions by Michael Vick. One of those picks was run back for a touchdown. Also, Bills’ running back Fred Jackson accounted for 196 total yards.
CHIEFS 28 – COLTS 24: Kansas City came back from a 17-point deficit on the road. Matt Cassel threw four touchdown passes as the Chiefs won their second in a row after a [0-3] start. The Colts remain winless.
VIKINGS 34 – CARDINALS 10: Minnesota finally broke into the win column at home, as Adrian Peterson rushed for three touchdowns in the first quarter alone. He finished the game with 122 yards on 29 carries.
SEAHAWKS 36 – GIANTS 25: Seattle came from behind at the Meadowlands, scoring 20 points in the fourth quarter. Backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst threw the go-ahead touchdown pass to Doug Baldwinwith 2:37 left. The Seahawks sealed the deal with their third interception of game – a 94-yard TD return by Brandon Browner.
STEELERS 38 – TITANS 17: What’s wrong with Ben Roethlisberger’s left foot? Ask the Titans defense. All the Pittsburgh quarterback did was tie a team record with five-touchdown passes at Heinz Field.
SAINTS 30 – PANTHERS 27: This was a great game between two NFC South rivals in Charlotte. In the end, Drew Brees threw a six-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Thomaswith 50 seconds left to win it for New Orleans. Brees threw for 359 yards on the day.
BENGALS 30 – JAGUARS 20: Cincinnati is above [.500]. Anyone else surprised by that? In Jacksonville, Bernard Scottscored with just under two minutes remaining, while Andy Dalton finished the day with a pair of touchdown passes.
49ERS 48, BUCCANEERS 3 — This was blowout city. San Francisco rushed for 211 yards at Candlestick Park, 125 of them by Frank Gore. The 49ers are [4-1] and alone in first place in the NFC west.
PATRIOTS 30 – JETS 21: Both teams had this game circled on the schedule when it first game out. In the first of two grudge matches between these teams, Tom Bradythrew for 321 yards and BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran for 136 yards and two touchdowns in the win in Foxboro. The Patriots are tied with the Bills atop the AFC East.
CHARGERS 29 – BRONCOS 24: At Mile High, San Diego survived a late charged by the Tim Tebow-led Broncos. Tebow took over in the second half for Kyle Orton and brought the home team within two points, but never did get over the hump. Philip Rivers threw for 250 yards, a touchdown pass and ran for a score too. Tebow’s hail-mary pass in the end zone fell incomplete.
It’s been said; NFL teams that begin their season undefeated have a better chance of reaching the playoffs than squads with no wins. Well, week two isn’t officially in the books, but according to the standings there are a seven teams that are currently unbeaten as of Monday morning and could be on pace to reach the playoffs.
Here’s a look at the current seven teams that are undefeated, as well as the last time they began their season with two back-to-back wins.
New England Patriots – In ’08,Matt Casselled New England to two important victories against the Kansas City Chiefs and New York Jets. However, New England lost in week three against the Miami Dolphins, who went onto win the AFC East that season. The Patriots finished the year [11-5], but struggled to win games against the “big boys,” Pittsburgh, San Diego and Indianapolis.
New York Jets – Quarterback Mark Sanchez kicked-off his rookie career with a bang in ’09, as he helped the Jets to three games before New York lost in week four against the New Orleans Saints. The Jets finished the season with a gaudy [9-7] record, but managed to make an appearance in the AFC Championship game, which they lost.
Buffalo Bills – In ’08, quarterback Trent Edwards and his Bills offense started the season with four wins before the team lost five of their next six contests. Buffalo finished the season [7-9], and struggled to maintain their September momentum for the remainder of the season. Also, quarterback J.P. Losmandidn’t help the squad, as he lost both games he started, while Edward finished the year with seven wins and loses under center.
Houston Texans – Last season, the Texans began the year with two wins, but finished [6-10]. In ’07, they kicked off their brand new season with two back-to-back wins, but struggled to win a majority of their schedule. All in all, the Texans have often struggled during the opening weeks, but as of recently, they look like a team that’ll finally win a division title.
Washington Redskins – The last time the “Hogs” had something to cheer about was in ’07, which was when head coach Joe Gibbs watched his Redskins beat Miami in overtime and Philadelphia on the road. Washington’s undefeated record came to an end in week three against the New York Giants, but somehow, the Redskins managed to win their final four games of the season to end the year [9-7].
Detroit Lions – In ’07, quarterback Jon Kitnaguided the Lions to a quick [2-0] start before Detroit faltered. The Lions managed to win five more games during that particular season and finished the year [7-9]. However, the modern day Lions have played quite well through two games this season and look like a squad that will certainly raise eyebrows as the year progresses.
Green Bay Packers – The Packers have always been a successful franchise, win or lose, but the last time the Green and Yellow started a season with two wins was last season. Green Bay defeated Philadelphia and Buffalo, as well as went onto beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl.
Similar to the AFC South, this particular division is a true mess. Besides the Chargers and Raiders, both the Broncos and Chiefs are complete disasters. Who’s more likely to succeed, John Fox or Todd Haley? In the end, expect the Chargers to walk all over their three divisional brothers.
1.) San Diego Chargers [12-4] – Sports Illustrated’s Peter King admitted in his recent preview that he’s a fan of the Bolts. However, do they have what it takes to win? Hmm… well, they don’t have the greatest coach, but instead, a quality quarterback that’s tough as nails. Remember when Philip Riversplayed against the New England Patriots with a torn ACL? He’s tough, really tough, so hopefully his gritty attitude and effort will finally help San Diego get over the hump.
2.) Oakland Raiders [8-8] – The Raiders aren’t exactly what they used to be, but clearly, they’re on the rebound. The Silver and Black are young, quick and athletic, but they also lack a true leader. They’ll certainly be competitive this season, as long as running back Darren McFaddenstays healthy.
3.) Denver Broncos [6-10] – Head Coach John Fox enters his first season with a team that won four games last season. Hopefully, they’ll surpass that number this season and win five. Also, will Tim Tebowbe handed the starting job at some point this season? It’s possible!
4.) Kansas City Chiefs [5-11] – The Chiefs probably had one of the worst preseasons in the history of the NFL. They looked confused and dumbfounded, plus, quarterback Matt Casselhas resorted to his original ways. Don’t bet on the Chiefs this season, they’re taking a step back from last year.