There have been many surprises through the first two weeks of NFL season. Some teams have not performed as high as the expectations that were set for them and there are a couple of teams and players who have exceeded expectations.
What do we expect from these players and teams going forward? Will they continue on their current road or will the original expectation come to light? For the sake of good football, I hope to continue to see some of these underdogs shine. Some of the struggling teams and players needed humbling and that is what they received.
Starting with America’s team, the Dallas Cowboys laid an egg in their week two against the Denver Broncos. They looked really sharp in game one against their division rival, New York Giants, but it seems they couldn’t get into a rhythm in game two.
Two of the Cowboys stars, Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot, tramped through the worst performances of their young careers. These performances yielded the Cowboys their largest loss in four years. On top of the poor performances, running back Elliot is facing criticism on his lack of effort in the week two loss. Elliot had nine carries and only 8 rushing yards.
The Broncos totally took away the Cowboys running game and forced Prescott and Dallas’ receivers to beat them. They could not overcome those obstacles and it showed tremendously. The Broncos humiliated the Cowboys in all phases and a defense that only allowed three points in week one gave up 42 points in week two.
That defense was shredded by Broncos quarterback, Trevor Siemian, who became the first quarterback to throw four touchdown passes against Dallas since 2013. An offense whose identity is running the football was stoned by a defense way before the score got out of hand.
Looking to week three, it will be important for Dallas to get its running game going after the Broncos exposed them in a way that other teams can now take notes and apply it to frustrate the Cowboys.
Staying in the NFC East, the New York Giants are looking horrible through the first two weeks. They started the season without their star wide receiver, Odell Beckham Jr., but he was back and they still couldn’t get anything good to happen.
On all sides, the Giants are having trouble. Jamal Agnew took Brad Wing’s punt and ran right through the Giants’ coverage team for an 88-yard touchdown to extend Detroit’s lead. The Lions defense wreaked havoc and the Giants had no answer.
Ezekiel Ansah was a thorn in Eli Manning’s side all night long as he recorded three of their five sacks in the game. Even though Beckham was back, he still couldn’t save the Giants’ offense. Their offense looks broken. It’s to the point where 20 points is too far from reality and moving the chains consistently is just too much to ask right now. They commit costly penalties instead of getting into the end zone. The offensive line is almost non-existent. They struggle to protect and can’t seem to block anyone. The allowed five sacks in game two and it doesn’t appear to get any better as the season continues.
Moving to the NFC North, the Detroit Lions are 2-0. It’s not just that they are 2-0 but it’s how they looked getting to the record. The beat the Arizona Cardinals in a fourth quarter surge. Mathew Stafford threw four touchdown passes, two of which went to the rookie Kenny Golladay. In the same game, the Lions defense picked off three of the Carson Palmer’s passes, returning one for a score.
Then it was a total domination against the Giants. So far so good for Stafford and the Lions as they are showing good signs of being a playoff team. They will truly be put to the test of how good they are when they face the Atlanta Falcons Sept. 19.
They will be facing a much better offense, arguably the best offense in the NFC, a better offensive line, and a much improved defense. With the Falcons balance of running and throwing, the pressure will be on the Lions defense. Both teams are dealing with injuries that will impact the game, so will the Lion pull through or will the Falcons show they are the team to beat.
Shaquita Newton is a sports blogger. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.