The Big Five from Week Two

A fortnight into the NFL season, major story lines continue to emerge.

Injuries, supposed playoff teams losing to supposed losing teams.
Picking weekly winners is like securing the lotto numbers at the moment – and that’s a great thing for the NFL.

Here are five major talking points as we leave week two behind and look forward to week three and beyond;

SEAHAWK STRUGGLES

Seattle have been to the past two Super Bowl’s – but already, making it back to a third looks a momentous task.
They currently sit in the cellar of the NFC West with a 0-2 record, albeit having lost against two good teams in St. Louis and powerhouse Green Bay.
The Seahawks feared Legion of Boom defensive secondary could be a thing of the past.
All-Pro safety Earl Thomas still looks lame after a significant offseason shoulder operation whilst opposing quarterbacks are no longer afraid to throw at the once invincible Richard Sherman.
Byron Maxwell and Brandon Browner are long gone as the second corner and currently, Cary Williams has been unable to fill the void.
The great big white elephant in the room is Kam Chancellor.
His holdout seemingly has no end in sight and the Seahawks are feeling the affects of their spiritual leader’s absence.
Dozens of Seahawks have publicly spoken of Chancellor’s importance to the mentality and energy of the team, but as yet the front office look disinterested in meeting Chancellor’s financial demands.
Offensively, things are a little better – but not much.
Newly acquired pass-catching tight end Jimmy Graham only saw one ball against Green Bay and is largely ineffectual in the run-game as a blocker.
On the ground, Marshawn Lynch is currently out of sync.
His mum went public on Facebook with her disdain for offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and his play calling.
With his big, new, shiny contract, Russell Wilson found a nice groove in the second half against the Packers but it wasn’t enough to secure his team a victory.
Coach Pete Carroll has the work in front of him to get things back on track in the Pacific North West.
Welcoming the Chicago Bears to town should get the win column started for 2015 and we’ll see what happens from there.
After Chicago, Seattle welcome the 0-2 Lions then visit the currently 2-0 Cincinnati.

Will Chancellor be back? The Seahawks sure need him.
Will Chancellor be back? The Seahawks sure need him.

INJURY ISSUES
Injuries are part and parcel of professional sports.
But, some injuries affect your team far mores than others.
In Dallas, with last year’s offensive horse DeMarco Murray already gone, the Cowboys next two attacking weapons are also out for an extended period.
Dez Bryant broke a bone in his foot in the week one win over the New York Giants and reports are everywhere regarding his timeframe for a return.
Currently, somewhere between four and ten weeks looks most likely.
QB Tony Romo threw the game-winning TD over the Giants but as his Cowboys topped another divisional rival in Philadelphia, Romo was tackled to the ground suffering a fractured clavicle.
Romo, like Bryant is expected to miss a couple of months.
Dallas’ elite offensive line, solid run game, improving defence and now-starting QB Brandon Weeden will need to try hold the fort until Bryant and Romo return.
Two more starting quarterbacks will also miss games with the Bears Jay Cutler and Saints Drew Brees both facing a fortnight or so on the sidelines.
Cutler threw a pick against Arizona before attempting to make the tackle, resulting in a strained hamstring.
Bears fans may not be so upset to see Cutler on the injury list. Sad times.
Brees’ layoff will hurt the Saints far more however, as they sit 0-2 after a shock loss to Jameis Winston and the rival NFC South Buccaneers.
Other injury concerns include Eddie Lacy who took no further part for the Packers after turning an ankle, Alshon Jeffery who did not play in week two with calf and hamstring concerns and rookie Falcons back Tevin Coleman who is likely to miss a couple of weeks with a broken rib.
Adjust your fantasy lineups accordingly.

Tony Romo was among numerous key injuries to arise from week two.
Tony Romo was among numerous key injuries to arise from week two.

COACH CHIP’S QUANDARY
Chip Kelly entered the NFL as the revolutionary college coach with a scheme and game plan that would change the NFL landscape.
In his first two seasons, the Eagles looked strong and Kelly’s plan seemed solid.
This past offseason however, Kelly had a garage sale – shipping out Jeremy Maclin, LeSean McCoy and Nick Foles.
Kelly moved along Foles for injury-riddled former Ram Sam Bradford and the Eagles acquired DeMarco Murray from Dallas.
After two weeks, Murray has 11 total rushing yards and fellow free agent recruit Ryan Mathews has four.
The Philly offence has looked completely out of sync and that has placed far too much pressure on an already weary defensive group.
Philadelphia visit the much improved New York Jets this week and an 0-3 start with more offensive woes will have the fans and Chip Kelly haters out in force – and with good reason.

Looking nervous? Chip Kelly has issues in Philadelphia.
Looking nervous? Chip Kelly has issues in Philadelphia.

IT ALL GOES THROUGH FOXBOROUGH (AGAIN)
It was like being on the set of ESPN’s College Gameday.
The atmosphere at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo was like anything you would see at LSU, Ohio State or Michigan.
The Bills have a revamped team with a feared defensive front, offensive weapons and new enigmatic coach, Rex Ryan.
Ryan, a noted New England rival and hater, talked up this matchup as only he can.
New England simply ‘did their job,’ just as coach Bill Belichick demands.
Tom Brady again blitzed an AFC East rival as he scorched the Bills defence for 466 yards and three TD’s without an interception.
Brady has found a new weapon in running back Dion Lewis (258 total yards) whilst Rob Gronkowski already has four receiving touchdowns.
The Patriots have always found a way to win close games, as they did in the week one home opener against Pittsburgh and with Jacksonville, a bye and a depleted Dallas squad as upcoming opponents, things look rosy in Foxborough.
The Patriots secondary does look iffy but with Brady and the offence putting up 68 points in the first fortnight, keeping up might be an issue for the opposition, especially with the mediocre QB’s in the division.

Tom Brady on his way to 466 yards and 3 TD's.
Tom Brady on his way to 466 yards and 3 TD’s.

TIPPING TROUBLES
Miami over Jacksonville, Tennessee over Cleveland, St. Louis over Washington, Tampa Bay over New Orleans and Baltimore over Oakland. Easy money.
Think again.
Upsets were the in-thing in week two as rank outsiders in the Jaguars, Redskins and Raiders all secured surprise wins against quality teams.
After getting routed by Marcus Mariota and the Titans, Jameis Winston’s Bucs went into the Saints Superdome and departed victorious.
Mariota – he of the perfect debut – suffered from week two blues as the lowly Browns, led by Johnny Manziel,
The Rams beat two-time Superbowl attendees Seattle in an overtime thriller in week one before suffering a shock loss to Washington.
The Redskins were thought to be cellar-dwellars this season but after an honest effort (albeit a loss) against Miami and a win over the Rams, things might be brighter than anticipated in DC.
Speaking of Miami, they visited their in-state rivals in Jacksonville and come up short.
The Dolphins only managed 42 rushing yards in the loss.
Despite being at home in Oakland, the Raiders beat the Ravens with a young QB-WR tandem beginning to show some hope for the future.
Derek Carr – who was under an injury cloud midweek – threw for 351 yards and three scores whilst former Alabama stud and first-round pick Amari Cooper caught seven balls for 109 yards and a touchdown.
The NFL is the league where anybody can beat anybody in any one game but the bunch of upsets in week two certainly was a shock.

Johnny Manziel drove the Browns to an upset win over Tennessee.
Johnny Manziel drove the Browns to an upset win over Tennessee.

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