Every year, teams get off to wild starts, and with no contest, people believe some funny things. Bill Belichick, who will forget more than most of us will ever know about football, said that we don’t really know who is who until at least week five. This is an article that won’t make sense right away. This is an article to revisit in week eight, week sixteen, and honestly, in week two, 2019. Here are a few things that we believed after the second week of the 2018 season.
Things We Believed After Week Two in 2018
Ryan Fitzmagic is Back, Baby
As of writing this, Ryan Fitzpatrick is the starting quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and he leads the NFL in passing yards. His 819 yards are the most in the NFL by a pretty substantial margin. He’s got 137 more passing yards than Drew Brees, 252 more yards than Aaron Rodgers, and 308 more yards than Tom Brady. He’s thrown eight touchdowns, he’s only turned the ball over once, and his Bucs are 2-0, alone atop the NFC South, a division that includes two former league MVPs in Cam Newton and Matt Ryan.
Jameis Winston‘s suspension is going to be over soon, but the way that Fitzpatrick is playing, it’s hard to imagine them making a change at quarterback. We’ve seen this trick before, he pulled it in Buffalo with the Bills and again in New York with the Jets. Fitzmagic airs it out, the clock strikes midnight, and he turns back into a pumpkin. Let’s see how long it lasts this time.
Patty Mahomes is the MVP
Patrick Mahomes took over as the starting quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs when Andy Reid traded Alex Smith to the Washington Redskins, and many, myself included, had serious doubts. No air raid quarterback has ever succeeded in the NFL, Mahomes was turning the ball over religiously in practice, and it seemed odd to move on from a veteran quarterback after the best season of his career.
How has Mahomes reacted? By throwing 10 touchdowns in two games. As of writing this, Mahomes is on pace for 4,656 yards, 80 passing touchdowns, and zero interceptions. He’s averaging 10.5 yards per attempt, and he hasn’t even looked human against the defenses of the Los Angeles Chargers and Pittsburgh Steelers. He’s had the best start for a quarterback in NFL history, and you have to believe that if he continues at this pace, he’ll be the obvious choice for MVP.
That’s the interesting part though. Will he maintain this pace? Is it simply a case of not having enough film on a bright young player, or is this guy about to change the face of the NFL forever? We’ll see. Right now, Andy Reid looks like a genius. We’ll be back in the winter.
Passing Yards- The aforementioned Ryan Fitzpatrick, with 819.
Passing Touchdowns- The aforementioned Pat Mahomes, with ten.
Rushing Yards- Matt Breida of the San Francisco 49ers, with 184.
Receptions- Michael Thomas of the New Orleans Saints, with 28.
Receiving Yards- DeSean Jackson of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with 275.
Receiving Touchdowns- A.J. Green of the Cincinnati Bengals, with four.
Sacks- Von Miller of the Denver Broncos, with four.
Tackles- Darius Leonard of the Indianapolis Colts, with 27.
Interceptions- Reshad Jones of the Miami Dolphins, Darron Lee of the New York Jets, Bradley McDougald of the Seattle Seahawks, D.J. Swearinger of the Washington Redskins, and Denzel Ward of the Cleveland Browns, with two.
Some Funny Playoff Teams
If the season ended today, here are your division champions.
North- The Cincinnati Bengals
This division seemed pretty open and shut two weeks ago. Obviously, Ben Roethlisberger and company were going to run away with the division. As it stands, they haven’t won a game yet, and the Bengals are the only undefeated team in the division. Joe Flacco‘s Baltimore Ravens just got embarrassed in Cincinnati on Thursday night football, and the Bengals look like they might be onto something. We’ll see how long that lasts.
South- The Jacksonville Jaguars
So far, so good in the AFC South. Everyone pretty much expected Jalen Ramsey‘s Jaguars to win this division, and coming off a win against the New England Patriots, they’re looking hot. Sure, the Pats didn’t have Julian Edelman, but Jacksonville didn’t have Leonard Fournette. Blake Bortles didn’t do Blake Bortles things, and the defense prevented Tom Brady from coming back. I bet the Jaguars will still be on top in a few weeks
East- The Miami Dolphins
This is pretty wild, isn’t it? Ryan Tannehill‘s Miami Dolphins are undefeated and alone atop the AFC East. Sam Darnold‘s Jets got off a hot start against Matthew Stafford‘s Detriot Lions, but they looked lost against an impotent Miami offense this week. You’ve gotta think Brady and his boys come back and win this division, right?… Right?
West- The Kansas City Chiefs
Surprise, no surprise, the Kansas City Chiefs are alone atop the AFC West. We’ve already discussed Pat Mahomes’ hot start, but even then, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Chiefs held on and won this division. The Denver Broncos are undefeated too, but if the season ended today, it would be Kansas City’s division title.
North- The Green Bay Packers
Technically, this is a tie, in the most literal meaning of the word, between the Green Bay Packers and Kirk Cousins‘ Minnesota Vikings, but the Packers have a division win over Mitch Trubisky and the Chicago Bears. This isn’t a surprising pick, but most people had Harrison Smith‘s Vikings successfully defending their division title. The Rodgers resurgence is noteworthy, but his success is not unexpected.
South- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Nobody in the world could’ve predicted this. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been insane, and it seems like Mike Evans likes him a whole lot, but the Tampa Bay Yuks are off to an undefeated start, they lead the NFL in passing yards, and all the Luke Kuechly‘s, Christian McCaffrey‘s, Julio Jones‘, Calvin Ridley‘s, Michael Thomas’, and Alvin Kamara‘s of the world can do nothing but sit and stare. I’d be shocked if this lasts all year.
East- The Dallas Cowboys
This is another division that people believed was open/shut before the season kicked off. Whether it was Nick Foles or Carson Wentz, the Philadelphia Eagles were the defending Super Bowl champions, and they were going to run away with this division. Two weeks in, the Eagles are 1-1, and haven’t looked really great on either side of the ball, getting roasted by their former player, Desean Jackson and the aforementioned Ryan Fitzpatrick. For now? It’s Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott advancing to the postseason.
West- The Los Angeles Rams
This is the divisional pick I am the most confident in staying the same. Jared Goff, Todd Gurley, Brandin Cooks, Cooper Kupp, Aaron Donald, Marcus Peters, do I have to keep going? I bet the Rams stay on top all year long.
Here are a few teams that have yet to take their first win.
Derek Carr‘s Oakland Raiders, Matthew Stafford’s Detroit Lions, Russell Wilson‘s Seattle Seahawks, Tyrod Taylor‘s Cleveland Browns, Larry Fitzgerald‘s Arizona Cardinals, Eli Manning‘s New York Giants, Deshaun Watson‘s Houston Texans, Antonio Brown‘s Pittsburgh Steelers, and Josh Allen‘s Buffalo Bills.
How did those teams end up doing? Some big winning streaks? Anyone trying to go 0-16? Did the Cleveland Browns ever end up getting that elusive win? Was the Jon Gruden experiment a disaster or did he right the ship? It’ll be interesting to see.
It’s like a NFL Time Capsule
These are only a few notes. But I want to see what these notes look like in a few weeks, a few months, and this time next year. If some of these things end up looking ridiculous, we’ll know not to trust the early season blues.