published Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Greeson: Seahawks-Jaguars game represents NFL spectrum

Seattle Seahawks' Cliff Avril, left, forces a fumble by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the first half of an NFL football game, in Seattle.
Seattle Seahawks' Cliff Avril, left, forces a fumble by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the first half of an NFL football game, in Seattle.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Two weeks into the NFL season, we know more about the league than we did, but we do not know enough. Four weeks -- a quarter of the season -- is when shapes form and opinions can solidify. Right now, it's theory and guesstimations.

So let's guesstimate.

Here are the top five and the bottom five teams after two weeks in the (cue Ron Jaworski) NATIONAL Football League.

Top five (with two clearly above the rest)

• 1. Seattle -- This bunch is extremely good across the board and was my Super Bowl pick to start the season because I like Russell Wilson better than Colin Kaepernick. So it goes. Also, know this (and this is neither theory nor conjecture): The rest of the NFC is facing a weekly race for home-field advantage in the playoffs, because if the NFC postseason goes through Seattle, Seattle goes through the NFC postseason.

• 2. Denver -- Peyton Manning was ready for the season. Nine TD passes and no picks with 769 passing yards in two games ... not too shabby.

• 3. New England -- This is probably higher for the Patriots than most, but this is a team finding ways to win with below-average offensive skill people other than a Hall of Fame QB. When the pieces return, the Patriots will be not only better but also deeper considering the kids trying to make plays right now will be more experienced. That said, Tom Brady was acting more like Bobby Brady screaming at his teammates last week. C'mon, man, be better than that.

• 4. San Francisco -- Yes, the 49ers are 1-1 and got drubbed by Seattle. But they will not be the only team that strolls into Coffee Town and gets kicked in the beans. Yep, no filters on that joke. Soak it in and let it brew ... this bit is going to pot.

• 5. Kansas City -- Thursday will be super interesting for a lot of reasons as Andy Reid and the Chiefs visit Philadelphia. Still, with some really talented parts, Reid pulling the strings and Alex Smith looking competent -- and a schedule that offers more cupcakes than a first-grader's birthday gala -- the Chiefs will be a regular visitor among the top teams in the league this year.

Bottom five (with an extra one for good measure)

28) Carolina -- Not all 0-2s are created equally. The difference between bagel-and-2 and 2-and-bagel for the Panthers is seven total points. But this is the norm for these Panthers, who have lost 10 times when they led in the fourth quarter since the start of the 2011 season. Ouch-standing.

29) Pittsburgh -- Yes, here is the outlier, the team that is way more comfortable in the top five than the bottom five. Well, say hello to the parity-craving NFL, with its offset schedules and salary caps and the rest. When playmakers leave and their replacements get banged up, you get a Steelers team that has scored one meaningful TD in two games. Other than Ben Roethlisberger, is there a Pittsburgh offensive player who scares the opposition?

30) Washington -- Again, not all 0-2s are created equally. The Redskins are minus-24 in total-point differential, which is not good. They are even worse in the first half through two weeks, trailing by an average of 27-3.5 at halftime.

31) Cleveland -- How valuable is the NFL? The Browns stink on toast, and they still cost Whoshisboots Haslam (not the governor who looks a lot like Dana Carvey; the other one) a billion bucks.

32) Jacksonville -- Yes, an CBS affiliate in Florida apologized to the Jacksonville-area watchers for showing the Jags-Raiders on Sunday. Here's wondering if Jacksonville proper accepted that apology. Egads, the Jaguars look to be 20-point underdogs at Seattle this week in a game that again will be televised in the greater Jacksonville area (much to the chagrin of the local affiliate).

33) Jacksonville Tebow supporters -- The Jaguars are the worst team in the league and are quarterbacked by a Blaine Gabbert/Chad Henne hodgepodge. Still only about a dozen folks turned out for the "Sign Tebow" party this week. While their logic is pretty sound -- "Why not?" read one sign; "What could it hurt?" read another -- it's still an underwhelming showing for a hometown hero for the local team that is starving for a positive vibe.

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

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