Cleat Geeks

Ranking The 2-0 Teams

Seven NFL teams stand at 2-0. and while you may not think that is a huge accomplishment in a long NFL season, it might be. You see, since 1990, 62.3% of teams who start 2-0 have made the play-offs. Yes, we realise that 2 games are a small sample size, and the road to the play-offs seems to be getting more narrow. Why would we say that? Last season 8 teams started off the season 2-0, but only 4 of them (Falcons, Panthers, Chiefs and Steelers) made the play-offs last season.

Therefore, I thought it might be a good exercise to rank the 2-0 teams from 7 to 1 and try to predict which ones would actually make the play-offs this season. So, here we go!

7) Miami Dolphins:  The 2-0 start seems to be mostly attributed to quarterback Ryan Tannehill. While the seventh-year veteran has been admirably efficient (73.9% completion rate), the passing attack simply lacks the firepower to overcome rough patches or top-tier defenses. Plus, with us throwing all these accolades at the Dolphins, someone tell them to pass the ball more, since they average the least amount of passes so far in the league. They have beat the Titans and the Jets with passing efficiency and a good rushing attack. But, they are still getting beat when it comes to total net yards 599 to 698. That will catch up to them if it continues.

Will They Make The Play-offs?

They do have a forgiving schedule with several winable games. They play the Bengals in Cincy, November they travel to Green Bay week 4 at New England and 3 of their last 4 weeks of the season see them play the Patriots and Jags at home while traveling to Minnesota. Even if they lose all 6 of those games, the other 10 are very winable. So I am going to say they make the play-offs as a Wild Card team.

6) Denver Broncos: Rookies Royce Freeman and Philip Lindsay have helped revive the second-ranked rushing attack. Lindsay, in fact, actually leads all rookies with 178 yards. He had a 53 yard scamper in week 2 that helped them to that victory. That run was 13 yards more than any 1 run the Broncos had last year. But, the much-improved offensive line might be the biggest difference of all.

Will They Make The Play-offs?

Denver started 2-0 in each of the last two seasons before crumbling down the stretch. But, for them to make any noise Kase Keenum must improve. He has a completion percentage of under 60%. And unlike the Dolphins, the Broncos schedule is difficult. I do not think they make the play-offs.

5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: I am sure that I am going to get a few people going crazy on Twitter for the next 3 selections. But, when you are last in the league at a very important category, you do not deserve to be in the top 3 of any ranking. The Bucs have been a great story, I honestly can’t believe they are on this list. But they have been fun to watch and they are. But, they are here because they have the worst run game (averaging a league-worst 2.7 yards per carry) and 31st-ranked defense. And in the hyper-competitive NFC South, the Buccaneers likely won’t have much margin for error.

Will They Make The Play-offs?

No. This has been a great story for 2 games, but they will not go 3-0 with the Steelers on Monday Night Football. Their luck will run out and they will become one of the 2-0 teams to not make the play-offs.

4) Kansas City Chiefs: Patrick Mahomes is setting opponents ablaze and taking advantage of what might be the league’s best collection of skill-position players in wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins, tight end Travis Kelce and running back Kareem Hunt. He is also the 2 week MVP, but when you read that you chuckled, because it sounds and it is so ridiculous. But, they are at #4 because they have the 32nd ranked defense in the entire league. They can’t continue to score 35 points per game every game.

 Will They Make The Play-offs?

The return of safety Eric Berry (Achilles) should elevate the pass defense to a tolerable level. Upcoming match-ups with the Jaguars (Week 5) and Patriots (Week 6) should serve as good measuring sticks, but as mentioned above, the Chiefs have the best overall offensive weapons in football. Yes, they will make the play-offs. Yes, they will win their division.

3) Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals are the ultimate run the ball team and stop the run team. They run for over 100 yards per game, and their opponents only run for 70. They also out sack their opponents 8 to 5 and they win the turnover battle only throwing 1 interception so far in 2 games. That is why I have them at #3, they don’t do anything spectacular, but they seem to do most everything well. But, that running game just took a big hit with Joe Mixon now expected to be sidelined a few weeks with a knee injury.

Will They Make The Play-offs?

The AFC North is looking like they are evening out. The steelers and Browns tied, and the Bengals beat the Ravens in Cincinnati.  But the upcoming slate is brutal, as the next seven games all come against 2017 playoff teams (Panthers, Falcons, Steelers, Chiefs and Saints) or fellow 2-0 squads (Dolphins and Buccaneers). The entire division has a rough schedule, so that should equal out. Circle December 30th on your football calendar, it is the final regular season game and it pits the Steelers against the Bengals in Cincinnati. I think a play-off berth will come down to that game, and since it is in Cincinnati and the Steelers play the Patriots and the Saints in the 2 weeks leading up to that game, I will say the Bengals will make the play-offs.

2) Los Angeles Rams: The defense hasn’t allowed a point for the last six quarters. That sounds good until you look at the two teams they have beaten Oakland and Arizona. The Rams have the least impressive 2 week resume of all the 2-0 teams. Meanwhile, new receiver Brandin Cooks is already providing the deep threat (12 catches, 246 yards) that could help take Jared Goff to the next level.

Will They Make The Play-offs?

Being in the division they are in, I think there is little doubt. But will they really be tested? They play Minnesota on Thursday night September 27th. They also have Green Bay and Philly, but all 3 of those games are home.

1) Jacksonville Jaguars: If there were any questions about their legitimacy after last season’s run to the AFC Championship Game, a commanding win Sunday over the Patriots should have eradicated them. With perhaps the most talented collection of defenders in the league, the Jags could be in position to improve upon a formula that’s already proven successful.

Will They Make The Play-offs?

But while Blake Bortles delivered the best game of his career by throwing for 377 yards and four touchdowns against New England, he will still be the wild card until he proves that he can be a top ten quarterback in this league. He can be number 10, but he has to be that all season and through the play-offs.That could become an even greater problem after left tackle Cam Robinson, also one of Jacksonville’s best run blockers, was lost to a season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament.

So, there they are, the 7 2-0 teams ranked. What do you think? Did I get it right, or did I make a couple mistakes? Let me know your opinion in the comments below, and why you have that opinion.

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