|Denny Medley/US Presswire|
|The future doesn't look bright for Matt Cassel (left) and Todd Haley after the Chiefs' blowout loss to the Bills.|
A Week 1 loss is easy to recover from, but an 0-2 start is a whole different animal. Which Week 1 loser is in the most need to get a win this weekend and why the urgency?
Chiefs set up for tailspinThe Chiefs. Seems like there have been bad vibes around that team all summer long -- the Jonathan Baldwin-Thomas Jones fight, the Tony Moeaki injury and now Eric Berry. After being embarrassed by the Bills at home in Week 1, getting beat up in Detroit could well send K.C. into a tailspin. Todd Haley needs to right the ship quickly.
Dolphins are in a tough spotNo one wants to go 0-2, but it will happen Monday night when the 0-1 Giants and 0-1 Rams meet in New Jersey. The loser will be in real trouble, especially with all the injuries each team already has incurred. The 0-1 team with the most pressure, however, could be the Miami Dolphins. Their fan base is ready to leave them, they are in a division where the other three teams all won last week and they already have a division loss. The Houston Texans are coming to town, which means the Dolphins defense will have to find a way to slow another offensive juggernaut.
Cowboys, Falcons have most at stakeGoing 0-2 is not a death sentence by any means, but if Dallas loses at San Francisco -- especially if things unfold in a similar way as they did late in the opening loss to the Jets -- there will be some external heat.
To me, the Falcons are the team that most needs to win at home against the Eagles. With the entire NFC South losing in Week 1, starting 0-2 is not the worst thing that could happen. However, the Falcons have had some consistent flaws from the preseason that need to be corrected.
They also have an unforgiving stretch starting in Week 3 with games at Tampa Bay, at Seattle (players say it's always hard playing there) and against Green Bay. There are no gimmes in that stretch and Atlanta needs to balance itself before hitting the road.
Laughingstock alert for SteelersHard to say there's a wrong answer to this question when it comes to any team that fancies itself a playoff contender, but let's focus on Dallas and Pittsburgh. If the Cowboys can head to San Francisco and beat the Niners, they may finish Sunday even-up with the Eagles (who've got a tough game in Atlanta in primetime). If the Cowboys lose, however, there's a fair chance there will be a two-game difference between themselves and two division foes. And yeah, I'm buying the Redskins as legit, assuming they beat the Cards in D.C., of course.
As for the Steelers, forget about the playoff implications of falling to 0-2. If they can't take care of business in Heinz against the crummy Seahawks, they'll officially be on laughingstock alert.
Chief concern? ThemselvesThe good teams in the NFL have no reason to panic. The final 14 weeks is more than enough time to recover. But for a team like the Chiefs, division winners with higher expectations and a coach who is possibly creeping toward a hotseat, they need to show something against the Lions or this season could start slipping away from them.
Falcons cannot lose to EaglesThe Seahawks really need to win in Week 2, or they will face the daunting task of falling two games out of the NFC West race. In a division that tough, dropping to 0-2 would really put them in a huge hole that would be ... alright, even I could not continue to fake that.
There is some thought that the Steelers not only need to beat Seattle, but be convincing about it. But come on, the Steelers are not the NCAA version of Boise State. No need for style points, the Steelers will be fine.
The team that needs to win the most is the Falcons, who made a Super Bowl-or-bust proclamation when they pulled this generationâs version of the Herschel Walker trade in moving up to draft Julio Jones. If the Falcons lose to the Michael Vick-led Eagles, there will be more whispers that Matty Ice is in over his head.