As we entered Week 2 of the NFL season seven of the 16 games were divisional games, which means great games. Playing a divisional rival is never easy, as the rivalries promote some of the best NFL football from both teams. Pride is on the line in divisional games, teams hate one another and therefore the more talented team does not always win. Forget home field as an advantage because familiarity with the teams far outweighs the location of the game. And that was evident Sunday as four of the seven road teams won in the divisional matchups.
In Week 2 everyone discusses the advantages of going 2-0, and who cannot go 0-2 and still expect to make the playoffs. Well, all that might be true and all those numbers may have quantified data to support the conclusions, but the reality in the NFL is that it is really early and nothing is ever decided in September, just ask the 2008 Broncos and Bills. Last year, five of the 11 teams that started 2-0 watched the playoffs. Therefore, the real conclusion we can draw from Week 2 is that we are just getting started.
Now, as we enter Week 3 of the NFL season, the summer is out of reach and football season is here. We won't follow Don Henley's advice in his classic song The Boys of Summer: "Don't look back, you can never look back."
Instead, we will look back -- at Week 2 of the NFL season.
Information is power: Did you know that on this day in history Benedict Arnold gave the plans of West Point to the British? And Sunday, Patriots quarterback Kevin O'Connell, now of the Jets, was named team captain for their game against the Patriots, despite the fact he did not dress for the game. Since O'Connell is no longer employed by the Patriots, he is not to be confused for a Benedict Arnold, but his information must have been so provoking and revealing that the Jets placed the honor of captain upon him as he helped them register their first home win over the Patriots since 2000.
Knowledge of the Patriots' system might have helped the Jets win, but the play of corner Darrelle Revis against Randy Moss was sensational and more valuable than any information O'Connell may have given.
Warner machine clicking: I admit I was worried about Kurt Warner after Week 1 in terms of his age showing, but yesterday in Jacksonville he found the fountain of youth, completing 24 of 26 passes for an NFL regular-season record 92.3 completion percentage (minimum 20 attempts). The previous record was held by Vinny Testaverde with a 91.3 mark set in 1993.
Cincy sack attack: Antwan Odom of the Bengals registered five sacks, four of them after Packers starting left tackle Chad Clifton left the game. Nonetheless, it was an impressive performance and the Bengals are very impressive on defense.
Tony terrific: Tony Gonzalez of the Falcons is just sensational and he makes the Falcons offense darn near unstoppable, especially the way second-year quarterback Matt Ryan (he plays like he has been in the league 10 years) throws precision passes.
MVP so far: My MVP of the NFL after Week 2 is easy: Mike Bell, (injured his knee in the game against the Eagles) running back of the Saints. Bell has 229 yards rushing in two games, but more than the yards he gains, his power and toughness allow the other Saints offensive players to be even better. These 2009 Saints are for real.
The Cowboys defense was funny to watch in Week 1, allowing the Buccaneers 450 yards. However, after Sunday night's loss to the Giants, it is not funny any longer as they have some severe problems in their secondary. With no pressure, the secondary gets exposed, including Terence Newman, who was beaten down the field again this week. Your 2009 Dallas defense: No sacks, no turnovers and no laughter.
Speaking of the Cowboys ... Quarterback Tony Romo had just 13 completions against the Giants -- the second fewest in his NFL career. He was wild with his location of the ball and that inaccuracy created bad throws resulting in interceptions.
The dead zone: The red-zone offense of both the Redskins and the Chargers failed to perform. Both teams were a combined 0-10 in the red zone and 0-8 in goal-to-go situations. The Redskins were lucky to be playing the Rams, but the Chargers were not so lucky facing the Ravens.
Wide left: Kicker Jeff Reed of the Steelers has learned all about the Windy City, missing two field goals wide left on Sunday in Chicago, allowing the Bears to steal the win. Normally, Reed is very reliable, and this was only his fourth career game in which he missed two kicks in the same game. That last game came on Sept. 26, 2004.
No welcome Matt: Matt Cassel, in his first start for the Chiefs, was faced with a first-and-goal from the 9-yard line with 14 seconds left in the first half and no timeouts. He threw a check-down to Dantrell Savage, who was unable to get out of bounds, costing the Chiefs the chance at a very makeable field goal. As it always happens, the Chiefs lost by three.
On the lookout
» The Bengals on defense are no easy chore. They are physical, they can stop the run and they feature two very good cover men that not many people outside of Cincinnati have heard of: Leon Hall and Johnathan Joseph.
» Running back Cedric Benson is a new man since coming to the Bengals last year. All the qualities that made him the fourth overall pick in Chicago, which he never showed in the Windy City, are on display in Cincinnati.
» Who is going to play left tackle for the Packers if Chad Clifton is unable to go? The Packers' offensive line has been under attack all year, with the questionable play of Allen Barbre at right tackle and now with Daryn Colledge at left. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is getting hit far too often.
» Someone needs to find a pass rush in Jacksonville or opposing quarterbacks are going to keep shredding them. Opponents are completing passes at an almost 79 percent clip. The Jaguars are a dismal 2-9 over their last 11 games.
» Speaking of pressure, Tom Brady was not sacked once on Sunday by the Jets, but he was under pressure from the very first snap. Pressure is much more important than sacks. The defense must force the quarterback to get the ball out quickly to succeed.
On the lookout ... for fantasy fans
» Many claimed last year that Mario Manningham was a steal for the Giants in the third round and now those people look right. Manningham is the Giants' best wideout right now. He can run and make plays with the ball in his hands.
» Falcons backup runner Justin Snelling took full advantage of the injury to Jerious Norwood, running with power for 60 yards and catching a touchdown pass. Snelling is a load to tackle and fits perfectly into the Falcons offense.
Off the beaten track
» The 49ers have won two NFC West games with two games to play against the talentless St. Louis Rams. That is a great start for the 49ers. By the way, the Seahawks have lost nine of their last 11 road games.
Three-step dots ...
» Brett Favre was sacked three more times Sunday and his longest completion of the day was for 13 yards. There is no way the Vikings can continue to win with Favre averaging 5.5 yards per passing attempt. ...
» Packers defense has been able to create turnovers this season, and the Packers actually have a plus-five in the turnover/takeaway column. However, they have missed two field goals, which to me are just like turnovers. ...
» For the next four weeks, the Kansas City Chiefs might as well be in the NFC East. The Chiefs face each team, starting in Philadelphia this weekend, then home against the Giants and Cowboys and finishing up in Washington. Ouch, that hurts. ...
» Last year, after the Jets beat the Patriots, they then traveled to Nashville to face the undefeated Titans, winning the game and breaking the Titans' 10-game win streak. This weekend, the Titans come to the Big Apple with a two-game losing streak. ...
» The Browns traded tight end Kellen Winslow (11 third downs converted in 2008) and the Chiefs traded tight end Tony Gonzalez (24 third downs converted in 2008) this past offseason, and both teams struggle to convert on third down on offense this year. The Browns have converted on third downs 23 percent of the time, while the Chiefs have done so 28 percent of the time. Clearly, both teams lack playmakers on offense and players who can make the tough third-down catches, but they had them at one time.