HEY WEEK 1, YOU'RE BETTER THAN THAT. SHOW 'EM, WEEK 2
If you're like me, you were stressing out about your fantasy team for an hour or so on Sunday before eventually noticing, "Hey, everyone else in my league is doing crappy, too!" The realization that self-mediocrity is part of a greater group-mediocrity -- the problem is not individual but systemic -- is one of life's underrated pleasures. Anyway, either we're entering a new phase of the game dominated by defense or all this will balance out. I'm banking on the latter.
YOU DO NOT WANT TO START THE SEASON 0-2 ... TRUST US
I warned you, NFL. I shared last week in this very space that three-quarters of the teams who lost in Week 1 went on to the miss the playoffs in seasons dating back to 1990. But half the team ignored this data and lost anyway. So here's your second and final warning: DO NOT LOSE THIS WEEK. You have a better chance of being struck by lightning while being killed with a bee sting as a shark attacks you than making the playoffs after starting 0-2. None of that is true, but again, do not laugh in the face of data. Remember: History is instructive.
FREE FANTASY ADVICE (THOUGH I ACCEPT DONATIONS): START QUARTERBACK PLAYING THE JETS
Truthfully, this is advice that can stand on a near weekly basis this season -- and that's not all on the Jets' D. The defensive line remains talented (even without Sheldon Richardson). In the secondary, rookie safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye offer monster potential (Adams was particularly active in Week 1). There are pieces here. But the Jets' offense is a major liability and a waterfall of three-and-outs -- like we saw last Sunday in Buffalo -- will continue to have a negative trickle-down effect on the other side of the ball. The biggest concern for Derek Carr fantasy owners? Sunday gets out of hand to the point that he doesn't throw a pass after the third quarter.
In general, being a Giants fan is pretty great. The team is rarely bad, transformational talents like Gifford and LT and Odell materialize for every generation, and you win a Super Bowl every decade or so. All my high school buddies seem pretty pleased with the setup. Still, it's not much fun being a Big Blue supporter right now. A scarcity of points continues to be an issue and Sunday night's performance against the Cowboys put the country to sleep. Eli and Co. are going to face some serious criticism if they can't shake off their slump against the Lions on Monday night.
COUNTERPOINT TO 'THE PATRIOTS WILL BE FINNNNNNNNNNNNE' NARRATIVE
Yes, the Patriots are probably still the NFL's best team, and yes, giving Bill Belichick and Tom Brady 10 days to prepare for an opponent -- coming off an embarrassing loss, no less -- is typically a recipe for a glorious bounce-back effort. But the Pats are a complete work in progress on defense and Drew Brees is one of the best quarterbacks of all-time -- coming off a very sour loss of his own. This feels like a potential shootout and I never hate my chances in that type of game when Drew Brees on my side.
TOM BRADY IMMORTALITY DENIERS ARE FEELING THEMSELVES RIGHT ABOUT NOW
Speaking of Brady, he was really human-looking last Thursday. Can you imagine the think pieces and talking head explosions if the 40-year-old lays another egg against the Saints? He probably won't, but this is the first time his invincibility cloak has been tugged on in some time. This is a delicious Week 2 matchup.
UNSTOPPABLE FORCE, MEET IMMOVABLE OBJECT
Dak Prescott enjoyed arguably the greatest season ever for a rookie quarterback, which is why it's odd he hasn't been celebrated more as he begins his second season. This is the dynamic young quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, after all. Carving up this Broncos defense would go a long way in quieting the "He only thrives because he's surrounded by so much!" narrative. And if that happens, expect the "Dak for MVP!" train to leave the station with supreme purpose. Stay tuned.