Week 2 proves there’s plenty of parity in the NFL
The one good thing about the first few weeks of the National Football League season is that almost every one of the 32 teams in the league are at least 95 per cent healthy. Not many of the impact players are sitting out due to injury.
And with most of the teams at full strength—except for the New England Patriots– there are very few blowouts during the first month of the NFL schedule.
The teams that are supposed to be prime candidates for making it to the Super Bowl—except for the Denver Broncos—are having a hard time posting early easy victories.
And those who are predicted to finish in their respective division’s cellar, are playing very competitively—except for Jacksonville—and are even winning games they were supposed to lose.
Last weekend was Week 2 of the 2013 NFL schedule and all but three games were within 10 points between the winning and losing teams. And five of those games were won on the final play of the game. Most of the stadiums were full when the final gun sounded.
Besides there being a majority of real close games last weekend, there also were four upsets when the underdogs won outright (San Diego +7 over Philadelphia, Miami +3 over Indianapolis, Buffalo +3 over Carolina and Arizona +1 ½ over Detroit).
And there also were five favorites that won but failed to cover the Las Vegas point spread (New England -12 and won 13-10, Houston -9 won 30-24 in OT, Kansas City -3 and won 17-16, Chicago -6 and won 31-30 on a field goal as time expired and New Orleans -3 and won 16-14 on a field goal as time expired).
The bottom line is that teams are obtaining players in the draft and the free-agent marketplace that really can help them become stronger and more proficient immediately.
A quick check of the divisional standings reveals some surprises with the likes of the Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs, the Chicago Bears and even the Seattle Seahawks sporting unblemished 2-0 records.
And if one looks back a few months, they will discover that all four of those teams made some huge deals when the free agent marketplace opened. Each one strengthened some of the weaknesses on their respective rosters.
Although our Houston Texans are supposed to be one of these teams with valid Super Bowl aspirations, they won their first two games on the FINAL play of each contest and should have lost both of them. Credit the victories to a few inspirational team leaders who simply refuse to lose.
Last Monday night the Texans played before a national audience and stunk up Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego in the first three quarters. They trailed 28-7 and found the intestinal fortitude to rally back and kick a field goal as time expired to win 31-28 despite being favored by more than a touchdown.
And just to prove that wasn’t a fluke, they did the same thing Sunday afternoon at Reliant Stadium in Houston. But this time they let a 16-10 fourth-period lead dissipate into a 24-16 Tennessee advantage with less than five minutes left in the game. The Titans marched 99 yards for a touchdown and then ran back an interception for a score.
But the main stars on offense—quarterback Matt Schaub, running back Arian Foster and wide receivers Andre Johnson and rookie DeAndre Hopkins–did their thing by driving for a touchdown and a daring two-point conversion to tie the score at 24-24.
The Texans missed a 46-yard field goal as regulation time expired, but luckily won the flip in overtime, received the kickoff and marched 78 yards in 11 plays with Hopkins making a leaping catch of a Schaub pass for the game-winner. The Titans’ offense never touched the football in the overtime period.
A few hours later Sunday Night Football featured the NFC champion San Francisco 49ers at the 3-point-favored Seattle Seahawks.
After a thundershower interrupted the first quarter for about an hour, the Seahawks defense—led by All-Pro Orange native Earl Thomas III at free safety—completely stymied the 49ers, limiting the visitors to a field goal in a 29-3 whipping.
According to NBC announcer Cris Collingsworth, it was Earl’s interception of a deflected pass at the goal line that turned the momentum to Seattle and the Seahawks went on to dominate both sides of the football. The 2-0 Seahawks defense has surrendered a meager 10 points in two games so far this season.
And the Dallas Cowboys, who last week used six turnovers to surprise the New York Giants, couldn’t do much right at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City Sunday as they stumbled in the red zone, rushed 16 times for 37 yards, dropped a touchdown pass (Dez Bryant) and committed costly penalties and other mistakes and lost 17-16.
The Las Vegas Boys seem to be a bit more cautious this week as the Texans visit the Baltimore Ravens as an early 1½-point favorite and the Miami Dolphins host tough Atlanta but still are a slender one-point favorite.
However for Monday night’s game where Oakland visits Denver, the Broncos are a whopping 14½-point favorite, despite the fact they’ve given up 50 points in two games. But the Broncos have rung up 90 points in those two games, too.
KWICKIES…The McNeese State Cowboys almost bit off more than they could chew by inviting West Alabama to Louis Bonnette Field in Lake Charles Saturday night. The undefeated (3-0) Pokes escaped with a hard-fought 44-42 victory and now must get ready for Weber State Saturday. The Wildcats visit Cowboy Stadium after consecutive losses to Division I foes Utah and Utah State.
By the time this Korner hits the streets Wednesday, our Houston Astros could possibly already suffered their 100th loss that had been so correctly projected the day they left spring training in late March. Hopefully they will be better in 2014 if owner Jim Crane opens up his checkbook and obtains some quality major league baseball players. For some reason teams with low payrolls usually finish low in the final standings.
The rematch at College Station Saturday afternoon was exciting if one doesn’t like defensive battles. In my opinion the Texas Aggies lost that game when Johnny Manziel elected to throw that fade pass to the freshman in the left side of the end zone instead of his reliable 6-5 guy on the right side. That interception woke up Alabama and the Tide really took off after that Aggie turnover.
Some high school football results that might be of interest to our local fans include Brenham 27, Magnolia West 7; Crosby 63, Barbers Hill 26; Dayton 46, New Caney 7; Nacogdoches 28, Lufkin 24; Coldspring 24, La Marque 22; Cleveland 47, Sealy 34; Carthage 52, Tyler Chapel Hill 22; Waco Connally 44, Gatesville 19; Cameron Yoe 51, Rockdale 33.
JUST BETWEEN US…Many of those 101,474 fans filing out of Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium in Austin Saturday night were scratching their heads, wondering why the Texas Longhorns’ offense quit after posting 23 first-half points and letting a six-point halftime lead turn into an ugly 44-23 loss to Ole Miss, which was a 2 ½-point underdog. The fans are wondering who Mack Brown will fire this time. Hope he’s not standing too close to a mirror or else he might get a clue as to who should really go.