Kicks N’ Cleats
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Kicks N’ Cleats

NFL Week Two Takeaways

Which teams are trending up after the second Sunday of games?

Despite only two games being played for each team, fans will start to overreact. Any team that’s 2–0 has their fans thinking Super Bowl, while the 0–2 fans are ready to wrap this season up. But that’s why those are overreactions. Instead, I will be looking at the biggest week two takeaways with some objectivity. No time to panic, but also no time to overly celebrate. Let’s get started with one of those undefeated teams.

What to make of the Las Vegas Raiders

Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports

I’ll be honest, entering the season I didn’t have high expectations for the Raiders. I thought they would be an average team at best. Instead, they are looking like they might be a real threat. Las Vegas has started their season with two wins over the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Two quality wins over playoff teams from a year ago.

Now, these games have everyone talking about Derek Carr and the Raiders’ offense, and for good reason. Carr has been exceptional this season. He currently leads the league in passing yards with 817. Along with that, he has completed 66.7% of his throws for four touchdowns and just one interception.

These numbers, while already impressive, become even more notable when you consider the two teams he has faced are known for having an elite defense. But that hasn’t stopped Carr and Vegas from being in the top-seven in points per game (seventh-most), passing yards per game (most), and total yards per game (most).

While the Raider offense has been outstanding, I also want to talk about their defense quickly. A unit last year that was in the bottom ten in most statistical categories, has come to play this season. Vegas as a team is tied for the sixth-highest pass rush win rate (54%), along with having the highest run stop win rate (38%). A big reason for this is Maxx Crosby, who is second in DE/OLB run stop win rate (50%), along with having two sacks on the year.

Now it is only two games, but Las Vegas has looked good this year. We’ll see if they’re able to keep it up, or if they’ll start to fade as they have in past seasons.

Did you give up on Baltimore too soon?

Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun

People were ready to write off the Ravens after last week’s loss to Las Vegas. However, a couple of things factored into that game that should’ve relaxed people’s worries about Baltimore. The first being it was the Raiders’ first game with fans in their new stadium. The place was rocking, clearly giving Vegas the advantage. The second being it was the first time Baltimore had lost a game while holding a 14 point since 2004. John Harbaugh had previously been 81–0 in the aforementioned scenario. Simply put this hasn’t been a weekly occurrence, and it likely won’t be. Also, like I previously mentioned above, Las Vegas might just be a good team; and sometimes you’re going to lose to good teams.

But if you were off the Ravens bandwagon entering week two, I’m sure you’re right back on it now. Baltimore followed their comeback loss last week with a comeback win this week. That win also came against their self-proclaimed kryptonite, the Kansas City Chiefs.

Lamar Jackson was previously 0–3 against Kanas City, and it looked like it was going to be 0–4. Lamar threw two interceptions (one being a pick-six), as KC jumped out to a nine-point lead multiple times. Jackson and the Ravens, however, didn’t quit.

Lamar put the team on his back, scoring two fourth quarter touchdowns, and converting a crucial fourth down conversion to ice the game. The former MVP looked like a potential candidate for this year’s award, finishing with 239 passing yards, 107 rushing yards, and three total touchdowns.

Baltimore’s defense also came to play in the fourth, holding KC scoreless in the quarter, along with forcing a key fumble.

So if you were done with the Ravens after week one, hopefully, you didn’t tell anyone; because Baltimore can still play with the best of them. Expect this team to be a threat in the postseason.

Relax on Zach Wilson

Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports

Boy was that a rough one for the rookie from BYU. Zach Wilson had a brutal game in a loss to the Patriots this past Sunday. The number two pick finished with 210 yards, zero touchdowns, and four interceptions. Not his best work by far. But don’t declare the kid a bust already.

I’ve already seen countless people saying Wilson was a wasted pick, and that he’s already ruined. Can we just slow down for a second?

Two things can be true. Zach Wilson played terribly against the Patriots. Zach Wilson can also become a good quarterback still.

He was going against Bill Belichick for crying out loud. That’s what Bill Belichick does to rookie quarterbacks. His teams have a 22–6 record against first-year QBs. Zach Wilson isn’t the first young signal-caller to struggle against the Patriots, and he won’t be the last. Just look at what Belichick did against Justin Herbert last year (209 yards, zero touchdowns, two interceptions in a 45–0 New England win).

Even look at what former Jets QB Sam Darnold did against the Patriots in 2019 (86 yards, zero touchdowns, four interceptions as New England won 33–0). And that was in Darnold’s second year, this was Zach Wilson’s second game. This just happens against Belichick.

Wilson isn’t a bust because of one game. If you’re already declaring that, then you must think the number one pick Trevor Lawrence is a bust too since he has just as many interceptions this season. These are young quarterbacks. They’re going to have bad games.

Even look at a future Hall of Fame talent like Aaron Rodgers. He’s in his 17th season and he just had a terrible game against the Saints. It’s the NFL, sometimes you have bad games. Zach Wilson will grow from this. He’s not a bust, stop overreacting.

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Jacob Burns

Jacob Burns

University at Buffalo ’20 | BA in Communication | Writer for The Sports Scientist & Kicks N’ Cleats

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