Answers to questions
We are a few weeks into the football season - three for college, two for the NFL - and what have we learned?
The Jacksonville Jaguars just might be the class act of the AFC. I watched some of their game with the New England Patriots on Sunday and it was amazing how well they handled the team that beat them in last year’s AFC Championship Game. Tom Brady was not particularly effective, New England could not run the ball and Blake Bortles appeared to be the best quarterback in the game. Everyone knows the Jaguars have a great defense, but if they are going to get offensive production like they got Sunday against New England, they are going to be very hard to beat.
The same can be said for the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC. The Rams dismantled division rival the Arizona Cardinals in a reasonably full L.A. Coliseum. Like the Jaguars, the Rams are built around a dominant defense and that was on full display as they shut out the Cardinals. Also like Jacksonville, the Rams offense looked almost too good. Quarterback Jarrod Goff threw for over 300 yards and star running back Todd Gurley scored three touchdowns. The one knock you can put on L.A. is Gurley did not run the ball all that well (42 yards on 19 carries). But when the other team is stacking the box to stop the run and your quarterback takes advantage of that, you are playing football the right way. Arizona was selling out to stop Gurley and Goff beat them. That’s how you win football games.
Who’s the biggest surprise at 0-2? The Houston Texas, Seattle Seahawks and Oakland Raiders are all winless, which has to come as a shock to most followers of the league. Maybe not the Raiders after they dumped Khalil Mack right before the season started. Maybe not the Seahawks because, despite their reputation and Russell Wilson, they are not the team they once were. So it’s got to be the Texans, right? Losing to the Patriots is one thing, but they also lost to the Titans without Marcus Mariota. That’s no way to reach the playoffs. Houston has a lot of talent, but I don’t think enough of it lays with their head coach. It just might be a long season in the bayou city.
College football thus far has been simpler than the NFL. Alabama is really good. So is Georgia and Clemson and Ohio State. It’s kind of playing out the way you’d expect it to, right? Thus, I am not sure any real questions have been answered - other than the fact the best teams are indeed the best teams. TCU had a shot at the Buckeyes at home and did not really come close to beating them. We might know more after this weekend. Alabama hosts a Texas A&M team that pushed Clemson to its limit and while I don’t see an upset happening, it will be interesting to see if the Aggies can push the Tide the way they did the Tigers, or if 'Bama will roll to another easy win.