NFL 2018: Week 2 Winners and Losers

Another week in the books means only one thing, I sit here on my couch covered in popcorn judging multi-millionaire athletes and ranking them as winners and losers. Let’s get real here, I’m the biggest loser of them all.

Keeping with that trend let’s start off with the other Losers.

LOSERS

NFL Kickers

What a weird week of NFL action. Kickers took the headlines and I could nearly populate the entire loser list with kickers, so in order to keep this diverse and give every loser a chance we will lump them all together. When Sunday finally came to an end NFL kickers had contributed to a total of 19 missed kicks. Our focus will be on both Zane Gonzalez and Daniel Carlson. Both of which have since been cut.

Let’s start with Gonzalez and the Browns. As we all know the Browns came close to finally winning a game in Week 1, only for a missed kick. The rain and distance were nice excuses but when Gonzalez stepped out in Week 2 those excuses were nowhere to be seen. The Browns came agonisingly close again to getting that first win, only for kicks to end any hope of that. The Saints won 21-18, and even if you try to bail out Gonzalez for missing the game tying kick, the fact that he missed 4 kicks during the game (including 2 extra points) there was only one thing Cleveland were going to do. Gonzalez was shown the door, and we all figured as much. Yet again the Browns fall victim, you couldn’t write this start!

On to Carlson, a former 5th rounder. Yes. A 5th round kicker. Draft class didn’t mean anything for Carlson when the Vikings ended up tying with the Packers in OT, thanks mainly to Carlson missing 3 FG attempts. Cousins looked the part and a win against the Packers, even a one-legged Rodgers, would have announced them on the scene big time. Carlson got cut as well but Zimmer’s interview afterwards was ice cold to end a terrible week for the kicker.

Jameis Winston

After the Fitzmagic show last week the league was buzzing around him, but many were containing expectations. Fitzpatrick however followed up his 400+ yard, 4TD showing with another 400+ yard 4TD showing. Madness. He’s currently in MVP form. I know it’s only two games but just look at what he’s wearing! Winston is becoming an after thought and the Bucs can not and will not drop the Magician in this form. Winston might have to begin planning his future somewhere else.

If it wasn’t bad enough, the former number one pick who is currently suspended is now being sued by the Uber driver who has accused him of groping her.

Arizona Cardinals

My god the Cardinals have been muck. I foolishly thought that Bradford would be able to steady them and get some decent results but after two games now their only score is a TD run by Johnson. It’s been a disaster. Their defence is leaking scores and their offence couldn’t buy any.

Currently ranked 32nd in Offense and 30th in Defense it appears the whole situation is falling apart in Arizona, Rosen spotted yawning on the bench sums up the type of football they have been playing. Surely we will see him sooner rather than later.

 

Rob Gronkowski

FOXBORO, MA. – AUGUST 28: New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski talks to the media after practice at Gillette Stadium August 28, 2018 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Matt Stone/ Boston Herald)

I could probably include the Patriots team here, Brady himself had a poor outing and Bortles of all people cut their defence to shreds, but just for the sheer disappointment of Gronk and fantasy implications he makes my list.

Considered by most as the best TE in the league he went from a 7 reception, 123 yard, 1TD game to a 2 reception, 15 yard one in the space of one week. Obviously wasn’t helped by the overall poor offensive display shown by NE or the fact that the Jaguars have one of the best defenses in the league but still, I’m chalking him in as one of the losers of the week. Maybe it’s more accurate to say “Gronkowski Fantasy Owners”.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

A terrible preparation has gone from bad to worse for the Steelers both on and off the field. Tipped by many, myself included, as one of the powerhouses of the AFC this season they now find themselves 4th in the AFC North, behind Cleveland! Get the parade ready Browns fans.

The absence of Bell has been a big factor, it hasn’t helped with the preparation and feeling around the team. Conner did show some bright sparks but after the way the Chiefs dismantled their defence at home you gotta worry. Fuel was added to the fire when news that Antonio Brown has been skipping practice after the following tweet.

 

All is not good at Pittsburgh.

 

Now onto the cool club of Week 2. The Winners.

Winners

Ryan Fitzpatrick

I’m using that picture again. It’s brilliant. There’s not much to say here. Fitzmagic has lit it up on the field and his hilarious interview after will only boost the morale in Tampa Bay. Another 400+ yard, 4TD display bringing a win was brilliant but the cool and calm joking nature of his interview after, where he raided the lockers of his teammates for that extra style shows the sort of atmosphere in the camp at the moment. A happy team winning matches is dangerous for the rest of the league.

Let’s just sit back and let the magic happen.

Browns Defence

NEW ORLEANS, LA – SEPTEMBER 16: Benjamin Watson #82 of the New Orleans Saints is tackled by Larry Ogunjobi #65 of the Cleveland Browns and T.J. Carrie #38 of the Cleveland Browns during the fourth quarter at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on September 16, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

They make it on my list again. They surprised me in the first week but I was scratching it down to Big Ben on the road, and said we would have to wait and see when Brees faced up against them. Brees had another good game and the Browns didn’t explode on the offence but they managed to keep one of the best QBs in the history of the NFL to less than 250 yards and only 2TD scores. Not only that but the Saints explosive run game had very little joy with Kamara and Gillislee combined for less than 65 yards.

For the moment the Browns defence looks good, and are actually giving Browns chances of picking up wins this year. They’ve held their own against the likes of Brees and Big Ben, next up is the Jets and Darnold. You get the feeling the Defence could put up a serious display against the rookie. Definitely is a source of optimism for Browns fans, something they needed.

 

Patrick Mahomes

When the Chiefs decided to let Smith go and turn to Mahomes a lot of people doubted Mahomes was ready, highlighting picks thrown in practice. Others argued that they wouldn’t have made that decision if Mahomes wasn’t ready. So far it seems he is more than ready.

An electric opening week was followed by an outrageous 6TD game in Heinz Field. After two games Mahomes boasts an impressive, record setting, 582 yards, 10 TDs, 0 INT, and QB rating 143.3. A lull in the performance and form has to come at some point (surely?) but until then the Chiefs look to be in a brilliant position and Patrick is just going to continue to clock up outrageous numbers.

 

Dan Bailey

The Cowboys made our Loser list last week, the cutting of Dan Bailey was mentioned. Cutting the 2nd most accurate kicker in NFL history will always raise eyebrows but when Bailey continued to sit in the FA questions started rising, some saying maybe the Cowboys saw something worrying in practice. We now know Bailey was waiting, turning down offers, just looking for that right one.

No doubt when he watched RedZone on Sunday he was a happy man. The kicker implosion of Week 2 led to many teams to jump in the ring for the veteran and now he’s been picked up by the Vikings. He joins a playoff ready team and could be in store for a big year. Good things come to those who wait, or rather good things come to seasoned pros when young players can’t handle the pressure.

Blake Bortles

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles answers questions from sports writers on the first day of the Jaguars NFL offseason training program Tuesday, April 21, 2015, at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla. ( Bruce Lipsky/The Florida Times-Union via AP)

I was debating what to do with my 5th choice. I was reluctant to give it to another QB but my god I have to give it to Bortles. Not only did he throw up serious numbers (376 yards 4TDs), he looked absolutely brilliant. He was composed, accurate and outplayed Tom Brady. What makes this performance even more special in my eyes is that Jaguars were without star running back Leonard Fournette.

Bortles is often the target of many jokes and memes online but we often forget that he’s both talented in the passing game and with his feet. The recurring theme is that the Jags have a good team but need an improvement in QB, however this year he’s got himself a good O-Line and is looking very sharp. This could come back to blow up in my face but I think we may be about to see another 30TD season and Pro-Bowl visit for Blake this year. I’ve cursed him haven’t I?