Suffering from a knee-jerk reaction? Let our experts help
Whether you think the Pats will go 16-0 or the Giants and Jets will go a combined 0-32, it's the season for knee-jerk reactions. We're here to help.
Your favorite team is 2-0, so naturally you're making Super Bowl travel plans. Or your team is 0-2 and you've already inquired about getting a refund for NFL Sunday Ticket. That's what fans do -- they perform the knee-jerk dance.
But we're here to give those overreactions some proper perspective. Whether it's dousing your overzealous enthusiasm or talking you off the ledge, ESPN.com NFL writers Jeffri Chadiha, John Clayton, Len Pasquarelli and Mike Sando have the answers to six big NFL knee-jerk reactions after the first two weeks of the season.
Slow down. Take a deep breath. And please remember that the 2002 Patriots were lighting up teams with their dazzling offense in the first two weeks of the season that followed their first Super Bowl victory (they outscored their opponents 74-21 in those two games). That squad, if you recall, wound up watching the playoffs at home. That clearly won't be the fate of this bunch, but the Pats aren't going to score 38 points every game this season. Sooner or later, defenses adjust. It happens to everybody and it will happen to New England.
-- Jeffri Chadiha
-- John Clayton
The Saints are struggling to find an identity on offense. We've known all along their defense would have some issues. The Saints won in the playoffs because they leaned hard on Deuce McAllister and the ground game. McAllister had 21 carries for 143 yards against the Eagles in the divisional round. Reggie Bush carried a dozen times for 52 yards in that game. Now? Bush has more carries than McAllister through two games this season. The Saints won't duplicate their magical 2006 run, but they should be much better offensively once they get McAllister going. -- Mike Sando
The only people who would view this as a possibility live in either Texas or Pennsylvania. There's no way the Cowboys reach the Super Bowl with all the holes in their defense. As for the Steelers, they have to deal with a couple of hurdles in the AFC known as New England and Indianapolis. So please stop dreaming of Super Bowl repeats. Though the Cowboys and Steelers are improved, they aren't close to being the cream of their respective conferences.
-- Jeffri Chadiha
As much as I'd love to see my beloved hometown Steelers break the Cowboys' hearts for a third time in a Super Bowl, it won't happen. Not because the Steelers wouldn't beat Dallas in a fourth title game matchup, but because such a pairing won't take place. The AFC simply has too many power teams right now to consider Pittsburgh a favorite. It would take the kind of run the Steelers had in 2005, although such a hot streak would be even more difficult this time around. As for the Cowboys, well, they look really good through two games, and the road to the NFC title isn't nearly as difficult. It's possible they'll make it to Phoenix -- where they'd lose to whatever team represents the AFC in Super Bowl XLII. -- Len Pasquarelli
Settle down, Green Bay fans. The Packers aren't back -- and in many ways, they're the same as they were in 2006, at best an 8-8 team that could get to nine wins. To say they are back would be to say that this team has 10-11 win expectations. They are limited on offense because of the running game. Brandon Jackson can't do much after about 15 carries, and he could be replaced as a starter in the next few weeks. Brett Favre has a 13-year generation gap with seven offensive starters, and he's forced to throw more checkdowns and cautious passes. His 6.1 yards per attempt is the lowest in 16 years in Green Bay. The defense is good but not great. The good news is that the Packers should be in most games because of the defense, but without that running game, they will struggle holding second-half leads against good teams. -- John Clayton
No team has ever gone 0-16 in a season, so it's hard to fathom a city going 0-32, even as poorly as the Jets and Giants are playing (especially on defense) right now. New York, New York, with teams so bad they made every fan sad? Well, that could happen. But a couple of goose eggs? Nope. It's just about as difficult to lose every game in the NFL as it is to win 'em all. Now that the Jets can get back to football, and quit worrying about someone deciphering the signs from their defensive staff, they'll grab a win this week against the Dolphins. Can't say the same for the Giants, though, who could go into October without a victory.
-- Len Pasquarelli
The Texans will make the playoffs, but probably not this season. The AFC is too tough. New England, Indianapolis, San Diego and Baltimore are proven playoff-caliber teams. Pittsburgh appears ready to rejoin that group after a down season. Tennessee could be a threat. The good thing for the Texans is that the pressure is off for a while. Matt Schaub has delivered on early expectations. While we're not yet hearing how the Texans were wise in selecting Mario Williams over Reggie Bush, the big defensive end is making plays. Schaub and Williams were question marks heading into the season. If those two keep playing well, the Texans could reach .500 for the first time. -- Mike Sando
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NFL OVERREACTION NATION
We've seen two weeks of football, and for most NFL fans, that's more than enough to either jump on the bandwagon ... or jump ship.
Overview• Jackson: Welcome to Overreaction Nation
• ESPN experts: Should you be overreacting?
• Vote: What do we know after two weeks?
In Chicago ...• Wojciechowski: Even a win is too much to Bear
In New York ...• Darcy: Apple of their eye is the backup QB
In Dallas ...• Pearlman: Cowboys fans letting it all hang out
In Cleveland ...• Gallo: Net gain or loss for roller-coaster Browns?
In San Diego ...• Buckheit: Pats pull the plug on Bolts fans
In Los Angeles ...• Neel: Who says no one in L.A. loves the NFL?