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Ah, the panic button.  An overused phrase brought out as a blog or news site filler.  Naturally, I would use this as well (I have no standards).  We will look at each team that has started 0-2 so far and decide whether it’s time to be patient or hit the panic button, or just skip the panic button and curl up into the fetus position.

Miami Dolphins– Miami has had a tough two opening games against New England and Houston, but the problems on defense are a serious worry.  After giving up 500+yards to Tom Brady, Matt Schaub also had a good game, going 21/29 for 230 yards and 2 TDs.  Ben Tate was able to run all over them as well.  This defense does not look like it will be able to shut down a good offense, which is a big problem considering there are three of them within their division in New York, New England, and Buffalo (can I really say that about Buffalo?).  The offense has shown promise, but not together in one game.  Henne looked good week 1, but was terrible in week 2, and rookie Daniel Thomas broke out in week 2, but the running game was non-existent week 1.  Regardless, I don’t think the offense will be able to keep them in high-scoring games, something the defense won’t help.  Sparano is definitely on the hot seat.

Status: HIT THE PANIC BUTTON

Indianapolis Colts– As I have said several times, without Peyton Manning this is the worst team in the AFC South, and so far they have proven me right.  They were crushed by the Texans, and the Browns outplayed them in the second half.  The offense will get better as Collins becomes more comfortable, but it won’t have anything near their previous explosiveness.  The defense is not built to stop the run and play from behind.  This works with Peyton, but not when your offense cannot give you the lead early, which it no longer can.  Assuming Manning is out for a long time, this season is already practically a bust for the Colts.  The new question is: will they be bad enough to be in the running for Andrew Luck?

Status: CURL UP IN FETAL POSITION

Kansas City Chiefs– Oh my.  Talk about a team going from first to worst.  In consecutive weeks, they’ve been beaten to a pulp by two teams that haven’t made the playoffs in a decade.  Obviously the  Lions are a lot better than they’ve previously been, and the Bills are certainly proving to be a ragtag bunch, but losing both games by a combined score of 89-10 is beyond embarrassment.  They’ve lost their best player in the secondary (FS Eric Berry), TE Tony Moeaki, and RB Jamaal Charles for the year.  QB Matt Cassel is proving that he cannot carry the offense, and still somehow has few good WR options.  The offense clearly misses former coordinator Charlie Weis.  The defense is on the field so much it must be exasperating, and isn’t the same force it was last year.  The secondary has been torn to shreds repeatedly.  The Chiefs’ schedule is quite difficult this year, and judging from the first two games, implosion doesn’t seem that far away.

Status: CURL UP IN FETAL POSITION

Minnesota Vikings– Another team that has gotten a tough start.  They nearly beat the Chargers despite McNabb’s epic 39-yard performance, and lost to the Bucs in the last minute of the game.  Still though, this only goes to show how bad this year could be.  Close games are a given in the parity-driven NFL, and to lose two of them out of the gate does not bode well.  McNabb improved in week 2 (inevitable given the terrible week 1 performance), but it should become clear that he cannot lead the offense to wins, and Adrian Peterson can only cover for him so much.  They also desperately need to bring in another WR or two at year’s end.  The defense has performed more admirably than I expected, but showed it’s weaknesses in the 2nd half against the Buccaneers.  With the strong play from the other three teams in the NFC North, I don’t see a way the Vikings stay out of the cellar of their division this year.

Status: HIT THE PANIC BUTTON

Carolina Panthers– Never has a team been so happy with an 0-2 start.  Cam Newton has proved his doubters wrong so far (I NEVER believed he would do poorly, of course.  I’m always right).  400+ yards against Arizona was one thing, but 400+ against Green Bay is impressive.  The turnovers hurt, but he is a rookie after all.  I would hope they try to integrate their running game more, which is still a strength with three good RBs.  It’s also clear that the defense needs work, especially that secondary.  Regardless of their record, however, if Newton continues playing at a high level, this team will know that there is a bright future ahead.

Status: DON’T HIT THE BUTTON

St. Louis Rams– The Rams have had it rough with two NFC East opponents, but had no good reason to lose the other night to the Giants.  There were careless mistakes, especially Cadillac Williams not realizing his dropped pass was a backwards lateral and still a live ball (whoops).  The turnovers should get better, however (I believe/hope).  It’s obvious that Bradford is still sorely missing a big #1 target.  The defense has actually been quite good in general, although like many teams there is a lot of room for improvement in the secondary.  Regardless, with a fairly easy division and other easier opponents on the way, this team doesn’t need to panic.  They should know this is another building season, and 0-2 doesn’t mean they’re not on the right track…yet.

Status: DON’T HIT THE BUTTON

Seattle Seahawks– Tavares Jackson.  That’s all I should need to say.  He is averaging around 5.5 yards per throw, hasn’t found a consistent target, and is clearly not the starter Pete Carroll hoped he would be (although Jackson’s time in Minnesota should have made this OBVIOUS).  Marshawn Lynch has been non-existent running the ball, but I’m not even going to blame him, but this terrible, terrible offensive line.  Ten sacks in two games is inexcusable.  The defense has actually not been bad, but Pittsburgh could have scored more points.  They just didn’t need to, considering they blanked the Seattle offense.  The defense is ok, but not good enough to make up for a terrible offense.  Seattle is my bet for last in the NFC West.  I just hope if they have a shot at Andrew Luck, that Pete Carroll isn’t the one to teach him.

Status: CURL UP IN FETAL POSITION

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