While the 2018 NFL season is still in its proverbial infancy stage, there are three key things we definitely learned in Week 2 of this season:
Everyone Owes An Apology To The Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Before the season started, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were darn near close to the consensus “worst team in the NFC South,” but also one of the favorites to have their head coach fired during the season. But two games into the 2018 season, things are going in the exact opposite direction. Owners of a 2-0 record, offensive coordinator Todd Monken — who was given play calling duties by head coach Dirk Koetter — is overseeing the hottest offense in the conference. The Buccaneers have scored more points than anyone in the NFC, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown for more yards than anyone in the NFL, and they’re hosting a Pittsburgh Steelers team that just got shredded through the air by the Kansas City Chiefs. They might be the biggest surprise of the early part of this season.
The Clock May Have Struck 12 For The Philadelphia Eagles — We overlooked their opening night struggles because they ended up winning the game, but it might be time to wonder if we should be worries about something along the lines of a “Super Bowl hangover” for the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles were very good at establishing an early lead in games in 2017, but have trailed at halftime in both of their games in 2018. Against Tampa Bay in Week 2, they trailed 20-7 at halftime, and faced a 27-7 deficit midway through the third quarter. While they rallied back to cut the lead to six, they ultimately lost 27-21. After a red-hot postseason culminating in winning the Super Bowl MVP award, Nick Foles has effectively turned into Cinderella after midnight, throwing one touchdown pass over the past two games. While the Eagles will likely welcome back Carson Went to the lineup this Sunday, it’s hard to imagine Wentz, who spent the entire offseason rehabbing his injured knee, will immediately pick up where he left off last year. The Eagles could remain on a bumpy road for the first half of the 2018 season, if not longer.
Jacksonville Is Here To Stay – There’s no doubt that the Jacksonville Jaguars had their Week 2 game against the New England Patriots circled from the very moment that the schedules were released for the 2018 season, especially having lost to the Patriots in the most recent AFC Championship game, thanks to a horrific offensive meltdown and some very suspect officiating. Whether they really did have it circled or not is really immaterial, because they certainly played like it regardless, trouncing the Patriots by a 31-20 score that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score would indicate. Jacksonville’s ultra-athletic secondary held Tom Brady to less than 250 yards passing, and completely clamped down on anything going in tight end Rob Gronkowski’s direction, limiting the star tight end to only two catches for 15 yards. Meanwhile, even without the services of running back Leonard Fournette, the Jaguars’ offense carved up the Patriots’ defense, finishing with almost 500 yards of offense (they finished at 481 yards), including a 334-yard passing effort from quarterback Blake Bortles, who had four touchdown passes. While it’s hard to refer to games in mid-September as “statement games,” this game definitely meant something, as far as the balance of power in the AFC.