Upsets Muddy Waters Further in NFL’s Week 2

Stephen Gostkowski's missed field goal in the final seconds handed an upset victory to the Arizona Cardinals over the New England Patriots.

After some surprise results during opening week, Week 2 saw a further six teams win in upset fashion. Arizona’s victory over New England was undeniably the headline of Sunday’s play, but wins for the likes of St. Louis, Seattle and Miami have made for intriguing watching.

The overall result is that 19 teams now sit at 1-1, including some names you might not have expected. This doesn’t include Denver and Atlanta who will square off on Monday Night Football tonight. One of those two teams will also be 1-1 come Tuesday morning, providing a tie is avoided, of course.

The early picture in the NFL is often unclear, but 2012 is looking murkier than any season in recent memory.

Week 2 Upsets

Arizona (2-0) effectively beat New England (1-1) when Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski missed a 42-yard field goal attempt with seconds left on the clock and the Cardinals leading 20-18. The Patriots – who entered the season favorites to win the Super Bowl ­– will look to rebound from the surprising loss with a trip to Baltimore (1-1) next weekend. Could the Pats be 1-2 one week from now?

Ex-Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri made a 53-yard field goal in the dying seconds, sending Indianapolis (1-1) to a 23-20 win over Minnesota (1-1). It may have been an upset – the Vikings were favored by three – but it’s hard to consider the win a surprise.

Miami (1-1) followed up Week 1’s dire performance from rookie QB Ryan Tannehill with a winning effort against Oakland (0-2). The fact that the Raiders were favored by three on the road speaks volumes for the Fin’s performance last week. Beating the spread by 19 points was the icing on the cake.

Despite the offseason turmoil and last week’s loss, New Orleans (0-2) entered Sunday as three-point favorites in Carolina (1-1). The Saint trailed for much of the game, but there was still a sense the game was theirs for the taking. That is until Drew Brees was intercepted in the final minute.

St. Louis (1-1) played tough against Detroit in Week 1 but got no love from oddsmakers as Washington (1-1) arrived in the Gateway City. The visiting Redskins were favored by four but fell in a fairly high-scoring affair.

Finally, another NFC West side toppled another NFC East team. Seattle (1-1) took advantage of early turnovers and proceeded to outlast a Dallas (1-1) team that looked a million miles from the team that beat the Giants in the season opener.

Winning Starts

Five teams now sit at 2-0 with the winner of Denver-Atlanta matchup set to join them.

Of these five, Houston is the only side that looked a ‘guaranteed’ 2-0 ahead of the season. Wins over Miami and Jacksonville are hardly a surprise, and in the weakest division in football, the Texans are all set to run away with it.

San Francisco sits at 2-0 by way of its win over Green Bay (1-1) in Week 1. Few expected Detroit (1-1) to achieve anything at Candlestick Park this weekend – the team hasn’t won there since 1975 – but the win at Lambeau field was a huge surprise.

Of course, Arizona’s win over New England was completely unexpected, and many were actually surprised the Cards knocked off Seattle last week. If Arizona had been 0-2 this weekend, nobody would have batted an eyelid.

Both remaining 2-0 teams were somewhat unknowns heading into the season. San Diego has looked solid so far but against lesser competition. Philadelphia has played ugly but scraped victories over Cleveland and Baltimore, a good sign heading forward.

Slip Sliding Away

Six teams finished Week 2 with a 0-2 record, and a mountain to climb. While some of these were somewhat predictable (Cleveland, Jacksonville), some come as a surprise, particularly the New Orleans Saints.

Despite the whole bounty scandal, few would have expected the Saints to drop its opening games. With Washington and Carolina on the schedule, New Orleans looked good to take at least one, if not both, of these. The question that now has to be asked is how much of this slip is to do with the improvement of both Washington and Carolina – few would argue that both have shown improvement over last campaign – and how much is down to the Saints missing Sean Payton on the sideline? A win over winless Kansas City could kickstart the Saints’ season.

Oakland and Kansas City were both part of the to-close-to-call AFC West, but after two weeks neither looks like a threat to Denver and San Diego. They’ll have to make do with beating each other up.

Finally, the jury’s still out on Tennessee who has come up against two tough teams in Houston and San Diego. That being said, Detroit and a second outing against Houston are on tap next. A 0-4 Titans team is easy to picture right now.

 

Notes: Seven of Sunday’s 14 games went OVER with five going UNDER and two breaking EVEN. The Giants-Bucs game was the highest scoring at 34-41 (75 total points). Houston-Jacksonville and Dallas-Seattle were the lowest scoring games, both finishing 27-7 (34 total points). Tampa Bay was the only losing side to beat the spread.

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