Ranking NFL’s 2-0 teams: Sorting out the contenders from the pretenders among Bucs, Panthers, Raiders and more

Two weeks is just not sufficient to find out whether or not groups are true contenders or pretenders within the NFL, however as we method Week 3 of the 2021 season, a variety of golf equipment have already got a head begin on a march to the postseason. Seven completely different groups, to be precise, are undefeated after two video games. However which ones would we at present deem “for actual?” And which ones are most likely destined to journey up down the highway? Right here, we have ranked all seven of the 2-0 groups:

Teddy Bridgewater has seemed nice, and Vic Fangio at all times boasts a feisty protection, but it surely’s arduous to check Teddy sustaining his big-play tempo when he is not going up towards wayward golf equipment just like the Giants and Jaguars. That does not imply Denver will bow out of the playoff race; they have the makings of a wild-card contender. However the scorching begin might be extra a tease than a promise.

Talking of teases, how typically have the Raiders stunned with Jon Gruden and Derek Carr, solely to fold when it issues most? The latter definitely seems relaxed slinging it across the yard, and Vegas’ protection has been surprisingly efficient up to now. However they have a tricky second-half schedule in a division which may characteristic three different playoff contenders. They will want full well being and their greatest efforts to maintain this up into December.

Give credit score to their protection, which restricted the upstart Eagles to 11 factors in Week 2; and Jimmy Garoppolo, who was easy within the opener and made some clutch throws after a sluggish begin in Philly. However they’ve almost misplaced to 2 semi-rebuilding groups, their secondary may be very skinny, and the damage bug remains to be buzzing. An eventual Trey Lance emergence would change issues, however for now, they really feel just like the least explosive of the NFC West contenders.

Are you able to consider Sam Darnold’s workforce ranks this excessive? The ex-Jets signal-caller has seemed calm and picked up in new surroundings, and greater than that, Carolina’s younger protection has taken a fair greater leap than anticipated. You’d most likely belief Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers construction greater than Darnold, Matt Rhule and Co. right here, however the Niners are additionally within the crowded NFC West, making them extra susceptible to slip-ups. Do not look now, however they appear like a legitimately balanced contender.

Chandler Jones is not going to get 5 sacks each recreation, as evidenced in Week 2, however so long as Kyler Murray is below heart, they’ll be arduous to include. The offense is simply loaded, and that goes a great distance in 2021. Solely the Buccaneers have scored extra factors by two weeks, which implies Arizona is a deadly weapon, even in a decent division race.

All that Matthew Stafford hype positive seems justified, as a result of Sean McVay has at his disposal a strong-armed and recharged veteran to information possibly the NFC’s greatest offense this facet of the Bucs and Cardinals. They’ve already confirmed they will win in a number of methods, and their protection, in its first 12 months post-Brandon Staley, nonetheless has foundational items. We’re shopping for Rams inventory.

1. Buccaneers

It is the straightforward reply, but it surely’s the best one. Tampa Bay almost misplaced its opener to Dallas as a result of it could not cease Dak Prescott, but it surely did not matter as a result of Tom Brady, at 44, is outwardly nonetheless getting into his prime. Then, in Week 2, Todd Bowles’ unit got here again to life with some game-changing turnovers, whereas Brady simply casually tossed one other 5 touchdowns. These guys are so good, and it begins on the QB place, an important within the recreation. Who could be shocked in the event that they make one other deep run?

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