The Fine Fifteen
1. Baltimore (2-0). When the new regime took over in 2008, coach John Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron told the offense it was long past time that the unit carried its weight. Stop losing to the defense in practice. Stand up for yourselves.
Any doubt now the offense is an equal in Baltimore? The most impressive thing is the offense. At 34.5 points a game, the Ravens are second in the NFL to New Orleans.
2. Minnesota (2-0). "We just were ... the best word I can think of is slow,'' Brad Childress said over the phone from Detroit, alluding to the first few Sunday drives by the Vikings. But the Vikes woke up, and Brett Favre played like a 25-year-old. Or 35-year-old. Whatever. Imagine playing on the road, against a team with a fired-up crowd, indoors, and your 39-year-old quarterback has four incompletions all day.
3. New Orleans (2-0). Sean Payton has watched his team take two foes to the woodshed now, and he was careful after trouncing the Eagles in Philly to tell his team it really hasn't accomplished anything yet. "They're gonna start feeding loads of cheese, the local media, national media,'' Payton said in the postgame locker room. Yes we are. And it's deserved. A 26-point win at Philly? You're legit, Saints.
4. New York Jets (2-0). Houston was the third-rated offense in football last year. The Patriots were fifth. And in the first two games of the season, the Jets defense allowed those two teams zero touchdowns.
5. New York Giants (2-0). That's one of the best games Eli Manning's played in the NFL.
6. Pittsburgh (1-1). Willie Parker, 12 carries for 47 yards. What happened to the Steelers running game? Second straight game it hasn't been there.
7. Atlanta (2-0). Talk about a team sneaking up on the league. The Falcons are the quietest 2-0 team in football, and maybe the quietest team period.
8. New England (1-1). The worrisome thing (well, there are so many, but the biggest one) is the inability to pressure the passer, except for the two-sack final drive a week ago against Buffalo. Bill Belichick must trust his back end more than his front, but with Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco coming to Foxboro in the next two weeks, the Patriots just have to find a pass rush.
9. Indianapolis (1-0). Two night games in six days in the tropics -- at Miami tonight, at Arizona on Sunday night.
10. San Francisco (2-0). Frank Gore broke touchdown runs of 79 and 80 yards against Seattle. If Adrian Peterson doesn't win the rushing title, my money's on Gore.
11. Dallas (1-1). Cowboys have played the first two games of the season without sacking the quarterback or forcing a turnover.
12. Green Bay (1-1). Good defensive teams, which I still think the Packers can be, just cannot let Cedric Benson shred them.
13. Chicago (1-1). Cutler redeemeth.
14. Philadelphia (1-1). "It was an absolutely horrendous performance by our team,'' said Andy Reid. 'Nuff said.
15. Tennessee (0-2). Almost put Buffalo here, but Tennessee's just better, even though the Titans looked so sloppy on defense against the Texans.
Quote of the Week I
"You played a great game. You're really a smart player."
Quote of the Week II
"The vastness of the concourses, some of them 65 feet wide, can make you feel as if you are lost in an international airport terminal ... The four-sided video board over the field is so big, and hangs so low, that a Tennessee punter hit it during a preseason game. It's a nice irony that for all the space, there may not be enough room at Cowboys Stadium to play a game.''
Quote of the Week III
"I don't have all the answers. If I did, I'd be a cab driver.''
Clark died Wednesday. He was Don Shula's line coach in Miami in the seventies, developing Hall of Fame linemen Jim Langer and Larry Little. Clark, coached the 49ers in 1976, then led the Lions to two playoff appearances as coach.
Stat of the Week
This is too good to pass up from Elliott Kalb, my NBC studio partner: Tom Brady has been on the field for 21 offensive possessions this young season. With the exception of his heroic two series in the last six minutes of the win over Buffalo, the other 19 have resulted in no touchdown passes, two interceptions and a 64.2 passer rating.
Of course that number is not as frightening as JaMarcus Russell's completion percentage in his first two games of the season -- 35.2.
Tweet of the Week
"Sign in the stands to Kiffin: 'Even the Raiders don't want you.' ''
NFL Truth & Rumors