Who would have thought that two weeks into the NFL season, the Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers – three stone-cold playoff locks according to many before the season – would all be 0-2? Or that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Kansas City Chiefs and Chicago Bears would be 2-0?
What’s real and what isn’t after just a few games?
Dallas, which plays on the road at Houston this week, is in trouble. So is Minnesota. Brett Favre should not have returned for another season. The 49ers play in a weak division and will right the ship. They played a tough game Monday night against New Orleans before losing.
Tampa Bay has beaten Cleveland and Carolina. Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler looks like a different guy under new offensive coordinator Mike Martz, who still doesn’t get his due as an offensive guru.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Wichita Eagle
Which brings me to the Chiefs, who beat San Diego during an opening-night monsoon at Arrowhead Stadium, then won on the road over the Cleveland Browns.
I believe the Chiefs will have a better record than anyone could have imagined. And by better record, I’m talking about 9-7 or even (gasp!) 10-6.
That doesn’t mean the Chiefs are a juggernaut. This is not an elite team in the class of Green Bay, Pittsburgh, New Orleans or the like.
It’s all in the schedule. The Chiefs have what appears to be a highly favorable schedule after playing road games in Houston next month.
Kansas City has a key game this week against the 49ers at Arrowhead. San Fran is reeling and will be nasty. But if the Chiefs can get that one, they go into their bye week at 3-0. Then they have to deal with the tough road games against the AFC South foes. They’ll likely be 3-2 after that.
Then, however, comes this stretch of 11 games to finish the regular season: Jacksonville, Buffalo, at Oakland, at Denver, Arizona, at Seattle, Denver, at San Diego, at St. Louis, Tennessee, Oakland.
Let’s be conservative here and say the only road wins the Chiefs get are at Oakland and at St. Louis. That’s 5-5. How many home games can the Chiefs win? Jacksonville? Buffalo? Arizona? Denver? Tennessee? Oakland?
Is 5-1 outlandish? I don’t think so. Which would give the Chiefs a 10-6 record and a potential playoff spot.
Again, if you’re reading this closely, you have not come across a point where I have referred to the Chiefs as a legitimate contender. Because they’re not. The process of rebuilding the team has only just begun.
But it’s a bonus to be rebuilding against such a soft schedule. All I’m saying is: Don’t be surprised if the Chiefs do a lot better than anybody anticipated.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the parking lot, the Royals continue their slide toward 100 losses. At 61-88 with 13 games remaining, Kansas City isn’t going to reach 100, which I suppose is a small victory for the franchise. But this was supposed to be a season – again – in which the Royals improved.
Help, though, might be on the way. Royals prospects are being anointed everywhere you look. “Baseball America” put five Royals prospects on its minor league All-Star team for 2010. Third baseman Mike Moustakas was the minors’ player of the year after hitting 36 homers and driving in 124 runs. First baseman Eric Hosmer, catcher Wil Myers, starting pitcher John Lamb and reliever Tim Collins are the others on “Baseball America’s” list.
Small-market teams like Kansas City have to build through their system, and it looks as if the Royals are finally getting that. Their prospect list runs deep and a day is coming – it really is – when the Royals are going to be more competitive. Of course, not all prospects pan out. Others take time.
But better days are coming for the Royals. Finally.
I watched the terrific HBO series “Hard Knocks,” which this year followed the New York Jets through training camp.
While watching the series, I found myself becoming a bit of a Jets fan. But after a couple of regular-season games, I’m finding that I can’t stand the Jets and want them to lose every game.
Why the change?
The Jets are just too brash. Their fans are too brash. Their coach, Rex Ryan, feeds the brashness. So, while I like second-year quarterback Mark Sanchez and a few other Jets players, my dislike for players such as Braylon Edwards has tainted what I thought were positive feelings for the team.
If it’s Tuesday, it’s time for another edition of “Who is the Opinion Line caller?”
If they had left the divots in the golf course after last week’s hailstorm, everyone could have made a hole-in-one.
Because of the inadequacy of the humor, this person is over 60. Not that older people can’t be funny . . . but, really? It’s a man who plays golf four or five times a year, on public courses. Never private. He lives in a three-bedroom house and is diligent about conserving energy. His wife, after years of trying to remain engaged, now just ignores his attempts at humor and is thankful when he nods off in the evenings while watching Fox News.
I would like to get a bumper sticker saying, “Sorry. I just poke along at the speed limit.”
This is the same guy.