You are not supposed to make bold end-of-season predictions after Week 2, but I am confident about this: The Seattle Seahawks will not be going back to the Super Bowl. History and math are the reasons.
At 0-2, the Seahawks face daunting history:
- Only 4 of the 98 teams that have made the Super Bowl (4%) started 0-2 -- the 1993 Dallas Cowboys; 1996 New England Patriots; 2001 New England Patriots and 2007 New York Giants. The 1993 Cowboys were missing star Emmitt Smith the first two games, while Tom Brady did not take over as the 2001 Patriots quarterback until Week 3. Seahawks fan are hoping there is a parallel with them missing holdout safety Kam Chancellor, but there are no signs the two sides are even talking.
- Only 2 of the last 45 teams to start 0-2 (going back to 2009) even made the playoffs, which shows the hole the Seahawks are in.
- Regardless of the first two games, the last team to lose the Super Bowl and win it the next season was the 1972 Dolphins. The last team to lose the Super Bowl and even make it back the next season was the 1993 Bills. Seattle was staring at a bad historical precedent even before the season started.
Math is the second thing going against the Seahawks. At 0-2, they trail the Packers by two games, and by losing at Green Bay Sunday means that Seattle has to pick up three games on the Pack the rest of the season if they are to pass them in the NFC standings. That's not happening unless Aaron Rodgers gets hurt. The Seahawks are also two games behind Arizona in the division, but they do play the Cardinals twice, which gives them hope. But it's hard to see Seattle getting as lucky as they did last season when the Cardinals, then 9-1, lost QB Carson Palmer for the season and had no functional offense.
To do anything in the playoffs -- if they are fortunate to make them -- Seattle needs home field. With Russell Wilson at quarterback, they are 1-1 on the road and 4-0 at home. If they don't get a top seed or win the division, this team is not going to win two or three road playoff games.
The 2015 Seahawks don't scare anyone. Their once-feared defense has given up 27 points in each of the first two games. On offense, Wilson is playing well, but the trade for tight end Jimmy Graham looks like a bust, especially since Seattle gave up their best offensive lineman (Max Unger) to get him. Against the Packers, Graham had only one catch and was thrown to only twice. Why trade for him if he's not a part of the offense? With the Saints, Graham was a master at going for the jump ball passes and yet Seattle has all but ignored him so far.
The Seahawks are a talented team and I still see them in the playoffs, but as a wild card. This is not a group that's going to be a threepeat Super Bowl team. There's too much history and math to overcome.
Elsewhere in Week 2:
--I am baffled by how the national NFL media continue to fawn over Chip Kelly and the Eagles. On NBC, Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison were still confident that the 0-2 Eagles would turn it around. Based on what? Kelly looks more like Steve Spurrier when he coached the Redskins than a football guru -- a great college coach who is over his head in the NFL. Going back to 2014, the Eagles have now lost five of their last six games.
Sunday against Dallas, the Eagles were spectacularly bad on offense. DeMarco Murray has 11 yards(!) rushing total in two games and looks like a massive free agent bust. Sam Bradford looks like the same average QB he was in St. Louis.The Eagles are lucky to be playing in a bad division and even more lucky that the Cowboys have lost stars Tony Romo and Dez Bryant for a minimum of two months, so they are not dead yet as far as the playoffs are concerned. Kelly got rid of a lot of talent in the offseason and so far he is rolling snake eyes.
--Despite losing Romo and Bryant, I still think the Cowboys are in good shape to win the division. They are 2-0 with two division wins and have a defense playing at a high level. It will get even better when lineman Greg Hardy is back in Week 5. If backup QB Brandon Weeden can play efficiently and not commit turnovers, he can hold down the fort until Romo comes back. The Cowboys are lucky to be in the NFC East, where 9-7 is probably good enough to win the division. The only caveat to this is if Romo misses more than eight or so games.
--Same old. There are only three 2-0 teams in the AFC. One is the Cincinnati Bengals, a team that has made the playoffs the last four seasons and have zero playoff wins to show for it. They are suspect until proven otherwise.
The other two are the Broncos and Patriots, the last two AFC champs. They are winning in opposite fashion: The Patriots look unstoppable on offense in two games (68 points) but are a sieve on defense (800 total yards allowed). In contrast, the Broncos have the best defense through two games (seven takeaways) but a wildly inconsistent offense (no running game and a shaky Peyton Manning). If these teams correct their deficiencies, we likely will see one of them the No. 1 playoff seed, the other No. 2, just like the last three seasons. As long as Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are around, it seems like more of the same in the AFC.
--The Ravens are 0-2 for the first time since John Harbaugh became coach in 2008. More baffling, they lost to the Raiders, 37-30, a team that lost by 20 to the Bengals last week. The Ravens host the Bengals next week, which makes it a must-win for Baltimore.
--Hot player of the week: Danny Amendola, Patriots receiver. Check out this brilliant catch against the Bills (at the 1:20 mark). Plus, he's easy on the eyes and has a rocking body: