THE SANTA CLARA
October 1, 2015
Aaron Rodgers said this to Packers fans last year after Green Bay had fallen to 1-2, and from there he won 11 of his next 13 games and took home his second MVP.
The next week, the Patriots were written off after they got blown out by the Chiefs in Week 4 to drop to 2-2, and they responded by winning the Super Bowl.
The first few weeks of the NFL season just aren’t that significant. There are many factors that determine whether or not a team will make the playoffs, but the record from a three or four game sample size has to be near the bottom of the list.
It all starts with the quarterback, and any team without a legitimate QB won’t see the postseason. For instance, the Jets have shown some promise these first few games, but unless Ryan Fitzpatrick can somehow pretend to be a decent quarterback for an entire season, they won’t have a shot. The same can be said about the Vikings, who are also 2-1, but at least a year away from contending when Teddy Bridgewater is merely a game manager.
And it doesn’t matter that the Colts and Seahawks are 1-2.
Two bad games doesn’t mean Andrew Luck isn’t still a premier quarterback. And even though it seems like Pete Carroll is trying to lose games for Seattle, with his gift to the Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX and overtime onside kick against the Rams, the Seahawks will be just fine. Their defense is still elite, especially with Kam Chancellor returning, and Russell Wilson continuing to improve.
As long as Indianapolis and Seattle remain relatively healthy, they’re essentially guaranteed a spot in the playoffs. But it takes just one injury to ruin a season. The Steelers and Cowboys are about to find this out, as they’re without their star quarterbacks for a good chunk of the season. That’s far more important than a couple of losses.
The one thing that these early games can impact is home-field advantage.
It’s easy to point out that the Seahawks Week 1 victory over Green Bay last year ensured that the NFC Championship would be in Seattle.
But home-field advantage isn’t that important either. If Mike McCarthy showed a speck of courage with his play-calling or if Aaron Rodgers had a healthy calf, the Packers would have won in Seattle.
And do we really think the only reason the Patriots crushed the Colts 45-7 in last year’s AFC Championship was because the game was in Foxboro? Of course not. Obviously it was the footballs. I mean empty accusations of deflated footballs make up for a 38-point loss, right?
Anything can happen on a given Sunday, but upsets and bad losses rarely last an entire season. When the Super Bowl comes to Santa Clara in February, we won’t be talking about who won in Week 3.
Andrew Slap is a junior communication major.