For the first time since 1997, just six NFL teams have started 2-0: Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Houston Texans, Philadelphia Eagles, San Diego Chargers, and San Francisco 49ers.
With this group, it is unlikely we will be watching any “Path to Perfection” run late into the season, which has been very competitive thus far with a record 20 teams at 1-1.
You can split the six 2-0 teams into three categories:
So. Philadelphia at Arizona. Worst 2-0 matchup ever?
Dating back to last season, Arizona is tied for the league's best record in its last 11 games (9-2). If that’s not enough, guess which team has the longest active winning streak? Yep. Philadelphia has won their last six games.
So why does this matchup have such a foul smell to it? Let’s review how they reached this point.
Philadelphia leads the league in offensive yards (942), first downs (51) and has the best defensive passer rating (35.1). That is a potent combo, and yet it just became the first team in NFL history to open the season with consecutive one-point victories.
Why have the Eagles cut it so close? They lead the league in giveaways with nine. That’s five in Cleveland and four more last week in the 24-23 win over Baltimore. It is no fluke either. The Eagles had 38 turnovers last season, which were the second most in the league. Their style of offense is high-risk, high-reward.
The fact that they are 2-0 is astounding when given the facts.
How have the Eagles actually won? Vick has led late game-winning touchdown drives of 91 yards at Cleveland and 80 yards against Baltimore. Vick is the 14th quarterback since 1960 to lead a fourth quarter comeback and game-winning drive in each of his team’s first two games.
Cleveland’s rookie linebacker L.J. Fort dropped a game-ending interception by Vick right before the touchdown, and the Ravens were hosed on a bad offensive pass interference penalty that would have given them a 27-17 lead with 5:29 left. Instead the Eagles come out on top with one-point victories.
The Cardinals know all about fortunate wins. They tied the NFL record with four overtime wins in 2011. They also tied the NFL record with eight wins in a season resulting from a game-winning score in the fourth quarter or overtime. Their last eight games have been decided by no more than seven points.
On Sunday, they picked up a signature win in New England. After looking like they would fall victim to another Tom Brady comeback, the defense held, preventing the Patriots from tying the game late on a two-point conversion.
What followed was a series of errors from both teams, with incredible momentum swings that made you think one team was going to win the game, only for something catastrophic to happen. After Ryan Williams fumbled the ball on a 3rd-and-13 run, the Patriots were in great position.
Having their touchdown wiped away by a Rob Gronkowski holding penalty, the Patriots relied on accurate kicker Stephen Gostkowski to win the game with a 42-yard field goal. He was wide left, and Arizona was 2-0.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
In Week 1, the Cardinals had to come back in the fourth quarter to beat Seattle, and did so with Kevin Kolb coming off the bench to engineer the game-winning drive. With rookie Russell Wilson having an opportunity to be the hero, his fourth-down pass went through Braylon Edwards’ hands with 0:18 left. Arizona won 20-16.
Hard to believe based on preseason expectation and regular season performance, but either the Cardinals or Eagles will be 3-0 after Sunday’s game. Well, that is barring a tie, in which the last two NFL ties have involved Andy Reid (2008 Eagles at Bengals) and Michael Vick (2002 Falcons at Steelers).
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