The League

Dave Goldberg
Sports Reporter

Dave Goldberg

Covered the NFL for the AP for 25 years and now is a senior NFL writer for

Five early surprises


Everyone loves to bash the Cowboys.

Everyone loves to bash Brett.

So the surprises at the start of the season are enjoyable to a lot of people -- the Vikings and Cowboys both at 0-2. Given their schedules, it was hard to see it coming -- you'd think the Cowboys would be good enough to win at least one of two against the Redskins and Bears. Probably both.

And if the Vikings had a tough trip into New Orleans for that stand-alone season opener, you'd have to think they could beat Miami at home. The Dolphins play defense as if Bill Parcells was the coach, not a semi-retired "construction engineer," but Minnesota almost always wins at home, even when it has an ordinary team.

Overall, there are five teams that surprise me: the Cowboys and Vikings plus Chicago, Pittsburgh and Houston. Yes, it's nice to see Tampa Bay and Kansas City win their first two, but I don't expect much in the long term from the Bucs, who took advantage of two teams worse than they are. And while Kansas City has some nice young players, I suspect that in the long term, they'll end up with between six and eight wins.

From the top (er, the bottom).

1. The Cowboys. We've seen this before. Wade takes the blame for the loss in Washington but Jason really made the bad call and Tony threw the stupid pass to Tashard that he really should have chucked into the stands. Everyone points fingers about the Chicago loss and Jerry says it's too early to fire anyone, implying that he might do that later. He won't. Dallas will still win the NFC East because the other teams aren't very good. In other years, the Cowboys are in trouble. This year, they're probably not.

2. The Vikings. Bigger problem than the Cowboys because Chicago is better than we thought and Green Bay is as good -- I have the Packers going to the Super Bowl. Brett looks like an old man and as long as Sidney Rice is out, the only receiver he trusts is Visanthe Shiancoe, the tight end. The defense remains very good but beating two teams? Not just the Packers but Chicago -- if Jay Cutler doesn't get disabled by his dismal offensive line, a defense with Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs and Julius Peppers can cause anyone problems.

3. The Bears. See above. Although they really lost the opener to Detroit when Calvin Johnson's game-winning (or losing) catch was ruled incomplete. Stupid rule.

4. The Steelers. Yes, they win Super Bowls every few years and a 2-0 start is nothing new. But I'm a regular contributor to KDKA's "Black and Gold Sunday'' show and during the summer I had to calm down the other guys on it, all Steelers fans, who thought they'd start 0-4 without Ben Roethlisberger. The worst they can start now is 2-2 and they beat Tennessee Sunday with Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch at QB because they ALWAYS play good defense and defense still wins more games than offense.

5. The Texans. For the last three years -- or since they accumulated enough talent to win -- the Texans have been a tease, losing just when they seem ready to take off. Example: a game with Indy a few years ago when they blew a 27-10 lead in the last half of the fourth quarter. Sound familiar. Redskins fans? The win over Indy and the comeback against the Skins may have finally instilled the confidence to go with the talent. And Brian Cushing, an outstanding linebacker, will be back in two more games after finishing his suspension.

But who really knows? The Giants went from 5-0 to 8-8 last season. Other teams do the opposite.

After two games?

Try these five.

By Dave Goldberg  |  September 21, 2010; 9:48 AM ET  | Category:  Chicago Bears , Dallas Cowboys , Dave Goldberg , Houston Texans , Kansas City Chiefs , Minnesota Vikings , Pittsburgh Steelers , Tampa Bay Buccaneers Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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I disagree with Dallas winning the East. The Cowboys are 0-2 and they have to play the Vikings,Packers and the Colts on the road not to mention the Giants and Eagles twice and the Redskins again. The Cowboys in my opinion will finish 9-7 or 8-8 and miss the playoffs. The Giants or the Redskins will win the East. Here are my Cowboys wins and losses

Giants at Home
Eagles at Home
Redskins at Home
Jags at Home
Titans at Home
Eagles away
Detroit at Home
Arizona away

Giants away
New Orlean s at Home

Posted by: Tank4u | September 21, 2010 6:17 PM

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