It is a question we can all ask ourselves when we arrive in a position that is very positive or extremely negative, “How did we get here?”
It can also be applied in the National Football League when handicapping the games. That is, if a team is doing extremely well or horrible in the won/loss column, how did they get there? If after two games a squad is 2-0 are they good?
If they are 0-2 are they doomed?
Well, it matters how they arrived there. For instance, take the Las Vegas Raiders. They are 2-0 this year but a closer look at how they got their two wins, what were the situations in their opening and second week games, illuminates more caution for future matchups than some other teams might inspire.
The Raiders did win on the road as a bet-on favorite on opening day, but it may turn out that they defeated the worst team in the league by four points in that game. They won at Carolina over the Panthers by a 34-30 score. In second week action, the Raiders were in a sweet spot at home when they opened their new stadium against a New Orleans Saints squad that was coming off their opening home victory over Tom Brady and his new Tampa Bay Buccaneers team.
Oakland now takes their show on the road, playing an early game on Sunday against the New England Patriots who are coming off a loss in Seattle despite a furious fourth quarter comeback that almost overtook the Seahawks on their home field.
Are the Raiders more likely to move to 3-0 in their toughest challenge of the season, or is it probable that the Patriots respond to a win after a loss, a Bill Belichick pattern, and both teams end Sunday with 2-1 marks?
How about the setup in Buffalo, where the Bills host the Los Angeles Rams in another Sunday morning matchup.
The Bills are 2-0 this year, but their wins were over a pair of AFC East Division rivals that are not expected to have winning seasons this year, the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins. Meanwhile, the Rams, who won the National Football Conference two years ago and suffered a tough campaign in 2019, have bounced off their disappointing year with a pair of wins to open this season.
The Rams upset the Dallas Cowboys to open the Sunday Night Football schedule in their fabulous new stadium, and then went on the road and hammered the Philadelphia Eagles like they were a wounded bird. Fact is, the conquest over the Cowboys, a team that narrowly got their first win last Sunday at home over the Atlanta Falcons, was a perfect motivational spot for Sean McVay’s team. Last week, they did catch a banged up Eagles team that lost to the talent challenged Washington Redskins (I know they now want to be called name to be determined or something, but I'm calling them the Redskins until they come up with a real new name for this football team) in their opener and somehow were listed as a home favorite over the Rams last week.
In other words, the Rams two wins has not yet earned them a victory in a tough spot. And, while the Bills have not played a talented opponent, they did beat the Miami Dolphins last Sunday on the road as a bet-on favorite … and yes, they didn’t cover the point spread.
When the Rams and Bills meet on Sunday, we are looking at two teams that have a bright campaign on the horizon, either one of these squads could represent the NFC in Super Bowl LV. But, we have an edge here, the public thinks the Rams two wins are more impressive than Buffalo’s victories and that has prompted the books to drop the opening line on this game that favored the Bills by a field goal, to Buffalo by two points.
While this is the toughest challenge talentwise the Bills have faced this season, that only serves to increase their focus and motivation for this contest. While the Rams, looking to win a second straight road game, are walking into a buzzsaw that will have them reevaluate their strengths after this expected one-sided blowout loss.
Qoxhi Picks: Buffalo Bills (-2) over Los Angeles Rams