Early Losses Don't Spell Doom, But...

When a team is winless after the first two weeks of the season, most experts say not to panic the season isn't over. It may not be over, but the possibility to make the playoffs is pretty grim.

The Colts have an opportunity to put an early choke-hold on the AFC South with a victory in Miami on Monday night. That's because the reigning division champion Tennessee Titans coughed up a 21-7 lead at home to Houston on Sunday and are 0-2 while staring at a road trip to the undefeated Jets.

"We've lost two games in a row. We're putting ourselves in a hole right now, and we're going to put ourselves in a hole too deep to get out of if we don't get it turned around this week," Titans defensive end Jevon Kearse said.

Carolina is the only other 2008 playoff team to start off 0-2. With the offense struggling to protect the ball and the defense unable to stop the run or pass consistently, the Panthers are already in a deep hole as they trail Atlanta and New Orleans by two games in the NFC South.

The reality of the situation is that of the 160 teams to start 0-2 since 1990, only 22 (13.7 percent) have reached the playoffs.

"I don't think it's a head for the hills, or whatever words you want to attach to it to make it more than it is," Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith said.
The aforementioned Jets are one of the league's surprises. Not just because they're 2-0 with a rookie quarterback, but because they've won on the road at Houston and knocked off the mighty Patriots at home.

Oh, and they're doing it with a defense. In a league that has been dominated by offensive landmarks so far, the Jets are the first team since 2006 to start a season without allowing a defensive touchdown through two weeks.

Week 3 could be dubbed the Get To Know Your Backup Guards Week:

--The Eagles benched high-priced free agent right guard Stacey Andrews in favor of veteran backup Max Jean-Gilles. Andrews said it's because he's still learning the pass-blocking scheme; coach Andy Reid said it's because Andrews hasn't fully recovered from a knee injury. Whatever page Andrews is on, it's not the same one Reid is reading.

--Redskins right guard Randy Thomas suffered a triceps injury that might be season-ending. Will Montgomery, a four-year veteran with six career starts, is the likely replacement. Chad Reinhart, a 2008 third-round pick who has yet to take a regular-season snap, is another candidate.

--The Raiders will be without left guard Robert Gallery for an undetermined amount of time due to a broken left fibula. Center Chris Morris could slide to Gallery's spot, but the team will also give reserve tackle Khalif Barnes a chance to work at guard.

--Texans left guard Chester Pitts will have his streak of 114 consecutive starts snapped by a sprained right knee that will sideline him 3-4 weeks. He'll be replaced by inconsistent three-year veteran Kasey Studdard.

--If you're not familiar with the name of Nate Livings, don't be concerned. The Bengals' left guard is out a few weeks with a knee injury. Evan Mathis made his first start in three years in Livings' place.

--Browns right guard Floyd Womack left with an ankle injury and was replaced by fellow veteran journeyman Hank Fraley.


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