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0-for-7: Which new NFL coach will break through this week?

0-for-7: Which new NFL coach will break through this week?

Seven head coaches were fired last season and seven new ones took their places in 2018. What are they learning? It’s not easy to win in the National Football League. Matt Nagy, Mike Vrabel, Jon Gruden, Frank Reich, Pat Shurmur, Matt Patricia and Steve Wilks all lost their debuts.

According to Elias Sports Bureau research, it was only the fourth time since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger that no team with a new head coach won its first game: 0-4 in 1974, 0-4 in 1986, 0-6 in 2001.

Will we see a winner in Week 2? Here’s a closer look.

Week 1: Lost 33-13 to Rams

Week 2 opponent: at Denver (1-0)

FPI chance to win: 36.2 percent

He said it: “We have work to do. It’s obvious. We have work to do. We’re going to build this football team back. It might not happen tonight, but we’re going to keep laying bricks. We have a great group of guys. We’ll get ready for the next battle.”

Why he wins or won’t win in Week 2: Gruden was hired to take the Raiders’ offense to the next level, and he said all offseason that Amari Cooper would be the centerpiece to Oakland’s passing offense. But Cooper caught just one pass, on three targets, for 9 yards against the Rams. Gruden has to get Cooper and quarterback Derek Carr clicking on a short week with the Broncos on the horizon, and the coach admitted as much. Gruden also said that’s easier said than done with Denver’s “No-Fly Zone” secondary and a fierce pass rush that does not give much time for deep routes to develop. If the Raiders cannot get Cooper and the wideouts involved, it will be another long day for Gruden. — Paul Gutierrez

Week 1: Lost 24-23 to Packers

Week 2 opponent: vs. Seattle (0-1)

FPI chance to win: 57.8 percent

He said it: “I’m about to learn where we’re at as a staff, where I’m at as a coach and where they’re at as players. That’s the most challenging part and that’s why they bring me in here — for these types of situations. It is not going to be rosy the whole time. It’s not.”

Why he wins or won’t win in Week 2: Nagy has plenty of talent to coach. That’s first and foremost. The Bears had Green Bay on the ropes until Aaron Rodgers went off in the fourth quarter. Nagy and the Bears should learn from that experience. Chicago’s defense also figures to improve in Week 2, as key offseason additions Khalil Mack and Roquan Smith get another full week to practice in Vic Fangio’s scheme. Nagy’s offense struggled in the second half at Lambeau Field, but the extra time to prepare for Seattle in Week 2 is bound to benefit quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who is still a work in progress. The Seahawks are a team in transition, meaning there’s a reasonable chance Nagy will earn his first victory as an NFL head coach in front of a Monday night audience. — Jeff Dickerson

Week 1: Lost 48-17 to Jets

Week 2 opponent: at San Francisco (0-1)

FPI chance to win: 25.4 percent

He said it: “In general, all of it just has to be better. Just start from the top and work our way down. I don’t think there’s anything you can say, other than it’s all just execution and coaching, and all that stuff has to be better from that standpoint.”

Why he wins or won’t win in Week 2: The Lions’ best defensive player, Ezekiel Ansah, is injured again. Quarterback Matthew Stafford is beat up. The Lions are on the road, going across the country, on a short week. That’s a tough task for any team. Add in that Detroit looked far from competitive against a Jets team that started a rookie quarterback, and it’s tough to imagine the Lions being able to pull off a win on the road against Jimmy Garoppolo, a quarterback who knows exactly what Patricia’s defenses are going to look like. Detroit has a history of bouncing back after big losses, but so far, nothing the Lions have shown in the preseason or regular season gives a hint that this year’s group has the ability to do that. — Michael Rothstein

Week 1: Lost 34-23 to Bengals

Week 2 opponent: at Washington (1-0)

FPI chance to win: 29.8 percent

He said it: “This is a brutal league and the losses are tough, especially the first one of the year because you put so much into it. But at the end of the day, we line up and half the teams in the league are in our same situation and we get ready to fire it up next week.”

Why he wins or won’t win in Week 2: The Colts have started each of the past four seasons 0-2. It’s imperative they put an end to that streak by winning at Washington, because the three games that follow are at Philadelphia, home against Houston and at New England — all teams that are expected to be in the mix for a playoff spot. The offense should be even better after totaling 380 yards in Week 1. The Colts might have left tackle Anthony Castonzo (hamstring) and running back Marlon Mack (hamstring) back. The Colts struggled stopping the run against Cincinnati (101 yards) and in the preseason. Now they have to deal with a Redskins team that rushed for 182 yards in Week 1. The wait for that first win will extend into at least the third week of the season for Reich. — Mike Wells

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Darren Woodson and Tedy Bruschi break down the rivalry game between the Cowboys and Giants.

Week 1: Lost 20-15 to Jaguars

Week 2 opponent: at Dallas (0-1)

FPI chance to win: 28.5 percent

He said it: “It’s disappointing when you lose. The one good thing is our team fought from the front to the back. They fought all the way through the game.”

Why he wins or won’t win in Week 2: This might be the Giants’ best chance to win during a brutal seven-game opening stretch. Shurmur was able to scheme open receivers against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He shouldn’t have trouble doing the same against a Dallas Cowboys secondary that doesn’t even come close to comparing to what they faced last week. That gives the Giants a chance if quarterback Eli Manning (0 TDs, pick-six INT) can make more plays on Sunday night. This is a vital game for both teams. The loser falls to 0-2 and faces an uphill battle. — Jordan Raanan

Week 1: Lost 27-20 to Dolphins

Week 2 opponent: vs. Houston (0-1)

FPI chance to win: 50.4 percent

He said it: “We have to persevere and play through whatever situations. In this case, weather, lightning, that just happened. I thought we handled it well the two times that we had to do it, but in the end, we didn’t do enough to win the game. We didn’t coach well enough and we didn’t play well enough.”

Why he wins or won’t win in Week 2: The Titans have to collapse the pocket around Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. If Tennessee doesn’t get rookie Harold Landry back from an ankle injury, it will be hard to pressure the quarterback without a healthy group of outside linebackers. Veteran outside linebacker Derrick Morgan is recovering from a knee injury. Defensive coordinator Dean Pees will have to rely on defensive tackle Jurrell Casey to get interior pressure and be more creative with his blitz schemes. Tennessee can’t allow Watson to buy time to connect with dangerous wideout DeAndre Hopkins. A lack of pass rush will lead to a Titans loss in Week 2. — Turron Davenport

Week 1: Lost 24-6 to Redskins

Week 2 opponent: at L.A. Rams (1-0)

FPI chance to win: 14.4 percent

He said it: “There are some things we definitely have to go back and correct. And that’s going to start with me. This one game doesn’t define our season. Rather not, if we would have won, it wouldn’t have defined our season.”

Why he wins or won’t win in Week 2: There won’t be anything easy about facing the Los Angeles Rams. The Cardinals’ receivers, aside from Larry Fitzgerald, were all but invisible in Arizona’s season-opening loss to Washington. Now they’ll have to face two of the best corners — Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters — in the NFL. That doesn’t bode well for a resurgence. Up front, rookie center Mason Cole will have two of the best defensive tackles in the league — Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh — in his face throughout the game. Arizona showed last week that its run defense wasn’t what it once was, and that was against a 33-year-old running back. What’s going to happen against a younger, better Todd Gurley II? It won’t be pretty. — Josh Weinfuss

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