I fell asleep on the couch last night and didn’t wake until this morning. (You know, like how the Vikings fall asleep in the 2nd half.) As a result, my week 3 recap is late and a little brief. My apologies.
Week Two Headlines
Vikings do it again
When you blow halftime leads of 17 and 20 points in consecutive weeks, there isn’t one person or unit to blame… unless that person is the coach. Please, Leslie Frazier, explain to me why Adrian Peterson carried five times in the second half? You are aware that a physical, bruising running back like Adrian Peterson is built to protect second half leads, right? RIGHT? Hand him the ball ten consecutive times and I’ll guarantee you get at least two first downs. Also, in case you’re unaware, running the ball chews a lot of game clock. Chewing game clock is ideal when protecting a lead. Throwing the football, with Donovan McNabb as your quarterback no less, is not a good idea, does not punish a defense, and does not eat up the clock. So, Mr. Frazier, to recap: You lost your third double-digit halftime lead in as many weeks because you’re a moron. I apologize for the brutality of this message. Sometimes the truth hurts.
At 3-0, are Bills and Lions serious contenders?
Three teams are 3-0 right now. The Bills and Lions are two of them. Hold on. Let’s read that again. The Bills and Lions are two of them. What does this mean? Has the NFL finally flipped? Is the era of Manning, Brady and the Steelers at its end? Come December, will Buffalo and Detroit remain at or near the top of the standings? That’s a lot of questions. Let’s address the last one.
I think Detroit is in this for the long haul. I’m not convinced they’re making the playoffs just yet, though. The NFC, while lacking more than one or two elite teams, is congested around that forecasted 9-7 to 11-5 range. The Lions will most likely fall somewhere in that group, at which point it will boil down to tiebreakers. There are concerns, though. Detroit doesn’t run the ball very well. The defense isn’t spectacular, either. After three games, the Lions look unbeatable when Matthew Stafford and the offense is clicking. But again, it’s only three games.
As for the Bills, I’m less optimistic. Buffalo’s offense can clearly contend with anyone in the league. Unfortunately, the Buffalo defense clearly cannot. More importantly, the Bills will be competing for a division crown with the Patriots and Jets. If they fail and require a Wildcard berth, they’ll battle the Patriots or Jets and Steelers or Ravens. Yes, Buffalo beat New England on Sunday, but everything had to go Buffalo’s way. And it did. How often does Tom Brady throw four picks? If that game is played 10 times, the Patriots are winning eight of them. I know I’m a party pooper, but I see Buffalo maxing out at nine wins. Seven to eight is a more realistic forecast.
Regardless of what I think, the resurgence in Buffalo and Detroit has been nothing short of fantastic. Just be careful before buying into the hype this early in the season. As Dennis Green would say, “If you wanna crown their a**es, then crown ‘em.” I prefer to wait.
Eagles are soft.
There isn’t enough space here.
Class of the NFL
It’s the Green Bay Packers and only the Packers… at least right now. I can’t remember the last time there were so few definitive favorites this early in the season. It’s not October yet and only four teams remain undefeated. Of those four teams, only the Packers feel like a legitimate Superbowl contender. I’m not discounting what the Lions and Bills have accomplished. However, both will need to prove they can sustain this level of play throughout an entire season. For now, the Packers are in a class of their own.
Someone take them to Chick-fil-A (NFL’s top 5)
1. Packers – Green Bay is on another level right now. I should just leave the 2nd spot empty for emphasis.
2. Saints – The offense keeps winning. You need 50 points to beat Drew Brees. Plus, New Orleans’ only defeat was to Green Bay, in Green Bay, at the last second.
3. Ravens – Two blowout wins. One ugly loss. The AFC looks weak..
4. Patriots – It’s not the first time New England got roughed up in Buffalo early in the year. Probably not the last, either.
5. Buffalo/Detroit – It’s way too early, but I feared for my safety, so I included both teams in the top 5 to appease the masses. Buffalo won’t reach the playoffs. Detroit’s no lock, either.
(Last Week: GB, NE, NO, NYJ, SD)
Hardly Ramen Noodle worthy (NFL’s bottom 5)
28. Vikings – Minnesota makes surrendering big leads look easy. How much would it take to get Mariano Rivera from the Yankees?
29. Colts – As we witnessed Sunday night, great defensive ends are worth the money. Unfortunately for Indy, franchise quarterbacks are worth more.
30. Rams – Someone better shower Sam Bradford off, and quick. He’s starting to get that David Carr stank on him.
31. Dolphins – Even in defeat, Miami looked adequate in week one. Not sure what’s happened since then. Clearly, neither does Tony Sparano.
32. Chiefs – This week’s loss was respectable, at least.
(Last Week: N/A, MIA, SEA, IND, KC)
Stock rising (but not in top 5, yet)
Giants – Regardless of injuries, talent deficiencies, drama, etc…, Tom Coughlin always puts out a competitive team. Giants are contenders in the NFC East.
Titans – Huge problem if Kenny Britt gets put on the shelf. Still, Tennessee and Houston will battle for AFC South crown.
Buccaneers – It’s rarely pretty, but Josh Freeman wins football games.
Stock falling (but not in bottom 5, yet)
Eagles – The “Dream Team” can’t close, can’t stay healthy, and can’t right a defense they invested millions in over the offseason.
Chargers – San Diego looked better in defeat last week than they did in a win over Kansas City on Sunday. Jason Whitlock asked on Twitter yesterday if Philip Rivers is overrated. Laughable a month ago. Open to discussion now.
Bears – The more things change, the more they stay the same. Just ask Brian Urlacher. Formidable defense. Inadequate offense.
Things I thought and would’ve said on TV if someone paid me…
- I know the Houston Texans reside in the AFC, but they should know red zone field goals don’t knock off Drew Brees and the Saints. If you’re not putting seven on the board, you’re going home a loser.
- If Blaine Gabbert ever figures out how to get the football from center, he may have a decent NFL career.
- Cam Newton, earth. Earth, Cam Newton. I hope the meeting wasn’t too abrupt.
- I came into the season high on the San Diego Chargers. I was still feeling good even after last week’s thrashing in New England. However, after a miserable win over the Chiefs, I’m worried. Philip Rivers looked awful. The defense is nothing spectacular and Norv Turner is still coaching. I need a new bandwagon.
- Calvin Johnson’s reception to essentially win the game in overtime was breathtaking. Falling down. Over the opposite shoulder. Fingertip grab. It’s almost unfair. Matthew Stafford’s advantage over opposing cornerbacks is equivalent to Shaq posting up Dikembe Mutombo in the 2001 NBA Finals.
- Congratulations, 49ers. You bored America to sleep. You too, Cincinnati.
- There’s no reason to panic in St. Louis, at least not yet. However, if Sam Bradford continues to take a beating, he may not be around when the Rams can finally win some games.
- Michael Vick claims officials treat him differently. Josh Freeman can make the same argument. Freeman got lit-up with a dirty helmet-led shot by; you guessed it, an Atlanta Falcon. No flag was thrown. I don’t think it’s a race thing. I think NFL officials are just too dumb to call the game equally without taking into account the stature of the player under center. Just because a guy can outrun a defender doesn’t mean its open season for the defense.
- I failed to watch a single snap of the Titans win over the Broncos. However, it looks like Matt Hasselbeck could lead Tennessee to a division title in the lousy AFC South. Good for him.
- For a defense that barks as much as the Jets’, they sure lack bite. 234 rushing yards allowed at 7.3 yards per carry? And I thought the Eagle defense was soft.
- By the way, the Raiders may have struck gold with Darren McFadden. One of my favorite players to watch now. He’ll outrun anyone on the field and he doesn’t shy away from contact. Still not sold on Oakland’s receivers, though.
- Jay Cutler is starting to look a lot like Rex Grossman, Kyle Orton, and every other Bears quarterback that failed in Chicago.
- Should we schedule the NFC Championship in Green Bay now, or wait another week?
- Buffalo has surrendered 66 points in two weeks and still won. What happens when the temperature drops and the weather deteriorates in upstate New York? One way or another, the Bills are going to need some production from their defense. I don’t seem them getting it.
- I can’t remember a quarterback having so little to do with his four touchdown passes as Eli Manning did on Sunday. It’s not Manning’s fault, obviously, but the Eagle defense made Manning’s job easy.
- Not sure who’s win on Sunday was uglier; Pittsburgh’s or San Diego’s? What happened to the Steelers running game? Ben Roethlisberger can’t do it all.
- Combined points scored by the NFC West on Sunday; 43. I know I like to rag on the NFC West, but it’s actually hard to think of something positive to say. It’s not even fun to make fun anymore.
Things I never thought and would not say this week…
- Nnamdi Asomugha showed why he’s one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL.
- The New York Jets clearly have the NFL’s best defense.
- Cam Newton, Andy Dalton and Blaine Gabbert didn’t play like rookies this week.
- Michael Vick’s Ironman streak will one day surpass Peyton Manning’s and approach Brett Favre’s.
- The St. Louis Rams are for real. The Baltimore Ravens got lucky.
Fantasy Nightmare Football update of the week…
- It was an ugly fantasy week for me but nothing surpassed the horrendous Eagles. And it wasn’t even close.