Pre-Season Week 3 Part 2

Right a lot of games on Saturday, so let’s get to this.

Chicago Bears 34 Oakland Raiders 26

Great game for the Bears on both sides of the ball. On Offence, Cutler answered his critics by hitting a number of Receivers whose names aren’t Brandon Marshall. Making long passes, short passes. Cutler looked great, on the odd occasion he faced pressure, he managed to evade it. This could be a great year for Cutler. Forte looked illusive and strong, catching balls on the screen and picking up yards most backs wouldn’t get. The O-line continued to look like a bunch of very organised bruisers, gave Cutler plenty of time and Forte plenty of room. Its worth noting how great the receivers looked blocking as well. meaning the Offence gained plenty of extra yards. On Defence they carried on looking like the Bears we know and love. Bostic continued to make massive strides to securing the starting Middle Linebacker Job. Jennings picked up an interception and the D-line looked strong. This is a good Bears team, I’m just not sure if they are playoff good. The Raiders continued to make me think they might be in for a long season.

Flynn looked out of sorts behind a terrible O-line. Jennings looked average at Running Back and no Receivers really stood out. If McFadden goes down this season, it could be a long year for the Raiders Offence. We know this is a reasonably talented Raiders Defence, but we certainly didn’t see that. Roach looked pretty good at Linebacker, but really aside from that, there were few highlights. This team are early contenders for the worst of the season.

New York Jets 24 New York Giants 21

The Jets are a mess. Geno Smith looked dreadful, he turned the ball over 3 times and didn’t seem to know what he’s doing. He missed open Receivers and got himself in some sticky situations. So then Sanchez comes on (up against the 3rd stringers), and looks great, but injures his shoulder. Now the Jets really have no choice but to start Smith. On the plus side (and there really isn’t much), Powell looked good as an all-purpose Back and its possible Stephen Hill might have turned the corner. The Defence looked a little better. They seemed to get decent pressure, although it was against a pretty weak O-line and managed to cover the Giants receivers. When it’s all said and done however, I think there is slim to zero chance this team finish with a winning record.

The Giants feel like a decent team with some fairly glaring issues. In the decent column we can put their Running Back committee who looked great. Brown would move the chains slowly and consistently cause issues for the Jets. Wilson however would always look like he could break a dangerous run and score a touchdown. Eli played well spreading the ball around and made some great decisions. However his O-line was pretty bad allowing a vast amount of pressure from The D-line. The same inconsistencies carry through to the Defence. Whilst the O-line continued to dominate, the Linebackers and Secondary are a real worry. There is a very slim chance this could be the worst team in the NFC East.

Kansas City Chiefs 26 Pittsburgh Steelers 20

Aside from the opening kick-return, this Chiefs team continued to look fantastic on Special Teams. In previous weeks Demps has looked good and he could very easily become a star for this team. This week however Wylie stole the show. Smith continued to look good but not dangerous, he did manage to spread the ball around to a number of receivers, but always to short distances. Charles got some touches too, which is encouraging for this team, there really does appear to be a huge drop-off after him. The Defence is going to cause problems for teams. Which will be necessary if the Offence will continue to eat up the clock like they have. This team won’t score a lot of points, but seem to have the Defence to keep them in low scoring games.

I think its fair to say there are a few holes in this Steelers team. Big Ben looked great and got the most out of his Receivers. Dwyer looked great at Running Back and will hopefully get his chance during the regular season. However the O-line is a massive liability. Every play it seemed like Roethlisberger was under ridiculous pressure. This will need some serious work. The Defence looked better than in previous weeks. It could be a very good sign that Polamalu looked the most like Polamalu since the start of pre-season. I can’t make up my mind about this team. I get the feeling they’ll struggle, but there seems to be flashes of brilliance, which might prove me wrong.

Seattle Seahawks 17 Green Bay Packers 10

Two of my least favourite teams here. I wish I could say they all played bad but that wouldn’t be true. It’s fair to say Wilson made some plays in the pocket and managed to use his speed to escape some trouble, which I think is what he’ll need to be successful this year, but… He wasn’t without mistakes and pretty big mistakes.  He threw a couple of interceptions (one of which a swat which SURELY must bring up height issue conversations), which is fine, it is preseason, but my main concern was his habit of running backwards. It happened a couple of times. When the Packers got pressure, he would run backwards and lose more yards in the sack then he would if he either just took it or threw the ball away, which is a horrible issue for a team that need to set up the run game. Speaking of which, both Turbin and Lynch looked solid. The O-line seemed to struggle and Sweezy created a couple of unnecessary penalties. Defence looked solid as ever, but I worry that Sherman has gone from being the most under-rated D-back, to the most over-rated. In general this is a very talented Defence however and will cause problems for a lot of teams this season. I expect this team to make the playoffs, but I don’t think it’s as clear-cut as most people seem to think.

It’s fair to say the Packers have injuries. The O-line look awful and there is no Jennings or Driver this year. That being said they do still have Aaron Rodgers and he seems to have a new best friend in the Back Field, in the form of Eddie Lacy. This could very well be the year the Packers introduce a run game and take a step forward. It is worth mentioning, that the Packers won a superbowl, with unreal injuries and no run game. This could be a very special team. Vince Young looks like he’s found his team as well. Harrell however hasn’t and since this game, has been cut. The Defence looked much improved on the last couple of seasons too. They seemed to gain immense pressure on a great O-line and on the whole covered the Seattle Receivers very well, only allowing short gains.  Maybe a small criticism would be how they allowed long runs that bounced to the outside, but that’s a small criticism for a VERY good team.

Buffalo Bills 7 Washington Redskins 30

So in terms of QB’s it’s not been a wonderful off-season for either of these teams. It feels in poor taste to talk about Kolbs performance, since he suffered a pretty horrific concussion that not only will keep him out for the season, but could end his career. So with Kolb out for the season and Manuel likely out for the start of the season, this team could be forced to start undrafted rookie Tuel, who actually had a pretty good game. Whether he can do it during the regular season remains to be seen, but expect him to make the headlines come week one. On the plus side, Spiller looks every bit the Running-Back he was last year and may end up carrying this team. When watching this Defence, I have to think this team really wants to get the Byrd contract sorted. This is a weak secondary and they should be considering paying him a lot of money to take the field, other than the secondary, you do get the feeling this Defence could very well have as bad a season as last year. There is a lot of questions to be answered come the start of the season.

The Redskins as previously stated also have their own QB issues. RGIII isn’t playing pre-season games so he can recover from injury and Cousins is now nursing an injury himself. So that just leaves Grossman and White…Who both looked pretty good. I mean you probably couldn’t make the superbowl with them, but if forced to run with them you’d probably win a few games. I’m particularly impressed with Pat White. A player that left the NFL as a pretty small dude and has now come back as reasonably big, strong QB. The Redskins probably don’t need to worry about Running Backs either. Should Morris go down, Helu is looking as great as ever as back-up. The Receivers seemed to play a pretty good game too, in particular, Garcon lined up in the slot and Fred Davis. On Defence they looked dominant. But its hard to tell how good they are against a 4th string QB in pre-season. This team could be challenging for the division, so long as RGIII comes back the player he was last year.

Cleveland Browns 6 Indianapolis Colts 27

Another fairly deceiving scoreline. Weedon had a drop off from previous weeks ( he has been playing like a top 5 QB), but Richardson stepped up and made some impressive plays to make up for it. Clevelands main targets continue to develop. Cameron made a couple of catches as did Greg Little. Watching this game, I genuinely think this Browns O-line is probably 3rd best in the league, which is great news for Weeden. The Defence continue to impress. I don’t know what else I can say. Yes this looks bad, but I really like this team to challenge for the play-offs. Nothing has changed even after pre-season.

If I like the Browns to make the playoffs, I have to think the Colts are a dead cert. My confidence in this team is largely down to Andrew Luck. He looks set up to set the world on fire this year. Luck does that thing where his no. 1 Receiver is whoever is open, which is helped by an exceptional receiving corps. The Running Backs look great and will be expected to carry the ball a bit more this season and take the pressure off Luck. All in all this Offence seems to have the ability to keep their team in the game no matter how many points they are down. The Defence looked the best it has all season, but still patchy. There just seems to be no stars in the line-up, no one that will scare an Offence. That being said, it’s not massively important if you have a QB that can put up 30-40 points in a game. The Colts have to be considered for outside Superbowl Contenders, for Luck alone.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17 Miami Dolphins 16

Josh Freeman isn’t the answer. It’s taken 2 seasons but I think I can see that now. However it might not matter, this team is going to run and run and run. Doug Martin really should have his work cut out and will be heavily reliant on James and Hillis to pick up the slack, that he can usually rely on from his QB. This Offence just looks bad, despite spending a fortune on an O-line and Receiving Corps. On Defence, they look a lot better and will be relying on Revis having an epic season. I dunno… I just can’t see this team doing much, which is a real shame, but they do look like there is some potential there, I just can’t see it kicking in this season.

The Dolphins Offence seems to be getting better with every game. Tannehill is forming a decent relationship with Wallace, Miller is getting more yards and the O-line doesn’t seem to stink as much as it did at the start of the season. The Defence looks like it could be one of the best in the league. Especially when you add in Jordan and Wake. This team could pull their socks up, just in time to make the play-offs. So that’s part 2 of week 3, part 3 will be up shortly.

Main Image: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

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