Another crazy week in the world of the NFL. Some unexpected teams hit 0-3 and some surprise teams hit 3-0. Anyway let’s have a look.
Kansas City Chiefs 26 Philadelphia Eagles 16
How did the Chiefs get to 3-0? It’s really simple; they are good on Offence, great on Defence and spectacular on Special Teams. Alex Smith looks good playing the game he always has, Charles is looking healthy and the Corners are playing out of their skin. A special mention for Donnie Avery who is living proof that one team’s trash is another’s Treasure.
The Eagles fast-paced Offence seems to leave the Defence tired and the Offence susceptible to making silly mistakes resulting in silly turnovers. There is a great system here, but it might take a while before we see it at its best and maybe with a different QB. They could of course go on and win the NFC East, everyone in that Division seems intent on losing it.
Cleveland Browns 31 Minnesota Vikings 27
Rollercoaster season for the Browns and for the Gridiron Gentlemen that have fallen in love with them, but what we should have learnt before this game is they are anything buy predictable. Before the game it would be fair to say people had this team as a contender with the Jags for the worst team in the league, I even heard people say they were ‘tanking’. This to me was probably the fire in the belly that this team needed. Ok, so they lost a dynamic piece of the puzzle in Richardson and maybe Weeden isn’t the QB answer, but there is some definite talent on this team. Hoyer probably won’t have a game as good as this every week, but he has to be better than Weeden. Where once was one Running Back, now there is several who seem to split the load reasonably equally. The Receiving Corps seem much improved now with Josh Gordon back from suspension, Jordan Cameron seems to be the chief benefactor from this. Finally this Defence looks set to be something special with several elite players leading the way to keeping scores low and manageable for an ailing Offence.
The Vikings are clearly under some serious pressure as they head to London this week to face fellow 0-3 team, the Steelers. But it’s not all doom & gloom. It feels like Peterson might be on the verge of finding the form he had last season, despite issues at QB, Ponder is getting the ball to his Receivers and evenly and the Defence looks pretty good. The Vikings were within 50 seconds of winning this game, if it wasn’t for an incredible drive from Hoyer and the Browns. So where exactly is the problem? There is no doubt that Ponder has some accuracy issues, which leads them to hand the ball off to Peterson too much which leads teams to find them a bit predictable. Personally I think it will get better and probably quite quickly against the Steelers this weekend.
Houston Texans 9 Baltimore Ravens 30
This might be the most misleading score line of the day. That being said there are clear problems with the Texans. Foster cannot get it going, with Tate picking up the slack more and more every game. When this happens Schaub needs to step up and become a game winner, which clearly didn’t happen in this game. The Texans Defence seemed to struggle in this game too against an in form Ravens Offence. This team definitely has some worries, but I can’t see that stopping them making the play-offs.
The Ravens seemed to take a noticeable step forward this week even without Rice. Flacco was consistent and helped Torrey Smith have the game they needed him to have. Pierce stepped in for the injured Ray Rice and successfully managed to move the ball. On Defence they managed to stifle one of the best Running Backs in the league and to keep the score low without being massively dynamic. Honourable mention to the Special Teams, they played a great game including an incredible Punt Return. I would imagine this team will start to improve and start to challenge the Bengals for the no. 1 slot in the AFC North.
San Diego Chargers 17 Tennessee Titans 20
Here we have a battle between 2 teams that for certain were going to be in the bottom 5. But they’re not; in fact they’ve been pretty decent. I feel like this is the week I console all the fans of teams that have lost by telling them they’re team isn’t that bad and that is certainly the case here. Rivers is looking like he’s received a new lease of life and Gates is looking healthy for the first time in years. What actually happened here was the Chargers went up against one of the most dominant Defences in the league and a Jake Locker that was allowed to run on the Chargers all day. On the subject of Locker, I’m still not on board, but there is no denying he played a good game here.
New York Giants 0 Carolina Panthers 38
As stated above, it feels like this week I’m telling fans that despite the loses their team is not as bad as they think it is. Well Giants fans, this situation really is as bad as it looks. For me it seems to stem from the Defence, who look as bad as any Defence has looked in a long time, especially in this game where Cam Newton took control of this game. On Offence they are seriously lacking a run game. I can’t understand how McGahee managed to walk into that organisation and was allowed to walk out. There is a passing game, but even that isn’t looking as good it has in the past. Giants fans…be concerned, it could be a rough year.
On the opposite side of that the Panthers looked pretty good. The Defence looks unbelievable and have the ability to keep them in pretty much any game. The only issue is whether the Offence can take advantage of that. In this game however Cam got over his end zone woes and took control of this game. I don’t think they will play better than they did in this game and I don’t think they’ll be making the playoffs, but a few more games like this might keep Rivera in a job.
St Louis Rams 7 Dallas Cowboys 31
In this game it felt like we might be seeing the league level out to how it should be looking. The Cowboys finally began to look like the team I thought they might. Romo played a great game, but the real story was Murray, who found his feet and ran wild against this team.
The Rams struggled to get anything going on Offence and the Defence couldn’t stop the Cowboys high powered Offence. This might not be the last blow out this team is on the Receiving end of.
Detroit Lions 27 Washington Redskins 20
I don’t know how to approach this. On one hand, the Lions managed to beat the Redskins without Reggie Bush, which is clearly very good, but this Redskins Defence is terrible and it was a one score game. At the same time it WAS a one score game and to continue the theme of this post they Redskins aren’t as bad everyone thinks…I mean their Defence is awful, but their Offence should be able to keep them in games. I guess when the dust settles, if you’re a Lions fan, feel good that you’re very much in the running for a play-off spot. Redskins fans, you’re team isn’t that bad, Griffin WILL get better and you’re Division is pretty bad, it’s not over yet despite starting 0-3.
Green Bay Packers 30 Cincinnati Bengals 34
The Packers are clearly better than 1-2, I don’t think there is any denying that, but they have seemed to find ways to lose games (Clay Matthews against the Niners), in this game it seemed to be Rodgers, who as usual seemed to spend far too much time on the ground. But the story of this game was turnovers. Both teams had 4, meaning it came down to who used them the best…which was the Bengals…just. The Bengals looked good but obviously made some mistakes. If this is what to expect from both of these teams, then really there is no chance we see them in a Super bowl.
Arizona Cardinals 7 New Orleans Saints 31
Where I have the Rams on my power-rankings, you can pretty much guarantee I’ll have the Cards nearby. Palmer had one of those games you should expect him to have once in a while and the Cards struggled to run against this Saints Defence. So let’s talk about them. It is fair to say that the Offence played extremely well, but we surely expect that when Brees is the QB. Much more surprising however is the ascendance of the Saints Defence who look great under Rob Ryan, someone I thought would struggle this year. The more I look at it, the more I have to think the Saints are genuine Super bowl contenders. It is genuinely amazing the difference having a head coach in the building makes.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3 New England Patriots 23
The Bucs are probably the most frustrating team to watch at the moment. It is obvious there is some ridiculous talent on that team, but they cannot get it together and I don’t think it is 100% Schiano’s fault. I have to question whether Freeman would be much better with a different head coach. He looks awful, which is a shame when you see the decent Receivers and Running Backs he has to back him up.
The Patriots however are beginning to find their rhythm. Brady managed to hit his Rookie Receivers all day and his Running Backs stepped up to help out. In this game I genuinely couldn’t tell if the Pats Defence looked good because of the inefficiencies of the Bucs Offence or they are actually for real. For all the criticisms of this Patriots team, they have gone 3-0; this team is a genuine challenger.
Atlanta Falcons 23 Miami Dolphins 27
I don’t want to take anything away from what is a great result by the Miami Dolphins, but the Falcons have some serious injury issues which could keep them out of the playoffs, especially in a highly competitive NFC. The Dolphins however look great. I still don’t think they have what it takes to topple the Patriots, but they do look good for a Wild Card slot. The best thing about this team though, is they seem to get better with each game, more specifically Tannehill is improving his rapport with his Receivers after every outing. The Miami Defence looked good at the start of the season and still looks great. Expect special things this year Dolphins fans.
Indianapolis Colts 27 San Francisco 49ers 7
When the Colts gave up a first round pick for Trent Richardson, it was fairly obvious they were going for it and rightly so. This Offence is explosive to say the least. Luck looks great, the Running Backs Bradshaw and Richardson look decent and there has been a marked improvement in the Wide Receivers. The Defence still needs work, but this team could definitely be the best team in the AFC South.
NINERS FANS DO NOT PANIC. Seriously guys, its two games against decent opponents. I don’t believe Harbaugh would let a third happen. Kaepernick is a decent QB and will find his form soon. OK Aldon Smith is a big loss after he was monumentally stupid. But even without him, it is still a great Defence. I promise Niner fans, this is a mere blip.
Jacksonville Jaguars 17 Seattle Seahawks 45
This game was always going to end this way as the worst team, takes on the best team. As it turns out they most definitely are the worst team in the league, but I still don’t think they’re as bad as everyone else seems to think and they have Blackmon back which will be a huge help. The Seahawks are probably the best team in the NFC now. Wilson continues to look good and I continue to not quite be on board, why? This team is so good they made Matt Flynn look half decent, I think he is surrounded by talent. The Defence are almost certainly the best team in the league. They just seem big in every position. Anyway expect this team to be pushing for the Super bowl…The Hawks that is, not the Jags.
Buffalo Bills 20 New York Jets 27
Yup, another game with 2 teams we all thought were going to be terrible. To be fair both teams put in a decent performance in a game that could go either way, the next time they meet. The big story I suppose, is that Smith outplayed Manuel, which I don’t necessary think is something we’ll see on a week to week basis. What is a real shame is that this will most likely be inconsequential as they are both in a Division with 2 in form teams and stand little chance of making the play-offs.
Chicago Bears 40 Pittsburgh Steelers 23
SO this is another game that was closer than it looked. In the end though the difference was turnovers, with the Bears returning 2 and having another 1 run all the way to the 30 yard line. Cutler carried on looking like a new improved version of himself and his go to guy of choice in this game was Jeffrey who played a blinder.
The Steelers really need to find a way to run the ball and hopefully Le’veon Bell will be the solution. Big Ben had flashes of brilliance, but seemed to spend a ridiculous amount of talent under pressure. All of this being said, this team is way better than 0-3 and should eventually pull their socks up and win a few.
Oakland Raiders 21 Denver Broncos 37
So Peyton Manning is still pretty good…Yup Peyton continued his amazing streak by breaking the record for most touchdown passes in the first 3 games. Surrounding Peyton is an amazing cast who all look fantastic with Peyton throwing to them. As for the Raiders, all I can say is this: I like Pryor and I like McFadden and that is about it, however they aren’t the worst team in the league, which is something at least.
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