Welcome to the first of my weekly ruminations on the action around the NFL.
Jacksonville vs. Green Bay
If you missed this one I feel bad for you. These aren't the Jags from 5 years ago. Jacksonville held their own against a top-tier team literally until the last drive of the game. Their defense needs work but Blake Bortles and Co. may put together one of the best offensive performances this season.
Aaron Rodgers continues to prove he is one the best QBs in the league and that he was likely a magician in his past life. He made several magical throws we have come to expect from him. The box score didn’t show it but Green Bay’s defense was pretty good they got to Bortles several times and kept the running game in check for the most part.
Chicago vs. Houston
Well, I picked the Bears to win the NFC North, the made me look good for the first half of the game. The Bears ran decently against Houston with 2nd year Jeremy Langford. Jay Cutler was slinging it down the field. Then Houston started getting pressure and forced Cutler to throw a pick and fumble the ball on a sack. Brock Osweiler looks like he could be just fine. He connected with his top two receivers in Nuk Hopkins and Will Fuller. Oh and that Lamar Miller guy looks good.
San Diego vs. Kansas City
It sucks to be a Chargers fan. Terrible owners. The Bosa thing. Your top WR goes down for the year. Phillip Rivers becomes miserable. The Chargers should have won this one but the will and quite honestly the resources aren’t there. I thoroughly expect the Chiefs to compete with the Raiders for the AFC West Wild Card. Comeback wins like the one they pulled off are rare. Oh and one of their best players isn't even on the field yet (Jamaal Charles).
Carolina vs. Denver
Both teams proved their still some of the best in the league. However, the Panthers can expect another exit from the playoffs if they can’t get their offensive line issues fixed. They are truly fortunate they have a QB as talented and tough as Cam Newton. Kelvin Benjamin looked poised to take a step forward this year, maybe I should have picked him for Comeback Player of the Year?
Denver proved they have such a well-rounded team that yes a dude like Trevor Siemian can come in start make mistakes and NBD. Von Miller will be the defensive player of the year.
Detroit vs. Indianapolis
Is Detroit going to be much better than I thought they were or is the Colts defense that bad? I’m not sure definitively yet but the defense definitely gave away the game on the last drive. Andrew Luck can most definitely put a team on his back but will his ribs hold up? (Joking not joking). At some point the Colts should look to their glaring weakness on defense.
The Lions defense isn't that good either with that said Matt Stafford is a little underrated at times, without a leader like Megatron on the field anymore his leadership, composure, and production will be a factor in the number of games the Lions can win this year.
Minnesota vs. Tennessee
Speaking of bad defense lets talk about a really good defense: The Vikings. They have no quarterback and quite frankly even when Bradford takes the reigns my opinion on that won’t change. When the Vikings win games this year it will be because they have an excellent defense that can stop drives AND score. It will be because AP has rushed for 120 yards on 30 carries. Don’t count them out of a Wild Card run. I don’t know what's up with the Titans. Quite frankly their defense looks to be a disaster. Mariota looked steady until he threw a pick 6. The bright spot of the team after 1 week looks to be the running game. Both DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry looks very good.
Cleveland vs. Philadelphia
The factory of sadness continues. RG3 is done in the NFL. Top 5 pick coming. Carson Wentz looked better than expected but that's not saying much. The Browns were literally rushing 3 and covering no one so I’ll reserve too much praise on the rookie. Two things that are not impressive is the Eagles secondary and their run game. I really think we have a good shot of sweeping them this year.
Baltimore vs. Buffalo
This was kinda a messy uneventful game. Buffalo is just an ok team which I don’t expect to go over .500 anyway. When the highlight of the game is your secondary getting smoked by old man Wallace you need to gather yourself. Flacco looks fine it looks like he’s still figuring out how to best utilize his weapons. I’m not sure how good the Ravens will be overall but I expect Joe to figure it out sooner rather than later, coupled with Bmore’s defense they should make a Wild Card run.
Oakland vs. New Orleans
I really think Oakland is a team on the rise. I really like Carr as a QB. He Cooper and Crabtree can do a lot of good things. For a team that some expect to do well you may say the game vs. NO should not have been that close. Well Drew Brees isn’t dead yet. In fact, he’s still surgical with the football. The Saints defense sucks but Brees will keep them in close games.
Cincinnati vs. New York (Jets)
Is A.J. Green the best receiver in the NFL? You could make a good argument for him. He burnt one of the best cornerbacks in the league in Darrelle Revis. Andy Dalton despite not having presumed 2nd target Tyler Eifert still can get things done as long as Green is on the field. Ryan Fitzmagic, I mean Fitzpatrick may have found his niche in New York. It helps when you have receivers like Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall. It looks like he’s picking up where he left off last year.
Tampa Bay vs. Atlanta
Well Jameis Winston started slow but he heated up in a hurry before the half. My opinion is that the Bucs won the QB sweepstakes between Mariota and Winston. Winston was on target and spread the ball around against a suspect ATL secondary. Matt Ryan looks like his old self and looks completely comfortable with new receiver Muhammad Sanu and Old Reliable (Julio Jones). The run game for ATL however was horrendous. It looked nothing like last year where Devonta Freeman set career records and highs. I understand you want to push Freeman but the timeshare between him and Tevin Coleman did not go well. Give Freeman the ball and let him run.
Seattle vs. Miami
This was an ugly game. The offense was terrible for both teams starting with Kenny Stills dropping a wide open bomb from Tannehill. The highlight tape featured 4 FGs. Wilson didn't look his best but his relationship with Doug Baldwin will be key this year. Oh and I bet the Hawks are missing Beastmode right now the run game with Christine Michael was unimpressive.
Dallas vs. New York (Giants)
I agree Dak Prescott look poised. Too bad it didn't translate on the field. Prescott’s accuracy wavered but his receivers didn’t help him out either posting several drops. Zeke Elliot didn’t have his coming out party and while Alfred Morris looked better Dallas inexplicably stopped running the ball sound familiar? I thought the Giants looked much better even with inaccurate Eli at times. The final score doesn't tell the whole story Dallas is lucky they have a kicker like Dan Bailey to make things look better than they were.
New England vs. Arizona
What a debut* from Jimmy G! New England will be just fine these first 4 games. But Hol’ Up for a sec. Is it 2008? Hot damn Larry Fitzgerald is good and shows no sign of age. He was plucking the ball out of the air all night. David Johnson is looking as elusive and balanced as every too. It was a close game that came down to a final FG that was missed but this may very be your Super Bowl preview.
Pittsburgh vs. Washington
The Steelers looked prepared and the Redskins not so much. Antonio Brown is the best receiver in the league playing with one of the best QBs in the league. Brown torched Breeland twice for touchdowns and quite frankly he (Breeland) looked out of his depth at times. The Redskins committed stupid penalties across the offensive line and the defensive line looked helpless kinda like a god damn JV team. Reed looked dominant early on but exited with an injury. Kirk Cousins was off all game long throwing two* dreaded Kirkceptions. Quite frankly it was embarrassing. We have the “best receiving core in the league” with minimal production to back up that claim. With the run game not getting going pretty much everything fans dreaded came to fruition. The energy and will of the team left left them sometime in the beginning of the 4th quarter and there was no recovery. The Steelers are a Wild Card team at minimum. The Redskins won’t be taken seriously around the league until they can beat a quality team.
San Francisco vs. Los Angeles
I may have a chance. I picked the Rams to have the first overall pick in 2017. They looked woefully unprepared and their defense and offense was not enough to stop the 49ers. It’s always embarrassing to get shutout but to get shut out from this SF team is extra. The bright spot of this game was clearly the 49ers running attack. Carlos Hyde looked great and if they can continue to pound the rock the 49ers will do better than expected.
Redskins Overreaction GIF
Mike Tomlin Pregame Speech