Monday, October 3, 2016

NFL Observations: Week 4

Through 4 weeks in the NFL season and finally we are starting to get a picture of each team. Here are my thoughts per game this week:


Miami 7 Cincinnati 22 - The Bengals are what we thought they were (to quote the great Dennis Green): a very solid team on offense and defense. But as I always say with Cincy, tell who is starting when the playoffs come around and I'll tell you if they finally win a postseason game. Health is the biggest enemy of Who Dey.
As for Miami, their OL is trash (both from injuries and talent) and as we see in Indy even good QBs struggle when they are under duress. That being said, Tannehill is the epitome of an average quarterback. Adam Gase has his work cut out for him. P.S. never wear those awful peach pajama uniforms again!!!!

Early Sunday Games

Indianapolis 27 London Jags 30 - The annual trip to Jolly Ol England for Jax was just what they needed to get their 1st win of 2016. That being said, they have the worst coaching staff in the NFL and damn near gave this thing away. Sadly I still believe the Jags will win the AFC South meaning Jaguar fans are stuck with Gus Bradley for another year.
Guess what, Jim Irsay (the Colts pill-popping owner)? You are about to cut some big checks to fire both HC and GM after you talked them into coming back last year. Indy is a mess due to bad drafting in previous years and bad coaching since Bruce Arians left for the desert. Time to clean house or you'll get Andy Luck broken.

Seattle 27 NYJ 17 - I picture Pete Carroll as Mr Miyagi standing over Russ Wilson’s leg running his hands together for healing. Seattle’s OL is absolute crap and yet Wilson makes it work somehow. Meanwhile Generation D is still the best west of the Mississippi.
9 picks in 2 weeks for Fitz is not why you paid him all that money. Because Geno, Petty or Hack could do that. The age of this team is showing through injury both on offense and defense. In addition, the Jets secondary is garbage. Look for Pryor to leave via free agency and Revis to move to FS. Then all you need is 2 starting CBs. Ugh

Carolina 33 Atlanta 48 - Maybe Car is rethinking letting Josh Norman walk? Their rookie CBs got more than abused by Matty Ice and Jules. Also, the magical armor that Cam wore last year has worn off and that OL in front of him is to blame.
Wow Atlanta! If you get a million yards a week maybe you can cover for that crap defense. Too bad your HC is supposed to be a defensive wiz. The addition of Alex Mack has finally locked in the OL for success. Now they need a true tone setter on defense. And maybe a scheme that works.

Oakland 28 Baltimore 27 - Great comeback for the Raiders for the 2nd time in 4 weeks as they are young team learning how to win. The defense still has big question marks, even under Del Rio’s thumb, but Carr is starting to step forward. Oakland could still be a wildcard team if that continues.
Baltimore relies on an old pass rush, an even older WR and a RB that was cast off from Cleveland. And yet they finally lost their 1st game. Getting Kenneth Dixon back from injury will help but I'm betting the Ravens end up closer to 8-8 than the playoffs.

Detroit 14 Chicago 17 - That's the Lions team I expected coming into 2016. No running game, Stanford under pressure throwing picks and injuries everywhere. Finishing behind the Bears should cost Caldwell his job.
The Bears have found something in Jordan Howard. If 2016 produces only that, it could be worse. Now they just need 2 OTs, WRs that aren't constantly hurt, a defense and to dump Cutler and they'll be good. #sarcasm

Tennessee 20 Houston 27 - In the best interest of all involved, can the league force the Titans to trade Mariota to Chip Kelly? The best thing about Tenn is watching Dick LeBeau work his magic on that defense. Otherwise Titans games are painful.
If you listen real close during a Texans game, you can hear John Elway laughing his ass off every time Houston has the ball! The Great Osweiler, as sold to us by ESPN, is just dreadful. Good thing he has fast WRs that can catch the bomb because that's the only pass he can make. That being said, the Texans still might be the best team in the AFC South. Sad panda.

Buffalo 16 New England 0 - Maybe their OC was the problem in Buffalo. I mean, asking a QB to make routine throws from the pocket is a bridge too far. But the Ryan twins do have the D starting to crank up and Buffalo will be un-fun to play week to week.
Not even Bellicheat could BS through 2 injured QBs 2 weeks in a row. So the Pats go 3-1 without Brady and are everyone’s favorite for SB LI. Unfortunately at this point I must agree with the masses.

Cleveland 20 Washington 31 - This is the exact type of game that got Cousins the franchise tag. Beating up a bad team with 3 TDs and a solid rushing attack. Whoever ends up paying him will rue the day (see Houston above). Also that defense is a sieve vs the run.
Poor poor Brownies. They can't buy a break. Josh Gordon surely has failed another test (no one goes to rehab just because) and the list of starters for Cle continues to grow. Maybe another city can steal them away and they can be an expansion team again.

Late Sunday Games

Denver 27 Tampa Bay 7 - The Kubiak system is designed to de-emphasize the QB by putting him on the move and making his reads easier. Siemian has been solid but gets hurt. In comes Paxton Lynch and he looks ok. With that defense though, they can still get by for now.
Tampa is just so beat up. Winston didn't stand a chance with a patchwork OL and no running game. This team needs another really good draft or 2 before they can be serious contenders.

LA 17 Arizona 13 - After looking like a 0-16 team after week 1, the Rams have peeled off 3 straight wins. However, this is another 3-1 fool’s gold type of teams. Gurley hasn't really gotten on track yet and Keenum is very hit or miss. But that DL is wrecking havoc on teams with poor OL play. I'll be interested to see if that continues going forward.
WTF Cardinals? This was supposed to be your year to win the SB and you are 1-3! The only WR doing anything is old man Larry and the OL got Palmer hurt . . . again. Meanwhile the defense is giving up huge chunk plays and not getting the pressure they should be. Arians has got to right this ship quickly or they will fall too far behind to catch up in the NFC.

New Orleans 35 San Diego 34 - What a fun and yet awful game! Brees gets his revenge over Rivers and the Bolts The Saints solved their run defense. Now they gotta work on that pass defense, which is terrible.
This was a battle of who could turn the ball over more. The Saints won despite only 198 yards of offense due to short fields given by the Chargers. The SD defense has been much better than expected (even without 1st rounder Bosa) but these late losses are gonna get HC McCoy run.

Dallas 24 SF 17 - This game went exactly as I expected except for 1 play. Dallas used their short passing game and rushing attack to grind out a victory versus a lesser Niner team. At 7.7 yards per attempt, Prescott has proven to be a Plus Bus Driver QB. But now the schedule grows difficult (Cin, @GB) and he will be asked to do more. How he responds could dictate this entire season and the course of the franchise as a (glory) whole.
The one play I missed (as did Gabbert) was the bomb to Torrey Smith. If he doesn't wildly underthrow that ball, I do believe SF steals a win. But he did, because he's Gabbert, and the Niners fall to 1-3.


Kansas City 14 Pittsburgh 43 - Look, KC is not a good team. They beat the Chargers in the opener by a furious comeback and beat a Jets team that gave them the ball 8 times. The Chiefs will not make the playoffs. Come at me!
Pittsburgh with Leveon Bell back are scary good. If you can't double AB because you are trying to stuff the run, you will lose. And no one loves exploiting matchups like Todd Haley. The pass rush still worries me a bit (they tripled their sack total with 4 vs KC) but we seemed destined for a NE v Pitt AFC Championship game.


NYG vs Minnesota - I expect a really great game tonight that is a defensive struggle. The Vikings will be forced to put the ball in Bradford’s hands as they cannot run vs the Giants DL. His success or failure will decide the outcome. Meanwhile, Eli will be under duress all game and hoping his dynamic WRs can make plays for him. Prediction NYG 24 Minn 20