They are who we thought they were?
Buffalo Soldiers-Who would’ve thought that Tom Brady would match his interception total from last season, four, in one game, much less against the Bills? Neither did Bill Belichick. Any doubts about the Bills being for real can now be put to bed as Ryan Fitzpatrick is no slouch nor is that offense. Fred Jackson gives the Bills a balanced attack as Jackson is one of the few workhorse backs left in the league. Stevie Johnson and David Nelson give Fitzpatrick reliable deep threats as Buffalo has scored 41, 38, and 34 points this season. Not all four interceptions were Brady’s fault, but when your offense is one-dimensional and you attempt 45 passes, odds are a few will take an unfavorable bounce. It would probably help if Chad Ochocinco didn’t drop a 41-yard-touchdown pass here and there.
Lions’ Roar Getting Louder-So the Minnesota Vikings for a third-consecutive week were up big at halftime, this time 20-0. But as the script goes, they crumbled, and Detroit was the latest to benefit from Minnesota’s overall incompetence. Credit them for being consistent though. For the first time this season, Matthew Stafford was backed up against the wall, but he led the Lions to a 23-20 overtime victory and their first 3-0 start since 1980. Don’t talk about playoffs? Shush up Jim Mora, this team looks for real.
Packers Look Scary-The 3-0 team people expected, Green Bay looks like the most complete team in the NFL. With an offense anchored by Aaron Rodgers, there is little pressure on the defense to clamp down on teams, which they are fully capable of doing. Tight end Jermichael Finley adds another dimension to an already stacked offense. Definitely looking forward to seeing them match up with the Lions.
Down Goes Vick-In what is starting to become a troubling trend for Eagles fans, Michael Vick left the game again, this time with what appears to be a broken hand. How long this will sideline Vick nobody knows, but the Dream Team has several glaring problems. For starters, the defense looks average, which must be infuriating for Andy Reid when you have 3 pro-bowl cornerbacks only to be beaten by no-namers like Victor Cruz. The offense seems to tighten up in short-yardage situations as Philadelphia got stopped numerous times in big moments in the second half. Luckily they face the 49ers next week, who managed an impressive 13 points against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
Jets Kept Grounded-A promising 17-7 lead in the first half for the New York Jets turned into a 31-17 deficit by the beginning of the fourth quarter. The usually-reliable defense allowed the most rushing yards ever in Rex Ryan’s tenure as Darren McFadden steamrolled New York. It’s probably a bad time to mention that nosebleed talk to Bart Scott. On the other side, the offense looks to be stuck in a rut. The running game has been underwhelming while Mark Sanchez continues to look lost at times. Entering his third season, it’s time for Sanchez to take the next step if the Jets want to go far in January.
Ravens Bounce Back-One week they trample the Steelers, the next they get crushed by the Titans. This week? More of week one, as they blew out the Rams 37-7 in a game that was over by halftime. Baltimore recorded 553 yards of total offense while holding St. Louis to 244. Take it with a grain of salt as the Ravens are the far superior team, let’s see how the Ravens fare when they see former defensive coordinator Ryan and the Jets next week.
Saints, Texans Light Up Scoreboard-73 combined points in New Orleans, or as many as the 49ers-Bengals (21), Cardinals-Seahawks (23), and Steelers-Colts (29) combined, the Texans and Saints checked their defenses at the stadium and gate and decided to treat fantasy football teams across the nation. Houston was looking to solidify itself as a contender with a big win over a top NFC team. While they failed to do so, there are plenty of positives to take from this game. Most teams fail to slow down the Saints, so that’s nothing worth sweating. But the offense matched New Orleans most of the way. The only discouraging note is that in 12 red-zone trips, Houston has 2 TD’s and 8 FG’s. For an offense so potent, that has to change.
Falcons Get Clipped-This trendy Super Bowl pick, which I may have made as well, is looking worse and worse each week. This offense seems to be undergoing an identity crisis, wanting to become more dynamic, but struggling in the process of converting. At one time a ground and pound, Matt Ryan has seen more of the ground than he would like early on, as the Falcons for the second time in three games were lacking on offense, losing 16-13 to Tampa Bay. Atlanta better get its act together soon, as division foes in New Orleans and the Buccaneers show no signs of slowing down.
Cardinals-Kevin Kolb will take his lumps with the Cardinals, but is there really any excuse to manage only 10 points against the Seahawks? I’m struggling to come up with any. Now it didn’t help that Jay Feely missed two field goals, but Kolb still had his opportunities, including late in the fourth quarter when he threw his second interception with less than 2 minutes remaining.
Steelers, Chargers Take It Easy-Right? I mean both were expected to absolutely demolish their opponents. Pittsburgh was playing the Indianapolis Mannings, sans Peyton Manning, while San Diego was playing the <del>Toronto Argonauts</del>, ehh, Kansas City Chiefs, who have probably as many recognizable faces left on the roster as the Argonauts. Despite the apparent mismatches, the Chargers needed an Eric Weddle interception with under a minute to go to seal the 3-point victory while the Steelers needed Ben Roethlisberger to drive them down the field for a game-winning field goal. So much for those anticipated blowouts.
<span style="color: #6e8dcf;">Primetime Thoughts