Week 3 NFL Breakdown
Baltimore Ravens 7 - Jacksonville Jaguars 44
The Jaguars defense has continued to prove itself to be elite over the first three games, and they forced three turnovers from the Ravens, including two interceptions off of Joe Flacco, who finished the game with 28 yards on 8 completed passes. Blake Bortles is now 3-0 when he is playing in London, and he had a pretty good game, going 20/31 with 244 yards and four touchdown passes. I think that if the Jags’ defense continues to play as well as it has, they might make the playoffs and be a force to be reckoned with.
Denver Broncos 16 - Buffalo Bills 26
The “mighty” Trevor Siemian and the Denver Broncos were quickly knocked back down to Earth after they ripped apart the Dallas Cowboys last week. The Bills played well enough on defense to support Tyrod Taylor and the offense. The defense forced two interceptions from Trevor Siemian, and Tyrod Taylor did not commit any turnovers on Sunday. He went 20/26 for 213 yards and two touchdowns. The Denver offense was composed of a Jamaal Charles touchdown run and three field goals, which continued the trend of the 2017 NFL season where the goal is to not score any offensive touchdowns to prove that kickers are really the most important position in football.
Pittsburgh Steelers 17 - Chicago Bears 23
The Pittsburgh Steelers did not look like title contenders on Sunday, when they lost in overtime to the Chicago Bears. Big Ben only threw for 235 yards and only completed 22 out of 39 passes. Le’Veon Bell has continued his slow start, only rushing for 61 yards and one touchdown, and not to brag or sound happy about this, but I did predict a slow start from him, and I still expect him to heat up around week five. Antonio Brown continued to be very productive, catching 10 balls for 110 yards and a touchdown. Jordan Howard had a very good game for the Bears, rushing for 138 yards and two touchdowns, which was necessary because his QB Mike Glennon only threw for 101 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. I still think that it is time for the Bears to hand over the QB job to Mitch Trubisky, because I am not sure how much he could possibly stand to learn from Glennon. I think the Steelers will bounce back next week, and will heat up around week five.
Atlanta Falcons 30 - Detroit Lions 26
I think that the Lions got screwed this week. On the last play of the game, the refs overturned a potential game-winning touchdown from Golden Tate, and because of the 10-second runoff after a reviewed play, the Lions did not have another attempt to score from the goal line. The Falcons got saved, because I thought that they deserved to lose with the way that Matt Ryan played. He threw three interceptions to accompany his 294 yards and two touchdowns. Matt Stafford didn’t play his best, and the Lions scored most of their points on field goals, as do most teams in football these days.
Cleveland Browns 28 - Indianapolis Colts 31
This game between two of the worst teams in the league was very close and competitive as you would expect it to be. Deshone Kizer had a decent game, throwing for 22 yards on 47 attempts and two touchdowns, but accompanying those touchdowns were three interceptions. He also added another touchdown with his legs, as he was his team's’ leading rusher with 44 yards. The Colts picked up their first win of the season, and I think it will be one of their only wins as they are just atrocious without Andrew Luck, but I have talked about this for three straight weeks so I won’t go into it again. Jacoby Brissett held down the fort this week, throwing 259 yards and a touchdown on 17/24 completions. He also added a touchdown on the ground too. There isn’t much to break down in this game as both teams are terrible.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17 - Minnesota Vikings 34
Case Keenum had the game of his life while filling in for the injured Sam Bradford. He threw for 369 yards on 25/33 completions and threw for three touchdowns and no interceptions. The Vikings receiving core is the real deal, Adam Thielen has 299 yards through three games, and Stefon Diggs has been playing like Randy Moss, catching 17 balls for 293 yards and four touchdowns. Not only has the receiving core of the Vikings been playing great, but Dalvin Cook, the rookie running back, has been incredible to start the season, and was great this week as well, rushing for 97 yards and a touchdown. On the other sidelines, Jameis Winston did not look good, and his stats are deceiving this week. He did manage to throw for 328 yards and two touchdowns, but most importantly, he threw three interceptions. The Bucs are now 1-1 and I think will rebound and end up doing fine next week against the Giants, because they are awful and will continue to be atrocious until they find themselves a running game.
Houston Texans 33 - New England Patriots 36
DeShaun Watson looked pretty good on Sunday, and it looked like he was playing well enough to beat the mighty Patriots and send the internet into a frenzy, but if there is one thing that I have learned through my years of watching the NFL, it is to never count out Tom Brady. Brady was masterful, going 25/35 for 378 yards and five touchdowns. Any concerns about Brady’s age and ability to play quarterback in this league have been quelled, he is playing incredibly. He was able to take advantage of his new speedster, Brandin Cooks, as the two connected five times for 131 and two touchdowns, as well as a two-point conversion. Rob Gronkowski also looked like himself again, catching eight balls for 89 yards and a touchdown. Chris Hogan also looked good for the Pats, as he caught two touchdowns. I think that any concerns about the Patriots after week one have been disproven, and now credit should be given to the Chiefs because of how dominant they have played for their first three games.
Miami Dolphins 6 - New York Jets 20
The Dolphins are done. I don’t care that they are only 1-1 so far, they lost by fourteen to the Jets, so they should just quit and give up. Just trade everyone away for all the draft picks you can, send Jay Ajayi to the Giants for every draft pick they have in the next three seasons. This may seem harsh, but if you lose to a team that was supposed to lose all 16 of their games, it is okay to be harsh and extreme. Blow it up.
New York Giants 24 - Philadelphia Eagles 27
The season is over for the New York Giants. I do not see them bouncing back from going 0-3 to start the year, especially in the NFC East that features teams like the Cowboys and the Eagles. Odell Beckham Jr. returned, had 79 yards to go along with two touchdowns, but his dominance opened up opportunities for Sterling Shepard, who caught seven balls for 133 yards and a touchdown. I just think that Eli Manning is done, if he can’t win games with this receiving core, then he is no longer a franchise quarterback. The team still has no running game, so until they have that, it is not very hard to gameplan for a team that is one dimensional. If I am the Giants I am trying to acquire a running back at any costs, so I would reach out to the 49ers. Odell Beckham Jr. for Carlos Hyde...who says no? (Yeah, that was a joke). The Eagles continue to play well behind Carson Wentz, who only threw for 176 yards and a touchdown, as the running game carried most of the load this week. Jake Elliot’s 61 yard field goal to win the game was pretty cool too.
New Orleans Saints 34 - Carolina Panthers 13
The highly-touted Panthers’ defense was forced to face a real, elite quarterback this week after facing Tyrod Taylor and Brian Hoyer, and they got sliced up by Drew Brees. He threw for 220 yards and three touchdowns. Cam Newton was terrible, so that didn’t do his team any favors. He threw for 167 yards and three interceptions, and when you give Drew Brees the ball that many times, he’s gonna score a ton of points. The Panthers are in trouble without Greg Olsen. I have a huge bone to pick with the Saints though, and I promise this will be the last time I touch on this in a weekly breakdown, but WHY WOULD YOU SIGN ADRIAN PETERSON AND NOT USE HIM? He has had less than ten carries in each game he has played, just trade him to a team that will actually appreciate him at this point, you have no use for him.
Seattle Seahawks 27 - Tennessee Titans 33
I am worried about my NFC Champion pick being the Seattle Seahawks. They just have not looked great through their first three games, and this week I understand why, because they had a four hour meeting about the national anthem protest before the game, but other than this week, they just have not produced on offense like they should have, and that is because their offensive line is the NFL equivalent of swiss cheese. Russell Wilson played well this week, tossing 373 yards and four TDs, but the defense looked gassed in the second half of this game, which was their downfall. The problem with Seattle is that the defense has always been their backbone, but now that their core is aging, they cannot produce to the same level they used to, making them prone to allowing more points in the second half of games. The team also has not had a prominent running game, why are Eddie Lacy and Thomas Rawls sitting on the bench? I think that they should be playing right now because without them they are a one-dimensional football team and that is easy to stop and gameplan for. The Titans played a good game to back up a strong performance from Marcus Mariota and Demarco Murray. Murray was particularly impressive, rushing the ball 14 times for 115 yards.
Cincinnati Bengals 24 - Green Bay Packers 27
Hey, the Cincinnati Bengals lost again. They are done, blow the team up, start over, trade everyone in sight. I am positive that any team in the league would give up a king’s ransom for AJ Green. The Packers played at home this week so they were pretty good, and Aaron Rodgers looked great, tossing three touchdowns and 313 yards. The Packers will continue to play well at home, and against bad teams on the road, but I think that the loss to the Falcons last week was very telling for how they will perform in hostile territory against a decent team.
Kansas City Chiefs 24 - Los Angeles Chargers 10
Kansas City is the team to beat right now, they have been unstoppable through their first three games, and I think that they are just such a great, well rounded team that this run will continue. How did no one pick up Kareem Hunt before the Chiefs? How was there no hype around his name? He has been the best running back in the league to start this season. He rushed for 172 yards and a touchdown on Sunday, and leads the league in yardage by over 100 yards. Alex Smith had a pretty good game too, throwing for 155 yards and two touchdowns. The Chiefs’ defense also picked off Philip Rivers three times. There is good news for Chargers fans though, because there are none of you in Los Angeles, the league is reportedly thinking about moving the team back to San Diego, so be happy and keep getting outnumbered by opposing fans at your soccer stadium.
Oakland Raiders 10 - Washington Redskins 27
Derek Carr looked bad on Sunday. He threw for 118 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions, which made something abundantly clear for the Raiders: if Carr plays poorly, the team is going to lose. The defense is not good enough to keep the game close if the offense is lacking, and the offense revolves around the big arm of Derek Carr. The Redskins’ QB Kirk Cousins played very well, throwing for 365 yards and three touchdowns, and I am already so excited to see him in a 49ers uniform next season.
Dallas Cowboys 28 - Arizona Cardinals 17
I was very impressed that the Cardinals’ lifeless corpse of a team managed to hang around in this game for as long as they did. The Dallas Cowboys simply just overmatched the Arizona Cardinals this week, and dominated them on both sides of the ball. Dak Prescott had a decent game, throwing for 183 yards and two touchdowns. My worry for Dallas is that Zeke did not look like himself again, rushing the ball 22 times and only having 80 yards and a touchdown. I would keep an eye on him to see if he can ramp his game up as the season progresses. Carson Palmer actually looked pretty good, tossing 325 yards and two touchdowns.
Thoughts on Anthem Protests:
I will not be writing too much about this issue on this piece, but I will be talking about my opinions surrounding the NFL national anthem protests in detail in my upcoming podcast that is coming out on Sunday morning. I will keep things short on here though, I support every single player taking a knee, they have the right to do so, and I think that if you are against it, you aren’t really understanding the issue at hand. African-Americans have tried to protest things in every way imaginable, and people always get upset, so at this point, I think that you are not against the protest, or the message that they are trying to convey, I think that you are against the people trying to create a conversation about a pressing issue. I saw something on twitter last week, and it stood out to me so I will share it here: thinking NFL players are 'protesting the flag' is like thinking Rosa Parks was protesting public transportation. Being upset with the protest simply does not make sense, and if you are mad about this, it says more about you than it says about the protest or the protestors.