Saturday, September 27, 2014

NFL Brain Dump - For The Birds

Week 3 of the NFL season didn't provide fans much as far excitement goes; it pretty much was for the birds. Among the 32 franchises that comprise the NFL, five of them are nicknamed after a particular species of birds. All five - Falcons, Ravens, Cardinals, Seahawks, and Eagles - earned themselves a victory in week 3; in this sense, we can definitely say that last week was for the birds.

Both of these birds reached the end zone against the Redskins.
The Atlanta Falcons opened the slate with a 56-14 thrashing of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Matt Ryan was accurate as only missed on 3 of his 24 passes, two of his completions found Julio Jones in the end zone. The story of this game was Devin Hester breaking Deion Sanders's touchdown returns record in the house that Prime built. For Bucs' fans, it's looking like this season is for the birds.

Baltimore's Ravens won their second consecutive game versus a division foe, Cleveland Brown, by way of a game winning field goal.  Much of the news in this early season surrounding Baltimore is about things that happen in elevators, mail rooms, and press conferences; stuff that are for the birds.

The Super Bowl rematch between the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos began where last season finished. However, this turned out to be a treat in the end. What else can you ask for than a Peyton Manning led offense against Seahawks defense in crunch time? The Hawks defense lost a 17 point lead but didn't give Manning a chance to touch it in overtime. In the end, the best quarterback in this game played for the birds.

Many people had their doubts about the Arizona Cardinals all season, but I've been beating their drum for the most part. Arizona smashed the 49ers to remain undefeated on the season. Arizona's defense is second in the league in fewest points allowed even after losing half of their starters from last season.  Prior to the season, the Cardinals had an over/under of 7.5 wins according to Las Vegas.

The most excitement of the week was provided by the Washington Redskins and the Philadelphia Eagles.  Washington's QB tossed it for 427 yards in this game, setting the highest mark in the NFL this season. Philadelphia found themselves down by double digits for the third straight game, and once again finished on the right side of the score board.

All five of the bird teams have winning records, two of them are undefeated.  The only other undefeated team left is the Cincinnati Bengals. Cincinnati is easily the most balanced team in the league because they run it and throw it equally well, they also defend the pass and run equally well, the only problem they have is finishing drives.

As I mentioned in the opening, it was a week for the birds with not much left to mention so let's move on to Week 4.

Eli Manning and the New York Giants looked every bit of horrible in the preseason and the opening two games of the regular season. However, it seems like the team has bought into the new West Coast offense, and have been able to move the ball. The Giants continued the Thursday Night Football trend of blowing out their opponent. The honeymoon for Kirk Cousins looks like it is over. If the Skins can't get some notches in the win column, RG3 might get another opportunity to be the man for Jay Gruden.

Here are a few things I'm looking forward to in Week 4:

Steve Smith will be playing against his former team that didn't think he had it anymore. The Carolina Panthers released Smith in the off season causing many pundits to discredit the current Panthers receiving core and writing Cam Newton's team off this season.  The Ravens have battled through much adversity but it is Smith's leadership and fire that are enabling this squad to get it on between the lines.  Smith will surely be fired up this week.

Can Eddie Lacy eat up some yards on the ground for Green Bay and take some pressure off of Aaron Rodgers? Chicago's run defense is all kinds of trash, if Lacy can't get off here, the Packers will be 1-3 because they'll have trouble stopping Jay Cutler and the big receivers.

Two of the undefeateds have a bye, leaving the Eagles as the sole team with a perfect record that is playing this week.  If things go according to this season's script, you can also call this week a bye for Philly; the San Francisco 49'ers have been outscored 49-6 in the second half this season, while Philadelphia have overcome large deficits in each of their games. I'm interested to see if the Niners can turn things around by getting a win, if not, then we can stamp some legitimacy to this season for the birds.

Can New Orleans get a win on the road at Dallas for the Sunday Night game? I'll be looking forward to sitting in front of my TV eating two dozen wings as it plays out.

Paper Pigskin Point Potential

Make sure you check injury status of your fantasy players before the game. Also be sure to make the proper roster adjustments if you own players from any of these teams that are on a bye: Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, St. Louis, Arizona, and Seattle

Stay tuned for next week.

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