Week 4 Reflections

Photo via Butch Dill/AP Photo

Week 4 of the NFL season gave us plenty of drama as we approach the quarter pole of the season. Gardner Minshew and Leonard Fournette were magical as they rallied the Jacksonville Jaguars from a 17-3 deficit against the Denver Broncos for a thrilling 26-24 victory. Also, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers shocked everyone in the NFL by dropping 55 points at Los Angeles in a 55-40 victory over the Los Angeles Rams. With all the dramatic action that took place this weekend, here are my thoughts after Week 4.

  • The Tennessee Titans looked very good yesterday against the Falcons. While the Falcons look like a mess due to poor offensive line and secondary, the Titans were efficient and got the job done. I will discuss them more in-depth in my weekly team spotlight.
  • There is a reason I picked the Baltimore Ravens to go 6-10 before the season started. This team lost major defensive stalwarts this past offseason, including Za’Darius Smith and CJ Mosley, and that has affected them greatly as they have gotten torched back-to-back weeks by the Chiefs and a Browns team that struggled on offense prior to their win yesterday at Baltimore. The Ravens are not the defensive powerhouse they were even last year. If the Ravens are going to beat teams that are better than the Dolphins and Cardinals, they can’t solely rely on Lamar Jackson to have monster performances and carry them.
  • The Buffalo Bills’ defense is for real. While they lost to the Patriots, they held their own against Tom Brady. They held the Patriots to 224 total yards and kept their struggling and battered offense in the game until the very end. The defense can win some defensive slugfests and help the offense when injuries occur or if Josh Allen has a down performance.
  • I’ve been hearing a lot of criticisms about Jared Goff after his performance in their 55-40 loss to the Buccaneers. While it is true, he turned the ball over four times, he got no help from the rest of his team. The defense was awful as they gave up 387 yards to a struggling Jameis Winston and the offensive line struggled to give Goff consistent protection all game, including the final drive where Shaquil Barrett strip-sacked Goff on their two-minute drive to tie the game. Goff did what he could in an epic shootout and the defense cannot continue to let receivers wide open like they did all game vs the Buccaneers.
  • Speaking of Shaquil Barrett, he is looking unbelievable to start the season as he has nine sacks, one interception, seven tackles for loss and three first fumbles through the first four games. He is the early season Defensive Player of the Year.
  • Chase Daniel in relief gave the Chicago Bears something that Mitchell Trubisky hasn’t given them all years and that is poise. Daniel was calm in the pocket and led an efficient offense and allowed the Bears to get enough offense to give the dominant defense a lot of breathing room. The Bears also gave David Montgomery 26 touches which opened the offense a lot. While Trubisky is the more talented quarterback, Daniel can give this team some much-needed consistency, although his mobility is limited.
  • Even though the Detroit Lions lost to the Kansas City Chiefs (in part due to officiating), they were impressive. The defense prevented Patrick Mahomes from achieving their usual first-half explosion, and they prevented Mahomes from throwing a single touchdown pass. Cornerback Justin Coleman is looking like a stellar free-agent acquisition and the offense looks much improved. With a solid offensive line, the Lions have been able to get running back Kerryon Johnson going as he rushed for 125 yards vs Kansas City. With a team that is at least decent in all areas and is currently healthy, the Lions can be a dangerous team going forward if they can keep this up. Their trip to Lambeau after their bye week is a very intriguing game to watch.

NFL Week 3 Reflections

Photo via Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

Youth was the theme for Week 3 of the NFL season. Daniel Jones made his first start and dazzled the NFL world. Lamar Jackson has elevated his game during his first full season as a starter by going toe-to-toe with Patrick Mahomes and the dynamic Kansas City Chiefs offense. And Kyle Allen took over the Carolina Panthers starting job and made the most of it with four touchdown passes in a win at Arizona. After a busy week in the NFL, here are my thoughts about the current happenings.

  • The San Francisco 49ers must be one of the sloppiest 3-0 teams I have ever seen. They turned the ball over five times in their 24-20 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Most teams would have taken advantage of those turnovers and won, but in this game, the 49ers defense held off a mostly inept Steelers offense. But San Francisco’s defense is nice so far. Let’s see if their offense can find consistency.
  • Jacoby Brissett looks legit through three games. He has shown incredible poise in the pocket with the system he is in. He looks like a competent NFL starting quarterback and has filled in nicely after Andrew Luck retired. Is it possible that Andrew Luck retired abruptly because he knew Brissett would do just fine and that the Colts were in good hands?
  • Ok, I was wrong about Lamar Jackson. He can throw the football well and even though he hasn’t played a good defense yet, and won’t until early November, he has still shown up to play well. He made some dynamic throws against the Kansas City Chiefs and was able to keep Baltimore in the game. I’m looking forward to seeing how he performs against the elite defenses of the NFL.
  • The Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Chargers are in unfortunate situations. The Eagles’ receiving corp is hampered by injuries with Alshon Jeffrey and DeSean Jackson missing time and the backups have a bad case of butterfingers as they dropped seven passes in their 27-24 loss to Detroit on Sunday. The Chargers really miss Derwin James along with Adrian Phillips as the Chargers’ defense struggled mightily in their 27-20 loss against the Houston Texans. The Chargers have three winless teams in their next three games. They need to win all three if they are going to have a good chance of making the playoffs and having a cushion when they play Kansas City. At least James will return sometime in November. As for Philadelphia, they play at Green Bay and at Minnesota in the next three weeks with a freebie against the Jets thrown in there. If their receivers cannot come through again and their stars get healthy, the Cowboys may lock up the division by November.
  • Daniel Jones is so exciting, and he is going to be a fun quarterback to watch in this league. Jones is passionate as he was even pumping up his teammates as they were trailing Tampa Bay. Not only does he have great talent to show off, but finally, the New York Giants have hope and passion in their franchise. The last few years, the Giants were slogging along and a mess that had no end in sight. Now, the Giants’ future is built around a core of Saquon Barkley, Daniel Jones, Evan Engram, and Sterling Shepherd. They look promising and with another draft plus another free agency round or two, the Giants will be contenders once again.
  • I mentioned last week that Seattle’s defense is very shaky and unless the defense steps up, the Seahawks are no better than they were last year. Their loss to the Drew Brees-less Saints at home was concerning. They looked like they had no clue how to tackle Alvin Kamara, and on top of that, the special teams got burned for a touchdown and Chris Carson has now lost three fumbles in three games. It really seems like Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner are carrying an average at best team on their backs. Seattle cannot keep this up if they want to have any chance of defeating the mighty Los Angeles Rams.

Post Week 2 Reflections

Photo via Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Week 2 of the NFL season brought about a lot of drama. There were wild finishes in Atlanta and Denver, catastrophic injuries for the Saints and Steelers, and plenty of other interesting results across the NFL. Here are some of my thoughts after Week 2’s action.

  • The San Francisco 49ers look very nice so far this season. Their young defense already looks impressive and on offense, this team has a lot of speed. Offensive mastermind Kyle Shanahan has a lot of impressive weapons to work with, including speedsters Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert. These two sliced through the Bengals’ defense and it will be intriguing to watch them going forward.
  • The Titans continue to be maddingly inconsistent. One week they dominate the Browns on the road and the next, they blow a game to Jacoby Brissett at home. They are putrid in following up big wins and that is going to prevent them from really becoming a factor in the championship chase.
  • I love the Buffalo Bills. This team is well-coached, especially defensively, and Josh Allen has elite quarterback potential. He has played solid so far this season and the Bills finally have a competent passing game. The receivers were open a bunch vs the Giants and with an easy schedule going forward, this team should be a Wild Card contender. I will discuss the Bills in more detail next week.
  • Russell Wilson is a phenomenal quarterback, but if Seattle is going anywhere, he always must be because the defense has struggled so far this season. They were torched by Andy Dalton two weeks ago and they let unproven Mason Rudolph have a big second half against them. Seattle is good but the defense must step up if Seattle is going to progress any further than the Wild Card round and take the next step from last season.
  • Kansas City is like a real-life Madden game. Throwing the ball downfield with ease at the hands of a quarterback who produced insane ratings. I can’t wait to see them compete against the new and improved Lamar Jackson next week.
  • I hate seeing bad football, but I hate seeing poor game management and undisciplined messes even more. Three examples stood out:
    • Marcus Mariota spiking the ball twice in four downs was a poor decision as it leaves very little margin for error and it backfired.
    • The Chargers losing to Detroit is inexcusable. Their ineptitude can be summed up in their drive early in the third quarter up 10-6. Two touchdowns getting called back due to penalties, then fumbling the ball at the one yard-line is a brutal way to blow a valuable seven points. These are the kind of losses that can be the difference between a playoff-berth and not making the playoffs.
    • Kirk Cousins chucking up the ball into triple coverage vs the Packers ended up costing Minnesota the game. Why are quarterbacks forcing passes into the endzone? This has already happened three times this season with Trubisky, Rivers, and Cousins all doing this. Quarterbacks need to be smarter and realize you cannot win games by forcing the issue like this.
  • Relax, the Eagles will be fine. They barely lost at a good Falcons team, and that was without their top two wide receivers.