NFL Week 3: Ups & Downs
It's tempting to pick just the defense, or even Mike Zimmer as he seems to have turned this team around, but in reality it's an all-around impressive effort. Sam Bradford is playing shockingly well with a nearly 70% completion rating, 3 touchdown passes, and 0 picks. Also shocking is the corner play for Minnesota, which just held Kelvin Benjamin to 0 catches. The defensive line has been holding their own, recording 8 sacks this week and giving them 15 on the season so far. Most people declared the Vikings season over after injuries to Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson, yet here they are as an undefeated squad. There's a lot to like about Minnesota right now, but I'm still having trouble believing this domination will keep up. This week brings a matchup against (what most people think is) a playoff contending team in the Giants. The Vikes have a few more tough games down the road, but they are a solid team and jumping out to a 3-0 start is huge. There should be some answers in the next couple weeks, for now just keep winning.
Through 3 weeks of NFL football, the Eagles have made themselves hard to ignore. Last week I chose Wentz as a selection for my “up” category. This week the whole team is on the upswing. After the trouncing handed out to the Steelers, the Eagles are raising eyebrows, and not only from the play of their rookie QB. The Eagles defense held a high powered offense with one of the best QB/WR combos in the NFL to 3 points. Make no mistake this is a good Steelers team. The Eagles didn't "get lucky," they outplayed Pittsburgh in every aspect of the game. The defense had 4 sacks and a pick and the offense used all of its weapons to put up the 34 points. The big signing of Fletcher Cox seems worth it (responsible for 2 sacks). It was hard to put them in the “up” column again, but 34-3 against a playoff contender demands recognition.
Belichick looks like a genius now, more than ever. The guy put JACOBY BRISSETT out there and won a game 27-0 against a good team. What he's been able to do since he took over the Patriots organization is amazing. The man has a 190-69 record since being in charge of the Pats coupled with a winning percentage of .734. The “silent hoodie” has done it all and came into the season 4th in all time regular season wins. Brady is coming back soon, and when he does the Patriots will be strong. Could they be 4-0 when he returns? If so what does that mean for the rest of the league? Now, the inevitable question becomes: did Brady make Belichick? Or vice versa? It would take me one whole article to answer that alone, but I'll let you speculate. Oh and one more thing, if it was Belichick who made Brady does that mean Brady is a “system quarterback?”
It's not solely about the loss, although that hurts- it's about his play. Palmer has been pedestrian at best this season. He looks 2 steps slower and older. His statistics at first glance, aren't all that bad. He has thrown for 862 yards. The problem is 3 touchdowns up against 4 picks, and 364 of those yards came in week 2 against a horrible Tampa Bay defense. Meaning in 2 games against decent teams he only has 2 TDs. In the game against Tampa his defense helped him by forcing 5 turnovers. That defense won't do that every week. Palmer needs to step up or it will be an early playoff exit. His throws have been inaccurate and his receivers have saved him from looking worse. This team won't go anywhere near the superbowl if Palmer continues to play that bad. A week 4 matchup against the Rams weak secondary could be what he needs, then again.....Aaron Donald.
New York Giants
The Giants had a chance to take a huge division game at home and advance to 3-0. With the Eagles winning, it would've been a huge win to just keep pace. Instead they lost at home to a weak Redskins team, and turned the ball over 3 times in the process. Disappointing result for the Giants. They also lost Shane Vereen for a few weeks. It would've been as big a win as you could have in week 3 of the young NFL season, but they allowed Kirk Cousins to go for nearly 300 yards. Couple that with OBJ getting punched in the face by the kicking net, yeah this week was all bad for the New York Giants.
The Saints have one guy who gives them a chance to win games every time they suit up: Drew Brees. The Saints could be in for a really long season if this defense doesn’t start stopping someone. Brees had 54 pass attempts in the loss to Atlanta Monday, but his defense couldn’t stop the Falcons. This defense is absolutely atrocious, giving up 96 points in 3 games. I’d hate to see Brees go out like this, but this defense has too many holes to fix anytime soon. To be fair, they have had some bad injuries create holes in their defense, but there is no excuse for letting teams put up 96 points on you in just three games. For now any hope of winning comes from Brees’ arm. Up next? A Chargers team that is about as inconsistent as humanly possible. If they don’t win this week, consider them done.