Going into NFL Week Three is a time like no other. It’s like being a kid and able to be duped into believing things such as Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny while also being taught concepts that really exist even though you may not be able to physically see them such as electricity, time, and infra-red light. In fairness to those that are so drastically panicked or excited due to their fan hood or things they’ve heard in the lame-stream media, there’s fake evidence in place like the missing cookies on Christmas morning, the random money under the pillow, or the Easter basket that wasn’t there when you went to bed. Let me play proverbial orthopaedic specialist and quickly treat some of the knee-jerk reactions by diagnosing a cure.
Diagnosis A) Despite the fact I frequently refer to game manager Russell Wilson as overrated, he, nor saftey Kam Chancellor are an issue. Nor are the Seahawks in any real trouble. They lost two close games on the road to teams they have a spotty record against over the past few years. To cure their home sickness, I prescribe a tune-up game in Seattle against some pathetic opponent. Week Three hosting the Bears is what the doctor orders.
Diagnosis B) The Colts have played a pair of strong defenses to open the NFL season and in the 2nd of those games, left no fewer than 10 points on the field. Quarterback Andrew Luck and company will still win ten games considering that 6 of the matches consist of Jacksonville, Tennessee, and Houston. I prescribe a muscle relaxer in the form of a 3rd game vs. the Titans. There’s still 14 more of these to go.
Diagnosis C) The Eagles are 0-2 as frustration and embarrassment are setting in. I recommend a strong and highly addictive pain killer. It’s gonna be a long season and every bit of panic in Philly is legitimate.
With that public service concluded, it’s on to the Week Three Edition of The Student of the Game’s Match-Up Mania.
Falcons vs. Cowboys
OK, Falcons fans. . . I’m giving your squad a chance. Thanks to the schedule, the Week Three litmus test has come. Dallas is down Pro Bowl passer Tony Romo. league-elite wide receiver, Dez Bryant and possibly perennial man of awesome, Jason Witten at tight end. That means all that Atlanta’s limited defense has to do is negotiate the NFL’s best O-line as led by Browns’ reject Brandon Weeden as a backup game manager.
The Dirty Birds are easily the highest flying offense that Dallas’ defense has faced to this point, but they had to steal victory from the jaws of defeat against the thundering juggernauts known as the Giants and Eagles (please note sarcasm). Awesome as Julio Jones and Roddy White are with an underrated Matt Ryan throwing the football, their requirement to leap tall buildings in a single bound to achieve comeback victories over mediocre teams leaves me unimpressed (though they don’t do flips over piles like Cam Newton in Carolina). Yet, I’m still picking them over their star-helmeted antagonists on Sunday.
Here’s the caveat for all those asking for football respect in the ATL. Win, and I’ll declare you the prettiest of the NFL’s Karhasians sisters that are the NFC South. But if you lose to a Cowboy team that’s this beat up, please don’t speak to me again until you’re competing for the playoffs with a winning record. (yes, winning the division at 8-8, 7-8-1 or worse, will not count).
Chiefs vs. Packers
Both teams have won games that were closer than they should have been in Week One and both played early yet conference relevant contests in Week Two. And that’s about where the similarities end.
The AFC dark horse in Kansas City features the King of the Checkdown, Alex Smith at quarterback and the most versatile and underrated offensive weapon in league at running back, Jamaal Charles. A team so blue collar and hard-nosed that the wide receiver corps has extended its streak of games with no touchdowns to 18. While not a great example of the merit in being a tough squad, a defense that features Pro Bowlers at every level is a much more flattering symptom.
Conversely, the best passer in the NFL, Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers commands an offense who is potent despite their top receiver, Jordy Nelson missing from the lineup. The thing is, the Packers are on pace for more 2015 touchdowns from their ball carrier, Eddie Lacy than the Chiefs wide receivers. And even if Lacy doesn’t play, last week, James Starks showed us he’s still got some “ballin’” left in him.
On defense, the Pack is a good enough to keep the opposition from scoring as much as Rodgers and company. However, they are the kind of defense that can be tired out by a strong running game that also has a solid tight end passing scheme to keep the Green Bay front seven from a complete commitment to stopping Charles. Chiefs’ Head Coach and Kool-Aid Man Stunt Double, Andy Reid has shown us that this is possible. However, what gives the Packers the game is a balanced enough offense to score often even if Kansas City keeps Rodgers off the field by controlling the clock when they have the ball.
Bills vs. Dolphins
So the Dolphins have played two weak teams and managed to lose to one of them. Dolphins fans, as I know them, are again still unimpressed with their $100 million field general, their apparently out-of-control $100 million defensive tackle, their coaching staff’s ability to maximize their assets and really anything having to do with their 40+-year-championship-starved franchise. As notorious as Miami fans are for knee-jerk-fair-weather fan hood, I still see hope for the followers of the Phish to see brighter days.
It starts with the fact that, the Bills are a crew who played two good teams on their schedule and managed to beat one. The fans are circling the wagons in a fashion not seen since maybe the ’90s. The exact opposite state of mind compared to Miami’s misery. All that needs to be done for a Phin flip-flop is beat Buffalo. The weather in South Beach will be fair again and the Bills’ boosters will boo with a vibe of “here we go, again”.
Yet, there’s not a good football reason that will happen. The Bills run the ball well and have a top level defense while the Phins can’t the stop the ground game and have struggled on offense. I can feel the regret for putting them in my playoff predictions back on September 7th already setting in. Perhaps I should prescribe myself an anti-depressant.
More stories you might like