Ten quick-hit thoughts from NFL Week 3

Editors note: This was written before Sunday Night Football because of the following: 

Grido

Tune in tonight! Will be rewatching the Patriots-Lions game later and then the usual SWN Show and podcast tomorrow…see you then!

1) Just when you think you know the NFL, you don’t

‘Bills defeat Vikings 27-6’

Isn’t that the headline we all imagined after this game? Every couple of weeks there is a game that 95% of people are picking one team to win, and for good reason, and then the 5% team wins. But it isn’t usually this big of an upset.

The Bills were a 17 point underdog by kickoff and no, that is not a typo. Buffalo is now the largest underdog to win a game since Dec. 3, 1995 when the Redskins beat the Cowboys as 17.5 point underdogs, according to ESPN.

2) That was a penalty 

I know people hated this call and feel like Clay Matthews got robbed for the second straight week. I hate to be the one who says it, but this is the right call. I don’t like the call, but liking the call and it being right are two different completely different things.

Based on the textbook rule, driving your shoulder and bodyweight into the ground like Matthews did is a penalty. This isn’t anything new either. This is the third straight week, not including the preseason, in which this has been called pretty consistently.

Yes, there has been some inconsistency here and there, but refs aren’t perfect, and they too are still adjusting.

I understand it will take the viewers and players some time to get use to this, including me, but by the rule, it is right.

3) Dallas reaches new low against Seattle

I mean seriously, just when you think it couldn’t get any worse for the Cowboys, guess what? It does! Dallas had the special talent to make the Seahawks offensive line look good…no really.

Seattle’s offensive line, which had been ranked as the worst pass offensively line in the league heading into this week, kept Russell Wilson protected. Mind you the Seahawks’ offense still only looked slightly above average at best.

If there isn’t some serious questioning going on about the Cowboys top to bottom now, I don’t know when there will be:

4) Giants…rebound?

Ah yes, I hear Giants fans loud and clear. You are very proud of finally getting one single win against a team that is winless and might be the first team that fires their coach; or at least they should.

Listen I like Lauren, she is a friend and does good work on her New York-centric YouTube channel, but Giants fans should have nothing to little to be happy about.

Yup, Eli looked better against the pass rush, Odell showed up again, and well…that’s about all you can takeaway as a positive. Barkley, and the worst rushing offensive line in the league coming into this week, struggled outside of one long 24-yard run; averaging just 3.6 yards per carry.

Oh and leave it to the Giants offensive line to give JJ Watt (three sacks) his best game since 2015.

So sorry Giants fans, this changes nothing for me in terms of my long-term opinion on this team: they won’t make the playoffs and they are wasting a year that they could be rebuilding in. Want to prove me wrong? Your team will have just the chance to do so over the course of the next 4 games against very, very good competition: vs Saints, at Panthers, vs Eagles, and at Falcons.

5) Drew Brees, Saints and Matt Ryan’s Falcons put on a show

This game was unbelievable from the beginning to the end. Well-played football, at least on the offensive end, and fun, fun to watch.

Yes, I can’t lie. At times I have disrespected Brees, but today is my day to make up for that. The 39-year-old QB was borderline perfect (39/49, 396 yards and 3 TDs) against Matt Ryan who was incredible too: 26/35, 374 yards and 5 TDs.

While you knew both of these secondary’s needed work coming into this game, and you certainly know that after, it is hard to make any firm takeaways when you have two greats performing the way they were today.

Oh and by the way, I said it last week and I will say it again, good luck stopping Michael Thomas who deserves the respect as a top 3 WR in the same category as Antonio Brown, Julio Jones and company.

Also, the play of Calvin Ridley today is exactly why I said during the draft that he would be productive, this isn’t hindsight 20-20.

Atlanta vs New Orleans never seems to disappoint.

6) Eagles/Wentz rusty, but doesn’t matter against the pitiful Colts/Luck

Carson Wentz was back, but boy did he look like a QB who hadn’t thrown the ball in an NFL game in nine-plus months. The 25-year-old QB a bad INT and a lost fumble that showed a lack of pocket awareness. I am not usually a ‘if’ type of person, but if the Eagles had a non-rusty Wentz this would have been an easy, easy win.

The Eagles secondary looked venerable at times, but yet again, Luck showed flashes but not consistency as the Colts scored just nine points in the final 45:24.

7) Young QBs, the great and the ugly: Mahomes and Garoppolo

Our perspectives on young QBs in this league can change with the snap of a finger. This is what I tweeted before Garoppolo suffered what is likely a season-ending ACL injury, according to NFL Network:

Just months ago many, including myself, were talking about how great Garoppolo will be and whether or not Mahomes is ready for the big lights. Well, now we are talking about Mahomes breaking records set by Brady and Peyton Manning, and Jimmy G is likely out for the season:

Listen, I don’t like to buy in on young QBs as I talked about above. Whether it is for injury concerns or otherwise, but Mahomes is making that hard. I can’t buy in yet based on my principal, but I might do so a lot sooner than I usually do.

The Chiefs offense is the third team ever to score 38-plus points in the first three weeks of play, joining the 2007 Patriots and 1967 Colts. NFL, watch out because Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce and Sammy Watkins and Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill are taking no prisoners.

8) Rams offense looks…unstoppable?

I really don’t like sports cliches. No really, I hate it. And saying an offense is “unstoppable” is of course never true because any team can be stopped on any day. Did I just use a sports cliche to dismiss a sports cliche? Oh well.

With that said, when Jared Goff is on like he was on today (), and Todd Gurley, Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks all look the way they looked, it is nearly impossible to beat them.

Now granted the Chargers deserves credit for staying in this game as long as they did, and the Rams leaky secondary is something to watch going forward, but they remain the best team in football.

9) Jaguars fall after huge win

I should have known:

No really, I am not happy with myself at all. This is the most typical loss of a team who just beat the Patriots ever. That letdown week after a Patriots win is real; it has been proven time and time again.

At the end of the day, while there should be little doubt about the Jaguars defense, when Blake Bortles is leading your team, you can only be so confident. Unfortunately, today was a painful reminder of that for Jaguars fans.

Oh and by the way, I still stand by this, but notice who I put in the picture for a reason. If only they had an average QB this team would be fun to watch. Jags are real.jpg

10) Dolphins and Raiders remain perfect

No that is not a typo, both Miami and Oakland stayed perfect. It is perfect that the Jon Gruden led Raiders stayed winless after leading for much of this game; just to blow it at the end.

After getting a TD to give them a 17-7 lead with 2:58 left in the 3rd quarter, here were the Raiders’ drives: punt, punt, INT and FG. That is inexcusable for the ‘offensive mastermind’ that Gruden is suppose to be.

Meanwhile the Dolphins 3-0 record has been anything but pretty against the Jets, Titans and now Raiders, but they have stayed close in all the games and Tannehill has been a decent game-managing QB so far.

 -Article by Nick Friend

Tomorrow: The SWN Show and podcast

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