When I started to get somewhat serious about poker, I was warned against “results oriented thinking”. Basically just because you win a pot, doesn’t mean you played the hand well.
More so than any other season in recent memory, this theory applies. There are mediocre teams sitting at 3-1, and several teams that I would argue will ultimately finish with superior records sitting below them. It’s hard to not totally flip out from week to week, and try to actually gain some perspective on the NFL. And that’s exactly why we don’t do that in this feature, because we hate challenging ourselves. Overreaction begins now!
The King in the North!
If I was good with photo shop you would be looking at a sweet image of Christian Ponder holding a sword, or perhaps throwing a flaming football at a White Walker…but so it goes.
After all the preseason hype for the Packers, Lions, and Bears it is the Minnesota Vikings who currently sit in first place in the NFC North. They ran the ball effectively in Detroit, and got two special teams touchdowns. How much of this win has to do with the Vikings, and how much is related to the Lions’ complete lack of discipline remains to be seen. Either way, Minnesota is giving a fan base that exactly nothing this season something to cheer about. The cynic in me still thinks they are going to find a way to go 6-10. As much as I like Percy Harvin, he really shouldn’t be your #1 receiver. More and more, teams are going to start challenging Ponder to throw it downfield now that AP is beginning to look like his old self. And at the end of the day, I think we’re still a year or two away from Christian being able to make teams pay for it. He just doesn’t have the weapons.
Or they’ll just keep winning because the NFL is weird, man.
Two other 3-1 teams that I don’t think will make the playoffs…
You hear statements like, “they gave the game away” a lot and sometimes it bothers me. People tend to forget that even if a team plays awful their opponent is usually responsible for a lot of that with their own schemes. That didn’t seem to be the case in Kansas City on Sunday where the Chiefs drove the ball at will on the Chargers and outgained them, yet still managed to lose the game by three scores. How did this happen?
Six turnovers! Yes, six!
And a lot of them were completely unforced. Multiple balls bounced off wide open receivers only to land in the hands of confused Charger defenders who were covering other players. But other than the plays that KC gift wrapped for them, the Chargers looked…well, kind of bad. Not comparatively so, as the Chiefs look like they might be an early entrant into the Matt Barkley sweepstakes. But when you look back at San Diego’s year so far, it starts to get concerning. They were completely embarrassed at home against the Falcons, and they didn’t look very good against the Raiders in week one.
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Eagles finally played a good game and narrowly edged out Eli and company at home. But I have a hard time believing that this is the team that they are. I have a much easier time believing that Michael Vick is the quarterback who runs around like a chicken with his head cut off throwing across his body, than the in control player that we saw last night. In a weird moment, Coughlin admitted in the postgame press conference that they were counting on the Eagles turning the ball over and when they didn’t it changed their game plan.
On a side note, I wonder how many letters Andy Reid receives every week that just say: “GIVE THE BALL TO MCCOY WHAT THE FUCK MAN!” In the second half last night he did so. But on a week to week basis, I don’t trust him to remember this.
This is a good morning to avoid ESPN First Take…
If you were watching the Jets game yesterday, at some point you might have been tempted to turn the volume down and crank the Benny Hill theme.
I understand the Jets were not as good as their 2-1 record going into the game, and honestly they aren’t even as good as the 2-2 record they have now, but I didn’t think they would look nearly as awful as they did yesterday. Mark Sanchez completed 13 of 29 passes for 103 yards and looked even more dreadful than those numbers indicate. But if you want to get a real idea of how bad the Jets were in their 34-0 shutout loss at home against the 49ers, let’s look at the opposing team’s stats: Alex Smith had 143 yards passing, Frank Gore had 62 yards rushing, Mario Manningham had 47 yards receiving.
These were the team leaders.
So naturally Skip Bayless is going to start beating the Tebow drum this morning on ESPN, and a few people will no doubt join him. I wouldn’t mind it if Timmy gets a start. For as much as the story tires me, it seems so inevitable that I don’t even care anymore. Plus, over the last few seasons Sanchez is probably the worst QB in football to not get benched and maybe this is what he needs. As of now, Rex is still backing him though.
But just a reminder: for as bad as the Jets look, they still have a share of first place in the AFC East. Granted, I will all but guarantee it won’t stay that way…but you can’t just blow everything up yet.
-Last year the Bills came back from a multiple touchdown deficit to beat the Pats in one of the year’s best games. Yesterday New England returned the favor. Down 21-7 in the second half, the Patriots decided to go on a 45-7 run and completely obliterate Buffalo. Gronk dropped a few passes and had a key fumble early in the game, which will inevitably lead to people asking brilliant questions such as: “Does banging pornstars effect his hand-eye coordination?”
-When this year started the experts said that Robert Griffin III was smarter than Michael Vick in the sense that he wasn’t going to take as many hits. While I won’t argue with the premise that he is smarter than Vick, he is getting the shit kicked out of him. When he gets near the goal line or the first down marker it is hard to advocate sliding, but maybe the answer is calling a few less of these QB draws.
-The Packers beat the Saints yesterday in what was being called “The Desperation Bowl”. Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers looked to be back to last season’s form, and by that I mean these defenses looked awful. You will be happy to know that Nate and I kept a healthy dialogue going during the game and no one’s life was directly threatened.
-Didn’t anyone watch the end of the Panthers/Falcons game? Am I the only one that thinks the Panthers could replace all of their defensive backs with players from other team’s practice squads and no one would notice a difference?
-There are some overrated 3-1 teams, but maybe the quietest team to reach that mark is the Bengals. While they don’t excite me, or even their parents, the Bengals roster has rebounded nicely from the opening game drubbing they received at the hands of the Ravens. Not sure if they are for real, but they win the games they are supposed to and that’s more than I can say for a lot of teams.
Enjoy Monday Night Football, everyone!
What were your week four thoughts? Let us know in the comments section!