Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Bill Belichick, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Gus Bradley, Houston Texans, Hue Jackson, Indianapolis Colts, International Series, Jacksonville Jaguars, JJ Watt, London, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, NFL, Odell Beckham, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Rex Ryan, San Diego Chargers, Trevor Siemian, Tyler Eifert, Vontaze Burfict, Washington
It was a strange week three that saw many a game going differently to how people expected, and saw both Dan and I get murdered on our picks.
I wrote before making my picks last week that I expected more teams to get their first loss or win than continue their streaks, but it seems I picked all of the wrong ones and even in the games where I made the right choice, those choices were hardly convincing.
- One of the unbeaten Texans and Patriots had to lose their first game, but whilst I acknowledged that Bill Belichick could win this game, I was not expecting the Patriots to manage a 27-0 win over the Texans.
- The Cardinals went to Buffalo and lost, giving them a losing record and granting the Bills their first win of the season and resulting in the usual Rex Ryan bravado about facing the Patriots this week.
- The Broncos went to 3-0 with an impressive win in Cincinnati where the Bengals defence stacked the box and dared Trevor Siemian to win the game with his arm, which he promptly did.
- Even when I picked the Dolphins to beat the winless Browns in Miami and get their first win of the season, they needed overtime to do it and were nowhere near the ten point lead I needed for my pick to come through.
- I expected the Viking to keep the game close against the Panthers, but instead ran out with a victory to remain unbeaten despite their injury troubles.
- I didn’t see Washington beating a Giants team that were off to a great start, and yet they managed it whilst Odell Beckham grabbed headlines with another emotional outburst. This time the talented receiver lost a fight to a field goal net on the Giant’s side-line.
- The Ravens went down to Jacksonville to face a desperate Jaguars team who were not desperate enough to avoid going 0-3, whilst the Ravens have the quietest unbeaten record in the league.
- The Colts were one of only three games featuring a 2-0 or 0-2 record that I picked correctly, when they managed to get a win over the visiting Chargers who now have a perfect record of played three, lost three starters for the season to injury.
- The Eagles put pay to the Steelers unbeaten record and kept their own, making the hype surrounding Carson Wentz even greater. I am so impressed with the Eagles coaching staff and the turnaround they have made so far, I’m really looking forward to seeing how this team develop over the rest of the season.
- The Bears continued to lose, giving me my only other totally correct pick of week two where I got it right and the game went how I expected.
- Finally, I was tempted into picking the Falcons because of an extra half point the Saints were giving up, but it turns out that the Falcons didn’t need these points as they ran out easy winners in a game of a lot of points.
Now, the wonderful thing about the NFL is that it is doing a sterling job of giving us talking points and excitement over the weekends, but boy is it making predicting what is going to happen difficult.
Still it is still early, and even though I will be writing my quarter poll summary in a couple of weeks, there are very few teams that should be truly despondent. However, whilst the Cleveland Browns were never likely to be looking for anything other than progress, and to their credit they are playing tough for the Hue Jackson in his first year, the Bears, Saints, and Jaguars are all in trouble. Only three teams have made the playoffs after starting 0-3 since 1990 when the playoff format was expanded to its current format. The Bears were expected to be rebuilding this year even if the injuries have made things worse than I was expecting, but the Jaguars were hoping to make the next step and push for the playoffs whilst the Saints have a Super Bowl winning quarterback who they have failed to surround with enough talent to push as far as they would expect.
The Jaguars are a particular disappointment as they head over to London to host the Colts this week, and already people are wondering if the London game is going to cost another head coach his job. Despite the warm feelings that everyone who has ever dealt with Gus Bradley seems to have, it is hard to see the Jaguars owner putting up with these results for much longer, and the Jaguars will need to turn things round quickly if Bradley is to keep his job past the end of the season.
And continuing the theme of disappointment, the big news of the last twenty-four hours is that JJ Watt has been placed on injured reserve as he having more problems with his back, and could possibly be gone for the season. I’ll write a little more about this over the weekend as I was already going through the coaching tape of Watt vs the Patriots, but hopefully he can make it all the way back as he is one of my favourite players to watch, but back injuries are hard ones to return from and people who’ve had such problems often say that they never felt the same.
The week five games look to offer plenty of excitement and intrigue, but already the attrition has really started to affect some teams, and it is an all too prescient reminder of how tough a game American Football is. I never want to see a player injured, but I will confess that part of me is curious to see what the Patriots would do if they were forced to play Julian Edelman as their quarterback.
Still, it is time to start looking at this week’s games, starting with tonight’s game that pits Dan’s Dolphins on the road against my beloved Bengals.
Our records are nothing to shout home about, particularly after our disastrous previous week, but I did manage to maintain my three point lead:
Gee: Week 3 5-11 Overall 21-27
Dan: Week 3 5-11 Overall 18-30
Dolphins @ Bengals (-6.5)
The Bengals lost their first home game of the season, in what has been a tricky open to the season, but if they can get back to 2-2 they can still hope to make a push for the playoffs. It appears that Tyler Eifert is not going to make it back for the game, but Vontaze Burfict comes off suspension and is likely to help the Bengals defence straight away. I think the Browns are going to give teams a tough game at the moment so I’m not reading too much into last week’s result for the Dolphins, but an overtime game before a short week road game is not the best prep, and I’m hopeful that the Bengals can win and hopefully find some rhythm on offence. For one game only I’m borrowing from Dan and picking blindly based on my fandom.
Gee’s Pick: Bengals
Dan’s Pick: Dolphins