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NFL Week 3 Recap and Week 4 Questions

Week 3 recap, Week 4 questions

  • I have absolutely no clue what the deal is with the Dallas Cowboys. After an ultra-disappointing start to the season against the 49ers, the Cowboys trounced the Titans and then this past Sunday they spotted the Rams a 21 point lead before winning and moving to 2-1. Now all of a sudden the Cowboys head home to face a Saints team that one can argue is underperforming with the best of them this season. The Cowboys need to continue to give the ball to Demarco Murray. Murray is an above average back but there has been too many times when the offense gets pass happy and forgets about the simplest way to control a game. It’s not an unrealistic discussion that the Cowboys could be 3-1 after Sunday.
  • Let me just say that there are moral victories in sports for some, however, there are not moral victories if your name is Peyton Manning and/or you play for an elite team. I have read and talked to too many people since Sunday’s game “Oh, it was a moral victory for the Broncos’” “Oh they did better than the Superbowl!” “Oh, third time’s a charm!” Cut me a break. We are talking about the greatest regular season quarterback in NFL history and a Broncos’ team that is 28-7 in the regular season since Manning has taken over. Manning has now lost again to Seattle for the second time in 2014. It doesn’t matter that this game was in Seattle where the Seahawks are near unbeatable. Manning has now lost again to Seattle. Moral victories are for when your team is 0-15 and you’re facing the best team in the league and you only lose by 10 instead of 30 like you were supposed to. I also want to comment that it’s laughable to me that there are discussions currently about how the overtime rules should be changed again just because Peyton Manning didn’t get the ball in overtime. Denver’s defense looked pretty stellar in the 3rd and 4th quarter, couldn’t they hang on for one more drive?
  • The Jacksonville Jaguars are finally making the right decision and it only took 2 months to get there. After surprising a few folks (I honestly don’t know how this was a surprise) the Jaguars took Blake Bortles second overall in this year’s draft. With the spotlight on them, the Jaguars then foolishly announced during the preseason that Chad Henne was the starter and that Bortles would see no action this season at all. What were they thinking? The Jags have been good for all of 2 quarters this season (Leading 17-0 against Eagles in Week 1). Did they really think another season of Henne would be alright? Thankfully the Colts were obliterating the Jaguars bad enough that they reversed their poor decision and gave the ball to Bortles. Roughly 10 seconds after the game was completed, Bortles was named starter for the rest of the season. I’m not saying that this team would be 3-0 right now with Bortles as the quarterback but surely this offense would have been run better without Henne under center.

Questions for Week 4

Can the Detroit Lions make up their minds of what exactly they want to do every week? For the last few years, under Jim Schwartz, the Lions have been the most Jekyll and Hyde team in the NFL. They have adopted that same style of play under new Head Coach Jim Caldwell. One week it looks like Lions fans should book Superbowl tickets and the next week they should be preparing for the #1 pick in the draft. Week 1 this season saw the Lions destroy the Giants. Week 2 saw them lay the biggest dud of the week (arguably) against the Panthers and then Week 3 they beat Aaron Rodgers. That’s the same Aaron Rodgers who is lifetime 9-1 against them! If it doesn’t get more frustrating for the Lions, they head to New York to play the Jets who are the AFC version of the Lions! I don’t think either team will know what to do with the other one this coming Sunday.

My Guess: The Lions go full dud mode against the Jets during the game, Jets win.

Are the Dolphins really going to quit on Ryan Tannehill already? I felt the Dolphins made the right move in 2012 by drafting Ryan Tannehill at #8 overall. Tannehill was the 3rd quarterback taken that year in the top 10 (Luck #1, RG III #2) and he was supposed to provide an instant upgrade for the team. He hasn’t been that bad (16-19 W/L record, close to 8,000 career passing yards and more touchdowns than interceptions). When the Dolphins lost to the Chiefs this past Sunday, Head Coach Joe Philbin was asked if Tannehill would remain the starter and to my amazement he didn’t refute or try to dispel any controversy. Is Philbin going to really go with Matt Moore? Joe Philbin is all but finished with Miami after this year (the Dolphins looked awful off coming off the Jonathan Martin fiasco last season) unless there are great strides in the win department. Benching Tannehill might just speed up the process and make Philbin the first mid-season termination this year in the NFL.

My Guess: Tannehill is not benched and starts, Dolphins defeat the Raiders.

Bold Prediction for Week 4: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers upset the Pittsburgh Steelers for their first win of the season. The Steelers are notorious for playing down to their opponent’s talent. Sure they destroyed a good Carolina Panther team last Sunday but typically the Steelers always get into these ugly “trap” games with a lesser opponent and the result is always 50/50. Even if the Steelers do win, it’s more of an 18-15 slugfest kind of an ugly game instead of a landslide victory. I like the Buccaneers for the upset here. Plus, we are talking about a Steelers team that is depleted at linebacker and just signed retired veteran James Harrison to try and fill a void.

Guaranteed Lock for Week 4: The Bears continue to bury the Packers this season with a win on Sunday. Something’s not clicking for the Packers and I can’t figure out what it is. The have faced some very stingy rush defenses to start the year in Seattle, Detroit and the Jets. Facing these defenses has caused Eddie Lacy to not be able to return to his rookie year form yet. Don’t forget that the Packers were a giant comeback away from being 0-3. The universal “sexy” pick for the Superbowl this year is not looking so hot right now.

Recap from Questions and thoughts from Week 3

Doug Martin starts and plays the entire game Thursday but Bucs lose to Falcons and go to 0-3RIGHT AND WRONG – Doug Martin did not suit up for the game against the Falcons………and it wouldn’t have helped anyway. Buccaneers were humiliated on national TV losing 56-14 to the Falcons.

Texans win easily, move to 3-0. – WRONG – Oh boy. I made a case last week for the Texans to benefit from an easy schedule to start the season. Did someone send my piece to the Giants for that week? You can’t even use the Texans missing Arian Foster as an excuse (backup Alfred Blue rushed for a respectable 6 yard per carry average). The Giants had full control of that game from the opening kick to the end to get their first win and hand the Texans their first loss.

The Arizona Cardinals upset the 49ers to become 3-0 – RIGHTThe 49ers have been the worst 2nd half teams in the NFL this season. They have been outscored 52-3 in all second half play through 3 games. Blame referees all you want but this is horrendous offensive play for a team that simply isn’t playing up to their talent. And I know, I know, “The 49ers were 1-2 last year and made the playoffs”. Last year was last year and this defense is missing a lot of key components and the offense looks pedestrian at times. I’m starting to think that they will be in the middle of a huge mess by the time Navorro Bowman and Aldon Smith return.

Ravens over the Browns. —RIGHT — Although the Ravens did need a last second drive by Joe Flacco and a time expiring winning kick, the Browns still fell in defeat.

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Tony Bitkowski

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