How can the Bears Bounce Back from a Game Like That?
The Bears were one Kendall Fuller dropped interception away from being the team all the experts talked about being a Super Bowl contender this season in the aftermath of the Khalil Mack trade. Regardless of the outcome, I do not think the Bears will contend this year, but I do believe 8 to 10 wins is a likely scenario for this team. The offense was creative in the first half but fell into the “playing not to lose” trap in the second half. Khalil Mack played the best half of football I have ever seen from a defensive player. Unfortunately, Aaron Rodgers is a god.
The defense will continue to improve throughout the season with rookie LB Roquan Smith only playing 13% of the defensive snaps. The first play of his NFL career was a sack. Smith will slowly take LB Nick Kwiatkowski’s snaps (78%) as he continues to learn the defense. Mack only took 70% of the defensive snaps and was in camp for a week. Mack will get better, which is a terrifying thought for opposing quarterbacks. Bears fans should be optimistic and NFL fans should thank the lord Rodgers did not blow his knee out. The league is better when Rodgers is on the field.
The New York Jets can be a playoff team
48-17 is impressive, no matter the opponent, but the Lions go as far as Matt Stafford can drag them. Stafford threw four picks, including a pick-six, and the Jet had a punt return for a touchdown. The Lions were on the brink of disaster going into this season, and with the emergence of the Bears, their division is brutal. I want to see the Jets do this against a team that looks prepared to play. Sam Darnold’s game was exactly what we will see all year. He starts out with a pick-six, then dominates the rest of the game. There will be ups and downs, and I want to see a larger sample size before we jump on the Jets bandwagon.
The Saints are Hungover from the Minneapolis Miracle
The Saints lost to Fitzmagic and the rest of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48-40. This was a literal shootout between Ryan Fitzpatrick and Drew Brees with the deciding factor being two unfortunate fumbles by the Saints. The Saints had 475 yards. The offense was not the problem. The defense surrendered 529 yards—over 400 of them coming from Fitzpatrick. I read a stat yesterday that in 2017 Fitzpatrick had completion percentage of 40 when he threw the ball over 15 yards in the air. Yesterday he was 8-9 on those same type of passes. The Saints were not ready for that. The Bucs had a similar upset on Atlanta in week one two seasons ago and you know what happened that season—Atlanta went to the Super Bowl. I want to give the Saints a few more weeks to make adjustments before I start panicking about one of my favorite teams coming into the season.
*Bonus Overreaction: The Bucs are Super Bowl bound baby!!!
The Steelers don’t need Le’Veon Bell, look what James Conner did!
James Connor had a fantastic first start as a Pittsburgh Steeler, racking up 192 all-purpose yards along with a couple scores. Conner is a great story, but he is not even close to what Le’Veon Bell is as a football player. The reason Conner was running all over the Browns is because that is what the Browns wanted the Steelers to do. Not having to worry about Bell allowed Gregg Williams to focus on making Big Ben’s life a living hell (which we all know he enjoyed) by locking up his receivers and bringing pressure. You cannot take that approach when Bell is in the backfield, he is just too good. Bell opens the passing game up and keeps a defense honest. As good as Conner was, he ain’t no Lev Bell.
Giants have no chance this year
This one is not as hot as the others, but the media likes to trash Eli Manning. He has not been anywhere close to his Super Bowl form, but if he can be average, Saquon Barkley, Odell Beckham Jr, and Evan Engram (when he can actually catch the ball) are such freaks that they will be able to put up a ridiculous amount of points. The Giants only put up 15 points on Sunday, but the Jaguars have one of the best defenses in the NFL, and their studs were able to still make plays. When the Giants play average defenses, they should have no problem scoring in at least the high 20’s each contest. For what it is worth, the Giants defense held the Jags to 13 points, which at least seems like improvement from last season. With the Eagles and Cowboys struggling week one, and the Redskins playing the shitty Cardinals, who the hell knows where this division goes. I’ll tell you what, though—Saquon and OBJ together is must-watch TV.
Photo Credit: https://newpittsburghcourieronline.com/