Rest in peace to all of the survival polls, moneyline parlays, and my MyBookie account this weekend as the NFL community witnessed a bizarre slate of games that included a Bills team that was a 16.5-point dog embarrassing a popular Super Bowl pick, Minnesota Vikings, the Patriots laying an egg against Bill Belichick’s former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, and a Jaguars team that looked unstoppable against Patriots losing a special teams battle against a injury-riddled Tennessee Titans team. As I have said time and time again, you cannot overreact to September football.
There is no better example of this than the Monday Night Football game. There was so much Buccaneer buzz this past week after they defeated the defending Super Bowl champion, Philadelphia Eagles, and with the Steelers “falling apart” many thought the Bucs could make it to 3-0 without Jameis Winston. My heart was happy that this was an actual possibility, but my mind told me there was zero chance the Steelers were going winless in the first three games of this season. Four Bucs turnovers in the first half (three from the magic man himself) backed up my concerns. Despite a late push from the Bucs, of course the Steelers won.
Here are a few other thoughts I had from week 3 of the NFL…
The Rams Continue to Look Like the Best Team in the League
The battle of Los Angeles turned out to not be much of a battle at all. The Chargers continue to feed their narrative of being an uber-talented roster and then shitting the bed in the first few weeks of the season, putting them in too big of a hole to climb themselves out of. This week, though, it is hard to blame the Chargers for the loss― the Rams are just that good. The offense continues to put up points at a ridiculous rate, and unlike the Kansas City Chiefs, the Rams star-studded defense continues to put offensive coordinators in a bind, especially when the Rams gain the lead. The Rams have become the clear-cut favorite to finish the season to finish the season atop the NFC and I could not agree more. That being said, I think they lose this week against the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday Night Football. Both starting cornerbacks, Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib, are missing the contest, and the Vikings will be looking to rebound in a big way after losing to an inferior Bills team at home. Rams open as a 6.5-point favorite and that line seems way too high. If the Rams pull out this game, I’ll be praying for the rest of the NFL. This team is for real.
Jimmy G can Now Focus on His Off-the-Field Career
Yes, I am referring to his career in the adult film industry.
The Lord and Savior of the Cleveland Browns is Finally QB1
I have been campaigning for Baker Mayfield to start the season since training camp began. Hue Jackson was unfortunately wrong (wait, the coach that was 1-31 in his first two seasons in Cleveland is not good at making decisions?) and costs the team a 3-0 start by sticking with Tyrod Taylor over their #1 overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft. Luckily for Browns fans, the team is 1-1-1, the Browns are in a below average division, and the defense is legit. I am not making any hot takes because a four-win season is still very realistic for the Browns, but if Mayfield can be average this season (which is two steps ahead of Taylor), who knows what can happen. I am cheering for Baker and the Browns. I can get behind this storyline.
Earl Thomas has the Seahawks by the Balls
The Seattle Seahawks are in full rebuild mode, and made it clear this offseason that they did not want to pay FS Earl Thomas. Because of this, Thomas sat out the entire preseason. This is a very typical practice for star players on a contract year looking for long-term stability. The funniest thing of all of this is that there were reports that the Seahawks were looking into fining Thomas for sitting out practice twice this week prior to their matchup with the Dallas Cowboys. Thomas then preceded to pick off Dak Prescott twice and carry the Seahawks to a 24-13 win. Thomas, Bobby Wagner (who is hurt), and Russell Wilson are all this team has left. Thomas proves week after week that he is indispensable. The team needs to either pay the man or trade him for a draft pick while they still can, or Thomas is going to walk for nothing at the end of the season. If Thomas keeps up his All-Pro performance, he is going to force their hand one way or the other.
The Roughing the Passer Dilemma has Filled in Seamlessly for the Catch Rule
I am going to keep this short― it is a bad rule. It is being officiated correctly. Blame the rule makers, not the referees. That is all.
I am excited for week four. Let’s go!
Photo Credit: Getty Images