This is a very odd NFL season. Like, seriously, what happened to the Patriots? I thought they were supposed to be the image of consistency in the league. Instead they looked like a soft box of kittens out there Monday night. Kansas City is certainly no slouch, but that much ineptitude is not something you come to expect from the Pats. Regardless, other games happened and I’m here to highlight that starting with the misery that was the Falcons this week.
THREE THINGS THURSDAY
This is shaping up to be an up and down season. So much optimism from last week came crashing down to Earth.
Seems to be something we blame a lot around Atlanta, but having to use your tight end at tackle means you are having a bad day. And that’s exactly what this was for the Falcons: a bad day. We lost two lineman for the season and it seems like all the work we’ve done to rebuild and retool the offensive line was an exercise in futility as we seem to be fairly screwed at this point. Although, Toilolo was not a bad tackle. Probably because Minnesota refused to try anything on him (for whatever reason). At some point we need depth on this team and it’s beginning to look like we need to start building through the draft. Which brings me to my next scary and depressing point…
ARE WE WASTING MATT RYAN’S CAREER?
The Falcons have committed to Matt Ryan and he has committed to us. I want him to retire a Falcon. He is awesome and in no way the problem on this team. I think it is possible that this team can come together and make the playoffs, but we are far from a Super Bowl team. We seem to have mortgaged the future for a “win now” team. And well, we are not winning now. That gamble hasn’t really worked and the way I see us getting back to relevance is slowly equipping ourselves via the draft much like Seattle did. However, that means we have to keep putting out these mediocre teams for Matt to try and lead. I don’t know. Watching this week’s game didn’t exactly provide a lot of confidence in what currently have available to us and free agent signings are not the answer for this season or the offseason. I don’t want to waste Matt’s career, but he can’t win by himself.
I knew that the game against the Bucs was an outlier. Nolan’s defensive scheme is not working. Granted, he has now lost his two best players in Weatherspoon and WillyMo but that’s as bad as I’ve seen a defense look in the NFL. I don’t know what needs to change, but we have huge size up front, something that should lead to our linebackers being able to stop the run. And they haven’t up to this point. Something needs to change and for God’s sake please stop dropping linemen into coverage. Maybe going the “simplify everything” route would work out better for this team. Stop getting fancy, just do what you’re assigned to do and make a play. I’m naïve enough to think that might make us a little more than a doormat.
SUPER BOWL PICK
Nothing helps your status quite like not having to play. Philadelphia was finally humbled and they probably shouldn’t have been my pick for as long as they were. But hey, they don’t pay me the big bucks to make predictable picks. Seattle re-enters the Super Bowl conversation despite being off this week. They are very much a complete team that is not all that different from the one that won it all last year. Russell Wilson is doing everything he needs to do to keep winning and the defense is spot-on. Cincinnati remains my pick from the AFC. Their defense is incredible as well and as we’ve seen before, a good defense makes up for a less than stellar offense (Editor’s note: Trent Dilfer and Joe Flacco agree). But Dalton and Co. certainly are not bad by any means. My Pick: Seattle vs. Cincinnati.
Close Behind: Peyton and his boys enjoyed the off week and boosted themselves back up to this conversation. They have way too many offensive weapons to not be in consideration. Their defense is a little bit lacking so they aren’t my pick for now. And, what’s this? Dallas?! I’m picking Dallas? What in the world? Don’t I know who their quarterback is? Well, all they do is win, win, win no matter what and until that stops happening, they have to remain in the Super Bowl conversation. What an odd turn of events. I mean it will end up something like this inevitably though:
JOHNNY WATCH 2014
America’s Sweetheart was on bye this week, hanging out with his former coach and team in Arlington. Nothing very thrilling from a bye week other that apparent Brian Hoyer was mad that Manziel got in the game a couple weeks ago. Why’s he gotta be mad? Did he really expect to hold Johnathan Pigskin off forever? You are Brian Hoyer, you could win the MAPA every week. Calm down man. Anyway on to the Manziel-O-Meter:
FANTASY LONGSHOT OF THE WEEK
Antone Smith (RB): My homerism gets in the way sometimes. Antone gets no fantasy love because he is not the starter, or the 2nd stringer, or possible even the 3rd stringer. He gets very few touches. But what does he do? Score touchdowns. He has 3 to Steven Jackson’s 1. The dude is a big play factory and if bye weeks have you down and your waiver claims failed, I can almost guarantee a big play from Antone this week. He’s a gamble, but he can do this:
GIF OF THE WEEK
This was one of the more impressive plays I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, it did not count and got called back for holding, I believe. But Rodgers earns top spot this week, because holding or not, this was AWESOME.
Lansanah don’t care you got a first down, Le’Veon.
GOGURT® MOST AVERAGE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Larry Donnell: Ok, fine, I cheated on this one. Donnell had three touchdowns on Thursday. But come on, his name is Larry. Larry. Donnell. Sounds like a guy who will help unclog my sink. AND he wears braces. Larry is a great, average, uninspiring name, coupled with the last name Donnell and you’ve got yourself an average individual. And get this: he didn’t start himself in fantasy football and lost as a result.
RAIDERS PUNT TRACKER
#KICKSQUAD unite! We have reclaimed our spot at the top! Well, we share it with arch-nemesis Bryan Anger. Marquette and Anger are all knotted up at 23. Both are on pace for 92 punts total. This is shaping up to be quite the race and I, for one, know who will come out on top. Keep Marquette in your thoughts and prayers as his coach was fired this week. BUT that could mean more opportunities for punts moving forward!
Thought of the week from Marquette:
Start unknown FINISH Unforgettable
— Marquette King (@MarquetteKing) September 27, 2014
And here’s where we stand:
WEEK 5 PREVIEW
Last week’s predictions:
1. Teddy Bridgewater struggles in his first start against a re-energized Falcons defense. LOLOLOLOLOLOL 2. Blake Bortles leads his team to a win over San Diego. Not even close. The wins are coming though.
3. Eddie Lacy FINALLY has a good fantasy performance. — It was good, not great… I’ll give myself this one…
THURSDAY GAME: Vikings @ Packers – It is always good to see a rivalry nationally televised. This one puts a revitalized Packers offense up against and up and coming Minnesota defense. Will we finally see a game worth watching on a Thursday night? I think this may be it. Hopefully Teddy can suit up and show us more of what he’s made of. He won’t be going up against as bad of a defense as he did in his first start, so I think he will struggle a bit more. Especially if his ankle bothers him. If he doesn’t get the start, we’re probably looking at another snoozefest so let’s all hope Teddy is good to go. Aaron Rodgers and the offense will do what they always do and score points. My prediction: Packers 31, Vikings 21.
GAME OF THE WEEK: Cardinals @ Broncos – This game gets even better if Carson Palmer can start. The offense should improve if that happens. Week 3 MAPA Drew Stanton has been serviceable filling in, so it is not a death sentence for Arizona to continue rolling with him. The Cardinals defense will give Peyton fits. However, Peyton is still Peyton and his offensive weapons are second to none. Look for the Cardinals to follow a “bend but don’t break” philosophy throughout the game as Peyton does his thing. If the Cardinals can force turnovers, they win the game, but if they can’t, the Broncos win. I’m sticking with Peyton. My prediction: Broncos 23, Cardinals 14
BOLD PREDICTIONS WEEK 5:
1. Joe Flacco has a Top-5 performance.
2. Kirk Cousins does what no one thinks he can and beats the Seahawks on Monday night.
3. A bunch of people start Eddie Royal and he gives them less than 3 points in fantasy because that’s how he rolls.
Enjoy this week in the NFL and good luck with your fantasy teams this weekend.