Editor’s Note: Welcome John Stewart to the land of the General Store. We’re proud to introduce his weekly NFL pieces in which he looks back at the previous week’s action and prepares you for the Thursday Night game and the upcoming slate of games. John Stewart is 1. His real name, and he wasn’t named after a certain Comedy Central “anchor,” and 2. Is a blatant homer for all things Atlanta. We like this about him, as well as his propensity for hyperbole, GIFs, and A+ Photoshop CS5 work.
Well, the NFL returned with a vengeance this weekend, and it was excellent. From Jacksonville holding its own against a far superior football team to punters getting kicked in the face, it was a treat to watch. You’ve probably seen it a million times already but here it is again just for good measure:
Ah, yes, a microcosm of the Browns franchise indeed.
Anyway, onto some Falcons coverage. As you well know, the Falcons got to show the ‘Aints that they should never show their dirty faces in this town and that they should just go ahead and move to Los Angeles so that we never hear from them again. But I digress.
THREE THINGS THURSDAY
The running backs on this team are GOOD. Antone had a long touchdown reception, Devonta showed some excellent power and vision on a third down run to extend a drive that kept us in the game. Jacquizz continues to find holes and the workhorse Stephen Jackson seemed to be up to his old ways of doing nothing spectacular but keeping defenses honest enough for Matt Ryan to be able to throw all up on them.
We still have no pass rush. As I sat and watched Jeremiah Attoachu dominate in his debut with the Chargers, I couldn’t help but wonder why our front office passed on him in early May. But that is neither here nor there. The times were rare when one of our front 7 were in the backfield and that is not a good sign. Nolan had to get creative and send WillyMo on blitzes which, to no one’s surprise, Drew Brees saw right away and exploited it for a huge gain. The pass-rush must improve if we are going to go anywhere this year.
Trufant is a MAN. He was great in coverage and I don’t remember anyone breaking away from him all day. Brees didn’t seem to throw at him and he looks like he is shaping up to be a top-5 corner in this league. Other than when Jimmy Graham hurdled him… but we don’t have to talk about that. His task gets much more difficult this week as A.J. Green will give him fits. I am excited to see this matchup and how Trufant holds up.
SUPER BOWL PICK
After one week of action, it seems cliché but it looks to me like a rematch between Russell Wilson and Peyton Manning is going to happen. The Seahawks dominated the Pack and the Broncos moved the ball at will against the Colts. My pick for the Super Bowl as of Week 1: Seattle VS Denver
– Darkhorse: Philadelphia looked pretty bad in the first half versus a far inferior Jaguars team. However, Nick Foles came back with a vengeance in the second half and they wound up routing the Jags. I don’t care who you are, 34 points against an NFL team in one half is impressive. Look for Philly to make some noise.
JOHNNY WATCH 2014
The Manziel-O-Meter will be used throughout this season to track the progress of America’s Darling. And don’t you worry, we here at the Braves General Store have already trademarked Manziel-O-Meter before Johnny could get his dirty paws on it.
Manziel watches on as his punter gets kicked in face. He is not happy that more attention was paid to his punter getting kicked in the face than to him. You could faintly hear him yelling “WAIT STOP LOOK OVER HERE – I’M DOING SOMETHING JUST AS DOUCHEY AND I HAVE A NICKNAME.” Manziel remains the backup.
FANTASY PICKUP OF THE WEEK
Justin Forsett: Ray Rice is, well, not coming back. Bernard Pierce basically handed the starting job to Forsett in the opener. It seems they will follow the hot hand, but Forsett takes the early lead and is worth grabbing, in my humble but accurate opinion. He had 70 rushing yards, a touchdown, 5 receptions (PPR whaddup) and 14 receiving yards. If you’re desperate, he could help a lot. I happen to be desperate, so I’m making a waiver claim this week.
CALVIN JOHNSON GIF OF THE WEEK
Is it weird to lust after a man?
SNAP INTO A SLIM JIM® MOST AVERAGE PLAYER AWARD
I’m a fairly average guy with not too much special about me so I’d like to honor those similar to me in a weekly segment coined the MAPA (Most Average Player Award). This week’s MAPA goes to:
John Kuhn: This guy exemplifies average. Never asked to do a whole lot, Kuhn just blocks his little heart out and vultures touchdowns from Eddie Lacy, pissing off fantasy owners everywhere. Kuhn had one rushing attempt for 2 yards and a touchdown. Kuhn, you earn my stamp of approval, and totally not in a sarcastic, passive-aggressive, I have Eddie Lacy kind of way.
RAIDERS PUNT TRACKER:
The all-time record for punts in a single season is 114, a record shared by the 1981 Chicago Bears and the 2002 1st year expansion Houston Texans. (Fun Fact: Chad Stanley, punter for that Texans team, was the only player for four years to earn Player of the Week honors on the Texans. Andre Johnson broke that streak in 2006.) I have dreams of seeing this punting record shattered and I believe Marquette King of the Oakland Raiders has the ability to do it this year. Good news: he’s on track for 144 punts this season.
WEEK 2 PREVIEW:
THURSDAY GAME: Steelers @ Ravens. Tonight’s game features two teams who are shells of their former selves. The Ravens will only go as far as their defense will take them as Flacco is still running their offense. The Steelers are always a confusing team as they look like they should never be good but somehow always end up being good. I like the Steelers here, but don’t change your plans to watch this one: looks like it will probably be Snoresville. My prediction: Steelers 23 Ravens 17
GAME OF THE WEEK: Falcons @ Bengals. Call it homerism, but I think this game presents the best matchup. We get to see what the Falcons’ offensive line is truly made of while seeing if Matt Ryan can come close to repeating what he did to the Saints. Meanwhile, Dalton gets to victimize our defense by sitting in the pocket long enough for A.J. Green to get open. Should be a close game. My Prediction: Falcons 31 Bengals 28.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick is benched and the Ryan Mallett era begins in Houston.
- Brandin Cooks comes back down to Earth against a real defense.
- Eddie Lacy starts and is the highest scoring fantasy RB this week.
Hope you guys enjoy this weekend in the NFL and that you haven’t started a fire sale of your fantasy team yet.