What We Learned From Week 3 In The NFL

Three weeks in and we can start to form real opinions.  We’re finding out new things, but other things are remaining the same.  Here are some observations from this weekend:

Trevor Siemian is for real

Paxton Lynch who?  The guy I rooted hard for suddenly as no place in Denver, as Trevor Siemian has proved me wrong and is all the sudden the Broncos’ future at quarterback.

Siemian threw for four touchdowns against a very good Bengals secondary.  The guy just looks conformable under center.  You’d never guess that was his 3rd career game.  He was impeccable.

Sure, the slew of weapons Denver has helped.  But Siemian was mistake-free as he got hit six times Sunday.

He’s really, really good.  He’s much better than any quarterback Denver played last year (Have fun with that Houston!).

This leads into the next takeaway from the weekend, and the question of “Who’s this year’s Denver?” Well, Denver was this year’s Denver, but with Siemian playing like this, they’re much, much better than that.

Minnesota and New England are early surprises, and are only gonna get better

There’s reasons I’m grouping these teams together:

  • Two incredible head coaches who will have their team prepared no matter what
  • Have both knocked off good teams who were favored
  • Have survived quarterback nightmares
  • Have excellent defenses

Who thought the Patriots and Vikings would be where they are right now?  This is what we expected if each team had their normal roster, but three weeks in, nothing has changed.

Minnesota relied on their defense once again, as they sacked Cam Newton eight(!) times Sunday.  Not to discredit the Vikings defense, but this is more the result of Carolina’s crappy offensive line.  The Vikings did an excellent job of containing Kelvin Benjamin though, and stuffed the running game.

Carolina is still very good, but its getting to the point where we can ask the question of “Are we sure the Panthers can beat really good teams?”

New England blew out Houston on Thursday, which was surprising but not as shocking as Minnesota’s victory.

The book on this Patriots season is that, no matter who is playing, Bill Belichick will have them prepared to win.  It just does not matter.  Gronk could play quarterback and they’d still win.

The Patriots defense is extremely underrated, and has played a massive role in why they’re undefeated.  Shutting down Arizona’s offense in Week 1 will be one of the most important moments of this season for the Patriots.

New England is expected to have Jimmy Garrapolo or Jacoby Brissett ready for Week 4.  Thats a win, even though Buffalo put on quite a show Sunday (I’ll rant about that later).

Its still a little early for undefeated talk, but at this point, I think its certainly a possibility for the Pats.

The NFC East is anyone’s guess yet again

The Redskins-Giants game was exactly what we expected:  Three hours of head shaking.

This game was so Redskins and so Giants.  Eli Manning threw an interception to lose the game, which I mean, what else would you expect?

This was Kirk Cousins’ best game of the year, and boy did the Redskins need that.  They got super lucky, but another loss may have resulted in Cousins losing the starting job.

Both of these teams have a “Meh” feel to them.  They’re both fine teams, but thats all.  Neither are good, but neither are bad.

That leaves Dallas and Philadelphia, who look like the most consistent teams in the division.  Dak Prescott has been great for the Cowboys.  That guy can move!  Granted, it was the Bears defense he was faced up against, but Prescott is extremely fast, and moves extremely well in the pocket.  Its as smooth as anyone I’ve ever seen.

Carson Wentz, similar to Prescott, and been amazing for the Eagles.  Wentz has a cannon; his arm might already be one of the best in the NFL.  Wentz’s first true test came this past weekend, and he delivered, throwing two touchdowns.

Its gonna take awhile, like usual, to figure out this division.  Its all about consistency, and no one has totally shown it yet.

Lets not panic about Arizona, yet

I think I am ready to talk about this game…

The first thing that needs to be addressed is…  Could we be 3-0 if we had a decent long snapper?

Kameron Canaday’s bad snaps on field goals cost us a win against the Patriots in Week 1, and let Buffalo completely blow the game out of reach in Week 3.  If the high snap didn’t occur, and Buffalo doesn’t take it back for a touchdown, its still a 20 point game.  But that drive was Arizona’s best of the game.  Couldn’t that have led to more success?  Plus, that would have left us with 17:25 left of game-time to attempt a comeback.

Its still improbable that Arizona would have pulled off a comeback, but it would have at least given us a shot.

Now, lets not like act like our long snapper is the only issue with the team.  He might be the 2nd biggest issue, or maybe the biggest, but he’s not the only issue.

Tackling still remains the defense’s biggest problem.  How hard is it to wrap up?  Arizona missed many open field tackles on LeSean McCoy Sunday.  McCoy ended up running all over the Cardinals for 110 yards and two touchdowns.

Secondly, Tyrod Taylor shredded the linebacking core, and this is a defense that has struggled containing the flats this season.  Tyrod’s awareness, shiftiness and speed led to the Cardinals constantly chasing him downfield.

All of this was because of the lack of effort in the first half.  This isn’t a hard offense to contain; we just, for some reason, didn’t want to contain them.

The offense isn’t a problem.  Carson Palmer has played pretty well overall this season.  Sunday obviously won’t go down as his best game this season.  I just think when things go badly on one side of the ball, it can transition to the other side.  Thats what happened to Arizona Sunday.

Quick hits:

  • Tennessee’s friskiness was on full display against Oakland.  Marcus Mariota played pretty poorly, but the Titans were in it till the end.  A killer penalty by Andre Johnson cost Tennessee the game.
  • I wouldn’t panic about Oakland winning by such a small margin.  Friskiness is an element of a team.  You can’t really stop it.
  • Two absolute crapfests were the Browns-Dolphins and Ravens-Jaguars game(s).  Cleveland lost in the most Cleveland way possible.  The Browns had a chance after a Ryan Tannehill fumble, but missed a field goal which sent the game to OT.  In OT, Jarvis Landry was wide open for a reception of 32 yards, which set up the game-winning touchdown run.
  • What a terrible football game the Ravens and Jaguars played.  If you don’t care to read, here’s that game in one tweet.
  • After trading interceptions three times, Jacksonville lined up to kick a go-ahead field goal, but it was blocked.  That gave Baltimore the ball, and for once they capitalized with a field goal.  That gave Jacksonville a minute left to tie it back up, but Blake Bortles isn’t exactly the best at putting together game-winning drives.  His third pick of the day sealed it.  It wasn’t exactly his fault, as the ball was tipped, but the Jags face a decision.  Is it Bortles or is it Gus Bradley that needs to go?
  • Nice bounce back game from Green Bay.  They desperately needed that or else things would have gotten ugly.
  • This is why I don’t trust Ryan Fitzpatrick.
  • Sure, he was going against the Chiefs defense.  But six picks?  Good Lord!  When do you just take yourself out of the game?
  • Tampa Bay has to be the most mediocre team in the league so far this season.  They’ve had big wins, a blowout loss, and now an embarrassing loss.  I’m not really sure who’s fault it is yet, but its worth monitoring.
  • The Rams defense is back!
  • Similar to Green Bay, Seattle needed a bounce back win Sunday.  They have to hope Russell Wilson can keep playing; it could get ugly without  him.
  • The Chargers-Colts game was all about who’s defense was gonna play worse.  San Diego could not stop T.Y. Hilton, who caught the game-winning touchdown with 1:17 left.  Indianapolis proved little, but at least the defense can handle an offense as decimated as San Diego’s.
  • Tevin Coleman was a nice fantasy pickup this weekend. He helped the Falcons shred the Saints defense Monday night.
  • That was an atrocious game defensively, expectedly so.