5 Things We Learned: The Highly Debatable Edition

When we reflect back on the season, Week 6 will be one of the most talked about and remembered. We learned an awful lot.

1) The New York Giants love when the world picks against them. The G-Men went into this game as slight underdogs in Vegas, but were hearing all week by football experts that they were not going to beat San Francisco. Needless to say, they went in there and stomped them out 26-3. The pass-rush looked like its former self; the same guys who continually put (Matt) Ryan, Rodgers, (Alex) Smith, and Brady on their butts last season en route to the franchise’s 4th Super Bowl win.

Alex Smith looked uncomfortable in the pocket all game, and that’s a position where the Giants defense thrives. Coming into the game, Smith had only thrown 1 interception on the season. He left Sunday afternoon’s game with a season total of 4.

When the Giants get front-four pressure like they did on Sunday, they are a difficult team to move the ball on. They force you to speed up your reads, and that internal clock for a quarterback to get rid of the ball reaches it’s limit much faster than he would like.

Keep in mind that Eli had a very quiet day as he ended his streak of 24 consecutive games with at least 200-yards thrown. The ground game showed up for a second week in a row as well. And when Ahmad Bradshaw rushes for over 100 yards, the Giants don’t lose.

As fictional coach Gordon Bombay would say, “That wasn’t a game, that was a statement!”

2) The Patriots’ cockiness is annoying. If you watched the game as a Patriots fan, you have every right to be especially upset by this loss because it was a very winnable game. I do understand that Seattle is a good team, with a very elite defense, but the Patriots handed the game over. The Patriots offense is an enigma. You truly never know which one of their offensive personalities is going to show up.

On the one hand, you have this Patriots offense that can move the ball very efficiently with 5-10 yard routes and draw plays, all the way into the end zone with ease. Then, you have their arrogant offense which swears they can run any ole play at any given time and it will magically work for them. This is what fans saw during the last two drives of the 4th quarter. It looked like offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels had already declared victory, and started picking plays out of a hat.

The Patriots didn’t lose that game because they were offensively inept, they lost because their offense became arrogant with a lead that was anything but insurmountable.

Hats off to their defense though, who have been keeping them in every game so far (especially defensive lineman Chandler Jones).

3) The Atlanta Falcons are the last undefeated team left in the NFL…but they look beatable. 4 out of the Falcons 6 wins have been by a combined 18 points.

On Sunday, they were able to pull out a late fourth quarter win, despite Matt Ryan throwing 3 interceptions in the first half vs. the Raiders. The Raiders are one of the worst teams in terms of getting sacks and turnovers, so I’m certain their defensive scheme will be used as a blueprint for remaining opponents. They aren’t overpowering teams, but doing just enough offensively to secure the W and move on to the next game.

4) The Baltimore defenders are dropping like flies…or in this case birds. MLB Ray Lewis is potentially out for the season with a torn triceps, though the team won’t rule out a late season return. Corner back Lardarius Webb is also out for the season with a torn acl, and safety Ed Reed told a local Baltimore radio station that he has been playing with a torn labrum. But have no fear Ravens’ fans, outside linebacker and the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs is back on the practice field.

The long and short of that previous paragraph is that the Ravens will now have to rely on Joe Flacco more than ever. His game-managing quarterback style will no longer life them to wins this season, because he will not have that tremendous defense to fall back on. The question is: Can Joe Flacco be the elite quarterback he has been telling everyone that he is?

5) Aaron Rodgers had Aaron Rodgers on his fantasy team. Every now and again, someone in the NFL goes off and has a monstrous game out of the blue. Brian Hartline had one for the wide receivers, Jamaal Charles for the running backs, and that only left one offensive position to go, quarterback. Aaron Rodgers was ‘the guy’ on Sunday Night Football.

Now, it’s arguable that he didn’t need six touchdowns to win his team the game, but he was out there trying to make a statement. As Coach Reilly in The Mighty Ducks said, “It’s not worth winning, if you can’t win big!”

The Packers are not going down this season without a fight in them. They sense the weakness in their division, and understand that despite their slow start, they could still win it by multiple games.

Rodgers joined a special group of players that night, as one of only four quarterbacks to throw for over 330 yards, 6 passing touchdowns, and no interceptions in NFL history. The last person to accomplish this feat was Tom Brady, and he did it twice.

#BookIt
-The Giants are primed to go on a run, and have the schedule to do so.

-The Ravens aren’t winning the AFC North division anymore.

-Brady is due for one of THOSE GAMES vs. the Jets this weekend (you know what I’m talking about).

-The fight for USC quarterback Matt Barkley will come down to two teams who don’t need him: Jacksonville and Cleveland.

-CJ2K is going to get his first touchdown this Sunday! (Football gods help him if he can’t score against that horrid Bills defense)

The McKayla is Not Impressed Award for Week 6 goes to Eagles Management for firing Defensive Coordinator Juan Castillo, following the Eagles defense blowing a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter vs. the Detroit Lions.

Why am I not impressed? Because it was a bailout move. Why not fire the offensive coordinator who continues to let Vick have the ball in his hands each and every play? The Eagles have a top-3 running back in McCoy, and yet they vastly underutilize him.

Juan Castillo is out of a job for his guys blowing another fourth quarter lead, meanwhile, Steve Spagnuolo is coordinating the worst defense in the NFL right now in New Orleans, and his job seems in tact. He doesn’t appear to be on the hot seat whatsoever.

Meanwhile, in New England, Josh McDaniels is standing there giving off the impression that he asks Madden for his conservative play-calling advice, and his job security feels just fine too.

This all leads me to believe that the this is part 1 of 3-step process:
Step 1: Fire the defensive coordinator to buy your offense more time to get things rolling.
Step 2: Release Michael Vick at the end of the season because he will no longer ‘fit’ into the plan that the franchise has going forward.
Step 3: Fire Andy Reid because heaven knows this has been long overdue.

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5 Things We Learned: Week 1 Edition

Happy Holidays football fans. The NFL regular season is back! And with a new season comes new expectations amongst the NFL’s 32 teams. So this season I am going to do something different from other sports sites. Each week I will be compiling two lists of information: On the one side, there will be 5 expectations going into the week of things one should anticipate seeing in one of the week’s matchups, and on the flip side, a list of 5 occurrences that the majority of football enthusiasts never saw coming.

Since Week 1 has technically come and gone, this week’s recap will be: 5 Things Week 1 Taught Us.

1) It was only Week 1, also known as ‘Overreaction Monday’ (kudos to Adam Schefter for coining that). Don’t be down if your team did not clutch it in the fourth quarter (Giants fans). Don’t walk into your office this week yelling the words ‘Jets,’ ‘Superbowl,’ and ‘bound’ in the same breath either. Ravens fans, we’re talking to you too! Don’t think your team is going to hang 40+ points again anytime soon. Yes, everyone knows and remembers Ray Lewis and the rest of the defense can carry an average offense to the Promised Land. The point is lots of teams have looked great in Week 1 and crashed the remaining 15 games, and the same can be said for teams who have lost their opener, then went on to win the Superbowl. The point is: Stay grounded until we reach October.

2) Robert Griffin, III is NOT going to have a season like Cam Newton. He will put up solid numbers and win games along the way. He will not accept comparisons to Newton, and after the game Vick had, he certainly will look at you with disdain if you ask him if certain aspects of his game resemble number 7 in Philadelphia. RG3 looked like a player worth the five draft picks that the Washington Redskins traded to acquire him this past April. Griffin posted a 92.3 quarterback rating, while going 19/26 with 320 passing yards and 2 touchdowns, one of which was an 88-yard score courtesy of Pierre Garcon.

Now, I know what your thinking: It was the Saints defense, and you are not impressed. It’s very easy to forget though, that Drew Brees and Co. are very difficult to beat, especially in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The noise level in that building has been very unfriendly to many opposing offenses over the years, but not to Griffin, III who appeared to be right at home.

I am not Newton bashing, but the best team the Carolina Panthers defeated last season were the Houston Texans sans Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson. Thus, the Redskins getting a season-opening win versus the New Orleans Bountygate Saints is that much more impressive for RG3 and company.

3) You should be ready to hit the panic button if you own Patriots players on your fantasy team other than Brady and Ridley. The Patriots may have found a running game, albeit against the Tennessee Titans, but you have to start somewhere I know it’s just Week 1, but look for sporadic production from all parties involved on the offense on a game-to-game basis. Gronkowski and Hernandez aren’t included as locks for huge production on a weekly basis because they can easily cancel each other out. So if you wasted a 2nd or 3rd round pick on Welker and Lloyd, you should start looking at your waiver wire. New England has too many weapons on offense for everyone to get consistent fantasy production out of.

4) The Ravens made a statement last night! Joe Flacco is demanding that the football world take him seriously as a Top 10 NFL Quarterback. And what better stage to make a statement then when everyone is watching on Monday Night Football! Everyone knows the Ravens have a solid running game with Ray Rice at the helm. The Ravens defense is still anchored by the ageless wonder Ray Lewis, with Ed Reed still ball-hawking in the secondary. If Flacco can develop even a glimpse of the same consistency he showed in the first half versus the Cincinnati Bengals, the Ravens might be early favorites to give the Patriots a run for their money on the offensive side of the ball in the AFC.

5) Going into the Jaguars/Vikings matchup, I strongly believed that the loser of that game would flirt with having a winless season. Well, the Jaguars lost (does that shock anyone?) and their schedule doesn’t get any easier.

Thankfully for their sake, they get 2 chances at the Indianapolis Colts, and matchup versus the Miami Dolphins towards the end of the season.

Wins will be hard to come by.

Honorable mention:

– A.P. is still A.P. and if he manages to put up around 80 rushing yards a game, and a touchdown or two, he would instantly become the steal of the draft since all the experts were doubting how much he would contribute in the first few games of the season.

– Tony Romo discovered a clutch gene, playing one of his best statistical games in his career. He and DeMarco Murray torched the Giants defense for more than 400 yards total offense, and the Cowboys offensive line neutralized the Giants well-known defensive line.

-Peyton Manning picked up where he left off, and that is going to make the AFC playoff picture a bit deeper this year as a result. Look for the Broncos to flirt with one of the top seeds in the AFC with Manning running that offense.

#BookIt

– Kevin Olgetree (Dallas Cowboys), Alfred Morris (Washington Redskins), and Stephen Hill (New York Jets) will be the most added fantasy players this week.

– Fred Jackson will be dropped in more than 50% of fantasy leagues because people realize that the Buffalo Bills were given a taste of what C.J. Spiller could do, against a solid defense nonetheless. Jackson may not have his starting job handed back to him when he returns.

– Julio Jones will have a better season than Roddy White; Week 1 was not a fluke.

– This is the year of the back up running back. Ask Matt Forte how he feels after seeing Michael Bush take away his goal line carries and touchdowns.

The McKayla is Not Impressed Award for Week 1 goes to the Philadelphia Eagles. No one is impressed that they beat the Browns, despite Michael Vick trying to throw the game away, literally. Vick gave the Browns plenty of chances to run away with the game, but in the end Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden one-upped in crunch time, giving the ball right back to the Eagles by way of an interception.

McKayla is not impressed by a Philadelphia 1 point victory over Cleveland.

 

– Jimmy Lips