5 Things We Learned: The Refs are Back, Jack Edition!

Let’s get right into another wild week of lessons we learned in Week 4 of the NFL.

1) Your ‘favorite’ zebra-striped officials are back and better than the same as ever. One week removed from being screwed over by a blatantly obvious bad call by the refs on Monday Night Football, the Green Bay Packers found themselves benefitting from blatant bad calls in their games vs. New Orleans. A key fumble by Darren Sproles went the way of the Packers, despite replay showing otherwise. If refs aren’t getting calls right with replay, we’re in trouble going forward.

If you watched any games this weekend, compare the reactions the fans gave the refs at the beginning with the jeers they received towards the end. The officiating wasn’t top-notch, but I am willing to cut them slack…they were rusty.

2) Tony Romo is never going to turn the corner. Every season, all the experts tell us that this is Romo’s year to breakout and show the world that he is one of the elite quarterback’s in the NFL…and then he steps on the field and has a game like he did Monday night vs. Chicago. It’s the type of game that makes you scratch your head and wonder why Jerry Jones and Co. are actually considering giving an extension to this guy.

I’m sure Tony is a stand-up guy off the field, but on the field he’s a sit down guy, as in all he usually does is throw picks in crunch time and goes back to sitting down on the bench. Romo played in his Super Bowl opening night when Dallas took on the Giants. The Cowboys actually haven’t looked that good since Week 1 too.

3) If the New Orleans Saints keep this up, Sean Payton should be a unanimous choice for Coach of the Year. This is coming from the same school of thought that Peyton should’ve won MVP last season because of his team’s abysmal performance all season long. The Saints should be able to go out and win games in spite of the absence of their head coach. This should be firing them up if anything.

The complete opposite is occurring though. They are playing well enough to keep their fans hopes alive until the waning moments of the fourth quarter. The play-calling doesn’t appear to be different from the naked eye. Drew Brees is doing the same thing he did last season: Brees drops back, checks his reads, throws a strike to (insert Saints wide receiver here), and then repeat; it’s like the cycles on a washing machine. For a man that is making 40 million dollars this season, Brees should have his team in a complete “us against the world” mentality, thus using Bountygate as bulletin-board material. Instead, they look more “woe is me.”

4) A quarter of the way through this NFL season, the Arizona Cardinals look better than people expected. Regardless of whether or not the Cardinals beat the Rams this evening, they have looked solid throughout the first four weeks of the season.

No one can use the excuse that they haven’t played anybody good because it would be dishonest to say so. The Cardinals handed the New England Patriots a loss at Gillette, a feat not many teams have accomplished during the Brady/Belichick era. On top of that, they convincingly beat down the Philadelphia Eagles at home. Their other two wins have come against the Seattle Seahawks and the Miami Dolphins, the latter of which has one of the stingiest run defenses in this early season.

I’m not saying they are Super Bowl contenders just yet. Looking ahead, the Cardinals could very well be undefeated going into their match-up vs. San Francisco in three weeks. Not that NFL teams will admit to looking that far ahead, but I am sure the Cardinals understand that game will be their measuring stick for how where they rank amongst the class of the NFC.

5) The beef between Eagles running back LeSean McCoy and Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora is over…and by over I mean it was never really much of a ‘beef’ to begin with. Leave it to major sports outlets (mainly ESPN), to overhype something that never had much air under it.

Tupac and Biggie had a beef. Magic and Bird had a beef. Jay-Z and Nas had a beef. I could go on, but you get the point: those were actual feuds between two individuals who just did not get along. Osi and LeSean exchanged comments about each other through Twitter of all places. That alone is by no means an outlet that people will take you mildly serious on.

Kudos to them both though for providing the media, and both Giants and Eagles fans, entertainment to get us through the week leading up to the rivalry games these past two seasons.

#BookIt

-Brian Hartline is gone in every fantasy league you are in.

-Mr. Hartline is going to disappoint you big time this weekend coming off that monster game vs. a relatively sound Cardinals secondary. Cincy will be ready!

-Tebow will be starting for the Jets by/if not before Thanksgiving

-CJ2K is NOT back, and Sunday vs. Minnesota will show that his overdue 100-yard rushing performance was a fluke.

-RG3 WILL run away with the Rookie of the Year award, literally.

Week 4’s recipient of the McKayla is Not Impressed award goes to the New England Patriots. Let’s not run amuck declaring the Patriots offense is back and here to stay after they hung 52 points on the Buffalo Bills this past Sunday. The Jets hung 48 on them for crying out loud! If you didn’t expect the Patriots to go out and do the same thing, then I would question your football knowledge big time. The Bills are about as good on defense as the Phoenix Suns, and what is that saying? Absolutely nothing!

I reiterate, on behalf of NFL fans around the world: No one is impressed that the New England Patriots did something that was on par with an accomplishment that the New York Jets achieved in their season-opener vs. the Buffalo Bills.

With that said, if the Patriots come out and put on an offensive clinic against the Denver Broncos, then we can start saying the Patriots have found their offensive mojo once again.

Editor’s Update: The Cardinals may still have their San Francisco game circled, but they will not be undefeated going into it.

Advertisements

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