Week 3 – Five Things We’ve Learned

That Week One mulligan I asked for just about got me over the line this week as things we learned actually remained to be true, kinda, sorta. The Lions were unlucky against the Vikings who themselves showed a lot of grit to grind out a win after their abject display against Philadelphia.

As this intrepid writer sets their sights on watching a broken Jameis Winston face off against the aforementioned Vikings this Sunday (pre-game commiserations encouraged and accepted), let’s take a final look at the week that was in the NFL…

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The AFC South is the Jags for the taking

Why wouldn’t it be? They just beat up on an admittedly beat up Chargers team but for all of the injuries that have plagued Los Angeles, the masterful all-round performance from Jacksonville was a joy to behold. Trevor Lawrence didn’t need to be magical or put the team on his back, he, along with James Robinson and the defense contributed to a wonderful all-round performance that leaves the Jags leading the AFC South and looking to an October that features eminently winnable games against Houston, the Giants, the Broncos and a fascinating divisional re-match against Indianapolis.

Speaking of which…

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The Colts had no business beating the Chiefs

As much as I’d love to hand out the celebratory beers for Indy for their hard-fought win against Kansas City, if the Chiefs had a healthy Harrison Butker then they win that game. They left four points on the field and also tried a fake punt from the Colts 24-yard line because their confidence in Matt Ammendola had vanished like a fart in the wind after a missed XP and a missed FG earlier in the game.

It was a ‘gotta have it’ for an 0-1-1 Colts team and whilst they did get it, the offensive line is still not getting enough done for Jonathan Taylor to be his true self whilst also leaving Matt Ryan under regular duress from the pass rush. Given that the Colts face fearsome pass-rushers in the form of Denver and Jacksonville in the coming weeks, they need to get this right and quickly.

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Florida in September is not the place to be if you’re a football player

The Bills-Dolphins game had everything but my two favourite things from there were a) the butt-punt which reminded me of headers’n’volleys punishments from my youth (if you know you know), and b) a striking re-enactment of the opening to the landing on Omaha Beach in June 1942 during the two-minute warning.

The heat in Miami was hideous and the clock hit double zeroes on that futile final drive of the Bills you just saw bodies everywhere cramping up as over three hours of intense competition between two teams that looked primed to meet twice more this season. If this were a Jim-Ross-announced-WWF(/E)-PPV-main-event we’d have heard the term ‘slobberknocker’ repeated to death but that’s exactly what it was. A slobberknocker.

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The Falcons and Seahawks aren’t good…but they’re fun

Call me an idiot (again) but I think if these two teams just played each other for the rest of the season it’d be a fun watch. Like two friends slapping each other in the face with a tortilla for three and a half straight hours, I wasn’t sure what I was watching was particularly worth my time but I still enjoyed it.

Cordarrelle Patterson continues to impress, Kyle Pitts was finally involved in a game, Geno Smith threw for over 300 yards and the Metcalf-Lockett duo looked kinda fun. These two teams will not be relevant come Thanksgiving but they’ll definitely be worth watching should they come up against a Good Team ™. Seattle has already played spoiler to Denver, Atlanta nearly did it against the Rams. Go be a nuisance.

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The Saints are a sad question mark

To quote Donald Rumsfeld:

“We also know there are known unknowns — that is to say, we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”

This is how I feel about New Orleans. A team that could easily be 0-3 but also – on paper – could have reasonably expected to be 3-0 given the players Tampa Bay were missing in Week 2. Instead, they are 1-2 and heading to London with a quarterback with back fractures, an offense that cannot stop fumbling, a pass rush that cannot rush, an offensive line that cannot stop a pass rush and a kicker that gave Saints fans some horrid 2021 flashbacks against the Panthers.

They cannot get out of their own way and unless they figure this out quickly, you can see a hormonally imbalanced Vikings team putting up some serious points this Sunday at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. This team should – at the bare minimum – be decent. For 80% of the first three weeks, they’ve been mediocre at best. At least the Saints’ problems are known knowns…

See you all at the Beavertown Bar this Sunday!

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