NFL Week Three: Good, bad & ugly
Week three of NFL action brings us to a point in which we know who's most likely to be in the playoff picture and who's not. It's still too early to tell, but history isn't on the side of those who have losing records after three games. Let's take a look at what I observed this week:
-Panthers backup QB Kyle Allen was once on top of the football world as the best QB prospect coming out of high school in the class of 2014. He bounced from Texas A&M to UH and never realized his potential ultimately leaving UH with a year of eligibility left. Allen started opposite Kyler Murray Sunday (the same guy he once competed for playing time against at A&M, but both transferred) and went 19/26 for 261 yards and four touchdowns as starter Cam Newton missed time due to an injury. He may have just Wally Pipp'd Cam.
-Ravens vs Chiefs showed us the future of the game offensively. On one hand, Pat Mahomes did Pat Mahomes type things with his generational arm talent. Meanwhile, Lamar Jackson continues to show what an uber athletic QB looks like at the highest level. While Jackson barely completed more than 50% of his passes, he showed that guys with his skillset can survive and thrive at the NFL level. There were plays he made that 90.625% of QBs cannot make. The game ended with a 33-28 Chiefs win behind Mahomes' 374 yards on 73% completion with three touchdowns.
-Shout out to the unexpected undefeated teams left. The 49ers, Bills and Lions (albeit with a tie) are all amongst the league's eight undefeated teams remaining after three weeks. All three of these teams were expected to miss the playoffs, and/or be bottom feeders this year. Now, they're ahead of the rest of the pack. Buyer beware: they may be some of the best or worst bets over the next few weeks so proceed with caution.
-The Jags beat the Titans 20-7 on Therusday Night Football this week for their first win of the season. Good right? No. Especially not when your best defensive player, CB Jalen Ramsey, is still insisting upon a trade and calls in sick. I'm all for NFL players using their leverage since they have the least amount of guaranteed money amongst pro athletes, but calling in sick as a football player is pretty weak.
-The Falcons fell to 1-2 in a 27-24 loss to the Colts.Despite outgaining the Colts by 18 total yards and losing the time of possession battle by about three minutes, the Falcon managed to out-penalty the Colts16 to four with a penalty yards differential of 89 yards. Committing only one turnover via a Matt Ryan interception, the Falcons simply beat themselves. Seems as if they still haven't recovered from 28-3.
-The Vikings beat the Raiders 34-14. On the surface, one would think the Vikes either greatly outgained the Raiders, caused a few more turnovers, and/or had a great desparity in time of possession. Truth be told, there was only +83 total yard advantage, +1 in tunrnover department, and +3:04 in time of possession. The Vikes killed the Raiders in the run game with a +123 yard advantage in rushing yards. Outgaining an opponent by that many rushing yards with only one extra turnover would normally amount to a much larger time of possession differential. However, that wasn't the case in this game.
-When you're facing 4th&9, down by four points with about nine minutes left in the game on your opponent's 40 yard line, you'd most likely call for a pass play if you're going for it, unless you think your kicker can make a 57/58 yarder. Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens decided a draw play was the best call. This is the early frontrunner for the WORST play call in the NFL this season! Highly doubt we'll get a contender for this title.
-The Dolphins have been outscored 133-16 in three games this season so far. That's being outscored on a per game basis by an average of 44.33 to 5.33 for the mathematically challenged. They're "on pace" to shatter the most points allowed record by week 14. This is a whole new level of tanking. Let's call it torpedoing.
-Giants' QB Daniel "Danny Dimes" Jones' made his NFL debut with a 32-31 win over the Bucs in Tampa. You'd think the team would have more to celebrate. Not the case when they lose stud running back Saquon Barkley for at least four to eight weeks with a high ankle sprain. This is especially hurtful to those (myself included) who picked Barkley with the first overall pick in fantasy football instead of taking Christian McCaffrey (a PPR league no less). Jones will now have to shoulder more of a burden as a rookie than was expected on a team that was already void of talent before Barkley's injury.
Week three was pretty exciting and ho-hum at the same time. We saw results we expected, and some that came from nowhere. Over the next few weeks, water will find its level in the league and we'll better be able to determine the contenders and pretenders. Remember where you heard rushing yardage differential in relation to what team wins games. This'll be my contribution to football analytics. I'm praying I can retire early, pay off my house and trust fund my kids off the money I make. Only if you guys stay tuned and I can keep you entertained.