Does parity not define the NFL?
How's this! There are six undefeated teams... and the same number of winless squads. Five of the six NFC teams who made the playoffs last year are under .500! It's still early, but keep those buckles fastened people! The excitement can only grow!
Here you go. The five takeaway's after 3 weeks of football:
1) The New York Giants Will Not Make The Playoffs.
Games are won and lost in the trenches, on both sides of the ball. The Giants' defensive line can not garner a reliable pass rush, and their offensive front cannot protect Eli Manning. The Panthers sacked Manning seven times on Sunday; six in the first half, four times in their first ten offensive plays. This week's game was over early in Carolina. Since 1978, 161 teams have started a season 0-3. Only five of those squads have made the playoffs. This team will not make it to six wins. They travel to Kansas City this week to face the undefeated Chiefs. A win stems the tide, but a loss will put Head Coach Tom Coughlin on the hot seat... again.
2) The New York Jets Are Not As Bad As Projected.
They are a completed pass or two away from starting the season at 3-0. Their defense is fifth overall in the entire league (7th vs. the Run / 8th vs. the Pass). Geno Smith is getting better each week (16-29, 331 Yds, 2 TD Sunday against Buffalo). And I still think Rex Ryan is a good Head Coach. They committed an unbelievable TWENTY penalties, and still beat the pesky Bills! How bad can they be? We will get a better sense of their direction in the next three weeks. With visits to Tennessee and Atlanta, followed by a home affair with Pittsburgh, they could realistically sit at 3-3 on October 20th, when they host New England. Nobody would have guessed that!
3) Greg Schiano Will Not Survive The Season In Tampa.
Here is a Head Coach who does not trust his QB, as evidenced this past Sunday against the Patriots. And I'm sure Josh Freeman feels the same way about his coach. Down by seventeen points in the fourth quarter this past Sunday against New England, he was running the ball! Rumors have been swirling about the overall disdain by the team for Schiano, and if that's the case, then chalk it up to a season lost before it's barely begun. Let me make it clear; no player should ever "quit" on his team... they are being paid to play every down with 100% commitment, but it looks as if they have. Unfortunately, it's the man who is in charge who pays the price. Look for him to emerge with the Patriots in some capacity in 2014.
4) Phillip Rivers Is Putting A Charge Into The San Diego Offense.
Written off by most, the often maligned QB has put together a fine trio of games to open the 2013 campaign. While completing seventy percent of his pass attempts, Rivers has thrown 8 touchdowns, only 1 interception, and is averaging 7.98 yards per attempt. His 116.2 QB rating presently ranks in the top five in the NFL. The "Lightning Bolts" are 1-2 thus far and are a longshot to do damage in the AFC West, but Rivers can sure make things exciting with veterans such as Antonio Gates and Malcolm Floyd. Running Back Ryan Matthews still has some life and could also flourish under the scheme of first year Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt. Their first three games have each been decided by three points... and I expect more of the same down the stretch.
5) Ben Roethlisberger Is The Toughest QB In The NFL.
He stands at 6'5", weighs in at 241 lbs, and that's a good thing... because he gets absolutely pounded! Every single game! Seemingly, on every play he drops back to pass! Is he a big target for defenders? Yes! Does he hold onto the ball longer than most QBs? One could argue that. But that stands as a key to his success; and success he has known. We are talking about a two-time Super Bowl Champion, with a career completion percentage over 60%, 195 TDs, and over 30,000 passing yards. In his nine plus seasons he has had to sit out 15 games, in large part, due to that toughness. He just keeps getting up after repeatedly getting drilled. Say what you may about his off the field behavior, and for the record I abhor it, but his sheer toughness on the gridiron cannot be disputed.
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