Week Three is always a very interesting week in the NFL season. The reason is, you've got a clutch of 0-2 teams whose season is effectively over if they go 0-3. What makes it especially interesting this year is that aside from the usual incompetent boobery of teams like the Dolphins, Lions, Rams, Chiefs, et al, this year there are some A-listers in there as well. The Jaguars, Chargers, Browns, Vikings, and Seahawks are all teams that were expected to make the playoffs. A loss today by any of those teams would render them dead as fried chicken.
So with that sense of urgency in place, let's get to the games.
(0-2) CHIEFS AT (1-1) FALCONS
KC gave up 300 rushing yards at home to the Raiders last week. This week they face another team that is going to leave tread marks on their headdresses. The Falcons rank 2nd in the league in yards per rushing attempt. I hope Matt Ryan's handing off elbow is rested and ready.
MY PICK- FALCONS 30, CHIEFS 16
Really, what's Herm's reasoning behind rolling Tyler Thigpen (14 of 36, 3 INT) out there? Is there something to be gained by completely demoralizing the rest of your team and obliterating any hope they have of even being competitive in an NFL game? If I'm Larry Johnson, you're telling me I'm supposed to be out there risking career ending injury on any given play, wasting one of my few remaining years as a productive running back on a team that has Tyler Thigpen playing quarterback? Really? Thigpen summed his play by saying, "I didn't play up to expectations." Which is interesting, because he actually did play up to I think everyone's expectations except for Herm Edwards'.
As for the Falcons, someone named Greg Smith or Mike Smith or whatever the name of the guy who coaches the Falcons now must be a fan of Footfut, because he followed my Rx'd game plan for this team to a tee. Pound it with Turner and Norwood (they combined for 179 rushing yards and 3 TD), and air it out a few times to Roddy White (5 catches for 119 yards and a 70 yard TD).
FINAL- FALCONS 38, CHIEFS 14
(1-1) RAIDERS AT (2-0) BILLS
Lane Kiffin survived Week 1 of his real life version of "The Apprentice", where instead of going to the boardroom after each task to face Donald Trump, he faces 130 year old Al Davis and his white windsuit. It's not helping that Darren McFadden is experiencing severe toe discomfort. Lane, you're fired.
MY PICK- BILLS 27, RAIDERS 13
The Bills keep turning it over, losing 3 fumbles, and the Raiders are making them pay, pay by giving up field goals. 3 Janikowski 3 pointers has the Raiders up 9-7. McFadden has been ineffective, but Michael Bush, with 49 yards on 6 carries, has been very effective.
Uh-oh, looks like Dick Jauron's team sold more tacos than Lane Kiffin's team. How will the boy wonder survive the boardroom this week? Darren McFadden has now played 3 games, and so far has shown us he can run all over the Chiefs, but against anyone else he's good for like 40 some rushing yards a game. I see a Kardashian sister in his future. JaMarcus Russell lights it up with a 9 of 19 passing day, he is revolutionizing the position.
FINAL- BILLS 24, RAIDERS 23
(0-2) BENGALS AT (2-0) GIANTS
Did anyone see the total disintegration of Carson Palmer's career coming? Because I sure as hell didn't. Maybe that gruesome knee injury he suffered a couple years ago really was career ending, from a certain point of view. There, I went all Obi Wan Kenobi on your asses.
MY PICK- GIANTS 27, BENGALS 20
The zombie Bengals have stirred from their crypt, and now they are hungry to feast on brrrrains!!! They lead 13-10 behind 54 rushing yards and a TD for Chris Perry. The Giants have been unable to get the running game going.
A game effort by the zombie Bengals, who were led by the re-animated TJ Housmandzadeh's 12 catches for 146 yards and a TD. In the end though, a deadly Toomer infected the undead Bengals, and the Giants send them back to hell with a game winning field goal in overtime. Carson Palmer gets a pat on his cleat marked back for going 27 of 39 and 286 yards despite being sacked 6 times.
FINAL- GIANTS 26, BENGALS 23 OT
(0-2) DOLPHINS AT (2-0) PATRIOTS
Part of the reason New England went 16-0 is that they played in a division where they get to play bumbling messes like the Dolphins, Jets, and (until this year) the Bills twice a year. It's kind of like how the Cubs are guaranteed play 40 games a year against the Pirates and Reds. I think the Patriots flex their muscles today and open the spigot on the offense, getting Randy Moss some touches and some stats.
MY PICK- PATRIOTS 37, DOLPHINS 6
Ronnie Brown is taking direct snaps at quarterback and has run for 3 TDs. The Dolphins lead this 21-6. I honestly don't know what the fuck is going on here. Matt Cassel's somehow completed 15 passes for only 103 yards. He may want to try throwing with the hand he writes with, he might be able to throw it farther that way.
About 10 years ago, me and my brother used to play this Playstation 1 game called Gameday 97 or 98 or something like that with this guy that lived down the block from us. He was pretty terrible at this game, and lost everytime he played us. That is, until he discovered that if he ran the FG Block play on defense on every play, that it was completely unstoppable and he would tackle the quarterback practically before he received the snap on every play. Then he was unbeatable.
The Dolphins did something like this in this game, only it was the direct snap to Ronnie Brown play. Brown ran for 4 TDs and passed for another, inspiring suicidal thoughts in all the people who had him on their fantasy team's bench this week. Joey Porter had 3 sacks after questioning Matt Cassel's competence earlier in the week. Miami clobbers the Patriots, and their fans were leaving early, as this Patriots season continues bringing to mind a poem I once heard: "Karma, karma, karma, karma , karma, chameleon. You come and go. You come and go."
FINAL- DOLPHINS 38, PATRIOTS 13
(0-1) TEXANS AT (2-0) TITANS
The Titans look like the best team in the league right now. They quietly have put together a defense that, for my money, is one of the 5 best we've seen this decade. They also have found a guy who is a real offensive weapon in Chris Johnson. Houston's only played one game, so they are kind of a mystery team. I am guessing this mystery ends in their grisly demise, due to having no quarterback and no running game.
MY PICK- TITANS 23, TEXANS 9
What did I say about the Texans having no running game? Steve Slaton has 109 first half rushing yards. I know my football. That's merely been enough to slightly annoy the Titans though, as they've got the offense rolling and lead 21-12. 2 TD for Lendale White.
Hindsight is 20/20, I know this, but's let's step back and assess this statement. "We are going to turn over our offense to the Atlanta Falcons' backup quarterback. He's started like 2 games in his career, and he looked pretty good. This should work out awesome." Matt Schaub goes 17 of 37 with 3 picks. The Texans existence is becoming more and more like a dizzy bat race with each passing week.
FINAL- TITANS 31, TEXANS 12
(1-1) BUCS AT (1-1) BEARS
The Bears are paid a visit by the Ghost of Shitty QB's Past when Brian Griese makes his triumphant return to Soldier Field. Tampa hangs its hat on having an impermeable pass defense, but, I ask you, what good does that do against a team who goes into each game resigned to the fact that they won't be able to throw the ball?
MY PICK- BEARS 17, BUCS 16
An interesting study in what happens when 2 teams with high school offenses get together. Bucs lead 14-9 in a really ugly game. 0 rushing yards on 5 carries in the first half for Honest Earnest Graham, but Kyle Orton has countered by throwing for 76 yards and 2 INT, one of which went back for a TD.
The Bears blow another late double digit lead, then Peanut Tillman's idiotic personal foul penalty turned a third and nine at the Tampa Bay 8 yard line in OT into 1st and 10 for the Bucs at the 25, leading to the game winning field goal. Nothing like getting 400 yards hung on your "elite" defense by the QB you traded in the offseason because Kyle Orton and Rex Grossman are just sooo awesome that there was no room for him. This game was just a kick in the nuts for the Bears on so many levels.
FINAL- BUCS 27, BEARS 24 OT
(2-0) CARDINALS AT (1-1) REDSKINS
Hey let's all wack off over the Cardinals because they beat the Niners and the Dolphins. Welcome back to the NFC East, Redbirds, you remember it well, when you were in it you used to lose all the time.
MY PICK- REDSKINS 27, CARDINALS 20
The Skins scored a Clinton Portis TD on an 11 play drive to open the game, but the Cardinals have run the ball effectively, and are within striking distance trailing 10-7. Anquan Boldin has the Cards score.
A good game between two under the radar good teams. The Redskins get the win because they played a mistake-free game offensively. As we sit here almost at the quarter pole of the season, I'm willing to go out on the limb and say both of these teams are in my top 10 in the league right now, and both will make the playoffs.
FINAL- REDSKINS 24, CARDINALS 17
(2-0) PANTHERS AT (0-2) VIKINGS
When you find yourself thinking thoughts like "We are now relying on Gus Frerotte to save our season", it is time for some Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Not helping that Adrian Peterson has been afflicted by the Ebola Toe Virus that's running rampant amongst NFL running backs this weekend.
MY PICK- PANTHERS 20, VIKINGS 16
Steve Smith is back and has 60 yards on 3 catches. Delhomme has coughed it up twice though, and one was taken back for a TD. This one is tied at 10. Only 39 yards on 10 carries for Adrian Peterson. Chester Taylor, apparently, missed the bus or something. I love how the Vikings just decided to stop doing what worked for them last year, and go from a 2 back attack to a 1 back attack. They deserve whatever they get.
It kind of sickens me that my beloved White Sox will be fighting for their postseason lives on the same field turf that Gus Frerotte was just tromping around a couple of days ago. Hopefully Javier Vazquez, Mark Buehrle, and Gavin Floyd will be as stingy as the Vikings defense was in this one. The Vikings sacked Jake Delhomme 5 times, took a fumble back for a TD, and limited the Panthers to 204 net yards of offense. Minnesota gets their first win, and Carolina their first loss.
FINAL- VIKINGS 20, PANTHERS 10
(1-1) SAINTS AT (2-0) BRONCOS
Jay Cutler has emerged from his chrysalis, and metamorphosed into John Elway's father's boss. The Saints defense ranks 29th in the league despite playing pedestrian squads such as Tampa and Washington so far. Denver's defense is in the bottom third of the league against both the run and the pass, and the Saints are the kind of team that can take advantage of that. Oh the offensive possibilites in this one make my head spin.
BRONCOS 34, SAINTS 31
This one isn't disappointing. Drew Brees has thrown for 243 yards, but a fumble that was run back for a TD by Nate Webster is the difference right now as the Broncos lead 24-19 at the half. Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas have gotten in for the Saints, while Brandon Marshall and 3rd string TE Nate Jackson have scored for the Broncos.
Not sure who saw this coming, but let me be the first to say that the most dominating offensive player in the game as we sit here on September 24, 2008, is Brandon Marshall. He finished this game with 155 receiving yards, a week after almost tying the NFL record for receptions in a single game. Let me also be the first to say that the Broncos should always wear those orange jerseys at home. That color belongs to the Broncos, they own it, and they don't take advantage of that. That is inexcusable. Much like Hank Paulson said the Wall Street fiasco was "inexcusable", and then went ahead and excused it by giving them $700 billion. Also inexcusable is Martin "Autoerotica" Gramatica's missed field goal with 2 minutes left that could've been the game winner for NO.
FINAL- BRONCOS 34, SAINTS 32
(0-2) LIONS AT (1-1) NINERS
The much anticipated Mike Martz Bowl. I am really hoping Kitna calls timeout to yell at his offensive coaches again. Getting to look in on the Lions theatre of the damned every Sunday is enough for me to say this Sunday Ticket has already payed for itself.
NINERS 30, LIONS 20
The Lions are bringing the bad this afternoon. Kitna is 5 of 11 for 30 yards, and the Niners are up 21-3.
My lasting memory of this game will be Jon Kitna hopping around on one leg like a deranged Easter Bunny. 130 rushing yards for Frank Gore. The 49ers have now officially graduated from totally awful to good enough to beat totally awful teams. Matt Millen was fired today. The Lions will now receive a $500 billion bailout from the US Treasury.
FINAL - 49ERS 31, LIONS 13
(0-2) RAMS AT (1-1) SEAHAWKS
If the Seahawks lose at home to the Niners and Rams in back to back weeks ,it's time for them to figuratively put on some Alice in Chains and take a toaster bath.
SEAHAWKS 24, RAMS 10
Hey Patrick, my DirecTV box just crashed right in the middle of a Sunday Ticket day. Even in the future, nothing works. The Rams trail 27-6 and just need to give up on this football thing. Julius Jones is about the length of my schwantz away from 100 yards.
Julius Jones and TJ Duckett combine for 219 rushing yards and 3 TDs? Can someone explain to me how Scott Linehan has not been fired yet? Is Georgia Frontiere still running this team even though she's dead? Trent Green is still in the league and he's starting next week? How bad are the Rams when all comments about them have to be made in the form of a question?
FINAL- SEAHAWKS 37, RAMS 13
(2-0) STEELERS AT (1-1) EAGLES
Donovan McNabb is now the greatest quarterback ever. My TV told me so. I think the Steelers will squeeze the life out of the Eagles today, but it won't be McNabb's fault,. Nothing ever is. I wish there was some sort of surgery that would transfer some of the guilt Vince Young feels to Donovan McNabb, so then they both would have appropriate opinions of themselves. Big Ben is going to torch the Eagles secondary.
STEELERS 27, EAGLES 17
Well, Westbrook's hurt. That didn't take long. In other news, I look out my window and see the sun setting in the west. The Eagles defense has stepped it up big time though. They've dumped Roethlisberger 6 times, and Philly leads 10-6.
The Steelers gameplan was like something a drunk 15 year old playing Madden would use. Try and throw the ball downfield on every play even though you keep getting sacked. Don't throw underneath or run the ball outside or anything to make the other team pay for rushing 9 or 10 guys on every play. Roethlisberger ends up leaving the game after getting sacked about 30 times. Westbrook, it seems, is going to possibly be OK, for now, until he gets hurt again. McNabb left the game briefly with a chest injury, so get ready to hear all night on Sunday about what a gladiator he is. I really can't wait for that.
FINAL- EAGLES 15, STEELERS 6
(0-2) BROWNS AT (1-0) RAVENS
The Browns have been horrible in every phase of the game so far. They look like they've been infected with the Bengal Virus.
RAVENS 17, BROWNS 13
Ravens safety Dawan Landry got his facemask sawed off and was carted off the field in one of those Oh Shit injuries. Let's hope he's OK. Browns lead 10-7, mostly due to the Ravens' offense being really, really bad. 2 INT throws for El Flacco.
Derek Anderson completed only 14 of 37 pass attempts, was picked off 3 times, and sacked 5 times. Page 37 in the well-worn Cleveland Browns Disaster Procedure Manual calls for Kelly Holcomb to start at QB now, but I don't think he's on the team anymore, so I think it's every man for himself. The Ravens are 2-0 despite El Flacco having a 55.7 passer rating.
FINAL- RAVENS 24, BROWNS 10
(0-2) JAGUARS AT (1-1) COLTS
It's kind of funny to me how the Jaguars have been trying to scale this unclimbable Colts mountain for time immemorial now, and now that the Colts finally look vulnerable, the Titans are now so much better than both of these teams. It would be enough to fill me with ennui. I think the Colts will win on some frenzied drive in the waning moments with Peyton Manning waving his hands all over the place.
COLTS 27, JAGS 26
The Jaguars are running all over the Bob Sanders-less Colts, with 121 rushing yards, but still somehow have not scored an offensive touchdown. That's how you get to be 0-3 folks. Marvin and Addai have scored for the Colts, and have them up 14-10.
Just when the football media was breaking out the kneepads to celebrate Peyton Manning leading the Colts on a game winning drive for the second week in a row, the Colts somehow manage to lose this one. After the Colts went 77 yards in 11 plays that took only 1:20 to take the lead on a Joseph Addai 2 yard TD, the Jags had the ball down 24-22 with 1:07 left. A 4th and 1 pass falls incomplete, and it looks like the Colts have won, BUT, an illegal contact penalty gives the Jags a first down and another chance.
A slim chance though, as they have the ball at their own 40 with 29 seconds left. However, no collapse scenario is too unlikely for this Colts' defense, so Garrard completes three straight passes to set up Josh Scobee for a 51 yard FG which he knocks home to save the Jags from an 0-3 start. Fred Taylor and MJD finally, FINALLY do SOMETHING this season and combine for 228 yards on 45 carries. Note to Jacksonville offensive coordinator...RUN..THE..BALL. You have 2 stud running backs, and you give them each like 5 touches a game. Are you fucking retarded? (This is where you reply, "Do you want me to be fucking retarded?")
FINAL- JAGS 25, COLTS 24
(2-0) COWBOYS AT (2-0) PACKERS
I guess Tony Romo just signed some kind of world record marketing deal with Starter. I dunno, I can't really remember the last time I remember thinking to myself, "God, I just HAVE to look more like Tony Romo, or else I swear I shall die."
COWBOYS 30, PACKERS 27
On the surface, this looked like a convincing coronation of the Cowboys as the clear cut best team in the league. Marion Barber ran for 142 violent yards, the defense pressured Aaron Rodgers all night long and limited the Packers to field goals instead of touchdowns, and Tony Romo was able to use a receiver other than Witten or TO (Miles Austin) to break a couple of big plays. However, TO had only 2 catches for 17 yards, and left the locker room without speaking to reporters. If TO isn't happy, this magical ride to the moon on a licorice whip that the Cowboys season has been so far is going to take an unpleasant turn. They better get him the ball a lot this week, or else the nitroglycerin tank that is this delicate mix of superstars could be disturbed.
FINAL- COWBOYS 27, PACKERS 16
(1-1) JETS AT (0-2) CHARGERS
Are you ready for some fawnnnningggggg???? Some verbal felllatiooooooooo??? I'll definitely need to take some Dramamine to keep the supper down as Brett Favre makes his primetime Jets debut. The Chargers need this one to avoid an 0-3 start. If things start to not go the Chargers way, expect a lot of closeups of Norv Turner's Emperor Palpatine-like face.
The Jets took an early 7-0 lead on a pick six by David Barrett, then the Chargers scored 38 of the games next 45 points and it was laughing time by the end of the third quarter. Brett slinged 3 INTs with child-like joy. He was just having so much fun out there. He was having so much fun that they had to pull him for Kellen Clemens at the end of the game so that he wouldn't die of an embolism brought on by an overload of endorphins.
FINAL- CHARGERS 48, JETS 29