Three weeks of the 2013 NFL season have come and gone and we’re getting some answers to the directions of certain teams. Fellow SBM contributors Dubsism and Ryan Meehan did a wonderful writeup on their take of Week 3 and you can read it here.
But for the sake of overkill and hyperbole, (after all that’s what makes ESPN so…umm, successful?) here is my take on the winners and losers through three weeks of NFL action.
Kansas City Chiefs:
First and foremost, the Chiefs surpassed last year’s win total in just the third week of the season. Take that New England. OK , the Chiefs only won twice last year, so it wasn’t a difficult achievement. But still, how many people out there thought the Chiefs would go 3-0 to start the year? Be honest now. No one? I thought so. (Put your hand down Marty Schottenheimer.) Yes, the Chiefs bandwagon is growing, but there is a reality check coming soon. The Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning await the young Chiefs, so I won’t put the Chiefs in the Super Bowl just yet. In fact, Kansas City would be happy with a wildcard spot. The good thing about the rise of the Chiefs is that Arrowhead Stadium has become a fortress again, and the noise should be deafening this Sunday when the Giants roll into town. Andy Reid and Alex Smith have revitalized their careers and Kansas City has something to latch onto.
This one surprises me. Why? I wasn’t sold on the Dolphins as of yet. Sure, Ryan Tannehill has potential to be an excellent quarterback in this league, and the Dolphins were quietly building a solid defense. However, I’ve seen this from Miami before. Lots of preseason hype, yet crash and burn when the real games start. However, yesterday’s win over Atlanta may have just turned the tide for the Fins. The Dolphins looked poised and composed during crunch time, and they showed some moxie that hasn’t been seen in South Beach since Sonny Crockett and Rico Tubbs were busting drug dealers every Friday night on NBC. (Ah the good old days. Where are you now Philip Michael Thomas?) The other shocking element was
Joe Robbie Stadium, Pro Player Stadium, Dolphin Stadium, Land Shark Stadium, Sun Life Stadium was actually noisy and filled with passionate fans. (God, I miss the Orange Bowl. Shame on you Miami for tearing down that legendary stadium.) Yes, I know. The Orange Bowl was a dump, but that place hosted many great games and will forever be linked to some of the greatest teams ever. Next week, Miami travels to New Orleans, who also have a 3-0 record for a beauty of a Monday night game.
Sure, they beat a dreadful Jacksonville side that could very well go 0-16. But let’s make one thing perfectly clear. If the Seahawks get home field advantage throughout the playoffs in the NFC, they will go to the Super Bowl. No arguments please. No one, and I mean NO ONE will beat Seattle in that terrifying place known as CenturyLink Field. That stadium is scarier to visiting teams, than the New Mexico desert with Walter White in his tighty-whiteies making 96% pure crystal meth. (Finally got to use a Breaking Bad reference.) Seattle simply destroyed San Francisco in Week 2, and have made themselves the team to beat in the NFC. If they go 5-3 or 6-2 on the road, it is lights out for the rest of the NFC. I know Chicago and New Orleans will have something to say about that but I guarantee you, the thought of playing in Seattle in January in front of the screaming lunatics, known as the 12th man scares the living hell out of the Bears and Saints.
New York Giants:
To quote Vince Lombardi in that famous NFL Films clip: “What the hell is going on here?” This is where I look like an idiot. I picked the Giants to win the NFC East at the start of the season. Thank God, I didn’t go to Vegas to make that pick or I would be beaten with a shovel and buried in a corn field. (Watch the movie Casino, and you will get the reference.) The Giants have been brutal in every sense, but no area has been worse than the offensive line. In the Giants 38-0 loss to Carolina, the O-Line gave up Eli Manning like a lamb being led to the slaughter, as Archie’s youngest boy was sacked 7 times by the Panthers defense. I do wonder if Tom Coughlin’s stern taskmaster ways are finally starting to wear thin on the Giant players. Yes, Coughlin has led the Big Blue to 2 Super Bowl titles, but he continues to be an insufferable prick to play for. The players can take only so much, and it may be time for the Giants to seek a new voice in the room.
Oh how the mighty have fallen. This isn’t your father’s Pittsburgh Steelers. And in some ways, it’s a shame. My first memories of football was the Black and Gold, dominating the league back in the 1970s. Names like Bradshaw, Harris, Swann, Stallworth, Mean Joe Greene, Lambert, Blount were larger than life. The Steelers were great and they were intimidating. Now, they are 0-3 and are as soft as butterscotch pudding. An embarrassing 40-23 loss to Chicago was flattering to the Steelers, only because the Bears couldn’t put them away to late in the fourth quarter. Ben Roethlisberger did throw for 406 yards and 2 touchdowns, but was picked off twice and fumbled three times. You’re not winning many games if you turnover the football 5 times. The Steelers are old and decrepit. A once great team has fallen on hard times. An infusion of youth is desperately needed in Steel Town.
Really Minnesota? You lost to Cleveland? The Browns? Really? REALLY? After Cleveland traded Trent Richardson to Indianapolis, the stage was set for the Browns to go 0-16 and draft either Teddy Bridgewater or Johnny Manziel with the first overall pick. But now, the Browns have hope while the Vikings are left to wonder what went wrong. Remember, the Vikings were in the playoffs last season. They still have Adrian Peterson, who was held to 88 yards against Cleveland. The Viking defense made Brian Hoyer look like the second coming of Bernie Kosar. OK, maybe the second coming of Brian Sipe. Here’s a strange fact. The Vikings have led in every game so far, yet have zero wins. I’m still not sold on Christian Ponder and I wonder if the Vikings may tank so that either Bridgewater or Manziel will be in a purple jersey next season. I think Leslie Frazier will be working on his resume come January, as his tenure as head coach of the Vikings is hanging precariously by a thread.
You can follow me on Twitter @jstar1973