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Around the NFL Week 3

September 23, 2013


-On the CBS pre-game show this morning I watched an interesting segment where the analysts ranked their Top 5 quarterbacks from the 2011 and 2012 drafts. My rankings were as follows:

1. Andrew Luck

2. Colin Kaepernick


4. Russell Wilson

5. Cam Newton

Honorable Mention: Andy Dalton

It was a lively discussion as Wilson, Luck, and Kaepernick all got 1st place votes showing me that there’s no real consensus right now. I’ve gone on record before about how underrated Luck’s rookie season was and will mention it again as I just don’t think he gets enough credit. Kaepernick has the best offensive line in all of football, Wilson has the best defense in all of football, and RGIII had the #1 rushing attack in all of football last year. Luck had none of those benefits yet time and again led his undermanned team to come from behind wins. This week he went into San Francisco and outplayed Kaepernick to send the Colts to 2-1. He did it with a short passing game that the vaunted 49ers defense couldn’t stop and mixed in a number of audibled runs to Ahmad Bradshaw that allowed them to control the clock (36 minutes to 23 minutes). It was also interesting to me that Luck outrushed Kaepernick 24 yards to 20 yards in this game. With the read option offense looking far less successful this year than last year’s version I think Luck will gain ground in the eyes of analysts who currently underrate him. Andrew is the true franchise quarterback on this list and will prove to everyone that he’s the real deal when he leads another weak roster to the postseason this January.

-When I looked at the NFC before the season began I saw four teams head and shoulders above the rest of the conference. Those teams were the Seahawks, 49ers, Falcons, and Packers yet right now three of those four teams are 1-2. It’s early in the season and, some of them have already played each other which necessitates that there would be at least 3 losses among them, yet I’ll be curious to see if these three teams can right the ship. Another loss and they go to 1-3 and suddenly are forced to go 9-3 the rest of the way to get to 10 wins which is usually the number of wins required to make the playoffs. The Falcons have had numerous injuries, the 49ers have no one other than Boldin who can get open as a receiving threat, and the Packers seem to give up +30 points every week so each team has their problems. If some of these “dominant” teams continue to struggle the NFC playoff race could be wide open this year and we could see a number of surprise teams make it.

-Josh Freeman needs to get a reality check. There have been rumors about him potentially requesting a trade due to being disrespected by coach Schiano the past year and a half but I just laugh at that talk. Who would trade for this guy? He’s a pending free agent at the end of the year who had a terrible season in 2009 (59.8 QB Rating), 2011 (74.6), 2012 (81.6), and is well on his way again in 2013 (63.0). The only reason he’s still starting is because his 2010 season, where he had a very good 95.9 QB Rating due to an elite 25/6 TD/INT ratio, bought him a chance to show new management which year was the aberration. Clearly it’s been proven that his 2010 season was the aberration as his career QB Rating is below 80 and his career record is 24-34 in games which he started. Josh can request a trade or lash out at his coach all he wants but if he was smart he’d realize that this will be the last season where he’s the starting quarterback of an NFL team and he should try and make the best of it. Rumors about his lack of leadership and horrible work ethic will cause next year’s free agency to be a rude awakening for the young man as I suspect there will only be backup jobs offered to him.

-I’m still unsure if New Orleans is real or not but I do know one thing: They are making the playoffs this year. At 3-0 they are a full 2 games ahead of everyone else in the division and with a +32 they are only behind Seattle in point differential in the NFC. Rob Ryan has worked his magic and made them an above average defense as they are 6th in points allowed and 10th in yards despite not having even one player on their defense that I would consider a true difference maker. Add to that the incredible number of injuries they’ve sustained on that side of the ball (Will Smith, Victor Butler, Patrick Robinson and Jonathan Vilma were all expected to start yet are already on the IR) and it’s time to praise the incredible coaching job done by the recently fired defensive coordinator. The offense is only 15th in the league in scoring to this point but when, not if with Sean Payton and Drew Brees it’s when, the offense comes around and returns to it’s Top 5 status the Saints will be a scary team to face. They only need to go 7-6 the rest of the way to make the playoffs and I’d be shocked if they didn’t do that. Now the only question is whether or not the Falcons can rebound and force them into a wildcard spot or if they continue their struggles and the Saints run away with the division.


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