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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

For the Record: Week 1

Good eve intrepid readership. For the Record is back, reborn as a collection of all of our thoughts on every non-Bears team who played in the past week. Enjoy!

Kyle picked the Ravens, Erik and I picked the Broncos... Kyle, you done picked wrong. The Broncos were clearly the best AFC team before that game, and now I don't know how you can pick anyone else to come out of the AFC unless Houston wins by 50 tonight. The Ravens held it together for a while but clearly Lardarius Webb didn't matter as much as they maybe thought, and potentially Corey Graham isn't as good as he looked at the end of last year. Should probably hold off on judgment until they play someone who isn't QB jesus.

I can't remember which of you I said it to, but the Ravens are clearly all Joe Flacco. They're a good team, maybe even a great team, but as soon as the wheels start to fall off the whole thing goes up in flames.

Next week we get a line that is clearly having issues. Purple Jesus got himself a 78 yard run to start the game, then went 17 carries for 15 yards. We know the Lion run D isn't amazing, that was seriously shitty line play. Maybe now we know why they grabbed J'Marcus! Two of the Viking TDs were due to blown coverage on Jerome Simpson of all people, and the other was that early AD run. Vikings: not good.

The Vikings looked so fucking bad. I mean if you were just watching individual plays, you would think the Lions were playing so badly it defies explanation, and they won by ten points.

And Suh had yet another dirty play. At what point does the NFL just suspend him for a year to teach him a lesson? He's going to permanently screw somebody up. I thought the Lions played well enough to get to 7-9 or 8-8. And Reggie Bush did what you might expect considering the offense he's in now.

On Vikings-Lions I'll just say I'm amused that Christian Ponder threw the ball deep for once and it resulted in 3 picks. Boy's turrible. Also I had the Lions pegged for 7-9 a ways back, and I'm not moving off that. Maybe 8-8, but no more. Defense is still shit after that front four.

Let's see, that takes care of Vikings-Lions. Up next: Chiefs-Jags. Are we impressed with the Chiefs or just really unimpressed with the Jags?

I'm like... half of both? The Chiefs looked like they know what they're doing, but the Jags appear to be getting worse with experience, so it's hard to be objective about someone beating them. Charles is a beast, errbody know that, Alex Smith is certainly capable of managing a game well enough to win with that. It remains to be seen how they hold up against a team that doesn't somehow fit the medical description of "mentally retarded."

Do we need to discuss Chiefs-Jags? The Chiefs are going to do that Chief thing where they find the most boring way to win 9 games against an underwhelming schedule and then quietly bow out of the playoffs to let the big boys play. Andy Reid will be viewed as a hero for this. The Jaguars are horrid, but we knew this. What is amusing is the fact that some people actually believed the whole "Gabbert looks different now, guys!" stuff coming out of camp.

Fair enough. Next up we have Fins-Browns. Kyle and I both had the Browns, nice job Erik. Weeden is... very bad. Also, Mike Wallace is a lil bitch.

I expected the Fins to win, but I expected it to be a halfway enjoyable game. Granted, I was watching it three TVs down only during breaks in the Bears game, but it sure looked like World War I to me.

Yeah it was Brutal. I did not expect Weeden to be that bad. As most know, I think, I loved Weeden at OK State and really want him to succeed. The tools are there, and the last coaching staff did Nothing to ease his transition to the NFL. He's lacking his best wideout in Josh Gordon right now, so I don't want to completely bury him...but things don't look good. And yeah, when reading Mike Wallace's comments about not getting the ball enough after ONE GAME, remember that this is the team that traded Brandon Marshall for being too much of a headache and subsequently signed Chad Ochocinco and Mike Wallace.

That is really, really important to remember. Jordan Cameron looked good, but the rest of the Browns? Yeeeesh. Let's see... next up how about Pats-Bills? I was SO CLOSE. But no cigar. Manuel looked okay, the weirdest Bills thing was definitely that Fred Jackson looked much better than Spiller. Also, Kenbrell Tompkins got targeted 14 times and caught 4 of those passes. I don't have drop data, but what I think that means is Brady wants WELKAH back.

Yeah he looked a little lost. Which is understandable, considering he lost his three favorite receivers in one offseason, I suppose. I forgot Julian Edelman existed until yesterday, so that earns him at least a game's worth of awkwardness before I say he's losing it. The Bills actually looked a lot better than I expected them to, considering how tumultuous their shit is right now. That FR TD definitely helped.

As for the Bills...CJ Spiller is a lot like Jamaal Charles. Those days will happen where he just won't break the big one, and the Pats were keying on him as a receiver as well. Manuel looked fine running a very conservative offense. Hard to really get much information on him from that. I'm still not high on him! If the Patriots suck this year, and they very well might (Brady averaged 5.5 YPA against a Bills defense missing it's star safety), they have little to blame but their own arrogance. The passing game will get a boost when Gronk returns, but they gambled on being able to control Hernandez' temper when teams had him flagged, they thought they didn't need to actually sign or develop veteran receivers, they thought Welkah was replaceable (and Amendola did have a nice game, to be fair)....they're just arrogant. They buy their own bullshit about The Patriot Way so hard, but if it were true their plug and play system would have fixed their shit defense long ago, and it still sucks.

Yeah, my guess is Brady is regretting that pay cut right about now. I think the Spiller thing could also be that, well, Fred has been better than CJ before. Would not surprise me if he was again. Next up we got Bucs-Jets. Already hearing that they want to try Mike Glennon in Tampa. Doug Martin again showed that he is mediocrity incarnate, but he gets a ton of carries. And Geno Smith... did really well! Against a good secondary. What is wrong with the world?!

The Bucs are just their own worst enemy, I think. They have a good team! I look at the roster and there's a lot of talent there. Certainly enough talent to beat the Jets! Martin isn't the best back in the league, but he can get the job done. Vincent Jackson is really good. Freeman shouldn't be as bad as he is. If Glennon is the thing that makes it work, I'm all for it. That team should be 7-9, or maybe 8-8. Their schedule is kind of brutal this year, though.

I'll not have you besmirching CJ Spiller, you sonofabitch. I don't think Josh Freeman is a bad QB. I really don't. He's inconsistent but he's also had a lot of turmoil and turnover in his career, but Greg Schiano has never showed an ounce of faith in him and I don't think the tough love approach is working. Freeman's just melting down. As for Geno? No idea. He still managed to look awful at times even with his overall solid performance. Definitely on the whole a good debut. He also ran a bit, which is nice to see. He didn't do much of that in college, and with the Jets line and RBs...he may have to be his own running game at times.

Next up we have Falcons-Saints. That went pretty much as expected, yeah? Erik thought Atlanta would win, but we can't really fault him for that. Two good teams playign good football. A little surprised the Saints only gave up 17 points.

I thought that game was more of a toss-up than you two, and I don't think anything happened to convince me otherwise, for sure. Both teams looked solid, the Saints defense looked better than expected, Steven Jackson was overhyped to begin with but the commentators just can't stop complimenting him for some reason. Sproles had a good game because he's a badass.

Anyone buying the Saints new and improved defense had better calm down a bit. Honestly I think the only reason both of these teams didn't score more is they both were going on long, time-consuming drives against each other. Is the Saints defense marginally better than last year? Probably, are they good? Probably not. I'd say both of these teams are in trouble if they run against a team that can score AND play average defense.

I don't think they're "new and improved" by any means, but that doesn't mean they can't be better than they were last year. I also think it's impossible to overstate the value of Sean Payton to this team. I'm guessing the Saints will have a good year but the Falcons will win the NFC South, and then they'll win one playoff game and celebrate it like they just won their third consecutive Super Bowl again.

Next up, everybody gets to apologize for calling me crazy, Titans-Steelers. I will simply reiterate what I said last week: The Steelers are genuinely terrible. The Titans at least have some pieces. The Steelers lost talent everywhere and gained talent nowhere. They're going to struggle all season.

I guess I didn't realize just how bad the Steelers are. But here's the crazy thing: people are still going to call them a good team. Pittsburgh is just one of those teams that, for whatever reason, people will assume is good whether the evidence bears that out or not.

I hesitate to kill the Steelers completely, yet, because their defense is still capable, but....God. That offense is hopeless. They have Roethlisberger and no backs, and a bad offensive line that just lost one of its two good pieces for the year. Still think the Titans suck as well. Did you see the Titans safety on the opening kickoff? Where he caught the ball out of the endzone, then backed up an kneeled down for a safety? HA. I did that once in Madden and nearly killed myself of shame. Can't imagine how Reynaud would have felt if they'd lost that game by one or two points.

The safeties in week one were very, very strange. 3 safeties, all int he first half, in 3 different games. Has never happened before. Count out the Steelers, Kyle, trust me. They can't score, and their defense really isn't capable. They are way, way down. Next up is Oakland-Indy. Indy pretty much proved they're going to regress, right? And Terrelle Pryor proved he can run, and not much else!

Yeah...the Indy game is exactly how I think their season plays out: Luck actually looks better and more efficient in the West Coast, their defense is horrid and presumably costs them several games against teams that are good. Pryor at least made the Raiders watchable.

They could bounce back and get into the playoffs again, but I would be totally unsurprised if they didn't. They had a real hard time with the Raiders, who are not good. Pryor looks better than Flynn, but that's going to last six weeks, tops. He's either going to get hurt, or they're going to rein him in and neuter the offense. Either way, expect a short-lived Raiders Hopeful movement, followed by despair.

The final day game is a pretty solid competition between Carolina and Seattle. Is this a classic Carolina game in which they look good but lose, and they'll still go 6-10? Or is their defense really that much better than it was last year? Also, be prepared for people to jump off the Seahawk bandwagon and onto the Niner bandwagon.

As we all said in the Progkakke, the Panthers love to keep it close but still lose. That defense is stout as shit, and even Cam Newton with one weapon is still Cam Newton. I'd be prepared to grant them 7-9, though I wouldn't be surprised at 6-10. The Seahawks struggled but won against a good defense, and the 49ers lit up a bad one. Clearly, the Niners are better!

Both the 49ers and the Seahawks looked as I expected yesterday. Seahawks less good on offense, still great on defense. 49ers less good on defense, still great on offense. As for the Panthers..I wouldn't read too much into this. They lost to the Seahawks last year 16-12. With their front four they match up well against the Seahawks run game. They still gave up 325 yards passing. They're still mediocre.

Yeah, looking back, all three of us basically foretold exactly how this game would go. Shitty afternoon game: Rams come back to beat the Cardinals. We all still think both teams are crap, right? Also this was really the game that put you two behind me. Your belief in Carson Palmer hath betrayed you, Kyle!

That one was another toss-up, I'd say. Both teams looked pretty much exactly like you'd expect them to look. Both Cardinals offensive TD's were Palmer to Fitzy, both STL TD's came from a Tight End at short range. Rams leaned on Greg the Leg to edge out a close one. That's the most Rams game imaginable, honestly.

Palmer looked about as good as I predicted he would, too, which, if you remember, was "good enough to be my fantasy backup." Arizona should be far more competitive in all 9 of its losses this year. The Rams piss me off. Jeff Fisher had opportunities to put that game away by actually showing some balls and refused. Also the "package of plays" he has for Tavon never materialized. NO ONE GIVE JEFF FISHER A SHINY NEW TOY EVER AGAIN. The man never trusted McNair, he ran Eddie George into the ground, he utterly ruined Vince Young, and now he's going to turn Tavon Austin into Ted Ginn.

We've already said a bit about it, but the good afternoon game was Packers-Niners. We all hit this one on the head. The Packers just can't figure them out. Matthews should be suspended, not for the hit solely, but because he said he would do it all week. My favorite part of that game was that the Packers spent all offseason learning how to stop the read option and... Kaepernick just dropped back and passed all day. I love Harbaugh so goddamned much. Oh and Jermichael Finley had a couple beast mode plays that were fantastic and partially made up for him handing the ball to the Niners once.

It's funny, I actually know a Packers fan who said "Calm down, Bears fans. You beat the Bengals, the Packers held the conference champions to the limit," as though losing to a good team is better than beating a less-good but still pretty decent team.

Kaepernick is terrifying. Matthews absolutely should be suspended but won't be. I don't want to overstate the importance of the Packers D getting shredded because they always seem to pull it together to win 12 games anyway. In short, I do not want to face either team.

Sunday night was set to Yackety Sax as the Giants and Cowboys tried desperately to lose, but only New York accomplished their goal. How unthreatened are you by these two teams?

I worry more about the Giants than the Cowboys, because Eli Manning has the Incredible Hulk in him and all it takes is bad timing to get Manningblasted. When he's not on literal fire, though, you can actually see the pieces falling off of that team on the field. That Manningface Kyle posted was beautiful.

I worry about neither too much. They both have huge holes but can be dangerous if they avoid mistakes...which they clearly, rarely do.


1 comment:

Lee said...

And Terrelle Pryor proved he can run, and not much else!

Chuck Pagano: What's a Read Option?