Join Date: Sep 2012
Week 4 Synopsis
a little late I know
Week 3 Synopsis
1. Baltimore Ravens, 3-1 (1) - The Ravens simply have a bad habit of playing down to their competition. They know they could have played better against the Browns, but they got the win, and thatís the important part. Their offense is better when they feed Ray Rice the ball, but perhaps itís better for the teamís development to give Joe Flacco extra reps in the no-huddle offense against weaker teams. Their pass defense has been unimpressive, and they need to improve in that area as the season progresses if they want to go all the way.
2. Atlanta Falcons , 4-0 (2) - After letting the Carolina Panthers sack Matt Ryan 7 times, some questions should be asked about their offensive line. Julio Jones finished last and started this season strong, but his impact the last couple games hasnít been significant. Matt Ryan isnít going to stop throwing him the ball, and he needs to start making more plays.
3. Houston Texans, 4-0 (3) - Another week, another dominant performance by the Texans. They need to stay focused this week on a Jets team that will be easy to overlook with games against Green Bay and Baltimore looming. What they do in this 3-week period heading into their bye will tell a lot about just how great this team can be.
4. San Francisco 49ers, 3-1 (6) - The 49ers got back to what makes them so great this week: suffocating defense, and a creative offense that features a dominant run game. Their shutout of the Jets was reminiscent of last yearís blowout against the Bucs, where they beat down their opposition to the point that they lost their will to compete.
5. Green Bay Packers, 2-2 (4) - You would think that after being robbed of a win by officials last week, the refs would have cut the Packers a little slack this week. The Packers had to survive a number of officiating blunders that worked against them in their dramatic win over the Saints. However, there was no bigger call in the game than the hold that washed away a field goal that would have given the Saints the lead with just 2 minutes to go.
6. Arizona Cardinals, 4-0 (7) - Itís hard to figure out how the Cardinals did so well against Tom Brady and Michael Vick but got torched by Ryan Tannehill, but you have to give them credit for finding a way to win the game. With Beanie Wells out, a lot more pressure will be on QB Kevin Kolb, and he needs to start showing more command of the offense.
7. New England Patriots, 2-2 (8) - If the Bills could have held on for a win, it would have signified a real power change in the AFC East. The Patriotsí complete domination of the Bills in the second-half showed that the divisional hierarchy remains the same.
8. Philadelphia Eagles, 3-1 (10) - Huge win for the Eagles, who now sit atop the NFC East. If they can avoid turnovers, as they did against the Giants, they are a tough team to beat. The Eaglesí defense has now stopped both Eli Manning and Joe Flacco in 2-minute situations where a field goal would have won them the game.
9. Chicago Bears, 3-1 (9) - The Bearsí attacking defense seems to be back thanks to the contributions of a nice group of emerging young players. Henry Melton is emerging as one of the leagueís best interior pass-rushers, while DBs Major Wright, DJ Moore, and Chris Conte are all bringing a spark. CB Tim Jennings, a 7-year veteran, is playing the best football of his career.
10. New York Giants, 2-2 (5) - The Giants are now 0-2 in their division, and they are clearly not going to breeze into the playoffs. Of course they can beat anyone on any given week, but if they canít consistently win games, they may not be in the playoffs this year. The Eagles are a different team than last year and they wonít be able to backwalk into an AFC East crown again.
Week 4 Storyline
1. Dolphins passing game not so anemic
With a rookie QB who was considered a project and a group of receivers that lacked sizzle, the prospects werenít looking good for the Dolphins passing game. Well, Ryan Tannehill just broke Dan Marinoís franchise record for passing yards in a game as a rookie, and Brian Hartline leads the league in receiving yards. Joe Philbin, who directed the passing attack that seemed so unstoppable in Green Bay, deserves a lot of credit here.
2. No divisional races in the south
Itís week 4, and it already seems a foregone conclusion that the Texans and Falcons will win the AFC and NFC South, respectively. The two teams have a combined 8 wins, while their six divisional rivals have a combined 5 wins. The biggest surprise has to be the Saints at 0-4. Itís unlikely they will continue to lose like this, but if they came back on the Falcons at this point, it would be one of the great turnarounds in history.
3. Major discipline problems in Detroit
The Lions right now are looking like the kind of team the Raiders have been famous for fielding for years. They have incredible talent, but their general sloppy play prevents them from winning games. They have now allowed four return touchdowns in the last two games.
4. Tony Romo to Dez Bryant not working out
Cowboy fans envisioned Romo and Bryant dominating like Aikman and Irvin used to. Considering Bryantís similarities to Irvin, it was a reasonable comparison. However, the young receiver just hasnít been able to sync up with his QB. Bryant had several miscues against Chicago this week, dropping a perfect deep ball and failing to get on the same page with Romo on a hot read that resulted in six points going the other way.
5. Robert Griffin can keep the Redskins competitive
The Redskins roster was already devoid of talent to start the year. Injuries to a number of players including their best defender, OLB Brian Orakpo, have only made matters worse. Their defense is really hurting right now and they donít have great weapons on offense, but because of Robert Griffinís ability to make plays and stay under control, the Redskins are competing every week. The rookie QB currently ranks fourth in the NFL in passer rating, and is also on pace for 1000 rushing yards.
6. First Quarter Surprises: Vikings and Cardinals
Nobody was giving either of these teams much of a chance to start the season, yet both are leading their divisions through the first quarter of the season. They havenít been blowing teams away, but they are finding ways to win against quality opponents. Itís hard to know what to make of them this early in the season, but these teams have given themselves good starts to build on.
7. Andy Dalton and A.J. Green have a bright future together
The two were drafted in the first and second round last year, and instantly turned around the fortunes of the Bengal franchise. This year, Dalton is continuing to prove he is a quality starter in this league, while Green looks like he is going to be an elite receiver. The Bengals havenít had the toughest opening schedule, but Green currently ranks 2nd in receiving, while Dalton ranks fifth in passer rating. For two players in their second year, it is remarkable how consistent their play is.
8. Wes Welker is not being phased out
All that talk after the first 2 games seems a little silly now. Welker has caught 17 passes for 271 yards in 2 games since then, and is on pace for yet another 100-catch season. The Patriots didnít get off to a great start, but they are still championship contenders. Their best chance at getting back to the Super Bowl is keeping Welker highly involved in their offense. Weíll see if his role diminishes when TE Aaron Hernandez is healthy again.
9. J.J. Watt is dominating
Generally, 3-4 defensive endsí contributions donít show up on the stat sheet. In the case of a guy like Watt, there is no scheme that will stop him from producing. He currently leads the NFL in sacks with 7.5, and also ranks third among defensive lineman with 20 tackles. His 5 pass breakups are more than any defensive lineman or linebacker, and he has also recovered 2 fumbles. Not bad for a guy whose main job is supposed to be taking on blocks.
10. Jetsí Spirit Broken
The only thing more soul-crushing for a team than losing its best player for the season has to be giving up 245 rushing yards in a 34-0 home loss. The latest news is New York? WR Santonio Holmes, the teamís best offensive playmaker, is likely out for the season. Rex Ryan will try to pull this group together, but itís hard to see this current group being too competitive. It might not be long before the chants for ďTebow TimeĒ start coming. If Ryan canít find some kind of silver lining on this season, his job could be in jeopardy.
1. WR Roddy White, Atlanta
Roddy White is Matt Ryanís go-to guy and he continued to make big plays for his QB this year. Backed up at their own yard line with a minute to go and no timeouts, White made a great catch between two defenders for 60 yards on the first play of the drive. The Falcons would go on to win the game on a 40-yard Matt Bryant field goal. White finished the game with 8 catches for 169 yards and 2 touchdowns.
2. HB Brandon Bolden, New England
The Patriots have some guys in their backfield this year who arenít very well known. That may not continue for long if they keep playing like this. Bolden rushed for 137 yards on just 16 carries, and combined with Stephen Ridley to help the Patriots rush for 247 yards. An undrafted rookie from Mississipi, Bolden has been earning himself carries, and helping to give the Pats the best looking ground game theyíve had in quite some time.
3. DE Everson Griffin, Minnesota
Griffin is a guy the Vikings hope will really step up this year. Brian Robison is hurt right now, and Jared Allen cannot rush the passer all by himself. The Vikings hope this weekís performance is a sign of things to come for Griffin, who harassed Mathew Stafford frequently and sacked him twice. Stafford struggled mightily to get into rhythm as the Vikings came to Detroit and pulled the upset.
4. QB Matt Schaub, Houston
Another week, another solid performance by Schaub, a QB who never really gets his due. He doesnít really do anything flashy, but he plays tough, works the ball to all his receivers, and doesnít make mistakes. The Texansí ground game wasnít as effective as usual last week, so the Texans leaned on their passing game and defense.
5. WR Andre Roberts, Arizona
Roberts came out of nowhere with a huge game to help the Cardinals pull a big comeback win and stay undefeated. QB Kevin Kolb mostly struggled throughout the day, but threw two touchdown strikes to Roberts in the fourth quarter to send the game to OT. Roberts led the team in receiving with 118 yards.
6. DT Geno Atkins, Cincinatti
Injuries have depleted the Bengals secondary, which meant they would need a dominant performance up front against the Jaguars. Atkins led the charge as the Bengals held Maurice Jones-Drew to just 38 rushing yards and sacked Blaine Gabbert six times (twice by Atkins).
7. WR James Jones, Green Bay
Jones often gets overlooked because of all the other great receivers in Green Bay, but he has shown the ability to step up when needed. While he is remembered for dropping some key passes in the playoffs early in his career, he has matured and turned into a steadying veteran presence. Jones caught two touchdowns in the first half, and when the Packers needed to convert a 3rd and 5 to ice the game, he incredibly caught a football he couldnít have possibly seen coming with his eyes. A pass interference flag was thrown that made the catch irrelevant, but with the way calls have been going against the Packers, you have to give him credit for finding a way to haul it in and leave nothing up to the refs.
8. QB Jay Cutler, Chicago
Cutler has been taking a lot of heat the past couple weeks, and he responded in a big way on primetime television this week. Against a very good Dallas defense, Cutler completed 18 of 24 passes and did a great job working the ball to Brandon Marshall. The defenseís ability to force turnovers ultimately won the game for the Bears, but Cutler made plays all night to keep the pressure on Dallas.
9. WR DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia
The Eagles pass offense has been disappointing this year, but Vick played his best game this week in a big spot. With Jeremy Maclin still ailing, Jackson stepped up with a big game. He scored the first points of the game with a 19-yard TD, and finished with six catches for 99 yards.
10. ILB Patrick Willis, San Francisco
The 49ers needed to re-establish their defense dominance, and itís fitting that Willis had a big game in their shutout of the Jets. Willis led the team in tackles with 10 and had an early interception that helped the 49ers jump out to a big lead. From then on, the 49ers simply poured it on.