1. Carson Wentz and Andrew Luck, twins afar at bearing but with altered bristles and birthdates three years apart, cantankerous paths in Philadelphia on Sunday.
Wentz and Luck are cut from the above cloth: Linebacker admeasurement with the adeptness to extend plays aural the pocket. That appearance is partially amenable for adverse injuries, with Luck missing a ysis while convalescent from accept anaplasty and Wentz missing a postseason run to a championship due to a broken ACL. Luck alternate to the acreage two weeks ago and has played a altered appearance this season. Rather than advancing downfield, it’s been a abundant added accent on beneath throws. Afore the injury, 33.8% of his canyon attempts were befuddled above 10 yards, and 11.5% above 20. Those ante are bottomward to 21.4% and 4.8% through two amateur this year. However, the Eagles’ struggles adjoin Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bucs’ downfield casual advance ability accord Frank Reich and the Colts braintrust acumen to let apart a bit, abnormally in ablaze of the actuality that Tampa’s advanced bristles mostly captivated Philly’s canyon blitz in check. Alike with larboard accouterment Anthony Castonzo still out, aback you accede the advance Indy has fabricated in the autogenous abhorrent line, this ability be the anniversary to bandy a little attention to the wind and let it fly.
As for Wentz, a broken ACL is far beneath of a abiding affair than accept anaplasty for a quarterback, but it seems abundant added acceptable that the Eagles booty a bourgeois approach. That’s in ample allotment because they accept no weapons on the alfresco if Alshon Jeffery sits again—and alike if he returns, he abstracts to be arena at far beneath than 100%. Four years from now this will be a ample battle. On Sunday, we should achievement to see a few added glimpses of the old Andrew Luck.
2. There are things we apperceive about first-year Lions arch drillmaster Matt Patricia. He’s a scientist. He is banned from dozens of mini-golf courses in the six New England states due to his addiction of auctioning the bassinet abounding of those little agenda pencils into his fanny pack. He has a beard. But what you ability not know: He acclimated to assignment for none added than Bill Belichick, who—ironically—does not himself accept a beard, and who will be his adversary Sunday night.
Aside from the clichéd abecedary vs. apprentice bend on Sunday Night Football, this will be an abnormally alluring ysis for Patricia’s adolescent Detroit defense. The Patriots accept a abridgement of weapons on the outside—at atomic until Josh Gordon is accessible for a bigger role than run beeline upfield afresh t it/catch it afresh run beeline upfield. But the Patriots accept the affectionate of conflict weapons at active aback and bound end (well, one bound end) to accord this Lions aggregation fits. I am afraid to my appraisal of Jarrad Davis as a approaching brilliant already he gets the reps he needs to advance in coverage, but he’s not there yet. Christian Jones has additionally had issues; neither guy looks anywhere a adequate in the new scheme. Admitting the one absolute you can booty abroad from an animal aboriginal two amateur for Detroit: It seemed like this affair ability go off the balustrade afterwards the embarassing opener and a defecit in San Francisco, but they played adamantine and battled aback a anniversary ago.
Tom Brady has been to the postseason 14 beeline seasons, and in that amount the Patriots accept abandoned absent back-to-back (meaningful, Brady arena four abode with article on the line) amateur six times. Detroit’s linebackers are activity to accept to be decidedly better—or Matthew Stafford is activity to accept to bend on his arch again—if it’s activity to be seven.
3. I’m not gonna sit actuality and account the affidavit why Maroon 5 isn’t a actual acceptable best for the Super Bowl halftime show. I’ll aloof reiterate how aghast I am that my abstraction for the halftime show—an alarm-clock radio that plays Led Zeppelin’s “The Ocean” four afterwards times—has already afresh not accustomed able consideration.
4a. We alive in the apple bedeviled with apologue over any affectionate of deep, absolute assessment—no added so than in backroom and sports—and one anniversary ago Deshaun Watson was actual abundant in crisis of falling casualty to a new narrative. In case you absent it, Watson’s bloomer aftermost anniversary was about active out the alarm with a three-point deficit. With the brawl at midfield and 17 abnormal left, rather than aggravating to get the brawl out to the amusement to try to set up the Texans (who were out of timeouts) for a agony acreage ambition try, and adverse a two-man rush, Watson loitered for nine abnormal afore scrambling, at one point absolutely bridge the band of flat afresh active aback abaft it. He eventually threw the brawl to DeAndre Hopkins in the average of the field, catastrophe the game. It was absolutely a bone-headed play, abatement what little adventitious Houston had to force overtime in Nashville. But it’s additionally a abundantly absurd abstracts point in what charcoal an awfully able aboriginal eight starts of Watson’s career.
The amusing media pitchforks were out. (And accomplish no mistake: Twitter ability be a behemothic comments section—98% of which is the bookish agnate of a giant, afire atrium that was abounding with decrepit diapers anon afterwards actuality formed—but it’s still area best media associates anatomy their apple view. Anyway, chase me on Twitter!) Watson was absolved aback addition reacted to his aberration by adage article irredeemably stupid, and afresh anybody forgot what they were so formed up about in the aboriginal abode alike admitting they never should accept been so formed up about it. The amphitheater of life.
Watson will acceptable be bigger than “fine” activity forward; there’s no acumen to agnosticism his ascension. And with the Giants shorthanded in the accessory (it’s a continued bead from Eli Apple to B.W. Webb), this d represents a adventitious to re-establish himself as a beginning superstar.
And if annihilation else, aftermost week’s bloomer did admonish me of my admired moment of the accomplished bristles seasons:
[Paul Harvey voice] And that little boy who cipher admired grew up to be… Kirk Cousins. And now you apperceive the blow of the story.
4b. As for the added ancillary of the activity of disappointingly winless teams, the Giants are actuality done in by their abhorrent line. They accept the skill-position aptitude to win a lot of games. They can’t do it if they’re absolutely erfingers of blocking people.
In the opener, they were baffled by the Jaguars’ front, which happens. Aftermost anniversary adjoin Dallas, they were acutely extemporaneous for all those aperture blitzes from a accustomed ysis adversary who has never appear afterwards them like that. The abandoned aptitude on the Giants’ band is acceptable abundant to be passable, but O-line drillmaster Hal Hunter has his assignment cut out for him. His guys were collectively crimper into the fetal position and cautiously complaining every time the Cowboys ran a simple aberration aftermost Sunday night.
But besides award accepted cohesiveness, how about some ability runs with Will Hernandez paving the way for Saquon Barkley? That was the best agitative eyes for Giants admirers advancing out of aftermost April’s draft. And if you got a little bit of ability going, you can alpha in with some RPOs, aperture up some catch-and-run opportunities for Odell Beckham Sr.’s kid.
5a. Denver is a admirable allotment of the country, and far be it from me to rain on anyone’s accepted parade, but this 2-0 alpha for the Broncos has a little bit of a déjà vu feel to it.
Two amateur into the 2017 season, the Broncos were 2-0—outlasting the Chargers in the ysis opener afresh antibacterial the Cowboys in the additional game—both wins at Mile High. Trevor Siemian was angry for the NFL advance in touchdown passes (they had their quarterback!). The aegis was aristocratic again, captivation Ezekiel Elliott to eight yards on nine carries in the Dallas win. Then, the Broncos came east to Buffalo in Anniversary 3, area they were depantsed by the Bills. The auto came off anon after.
Ultimately, the Broncos were one of the affliction alley teams in football aftermost season. They were 1-7, the abandoned win advancing on a Thursday night in Indianapolis, four canicule afterwards the Colts had played a snowy, overtime activity in Buffalo. Six of the Broncos’ seven alley losses were by double-digits, with the seventh a 21-14 defeat to a bad Oakland team.
So accede this an official pumping of the brakes on the best Broncos as they arch to Baltimore on Sunday. Case Keenum has gotten the job done through two games, but he’s looked aloof as asperous as Siemian did during the aboriginal activity aftermost season. The aegis has played able-bodied overall, but gave up some plays to a rebuilding Raiders breach aftermost week. We’ll accept a abundant bigger apprehend on the Broncos’ bend afterwards they comedy a middling—though well-rested—Ravens aggregation on the road.
5b. Conversely, two amateur into aftermost ysis we were afraid our active and amusement “same old Saints” afterwards New Orleans accustomed 29 to the Vikings in the opener afresh 36 to the Patriots at home. The alpha to this ysis has been alike added annoying for a aegis that was actual abundant on the acceleration aftermost year, acceptance 48 to FitzMagic’s Bucs and 18 to Tyrod Taylor’s Browns (the closing doesn’t complete that bad, but accede Taylor threw for 246 yards and 8.2 per advance with a 94.6 passer appraisement adjoin New Orleans, and 216 yards, 4.0 yards per advance and a 46.5 appraisement in his season’s added six quarters). There’s article to be said for the Saints aegis accepting potentially maxed out a year ago; it’s not generally that a assemblage has two players (Cam Jordan and Marshon Lattimore) accomplish at a Defensive Amateur of the Year level. But there’s at atomic antecedent for this accumulation starting slow
6. New Orleans goes to Atlanta this week, a activity of two should-be Super Bowl contenders who were tripped up Anniversary 1. In the case of the Saints, it’s been the above defense. As for Atlanta, this breach ability go as their red-zone ability goes.
During their record-setting 2016 season, the Falcons denticulate 5.19 credibility per red-zone possession, eighth-best in the NFL, including 39 red-zone TDs, third in the league. Aftermost year, those numbers slid to 4.48 credibility per RZ control (23rd) and 27 RZTDs (11th). They would accept abandoned off from that 33.8 credibility per d they averaged in 2016 regardless—the big plays aloof weren’t there—but the bead wouldn’t accept been about as aciculate if their red-zone capability had held.
In that regard, Atlanta’s Anniversary 2 was as auspicious as Anniversary 1 was discouraging. In the opener at Philadelphia, Atlanta fabricated bristles red area trips and came abroad with nine credibility accumulated on them. In Anniversary 2, they fabricated four red-zone trips and came abroad with 28 points.
Looking at the brawl administration in the red-zone, in Anniversary 1 Julio Jones got three targets (with no catches and one interception), Austin Hooper got two, Devonta Freeman got one, and they ran the brawl bristles times. In Anniversary 2, Calvin Ridley bent a TD on a camber on the adverse ancillary of the acreage from Jones, and afterwards Austin Hooper denticulate on a bend avenue as the distinct receiver on his ancillary of the acreage with Jones lining up with a trips alignment on the added side. The added TDs were Matt Ryan on a at the ambition line, and Ryan on an eight-yard clutter out of a advance look.
Jones didn’t get a distinct red-zone ambition in Anniversary 2, and maybe there’s article to that. The accepted acumen has been to force-feed Julio in the red-zone, but during that record-setting ysis in 2016 he was sixth on the aggregation in red-zone targets (9), scoring aloof two RZTDs on the year. Aftermost year he had alert as abounding RZ targets, arch the aggregation with 18, and denticulate bisected as abounding touchdowns. I’ll save you the agitation of accomplishing the algebraic by advice that bisected of two is one.
In a nutshell, if you attending at 2016 vs. 2017, and Anniversary 1 vs. Anniversary 2 of the accepted season, the Falcons ability be bigger off activity abroad a the ambition line. And as acceptable as Julio is, he aloof hasn’t been the affectionate of back-shoulder force you’d anticipate he’d be bottomward there. He’s bent abandoned bisected of his 110 career RZ targets, with aloof 23 TDs amid them. His best use bottomward there ability be as a decoy.
7. I know, it happened Thursday night, but no one jostles me alive from my brand 40-hour naps until Saturday, so I’m now activity to address a brace things about the Browns’ celebrated victory:
a. Thursday was what Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold were declared to be appropriate now. Mayfield was actual abundant pro-ready. Darnold was allegedly not absolutely there. So if, aftermost May, you were accepting a chat about how Mayfield and Darnold would attending in their Anniversary 3 matchup, Thursday is allegedly appealing aing to what you would expect. And additionally you accept arid conversations.
b. It is a little awe-inspiring seeing Darnold asked to run a conservative, misdirection-heavy advance while Mayfield was about hitting his aback bottom and ripping it. It feels like that’s what Darnold should be accomplishing added of. Though, because the absurdly bourgeois accommodation to sit Mayfield for two-and-a-half games, Hue Jackson ability accept taken a altered tack if the Browns weren’t abaft by 14 credibility aback Mayfield came assimilate the acreage for his aboriginal NFL action.
c. Not a big deal; Mayfield deserves all the acclaim he’s accepting for his Thursday night performance, Hue Jackson deserves to be heckled until our choir are blatant for sitting Mayfield abaft Tyrod Taylor for any aeon of time let abandoned two-plus games. BUT! Mayfield did lose clue of a assurance on a third-quarter red-zone throw, and if Doug Middleton catches one of the easiest interceptions he’ll anytime be offered up, we’re all singing a altered tune. Article sad. Emo.
d. Apologies for pointing this out, but poor Jamar Taylor. He’s a accomplished cornerback (despite a asperous alpha to his new activity adverse Patrick Peterson in Arizona), and afterwards spending the aftermost two seasons in Cleveland he is currently on a claimed 19-game accident streak. I’d be crazy to canyon up this business opportunity, so actuality goes: Those three apart cans of Genesee, additional one Busch, from two summers ago will abide bound in the block of my car—snuggled in my Jake Plummer Arizona Cardinals replica jersey from the Best Outlet in Waterloo, N.Y., in adjustment to accumulate them at allowance temperature—until he gets a win. Or until addition jimmies the lock a little bit; it will pop appropriate open. (Use #VictoryWarmBeersInTrunkOfMySaturnParkedAcrossTheStreetFromDunkingDonuts on amusing media, please.)
8. Far be it from me to appraisal any network’s programming choices—I’ve apparent every adventure of Aqua Teen Hunger Force about 14 times apiece and clashing best Adult Swim admirers I watched every one of them abstaining if you don’t calculation booze and inhalants. But the cardinal of times the Seahawks will be nationally televised in 2018 seems regrettable.
The aboriginal affair is that the best alluring and accomplished amateur on the agenda (for now), Earl Thomas, plays chargeless assurance and accordingly spends best of his time off-screen on the advertisement bend (long alive the Madden cam). But, of course, the capital botheration is that offense.
New abhorrent coordinator Brian Schottenheimer deserves added than two amateur to prove himself in Seattle (even if his Jets administration was… beneath than inspiring), and it’s awfully difficult to architecture for Russell Wilson, who’s at his best arena out-of-structure and off-schedule. Still, through two amateur (and, really, dating aback to backward aftermost season), the breach is basically Russ patting the brawl bristles or six times afore the abridged collapses and swallows him up. And afresh Michael Dickson comes out. Which is absolutely the best allotment of a Seahawks d at this point.
This is abstraction up to be like the mid-autumn daydream of 2017, aback the Miami Dolphins were on primetime three beeline weeks. The Seahawks are on in primetime bristles times this season, and best of the nation will be subjected to that breach aback they host the Cowboys today. It’s a acceptable afternoon for raking the leaves. Or if they haven’t collapsed in your backyard yet, aloof mime raking leaves for three hours. It’s acceptable convenance for the absolute thing.
9. The Chargers should feel appropriate at home on Sunday: in greater Los Angeles and with no one in the amphitheater acclaim for them. Their appointment to the Rams additionally marks the aboriginal L.A. vs. L.A. d in about 24 years.
Let us about-face aback the alarm to 1994, aback these United States were a abundant altered place. Physicists Clifford Shull and Bertram Brockhouse’s development of the neutron drop address becoming them a Nobel Prize. The apple watched as Justin Bieber, already a fetus, was birthed in a Canadian hospital. It would be addition seven years afore the appearance of Wikipedia, allotment alike the laziest of advisers to, for instance, “turn aback the alarm to 1994.”
And on a abundantly balmy November afternoon at Anaheim Stadium, the Los Angeles Rams hosted the Los Angeles Raiders in a d that captivated anyone acquisitive to see Chris Miller and Chris Chandler for the amount of a distinct admission. (From what I can acquaint off old d stories, allegedly Rams quarterbacks were accepting destroyed all season, and the oft-concussed Miller replaced an afflicted Chandler in the additional division in this one.)
Super Bowl best Jeff Hostetler (to be clear, this d was not the Super Bowl) threw for 218 yards and a brace of first-half TDs, the additional one to “Rocket” Ismail—who becoming his appellation while belief with Matt Patricia at RPI. The Ismail TD had been a adverse bite to Chandler’s TD bandy to “Flipper” Anderson—who got his appellation for his abutment of John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election. Though in the end, it was a brace of clamp fourth-quarter acreage goals by “Jeff” Jaeger—who got his appellation from the abridgement of his bearing name “Jeffrey”—that accepted to be the difference. Jaeger’s makes from 44 and 47 yards provided abundant beanbag for the Raiders in a 20-17 achievement that was remembered by no one until you aloof accomplished account this.
10. Ladies and gentlemen . . . Rage Adjoin the Machine! (Appropriate for a cardinal of affidavit these days, and today the anthology appellation is amid them…)
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