Saturday - Jan 23, 2021

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JL’s Week 3 Observation Deck

What a week of games it was this weekend. Eight games in the first time slot, six in the second. An unexpected competitive Sunday Night game to boot. The NFL should always use this setup, even in bye weeks they could schedule seven games and five games respectively to keep the action rolling all day. And to make it easy on my directing NFL Sunday Ticket of course.

If there was ever a week to use the cliche ‘that is why they play the games.’ The Giants march into Philly and hammer the Eagles. Vick looked shaky to me all day. It is hard to imagine saying this, but he really is trying to do too much. DeSean Jackson can be blamed as well to an extent. Both players need to learn that you can’t hit the home run every play. Take what the defense gives you and when you do decide it’s time for the big play, the effectiveness and efficiency of the plays will increase.

Speaking of Mike Vick, I love watching the man play football, but his character has always been the question. I get the feeling three years ago when Vick got his second chance in the NFL, he truly entered the NFL again as a humbled mature man. His complaining after the game Sunday reminded me of the sense of entitlement Vick possessed when he was in Atlanta. Three years ago, this guy would have strapped it up and been thanking his lucky stars just to be taking hits in the league again. Was Mike taking a ton of hits yesterday? Yep, but if he wants to know the main reason for it, he needs to look in the mirror.

The Colts’ defense played inspired Sunday Night. I usually wouldn’t have a ton of interest in seeing the Steelers stomp the Colts, but then I remembered defensive players get paid too. I truly do believe it is time to let Curtis Painter run the show in Indy. Kerry Collins is 0-3, how much worse could Painter do. Collins has truly lost both of the quarterback attributes that I cherish the most when evaluating a QB on the field, pocket presence and anticipation. Collins needs a perfectly clean pocket and he needs to see a WR open before he lets it go. You would think a veteran of his age would not regress in this way, but it has happened. Painter, although completely unproven, with some success could inspire even more efforts like the one we saw from the Colts at home vs Pittsburgh.

Are you kidding me Leslie Frazier? How could you blow another lead like that for the third straight week? A 20-0 lead, Adrian Peterson literally and figuratively carried the team on his back in the first half. 12 carries for 74 yards in the first stanza, that is over six yards a carry for you math majors out there. Second half starts, Vikings go three-and-out the first three drives. Nine total plays, at least six or seven Peterson runs right? Wrong. Seven Donovan McNabb passes and two AP carries. Then on their 4th drive of the second half, on a crucial 4th and 1, when AP waved off the punting team (only RB in the league who can do that by the way), the Vikings’ coaching staff decides to let Toby Gerhart try to convert. Truly amazing when considering Peterson is the most determined and violent runner in the NFL. Five total carries for Peterson in the second half. It almost makes me sick to think the rest of Peterson’s career might go to waste missing the playoffs each season for the duration of his peak athletic ability.

One guy I have not mentioned a word about so far this season is Drew Brees. He might not get as much pub as Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or even the injured Peyton Manning but he is unquestionably in that class. Watching the Chiefs/Chargers game and the Texans/Saints game Sunday afternoon did nothing to prove to me that Philip Rivers had entered the class of the Big 3… Brady, Brees and Rodgers.

Drew Brees in the second half yesterday, started it off with nine straight completions and a four yard rush. He proceeded to throw an interception toward the end of the 3rd quarter which allowed the Texans to get up by nine points. Then Brees turned it on even more. Hitting 12-of-15 passes, for six first downs AND two touchdowns. On his last pass of the game, 3rd and 10 on his own 46 yard line, down one point; 28 yard completion to Jimmy Graham to put his team in position to win the game. That is called elite NFL quarterback play in crunch time.

Quick Hits:

Very unfortunate injury for Titans WR Kenny Britt just when he was truly reaching his potential. Expect Nate Washington to step in and do very well. I believe he is startable in all types of leagues where three WRs are started. Don’t shy away from Nate just because he has not proven that he was capable of being a team’s top target in years past. Matt Hasselbeck definitely is the best passer he has played with and his ability fits Washington’s skill set the best. Washington is actually tied for 2nd in the NFL in receptions with Mike Wallace and Andre Johnson.

I am as big of a supporter as the next guy of the new trend in the NFL to win games by passing the football. The problem with this is, not every team can do it. You have to establish an identity as a football team. The Atlanta Falcons need to stop trying to be the 1999 St. Louis Rams, and do the things that gave you a 13-3 record in 2010. Sixty-six offensive plays run against the Bucs Sunday, 15 rushing attempts. Simply not enough for the Falcons, especially when your yards per passing attempts is a below mediocre 5.8 yards.

How about a bold prediction. I will go ahead and take the Oakland Raiders to win the AFC West over the San Diego Chargers. Thirty-two rushing attempts for the Raiders versus the ‘unstoppable’ Jets’ defense, 7.3 yards per rush with the most explosive running back in the NFL, Darren McFadden. Ten rushing first downs for the Raiders in only 60 offensive plays run.

Grab Patriots running back Stevan Ridley in deeper redraft leagues assuming he is still a free agent. Seven carries for Ridley gaining 44 yards Sunday while Benjarvus Green-Ellis carried it nine times for a horrid 16 yards. Ridley was getting playing time in the 4th quarter as well when the game was on the line. He obviously has earned the trust of the coaching staff, now if he continues to out perform Green-Ellis, he might work his way into that role as a 12-15 touch guy who gets redzone carries.

Lastly, if you’re down in the dumps right now about your fantasy team. I will again advise you, a trade is not necessarily the answer. I would be willing to bet you have made some mistakes in choosing who to start which has cost you at least one game in the win/loss column. The season is a marathon. Do not listen to others in your league who might want to take advantage of you in a trade just because you see yourself as falling out of contention. Unless you drafted Peyton Manning, Jamaal Charles and Kenny Britt all on the same team, in which I might advise trading your superstar, the waiver wire and the virtue of patience is a better answer to your problems then trading away the player(s) you know will produce.

Good luck to all in Week 4… Unless of course you are in any of my leagues.

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