Less Than Zero – When asked about his conservative game plan against Seattle, Chicago Bears coach John Fox deftly replied that his team would have to generate more than zero points to win the game. Things are reaching Defcon level 5 in Chicago with trade lines open as the Bears appear to quickly be turning toward the future dealing away overpriced past-their-prime stars (Jared Allen) and failed prospects of the previous regime (Jon Bostic). Meanwhile, fantasy fans are clamoring for the team to free their only two stars in Matt Forte and Alshon Jeffery and send them away so they can salvage a sliver of the fantasy value they once held. With Jay Cutler’s status yet another mystery for yet another week, things are as bleak as they can get in Chicago since Henry Burris quarterbacked the last shutout of the Bears in 2002.
Minnesota Vikings’ Mascot Needs A New Agent – Ragnar, the longtime ax-wielding, motorcycle-driving mascot of the Minnesota Vikings is embroiled in a nasty contract dispute with his team. Well, it’s not so much a dispute as the Vikings have very clearly moved on. When the Vikings asked Ragnar for the parameters on a new contract, Ragnar aimed high – $20,000 per game which would be quite the raise on the Vikings’ previous offering of $1,500 per game. Ragnar claims he just threw out a number to initiate negotiations but the Vikings were not interested in bridging the large gap between those two values. Further hindering Ragnar’s position is the Vikings have won the first two games at home, rendering the need for a mascot at this time, pointless. It was a good run Ragnar but it looks like the sun has set on your cushy weekend job.
Miami Advice – When the wife of one of your players is arrested at your home stadium for assaulting a police officer (as was the case with Brent Grimes’ wife Miko Grimes this past Sunday), you know this is not your year. Head coach Joe Philbin survived the hot seat last season after his team was able to string together a few wins. This year, it might be a little more difficult for that seat to cool. Not only did the Miami Dolphins bring in a new boss in football czar Mike Tannenbaum, they paid for one of the richest defensive free agents in recent memory and banked on the future of their quarterback by paying him a huge contract. Philbin told the Miami media that his team was “going to find the solutions or not.” Not exactly a battle cry the team is looking for. If the Dolphins don’t find those solutions this week in London against the rival New York Jets, Philbin may not have a plane ticket to fly home with.
Cam Newton Can’t Get a Call
Newton isn’t old enough to get a roughing the passer call. At least that’s what Cam Newton believes veteran referee Ed Hochuli told him during the game this past Sunday. Newton was very forthright of his claim as he recalled for reporters the conversation he and Hochuli had in between plays. Hochuli and the referee’s union have predictably claimed otherwise, indicating that the alleged conversation only included the claim that Newton was acting as a runner and not a passer on the play in question, giving up his right to have the penalty called. It’s your typical ‘he said/he said’ incident and perhaps the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Luckily for us, the NFL field is covered with microphones and cameras so we are all bound to hear what was actually said between these two. My best guess is “you were running” is what was said but “you’re a youngin’” is what was heard.
Why You Lion – The Detroit Lions have not played well at all this season. Despite the addition of rookie sensation Ameer Abdullah to the already potent receiving duo of Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate, the Lions offense appears to be stuck in mud. Tate recently revealed that opposing defenses are calling out the Lions’ plays before the snap. The defense, without its star linebacker DeAndre Levy, has been equally unimpressive. We are all surprised that the Lions have started the season 0-3 but nobody is more surprised than tight end Eric Ebron who can’t explain the slow start because of “how great we are.” I’d hate to see the Lions with just OK players.
Stat of the Day – “Marvin Harrison set NFL mark w/143 catches in ‘02. Four players on pace to obliterate that. ATL’s Julio Jones on pace for 181.” – @mchappel51
- Patriots (3-0) last week 1: The only thing that can stop the Patriots from winning is a bye week.
- Broncos (3-0) last week 2: Gary Kubiak relented and allowed Peyton to run the offense his way which still didn’t fix the run game.
- Packers (2-0) last week 3: Rodgers must be butter because he’s on a roll.
- Cardinals (3-0) last week 4: The Fountain of Youth has been found in the deserts of Arizona.
- Bengals (3-0) last week 5: It wasn’t a red moon this Sunday, it was a ginger moon.
- Bills (2-1) last week 6: Rex Ryan is ready to reclaim the title of King of New York as the Giants come to town this week.
- Seahawks (1-2) last week 8: No Lynch, no problem, as the Seahawks made a statement against the hapless Bears.
- Steelers (2-1) last week 9: The next 4-6 weeks are going to be challenging to say the least.
- Falcons (3-0) last week 12: The Falcons win back-to-back road games and now head back home with momentum.
- Panthers (3-0) last week 17: After next week, the schedule gets much, much tougher for the Panthers.
- Chiefs (1-2) last week 7: The Chiefs fought back but fell short again.
- Jets (2-1) last week 13: With no Decker or Ivory, the Jets fell for the trap and now look to rebound with a ‘road’ game in London.
- Ravens (0-3) last week 10: Steve Smith Sr. is still full of fight but the Ravens are swinging away at air.
- Colts (1-2) last week 14: In a must-win game, the Colts did just enough on the road against a divisional foe.
- Vikings (2-1) last week 22: The Vikings enjoyed their home cooking but now head back on the road.
- Chargers (1-2) last week 11: The Chargers need some home-cooking after back-to-back road losses.
- Cowboys (2-1) last week 15: Randle stepped up huge but couldn’t hold on for a win in a wild one at home.
- Eagles (1-2) last week 19: The Eagles offense finally showed up … for two quarters.
- Dolphins (1-2) last week 16: If the Dolphins lose, Joe Philbin may not have a ticket to fly home.
- Titans (1-2) last week 24: If Mariota can avoid those first quarter blunders, watch out.
- Washington (1-2) last week 25: With extra time to prepare, this is as big a Week 4 game you can ask for.
- Lions (0-3) last week 18: This team is aimless and needs to regain its roar before it’s too late.
- Rams (1-2) last week 20: Not quite the debut Rams fans were hoping Gurley would have..
- Raiders (2-1) last week 31: After beating Josh McCown, the Raiders get to play Jimmy Clausen this week as they look to win three in a row.
- Saints (0-3) last week 23: The Saints record is bad but even worse when you consider they are 0-2 in the division already.
- Texans (1-2) last week 26: Ryan Mallett finds the win column as he and the Texans patiently await Foster’s return.
- 49ers (1-2) last week 21: The 49ers have been outscored 90-25 in the past two weeks. I’m no expert but that’s not good.
- Browns (1-2) last week 30: The Browns head west for a date with a desperate Chargers team.
- Giants (1-2) last week 27: Last week’s game was a must win but now they head to the buzz saw that is Buffalo.
- Jaguars (1-2) last week 28: The Jaguars hit the road in a big divisional game with the Colts, which has to be easier than playing the Patriots last week.
- Bears (0-3) last week 29: After getting demolished in Seattle, the Bears host a Raiders team on a roll.
- Bucs (1-2) last week 32: The young team is having trouble finding itself but gets two home games in the next two weeks to find their footing.