5 Lessons I Learned during Week 4
1. Everybody is looking for the next best QB in the NFL. In the past few years, the media has gone crazy for youngsters like Cam Newton, Robert Griffin, Andrew Luck, Andy Dalton and others. However, there are two veterans who have been slaying NFL Defenses for over a decade, who proved this week that they are still two of the best in the NFL. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady each lead their respective teams to blowout victories against division rivals. Manning went 30 for 38, amassing 338 yards and 3 scores. The “Golden Boy” Tom Brady matched him with 340 yards and 3 TDs as well. Both the Broncos and Patriots were coming off two game losing streaks and their QBs weren’t going to let that get to three. This week, the two legends square off in another classic Brady-Manning matchup that NFL fans have enjoyed for years. In the famous words of Bart Scott…”Can’t Wait!”
2. The Green Bay Packers are just not that good. I know they got royally screwed last week by the replacement referees, but what was lost in that game was that they were even position at the end of that game for Seattle to beat them. If the Pack were as good as we expected, they would have blown the doors off the Seahawks under the Monday Night lights. This weekend, the New Orleans Saints came to town, a team pronounced dead after they dropped to 0-3 by losing to the Kansas City Chiefs at home. We assumed that Aaron Rodgers and the angry Packers would take all their anger out on New Orleans, avenging for the Monday Night Debacle. Though Green Bay did manage to outlast the Saints, it was a struggle and it came down to a missed FG by New Orleans. Not exactly the massacre we would have expected from a “Super Bowl Contender.” After watching true contenders over the past few weeks (49ers, Giants, Falcons), I don’t think the Packers have the goods this year.
3. The Detroit Lions have been the laughing-stock of the NFL since I started watching football. However, over the past couple years, something weird has happened…the Lions actually got pretty good! This year, many analysts expected them to make a jump to the next level. With franchise QB Matthew Stafford leading the charge, Calvin Johnson making highlight reel catches look easy, and a Defense lead by Ndamukong Suh that looked pretty intimidating, we thought this team was an NFC North contender ready to challenge the Packers and Bears. Well, their one good season had us all fooled! This Sunday the Vikings went into Detroit and manhandled them, only a week after the Lions allowed the “vaunted” Tennessee Titans to score 44. They are sitting at 1-3 in the division and considering they barely won their first game of the year against the Rams, they are lucky not to be 0-4. One quarter into the season the Lions find themselves in a position they are very familiar with…the NFC North basement!
4. Jets management has no idea what they are doing. The Jets are really, really awful and all the blame is being directed to Mark Sanchez. Recapping their 34-0 game would be a waste of time, but there is one thing that all Jets fans need to know…Tim Tebow would not do any better! What do the Jets expect Sanchez to do? Thanks to GM Mike Tannenbaum, Mark has exactly ZERO Offensive Weapons to work with. Their running game is non-existent,, their WRs don’t get open and they literally have the worst run defense I have ever seen. Their star receiver caught a pass, hurt his foot and his reaction was to just give the ball to the other team…makes a lot of sense! Don’t get me wrong, Sanchez had a bad game. He threw an awful pick, fumbled the ball a couple of times and didn’t generate any offense at all. However, if the Jets wanted to make Sanchez the franchise QB they have been selling us for 4 years now, it would have been nice if they surrounded him with a little help. The Jets play perhaps the best team in the NFL this week, and I guarantee the Jets will struggle. For Sanchez’s sake, I hope Tebow gets more snaps so Jets fans can maybe get a dose of reality that the blame for the Jets failure needs to be laid at the feet of Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum, not Mark Sanchez.5. Real NFL Referees make a big difference. I felt like I was watching the NFL that I have known for my entire life this weekend. When there was a tough call, the officials got together, discussed the play and made the call. They weren’t rushing in and changing games arbitrarily without any real knowledge of the rules. The games moved by at a normal speed, which was my biggest complaint of the first three weeks. Although my team didn’t really get screwed by any bad officiating from the replacements, I was falling asleep watching NFL games last 4-5 hours. Even though NFL refs will always make calls the players, coaches and fans don’t agree on, all parties involved are relieved as hell to have them back in the fold. When the referees came out of the tunnel in the Baltimore-Cleveland, the fans stood up and gave them a warm greeting. It was probably the first time referees have ever received a standing ovation in professional sports history. It will most likely also be the last!