NFL Week 2 Spar

Greg to Joe

I know that we haven’t seen the Monday Night Football game, but I wanted to get your thoughts on Week 2 after some crazy games on Sunday. Let me digress for a second, I am going to finish second in fantasy football points again in our Yahoo league, and your brother is going to beat me, unless Dalton gets hurt. However, starting off 2-0 is always good. I also crushed Chris in our ESPN league because of RGIII and Garcon‘s garbage time. I also did fairly well in predictions this week. The Bills saved me in the end with a ridiculous comeback, and the Packers dominated as expected.

I do think Vegas gave gamblers two easy games this week with the lines of the Patriots and Seahawks games. A depleted Patriots team should not have been given 13 points against a good defense in crappy weather (I know the odds makers didn’t know this when making the line, but it helped making the decision of taking the Jets with the points). I personally thought the Seahawks line was low because that stadium is ridiculous. It was so loud yesterday that it even screwed up the Seahawks.

What’d you like about all the games yesterday? And how did you fantasy teams do?

Joe to Greg

Calvin Johnson reflecting off Patrick Peterson's face mask

Calvin Johnson reflecting off Patrick Peterson‘s face mask

Well, I’m looking like the 8th place team in our Yahoo league, my guys simply can’t perform or pump out crazy numbers. In ESPN, my team won handily with major help from Calvin Johnson, Julian Edelman, and Greg Olsen all scoring over 20 points. There were so many games that came down to the wire which drastically changed betting results at the end of the day. The Saints eeked out a win but couldn’t cover, Dallas lot but still managed to cover, Detroit shot itself in the foot when it was up 10 in the second half and of course, didn’t cover, and I agree the Patriots should not have been given 13 points. I was straight up impressed with the Seahawks last night.

Colin Kaepernick‘s stat line Week 1: (Home versus GB)

27/39, 412 Yards, 3 TD’s, 0 INTs, 22 Rushing Yards, 89.8 QBR, 129.4 RTG

-Colin Kaepernick’s stat line Week 2: (Away versus SEA)

13/28, 127 Yards, 0 TD’s, 3 INTs,  87 Rushing Yards, 14.0 OBR, 20.1 RTG

If that doesn’t tell you how dominant Seattle’s D was, I don’t know what does.

Also, congrats to EJ Manuel on his first NFL win. Much deserved for a great player and team in the Buffalo Bills. With two games under our belts, do you see any early trends to look for as the season carries on into Week 3?

Greg to Joe

Colin Kaepernick being tackled Week 2 versus Seattle (Photo Cred: Elaine Thompson/AP)

Colin Kaepernick being tackled Week 2 versus Seattle (Photo Cred: Elaine Thompson/AP)

Kaepernick just has this thing where he can’t beat Seattle. I think it is going to turn into the ManningBrady deal. Kaepernick is going to struggle against Seattle (especially in Seattle) for a majority of his career. He will then have his one breakthrough game when he knocks them out of the postseason and goes on the win the Superbowl. I think the Kaepernick-Wilson rivalry will be compared to the Manning-Brady rivalry very soon.

Seattle opened up as a 19.5 point favorite against the Jaguars. I would not touch this game, but I honestly think that they could win by over 20. Side note- Everyone who bet on the Bengals to win by 6.5 should thank Mike Tomlin and Todd Haley for poor offensive coaching as the game should have been much closer if the play calling had been better.

So are there any trends I see continuing… I see the Texans playing in a 3rd nail-biter to start the season as Ed Reed returns to Baltimore. I think the Redskins will keep losing because their defense is oh so bad and RGIII is playing on one leg. I also think that Ron Rivera is coaching his way to a firing. The Panthers are playing really bad right now and cannot close out games. If I am Rivera, I need to get my team back into form for the upcoming week because if they don’t look good, I might be at home watching games on TV on Sunday the 29th.

With three games that have double-digit point spreads (Jax@Sea, Ind@SF and Oak@Den), do you see any of the underdogs pulling out victories? I would assume that would be a bold prediction and if you don’t have an underdog winning one of those games, any bold predictions for this week?

Joe to Greg

I think you’re spot on with the QB rivalry comparison. Even better, they play at least twice a year unlike Manning and Brady who only had that occasion if they met in the playoffs. If any underdog can pull off a win between those three teams, I’d pick Indianapolis. Unfortunately I don’t think they’re going to win but it’s an interesting line. I wouldn’t say its like the Titans and Texans last week (which was +/-9), but the Titans are a tough out and ended up covering on the road. I think the Colts will be in a similar situation this week. Other than that, I like the Chargers +3 against the Titans but I don’t like the Chargers with the lead sometimes. Regardless, I think Philip Rivers is quietly having a good start to the season despite starting 1-1 (614 Yards, 7 TDs, 1 INT, 82.5 QBR, 115.8 RTG…yet he’s not even owned in more than 50% of fantasy leagues in ESPN). What is your game of the week to watch in Week 3?

Greg to Joe

He isn’t owned in many leagues because no one believes in his talent. His talent has diminished, and it is incredible that Mike McCoy has been able to get so much out of him this year. McCoy is on the precipice of being called an offensive genius considering the lack of talent in the Chargers offense and the amount of points they are scoring.

Game of the week for me would have to be Ed Reed returning to Baltimore. Houston and Baltimore have both been shaky to start the year so I really think this game is a toss up. I am hoping Reed doesn’t play because he improves the Texans secondary, but I do want to see how Flacco handles him. Since picking that as the game of the week may seem a tad bias, I would go with Atlanta at Miami. Miami is looking to start of the season 3-0 and gets to face a depleted Atlanta roster who lost their top linebackers along with Steven Jackson. Matt Ryan should have himself a day, but I just don’t know how the Falcons win this game with a one-dimensional offense.

Now for some big news… Trent Richardson has been traded to the Indianapolis Colts for a first round pick in 2014. I love this trade as a fantasy owner. He goes to a much better offense that is committed to the power running game to try and help their young star quarterback. Overall, it was a good move for the Colts. I do think that they gave up a little too much for Trent, but he should still be very valuable to them for years to come. The Browns also made out well because they now have the ammunition to trade up a couple of spots for the #1 pick in the NFL Draft (Yes, I am assuming they finish in the bottom 5 teams). They better hope that Teddy Bridgewater falls to them; otherwise, I believe they will continue to be in a constant rebuilding mode.

Thoughts on the trade, game of the week and another other Week 3 thoughts moving forward.

Joe to Greg

I was shocked by the Richardson trade honestly. I think it’s great from a fantasy perspective because now defenses have to respect Andrew Luck and Reggie Wayne, while worrying about Trent gashing through the lines. It will be interesting and makes it even more compelling to think about what would of happened had the Colts gone after RGIII. Like would the Colts have been better off with RGIII and Trent or Luck and Trent? Or would RGIII never have gotten hurt because he wasn’t playing on Washington’s horrific field? Man, I love the “what ifs” of draft day. I think the Browns continue their trend of rebuilding (obviously) but there doesn’t seem like many happy days coming up this season.

My game of the week is the Atlanta Falcons-Miami Dolphins game. The Dolphins could start the season 3-0 and send the Falcons into an early season 1-2 hole. Injuries have amounted for the Falcons, who lost Steven Jackson and Asante Samuel in last weeks game against the Rams. Combined with the already injured Roddy White, the Falcons are missing some key pieces.

Ryan Tannehill and Mike Wallace during training camp (Photo Cred: Joe Cavaretta / Sun Sentinel)

Ryan Tannehill and Mike Wallace during training camp (Photo Cred: Joe Cavaretta / Sun Sentinel)

On the flip side, I hate to admit that the Dolphins look somewhat competent. They are a team that as Ron Jaworski says, “Get better than the week before”. Mike Wallace had 1 catch for 15 yards in Week 1, yet in week two he caught 9 passes for 115 Yards and a TD. Lamar Miller rushed for 3 Yards on 10 attempts in Week 1, yet in week two he rushed for 69 yards on 14 attempts and added a TD. If I were to pick who would take out the Patriots in the coming years atop the division, it’s the Dolphins, followed closely by the Bills, followed by Bernard Pollard, and followed not so closely by the Jets (In that order). Week 3, I say RGIII goes 0-3 mainly because of the Redskins poor excuse for a pass defense. They’ve already managed to let up 1023 yards in two games and with Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson coming to town for a visit, it could spell trouble.

Editor Note:

Check out the Game of the Week column posted on Friday by Joe and I again.

Greg Danchik and Joe Meola

Browns v. Ravens Review

Ravens squeaked one out at home against the Browns. It was hard to watch the first half. They just couldn’t move the ball, and Justin Tucker‘s misses didn’t help either. Here are my quick hits from the game.

  • I think Ed Dickson only got one target. It was one too many.
  • Making Torrey Smith a possession receiver is working out well for the team, and your fantasy team. He will continue to get most of the targets, and with his speed, he will have a great yards after the catch numbers.
  • Marlon Brown is the real deal. If the Ravens resign Pitta and can draft a receiver early next year, they will finally have a truly dynamic offense.
  • Ray Rice injury is not great. He is a much better pass catcher than Bernard Pierce and a much shiftier runner. Pierce will be more than serviceable, but Ravens are going to need Rice for the passing game.
  • Michael Oher is huge for the Ravens O-line. Losing him Week 1 was devastating to the Ravens’ offense.
  • The retooled defensive line is awesome.
  • Matt Elam needs to stop making rookie mistakes. He’ll be a good safety once he can cut those out.
  • Tandon Doss did surprisingly well replacing Jacoby Jones, but I would still rather have Jones returning kicks.
  • Trent Richardson‘s YPC is kind of disturbing, but I would say he is a buy low in fantasy. I’m holding on to him until he explodes (which he will do), but it might take some time to weather the storm.
  • Brandon Weeden is probably not the quarterback of the future for the Browns, but he is the quarterback of the present. It still amazes me that Jason Campbell was a first round pick. Redskins’ first rounder… but still.
  • The addition of Josh Gordon next week will help out the offense a ton and should start to open things up for Trent Richardson.
  • Browns’ defensive line is really good. Not because of Paul Kruger by any means, but it is really good.
  • Joe Haden is a Pro Bowl cornerback, and he’s the only reason Torrey didn’t have a truly monster game.

 Greg Danchik

NFL Week 1 Spar

Joe to Greg

Well, we can finally say it. It’s football season my friend, best of luck this year (in fantasy and with the Ravens). More on that later but for now, give me your biggest surprise, some standouts from the weekend, and some players that may need to step it up in Week 2.

Greg to Joe

Fantasy football was rough in Week 1. I can’t make any more ridiculous line up mistakes like in our league that Chris runs. I also would have won the 10 bucks in Week 1 for our yahoo league if LeSean McCoy didn’t go off against the Redskins, but I will have plenty more chances to win weeks.

Wes Welker's 3rd Down Drop that was Not Challenged (Screenshot of NBC Telecast)

Wes Welker’s 3rd Down Drop that was Not Challenged (Screenshot of NBC Telecast)

The actual football games had some crazy things happen. The Ravens got crushed by the Broncos. Just annihilated… It was hard to watch the second half. The tide turned tremendously on the non-challenge of Wes Welker‘s 3rd down drop. I wrote about that game before so I won’t get too much into it.

My biggest surprise was EJ Manuel and the Bills taking it to the Patriots after playing only one preseason game. The Patriots have some serious work to do in my opinion. I also saw that Brady is not working well with the rookie receivers in practice, and with Amendola out, they are going to have to perform for the Patriots to win. I thought the Patriots would be top class because of Brady, and maybe they are. It would just mean the Bills are a lot better than we thought.

David Wilson really screwed me. And I AM NOT happy about it. HOW DO YOU FUMBLE TWICE?!?! You know its your weakness. Did you not work on it in the offseason? Did Coughlin not teach him how to hold the football? Did you need to lift more to make sure defenders couldn’t strip the ball from you? God, I am so mad at David Wilson. I do think he’ll bounce back though and have a good season.

What are your thoughts on your questions? And what did you think of Chip Kelly’s offense on Monday night?

Joe to Greg

You rightfully beat me in our one league but I got off to a good start in our ESPN league. Drew Brees lit it up for me and I had all but one starter fail to reach double digits so I like where this season is headed. Back to real football, I think I was most surprised about the competitiveness of some of the weaker teams from last year. Starting with the Buffalo Bills giving the New England Patriots a scare. EJ Manuel made some nice throws but simply couldn’t play for the whole 60 minutes and keep up. While the score was close towards the end, the Bills had some questionable drives in the fourth quarter but nonetheless impressed many people, including me (I’m going to refrain from discussing the Patriots situation until more games are played/Gronk comes back within a reasonable timespan). Another instance is the Oakland Raiders, lead by former Buckeye Terrelle Pryor. Rushing for over 100 yards and throwing for over 200 yards was impressive in a near underdog win against Andrew Luck and the Colts. Luck showed off his knack for winning games in the fourth quarter once again but Pryor had a chance to bring the Raiders back. Unfortunately, his 2 interceptions on the day doomed the Raiders. Look out for this Raiders team to win a game or two more because of Pryor’s playmaking abilities.

    Adrian Peterson went off on the first play of the season for him, but other than that was outperformed by Reggie Bush, who was showing off some of his old school USC speed. Colin Kaepernick performed as well as anybody and the scary thing was, he was using his arm most of the day. RGIII certainly didn’t look like the player we know him to be. I think that game was more of him shaking off the rust than anything else.

    Stevan “Needs a nickname related to fumbles” Ridley drove me nuts on Sunday. Fumbling once without anyone even touching him. It’s ridiculous how good he is at fumbling the ball. Wilson and Ridley need to step it up, but luckily for Ridley, he’s the Patriots only option which may mean he’ll be let out of the dog house a little early.

    My thoughts on Chip Kelly’s offense can pretty much be summed up in a conversation I had with a true Philadelphia Eagles fan, Andrew Gerdes.

This was a short text exchange during the first half and some of the second half when the offense was clicking.

Joe: “I know I love watching this, I can only imagine how you feel”

Gerds: “This is insane”

Joe: “It’s incredible honestly, its a work of art”

Gerds: “They’ve maybe had 5 five plays where they haven’t had positive yardage”

It was entertaining to watch and that above all else is why I like it. Its new, you really never know who will get the ball, and its effective BUT time will tell. Remember, it’s only week 1…

Greg to Joe

RGIII did not look good at all. It was bad. He looked timid and just could not perform physically like we saw all of last season, but if he was at full health, the Redskins would have been in that game the whole way. The ‘Skins’ defense played extraordinarily well considering they were facing a brand new NFL offensive system. That being said, the Eagles offense is going to be filthy all year. Early I wrote for half a year and maybe the whole year, but I have to think its going to be the whole year now. They really do have a lot of talent on offense and the O-Line doesn’t have to be great because the offense is designed to tire out defenses so they will be facing D-Lines that are constantly fatigued. Their skill players are awesome, and if Vick can stay upright, the Eagles could be really good by just simply outscoring other teams and not worrying too much about how bad their defense is. I think the first time that team will be tested fully will be against the Broncos and Giants in Weeks 4 and 5. I think the Broncos will do ungodly things to that defense, much like the Ravens game. The reason I call the Giants a test is they have the offense (assuming Eli, Cruz, and Nicks are healthy) to keep up with the Eagles considering the Eagles defensive woes. I hate the Eagles and I can’t stand Eagles fans, but I will admit that offense will be one of a kind.

EJ Manuel at the 2013 NFL Draft (Photo Cred: Jason DeCrow/AP)

EJ Manuel at the 2013 NFL Draft (Photo Cred: Jason DeCrow/AP)

I love EJ Manuel. He definitely wasn’t as good as Cam Newton was in college, but he has a similar body type. With Doug Marrone at the helm in Buffalo, I am expecting big things out of him. I made a bold prediction for Week 2 in my weekly article at BucStop.com. I am calling for a Buffalo victory at home against Carolina, not too crazy considering they at 3 point home dogs. The crazy part is I’ve got EJ Manuel throwing for 3 touchdowns and running another 1 in to out play Cam Newton in his second NFL game. The pocket passer will never die, but the running quarterback, when used properly, can bring a whole new weapon to an offensive system. That is what Manual will do for the Bills and if Spiller can get his head straight, they could surprise some people.

You have a bold prediction for next week and do you think someone will disappoint fantasy owners in Week 2 much like David Wilson disappointed me in Week 1?

Joe to Greg

Not too many bold predictions. I say that RGIII burns the Packers much like Kaepernick was able to do last week. Thinking that Aaron Rodgers starts a season 0-2 seems weird. Regardless, I think one other surprise could be Eli getting his first Manning Bowl victory, currently losing (0-2). This is tough or at least down right bold. Peyton‘s either going to go off again or it’ll be a shootout coming down to come of the last possession in the fourth. I hope it’s an entertaining game throughout.

Some fantasy disappointments… I can see Frank Gore pissing me off this weekend with a subpar performance playing in the Seattle opener. Gore does get the chance to play there every season so he could bring experience to the table, but every now and then he drops a goose egg. Other than Gore, some tough calls to make… Chris Johnson against the Houston Texans. Yes the Texans let Philip Rivers almost beat them, but their defense is still a force. Combined with Johnson’s recent fantasy struggles dating back to last year, I like the chances. I’m calling a big day from Terrelle Pryor. Something about him makes me feel like he can have a little success. Even if that is for a game, I’ll take my chances since he’s playing a Jaguars team that gave up 28 to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Any big performers this week?

Greg to Joe

The line for the Jags-Raiders game is ridiculous in my opinion. I would say that the Raiders are so talentless (much like the Houston Astros) they don’t deserve to ever be more than a 3 point favorite. I say 3 points because home teams automatically get a 3 points deducted in the books for NFL games. I can see Pryor going off, but I think that MJD will have a big game as well. There just won’t be a lot of passing. It will be like a game from the 60’s.

I have to wholeheartedly disagree with your Redskins assessment. Kaepernick is much better than RGIII right now, considering health. RGIII won’t be able to tear up the Packers like Kaepernick did. I’m calling for a Packers blowout actually. RGIII is trying to recover on a short week from his first NFL game since an ACL reconstruction. The Redskins defense is probably still trying to catch their breath from Monday. The Packers offense is deadly and will carve up the Redskins in a different way than the Eagles did. I think the Packers just take it to them and don’t let up in their first game at Lambeau for the new season. Your Eli vs Peyton prediction is outrageously bold. I think the Broncos beat them pretty bad because the Giants won’t be able to run any better than the Ravens did so the Broncos will just gear up and attack Eli.

My big performers include the EJ Manuel prediction, but I also think Alshon Jeffery will get a TD or two. The Bears offense is remade under Mark Trestman, and they will try to score as quickly as possible to take the game out of Adrian Peterson’s hands. I am starting Jeffery over Mike Wallace in one of my leagues. That is partially because of Jeffery, but it also has to do with the concern I have will Wallace and Tannehill‘s chemistry (even with chemistry issues, I see them beating the Colts in Indianapolis). I’m just pumped for Week 2 to start tonight in Foxboro (the line for that game is ridiculous in my opinion, but we’ll see if I am wrong).

Good luck in fantasy this week and to the Pats tonight.

Greg Danchik and Joe Meola

Weekend Wrap-Up

Chip Kelly and Michael Vick (USATSI)

Chip Kelly and Michael Vick (USATSI)

Most NFL teams have finally had their first game after the first Sunday of football action. My synopsis of the games this week.

Adrian Peterson is still a beast. But Reggie Bush is the missing piece to the Lions offense. He went off yesterday running the ball, but that also included 4 catches for 101 yards. In those catches, he had a ridiculous 77 yard touchdown catch and run. He will probably lead all running backs in receptions. The Lions pass the ball and Bush’s talent can help them open up Megatron during the season.

Andrew Luck is really good. Unfortunately, the Colts don’t have a great outlook if they can’t blow out the Raiders. They have some work to do.  Luck will still carry this team to a postseason berth because of their week division, but I am not so sure they will be able to make a deep run against some of the top teams in the AFC. Then again, those top teams did not look so hot (minus Denver).

The 49ers are the real deal again. They are just better than the Ravens, and it showed in their ability to use Anquan Boldin. He dominated in that game because Kaepernick threw to him in coverage, something that Flacco refused to do until Jim Caldwell took over. The Packers are going to be good again, but its hard to be bad with Aaron Rodgers.

The Rams-Cardinals game showed me this… Tyrann Mathieu is a playmaker, and the Cardinals are going to get a large contribution from the 3rd rounder. Larry Fitzgerald is still a top wide receiver if he has a half decent quarterback throwing the football. I personally think these teams are really good and can split with the 49ers and Seahawks. NFC West is the best division in football in my opinion.

The NFC East is going to be the most wide open division in football. Yes, it was only Week 1, but they all have talent, but they all have questions. Is RGIII going to improve on Week 1 where he looked like a shell of himself? Can Tony Romo (and Eli Manning for that matter) be the real deal all season and limit the stupid mistakes? Finally, can Michael Vick stay healthy, and can the Eagles defense be good all season? I know I have been hating on the Eagles ALL summer, and I still think that they will be bad. However, they have an offense with Vick. Chip Kelly’s offense will dominate for at least half the season, and maybe the whole season. It will be up to the rest of the NFL to catch up with him. I still have doubts about this team really contending in this division. I am still going to say they are going to be bad until they continue to show this dominant offense and acceptable defense. I know this is not the same, but remember when the Sanchize threw 3 touchdowns in Week 1 of 2012, and the Jets put up 48 points. Can’t overreact to Week 1, no matter how hard it is.

Since I know no one paid attention to baseball this weekend, heres some big news. It has been 20 years since the Pirates have had a winning season and they clinched it last night. This team has talent. In my midseason bold predictions, I had them winning the World Series over the Orioles. This is still mathematically possible, but it will be really close. This series with between the Yankees and the Orioles could be one of the biggest series in determining the second AL Wild Card. The Orioles started it off with a win and I hope they can win each game including the game I will be attending on
Thursday. With a little less than a month left, the playoff races are coming down to the wire. I can’t wait for the rest of this month and especially October, when all 4 sports are going to be be going on in some capacity.

Greg Danchik

Ravens v. Broncos Review

Julius Thomas scoring one of his two touchdowns (Photo Cred: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Julius Thomas scoring one of his two touchdowns (Photo Cred: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

The Broncos DEMOLISHED the Ravens last night. Just flat out destroyed them. I just got some quick hits about the game.

  • Ravens should have cut Ed Dickson on the field. He is awful.
  • Michael Oher is probably a lot better than what people give him credit for. The Ravens lost all ability to hold of a rush or run the ball once he got hurt.
  • The Jacoby Jones injury might hurt because he suddenly is able to catch the football now, and the Ravens need a receiver.
  • Dennis Pitta was a much bigger loss than I thought it was going to be. Boldin not so much. If you watched Ravens regular season games last year, he did not look good. He just had a good 4 game stretch in the playoffs, but Pitta was good all season.
  • Ravens need to be able to run the ball better.
  • The Ravens could very easily start the season off 0-3. Browns are good. Call me crazy, but if Joe Flacco was the Browns quarterback, they would be a Super Bowl contender. Flacco > Weeden is the reason that the Ravens will be favored next week and they are the home team so they automatically get 3 points.
  • The Ravens’ safeties looked like they learned how to tackle from Ed Reed (that means they aren’t good at it… they just know how to hit people)
  • The defense is better than last year if last night has last year’s defense, Peyton could have broken the single game passing touchdown record by two touchdowns.
  • The Broncos are going to be REALLY good, but they won’t win the Super Bowl. Peyton won’t be able to play that good in the Super Bowl Sunday Blizzard. (Yes, it is going to happen)
  • The Broncos are great because Peyton is good and the supporting cast is unreal. The Broncos would be a playoff team with out Peyton.
  • Broncos front 7 without Von Miller was still really good. It’s gonna be scary when he gets back and is fresh.

 Greg Danchik