by Ryan Meehan
A quarter of the NFL regular season is behind us (almost, prepares speech about how “In my day we didn’t have bye weeks…”) and the NFL is shaping up to have a killer 2014 amidst all of the off the field problems the league is currently suffering through. A little bit of comic relief came in the form of the Comedy Central show “South Park”, where the season premiere featured Cartman and the gang forming their own start-up company which would end up being called the Washington Redskins. As you can imagine, they let Daniel Snyder have it pretty good, and some of the other owners in the league got it just as well. Roger Goddell was a broken robot and wasn’t really featured too much in the episode, seemingly a perfect fit for a guy who just always slips out the back door when the cops raid the place. The next night, those Redskins would be humiliated again – this time on the football field…
Giants 45, Redskins 14
The New York Giants scored on four out of their first six drives, and started to look like the team that we all know they are truly capable of being when they are “on it”…but how will we know when only they make that decision for themselves? This truly is a week-to-week league in every way. I just watched a team who I called the worst squad in the NFL two weeks ago run up 45 points against a team that almost beat the Eagles, a team who I am buying as a legitimate Super Bowl contender. The Giants may have found a real diamond in Tight End Larry Donnell, whose value is surely soaring in fantasy football after picking up three touchdowns in this contest. As for the Redskins – I have a feeling that Dubsism is going to light me up for saying this after the guy had five turnovers – I still think that Kirk Cousins is their quarterback of the immediate future. He had one bad game, and hopefully for Washington fans enough of it will be out of his system that we won’t need to see him suffer in the way he did on Thursday night. But it may be possible we’re all wrong about this: Maybe the Redskins aren’t in a situation where there is a right answer. It would certainly appear that way, especially when you consider that RGIII could be out for some time and that Kirk Cousins seems to be unaware of the color red. It’s possible this could be another forgettable season for Washington, with a lot of “Close, but no cigar” games stacking up in the loss column.
Packers 38, Bears 17
Listen, I understand that the officiating was poor in this game. I get it. But all of these morons posting on the social networking sites claiming the referees had a significant effect on the way this game ended should be out base jumping with no parachutes. No one set of calls can lead to losing by three touchdowns. Cutler threw two picks, and his incompletions were Plenty of Fish/3AM at your local watering hole ugly. No QB can get away with throwing 2 second half interceptions, at least not when Aaron Rodgers (who has owned him his whole career) threw for four TDs on the other end.
Texans 23, Bills 17
The Texans are back on track this week after a tough loss against the Giants the week before, even though the offense is still struggling to find its identity. JJ Watt returned an interception for 79 yards all the way into the end zone, giving strength to my argument that suggests he is the most recent example of a guy doing exactly what his NFL franchise paid him outlandish money to do. I still get this feeling with Houston that they don’t have what it takes to separate themselves from their opposition. Even against Oakland they couldn’t really put up high octane offensive numbers, and if they are going to expect to hang with teams like the Colts down the stretch they are going to need to do that. For example, such as when they play teams like…the Colts.
Colts 41, Titans 17
The Colts have squashed any of the previous concerns regarding whether or not they should hit the panic button over the last couple weeks, but at the same time they’ve done it against the two worst teams in their division. And since those two teams are also two of the worst teams in the league, it shouldn’t be much to expect 41 points out of a guy with Andrew Luck’s talent level…especially at home. But then if you subscribe to that method of thinking, you also have to think that they opened the season against Denver and Philadelphia which were two tough games. Even when you’re in the AFC South street justice has to come for you sooner or later, and in their case it happened really early. It’s a great time for them to be hitting their stride, and I’m sure there’s a great joke about horses using steroids in there that I’m missing. But it’s getting really late, and I’d rather not spend my time writing about Titans games.
Ravens 38, Panthers 10
Remember two weeks ago when I told you that Carolina had no business being 2-0? Well, now they’re .500 again and they have plenty of business being right there. The Ravens on the other hand are playing well, which of course sucks for me because I have to admit that indeed the Ravens are playing well. It may or may not last, and even though I still say they lose to the Bengals on an impossibly neutral playoff site…they appear to be recovering from their major off the field event when it comes to creating an appropriate amount of positive distractions. Steve Smith caught two touchdown passes and appears to be a total bargain for Baltimore at the moment. Speaking of low priced items, is the NFC South on eBay yet?
Lions 24, Jets 17
It sure seems like the Lions might end up finishing right in the thick of the NFC North race at the end of December, and games like this one will prove that they won’t all end up in the hospital on their way there. I’m sorry, but this one is hard to get excited about. This is about exactly what I guessed would happen, and I was just a little bit off as I had it 27-12.
Buccaneers 27, Steelers 24
This one is a total head scratcher. Last week, the Steelers took Carolina to the cleaners on Sunday Night Football. Even I – who at times has found myself puzzled as to how Ben Roethlisberger has two Super Bowl rings – was singing their praises and believing that on the off chance Cincinnati slips up and hits the skids towards year’s end they could actually make a run at this postseason thing. But after blowing a late lead, it’s no small wonder that they aren’t in the same neighborhood as Denver, New England, or even San Diego. Although you have to hand it to Tampa for putting together a tough road win, putting all of your money on Mike Glennon to rocket to international superstardom from “Build God, then we’ll talk” probably isn’t sound financial advice. He did make the right throws at the right time, and it isn’t like anybody else from that division is running into 1500s Norse territory with a sword and a shield ready to do battle. The Steelers will rebound, they just had an awful second half and it happens from time to time.
Dolphins 38, Raiders 14
If there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s that we can’t stop sending awful football games to the United Kingdom. This is the third game out of four this year where the Raiders have scored exactly 14 points, which leads me to think they’re in with the mob or that they just hit a point where they shut off and go from being incompetent to incredibly incompetent. It’s probably the latter, because I highly doubt that Raiders ownership is smart enough to make powerful friends. I’ve been saying I love the spunk that Carr is exhibiting at times, but he still hasn’t won a game yet and my sort-of-but-not-really-half-pity-cheerleading for the guy is running out of gas. Miami looked a lot better and did score 35 unanswered points in the middle of this game, but how can you accurately judge how you’ll play over the next month after a game against Oakland?
Chargers 33, Jaguars 14
Say what you will about this being an easy W, the Chargers just keep racking them up. This isn’t like three or four years ago when the Chargers appeared to have the talent, and instead wound up with an average record by year’s end. They are going to be in the postseason this year, and as long as Philip Rivers can stay healthy the Chargers can take out any team in the AFC. Toby Gerhart from the Jacksonville Jaguars rushed for 32 yards, if you’re in to pointless statistics that seem too embarrassing to say out loud.
Vikings 41, Falcons 28
I’ve flip-flopped on Atlanta already so many times this year Bisquick is mailing Dubs and I free batter until Christian Ponder sees playing time. Which is funny because today that offer ran out – Ponder played the end of this game against Matt Ryan’s team and it was very weird as nobody in the home stands fell over laughing and instantly died of a heart attack. This of course happened because Teddy Bridgewater got hurt, a sentence fragment that sounds like it comes with a happy meal toy and a great story about the importance of feelings. Back to the flip-flop: I used to say that the Falcons succeeded depending on which year it was, but they’ve apparently moved that to “week-to-week”. I know there’s a “three callbacks” limit – even on insults – but God this division sucks. (FOH Fun Corner: Pick which one I’m talking about!)
49ers 26, Eagles 21
Even though I know the Eagles couldn’t run the football in this one at all, I still think to call that play as the one you have to have at that point was a little strange to me. I think if you can’t run the ball you still give it a shot from the one yard line and if you can’t get it in, then God just hates you. That might even be in the Quran somewhere. Philly blew an eleven point lead, but it was a road lead against a team that had to have it so I’m still buying them even though they are not quite a complete squad. The Niners on the other hand could have faced a real turning point in their season had they not turned this one around. This was absolutely do or die for them and future Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, and they came through. Defense didn’t pack it in after getting roughed up a bit, and they proved the thickness of their roster can absorb the injury problems they’ve been having. The 49ers avoided a very dangerous 1-3 season start, but were aided by the Eagles and their less than threatening 22 yards on the ground.
Cowboys 38, Saints 17
After the game, Saints coach Sean Payton said that New Orleans had played poorly in “all three facets of the game”. He didn’t specify which one but I would assume he meant offense, defense, and padding your fantasy football team’s stats. But seriously folks, here’s an example of how poorly things were going for them before halftime: I was just getting over to my mother and father’s house when my Dad informed me the Saints had just been flagged for only having ten guys on the field down 17-0 in the second quarter. That’s how you know things were way off for the Saints – guys were too eager to get off the field for them to get anything done. A hard thing to imagine from a team with such high playoff hope that is getting help from every potential contender in their foursome. Dallas did look impressive…they were turning routine short gains into 20+ yard gains left and right. But they were being handed a lot of that open space by huge gaps in the New Orleans line, and Drew Brees looked like whoever was quarterbacking for the Saints before Bobby Hebert showed up. I respect the Cowboys, but would remind everybody that the 3-1 they have earned is much different from the 3-1 Philadelphia earned and that’s why the Eagles have to still be the clear favorite in the NFC East.
Chiefs 41, Patriots 14
I’m not bailing on New England for one second. I know I’ve changed my mind about a lot of folks so far in this season’s infancy, but I’m not about to just pancake the Patriots because they sit at 2-2. They still get to play the Jets and the Bills twice each, and won’t lose to Miami again so if my calculations are correct they could still easily finish the season 87-5. Let’s just put it this way: Did the sun come up this morning? That’s all you need to know. As long as that flaming star that our planet orbits every year is burning, the Patriots aren’t going to need to panic about losing games until the first week of December, the Chiefs are going to miss the Super Bowl just like they’ve done every single year since 1970, and I’m going to run out of jokes right about here. The Patriots will be fine, Lord willing and the creek don’t rise. Tom Brady doesn’t have to throw for 380 yards even in winning efforts for the Patriots to sneak out of the AFC Least. Give me a break, people…
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