Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Best and the Worst of the NFL

Top 3

Arizona (3-0)- Big time matchup against the Broncos this Sunday in Denver.  Here is Arizona’s chance to prove that they deserve to be in consideration as a team to be reckoned with.  They had their early bye this past week so with that and two weeks to prepare for Peyton Manning, defense coordinator Todd Bowles should have a very good game plan to take down the Broncos.  This Arizona defense is constantly overshadowed by the other names in their division, but they are holding teams to an average of 71 yards on the ground and that is tops in the league so far.  Albeit, the Broncos don’t need to run the ball to win games but the Cardinals have the secondary to matchup pretty well against those vaunted Denver receivers.  Patrick Peterson is a stud and Tyrann Mathieu is back and ready for more snaps.  This is the game to watch this week.

Cincinnati (3-0)- No change here.  The Bengals had their early bye to get some of their players healthy.  Vontaze Burfict still has not returned to practice but claims that he will be ready Sunday night when his team takes on the Patriots in New England.  That could be a very interesting matchup for this team as Cincinnati looks like one of the more complete teams in the league and the Pats just got shellacked and embarrassed on national television by the Chiefs.  The Bengals cannot and should not waltz into this game thinking it will be an easy victory.  Yes, New England looks a little down this year but this is a very important matchup being it as a potential post-season matchup.  Although, when you have Giovanni Bernard pounding the rock AND you had two weeks to prepare for the game, the Bengals should be fully prepared and ready to take the spotlight on the national stage.

Seattle (2-1)- This team has all the makings to become a dynasty.  They are young, have a very good quarterback, an incredibly talented defense, and a head coach that the team loves playing for.  While they have looked somewhat complacent in the first quarter of the season, they still look like one of the top teams in the league.  That is a scary thought.  Seattle’s season will come down to head coach Pete Carroll.  It will be his job to get his team to play as though it is a postseason game week in and week out.  Then when the playoffs do roll around, this team will be firing on all cylinders and will plow through the field to make their way to the Super Bowl again.  But only IF Pete Carroll can control that team.  They play the Redskins this weekend and have a very good chance to take advantage of a Kirk Cousins who was just beaten and battered by the G-Men.

Bottom 3

Jacksonville (0-4)- What was supposed to be a strength for this team, the defense has turned out to be the worst in NFL history through the first four games.  They have allowed 152 points, which is an average of 38 points a game.  They finally lit a fire under the offense when they started rookie quarterback Blake Bortles and he did not disappoint.  He threw the ball 37 times with 29 completions and a touchdown.  He will learn to grow and develop with his young wide receivers and will get a little bit more rejuvenation when second year wide receiver, Ace Sanders, gets thrust back into the lineup.  The Jaguars have to find a way to get more pressure on the quarterback and get better play from their free safeties.  The Steelers are coming to Jacksonville this Sunday.  Could this game could be the one that turns the Jags season around?

Oakland (0-4)- The Raiders finally did the right thing and fired their head coach Dennis Allen.  Then they made the next smart move and named former Dolphins coach Tony Sparano as interim head coach.  Now with Sparano leading the team, the offensive game plan is going to change towards more of a ground and pound attack with Darren McFadden.  Look for McFadden, as long as he can stay healthy, to have a very good next 12 games and try to earn him a pretty damn good contract.  I believe that Sparano will be able to get more out of his players than Allen was able to, so with that said the Raiders should play harder and at least win a few games.

Washington (1-3)- The Buccaneers won last week so that means that another team had to fall into the bottom of the barrel and the team that falls into that category is the Redskins.  This team, while dealing with plenty of off the field issues, has not looked good except against the Jaguars.  And that’s not saying much.  Jay Gruden has his work cut out for him as his next two games are against the NFC West (Seattle and Arizona).  Kirk Cousins had a terrible game against a sub par Giants team and it’s not like his next two games are against slap defenses.  He is going to have to prove that he can be the face of a franchise if he wants any chance of dethroning Robert Griffin III when he returns. 

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