By Tim Monk (@Tim_MonkF10Y), Lawrence Vos (@NFLFanInEngland) and Shaun Blundell (@Shaun_F10Y)
Get your binoculars out folks, it’s time to look ahead to week 3 in the NFL.
Up 2, No good?
2 weeks in and we only 9 teams are left chasing the perfect 16-0 season.
There are some familiar names there with the Chiefs, Patriots, Rams and Cowboys all sitting pretty, but heading into week 3 there are 5 other teams who have yet to taste defeat. Looking ahead to the week 3 slate of games I predict that the Ravens perfect start ends against the aforementioned Chiefs and despite the Saints QB worries I see them handling the Seahawks who have won their 2 games by just a combined 3 points so far. The 49ers, Packers and Bills however, open their matchups with great chances to all move to 3-0.
You would have had pretty good odds on these teams all being undefeated after 3 weeks and maybe it’s just a reminder that sometimes you have to look past stats because I’m not confident that any of those teams are particularly good.
The $84 Million Mistake
What is up with Kirk Cousins?
After a week 1 performance where he threw for less than 100 yards on just 10 pass attempts, he was nothing short of woeful in week 2. After throwing 2 interceptions and fumbling twice against the Packers the pressure is on for a bounceback performance against the Raiders. Cousins has even admitted himself that if he continues to play so poorly he will not stay the starting quarterback for much longer. That seems unlikely though considering he is guaranteed $60 million over this year and next as the only way out of that contract is to find a trading partner.
Just checking the market for an overpaid below average quarterback…….yea, not that hot.
The Vikings need to continue to pound the rock and wish away the next 15 months until they can stop overpaying at the QB position.
Primetime in Cleveland
The Browns took care of business on MNF but it’s safe to say that the level of competition increases quite dramatically for SNF.
If you want an indicator of how bad the Browns have been in recent times, Sunday will mark their 1st appearance on Sunday Night Football for 11 years. The home opener against Tennessee saw the hyped up Browns completely fall flat ahead of high expectations and although expectations for Sunday are somewhat tempered in comparison they will not want to put on a show in the national spotlight. It’s a tough assignment against an impressive Rams team however, and Aaron Donald will be licking his lips at the prospect of taking on the Cleveland offensive line.
It could be a rough night for Baker Mayfield and company for the 2nd time in 3 weeks or could it be the offseason hype begins to be released on the biggest of regular season stages?
Game of Jones
Here we go, first NFL start for Quaterback Daniel Jones, the #6 overall pick out of Duke in the 2019 draft.
Much scrutiny over the offseason on the selection and now it’s time to see whether or not the pick was justified.
Can the Jones be a competent enough QB at this early stage?
He performed well in his pre-season action; on 34 passes he had416 yards at a 85.3% completion percentage, 2TDs and 0 INTs. That’s even with the wide receivers at his disposal.
The boy has some wheels and is actually and under the radar athlete, something which may help unlock a bit more production out of this offence that is leaning so heavily on Saquon Barkley, their 2nd overall pick in 2018. But we don’t need to talk about that.
This is probably the end of the road for Eli Manning, now being benched for the second time after the Geno Smith debacle in 2018. The 2 time Super Bowl winner, with a current starting W/L record of 116-116, will probably not see the field unless there is an injury to Jones.
Saints or Sinners
Talking of QB changes, there will be one in New Orleans in week 3. Of course, not by choice. Drew Brees right thumb got Donald’d and will now miss the immediate future.
We mentioned in our takeaways about Teddy B’s offseason decision bearing fruits, but now it’s time to put up or shut up for the 2014 32nd overall QB out of Louisville.
Not an easy game to start with as the Saints travel to Century Link field to face the 12 and then the Saints have a home game to face the red hot Cowboys in Week 4.
Bridgewater needs to lean on Kamara and Thomas, as the saints have done in recent times and try and get out of the stretch without Brees at .500 in order to stay in contention.
Myles better than anyone else
The Cleveland Browns have been known to make some truly godawful first round draft picks, but this has changed over the past two seasons with some big names who are helping transform a franchise from a Sports Illustrated side note to a front cover pin-up.
Part of that turnaround is thanks to 2017 number one pick Myles Garrett, who to date has recorded 5 sacks in two 2019 games. If he keeps up this phenomenal pace he could reach a record-setting 25 sacks in a season. Garrett joined Redskins defender Ryan Kerrigan to pay tribute to the WWE legend Shaun ‘The Heartbreak Kid’ Michaels with his post sack pose. Garrett may be a wrestling fan, but the XFL can only dream they will attract a defensive superstar that performs at 10% of the rate of Garrett.
NFL legend Lawrence Taylor was a participant in a WrestleMania back in day, and who would put it past the chiselled torso of Garrett one day stepping inside the ring.
Frank-ly I’m speechless
There is a scene in Rocky IV when late on in the fight a deflated Ivan Drago turns to his trainers and says: ‘He’s not human, He’s like a piece of iron.” Quite an apt description of Buffalo Bills running-back Frank Gore, who at 36 is still churning out fantasy relevant performances.
His 19 carries for 68 yards and a touchdown (his first since the end of 2017) in week 2 against the Giants proved that Gore will actually out-live cockroaches if there was a nuclear holocaust tomorrow. 14,836 yards rushing from someone who was drafted with a reputation for being fragile is remarkable.
Gore is going to be a solid fantasy waiver wire pickup, as he is on a team that likes to run the ball, and has teams dedicating time using a spy to cover Josh Allen. Gore can realistically top 75 yards against the Bengals in week 3. The single most awe-inspiring stat we have to ponder though is, that with 434 more yards, this season he will pass Barry Sanders, just stop to think about that.
Is overtime a crime?
When you are in an era where a current NFL head coach is nicknamed ‘Riverboat’ then you know that teams are taking more risks than they used to.
Week 2 saw two games take more twists and turns than Jeremy Wade trying to reel in an arapaima. Two games in particular saw both head coaches gamble (in one case due to a penalty) and go for two point conversions to take the lead in games:
One worked (Flacco to Sanders) and one didn’t (Fournette running in quicksand) but in both cases an extra-point would have tied the game.
We know that the extra-point is no longer automatic, but it appears there is a trend to try and kill games off early without going for a fifth quarter. With speculation rife that the NFL move to an 18 game regular season the chips-in attitude will get even greater. Overtime is a great spectacle and can bring some truly memorable plays.
The trend by coaches to try and end a game in regulation in week 2 may come back to bite them. In the case of Jaguars head-coach Doug Marrone it could be a decision that costs him his job.
What a lovely Spread!
There have only been 11 occasions in recent times where an NFL team is favoured by 20 or more points against the spread. Those teams are 2-9 in terms of covering. Beware if you are betting these games!
The Cowboys face the Dolphins at home, who were whooped by New England by 43points in week 2 and are now even more talent poor after the exit of their 2019 1st round pick, Minkah Fitzpatrick.
New England have another opportunity to whoop another division rival after beating the Dolphins as the Jets come to town and are down to their 3rd string signal caller.
Regardless, you should be able to get through your survivor and last man standing picks this week comfortably with both Dallas and New England.
So there you have it folks, week 3 is on the horizon and you are all filled in on the latest stories making the headlines. If you enjoy these articles or if there is something you think we can improve on, we’d love to hear it so let us know via DM @full10yards on Twitter or using the contact form on the website.
Enjoy your week 3 NFL action!