Just want to give my two cents on the NFL's Week 4 games.
Ravens 23, Browns 16
The Browns played better than anybody would've guessed, particularly against the division rival Ravens, particularly in Baltimore. Richardson continues to find the endzone and Weeden continues to get better as a decision maker. If not for a bad drop by Greg Little the final result of this game might've been completely different. On a separate note, Joe Flacco looked great again and Torrey Smith continued to find ways to be super productive, even with Ray Rice being a non-factor.
49ers 34, Jets 0
The Jets are a pathetic offensive team. They're not very good on defense right now, either. Not sure Rex Ryan is having a positive impact on his teams' preparation or personnel moves, either. Not saying it's neccesarily Tebow Time just yet but Sanchez isn't doing anything positive and this team needs a spark. Conversely, the 49ers are polar opposites of the Jets. Awesome defense, really good offense, good coaching, etc. This game was a huge mismatch on paper and the final score is indicative of the same.
Rams 19, Seahawks 13
As I predicted earlier in the week, karma kicked in and handed the Seahawks a loss to make up for last week's fiasco against the Packers. Not that it consoles the Packers much, but Seattle deserved to lose. Plus Russell Wilson looked very ordinary and the vaunted Seahawks' defense couldn't do anything about Rams' rookie super-kicker, Greg Zuerlein. After making 21 straight collegiate field goals last year at Missouri Western, Zeurlein is 12 for 12 so far as an NFL kicker, and that's critical because St. Louis' offense needs all the help it can get.
Falcons 30, Panthers 28
Matt Ryan continues to play like the MVP I predicted he will be this year. Cam Newton finally rediscovered his running game and it was almost enough, but the Falcons found a way to pull out a last-second win. Atlanta is one of three undefeated teams remaining and honestly they should be considered the Super Bowl favorites at this point, along with Houston in the AFC.
Vikings 20, Lions 13
He may not have been the star today but Christian Ponder is a good quarterback, regardless of anybody's preconceived notions. Matthew Stafford is talented but still not consistent. Same could be said of almost every single player on Detroit's offense. Bigger than the play of the offenses, however, is the abysmal status of the Lions' special teams coverage unit. After giving up a punt return and a kickoff return for TD's last week the Lions came out and allowed Percy Harvin to return the opening kickoff 105 yards for a score, and then later gave up another punt return TD. Somebody should be put on notice. The special teams play of the Lions has been unacceptable and embarrassing. And Minnesota's defense has been playing really well, and today limited Detroit's supposed star-in-the-making Mikel Leshoure to just 26 yards on 13 carries after going for 100 yards and a TD in his NFL debut last week.
Chargers 37, Chiefs 20
This was a brutal game between two mediocre teams. The Chargers capitalized on 6 KC turnovers and wound up winning the game but neither team played exceptionally well and it seemed as if there were more penalties and turnovers than actual good plays by the offenses. Chargers fans may feel as if I'm selling their team short but it's hard to give a team much credit when their opponent gift wraps 6 turnovers and delivers it to their doorstep. Again, bad game between two forgettable teams.
Texans 38, Titans 14
The Texans are one of the NFL's best teams and the Titans aren't, especially now that Jake Locker is hurt. That's why the Texans wound despite being outgained by the Titans in terms of offensive yardage. The Texans returned 2 INT's for TD's and Tennessee never really had a chance. Houston looks like a Super Bowl team at this point, with an offense that won't quit and a ferocious, attacking defense. Great team. Conversely, the Titans look lost even with Chris Johnson finally getting it going on the ground.
Patriots 52, Bill 28
Ryan Fitzpatrick sucks even when he's good. Fitz threw for 350 yards and 4 TD's but he also tossed 4 INT's and frankly that's not even close to enough to beat the Patriots. NE RB Brandon Bolden rushed for 137 yards and a TD as the juggernaut known as the New England offense found a way to get maximum production from whoever they put out there. Buffalo actually held a 14 point, third quarter lead but Brady led the Pats on 6 consecutive second-half TD drives and in the end the Patriots won this game very easily. Oh yeah, and the Patriots defense had three sacks and forced 6 turnovers.
Bengals 27, Jaguars 10
Long story short, the Bengals defense played really well and despite decent numbers from Blaine Gabbert the Jacksonville offense never looked in sync and Cincy crusied to an easy win. Andy Dalton continues to impress and the Bengals' defense really stepped up and covered for the absence of Cincinnati's top 4 cornerbacks. Easy win for Cincy, and not a surprising one.
Broncos 37, Raiders 6
Denver collected it's first home win vs. the Raiders since 2007 as Peyton Manning came alive in the decisive third quarter. Manning looked great all day, but his 3 third quarter TD passes really drove the nail in the Raiders' collective coffin. Carson Palmer and Darren McFadden were both shut down by Denver's defense and on the other side of the ball, Oakland couldn't even slow down Manning or Willis McGahee. The Raiders probably have the NFL's absolute worst defense right now, and for as poorly as they played they deserved to lose. By the way, how much do you think new Raiders' HC Dennis Allen hates being saddled to the wrong side of the Carson Palmer trade?
Cardinals 24, Dolphins 21
Great game. Arizona stayed perfect by turning an overtime INT of Ryan Tannehill into the game winning FG. Kevin Kolb looked good again, even completing a 4th down pass attempt for the tying TD to Andre Roberts with just 22 seconds left in regulation. It's time to start taking the Cardinals seriously, and to a lesser extent the same can be said about Dolphins' rookie QB Tannehill, who passed for 431 yards in this game.
Redskins 24, Buccaneers 22
Another failure for rookie Coach Greg Schiano, as his Bucs found a way to lose yet again. This time embattled QB Josh Freeman wasn't the culprit, as he had a decent bounce back game with 299 yards passing and a TD. This time the defense just couldn't stop RGIII when it counted. Griffin took over at his own 20 with 1:42 left, trailing 22-21, and moved the Redskins down the field and into position for Billy Cundiff to kick a game-winning 41 yard FG. Cundiff needed that, too, as he had already missed 3 FG's on the day. The Bucs needed a win as well, but the TB offense was once again inconsistent (this time it was rookie RB Doug Martin who was a no-show) and in the end Schiano's team wound up with another loss. Going to be a long year in Tampa.
Packers 28, Saints 27
The Saints, along with the young Browns, are one of just two winless teams. Drew Brees finally looked like himself, throwing for 446 yards and 3 TD's and actually completing the majority of his passes for a change, but Aaron Rodgers was arguable better, tossing 4 TD's to go along with 319 yards. Green Bay looked like the better team today and after last week's MNF fiasco, er game, the Packers probably deserved to win this one. Either way, the Saints can probably forget about the playoffs this year but Green Bay saves their season with today's big win.
Eagles 19, Giants 17
The main thing that impressed me about this game was Philadelphia's ability to neutralize New York's pass rush. The Giants' defensive front wasn't able to penetrate the way they wanted and as a result the Eagles played their first turnover-free game of the season. Philly's passing attack looked better than it had all season, which in turn opened up the running game in a big way. Desean Jackson even got involved. The Giants didn't play poorly but they werem more careless with the ball than their counterparts and towards the end of the game there was some questionable decision making by the Giants, in my opinion. Even though NY was out of timeouts they still should've tried another pass play on third down with 15 seconds left. As it was, Coughlin opted for a 54 yard FG attempt on 3rd down and after the seemingly now customary foolishness involving icing the kicker right before they miss a last-second FG, Lawrence Tynes missed his second attempt as well which in essence ended the game as a win for the enigmatic Eagles.
Bears 34, Cowboys 18
Brutal. The Cowboys sucked in all facets of the game. The offensive line was non existent, the secondary blew coverages, Romo threw five interceptions, two of which were returned for TD's... I could go on and on but the bottom line is this - Cutler and Marshall played well and the Bears defense was extremely aggressive and opportunistic. Dallas got pounded and this game wasn't nearly as close as the final score might indicate. If the Bears keep playing with the same intensity they showed tonight they will be tough for any team to beat, bar none.