We’ve all sat in the stands and watched as our favorite team is humming along in perfect harmony on top of their game. Then it happens, a flag is thrown and one horrible call shifts the momentum of the entire game which changes what should have been an incredible outcome. You leave the stadium in disbelief and work through your week until the following Sunday when the slate is wiped clean and you start all over again.
In 1986, exactly 20 years before Roger Goodell became the NFL Commissioner (2006), the NFL introduced instant replay to the game. Not only did it make the game more entertaining for live television but it allowed the plays to be reviewed in order to ensure that one horrible call didn’t always go unchallenged.
Flash back to Super Bowl XLIX and the deflatgate scandal. The hypothetical flag was thrown. Goodell made the call and assigned the penalty. The courts reviewed the instant replay and turned over your call Mr. Commissioner. Move on.
Flash forward to current date. We just finished Week 2 of the current season. Tom Brady had 466 yards passing and 3 touchdown completions. He is considered the number one quarterback in the NFL by many internet sites and yet he still gets no recognitions from Goodell or the NFL. I highly suspect this will continue until Week 5. After all, that is the week in Goodell’s mind that Brady should be allowed to return.
It’s no surprise that Goodell wants to centralize instant replay to the leagues headquarters so that he can have added control over the outcomes in the NFL. It seems Goodell has become the big headed superstar that thinks this team can’t progress without him. The momentum is changing Mr. Commissioner. The fans want to idolize the players and love the game. Last year is gone. Last week is gone. Time to wipe the slate clean and start all over again.
The Seattle Seahawks are 0-2 on the season, however they’ve been without their star safety Kam Chancellor. Chancellor has been one of the keys to the Seahawks defense during their Super Bowl run in 2013 and their Super Bowl runner up appearance in 2014. The legion of boom get their boom from Chancellors big time hits and ability to make big plays in clutch situations. In fact when the pressure was on Chancellor was at his best. During the playoffs when a players’ clutch rating comes into account. Chancellors has managed not only to play at superior level, but also score points defensively and change the outcome of games for the Seahawks. So when Chancellor decided to hold out during the 2015 season, some Seahawks’ fans were angry while others understood that Kam had earned the right to renegotiate a pay raise. Regardless of how you felt about the issue one thing was clear. Chancellor was instrumental in the Seahawks runs and they would be hard pressed to have that kind of success without him. To get an example of how good he was during the 2013, and 2014 postseason you have to look at his stats. During those two post seasons he was able to record 61 tackles and 3 interceptions. Keep in mind some players don’t record 3 interceptions in a 16 game regular season. Chancellor was able to record those stats in 7 games. A testament of just how good he has been for the Seahawks. He will likely play a huge role in getting this team back on track. Only time will tell if it’s too late however sitting at 0-2. The team has more problems than just on the defensive side of the ball.Still with 31 in the defensive secondary it still makes for a brighter day.
So far in the 2015 campaign, most of the quarterbacks in the league are doing more poorly than most predicted. Andrew Luck had the worse QB Rating in the league, Peyton Manning appears to be on the decline, and Russell Wilson can’t seem to get the ball to one of the biggest targets in the game in Jimmy Graham. Ben Roethlisberger and Carson Palmer have both looked good but have played some underwhelming teams. Big Ben beat up a banged up 49 defense in week 2, but struggled against New England in week 1. Palmer has played the Saints and Bears, who are both 0-2 and both have terrible defenses. The only 2 quarterbacks that have played above average teams and thrived? Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. Rodgers did play Chicago in week 1, but picked apart the ferocious Legion of Boom last Sunday. Brady faced off against an uncertain Steelers defense, but was dead-on accurate the whole game, once going 19 passes without an incompletion. Last week, the Bills defense suffered the most passing yards in their history at the hands of Brady, who threw for 466 yards and dropped back 59 times. The similarity between these two quarterbacks? They don’t make mistakes. Neither one of them has an interception this year, which is extremely rare this year among quarterbacks as only 6 other signal callers in the entire NFL haven’t recorded a pick.
Brady and Rodgers seem to defy all odds every year, as they are easily the most consistent quarterbacks in the game today. All quarterbacks seem to have their down years, but with Brady and Rodgers, they just seem to get better as the years pass. Brady is making age sincerely look like just a number, as he is on track to have the best season he’s ever had at 38 years old. Rodgers is perhaps one of the greatest home-playing quarterbacks of all time, as he has a streak of 451 pass attempts without a pick at home; he last threw a pick at Lambeau in 2013, when the song “Somebody that I used to know” by Gotye was number one of the charts. That seems like light years ago. It’s one of the more amazing streaks for a quarterback to have in recent memory and the Discount Double Check Guy isn’t slowing up anytime soon.
These two Number 12’s are the best quarterbacks in the game right now. Period. Many had predictions of Andrew Luck or J.J. Watt winning the MVP this year but as of right now, the race isn’t even close. The Packers and Patriots are firmly atop the NFL rankings, and rightly so. The Patriots are on a mission to get to Santa Clara and have Roger Goodell hand them the Super Bowl Trophy, just one year removed from the Deflategate saga. Wouldn’t that be the picture of the he century? And Green Bay is on a revenge track to make up for Brandon Bostick’s fumbled catch in the NFC Championship game that would’ve sent them to the Super Bowl to face off against the Patriots. It’s consistently these two teams in the hunt for a ring and it will continue that way until one of them retires, and it seems unlikely that either one is planning on retiring anytime in the foreseeable future.
The New York Giants were playing with a pep in their step in Thursday night football last night. They came out of the gate and started hammering the Washington Redskins early. The Giants would never even look back beating the Redskins 32-21. In fact the Giants had the lead the whole game, and never once surrendered it. Eli Manning played well for the Giants contributing 23 completions of 31 passing attempts for 279 yards. Eli made big throw time and time again in this game showing just how much superior he truly is than Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins. Whether it was connecting with Odell Beckham Jr. on a 30 yard touchdown catch, or hitting Ruben Randle for 41 yard strike. The Giants were on in their passing game, and the Redskins’ secondary could do very little to slow them down. Randle was the leading receiver on the night for the Giants with 7 receptions for 116 yards and a touchdown. It was the break out game that Randle needed confidence wise, and the Giants hope he will be a big contributor for this offense down the stretch of the season. Beckham Jr also finished with 7 receptions for 79 yards and a touchdown. Defensively Prince Amukamara had a big night picking off Kirk Cousins early and swinging the momentum in New York’s favor. Giants middle linebacker Uani’ Unga was able to continue his defensive dominance recording 9 total tackles, an interception, and a forced fumble. Currently Unga leads the NFL with 26 tackles, and has been stellar for the G-Men. The win was huge for the Giants who now find themselves back in NFC East competition. At 1-2 they are now are in second place in the division and have to be optimistic with Dallas losing both Tony Romo and Dez Bryant. Keep an on the games this weekend to see how the others teams in the division do. If they slip up the Giants are right back in the mix.
In every NFL season, most divisions, AFC and NFC, are usually up for grabs. The only exception to this would be the AFC East, which has solely belonged to the Patriots for most of the century, although that could change this year. However, in a surprising turn of events, the team that experienced a truly tumultuous offseason and one of the biggest quarterback controversies of the last decade is now in position to win a division they had no business winning prior to the season. That team is the Washington Redskins. One of the bigger laughing stocks in recent memory, Washington is off to a better start than all of their NFC East counterparts, as they are tied for first place with the Cowboys. However, Dallas is now without their quarterback, Tony Romo, for at least 8 weeks. Can the Redskins take advantage of a now weak division to capture their first NFC East Title since 2012? I believe they can.
Let’s get one thing clear, the Redskins still have an uphill battle ahead of them if they want the NFC East crown. They have an inexperienced quarterback in Kirk Cousins, an underwhelming receiving corps, and a banged up defense. Although, it seemed like the Skins season began before it even started. The Redskins as an organization made the decision to start Cousins over RGIII before the season, which has worked out so far, but caused a major rift among personnel. Nevertheless, the fact still remains that Cousins has been inconsistent as a starter in the past, which needs to change if Washington has any chance in the NFC East. Although, with the way the Skins have been running the ball, Cousins gets a lot of pressure lifted off his shoulders. Through two games, the Redskins rank 1st in total rushing yards, a true shocker. The backfield was supposed to mainly feature Alfred Morris, who had a down year last season but is still a fully capable back. Rookie Mat Jones, however, has a different agenda for the Skins run game. Drafted out of Northern Iowa, Jones was pretty unknown before his 123-yard, one touchdown performance against Aaron Donald and the Rams in week 2. He showed quickness and downfield vision all game, and paired with his 6’7 height, has all the qualities that make a solid running back. If he keeps up his strong rushing, he could be the sole reason the Redskins propel themselves to the top of the NFC East. The only thing standing in their way is their defense, which has held them back in years past. They don’t have a lot of playmakers on D, and that definitely hurts them come crunchtime. Although, to everyone’s amazement, they’ve made both Ryan Tannehill and Nick Foles struggle, only allowing 2 passing touchdowns on the year. In fact, those are the only two touchdowns the defense has allowed, with the exception of one return TD by Jarvis Landry. If the defense can hold it’s ground and Kirk Cousins and the run game can stay consistent, the Redskins are poised to make a run at the NFC East Title.
If anyone told you the New York Jets would be 2-0 over the first two weeks of NFL regular season action you would of been a fool not to laugh in their face. The Jets were a dysfunctional team under Rex Ryan and looked like they were going to continue that dysfunction when Geno Smith got his jaw broke by teammate IK Enemkpali in the preseason. Well, all that lack of cohesion went out the window when the regular season rolled around. The Jets now find themselves 2-0 on the season and walking around with a sense of pride under new coach Todd Bowles. Much of the Jets improvements can be credited to their draft picks on the defensive line and the new attitude that Bowles brought to the team. One Jet went as far to say “We had to grow up under Bowles.” A statement that makes you feel like coach Bowles holds the team more accountable. While that is certainly true the team also is much more talented this time around. They brought in Brandon Marshall to pair along with Eric Decker at the wide receiver positions. Giving the team a true aerial attack that can complement the team’s running game. On the defensive side of the ball guys like Muhammad Wilkerson, and rookie first round draft pick Leonard Williams have caused havoc for opposing offensive lineman. By dominating upfront the Jets are allowing opposing quarterbacks very little time to get the ball out of their hands. These quicker decisions have led to quarterbacks causing ill advised plays, which has been the foundation of the Jets success this far. It also should be noted the Jets got better on the defensive edges returning Revis and Cromartie as well. Together with the blend of outstanding defensive and a revamped offense the Jets look like a brand new team. Good news for owner Woody Johnson and high praise for head coach Todd Bowles.
Through two weeks of play, fantasy football is in a tizzy. Star players aren’t performing nearly as well as they did last year and unknown rookies are racking up mass amounts of points. CJ Anderson, Marshawn Lynch, Andrew Luck, and Jimmy Graham are all examples of players that were probably taken within the first 6 rounds of most drafts and aren’t producing like they should be. However, it’s still early in the season, and fantasy owners still have time to assess their lineup and work out ways to win games. The way they’ll do this? With the waiver wire. The waiver wire consists of the players that aren’t owned in most leagues and could make or break your season. Take a look below at players who you should and shouldn’t pickup for this upcoming week.
Dion Lewis, RB New England Patriots
This former Cleveland running back never really got a shot before this year, but boy is he making the Patriots thankful they let him loose. On the year, he has 258 yards from scrimmage, which only trails Matt Forte, Antonio Brown, and Julio Jones. He was one of the backs that was called in to replace the departed Shane Vereen as a pass catching running back and he has shown that he is fully capable of doing so. In two weeks, he has accumulated 28 fantasy points, and his production doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon, even with LeGarrette Blount back from suspension.
Advice: Pick him up if available
David Johnson, RB Arizona Cardinals
It’s safe to say no one saw this kid coming. The rookie from Northern Iowa has been sprinting all over the field in his first two games, racking up 27 fantasy points. With Andre Ellington out and Chris Johnson as the only other running back, look for David Johnson to add to his already impressive 3 touchdowns.
Advice: Pick him up if available
Mat Jones, RB Washington Redskins
After Week 1, most people didn’t know who this rookie was. He was a third round draft pick for the Skins and was supposed to be a backup to Alfred Morris, but Jones had other plans. He’s already at 151 yards on the season, mostly due to a 123-yard breakout performance in week 2 against the stout Rams defense. He also found the end zone one time, and looks to keep stealing snaps from Morris.
Advice: Pick him up if available
Travis Benjamin, WR Cleveland Browns
It’s hard to ignore the speedy Benjamin’s performance last Sunday against the Titans, where he caught two touchdowns and hauled in 115 receiving yards. He has garnered 43 fantasy points thus far, second in the league for wide receivers. However, he has only caught 6 passes
combined in his first two games and while they were for a good chunk of yards, it’s extremely hard to see him sustaining that kind of yardage with so few catches.
Advice: Don’t pick up yet unless in need of a Flex
Tyrod Taylor, QB Buffalo Bills
This should come as bit of surprise, but Tyrod Taylor is now a legitimate quarterback worth starting in most leagues. In his first two games as a starter, he has 5 total touchdowns and over 500 yards of total offense. His QB Rating of 103.9 ranks as one of the best in the league and with playmakers all around him, his production should remain steady so long as he doesn’t suffer a serious drop off in performance.
Advice: If in need of a quarterback, pick him up
Jordan Reed, TE Washington Redskins
DeSean Jackson is out with a hamstring injury for a couple weeks, and the targets for Reed will only increase during that time frame. He has picked up 20 fantasy points and is a solid option at tight end if you don’t have a reliable one already.
Advice: Pick him up if you don’t have a trustworthy tight end
Michael Crabtree, WR Oakland Raiders
After his turbulent time in San Fran, it was unclear whether this former stud of a wideout would find a permanent home again. Well, after a great training camp and productive first two games, it seems Michael Crabtree might still be a name to keep an eye on. He has accrued 20 fantasy points so far along with one touchdown, and is a solid add to have on your bench.
Advice: Pick him up if bench depth is needed
James Jones, WR Green Bay Packers
He’s back. James Jones was once one of Aaron Rodgers’ favorite targets and after stints with the Raiders and Giants, he’s back to catching touchdowns at Lambeau. He’s caught 3 TD’s so far but the majority of Rodgers’ targets will go to Randall Cobb and Davante Adams. However, he could be a valuable bench piece if one of your players goes down with an injury.
Advice: Pick him up for bench depth if available
Other notable waiver wire targets include: Johnny Manziel, Derek Carr, Eric Ebron, Heath Miller, Lorenzo Taliaferro, James Starks, Leonard Hankerson, Doug Baldwin, Donte Moncrief, Stevie Johnson, Markus Wheaton, Ronnie Hillman, Eddie Royal, Fred Jackson, Cole Beasley, Tavon Austin.
The 0-2 Teams that are in the Most Trouble No matter how you script it, there will always be teams that start the season slower than others. These sluggish starts sometimes can be attributed to injuries, personnel turnover, or just sloppy play. Many expected the Titans and Bucs to lose their first couple of games due to the fact that they have two rookies under center who are still trying to get the lay of the land. However, they’re both 1-1 and have looked decent thus far, with Jameis Winston outshining Drew Brees in New Orleans this past Sunday. The Titans and Bucs join a few other lower tier teams from last year in the 1-1 club, including the Jaguars and Browns. In fact, the only teams that are 0-2, with the exception of the Bears, had high playoff aspirations coming into this year. But after some turbulent starts, they’re just trying to stay afloat in their divisions. Out of the 0-2 teams, which include: the Seahawks, Colts, Eagles, Saints, Giants, Lions, Bears, Ravens, and Texans, there are a few teams in particular that should be hitting the panic button sooner rather than later.
Eagles- The Philadelphia Eagles are arguably the most disappointing team out of the gate. They have no running attack, even though they landed 2014 rushing champ DeMarco Murray in free agency, an average passing game with Sam Bradford, and a defense that has nothing too special about it. The additions of Bradford and Murray paired with the offensive mind of head coach Chip Kelly was supposed to elevate this offense to new heights but instead they’re ranked 25th in the league in total yards with 312.5. However, that number is a bit misleading due to the fact the Eagles have a pitiful 70 yards of rushing on the year. DeMarco Murray has 11 of those yards. 11. LeSean McCoy on the other hand has 130 yards rushing, who was traded by Philly to the Bills in the offseason for linebacker Kiko Alonso, who is now out for some time with a partial ACL tear. To sum it up, the Eagles have nothing going on offense, looking stagnant most of the time due to the issue that the offense Chip Kelly wants to run isn’t working because he doesn’t have the right personnel to execute it. The defense is giving up an average of 377 yards per game, which isn’t going to cut it with the offense averaging a mere 17 points per game. If Philly can’t right the ship within the next couple of weeks, we might be seeing a roster overhaul come midseason. However, if they can turn things around, they have a decent shot at winning the NFC East with the Giants at 0-2 and the Cowboys without Tony Romo.
Ravens- Last year, the Ravens were one interception away from reaching the AFC Championship. This year, they’ve lost to an aging Peyton Manning in week 1 and the Oakland Raiders in week 2, resulting in an 0-2 record. Their defense looked tremendous against Denver, allowing only field goals and one touchdown late in the game. However, they lost their anchor on defense, Terrell Suggs, for the year with an achilles tear, which is a huge blow to morale and performance overall. The loss of Suggs really showed in their next game against the Raiders, when they allowed 37 points to last year’s 26th ranked offense. Derek Carr picked apart the Ravens secondary, passing for 351 yards and tossing 3 touchdowns in the process, including a 68-yard bomb to Amari Cooper. This is obviously a concern, as the Raiders shouldn’t be able to dissect a defense that was supposed to be top 10 in the league. The offense is also an issue, as it has been very inconsistent over the past two games. Justin Forsett, who was one of the top rushers a year ago, hasn’t been able to get anything going on the ground, managing only 111 yards on 29 carries. If the Ravens want to capture that elusive AFC North Title, they’ll have to shore up their defense and run game and find a way to start winning games, as they have suffered last minute losses in both of their games.
Colts- “Finally their year to reach the Super Bowl.” “Andrew Luck is the favorite to win the MVP Trophy this season.” “This offense could possibly be the best we’ve ever seen.” All of these were things we heard before the season about the Indianapolis Colts. Each year they’ve had Andrew Luck, they’ve progressed one round in the playoffs, and this year was their year to reach the Super Bowl after falling to New England in the AFC Championship last year. They added proven skill players in Frank Gore and Andre Johnson in the offseason, hoping age wasn’t going to be an issue with either of them. They would be getting Robert Mathis back, who in 2013 had 19.5 sacks but missed all of last season due to injury. They added a couple more players to their defensive and offensive lines and of course, still had Andrew Luck, who led all quarterbacks in yards last year. The talent on the roster seemed like it was a recipe for success and Indy could book a plane ticket to Santa Clara, California. But so far, the Colts are living a nightmare instead of a fairy tale. The offense that was believed to be one of the best in the league has only scrounged up 21 points in two games, almost getting shut out by the Jets on Monday night. Andrew Luck has thrown 5 interceptions and coughed up one fumble. Frank Gore has shown to be ineffective so far and even fumbled on the goal line in the loss against the Jets. The defense is letting the opposing offenses walk over them, as they are giving up 343 yards per game so far. The offensive line can’t protect Luck at all, causing him to throw erroneous passes into No Man’s Land half the time. This team is anything but a Super Bowl favorite right now. The high aspirations Colts fans had going into the season are disappearing and some fans are surely pounding the panic button. Some boos could even be heard from the crowd on Monday night. Indy has got to find a way to get their offense back on track otherwise they’ll let Marcus Mariota and the Titans steal away the AFC South from them.
Even though the Steelers came up short against New England in their opener. Football analyst knew it was only a matter of time before the Steelers offense broke out and did great things. That finally happened in week 2 against the San Francisco 49ers. In the match up which took place at Heinz field, the Steelers were able to get out in front early striking quickly against the Niners. Ben Roethlisberger looked in charge and in control all night and the Steelers had a commanding 29-3 lead at halftime. Roethlisberger would contribute 3 touchdown passes and 369 passing yards. Completing 21 of 27 passes and compiling a 155.8 passer rating. It was evident that his deep ball is a weapon to be feared at this point for the Steelers. Roethlisberger was able to complete a number of bombs against the 49ers really showing off his deep pass accuracy. He took advantage of the Niners secondary time and time again. Whether it was connecting with Darrius Heward-Bey on a 35 yard touchdown pass. Or hitting Markus Wheaton on a 48 yard strike which had Niners defensive backs arguing their assignments with each other. If you’re a Ben Roethlisberger fantasy football owner you’re likely going to be enjoying a fine year of production from the former Miami of Ohio Quarterback. Other notable performers for this Steelers offense were DeAngelo Williams who has been on fire for the Steelers so far. He has rushed for 204 yards and 3 touchdowns over the first two games of the season. Showing that maybe the Steelers ground attack is a result of the whole unit being strong rather than just Le’Veon Bell being the star. The offensive line seems to open holes no matter who is in the backfield. However Williams has been phenomenal with ball in his hands and has made the most of his opportunities. Antonio Brown was also a force for the Steelers in that match recording 9 receptions for 195 yards. Brown is showing yet again why he is one of the best receivers in the National Football League after his dominant performance in 2014. This season over the course of two games he has been able to haul in 18 receptions for 328 yards and 3 touchdowns. Good enough to have him right back in the hunt for the #1 receiver spot in the league. Keep an eye on all of these playmaker and what they are able to do throughout the regular season. Because of them they were able to finish this game against the Niners with a 43-18 victory. Thus far it’s been a lot of fun to watch!
Every heart in Dallas dropped like a rock when their star quarterback Tony Romo went down in the third quarter of Sunday night’s game between the Cowboys and Eagles. In what seemed like a routine tackle, Romo suffered a fractured left clavicle instead of simply dusting off the hit. Dallas already has stud wideout Dez Bryant sidelined with a foot injury until week 7 and now their franchise quarterback is out for at least 8 weeks, which should have Jerry Jones and the rest of Cowboys nation very panicked.
The Cowboys were easily one of the better teams in the league coming into this season; they had arguably the best offensive line, one of the best receivers, a top 5 quarterback, and an average defense. A roster like that usually spells success for most teams, but like we’ve seen in the past, great teams are sometimes not always destined to stay great. Their offensive line is still one of the best in football but the losses of Dez Bryant and Tony Romo are huge. Gigantic. On Sunday night, the first game without Bryant, Romo had trouble finding open receivers, as he only managed 195 yards and no touchdowns in two and a half quarters of work. Now, Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley are the Cowboy’s primary receivers along with the ageless tight end Jason Witten. Brandon Weeden is now the starting quarterback for “America’s Team”; the same Brandon Weeden that struggled tremendously in Cleveland and got booted out of the city. Cowboy’s fans should sweating buckets right now. It wouldn’t be as bad if Dallas still had last year’s DeMarco Murray to lead the charge, but they don’t, and now it’s up to Joseph Randle and Darren McFadden to head the offense. However, while running behind that offensive line, anything is possible. Also, the Cowboys don’t have a game-changing defense like Seattle to keep the pressure of the offense, although they looked good Sunday night against the Eagles. Although next week we’ll really see what that defense is made of when they try to cover the seemingly unstoppable Julio Jones and his Atlanta Falcons.
If you put all of these players and dynamics together into a roster, what you end up with isn’t very pretty. Weeden isn’t the answer, not for 8 weeks at least. His past isn’t comforting in the slightest and he has shown time and time again that he just doesn’t have what it takes to be a starter, especially for a team like the Cowboys. Many fans in Dallas were chanting “Tebow Time” and even the Governor of Dallas said the Cowboys should sign the former Eagle. Right now, that is certainly a long shot at best but crazier things have happened. Others have suggested they trade for Robert Griffin III, which does seem like something Jerry Jones would do, but it would involve a lot of moving pieces and doesn’t seem likely at this time, but things could change if Weeden becomes a liability Dallas can’t afford. The Cowboys desperately need their running backs and defense to step up if they want any chance of hanging on to the NFC East Title. The rest of the division is looking surprisingly good thus far however, except for Philly, and are undoubtedly hungry to make a run at the NFC East, which definitely should have Cowboy’s fans concerned.