Sconnie Sports Talk

NFL Week 3: Fact or Fiction?


The NFL is a constantly changing environment. For God’s sake, the Jaguars just beat the Dolphins. Yeah, those Jaguars. This often makes it difficult to pick which storylines are trends or coincidences. Yeah, I could tell you about the tens of hours of football I’ve watched or nights I’ve spent at the library looking up stats, but no matter what, my predictions are still basically dart throws. I’ll tell you below if I think some of the storylines heading into Week 3 are fact or fiction.

Are the Colts as bad as they’ve played?

Didn’t everyone say these guys were going to win the Super Bowl? Well, the start they’ve had might put quite the dent into those dreams. Andrew Luck has been playing the type of football that makes guys like Jay Cutler think, “Oh yeah, compared to him I’m a steal.” The Colts currently have double the turnovers of the rest of the AFC South combined. Yes, that AFC South with a rookie QB, an All-Schlub tandem, and the freaking Jacksonville Jaguars. On the plus side, the defense has been holding quite well; despite all the turnovers, the defense is still in the middle of the NFL. Whether or not this team can make a comeback relies on one Neanderthal-esque man in Luck. If he can get his game rolling, I’m sure everything else will come into place, as this team is far too talented to be relegated to the bottom of the standings. I fully expect a bounceback with big numbers next week against the Titans.

Verdict: No, they’re not. Fiction.

Are the Seahawks as good as they’ve been in past years?

Week 1 they just blew the game, they had it, and they blew it. Should they have had to come back against the Rams? I’ll give Week 2 a pass because, frankly, the Packers are just the better team right now, especially at Lambeau Field. They were the better team during last year’s NFC Championship, and that gap has only widened since. 27-17 sounds just about right for a score. Listen, this Seahawks team just isn’t the same team of the past two years; most of the parts are there, but it just seems like they haven’t grown as a squad. New pieces aren’t falling into place causing this brief streak of mediocrity. With a *relatively* easy next four games, I can see a slight bounceback of the team, but not to it’s Super Bowl winning former self. Playoffs? Yes. Anything else other than that? I’m not sure.

Verdict: No, it doesn’t appear they are as good. Fiction.

Is Denver’s offense is worse than it was last year?

The Broncos have the least yards in the NFL behind soggy spaghetti Peyton Manning and a curse on the #1 RB spot on the depth chart. Manning is averaging less yards than Blake Bortles and Tyrod Taylor, and his QB rating is half that of Brandon Weeden. The running backs are currently averaging 3/5 of a DeAngelo Williams, and their roles are currently switching showing the indecisiveness in the Mile High is still strong. Yes, they’ve played two relatively tough defenses (the Ravens were good) and their defense is quite stout as well, but this offense has just looked awful and confused, a long backwards stride from just a few years ago. This team needs to figure itself out quick because old man Manning is about to sail off into the sunset whether he likes it or not, and right now it looks like they have no preparation set.

Verdict: Yes, it is. Fact.

Tom Brady is playing like 2007 Tom Brady.

To answer America’s burning question: Yes, Tom Brady plays just as well if the balls aren’t deflated. In fact, he plays better than your quarterback, or any quarterback for that matter. At this rate, he’ll be looking at 6,000+ yards, 50+ TDs, and, for those counting, zero picks. Normally I’d say these numbers are absolutely unattainable, but honestly, with the way the league has been trending, I think this mark could be eclipsed. Could Tom Brady do it this year? With the scrappy squad of receivers TB12 has managed over 375 yards per game making all these scrubs look like serviceable players. The run game is fine, the defense is fine, all allowing Brady to shine. Especially with Brandon LaFell slating a mid-season return, this could be a fun season to watch up in Foxboro.

Verdict: Fact. 

Chip Kelly’s great plan is a great flop.

I really liked the Eagles–I still really like them, but damn are they making difficult. I think Kelly is starting to learn that the NFL doesn’t quite work like college. Hurry up, no huddle offense: good. All players are interchangeable: not good. The Eagles are 25th in yards and 28th in points scored for the offense. If that isn’t the wake up call Philadelphia needs, I don’t know whatever will cause them to. The defense isn’t getting off easy either as they’re 24th in yards allowed. I’m not really sure what it is about fantastic Eagles rosters playing like trash, but they seriously have to get that issue figured out. If the O-line can ever figure out how to get DeMarco any yards or how to keep Bradford upright, then this can definitely be a dangerous offense. They’re going to have to figure it out eventually, I like to think a little sooner rather than later.

Verdict: Fiction. There’s still time.

The two-point conversion still isn’t appealing enough.

There is only one team that is actually utilizing the PAT rule change to their advantage, and that team is the Pittsburgh Steelers. Currently three for three on two-pointers and practicing specific packages for the situation, the Steelers are creating a huge advantage for themselves in pressure situations later in the season. So, how’s the rest of the NFL doing? Last season through two weeks, 7.3% of the 151 scores were followed by tw0-point attempts. This year has had 170 scores with an improvement of two-point attempts to…8.8%. Or, if you applied that percentage to the previous year, you have a total of two(!) more attempts. So, still, no one is using the two-point conversion besides Pittsburgh. Meanwhile, the success rate of kicks after a score have declined to 94% from 99% last year (and basically every year since the league adjusted to pushing the crossbars back). Also, the two-point success rate jumped from 36% to 53%; however, this may be coincidental and I’m sure a more accurate figure will develop as the season progresses. More teams need to start using this gift bestowed by the NFL, and by the end of the season they probably will.

Verdict: Fact.

Image: Andrew Luck