Welcome back folks to another edition of "What We've Learned:NFL Edition". Last week I finally had the time (was not horribly hungover) to watch a lot of football, and I must say it was a terrific week of action which started on Thursday with my beloved San Diego Chargers losing to the Denver Broncos. The Chargers lost fair and square, but it wouldn't hurt having the refs from that game being deported to North Korea. Anyways, to the discussion.
1. The Flightless Jets
The Jets fell to the Buffalo Bills 43-23 on Sunday in a game that was almost impossible to watch. The score did not reflect how horribly the Jets played, Geno Smith went 2-8 with a total of 5 passing yards and an outstanding 3 interceptions. Yeah you heard that right, Geno Smith had more completions to the other team than he had completions to his own receivers. Wow. After that terrific start from Geno, he was replaced by veteran Michael Vick and for a quick minute things seemed like they could get better for the Jets. Vick had a couple of terrific plays where he did Michael Vick things, running for 20 yards at a time despite the fact he had wide open receivers down the field. Even at the age of 34, Vick still has a good amount of speed, but it became obvious to me that Vick's talents have clearly been affected by his age. So many of my good pals know how much I USED to love Geno Smith. I would always insist that Geno has plenty of potential and was just waiting to become a good quarterback. I still think Geno has plenty of time to put it all together because he does have the skill set to be a successful quarterback in the league and I still believe that Geno is the Jets best option for quarterback. But in the meantime, I will be admitting myself into the local mental hospital for evaluation. The Jets are playing the worst football that they can possibly play at the moment. Their defense is terrific but they never get a chance to shine because their horrible offense is the focal point of most discussions. I watched the majority of the Jets game on Sunday and despite turning the ball over countless times, the Jets defense responded immediately with multiple 3-and out stands against the Bills offense. With all of the obvious offensive flaws with the Jets, one would think they would try running the ball more often. NOPE. The Jets have the talent to run the ball with Chris Ivory and long lost star Chris Johnson. So far this season, Chris Ivory has only 101 carries but he is averaging a solid 4.7 yards per carry. If the Jets want to make anything happen this season they should start running the ball more frequently. Also, I have never been a fan of Rex Ryan. I won't sit here and preach about him being a terrible coach but I will state that he doesn't help the cause. Rex Ryan announced on Monday that Michael Vick will start for the Jets next Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs. If you're a Jets fan, you might want to go to work on Sunday and keep yourself distracted from watching this game.
2. The Prominent Pats
I think it's safe to say the New England Patriots are back to old ways. The Patriots crushed the Chicago Bears 51-23 on Sunday while everything seemed to be clicking for the Patriots. Watching that game on Sunday, their offense looked absolutely unstoppable. Just take a quick look at the picture above; that's bad news for the AFC East. After a sluggish start to the season, Tom Brady has looked like the MVP that he is in the most recent games. It seems that Brady and Gronk have officially found that connection again that has propelled them to countless victories in the past. I have had my fair share of bad mouthing the patriots, but I am not ignorant. Any "true" sports fan and enthusiast knows that the Patriots are one of the greatest football teams, if not the best sports franchises of the last century. The Patriots are a playoff team, and there is no denying their potential to make a Super Bowl run this year. The Patriots have enough weapons for Brady to be successful this year. Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski and Brandon LaFell are all receivers with terrific upside and supply Brady with plenty of targets down the field. The only issue I currently have with the Patriots is their backfield. The Patriots need to find their running game in order to become a Juggernaut this year. With the loss of Stevan Ridley to injury for the year, the Patriots are hoping that Shane Vereen can fill in. So far, Vereen has been running well averaging 4.8 yards per carry with a total of 58 carries, but if the Patriots want to continue their success into a hopeful postseason, they must balance their aerial attack with a solid running game. The Patriots take on the Denver Broncos Sunday at 4pm at Gillette Stadium. This game has the potential to be one of the best match ups of the NFL season. With the Patriots playing well and the Broncos being the Broncos this game could go either way. The Broncos and Peyton Manning pose too much of a problem for the Patriots defense, so with saying that I think the Broncos will take this game in a tight matchup.
3. The Super Saints The New Orleans Saints took down the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night with a score of 44-23. Drew Brees finished the night completing 27 of his 32 pass attempts for 311 yards and three touchdowns. The Saints seemed to have solid control over this game once Aaron Rodgers suffered a very minor injury running out of bounds, although he stayed in the game. In my opinion, the Saints have one the best offenses in the NFL without a doubt. The Saints had a horrible start to the season but they look to be turning things around. Over the years, Drew Brees has been one of the most productive and consistent quarterbacks in the league along with Tom Brady and the likes. The Saints seem to test defenses multiple times by throwing deep down field, and with Drew Brees as their quarterback, success is more than likely. Brees is surrounded by plenty of talent and now that tight end Jimmy Graham is back and health on the field, the Saints offense is hitting on all cylinders. Jimmy Graham is the Saints go to guy. He stands at 6 feet 7 inches of pure athlete, and defenses know all too well of his abilities. When the Saints get into the redzone there is no doubt who Brees will be tossing the ball up to. Sure Jimmy Graham is a beast, but he is not the only weapon that the Saints possess at wide out. Marques Colston is a receiver that has shined over the years in New Orleans, and he continues to be a valuable tool in the passing game for the Saints. The Saints have a nasty offense, but that is not their only attribute. On Sunday, running back Mark Ingram ran the ball 24 times for a total of 172 yards and a touchdown. He simply ran over the Packers defense and I think if the Saints can have Ingram run the ball more often, the Saints may be super bowl bound. It's obvious that the pass rush and secondary for the Saints are lacking the tremendous talent, plus defensive coordinator Rob Ryan looks like an absolute hobo. (irrelevant but needed to be said) The only problem with the Saints is their defense. But hey, if you have an offense with that much talent, I guess defense is not an issue. The Saints take on the Carolina Panthers this Thursday at 8. I think the Saints will walk away from this game with a win although I am an under the radar fan of the Panthers. Cam Newton and the Panthers tough defense will make for a good matchup although it won't be enough to stop Drew Brees and the Saints.
Week 9 Upset: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Over Cleveland Browns 1:00 PM ET
This may be a bit of a shot in the dark but I have to suggest this outcome. The Browns looked horrendous last week against the winless Oakland Raiders and should have lost if the Raiders, well, weren't the Raiders. The week before the Browns lost to the Jaguars, who were also winless. I think Tampa Bay will sneak away with a win somehow and quarterback Mike Glennon will have an above average game connecting with wide out Vincent Jackson. Buccaneers -20Browns- 17