In case you were wondering, yes, it has been a weird beginning to the NFL season. The Houston Texans have more wins than they had all last season. The 49ers have half the number of losses they had all last season. Two out of three rookie quarterbacks are getting starts.
Luckily, not everything has changed as the Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have each busted out of the gate with a blistering 0-3 record. Add to that more injuries than what goes through a hospital Emergency Room and a quarter of the teams on bye to really screw up your fantasy football team. We have all the makings of a particularly asinine Week 4 in the NFL.
Thursday, September 25
New York Giants @ Washington Redskins
A couple weeks ago, this game looked like a disaster waiting to happen. Then things changed. The Giants win! The Redskins… almost win again, but continue to score a lot.
Eli Manning finally completed some passes, and not to a defender. Victor Cruz caught his first touchdown in 14 games. Kirk Cousins broke out and made everyone forget about RG3 for a day. DeSean Jackson got to puff up his chest after an 81-yard touchdown against his old team. This game between the Giants and Redskins is looking more like a rivalry game and less like a scrimmage. Here’s hoping.
Sunday, September 28
Detroit Lions @ New York Jets
After a messy, low-scoring win over the Packers, the Detroit Lions travel to New York to give Jets season ticket holders a second glimpse at a high-profile NFC North offense. It’s like watching It’s A Wonderful Life over and over again, except the angel keeps showing Jets fans “what could have been” that would be better than this, prompting George Bailey to jump.
Luckily, the Jets defense came up big against the Chicago Bears last week, and the Packers defense came up big against the Lions last week. The Packers have no defense. Therefore, the Jets defense should be better than nothing, which almost stopped the Lions. That’s football logic.
Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears
Who has two thumbs and the worst team in the NFC North? That guy, Aaron Rodgers. Yeah, it surprised me, too. On paper, the Packers are worse than the Vikings. I’m sure that will change eventually but, for now, we can laugh at something more ridiculous than Aaron Rodgers’ SNL-based commercials.
As far as the Chicago Bears, let me say this: Maaaaaartellus Bennett! Mar-TELLUS BENNETT! Mar-TELL-us BENNett! MARTELLUS BENNETT! How’s that for enthusiasm?
Over/Under on the amount of times sportscasters say Martellus Bennett’s name with enthusiasm: 5
Buffalo Bills @ Houston Texans
It’s week 3, and the Buffalo Bills are still #1 in the AFC East. Okay, so they are barely #1 with a better divisional record than the Patriots, but this is three weeks in a row at #1! I can’t remember when anything good happened to the Bills for three weeks in a row. Maybe when they went three years without a fan casualty.
The Texans? Well, let’s just say their defensive players seem to be scoring more touchdowns than their offensive players. This includes lining up J.J. Watt as a tight end because no one else can catch a ball. Okay, DeAndre Hopkins made an amazing catch. So, no Texan is able to catch a ball on a legal play.
Tennessee Titans @ Indianapolis Colts
It seems that this year’s Jake Locker experiment may have come to an end, as the injury-prone quarterback is questionable with a wrist injury. What does that mean? CLIPBOARD JESUS TIME! It’s sad when your team’s biggest draws are Charlie Whitehurst and a younger Shonn Greene in Bishop Sankey, but here we are.
Meanwhile, the Colts continue to roll as Andrew Luck gathers up as many ridiculous facial expressions as he has touchdown passes. How will Luck jettison saliva next? I can’t wait to find out.
Over/Under on ounces of saliva Andrew Luck spits out in a game: 5
Carolina Panthers @ Baltimore Ravens
Okay, so the Carolina Panthers defense is not invincible. Or maybe the Pittsburgh Steelers offense is better than I give them credit for. What I do know is that Ron Rivera seems to have chucked the “Riverboat Ron” nickname by his coaching style, which may mean a lot more zone coverage.
Zone coverage may be exactly what can beat the Ravens, who are on their third and fourth-string running backs, a Texans cast-off at tight end, and their deep threat at receiver is 35 years old and shorter than Drew Brees. But hey, 2-1.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Say what you will about the Buccaneers. No, really, say anything. No one is going to stop you, much like the Tampa Bay defense. No one is even going to counter anything you say, much like the Tampa Bay offense. They may try to put a few comeback sentences together, but will probably fumble through the words.
Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Steelers re-signed James Harrison so that he could retire a Steeler, and will probably have to play because the Steelers are so depleted on defense. But it’s not that big of a deal. The average age of the Pittsburgh Steelers only went up a little bit because it was already hovering around forty years-old to begin the season.
Over/Under on average age of Steelers players: 39
Miami Dolphins @ Oakland Raiders
For the past few years, the NFL seemed to be making big moves to get a fanbase going overseas for American football. A yearly game in London seemed to be a good way to go about it.
Now it seems that the NFL may have backed off on this plan. Sure, there are two NFL games in London this year, but sending the Dolphins and Raiders over is a step closer is hardly fanning the flames of excitement for a sport that nobody plays.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ San Diego Chargers
Finally, it’s Blake Bortles time! Step aside, Johnny Manziel, it’s time for a rookie quarterback to take on the role he deserves. While most people believed Manziel would be the first quarterback to get the starting position, he will be the last. Teddy Bridgewater got the role by default, and now Blake Bortles gets the role due to the terribleness of Chad Henne. Add in the tale of two Allens, Robinson and Hurns, as rookie receivers with some moves, and we may see the Jaguars win a game this season!
Unfortunately, the win may not come against the San Diego Chargers, who have mesmerized us all with a 2-1 record that includes Keenan Allen taking on practice duties and their starting running backs reminding me of the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan.
Atlanta Falcons @ Minnesota Vikings
Last week, the Atlanta Falcons looked like the All-Madden team I would select in a Madden game and play against the randomly created European League teams after a painful loss to a real team. Seriously, every Falcons player put up video game numbers. Even the Falcons defense. That’s right, they had their first sacks of the season.
With Teddy Bridgewater taking over at quarterback, Matt Asiata taking over at running back, and… Rhett Ellison (who?) taking over at tight end on the Vikings, the Falcons will probably have another big game.
Over/Under on the quarter the Falcons replace their whole team with the practice squad: 3rd quarter
Philadelphia Eagles @ San Francisco 49ers
I’m having a hard time with this Eagles team. They’re winning. Not just against the pathetic NFC East and the Jaguars, but they won against a real team — the Colts. And they’re winning with an offense that spreads the ball around more than Magic Johnson.
Now the Eagles try to make it 4-0 as they take on the 49ers, who seem as confused as Jim Harbaugh looks when he starts arguing with an official on a call that went in his favor. I’ve seen that happen twice so far, which makes me wonder if Harbaugh has anger issues and just likes to yell. I kid. I always figured that.
New Orleans Saints @ Dallas Cowboys
A game like this makes me wonder how defensive coordinator Rob Ryan prepares. Besides practicing a game plan, of course. I imagine Rob has a mannequin dressed up in a #9 Cowboys jersey and throws it out onto the field for the defense to chase after and stomp into the ground. Maybe Rob steps in himself to show them how it’s done.
The Cowboys defense aren’t that lucky. In fact, if Rob Ryan was their defensive coordinator, they might expect him to put on pads and line up at defensive tackle as a player-coach. He’d probably do better than who they have now.
Monday, September 29
New England Patriots @ Kansas City Chiefs
The good news is that the New England Patriots beat the Oakland Raiders. Barely, but a win is a win. More good news is that Rob Gronkowski is almost to full, get re-injured speed. But the best news about the Patriots this season is that Tom Brady cut down that ridiculous beard. Now he’s going for the “Dirty Keanu Reeves” look.
The Chiefs? Well, let’s just say that they have fully replaced Jamaal Charles by having running back Joe McKnight handle almost 1/3 of the team’s receptions and Knile Davis taking almost all of the hand-offs. Which makes it even more amazing that one man used to do all of that.
Patrick Emmel is a sports humorist who once punted a soccer ball fifty yards to his teammate, who then scored the only goal for his college intramural soccer team’s season. Seriously, that kick was placed PERFECTLY. He is also still a believer that Colt McCoy is going to break out as an NFL quarterback. You can read more of his obnoxious commentary at This Jeer In Sports and heckle him on Twitter @Patrick_AE.