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I served in the US Navy from 2002-08; four of those years were as a Nuclear Propulsion Operator aboard an aircraft carrier. I engage in political activism in various Democratic circles when I am able to. I have a cat, and I am an uncle.

All opinions that I express are my own and do not reflect the views of any organization that I represent.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

2013 NFL SEASON WEEK 3



For the third time, Peyton Manning and Eli Manning faced each other. Once again Peyton emerged victorious; this time leading the Broncos to a 41-23 victory. Denver didn't need to rely too much on Peyton's arm so much for this game. The Broncos received assistance from their running game as Knowshon Moreno ran for two touchdowns and their special teams returned a punt.

The Broncos could start piling on wins here pretty soon. I'm looking at their schedule and they should be favored in every game. Potential trip-ups could be against the Eagles, at Dallas, the Chargers and Chiefs (division rivals), at New England, and at Houston late in the season. Denver could be the lone unbeaten team by mid-season if they play their cards right.

As for the Giants, they been playing some awful football. Want to know why they are 0-2? Turnovers, in fact 10 of them total. Now an 0-2 start does not necessarily doom a team, but it is not good. Since 1990, a team starting 0-2 has made the playoffs 12% of the time compared to 1-1 at 41% and 2-0 making the playoffs 63% of the time. Only three teams have started the season 0-2 and won the Super Bowl:

1993 Cowboys (but that was because Emmitt Smith was a contract holdout for the first two games)

2001 Patriots (Tom Brady came in for an injured Drew Bledsoe)

2007 Giants (lost to the Cowboys in Week 1 and Packers at home in Week 2. Beat them in playoffs)

Seattle defeated the 49ers at home due to their defense forcing 5 turnovers. Including their last matchup between these NFC West foes which happened in Seattle, the Seahawks have outscored the 49ers 71-16. Seattle is rightfully deserving to be atop most NFL rankings.

The defending Super Bowl champion Ravens got their first win of the season over the Browns. Their next opponent is Houston which for the second week in a row won on the game's final play, this time against division rival Tennessee with a game winning touchdown in overtime.

And there was this bizarre sequence when Texans kicker Randy Bullock attempted a game-winning field goal at the end of regulation. I can't explain it. Watch it.

Miami is at 2-0, but that might not last. Miami's next three games are against the Falcons, at the Saints, and home against the Ravens. If the Dolphins are 3-2 before their bye week maybe this won't be another lost season for them.

During the week the Colts and Browns participated in a trade during the week. The Colts got running back Trent Richardson while the Browns got the Colts first-round pick in the 2014 draft. It appears that the Browns are positioning themselves for another rebuilding project that this team has done in since the franchise returned in 1999 to draft a quarterback in the upcoming draft.

 Speaking of quarterbacks, has RGIII come back too soon? The Redskins quarterback isn't making the explosive plays like he did last season, but this is still early in the season. Again an 0-2 start does not doom a team. But 0-3....

Speaking of the NFC East, well... there went the Cowboys' chances for a perfect season. Not like it was going to happen but it would been nice to be 2-0.

Dallas took their first loss of the season up in Kansas City against the Chiefs. Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium has the notoriety of being a tough place to play. This time it was the Cowboys who had the turnover bug. Dallas receivers and running backs fumbled the ball twice.



Play calling has to come into question in this one. Instead of going for it on 4th down with 4 minutes to play, coach Jason Garrett elected to go for a field goal instead of going for it or punting to at least shift the field position. I can understand the strategy WHY he did it. You're down 4 and you take the three. Now you're down one with less than 4 minutes to go now AND you have all three of your timeouts AND the two-minute warning.

Dallas kicked off and did not get the ball back until there was 16 seconds left and the team was pinned at their 4 yard line. Behind the running of Jamaal Charles, the Chiefs were able to run as much clock down, force Dallas to call their timeouts, and make any comeback attempt impossible.

On that final drive Charles ran for 47 yards. His total for the day was 55 yards.

So 85% of his rushing yards were gained on that final drive and I am sure it made many fantasy owners happy as Charles finished with 103 total yards and a receiving touchdown giving him a total of 16 points.

And of course Donnie Avery's defensive pass interference on 3rd down before the two minute warning kept the drive alive.

That's what you get with the Cowboys. One week they look like they can play to their potential, the next it looks like crap. Well, it sells newspapers, right?

Dallas and Philadelphia are tied at 1-1 for first in the division while New York and Washington are still winless, so not much has changed.

Up next for the Cowboys are the St. Louis Rams. The all-time series between these two teams is dead even. They have played each other 22 times in the regular season and 8 times in playoffs. The record is 11-11 in the regular season and 4-4 in the playoffs. The Cowboys and Rams didn't play each other for a period of nearly 10 years from 1992 to 2002. Since 2002, Dallas and St. Louis have met 6 times and both teams have gone 3-3 in those meetings.

Week 3 starts off with the continuation of the Andy Reid NFC East reunion tour, this time taking the show to Philadelphia later tonight. During his 14 seasons with the Eagles, Reid led the Eagles to the playoffs 9 times which 7 of those appearances were as NFC East Champions. In the playoffs during the Reid era, the Eagles made the NFC Title Game 5 times and appeared in the Super Bowl once. It will be interesting to see what kind of response Reid gets from the Philadelphia faithful. Remember, they once booed Santa Claus.

The Chiefs are 2-0 and have matched their win total from last season. If the Chiefs win at Philadelphia they will surpass their 2-win total from last season and off to their first 3-0 start since 2010.

Another homecoming takes place as the Texans safety Ed Reed returns to Baltimore to take on the Ravens. Last season Reed was part of the Ravens Super Bowl team and is the franchise's leader in interceptions, interception return yards, and pick-sixes.

Andrew Luck played college football at Stanford for current 49ers' head coach Jim Harbaugh. The Colts travel to San Francisco and most of the country will see this game in the late afternoon window.

Meanwhile some might see the Jets host the Bills. Both E.J. Manuel and Geno Smith came close to leading their teams to victories over the New England Patriots. Maybe... the Bills and Jets aren't as bad as we think they are. I might keep an eye on this one.

Sunday Night features the Bears bringing their undefeated record to Pittsburgh... where the Steelers haven't won a game yet this season. The Bears have been doing it with all three phases: defense, special teams, and this new thing call offense. Now those are some rare things: the Bears with a powerful offense and the Steelers looking at an 0-3 start which the last time it happened was in 2000, the last season of Three Rivers Stadium.

Monday Night is another installment of the Oakland-Denver rivalry. Expect another quarterback clinic from Peyton Manning in this game.

In the weekly football picks, I went 10-6. That would have been good, but Monica went 12-4 and Eli went 13-3. Mr. Blake has widened his lead to 4 games while Monica and I are tied for second place.


Me
Monica
Eli
Week 2
10-6
12-4
13-3
OVERALL
21-11
21-11
25-7


Times are Central Time
Picks are in BOLD
Games airing in DFW are noted by (DFW)

THURSDAY NIGHT, 7:20 PM (CT) NFL NETWORK
Chiefs at Eagles


CBS NOON
Browns at Vikings
Chargers at Titans
Texans at Ravens

FOX NOON
Rams at Cowboys (DFW)
Buccaneers at Patriots
Giants at Panthers
Lions at Redskins
Packers at Bengals
Cardinals at Saints


CBS 3PM
Colts at 49ers (DFW)
Bills at Jets
Jaguars at Seahawks

FOX 3PM
Falcons at Dolphins


SUNDAY NIGHT, 7:20 PM (CT) NBC
Bears at Steelers


MONDAY NIGHT, ESPN 7:30 PM (CT)
Raiders at Broncos


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