By: Michael Nerantzis
With the Jacksonville Jaguars looking worse than the season premiere of 2 Broke Girls, and Robert Griffin III looking rustier than my uncle’s 1976 Chevy, the NFL wraps up its second week of the 2013 season. As the most over-analyzed league in the United States, the media has a habit of labeling teams Super Bowl contenders one week to division doormats another thanks to only one fluke performance. On the slate this week is the Raiders’ conquering of the Jaguars in the 2013 Toilet Bowl, Tom Brady’s last stand, and the question of when Roger Goodell will excommunicate the Lions from the NFL.
Raiders Have Hope. Now that Terrell Pryor doesn’t need to sell his game jerseys for tattoos, he can focus purely on football, which is good for the Oakland Raiders. With their defeat of the Jacksonville Jaguars and their quarterback Luke McCown Blain Gabbert Chad Henne, they have taken themselves out of the “Worst Team in the NFL” conversation. Pryor looks sharp, molding himself into a quarterback somewhere in between Alkili Smith and Cam Newton. With a great back in Darren McFadden to complement Pryor’s running style, the Raiders are leading the league in rushing, averaging 198 yards in the first two games. A potent offense combined with a competent defense could lead to the Raiders making a run in January.
Tom Terrific Tumbles. Good thing for Tom Brady that he’s worth $120 million, because his playing days are slowly coming to an end. Coming off back-to-back tight wins over perennial cellar teams, the Patriots have established themselves as a team that will not be feared this year. In fact, I would bet that Aaron Hernandez’s jail team has a better receiving corps than New England, which fielded Julian Edleman, Aaron Dobson, and Kenbrell Thompkins as their wide-outs on Thursday. After quickly winning three Super Bowls in his first few seasons, Tom Brady and the Pats haven’t won in almost nine years. To put that in perspective, all three of the other major Boston sports teams have won their league championship in this time. After this Super Bowl layoff and the poor performances in the last two games, his legacy could now be called into question. Was he just a free-rider of the dominant Bruschi defenses of the 2000s? Or was it after his marriage in 2009 to Gisele Bundchen when Brady’s priorities went awry? The only way the Patriots will climb back out of obscurity is if the rod in Rob Gronkowski’s back heals to the rest of his spine. Until then, this may be the most overrated 2-0 team.
Save them the embarrassment. The Detroit Lions always do a good job of solidifying themselves as the worst franchise in the NFL, but in a time when the media is focusing on senseless things like the Redskins’ name and the Jets’ quarterback carousel, the focus should be appropriately turned to the excommunication from the NFL. No doubt this team is talented, with two number one and number two overall picks starting, but the team is not built to win, nor has it ever been. With only one contender for the title of the league’s worst franchise with the Browns, the Lions get the edge with their record 0-16 season back in 2008. After another dismal fourth quarter collapse to the lowly Cardinals who went 4-12 last season, the Lions now sit at 1-1 on the season. In this situation, I am not even asking for the team to be moved to somewhere like Los Angeles or Virginia, I’m calling for the complete eradication of a team with such a losing culture. The Lions have stood for nothing but sub-mediocrity for the last 84 years, not winning a Championship since 1957 after the infamous trading of legend Bobby Layne.
Other 10 tidbits
James Starks is not for real, and Eddy Lacey is not the solution to the Packers run game
Not sure the Texans are as good as advertised; they needed huge comebacks to win their first two games.
Don’t take your eyes off the Saints. This team is flying under the radar and with impressive wins over two division rivals, the sky is the limit with Sean Payton back on the sideline.
The Vikings are a one man team with Adrian Peterson.
After all the hype of the “rebirth” of the Cowboys carrying through week one, Dallas was a complete dud against the Chiefs, which is why I think they are trending down.
Don’t worry about the Giants. After losing its first two games against the Cowboys on the road and the Broncos, who are debatably the best team in the league, this Eli Manning-led team always kicks it in midway through December.
When Peyton Manning comes back to earth, the Broncos look balanced and even more explosive. I don’t know who’ll beat this team.
The Seahawks may have dismantled the 49ers on national television, but come January the script will be flipped.
The Steelers look like they should be competing in a game of bridge at an assisted living home, not on Monday Night Football at Paul Brown Stadium.
Heavily disappointed in Tony Dungy’s comments on Football Night in America about Robert Griffin III. It is clear he is just looking for attention when he suggests benching the Redskins quarterback if he does not perform well against the Lions on Sunday.
Week 3 Picks
Redskins vs. Lions (FOX 1 p.m)
Ravens vs. Texans (CBS 1 p.m)
Colts @ 49ers (CBS 4:25 p.m)
Bears @ Steelers (NBC 8:30 p.m)
Broncos vs. Raiders (ESPN 8:30 p.m Monday)