NFL Overreaction Week 3

By Michael Nerantzis

After winning plenty of free meals by beating the IHOP manager in NFL pick ‘em last year, my golden luck was tarnished in the NFL’s third week by only picking one correctly of the selected five games this season. However, it was not I who experienced the most embarrassment this week.  That honor goes to the New York Giants, the team I threw my support behind in last week’s column, who completely blew it against the mediocre Carolina Panthers.  With the Giant’s offensive line looking as sturdy as the Berlin Wall and Eli Manning’s neck seemingly glued to his collarbone, it doesn’t appear the Giants will be going anywhere fast after this gaudy performance.  Today’s topics include Adrian Peterson’s empty promises, the Bengals living up to their Hard Knocks hype, and how the only thing to expect in the NFL is the unexpected.

Adrian (Not All-Day) Peterson.  After an off-season in which Adrian Peterson promised everything but a mission to Jupiter, being only fifth in the league in rushing is quite a disappointment.  With Peterson  rushing for no more than 100 yards once in the first three weeks, the already far-fetched goal of rushing for 2,500 yards this season is already out of reach.  The only way he would be able to reach 2,500 yards is if he ran for an average of 171 yards in each of the remaining 13 games. What should be Peterson’s concern, however, is his Vikings are 0-3.  With the running game playing less and less of a role in the modern day NFL, it is not shocking that a team that relies singularly on one player to win them games is doing so poorly.  The only way I see the Vikings crawling themselves back to  respectability (playoffs are out of the question in my mind) is if quarterback Christian Ponder’s arm stops throwing pick-sixes.

Earning their Stripes.  I’ll be honest. I was a Hard Knocks geek this August, which is why I’m pulling for the Cincinnati Bengals to do well this season.  The Bengals showed on Sunday that even being down 16 points in the third quarter against a perennially great team (Green Bay Packers), they could capitalize on great opportunities down the stretch to win the game.  If this were the stock market, I would be buying this team like I would have bought Apple stock in 2002.  The Bengals came into the 2013 campaign loaded on both sides of the ball, but began the season with a head scratching loss to the Chicago Bears (great team, but should NOT have lost that game, especially to a first-year head coach from Canada) which took them temporarily out of the media spotlight.  After this come-from-behind victory over the Packers, I see the Bengals going into their week 12 with an 8-3 record due to a soft eight game stretch.  The emergence of rookie running back Giovani Bernard out of UNC has provided an extra element of attack for the already lethal Cincinnati offense.  Bernard combined with Law Firm (Ben Jarvus Green-Ellis) has provided a great 1-2 punch thus far, keeping defenses honest, unlike in past years when air assaults were predictable from the Bengals.

Upside down league.   At this point, I don’t think a single person in America would have bet that the New York Jets would have more wins than the Redskins, Giants, Buccaneers, Vikings, and 49ers combined.   Colin Kaepernick has a lower quarterback rating than Terrell Pryor, and Dez Bryant is tied with Julian Edelman with 201 receiving yards for 33rd in the league.  To show how different this year is, Al Michaels has yet to been charged with a DUI and Terrell Owens has not been sighted doing crunches on his driveway.

Other 10 Tidbits

1. I still don’t see the Cowboys as a strong contender.  They did what they were supposed to against a mediocre Rams team and deserve no extra fanfare.

2. When the Saints make a run in the playoffs, remember where you heard it first.  As I said last week, this team is flying under the radar and when they beat the Patriots this week, y’all will be crawling back to me.

3. I can say this with complete confidence: The Alabama Crimson Tide could beat Jacksonville; the Jaguars are just that bad.

4. I believe in the Dolphins.  I’ve never been a person to hop on the bandwagon for an up and coming team, but there’s something about what Joe Philbin has done in South Beach that has me excited.

5. I stood up for the 49ers after last week’s poor performance against the Seahawks, but now they will have to earn my trust back after another defeat at the hands of Indianapolis.  Poor play coupled with Aldon Smith’s indefinite departure from the team leaves the future murky for San Fran.

6. Now that the Colts have two of the top three picks from the 2012 draft, I see big things coming for Andrew Luck’s team.

7. Peyton Manning is Benjamin Button, except his name is Peyton Manning and he plays quarterback for the Denver Broncos.  He has now thrown for more touchdowns (12) in the first three weeks than any passer in NFL history.

8. After the Ravens opening game disaster, Joe Flacco has led his squad to consecutive wins over quality teams.  Now Jacoby Jones just needs to stay off party buses and get back on the field.

9. The Falcons have introduced their habit of losing in the playoffs to the regular season.

10. I had to drive to Maryland for my Grandfather’s birthday this Sunday and was left without a TV to watch the NFL on.  Thankfully, my dad let me subscribe to NFL Redzone on my phone for only $5 a month and my life has been revolutionized.  I would never give up watching full games on my TV at home, but Redzone on your phone is the perfect savior for Sunday family outings.  Highly recommend.

I am making a bet with my readers that if I don’t pick at least 3/5 of this week’s games correctly, I will post a video of me singing “We Can’t Stop” by Miley Cyrus on The Husky Headline Website.

Week 4 Picks

Baltimore @ Buffalo (CBS 1 p.m.)

NYG @ Kansas City (FOX 1 p.m.)

Washington @ Oakland (FOX 4:30 p.m.)

New England @ Atlanta (NBC 8:30 p.m.)

Miami @ New Orleans (ESPN 8:30 p.m. Monday)