Something Wicked This Way Comes …….
Week three of the NFL season is now in our rear-view mirror and with it came the results leaving a great deal of the league in something of an after-shock. We have seven unbeaten teams , with the AFC on appearance having the better of the showing in terms of the success seen among the franchises. NFC champions the Seattle Seahawks remains a team in a state of disarray , albeit , they had their first win of the season with a 26-0 thrashing of the Chicago Bears , a team I believe will likely be among the worst of the NFL’s thirty teams this season.
Jay Cutler remains more of a liability to the Bears than he is an asset. Among the other NFC franchises, we have the San Francisco 49ers , looking as if they have been caught in a head-on collision , having been hit by a sixty-foot semi-trailer at high speed. Niners’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s season thus far has been one of sheer disappointment, while fans of the San Francisco 49ers appear to be pointing fingers at team CEO Jed Yorke and GM Trent Baalke for the franchise’s disarray.
The Niners’ assuredly embarrassing loss to the Arizona Cardinals was as abhorrent a sight as one would not wish to see on an NFL field. Head coach Jim Tomsula and the coaching staff are as much to blame for this defeat as the players themselves. This Niners’ team lacks not only confidence but also a great deal of leadership and discipline. There can be no excuse for the loss , even if one could attribute it the loss , to the fact the Cardinals were the better team on the day.
In week four the San Francisco 49ers will play host to the unbeaten Green Bay Packers (3-0) , where quarterback Aaron Rodgers seems to be on a record breaking pace for the season in terms of his own personal achievements during the Packers’ regular season schedule . Personally, I do not believe the Packers will face much of a daunting task from their divisional rivals within the NFC North during 2015 !
While I believe over the past two seasons we have seen the growth of Cam Newton as a player, until he leads the Carolina Panthers (3-0) on a deep run in the NFL postseason , for the moment, he will just be considered a very athletic and gifted quarterback. He possesses a great deal of athleticism which is undeniable, yet he is complemented by a roster of players who have yet to meet the goals expected of the fans or the ownership at the moment. Head coach Ron Rivera and the Panthers’ coaching staff have slowly begun to mold this roster into a competitive force within the NFC South as well as the NFL , but the real goal for this organization has to be deep run in the postseason and ultimately a Superbowl victory.
The Panthers romped to a victory over a very labored New Orleans Saints’ (0-3) team missing Drew Brees in this contest. Granted, Brees’ back Luke McCown was being asked to do a great deal in this match-up , this loss was indicative of how bad , the Saints have become this season. Three games into their schedule and I am not so sure the New Orleans Saints are capable of extricating themselves out of a hole of their own making. Next up for the Saints will be a home game against the Dallas Cowboys (1-2) , in a must-win contest for both teams , if either of these two franchises are to make sense of their season.
Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers will be taking their show on the road to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers , where Jameis Winston will be looking to acquit himself after his rather lackluster display in the Buccaneers’ week three loss , suffered at the hands of the Houston Texans. Going into this contest against the Panthers , I would be very surprised if the home team is able to pull of a victory against the visitors in this contests . Games between the two teams since Cam Newton was drafted by Carolina have been in favor of the Panthers’ quarterback.
Say what you will , in the aftermath of the debacle which engulfed and embarrassed the NFL hierarchy with Tom Brady seeing his proposed four game suspension bite the dust with US Federal District Court Judge Richard M Berman, siding with the player, The judge stated, the league had overstepped its limits in seeking to suspend the New England Patriots’ quarterback for the first four games of the Patriots’ regular season schedule. Deflate-Gate as this debacle and unmitigated disaster, has come to be known, isn’t simply about the accusations of the New England Patriots cheating , but it is a damning indictment of a league lacking in leadership from the hierarchy on down to the front office executives and among the players themselves.
Meanwhile, clueless individuals , notably the anal retentive fans pointing an accusing finger at the Patriots’ franchise , have been quick to overlook the misdeeds of coaches such as Rex Ryan , Josh McDaniels , Sean Payton and a slew of bothers. Needless to say, these same blithering idiots , with their short-term memory loss have quickly forgotten the antics of the New Orleans Saints’ organization and the antics surrounding the Bounty-Gate Scandal. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell remains the consummate imbecile , while the anal retentive and apathetic fans of this league continue to wax on lyrically about how great the NFL happens to be , but they appear to be nowhere intelligent enough to be succinct in their criticism of a clueless commissioner.
Tom Brady for his part has led the New England Patriots to an unbeaten three-game start to the season, with the Patriots’ quarterback going about his business , as if the scandal which engulfed his reputation was simply a meaningless obstacle. Questions may will still arise as to player’s innocence or guilt, but given the fact the league’s case as so ill-prepared , even the NFL’s SVP and Chief Legal Counsel Jeff Pash failed to take the stand to explain the NFL’s case against Brady , has simply been another indicator of the ongoing incompetence of this hierarchy under Roger Goodell’s leadership.
Tom Brady and the New England Patriots annihilated the Jacksonville Jaguars on their way to a 51-17 victory for their biggest win of the season , with their schedule still in its infancy . Brady has already amassed over 1,000 passing yards on the season , thrown seven passing touchdowns without an interception , with a completion percentage above sixty-five percent (65% ) and a QB rating in excess of 115.00 . Outstanding statistics for the four-time Superbowl winner, three-time Superbowl MVP and two-time League MVP . Awards being what they are and even in light of the most recent allegations , Brady has remained at the top of his game without any real distractions. Granted , there still remains the idiocy of the league , still holding out some hope they are able to suspend the player at some point during this season, but given the league’s poor presentation of their original case , there seems little chance of their having a successful ruling in a Federal Appeals Court , which renders Richard Berman’s verdict null and void.
Brady now remains single-minded in his pursuits , with franchise records and a number of career milestones now within his sight, but perhaps the biggest achievement yet remaining for the player , might be the chance to win a fifth Superbowl ring and championship with the Patriots’ franchise. His six appearances in the NFL’s biggest showcase event is a testament to his career and while there will remain detractors , the fact of the matter remains, neither player or the organization are solely to blame for the malaise and bad publicity this latest scandal has brought the NFL. The leadership within the NFL remains weak , and the owners seem more concerned with , money , profits , team value and less about a positive image, while Roger Goodell’s continued incompetency and lack of real leadership ,drags the NFL further into a quagmire of its very own making.
The New England Patriots will head into week four with a bye , though still looking to increase their lead within the AFC East , while also seeking to remain among the front-runners within the AFC. Their next opponents will be the Dallas Cowboys , whom they will meet in week five of the regular season at Cowboys Stadium , Arlington , Texas on the 11th October , 2015. Defensively , the Patriots still leave a great deal to be desired , as the defensive coordinator Matt Patricia will certainly have to assess the issues of the secondary and their continued woes. It remains the one area Bill Belichick must have his deepest concerns and reservations about , as the team seeks to progress this season .
Heading into this season, it was felt, both the Baltimore Ravens (0-3) and Oakland Raiders (2-1) might be in a position to do something special within their respective divisions in 2015. Three weeks into the season and the struggles of both franchises can be chronicled with just a couple of words, “ they have been abysmally awful “ . The Raiders might well be off to one of their best starts in recent seasons , but head coach Jack Del Rio knows a great deal more consistency will be needed from this team , especially from quarterback and presumed on-field leader Derek Carr . The AFC West could become a highly competitive division with the starting quarterbacks within, all looking to play a significant role in their teams’ success. The Raiders will be looking to make sure that their fortuitous start to the season doesn’t come crashing down around their ears when they face the lowly Chicago Bears (0-3) in a game where the visiting Raiders take to Soldier Field in Chicago , Illinois on Sunday , 4th October , 2015.
Joe Flacco is coming off a season where by his own lofty standards , he was less than satisfactory for the Baltimore Ravens. Their indifferent start to this season makes his and the team’s situation all the more bewildering. An early season favorite for the Superbowl and now win-less, they might not be in a position to win the AFC North or gain a postseason berth given their poor start to the year. It doesn’t seem that long ago when Flacco’s postseason exploits which led the franchise to their second Superbowl title was being lauded as one for the ages . Out of those scintillating performances from 2012 , Flacco was able to land himself a six-figure deal making him one of the highest paid quarterbacks in the NFL . Now while the Ravens have been frequent visitors to the NFL postseason since their 2012 triumph over the San Francisco 49ers , the real issues have been their failure to draft well , ill-timed free agent acquisitions, while several players on the team have failed to meet the expectations of the coaching staff and front office . GM Ozzie Newsome may well be feeling the need to look over this roster and begin to cut the waste from this lineup.
When the Baltimore Ravens take to the field to play the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on 1st October , 2015 in their Thursday night contest , should the Ravens fail to gain their first win of the season. In all probability John Harbaugh will likely be under a great deal of pressure in his role as the head coach , beyond the fallout of a fourth consecutive loss for the franchise.
Things are not all that sunny on the beaches of Miami or with the South Florida based Miami Dolphins (1-2). Quarterback Ryan Tannehill along with his teammate Ndamukong Suh have bared the brunt of the criticism leveled at the team as well as Joe Philbin and the coaching staff . One could question the fact the Dolphins chose to make Suh one of the highest paid defensive players in the league, with Suh yet to show the leadership or ability sought to lead this defense . With the New England Patriots off to a solid start and the New York Jets (2-1) under Todd Bowles , seemingly revitalized by the stabilizing lay of Ryan Fitzpatrick and seasoned veteran corner-back Darrelle Revis back to his best as he has played with a great deal of zeal, leading the Jets’ secondary , among the best in the league at this point of the season.
Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins will play host to the New York Jets on Sunday afternoon in a divisional clash, with Miami seeking to avoid a third consecutive loss at this early stage of the season. Tannehill will be tested in this contest and his play has to be at its very best , if the Dolphins are to overcome this very confident Jets’ team .
Picture gallery . Click on an individual frame and you can view the image in a reformatted size alongside the accompanying narrative.
At this stage of the season with there still being a great deal to play for , several of the teams who remain win-less now will now have to play solid football over the remainder of the season if they are to prevail with their season’s ambitions. Yet, for all we have witnessed from the teams, I cannot help but wonder what is likely to happen next.
On this date in NFL history