Going into week 3 of the NFL, there were many things starting to take place already. Already the worse teams were happy sitting at the bottom contemplating life for next year wishing the lock out had occured, yet seeing a silver lining in the form of Andrew Luck in the 2012 Draft. The better teams have set off like collective terraced houses on fire, Patriots (2-0), the champion Packers (2-0) and the Saints (1-1) although that one defeat came against the prevailing Pack on opening night and went to the last play of the game.
Surprises the Eagles are (1-1), shooting themselves in the foot at Atlanta last Sunday evening when victory was there for the taking. The fear I had about the Eagles was starting to come to fruition, hype can be a worrying aspect of any side and Michael Vick needs to be healthy and on the field of play for four full quarters.
Further surprises can be found by 2-0 sides the Buffalo Bills, Washington Redskins and Detroit Lions. Whilst the first two names did turn some heads, I have not been surprised by the Lions success - the core for a solid defence has been in place for some time (and they still have Nick Fairley to return), they have a fully fit Matthew Stafford who did wonders with one arm, imagine what he can do with two and he has weapons. A beast wide out in Calvin Johnson, a solid running back in Jahvid Best coupled with the poise Stafford has shown, maybe the Lions can be the team to push the Packers in the NFC North instead of the Chicago Bears.
So going into the NFL's third week it was a bit surprising to find people thinking that things will follow their natural course. The Bills upset the Patriots at home 34-31 scoring off a last kick field goal breaking a 15 game losing streak and making a statement, Tom Brady still threw for 300+ yards but his four interceptions were costly. And for the second week running the Bills score with a last minute drive led by Ryan Fitzpatrick who is becoming a leader for the Chan Bailey led offense that is getting results. The Bills are for real, and the AFC East is now a three team race.
A three team race because the New York Jets lost in Oakland, a surprise to many but for me I called this one on the ESPN game 'Pigskin Pick'em' as I felt Oakland were on the wrong end of a shootout in Buffalo last week and did enough through the air and on the ground to worry a Jets defense that has to travel to the other side of the country. This seems an odd factor in the NFL, east teams hate travelling west and vice versa and so often the fact that teams are taken out of their comfort zone and go to a near enough foreign land does strange things to a professional athlete. They know the schedule so why does it happen?
Detroit won a game they might have lost last season, winning in OT in Minnesota so a big road win for the Lions but worries persist for the Vikings who again threw away a halftime lead and cannot seam to get their act together for 60 minutes, and once Peterson has had a good half the Lions blocked him up and their offence became stagnant as Stafford and company responded to go 3-0.
The Eagles as I suspected (though I did not pick it) lost at home to an Eli Manning led Giants side 29-16 which flatters the supposed 'Dream Team' as Manning threw 4 TDs and found weapons when he apparently had none. Michael Vick again did not last the game, this time suffering a suspected broken hand which may mean him missing next week's action which may not be all bad news. Vick's type of play and lack of cohesion means things like injuries are common place, and he is currently 1-6 dating back to last season.
The Chargers won again but unconvincingly in a division battle against the poor Chiefs, with Philip Rivers winning but throwing another two INTs - the Chargers are in danger of being sucked up into a proper division battle if the Raiders maintain their good form.
Monday Night Football this evening comes from Dallas (1-1) in their home opener against the Redskins (2-0), the Cowboys could have been 0-2 but for the intervention and inspiration of Tony Romo last week in San Francisco who came off the bench with a rib injury and punctured lung to win the game in OT. Unfortunately, his main weapon that day Miles Austin is not playing and Des Bryant remains doubtful, along with a 50% Felix Jones at running back so expect Jason Witten to be utilised whilst Rex Grossman continues his rising from the ashes and attempts to go 3-0 and sit atop the NFC East. Prediction; a low scoring encounter which may come down to a FG or maybe even OT - but the Redskins look more complete due to the injury setbacks the Cowboys are suffering.