There’s nothing worse than being that guy who jumps the gun too early in the season. Take it from Trent Dilfer, who puffed out his chest on national television and sputtered out the 8 most shockingly dumb words in a row of all time, “the Patriots are just not that good anymore” after last season’s devastating loss at Kansas City. To be honest, no real judgments should be made or conclusions drawn until around the midway point of the season. Fortunately, I tend not to bet against Belicheck and Brady, so I’ll take my chances and be that guy.
Takeaway #1: The Colts are Trash
I really didn’t need to see week 1 for this brain buster, but apparently the rest of America and every single one of the NFL Network “analysts” who picked Indy to win the Superbowl did. Side note, the dictionary definition of analyst is “expert who examines something” so we’re certainly going to need a new word for Marshall Faulk and company. The jury’s out on Indy. Soft on defense. Can’t block on offense. Punch them in the mouth, they complain about PSI of the footballs. I don’t know what’s more inept, the coaching of this team, or the general managing. You heard it here first, in a few months we’ll be seeing ex-GM and coach Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano on Shark Tank trying to pitch their new and improved “air pressure football gage” to Mark Cuban and the crew. Shoot, I’d buy it. I mean come on guys, integrity right? Did anyone check Buffalo’s footballs at half? Talking to you, Troy Vincent! It’s not all despondent in Indianapolis though, as Indy Star writer and personal favorite troll Greg Doyel astutely tweeted sometime around the 3rd quarter:
Colts CB Vontae Davis has eliminated Bills WR Sammy Watkins. Forget catches; Watkins hasn’t even been targeted yet.
WHOA WHOA, HOLD THE PHONE! Talk about a game changer! Is there room next to the “AFC Finalist” banner hanging from the dome?! Andre Johnson, Frank Gore, Todd Herremans, and Phillip Dorsett were Ryan Grigson’s dazzling solutions for stopping the run. Goodluck against New York next week, funny feeling it may be closer than everyone thinks…
Takeaway #2: Something needs to give with Denver’s Offense
I generally like to avoid kicking a guy when he’s down… who am I kidding? Peyton Manning is COOKED. Like bad. Like so bad I feel bad. If he looks like this in September, what are we getting in November? Ryan Leaf? Archie Manning? Holy Smokes. When the snow falls? He’s like a professional pitcher with a 75 mile per hour fastball…and no breaking ball. The beauty of Manning’s game is his ability to read a defense and call his own offensive plays to attack said defense. Unfortunately, Gary Kubiak now calls the shots in Denver and needs the vast majority of control on offense, effectively eliminating Peyton’s value of wearing two hats (QB and offensive coordinator) and brilliance.
For anyone who needs a refresher, here is one of Tom Brady’s leaked emails during “Deflategate” that for all intents and purposes emasculated Manning before the Denver game last season.
Tommy Boy, we appreciate your respect for your old pal Peyton, but from the looks of it, he’ll be sipping Coors Light on the golf course a few Sundays from now and you’ll be collecting game checks and social security checks at the same damn time.
Listen, I like to deuce on Manning as much (potentially more?) as the next guy, but he’s had an incredible career and is “more probably than not” a top 5 quarterback of all time. Regrettably, the only person who thinks Peyton can still do anything more than hand the ball off, is Peyton. I don’t know how much longer the Kubiak/Manning honeymoon is going to last. Thankfully for the Broncos, that defense will keep them afloat long enough to get crushed in the first round of the playoffs.
Takeaway #3: The AFC East is the best division in Football
Hey, can’t be worse than Dilfer. This one may come back to bite me, but the talent is real. It’s tough to put faith in the bungling batch of quarterbacks our division has to offer, but with beyond legitimate defenses and (mostly?) serviceable offenses, our three AFC East counterparts have a chance to make some noise this year. Don’t get me wrong, the Pats will have this thing wrapped up by week 16 again at the latest, but I don’t see any of the other three teams that far below .500. Buffalo and Miami will threaten for a playoff spot, and the Jets will at the very least make each game grueling for opposing offenses. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to play the AFC South. I’ll say 10, 9, and 7 wins for the Bills, Dolphins, and Jets respectively. Unfortunately for the Bills, next Sunday won’t be one of them.