After sitting down and watching football literally all day on Sunday, it often leaves me with several reflections on the day’s events. In this piece every week, I will chronicle those reflections.
Minnesota Vikings: Hats off to the Minnesota Vikings. I am a neutral fan when it comes to rooting interest for a particular team in the NFL, but this year I have somewhat grown fond of the Vikings. They started the season by losing their starting quarterback to what sounded to be a horrific injury, and then bring in a subpar starting QB after giving a a first and fourth round draft pick. Teddy Bridgewater needed to be nothing more than a game manager for the Vikings, but he was their leader that most of the team looked towards. Sam Bradford has proven that he has been more than capable to lead this Vikings offense in the wake of the Bridgewater injury, and quite honestly make some throws that Bridgewater probably couldn’t have made. Then in Week 2 they lose the face of their franchise, Adrian Peterson. He went down with the knee injury that could possibly close out his Vikings career. Now, there is optimism that he could be back before the end of the season, but let’s wait and see. Yet, through all the dismay, the Vikings are currently sitting at 3-0 after knocking off the defending NFC Champion Carolina Panthers 22 to 10. The resiliency shown by this football team has been remarkable. Their defense is obviously their backbone, and they showed it this weekend by holding a high powered Panthers attack to only 10 points. The coaching staff has also done a marvelous job of crafting their scheme around the offensive players that they do have available and the results are proving that. If you are a Vikings fan, congratulations on the hot start, and hopefully it doesn’t end here for you.
Rookie Quarterbacks: Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott have been phenomenal for their respective teams. Dak Prescott has thrown for 767 yards in his first three games, and has thrown the ball 99 times and has yet to throw an interception. Carson Wentz has thrown for 769 yards, 5 touchdowns, and no interceptions. Wentz has also led his team to double digit point victories in every game this season, while Dak Prescott looked like a savvy veteran last night on Sunday Night Football leading his Cowboys to a 2-1 record. The Eagles knew they had struck gold when they got the kid coming out of Fargo, North Dakota, and that is exactly why they let Sam Bradford go to the Vikings. The Cowboys however, weren’t really sure what they had until this preseason, and now are going to be forced with a tough decision when Tony Romo fully recovers. It’s more than just Wentz and Prescott though, rookies Jacoby Brissett and Cody Kessler even looked good managing their teams as well. We may have a special rookie QB class among us.
Marvin Jones Jr.: It was devastating to the Lions and fantasy owners everywhere when Calvin Johnson decided to hang it up this past off-season. Lions fans were left questioning how his retirement would impact the offense. Matthew Stafford made a brash claim this off-season saying that he thought their offense would be even better without Calvin Johnson because now defenses wouldn’t know where the ball was going. Admittedly Stafford relied to much on Johnson in his tenure. Enter the oft injured free agent from Cincinnati named Marvin Jones. Jones entered this week never having back to back 100 yard games in his three year career after having 8 catches for 108 yards last week. Well, that isn’t true anymore, in Week 3 Jones had 6 catches for 205 yards and 2 touchdowns. He now leads the NFL in receiving yards for the season. By no means am I claiming that Marvin Jones Jr. is the better than Calvin Johnson, or his replacement, or anything like that, but that maybe Matthew Stafford was right. The uncertainty of how offensive coordinator Jim Bob Coooter would use his weapons in Detroit, has left opponents only grasping at Marvin Jones Jr. as he streaks by them down the field.
Philadelphia Eagles: Sam Bradford has probably been brought up to much in this column so far, but when the Eagles traded him before the start of the season many in the NFL thought they were waving the white flag. Myself included. Carson Wentz spent minimal time on the field during the preseason before getting injured, and the Eagles still had enough confidence in this guy to trade away their starter and make him their #1 QB with virtually no real reps in the offense. Sounds insane. Yet, the Eagles are sitting at 3-0 after blowing out the Steelers 34-3. Their defense has been spectacular and the growth of the pieces around Wentz has been evident as well. They are going to have a tough road ahead of them as they play in one of the toughest divisions in football, but I am not sure anyone expected them to be sitting atop the division 3 weeks into the season.
Defenses: Week 3 of the NFL season was the week of the defenses. I counted 11 teams that scored double digit fantasy points across most formats and three of which that scored 20+ points. It is very likely that a team defense won your matchup this week for you, or worse, you lost because of your opponent had the Chiefs, Vikings, or Bills. As long as I have played fantasy football I am not sure that I have seen a week in which defenses put up this many points. It was absolutely insane. Here are those defenses:
- Chiefs: 3 PA, 6 INTs, 2 FR, 2 TD
- Vikings: 10 PA, 3 INTs, 8 Sacks, 1 TD
- Bills: 18 PA, 4 INTs, 1 FR, 5 Sacks, 1 TD
- Eagles: 3 PA, 1 INT, 1 FR, 3 Sacks
- Patriots: 0 PA, 1 INT, 2 FR, 2 Sacks
- Ravens: 17 PA, 3 INT, 4 Sacks
- Chargers: 26 PA, 1 INT, 1 FR, 2 Sacks, 1 TD
- Browns: 30 PA, 2 INTs, 1 FR, 1 Sack, 1 TD
- Rams: 32 PA, 1 INT, 1 FR, 2 Sacks, 1 TD
- Raiders: 10 PA, 2 INTs, 1 FR, 1 Sack
- Colts: 22 PA, 3 FR, 3 Sacks
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