One of the frustrating things about the NFL is parity. This is on display this week as after only 3 weeks, there are only 2 undefeated teams and only 2 winless teams. This means a huge pack of relative mediocrity that has to be sorted out.
Philadelphia Eagles – The Eagles have barely broken a sweat in dispatching opponents. The Commanders went down with barely a whimper.
Miami Dolphins – Gave the rest of the league a road map for how to beat the Bills. Tight pass coverage and protect your quarterback at all costs.
Buffalo Bills – Will the rest of the league pay attention to what the Dolphins did? Ignore it at your peril.
Green Bay Packers – Making T. Brady look stupid at the end of a game earns you extra points with Red.
Kansas City Chiefs – Losing to the Colts gets you demoted. A win against the Buccaneers would go a long way to righting the ship.
Baltimore Ravens – Mr. Jackson seems to want that MVP trophy and will carry this team into the playoffs. A real duel threat as long as he stays healthy.
Los Angeles Rams – A shaky 2-1 record. Replay of last year’s NFC title game this week should be interesting.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Sorry Tom, 12 points is not going to cut it.
Jacksonville Jaguars – Looking surprisingly real so far. If they can stick with the Eagles this week, Red may start to believe.
Minnesota Vikings – Got lucky against the Lions – but who doesn’t?
Dallas Cowboys – Picking themselves up off the scrap heap so far. Can Rush carry them for another month?
Los Angeles Chargers – The Texans are the tonic for whatever ails you. If the Chargers lose this week – Sell!
Denver Broncos – Winning with baseball scores.
San Francisco 49ers – Losing with baseball scores.
Cincinnati Bengals – Will take beating up on Flacco Joe and the Jets to finally get a win. The key is giving Burrow time in the pocket.
New York Giants – Had a shot at 3-0. Blew it. Is anyone really surprised?
Cleveland Browns – An impressive win against Stealers. It doesn’t get any easier though.
New England Patriots – The offense is showing signs of life. Losing to the Ravens is not the end of the world.
Tennessee Titans – Will be okay – but only okay – until Derrick Henry’s legs fall off.
Chicago Bears – If they had beaten any team other than the Texans, Red would rank them higher.
Indianapolis Colts – Probably deserve a higher ranking after knocking off Chiefs but they are averaging 13.33 ppg.
Atlanta Falcons – Overcame the triple reverse time zone, inverse longitudinal hex to beat the Seahawks. That’s earns a tip of the old hat from Red.
Detroit Lions – Finding new and creative ways to lose.
Carolina Panthers – This is about the point where Red has trouble remembering what teams are left to rank and even more trouble caring.
New Orleans Saints – Who dat? No one you want running your team.
New York Jets – Almost pulled it out of the bag against the Bengals but Flacco Joe forgot his cane.
Arizona Cardinals – Probably the biggest disappointment so far this season. Can they hang on until D-Hop comes back to put some life into the passing game?
Washington Commanders – Someone in the NFC East has to suck. It used to be every team, now it’s just the Commanders.
Carolina Panthers – There’s a picture in the dictionary next to the definition of mediocrity. Go ahead guess.
Seattle Seahawks – Probably a contender for the Shit Bowl Game of the Week all season long.
Houston Texans – Could be ranked last but for the train wreck that is currently the Raiders.
Las Vegas Raiders – Rolling snake eyes so far. Texans’ fans are grateful.
Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar has started an investigation into the transportation of asylum seekers who were apparently lured onto a charter flight to Martha’s Vineyard by operatives working for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Salazar is looking for the person who reportedly made false promises of housing, jobs and money to the migrants many of whom were flown thousands of miles from where their immigration hearings will be scheduled. “Somebody preyed upon these people,” Salazar said a new conference to held to announce the investigation. Salazar has identified persons of interest but failed to disclose more.
DeSantis’ office wasted no time in exploiting a recent tragedy in responding to the Sheriff’s announcement. DeSantis’ communications director, Taryn Fenske, posted the following on Twitter.
“Immigrants are more than willing to leave Bexar County after being enticed to cross the border and ‘to fend for themselves.’ FL provided an opportunity in a sanctuary state w/ resources, as expected – unlike the 53 who died in an abandoned truck in Bexar County in June.”’
DeSantis pledges to continue to use Florida taxpayer funds to transport migrants to wherever he thinks the most political bang for the buck can be had.
Not quite as wild a weekend as Week 1 but with a few surprises nonetheless. Some teams already look to be in trouble and some are rising to the occasion. And as always most are just somewhere in the middle of the pack.
Buffalo Bills – In back to back weeks, the Bills have knocked off the defending champs and last season’s No. 1 seed in the AFC. And have hardly broken a sweat in so doing.
Kansas City Chiefs – Did not look great against the Chargers, but someone is going to have to convince Red the Chiefs don’t belong very near the top.
Philadelphia Eagles – This team looks very ready to play in dispatching the Vikings with ease.
Miami Dolphins – Tua tosses 7 count ’em 7 touchdowns. Holy crap. Maybe teams will start to cover Tyreek Hill now.
Tampa Bay Bucs – Unimpressive but still one of the undefeated. Real test comes in two weeks against the Chiefs still seeking revenge for Superb Owl butt-whipping.
New York Giants – Hey, Red is as surprised as you are.
Baltimore Ravens – Best of the 1-1 teams with very tough loss to Miami.
Green Bay Packers – Snapped back and took care of business against the Bears who might be awful.
Los Angeles Chargers – Second best 1-1 team in the AFC. Need to find a way to win close games.
Los Angeles Rams – Had a tough time putting away a pretty bad Falcons squad. Still plenty of talent here.
Arizona Cardinals – Red may be generous here but they found a way to win a tough game on the road.
San Francisco 49ers – May have come to their senses with Jimmy G. back under center.
New England Patriots – Enjoy it while it lasts.
Pittsburgh Stealers – See New England Patriots.
Denver Broncos – Okay you beat the Texans. Big Whoop!
Detroit Lions – When was the last time the Lions scored 36 points? Red would look it up but where is the fun in that?
Seattle Seahawks – 1-1 but on life support until the offense remembers that the point of the game is to score more points than the other team.
New Orleans Saints – Field goal, punt, punt, punt, punt, punt, fumble, interception, interception, interception, touchdown, fumble, downs is not going to win many games.
Jacksonville Jaguars – Skunking the Colts had to feel good. Maybe the Jags defense is for real.
New York Jets – Red may be charitable but Jets fans have to be thinking – our team might not completely suck this year.
Washington Commanders – Tough loss to the Lions does not portend well.
Minnesota Vikings – Yawn.
Dallas Cowboys – Grudging respect for knocking of the Bengals who look lost.
Cincinnati Bengals – Looking lost.
Cleveland Browns – Losing to the Jets is never a good sign.
Chicago Bears – Will beat another good team some day. But not any day soon.
Tennessee Titans – Is the Tannehill Reign of Terror over? Malik did nothing to ensure that on Sunday.
Las Vegas Raiders – Nothing good happening in the desert right now.
Atlanta Falcons – Showing some signs of life – protoplasmic in nature.
Houston Texans – Could have beaten the Broncos but for a series of blown coverages in the fourth quarter. Red was rooting for another tie because no team has ever gone 0-0-2.
Carolina Panthers – Checking for a pulse. Still checking.
Indianapolis Colts – Red is pretty sure that you can never win with zero points.
The AFC West is the pre-season pick for the Red’s NFL Division of Excellence in 2022. Red’s best guess is that three teams from the West make the playoffs come January.
Kansas City Chiefs – Once again Andy Reid is directing the Patrick Mahomes Show with regular stars Travis Kelce, Juju Smith-Schuster and Clyde Edwards-Hellaire featuring a really good offensive line and supporting cast members Marquez Valdez Scandling, Isaiah Pacheco and Jerrick McKinnon. With an offensive cast like that who needs a great defense? The Chiefs may not have a great defense but it is more than adequate to hold most teams to 20 points or fewer and let the offense take care of business. Yes, losing Tyreek Hill was tough, but there is enough talent here to take this team a long ways. Does Red foresee a game in February? Chiefs are 13-4 and would be better if not facing a brutal schedule with 9 games against 2021 playoff teams including the AFC and NFC champions, the NFC runner-up and the BIlls. Ugh.
Los Angeles Chargers – Every time Red has picked the Chargers to excel, they have disappointed him. This season may not be any different but Red is willing to roll the dice anyway. Justin Herbert is the best “young” quarterback in the league. He has a solid running game with Ekeler and Sony Michel to fill in. A capable receiving corps in Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. If he had a stud TE, the offense might be unstoppable. What the Chargers also have this season is a defense that can rise to the occasion and get a stop when needed in the 4th quarter. If the Chargers can ever figure out how to finish and win those innumerable one-score games, they might just challenge the Chiefs. Chargers might be better than the 12-5 slot that Red has them in.
Las Vegas Raiders – The much traveled Raiders seem to settle into the desert last season. There is no lack of talent if the Raiders can also settle on an offensive scheme that allows the options he needs to succeed. If the Raiders can hang around until Week 12 (including bye) with a 7-4 record, what looks to be a brutal closing stretch (Chargers, Rams, Patriots, Stealers, 49ers, Chiefs) will tell if the Raiders are playoff worthy or another also-ran. Red gives them a shot at a 3-3 close and a 10-7 record that might let them slip into the last wildcard spot.
Denver Broncos – The Broncos will be better and benefit somewhat from the last place schedule in getting to play the Jets. And as with the rest of the West they play the weak sisters of the AFC South. But with the top competition in the AFC West, the Broncos will struggle to keep up. Having a real quarterback helps, but not enough. Broncos are last and least in the West with a 7-10 record.
This could be the most balanced division from top to bottom in the NFL. But Red is running low on gas and time. A quick look at the AFC North is what results.
Baltimore Ravens – No team did more with less last season. The Ravens were ravaged with injuries, the defense was terrible, Lamar Jackson was not good in the clutch and yet they started 8-3 before losing 6 in a row to finish in last place. There were a few highlights. Justin Tucker broke the NFL record for the longest field goal in history, kicking a 66-yard field goal as time expired to beat the Detroit Lions 19–17. The Ravens also tied the record for most consecutive games rushing over 100 yards as a team with 43 in a 23–7 win over the Denver Broncos. But it was downhill from there. This season there appear to be at least 13 winnable games on the schedule. There are tough games against the Bills, Bengals (2) and Buccaneers, but every other game is winnable. Keep in mind that 5 of the season-ending 6 losses were by a total of 8 points. Red thinks the Ravens win the close ones this season and pick up a win against the Bengals at home. A 12-5 record is a big stretch but can be done. However, if L. Jackson sits all bets are off.
Cincinnati Bengals – An unbelievable turn around in 2021 got the Bengals their first playoff wins in 30 years. Red admits he wasn’t a believer, but Hallelujah Brother! Everyone will be gunning for the AFC Champs this season who were just 4 points shy of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. The Bengals biggest weakness last season was pass protection. Burrow was sacked 51 times in the regular season and 19 times in the playoffs doing his best imitation of Patrick Mahomes running for his life in the Superb Owl. The Bengals signed Karras, Collins and Cappa to plug those holes. The skill spots are still solid and if the line is better, watch out. The Bengals did not lose much talent over the off-season. There is a lot to like here. Bengals go 12-5 and lose the division title in a tie-breaker.
Cleveland Browns – Maybe some day the Browns will make a good move at quarterback. Perhaps Bernie Kosar will come out of retirement. Until week 12, much-traveled Jacoby Brissett will be under center. He does have three capable running backs in Chubb, Hunt and Johnson and the addition of WR Amari Cooper will help. The Browns defense is actually pretty good if it can just play 60 minutes this season and not give up late leads. Red wonders if there are enough masseuses in Cleveland to go around. All that talk about DeShaun Watson being such a great guy and role model appears to have been a bunch of hooey. He is talented and if the Browns can go 6-5 until his return he will have the freshest legs and arm in the game. Browns are 10-7 and in the mix.
Pittsburgh Stealers – It was inevitable that the Stealers would suck some day. Today is the day. 6-11 is the result.