A couple of years ago, the Denver Broncos went 6-0 and I came out with a rant the next day – honest to God, I’ve never received more hate mail since I started publishing my rants. I basically came out and said “they’re not legit, they don’t have enough elite talent” they finished 8-8 that year. But to the fans, when their team is 6-0, they don’t want to hear that their not legit.
Listen, Buffalo is a great story but they do not, in my opinion, have elite talent to get through a 16 game schedule in the AFC when you’ve got teams like Pittsburgh and Baltimore and the Jets…you have to play them twice and now you gotta go to New England. Listen, you played Kansas City to open your season – worst team in the league. Then you got a break with Oakland – who played on Monday Night Football last week. So you not only got them on a short week, but they had to travel across the country on a short week, so they lost a day and a half of practice time and they led you by 21 points and fell apart. It was a nice win on Sunday, you deserve all the credit.
But I sorta said last week, that I felt that Buffalo might pull a shocker, now later during the week I wasn’t quite sure anymore, but it’s not a big shock. New England has got major problems because they can’t stop anyone and New England is highly over-rated this year and I’m a Patriots homer on this blog. Don’t get too caught up on 3-0! Yes, it does elevate your chances to making it to the playoffs, but let me tell you this. 0-3 means something, 3-0 doesn’t necessarily mean something. If your 0-3? You’re a mess! You can be 3-0 and you’ve had a scheduling break and aren’t a great team.
Buffalo’s not a great team, but they’re a fun to watch and it’s an amazing story. Oakland lost to Buffalo last week and to me, Oakland is much more for real for several reasons. Firstly, Oakland is filled with stars in this league. I mean, Richard Seymour is a star! Darren McFadden is a – these are game changing people! Who were superstars in high school, superstars in college and now stars in the NFL. Oakland up front, defensively, is scary!! Offensively, they pushed the Jets all over the field on Sunday.
Now I don’t love them at quarterback with Jason Campbell, but from what they say of him, he’s a very steady guy, very bright, get’s the big picture…not spectacular. But, I watched the Raiders and saw them push people around against the Jets and I look in that division. They get Todd Hailey twice; the Bills get Bill Belicheck twice. Raiders get Norf Turner twice; the Bills get Rex Ryan twice. The Raiders get Matt Cassel and Kyle Orten. The Bills have got to face Brady again in New England, Sanchez twice.
So, it’s a nice story for Buffalo and I think they’re going to win a lot of games, but I’m kinda buying the Raiders’ at 2-1 right now, when you look at their schedule and look at their division. You look at the Raiders’ schedule – the Bills schedule gets really tough later in the year. Look at the Raiders’ though starting in mid October: it’s the Browns and Chiefs at home, then get a bye and then Denver at home. Then you get a bunch of Minnesota’s, Chicago at home, Miami, Kansas City….you kinda look at the schedule and I think the Raiders are kinda for real. Jason Campbell talked about the win over the Jets on Sunday.
“This probably was a good win to have this early in the season, it was a statement in the game because the way we lost last week and to see a team rebound this week against a tough opponent and to go out and make a statement and win a game like this. I think it is a statement in the game for our team. It shows us how far we have matured and how far we’ve come” Listen, if they can split the next 2 games, the Raiders get a month of Browns, Chiefs at home, a bye and then Denver at home. That’s a really good month in the NFL – that’s a 3-0 month in the NFL. So I kinda look at the Raiders right now, you look at their schedule; you look at them physically up front. Hue Jackson, who knew Hue Jackson this time last year??? Good for them!!
Now, I’ll get hate mail from Buffalo “Andrew, you are…” just look at their schedule over the next 3 months. At Cincinnati, Philadelphia, @ Giants, Redskins are better than what we all thought, Jets, @ Dallas, @ Miami, @ Jets, @ San Diego, Tennessee is very physical. I mean, they go from early October to December…they don’t get a break!! They’re break is home against Tennessee! That’s their break game. That’s a tough tough schedule….really tough!
Here’s something else – you know, fans want inside stuff! I heard an interview with an NFL quarterback yesterday and he said “here’s a prime example: Aaron Hernandez of the Patriots was out on Sunday, he’s a tight end, their second favourite target – sometimes their first favourite target for Tom Brady. He was out yesterday and another one of their tight ends had a hammy injury and was cut, though they’ll probably bring him back.” So the reality is, the Patriots were playing with all these groupings Sunday that they normally don’t play with – that’s why Welker had 16 catches and Branch had none. The reality is, the Patriots on Sunday were missing tight ends – and they use them as much as anybody in this league. They were using groupings and settings they don’t normally use. Brady was off; a couple of tip passes later…pow! You have a bad afternoon…bad in terms of what’s good and what’s bad for Tom Brady.
But the hardest team – there is a team that is incredibly difficult for me to figure out and that’s the New York Giants! I kinda texted this to some of my friends….I don’t know what the hell to make out of the Giants! The last 3 years, there has been a point in the first half of the season where I’ve thought to myself “ Giants are the best team in football” then about Week 11 they go into a tail spin. I will say this and I’ve been saying it for a while now, I think Eli Manning gets no credit. The guy is working with backup wide receivers. Frankly, they didn’t run the football that great on Sunday, they only averaged like 3 yards a carry 3 ½ yards a carry. They ran it okay, they had a couple of big runs, but they’re running game wasn’t great. Eli is basically using back up wide receivers – I don’t know what to make of the Giants!!
The Giants to me are this enigma wrapped in a riddle, I can’t figure them out. They’re always good first half, even the year they won the Superbowl, I can remember streaming New York radio the year that they won the Superbowl and by Week 15 in the NFL season they were already talking baseball. Like, the Giants were on afterthought! They played well against the Patriots, they lost a game and everybody was like “you know what though? This is a lot to build on” then they went 4 straight games and beat Brady in the Superbowl. So even the year they won the Superbowl, I couldn’t figure them out!!
They’re beating Favre in blizzards, they’re beating Brady – who was unbelievable that year, they kept going on the road and winning, so I don’t know what to make of the Giants. I do know what to make of Eli Manning though, the guy has simply never been given the credit he deserves because he’s playing with backups now and winning road games in the NFL, please give the guy some credit!!