The 49ers and Patriots
The 49ers dismantled the Carolina Panthers and their rookie QB Sunday, 51-13. They have the second-best defense in football, and perhaps, a DPOY AND Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate on their defensive line in Nick Bosa (3 sacks and an interception Sunday). Their defensive backfield caused Kyle Allen to throw three interceptions on the day, he hadn’t thrown one before facing this woodchipper defense. The 49ers offense continues to impress as well. They’re averaging 29.6 points a contest, the third-highest total in the league. Jimmy Garropolo hasn’t looked like anyone’s idea of a franchise-quarterback, (9 touchdowns, 7 INT’s.) however, he’s racked up 7 wins and they just added Emmanuel Sanders. The running offense, which is predicated on misdirection, has impressed no matter who’s carrying the ball; wideout Deebo Samuel had an 18 yard carry for a touchdown on Sunday. This is simply a team that is good at every phase of the game. Their schedule will tighten up in the second half of the season, namely two games against the division-rival Seattle Seahawks. Continued injury luck could carry this team into the NFC-Championship.
The Patriots story is much the same as the Niners, except they have the best defense in the NFL; and if the first half stats hold relatively stable, the best defense in the NFL EVER. Through eight games the Patriots have allowed 7.6 points per contest. The Patriots defense has allowed four touchdowns through eight games, they have also scored four touchdowns. What a remarkable accomplishment through eight games. TomBrady has been less than stellar this season, and the running game is nothing to write home about. Brady’s endgame isn’t week 7 of the regular season, though, its the Super Bowl. The Patriots stable of receivers are capable enough, and James White is a weapon. If the offense can get relatively close to their level of production last year this team will steamroll into the Superbowl. The Patriots are by far the class of the AFC, especially as their main competition, The Kansas City Chiefs, are missing their star quarterback. I am not one for Patriots Pravda, however, what this defense is doing this year is absurd and it’s different enough from past Pats dominance to be intriguing.
Brissett simply gets the job done, week in and week out. A week removed from a four-touchdown performance, he didn’t have the same effectiveness last Sunday but he put one in the W column. Brissett made two plays in the fourth quarter on the goal-line that undoubtedly inspired every one of his teammates. On the first play, he nearly stepped out of the back of the endzone for a safety that would have ended the game; on the second play Von Miller nearly beheaded him but he somehow ducked and threw a dart to T.Y. Hilton. Brissett’s stats weren’t flashy, 15 for 25 202 yards, but what is impressive is how he avoids mistakes and manages the game when he’s not making highlight touchdown throws. Marlon Mack had an impressive game on the ground as well, rushing for 76 yards and a touchdown (4.0 YPC). The most impressive player of the game, meanwhile, Darius Leonard, racked up 10 solo tackles and added a sack. This guy might be the best second-round draft choice in the past ten years. The Colts are 5-2 and should win their division despite the presence of the Houston Texans in their division.
The Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers looked like the Aaron Rodgers of old on Sunday night. He threw for 300 yards and 3 touchdowns, including one that had about a 0% probability of happening. Aaron Jones continued his torrid pace accounting for over 225 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns. Jones has now scored 11 touchdowns this season. The defense wasn’t spectacular but they held up when they needed too. The Packers will face stiff competition in this division in the last 8 games. There are no pushovers in their division although the Bears look to be dead after another loss because of a kicker. However, the Minnesota Vikings are a formidable team that look to be rounding into form. The Packers need to get more out of their defense if they are going to truly contend into January.
0-8. Someone please buy this team and move them out of Cincinnati so I can be put out of my misery. Every week we find a new way to lose. This past week’s performance was so bad that they decided to bench Andy Dalton three hours before the trade deadline. Why?!! Andy Dalton, average as he is, has played quarterback semi-competently for almost ten seasons! He holds trade value! The Bengals could have traded him for draft capital, but instead, they spiked his value by benching him and, in fact, didn’t trade any of their aging veterans. That means we’ll say sayonara to the old redhead this summer and get nothing in return. This team is allergic to trades and free agency which are two of the three avenues to success in the NFL. The other is building through the draft. The Bengals picked John Ross over Pat Mahomes and Billy Price over Lamar Jackson in back to back years. Not great. I truly don’t know what to say about this team anymore, or if I even want to be a fan. Thank God there’s a bye on Sunday.
The only thing capable of cheering me up Sunday was another dysfunctional Browns loss. The Pats eviscerated the Browns. The Browns turned the ball over on three straight plays, and the third turnover, a Baker Mayfield throw into a defender’s chest *Chef’s kiss* was an ocular feast. The Browns are 2-5. Baker Mayfield has thrown twice as many interceptions as touchdowns. Freddie Kitchens needs to be drug tested because his decision making makes it seem likely that he ingests quaaludes before games. OBJ, who may be able to read a defense but can’t read a moment for his life, gave Tom Brady his cleats Sunday night while Baker Mayfield looked on sourly like a spurned boyfriend. No matter what they do, no matter what players they acquire, they will always be the Cleveland Browns.