NFL Week 3 Notes: 2010
September 29, 2010 12:45 AM
Week 3 notes on the National Football League
1) If your NFL team is going to struggle, there are 2 times you prefer it to happen, either the beginning of the season or the middle of the season. You never want to struggle late in the season because you want to be a hot team entering the playoffs. The Saints have struggled early and are still 2-1. They have plenty of time to work out the kinks the rest of the way and make themselves into that hot playoff team.
2) Cheerleader of the week: Marissa D. of the Jacksonville Jaguars Cheerleaders, aka The ROAR. Marissa is a True Blood fan. Despite that obvious deficiency she qualified for this honor thanks to the quality of her other assets.
3) The New Orleans Saints lost to the Atlanta Falcons in overtime. Drew Brees loosened up a bit in an attempt to get the offense flowing, and it worked to a degree. The passing game was clicking more often than it had in the previous 2 games. But that's also what led to Brees throwing 2 INTs. He got a little too loose.
4) The Vikings and Cowboys got their first wins of the season with their backs against the wall. I think the Vikings are cooked, though. The Packers are the class of the division and the Bears are surprisingly good. Which leaves Greybeard and the Vikings on the outside looking in.
5) My Top 5: Pittsburgh Steelers, New Orleans Saints, Indianapolis Colts, Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers.
Ravens/Steelers is a big AFC game this week. I'll take the Steelers in that one. Eagles/Redskins is an intriguing NFC game. I'll take the Eagles.
6) I can't tell if the Redskins are improved over last year or not. Beat the Cowboys, hanged tough with the Texans, and lost to the Rams. All that tells me is that the Redskins don't have an identity. They're working it out, I guess, which probably equals a 7-9 season at best.
7) These 2010 Saints are looking more like the 2008 Saints than the champion 2009 Saints. 2008 was the year Brees threw more than 5000 yards, but their run offense and run defense were pretty pathetic. Currently the Saints are ranked 32nd in rushing yards per game, 30th in rushing yards allowed per game, and 29th in opponent's 3rd down percentage. You don't go to the playoffs with those kind of numbers.
8) Dysfunction suits the Raiders and 49ers, they wear it well.
9) Fantasy tip: Don't bother with the Chiefs defense if it's available on waivers. They're on a bye week and their upcoming schedule includes games against the Colts, Texans, Broncos twice, and Chargers.
10) CrocoWife recently became aware that Mike Vick is playing in the league again. She was outraged. Then I told her he is on my fantasy team. Her head exploded like the women in the audience at Oprah's favorite things.
Fearless Prediction: Stone-cold lock!
Saints 30, Panthers 17
Bonus! New Orleans Saints notes!
1) Holy crap! Kicker Garrett Hartley is a goat again! After missing 2 field goals against the Vikings, then hitting a game-winner as time expired against the 49ers, this week he missed a potential game winner in overtime.
And now more than you ever cared to hear about Garrett Hartley.
First, he was a hero in the 2009 post-season. He hit a huge overtime field goal against the Vikings which put the Saints in the Super Bowl, and in the Super Bowl he set a record by making 3 field goals of 40 yards or more.
In 2010, he's been ridiculous. He missed both field goal attempts (both wide left) against the Vikings, in a game where every point was precious. He kicked a game winning field goal against the 49ers, but it was partially blocked, and its initial trajectory looked like it was on its way to going wide left. And then against the Falcons, he did go wide left on an overtime field goal attempt that would have ended the game.
The Saints have lost only 4 of their last 22 games. One of them doesn't count, it was the 2009 regular season ender where none of the starters played. Of the other 3 losses (games the Saints were actually trying to win), one was a legitimate loss to the Cowboys which ended their undefeated streak at 13 games. The other two losses were both lost when Garrett Hartley missed field goal kicks.
Being an NFL kicker is not easy, and quality kickers do not grow on trees. The name of the game is consistency and kicking under pressure. Hartley has been wildly inconsistent. He might help you win the Super Bowl, but he also might cost you a handful of close games.
Here's the rub. I like Hartley. I think Coach Payton likes Hartley. He's got all the physical skills to be a great kicker. But he needs to get his mental game in shape to stay consistent. One thing I love about him is that after the Falcons game, he owned it. He missed the kick, it was his fault, and he said as much. No excuses. The Saints are working out other kickers this week. I like the idea of signing John Carney back to the team as a mentor for Hartley, just like last season.
2) Saints stat of the week: 4. Number of consecutive wins the Saints are about to break off before facing the Steelers in a game on Halloween night that should be epic.
3) Where are Marques Colston and Heath Evans? Colston is averaging 5 catches for 50 yards per game and has zero touchdowns. Evans has 1 carry and 2 catches total in 3 games. Payton and Brees need to dial these guys up more often.