Three Takeaways From Week Three Of The NFL season
1. The New York Giants are in trouble. Big Trouble. After a 38-0 trouncing courtesy of the Carolina Panthers (the 0-2 Carolina Panthers, mind you), the Giants are now 0-3. Less than five percent of teams to start a season 0-3 have made the playoffs, and the Giants don’t look like a team that is getting out of their hole anytime soon. Eli Manning barely threw for .500 percent completion on Sunday, and Hakeem Nicks didn’t make a catch. The Giants were outgained 402-150, while Manning added to his league-leading interception total with another pick. But the offensive line contributed to his struggles, allowing Manning to be sacked five times in the first quarter alone, and seven times total. The rushing game is still hurting the Giants, as the team only has 133 yards on the group through the first three games (40 of which came after the team was down 31-0 on Sunday). On the other end of the spectrum, the Giants defense allowed quarterback Cam Newton to work them for nearly 37 minutes of the game. Carolina had 27 first downs and rushed for 194 yards, 120 of which came from DeAngelo Williams, and Newton added 45 of his own. Head coach of the Giants Tom Coughlin has to be on the hot seat. The schedule gets no easier for New York, playing at undefeated Kansas City next week and at offensive juggernaut Philadelphia the week after. Although the NFC East is a ridiculously weak division right now (1-7 in the last two weeks), it is hard to see the Giants turning it around and making the playoffs in the long run.
2. The Indianapolis Colts could be the next rising powerhouse in the AFC, and could be the favorites to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. Despite losing to the 3-0 Miami Dolphins in week two, the addition of Trent Richardson to an already potent offense has the Colts looking forward to February. One team that could be the speed bump in their run to the Super Bowl is the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning. Other than the Broncos, the Colts could be looked at as favorites in the AFC. The Patriots have had three mediocre wins, and Tom Brady is losing patience with his young receivers. Indy’s win against the 49ers yesterday showed that one of the AFC’s best can match up with one of the preseason NFL juggernauts. The Colts dominated San Francisco on Sunday afternoon, limiting Colin Kaepernick to only 150 yards in the air and 20 on the ground. It was the first time San Francisco had lost at home with Kaepernick as their starter. The Colts have some huge upcoming games, playing the Seattle Seahawks at home during week five and the Denver Broncos at home in week seven. These two games will determine the Colts’ potential to become the AFC’s best (against Denver) and perhaps the league’s best (against Seattle). If the Colts enter their bye week with a record of 7-1, it will be hard to argue against the Colts being Super Bowl favorites.
3. Andy Reid can still coach his way through the NFL, even with a new team. Reid faced his former team on Thursday night and stunned a Philadelphia crowd with a 26-16 win over Chip Kelly’s read option offense. Reid and Kansas City contained Michael Vick and company, and actually ended up running more plays than the Eagles, possessing the ball for almost 40 minutes of the game. Kansas City still hasn’t turned the ball over through three games, and forced five turnovers on the Eagles. Quarterback Alex Smith looked smart with the football, throwing for 273 yards and only 13 incompletions. Jamaal Charles was impressive, as always, totaling 172 total yards. Reid has the Chiefs looking good, and they have done it over worthy opponents, including the Dallas Cowboys. Kansas City won’t be tested heavily until after their bye week, when they play the Broncos twice in three weeks. Realistically, if the Chiefs can win one of those games, it is possible they could be the surprise of the season and potentially win the AFC West. But, for that to realistically happen, Kansas City will have to keep up their stellar defensive play, continue to win the turnover battle, and have Jamaal Charles and Alex Smith run a smooth offense. If Alex Smith starts to struggle and turn the ball over, pass-happy Reid will have trouble calling plays, and the Chiefs could spiral downward.