Thoughts After The First Month Of the NFL Season

Steve O Speak

A Guest Blog By Fanspeak Contributing Writer John Manuel:

Now that the majority of NFL teams have played a quarter of the season we can start to get a grasp on which teams are contenders and which are pretenders. I wanted to throw out a few thoughts on what I have seen and what I feel may be coming up down the road. As with every season, it hasn’t been boring. Great games and compelling storylines have already taken place in the first month.

Let me first start with the team which comes into week five possibly playing the best. The New York Jets. Three weeks ago they looked like a fiasco, all the talk was about Rex Ryan’s mouth, Mark Sanchezs’ Trent Edwards style checkdowns and the lingering effects of doing Hard Knocks. Three straight wins have changed that. LT is playing like five years ago, Darelle Revis, Santonio Holmes, and Calvin Pace are due back this week and Sanchez hasn’t turned the ball over. Side note, my friends and I get a good laugh anytime Holmes is referred to SanAntonio Holmes. It happened this week by Dan Fouts again. I am far from sold on the Jets mainly because what I saw week one versus the Ravens. When it comes playoff time the Jets will be seeing tough defenses like the Ravens again or the Steelers or the Bills…just joking Bills fans. I have a feeling we could be seeing a lot more stagnant Jets offense like week one. Can the defense and the running game carry them like last playoffs, maybe?

If were talking checkdown quarterbacks, Kevin Kolb was the king of week 4. Take some chances bro. Its tough to discuss the Eagles without being biased, being a Redskins fan. Sometimes I worry that quarterbacks can change with one game. I think that this could be the case with Kolb. Bad memories of being chased down by Clay Matthews week one could have changed his whole demeanor in the pocket. As a Skins fan, I feel I have seen this twice. Patrick Ramsey had a promising start with Steve Spurrier and then one Sunday night he got destroyed in Miami. His night finished after being bulldogged Barry Windham style to the ground by Jason Taylor. He was never the same in the pocket after that. I also think Jason Campbell got weak in the pocket after showing lots of poise early on.  His offensive line destroyed his head. The NFC East is anyone’s division. Each week a new team steps up and another looks done. I wouldn’t count any team out.

Is there anyone feeling more miserable than Larry Fitzgerald in the NFL? Well, maybe Nate Clements. Fitzgerald is in an awful situation on a team that is actually 2-2. Fitzgerald has been a class act which makes it difficult to watch his frustration at the Cardinals QB situation. “The Situation” would call Derek Anderson a Grenade for the way he played before being benched last week in San Diego. For Fitz’s sake maybe Max Hall brings some life to the Cardinals passing game but then again he is being flanked by no names currently so coverage can key on him all game.

On a side note, I see that another Real World/ Road Rules challenge starts this week on MTV and of course it looks more dangerous than ever . They always try to infer that someone may die in one of the challenges. My guess is that a newcomer gets a concussion. Speaking of concussions, thanks Jay Cutler. Negative five points for my fantasy team this week. While I am at it…Shout outs to Mike Martz and the Chicago Bears o-line as well. Did they get an official sack total for the Giants? 10, 14, 19? Jay Cutler is going to look like Ricky Hatton after the Pacman fight by week seven. And if you were wondering I do have Big Ben on my fantasy team to cover, but I doubt you care. I scored 43 points this week, I don’t even care anymore.

Its way to early to tell but I like the Ravens alot as this season goes on. I live in Baltimore so I hear alot about them. I have a feeling the offense is going to only get better and that Ed Reed will bring his big play ability to an already good defense. They have depth at almost all positions and the biggest worry, the defensive backs have been good. Lardarius Webb being back from the ACL is a big factor. I am interested to see where Ray Lewis ends up on the NFL films top 100 players of all time list. If you haven’t watch, its very good and worth it. Although its at the same time as “The Office.” Just DVR it or watch one of the 50 times its replayed. As for the NFC, the top teams look to be Green Bay, Atlanta and New Orleans but all squeaked by with home wins this past week against struggling teams. The NFC is up for grabs with many teams who can make a run.

We have only seen four weeks so a lot can happen over the next thirteen. The returns of Big Ben, Brian Cushing (if he hasn’t over-worked out again), Sidney Rice and Kurt Warner (my bad Cards fans) will make their teams stronger. The NFL is tough to predict this early like last year when the Colts and Saints were undefeated at this point. OK, bad example. Undefeated to the Super Bowl? Congrats Kansas City, its a short flight to Dallas in February.

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