Oh man, this weekend was nuts! A ton of unexpected results that have America in a tizzy. I can feel the overreactions like a bad itch. There are only 12 weeks left in the regular season (for most). There are also 12 steps to any recovery (for most). The first is always admitting you have a problem so listen up!
1. The Buffalo Bills Win the AFC East
This one is actually two overreactions. The first stems from a nice road win in Atlanta by the defending NFC Champions. As I mentioned in my season preview, the Super Bowl hangover is real. The Bills do have some solid playmakers in LeSean McCoy, Tyrod Taylor, and Jordan Matthews; all three can be shut down with the right game plan. More importantly, the defense may rank in the top ten in sacks and turnovers, but they also give up a ton of yards. That bend, don’t break mentality won’t last forever.
What’s also important to note is the competition they faced, and how they played in those games. It’s very easy to look at a 3-1 record and say how great a team is, but the win-loss record is very deceiving. The Bills beat the New York Jets in Week 1 (presented without comment), lost 9-3 at Carolina in Week 2 (they totaled 176 yards on offense by the way), and then got out-gained in each of the next two games but won the turnover battle each time.
Besides, the only reason the Bills lead the AFC East right now is because of the New England Patriots. Speaking of the defending champs…
2. Matt Patricia is a Garbage Defensive Coordinator
Ok, Patriots fans, don’t jump into the Harbor just yet. I know you are 2-2, and 1-2 at home for the first time since 2000, your last losing season. The main culprit has 100% been the defense. They rank dead last in total yards allowed (456.8), passing yards allowed (324) and second to last in points allowed (32). The first two games were against Alex Smith, a total anomaly, and Drew Brees, one of the greatest passers of all-time.
Two weeks ago saw a rookie in DeShaun Watson go cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs and make it a much more competitive game than it should be. On Sunday, Cam Newton and the tandem of Jonathan Stewart and Christian McCaffrey. The Patriots have certainly had a more difficult than anticipated schedule, and their defense hasn’t been up to snuff; that doesn’t mean Matt Patricia should be on a hot seat.
Sure, evil Kevin James is at the top of the hit list right now, but the Patriots had the second best secondary according to Pro Football Focus back in July. On the roster are four of the most talented defensive backs ever in Devin McCourty, Malcolm Butler, Duron Harmon and the newcomer Stephon Gilmore. That talent will figure it out before too long.
3. Amari Cooper is Overrated
Much in the way DeShaun Watson is not the MVP, Amari Cooper is not “washed up” or in witness protection. Many fantasy owners, myself included, are frustrated with his performance (or lack thereof). None of it is warranted, however.
Looking at the first game of the year, Cooper caught five passes for 62 yards and his only touchdown of the season. Since then he has combined for seven catches and 48 total yards. That first week was against the Tennessee Titans who have the 5th worst passing defense in the league. The following three games were the Jets (7th best), the Redskins (10th best), and the Broncos (11th best).
It doesn’t get much easier with Baltimore this week, but give credit where credit is due. He still leads the team in targets with 23. He’ll face the best corner each week so don’t be surprised if the struggles continue. Just stop with the overreactions.
4. Everything is Fine in Cincinnati
This is going to be pretty easy. I also feel bad that almost every week I debunk these overreactions with the Cleveland Browns. The Bengals wrecked the Browns on Sunday 31-7, and Andy Dalton went OFF for 286 yards and four touchdowns. Against Cleveland. Pump the breaks.
Cincinnati has still lost to Baltimore and Houston; two teams playing over their heads. Even with the overtime loss to Green Bay in Week 3, the Bengals still have the 5th lowest scoring offense in the league. With the change in offensive coordinator, it wouldn’t be the most surprising thing if they win a few more games.
However, they will not make the playoffs, and it will be because they need a change at head coach. I’ve been on the “Fire Marvin” train for a couple of years now, and a 31-7 victory over the Browns is not going to get me off.
5. Not-So-Crazy Overreactions: Sam Darnold is Not the #1 Overall Pick
Alright, this is kind of a cop-out going to the college game, but it’s a topic every Sunday. Sam Darnold was the preseason pick for the Heisman and the top pick in the draft. I have been against that from the beginning. The senior had his worst showing of the year with a 92.3 Quarterback Rating against Washington State in a road loss.
Over the last two weeks, Penn State’s Saquon Barkley has leapfrogged him. That is another one of the overreactions I can’t stand. The kid had two good games all season. He had a great game at Iowa. Against Indiana one week later? Just 56 yards. No thanks.
What blows my mind is that nobody is talking about Mason Rudolph or Baker Mayfield. The two signal-callers in the state of Oklahoma are the best QB’s in the country in my opinion. They each run two of the top-5 passing offenses in the nation, Darnold doesn’t. Josh Rosen/UCLA is the top team, for your information.
The only reason Darnold was talked about as being #1 anyway was that everyone expected the Jets to have that pick. They won’t. My New York Giants will. But I’m going to stop there before I throw the computer.