NFL Week 3 Recap: Entering A Golden Age of Wide Receivers

ATPOPIX Texans Giants Football

This question is exaggeration free: Are we currently experiencing the Golden Age of Wide Receivers?

Try to organize this list of pass catchers into rankings: Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones, Antonio Brown, A.J. Green, Dez Bryant, Jordy Nelson, Demaryius Thomas, Jimmy Graham, Brandon Marshall, Percy Harvin. Not only would the rankings change each week, but I’m guessing there are a couple guys I left out who could make the case for being included in the top 10.

Running backs and (to a lesser extent) quarterbacks have gotten a little boring for me. The runners are becoming extinct, and the passers are becoming a dime a dozen because of the rules favoring passing. It’s just not that fun anymore to argue Manning vs Brees vs Rodgers vs Wison vs Luck.

Not a week goes by where we don’t have at least a handful of jaw-dropping catches.

Until something changes, the guys catching the ball are the main attraction for me.

For the second straight week, let’s roll out a “Things I Loved” segment to make sure we’re reminding ourselves of the on-the-field reasons we love football:

  • The blatant disregard by certain teams for their quarterbacks’ health. Andy Dalton, Russell Wilson and Johnny Manziel all went out wide and caught a pass, with varying degrees of success. For teams who are good via traditional means of playing football like Cincinnati and Seattle, they’re taking quite the unnecessary risk putting their QBs in those vulnerable positions. Exciting stuff for the rest of us though. Keep it going.
  • Nick Foles showing some gigantic balls by playing hurt after taking some awful hits from Washington.
  • The legitimate hatred between Washington and Philly and the closest thing we’ve had to a brawl in a long time after a Redskins defender hit Foles with a cheapshot. They’ll meet again on December 20th.
  • The official launch of Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles’ careers. Even if both are in hopeless situations for the time being, it makes for much more interesting football than guys like Chad Henne and Mass Cassel at the helm.
  • We were blessed with several worthy-of-our-attention undercards on Sunday: Dallas over St. Louis, Baltimore over Cleveland, Philadelphia over Washington.
  • And the main event lived up to even the loftiest expectations. Even if you usually hate Seattle or Denver or you had fantasy/gambling implications on a certain outcome, you had to enjoy that game between the two Super Bowl favorites from a pure football perspective.
  • Finding myself in 10th place out of 250 entries in a FanDuel league, guaranteeing myself no less of a profit than six times my buy-in (I was about ready to give up on FanDuel because it seemed to be a waste, but now I might be one of those people you hear on a commercial saying, “I won $500 in one day thanks to FanDuel. It’s the only way to play fantasy sports.”)
  • And for that matter, I loved how the games I felt great about went in my favor, and the games I was unsure of were the ones I lost. Even with a 6-8-1 record against the spread this week, it’s going to be a profitable week as my bets were on Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, San Diego and the Giants.
  • Another batch of incredible catches from guys like Demaryius Thomas (that HUGE two-point conversion at the end of regulation), Antonio Brown’s touchdown catch in the 3rd quarter of the night game, the DeAndre Hopkins catch that wasn’t actually a catch, and many more.

Emptying Out the Notebook

  • Here’s a sick thought I had on Thursday night: If you’re an NFL player’s wife and you’re scared shitless of concussions and your husband’s long term well-being, do you stage a domestic violence incident so that he’s suspended/kicked off his team?
  • Watching TV on Sunday morning, I saw a commercial for Xeljanz and thought “oh, cool, finally a cure for arthritis.” But then I heard the warnings: “Xeljanz can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. Serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers have happened in patients taking Xeljanz. Don’t start taking Xeljanz if you have any infections because it could cause tears in the stomach or intestines, low blood cells counts and higher risk of liver disease. Tell your doctor if you’ve been to a region where fungal infections are common, and if you’ve had TB, hepatitis B or C or are prone to infection.”
  • Oh.
  • Why did I so easily back a seemingly pathetic Giants team yesterday against Houston? Because I know Ryan Fitzpatrick. I know in 2011 his Bills started out 3-0, but went on to finish with a 6-10 record. I know that in 2012 the Bills started 2-1 on their way to another 6-10 season. “Fitzy Three Picks” is good for a couple two-game winning streaks during a season. But do not make the mistake of thinking he can make it to the playoffs. It will never happen.
  • Speaking of Fitzy, are Bills fans worried that EJ Manuel is Fitzy 2.0? They must be thinking that a little bit because Manuel is atrocious.
  • Is Seattle’s trip to the Super Bowl even more secure than we thought? Green Bay can’t score more than seven on the road against a questionable defense like the Lions. The Saints aren’t really firing on many cylinders considering they barely beat Minnesota in their own dome. And San Francisco has too many problems to list.
  • If I’m making NFC power rankings after week 3, here’s my list: 1. Seattle, [BIG GAP] 2. Atlanta 3. Philadelphia 4. Carolina 5. Detroit.
  • A 6-8-1 record certainly blows, but three of my non-wins were these: St. Louis not covering after being up 21-0 on Dallas, Cleveland losing by two on a last second Baltimore field goal for the push, and Denver making a furious comeback, sending their game to overtime only to still lose by more than five. Once again, with a little bit better execution by those teams, I’m 9-6 this week.
  • The over/under on which week Aaron Rodgers engineers Mike McCarthy’s firing is set at week 9. That happens to be their bye week, at which time the Packers will either be 3-5 or 4-4.
  • At the time it happened on the Red Zone Channel, my brother texted me joking “Did a Detroit defensive player just tear his ACL celebrating a sack?” Here’s the play: 
  • Turns out, yes, he did hurt his ACL and is out for the season.
  • With two blowouts in the Prime Time games so far this week, my fingers are crossed that tonight’s Chicago @ Jets game produces something that’s even semi-exciting.

Read on if you want my five quick hits on the Patriots. Stop reading if you don’t. Week 4 picks coming up on Thursday.

Five quick thoughts on New England

  1. It’s one thing for Patriots fans to talk themselves into a worse offense in exchange for winning games the Super Bowl way…defense and special teams. But it’s quite another thing when that offense takes 23 minutes of game time to enter their opponent’s territory for the first time.
  2. It’s early, but this could be the year where Tom Brady isn’t the most indispensable player on this team. Chandler Jones is this team’s MVP through three weeks by a long shot. He’s had more to do with their wins than Brady or anyone else.
  3. Brandon LaFell’s targets need to drop from eight to somewhere around negative three. Can we make that happen?
  4. Extremely nervous about a week 4 road game against a seemingly inferior opponent (Kansas City) when the best team in the conference looms in week 5 (Cincinnati). This may be a big time letdown/looking ahead game.
  5. Random stat: The Patriots haven’t lost at home to an AFC team in 31 games, which means 2008 was the last time it happened.