The 2017 NFL season has been full of surprises. Teams that we all expected to be garbage have pulled off some astounding wins, while teams that we expected to roll over most of their opponents have faltered in losses to much weaker opponents. Pick’em pools have been torn to shreds, and some survivor leagues have already crowned their winner.
Each week, I’ll post my picks and my reasoning behind them, and on Tuesdays, I’ll do a quick rundown on where I went wrong, and what I got right. I’d love to hear your thoughts on my predictions, so feel free to drop a comment on the post, or @ me on Twitter.
Five games down, 11 more to go. Sunday’s win over the Arizona Cardinals was definitely one of the easiest, most anxiety-free games I’ve seen in a long time. The Philadelphia Eagles looked flawless.
After a win like this I would usually celebrate pretty much all week until Thursday, when the new week starts and then my focus turns to our next opponent. But seeing as this is a short week for Philadelphia, the high off this win came down early Sunday evening and I hope the Eagles aren’t letting these wins get to their head. It’s only Week 6, there’s a lot of football still to play and this is not the time to underestimate any team.
The Arizona Cardinals made a stunning move this morning by trading a conditional 2018 sixth-round draft pick for New Orleans Saints running back Adrian Peterson, and for the second time this year have released running back Chris Johnson.
This move to add a running back comes a month after their September roster addition of former Patriots running back D.J. Foster, who played college football just 30 minutes away, at Arizona State University.
Trade! The New Orleans Saints have traded Adrian Peterson to the Arizona Cardinals for a conditional pick per sources
The Arizona Cardinals are through the first five weeks of the NFL season, which seems as good a time as any to check in and see how the team is doing.
On paper, this team looked like a solid contender going into the 2017 season, with hopes heavily resting on star running back David Johnson, and a strong secondary. It was understood that success would depend heavily on a few key elements:
Offensive line must protect quarterback Carson Palmer
David Johnson must be fed frequently
Defense must increase interior pressure on opposing QBs and stop the run
Special Teams errors must be minimized on snaps and kick coverage, and kicking accuracy/output must be increased
This was a familiar moment. The one at the end of the game where your palms are sweaty, your knees are weak, the dogs are bewildered, and your kids are apologizing to their friends because their mother is a raving maniac. Your beloved Seahawks are playing dominant and yet ineffective at the same time.
One side making great plays while the other side is incapable of moving the ball or stopping the opponent. Your team going right down to the last 8 seconds before securing a win and having a knack for making football watching the best cardio workout of the week. Oh wait, maybe that wasn’t you, maybe that was me.
Do the Los Angeles Rams stand a chance against the Seattle Seahawks at home? Last year, the answer would have been an absolute no. But something has changed in the Rams culture. For one thing, it starts at the top. In four years with the Rams, three of them in St. Louis, former head coach Jeff Fisher could only muster up 31 wins and a whopping 45 losses.
Out went Fisher, and in came the youngest head coach in NFL history, Sean McVay. The manner in which McVay has handled and developed quarterback Jared Goff in a short amount of time is impressive. We are just four weeks into the season and Goff has completed passes to 11 different receivers. McVay has spurned the young QB into making smart decisions and leading his offense.
The Seahawks have made news this week. Being one of the more outspoken teams on social issues, players like defensive end Michael Bennet and wide receiver Doug Baldwin could be seen on CNN talking about equality and justice. The team made strides on this issue by announcing that they are starting a new foundation called SeahawksPlayers Equality & Justice for All Action Fund “to support education and leadership programs addressing equality and justice.” Being as outspoken and comfortable as they are in the spotlight, they can highlight their emapthy and outrage as they face the multitude of question on this subject. Off the field the Seahawks have remained true to what they have always been.
Now, on the field has been a different story.
As the Seahawks get ready to play on Sunday Night Football, some of the painful questions that have come up over the last 3 weeks are still demanding to be answered. There have been questions about the fabled defense. Are they getting old? Have they lost their identity? There were comments made by safety Kam Chancellor calling out the defense after last week’s loss to the Titans, referring to their undisciplined play. The offense has also been put under the microscope: Why is quarterback Russell Wilson inaccurate? Is it in his head? Is the O-line ever going to get better? Where is tight end Jimmy Graham? Running back Eddie Lacy? Have they lost their identity as a run first team? Where are the big plays?
After another slow start with a score of 9-7 at the end of the first half, the only Titans’ scores coming from three field goals from place kicker Ryan Succop; the Titans finally got the train rollin’ in the third quarter. In that respect, this game was eerily similar to the previous game against the Jacksonville Jaguars with very little action in the beginning and then a whole lot of excitement at the end.
The best Tennessee plays in the beginning ended up being taken away. Wide receiver Eric Decker made a great sideline catch with some “toe drag swag” as Good Morning Football Show would say, keeping his toes in bounds and getting a first down during the first quarter. Decker would later be called for a holding penalty so a touchdown run by quarterback Marcus Mariota was called back.
Cornerback Adoree Jackson had an 80 yard punt return for a touchdown that was overturned due to an illegal block by running back David Fluellen in the second quarter. The call was a bit on the “iffy” side in my opinion. It looked like Seattle Seahawks cornerback Shaquill Griffin actually ran into Fluellen, but I’m not an NFL referee. Sure would have been lovely to have those two touchdowns light a fire for the Titans.
This weekend was guaranteed not to be a typical weekend in the NFL. With the reaction to the harsh comments from President Trump, there was not going to be a business as usual attitude. From the outset, the game had a different feel, with both teams opting to stay in the locker room for the national anthem.
The defense began the game with performances that we have come to expect. They forced a three-and-out on the first drive. Defensive end Michael Bennett and defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson were among many notable participants in shutting down Tennessee. Then Seattle received the ball on their 20 to start their drive and that is where things began to get interesting. Seattle went three-and-out with the offensive line getting penalized three times, two holding penalties and one unnecessary roughness all on just one third down play.
From that moment, the game turned into a flag fest and both teams paid dearly. Tennessee had two touchdowns taken away and Seattle had a key interception by safety Kam Chancellor taken back because of defensive pass interference on cornerback Richard Sherman. This sparked outrage by Sherman who took off his helmet to continue arguing with the official, and that caused an additional unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that took Tennessee from their 44-yard line to Seattle’s 25-yard line, for a gain of 31 yards.
30 of the 32 NFL Teams have issued statements regarding the current events taking place during the National Anthem before games. Whether they chose to stay in the locker room, kneel, or join arms, the teams want us to understand where they are coming from. At this time, no statements have been issued by the Dallas Cowboys or the New York Jets. Here are the links to each team’s statement.