Impressions from Week Three of the 2016 AFL Season

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Two blowouts, two shootouts. After this week, one can tell just from the scoreboard which teams are real and which are not going to go very far in the playoffs. This also marked the first week that Arena Football was broadcasted on Univision Deportes, as in “All-Spanish sports, all the time.”


Los Angeles at Cleveland

  • Did not watch.

One of two shootouts of Week Three. Despite the final score of 47-42 being relatively low by AFL standards, it was still back-and-forth enough to constitute as such. After looking fairly good in the season opener, the KISS have shown to be a rather pedestrian team since then. Luckily for them, Cleveland is yet another pedestrian team in a league full of displaced talent.

So what’s to say about this game? Were the defenses dominant? Or were the offenses less than dominant? I’m going to go with the latter, with three combined interceptions in the game and two missed field goals by Cleveland’s Adrian Trevino. In a game as (typically) high-scoring as the AFL, one field goal is plenty, but two field goal attempts in one game? Your offense clearly isn’t getting the job done.

Neither quarterback has been sterling this season. That might be the difference in these games. They have pieces of offensive talent on both sides with Collin Taylor and Donovan Morgan, but if they can’t get a quarterback to throw it to them, what’s the use? And to think, if Trevino would’ve made those two field goals, Cleveland may have won this game.


Tampa Bay at Arizona

  • Did not watch.

One of two blowouts of Week Three. Is there really anything about these two teams that already hasn’t been said? Tampa Bay is the worst team in the league and Arizona is the best. When you pit the worst team against the best team, 60-27 is a score that won’t surprise anyone.

Three weeks in a row that Tampa Bay can’t manage more than 30 points of offense. Even with recently-returned Jason Boltus, the Storm can’t manage to do anything right this season. In their defense, two of the last three weeks they went up against the better teams in the league in Arizona and Orlando. Though, even against Cleveland they faltered their chance to do anything.

Arizona is Arizona. If not for San Jose last year, they’d likely win their fourth championship in four years. They seem to be high and above any other team in the league right now. Unless they fuck up royally, I don’t see any reason they couldn’t have a perfect season this year.


Portland at Philadelphia

  • Watched.

The score at halftime was 6-42. That’s really all that needs to be said. Philadelphia is good. Portland is bad.


Orlando at Jacksonville

  • Watched.

¡Que rico!

The Spanish broadcasting of this game was muy bueno. I really appreciated the energy and the spirit that was put into just about every play, and especially the touchdowns. ¡Touchdowns, más touchdowns, y más touchdowns! There were a couple slip-ups here and there, such as one announcer calling Derrick Ross “Tiger Jones” and calling the Predators the “Pranthers,” but for the most part, they knew their stuff. Despite not knowing 98% of what they said, I still enjoyed the game just as much (if not more) than I would the English counterpart.

Now, the game itself was also muy bueno. The second of two shootouts in Week Three. The game had all sorts of goofs and different ways of scoring, including a missed field goal return for a touchdown late in the second quarter. Both teams played their cojones off, but Orlando ended up outlasting Jacksonville despite playing poorly early on.

Jacksonville is a lot like the now dubbed Los Angeles Rams. They have loads of talent on one side of the ball (Rams with their defense; Sharks with their offense), yet can never consistently use it to their advantage. Grady is one of the better quarterbacks in the league, with two of the best wide receivers in the league with Tiger Jones and Joe Hills. Despite this, they can never blow the top off of most defenses in most games, only occasionally. One would think that with this kind of firepower that the Sharks would be up in the ranks with the Arizona Rattlers, but for whatever reason, they don’t always click. Whatever it may be, they’re quick to falter, and Orlando took advantage of it. Though, it ended up being closer than I would’ve expected it to be.

Impressions from Week Three of the 2015 NFL Season

I won’t make this long. I’ll make up for it next week.

[Washington @ New York (Giants)]

  • (Watched, incorrect)

Well, Washington stopped the run, but they didn’t stop Rueben Randle. I suppose I shouldn’t hold this team very highly for managing to knock off Miami on the road. New York, on the other hand, is almost as inconsistent as St. Louis. At least they have a better quarterback.

[Cincinnati @ Baltimore]

  • (Did not watch, correct)

This game was actually pretty down to the wire. Steve Smith, even at fifty-seven years old, can still play at as high of a level as anyone a third of his age. Andy Dalton is off to a fantastic start to the season, and so is Cincinnati’s defense. A.J. Green proved me wrong and showed me what kind of receiver he truly is: elite (sometimes).

[Oakland @ Cleveland]

  • (Did not watch, correct)

The Oakland offense is starting to look very trustworthy. The Cleveland defense is starting to look a little coy. If this game was any indication of how Cleveland will play with Josh McCown at quarterback, perhaps they should put Johnny in there. Not because he’s better, but why keep a veteran in there if he’s a proven loser? Let the puppy grow. An old dog isn’t getting any younger.

[New Orleans @ Carolina]

  • (Did not watch, correct)

The fact that New Orleans almost won this scares me for Carolina. They were at home. They were facing New Orleans. And they were facing a Luke McCown led offense. You should not be having any trouble. Honestly. That being said, enjoy Jared Allen!

[Atlanta @ Dallas]

  • (Watched first half, correct)

Watching this game in the first half was incredibly frustrating for me. I was ready to flail my arms in the air and call out Atlanta’s defense for faking me out. Joseph Randle scored two early rushing touchdowns as Dallas’s offensive line basically murdered any opposition. Even without Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, Dallas’s offensive line can be absolutely brutal.

But that was just the first half. Second half, Dallas didn’t score a single point, while Atlanta scored many, many points. Julio Jones is coming into his own and is carving the path to a legendary regular season. He leads the league is almost every receiving category. The future looks bright for Atlanta. Dallas? Count the weeks before Romo gets back.

[Tampa Bay @ Houston]

  • (Did not watch, incorrect)

Kyle Brindza, the kicker for Tampa Bay, was 1/4 on field goal tries and 0/1 on extra point attempts. Had he made all of them, the score would have been 19-19. Tampa Bay’s in for a long season. Why did I pick them again?

[Indianapolis @ Tennessee]

  • (Did not watch, incorrect)

One of my more daring picks, it actually almost paid off. Unfortunately for Tennessee, Indianapolis came storming back offensively during the second half and showed that the division still runs through Indianapolis. It’ll just be easier to stop them, I suppose. Should’ve thrown the ball more to Fasano.

[Jacksonville @ New England]

  • (Did not watch, obviously correct)

To anyone who believed Jacksonville could win this game, and this is the nicest way I can put this: you are delusional.

[San Diego @ Minnesota]

  • (Did not watch, incorrect)

So much for trusting Philip and his Danny Woodcock.

Minnesota is a lot like Oakland right now: both got manhandled in Week One, then had impressive performances the last two weeks, with Oakland winning with their offense and Minnesota winning with their defense. Teddy Bridgewater stat-wise isn’t very impressive. But hey, who needs stats when you have a healthy Adrian Peterson and a stingy defense?

[Philadelphia @ New York (Jets)]

  • (Did not watch, incorrect)

I suppose I got a little too carried away with New York after their performance against Indianapolis. Indianapolis is such a mess offensively. There’s no way Philadelphia’s offense will do anything! Except they ran the ball well with Ryan Mathews and Philadelphia’s defense almost makes up for its offense’s blunders. FitzMagic, man. Gotta stop throwin’ those picks. And Marshall, quit being cute.

[Pittsburgh @ St. Louis]

  • (Did not watch, correct)
Get ready, Pittsburgh.
Get ready, Pittsburgh.

[San Francisco @ Arizona]

  • (Did not watch, correct)

Everyone’s too quick to make sport of Kaepernick. He’s had one bad game this season. Calm down. Wait ’till he blows against a defense that isn’t good, like Chicago’s. Then we can make fun of him. Because this monstrous loss wasn’t entirely on him… even if he didn’t help himself.

I think this game was more of a testament to how good Arizona is. They seem to have all the right pieces. They’re a dangerous group. Assuming nothing obstructs their path (like another injury to Palmer), Arizona will be a tough team for anyone. And the way Fitzgerald is playing? I wouldn’t be surprised if he got drug tested at some point.

[Buffalo @ Miami]

  • (Did not watch, correct)

The sky is falling for Miami. After a blowout loss at home against a divisional rival, football sites are already whispering the demise of head coach Joe Philbin’s position. Among the comments of these sites are speculation that Miami’s players “aren’t playing with enthusiasm.” If that being the case, it would seem Philbin’s made this team complacent. May be why they’ve been mediocre the past three years.

They have time to turn it around. Ignore the outside world and focus on the problems your team is facing. You may work wonders once you find your groove. Speaking of groove, Buffalo doesn’t need to find their’s. They’re playing very well both offensively and defensively. They’re among the top ten teams thus far.

[Chicago @ Seattle]

  • (Did not watch, correct)

Remember when Chicago was a defensive powerhouse? Remember when they weren’t a laughingstock? Remember when they weren’t one of the bottom five teams in the league? Me neither.

Seattle gets their first win of the season. They’ll take it, but really, can they feel proud to bully such weak competition at home?

Also, why the hell is Jimmy Clausen still employed? Is he good? Has he ever been good? Mediocre? Below-average? Anything other than complete shit? He’s a step above Ryan Lindley, which is like a step above the first floor of a skyscraper.

[Denver @ Detroit]

  • (Watched final quarter, correct)

I was surprised to see the score so close when I flipped on the TV. Detroit’s not that great of a team, and Denver, while no longer elite, still has a fantastic defense to its name. Both Detroit and Denver’s offensive lines proved futile for any run game. It was a pass-a-thon between Stafford and Manning.

Denver’s receivers made all the magic catches. And Denver’s defenders made all the magic interceptions. David Bruton, dude. Nice play.

[Kansas City @ Green Bay]

  • (Did not watch, correct)

When Aaron Rodgers threw his fifth touchdown pass of the night, it was pretty much over for any Kansas City comeback. Alex Smith was playing for chips by the fourth quarter. Speaking of Alex Smith, he’s not getting a lot of protection so far this season. Hell, he’s never gotten much protection since joining Kansas City. He’s been sacked 13 times in 3 games. He’s on pace to be sacked about 70 times this season. It’s amazing Jamaal Charles isn’t DeMarco Murray right now.

At least they have a decent defense against non-elite quarterbacks.

Green Bay, if not for New England, is the NFL’s best team. Their defense can take a beating and Aaron Rodger’s weapons consist of Randall Cobb, James Jones, Davante Adams, Eddie Lacy, and Richard Rodgers. Two of those names have been to a Pro Bowl. Aaron Rodgers is a true quarterback. The pinnacle of quarterbacking that everyone looks up to. Even Tom Brady. No one can beat him at home. I’d like to see anyone try.

The pieces are starting to come together, and the picture is starting to form. Who’s real? Who’s fake? Who are the NFL’s finest teams and who will be scouting for the next #1 pick? My pick ’em score is starting to reflect my understanding of the NFL’s hierarchy.

  • Week Three Pick ‘Em record: 11-5
  • Overall Pick ‘Em record: 29-19

Quick Pick: Washington at New York (Giants) (Week Three; 2015)

I can’t believe I’m typing this, but I actually like Washington in this match-up. Thus far, they’ve been impressive defensively and have played adequately enough against better defenses. I’m not sold on Kirk Cousins as some others may be, but he’s better than RG3. Though, personally, I’d really like to see another Colt McCoy comeback. That game against Dallas last year was magical.

New York kept it close against an erroneous Dallas offense and a somewhat one-dimensional Atlanta team. If they can stop the crunch of a now-hot commodity in running back Matt Jones, they may be able to pull this one away. Of course, they may have been able to pull away from their last two games, too. But that didn’t happen. Another thing I feel New York needs to do is find someone outside of Odell Beckham as a reliable target. Victor Cruz is still out and Rueben Randle has been a non-factor in the first two games. If they can run the ball well, this won’t be as much of a problem. Washington’s defense has allowed a 4.5 yards per carry average against opposing running backs/whoever else is rushing the ball in the first two games, which puts them in the bottom 10 in that category.

A few other notable injuries:

  • Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, so Prince Amukamara becomes New York’s only good cornerback.
  • DeSean Jackson, so Washington has lost their speed advantage.
  • Ereck Flowers (Doubtful), so New York loses a good piece of their offensive line.

I think it’ll be close, as New York has had a tendency to keep it close in their games this season. I feel they have a definite advantage at home, seeing as this is Washington’s first road game of the season, but my mind wants to pick Washington to win this game. The last time I didn’t listen to my mind I picked Indianapolis to beat New York (Jets). Look how that turned out.

Winner: Washington