Thank you to anyone who tuned into one of the three games I highlighted last week. Now for this week’s three games to watch:
New England Patriots (3-0) vs. Buffalo Bills (1-2)
Where to begin with this spectacle featuring two divisional rivals? The Patriots are the hottest team in the league right now, winning their first three games by a combined score of 81-45, and coming off of a shutout over the Houston Texans. The biggest question going into this game is who will be under center for the Patriots? Tom Brady is still suspended, and Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett are both injured. Fans are calling for standout receiver Julian Edelman, who played quarterback at Kent State, to get the nod; however, Belichick believes Edelman is too valuable at receiver. Bills head coach Rex Ryan impersonated a reporter on a conference call and asked Edelman if he would be playing quarterback. The Patriots will be juggling quarterbacks like the Cleveland Browns; only they’ll have that special Bill Belichick touch that just seems to make everything work out. The Bills notched their first win of the season last week after firing offensive coordinator Greg Roman. The Bills offense was surprisingly efficient, and Tyrod Taylor seemed to regain his swagger. Of course, the biggest story here is yet another chapter in the Belichick versus Ryan saga. This rivalry had carried over from when Ryan coached the New York Jets, also the divisional rivals of the Patriots, from 2009 to his firing after the 2014 season. Belichick has had Ryan’s number as he leads the series 11-3. These two men are opposites; Belichick is a man of few words who often comes off as emotionless and robotic, whereas Ryan is a no-holds-barred, bombastic personality who is the NFL equivalent of Donald Trump. Trust me; it’s gonna be huge.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-2) vs. Denver Broncos (3-0)
This could easily be the game of the week. If you like high scoring games, then you ought to be chomping at the bit for this game to kick off. Most fans are familiar with Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston, but before Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian emerged as the front-runner for the starting job in the preseason, most fans hadn’t heard his name since the Broncos selected him in the 7th round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Siemian hasn’t just played sparingly in his time in the spotlight; he has played excellently. While the play of Siemian has caught the NFL world off-guard, the excellent season that “Famous Jameis” has enjoyed was expected. Jameis is leading the league in passing touchdowns, 8 while ranking fourth in the league with 929 passing yards. Each QB will also have an array of marvelous receivers to rainbow the ball to; Bucs receiver Mike Evans ranks fifth in the league with 301 receiving yards, and the Broncos’ Demaryius Thomas has been enjoying a superb season as well. As mouthwatering as the dueling aerial assaults featured in this game are, the defenses will look to make an impact as well. The Broncos defense is anchored by star linebacker Von Miller, who is proving to be one of the greatest defensive players of this generation, the league leader in sacks with 5, Super Bowl 50 M.V.P. All the while Bucs 1st round draft pick Vernon Hargreaves III will be looking for his first interception of his career.
San Diego Chargers (1-2) vs. New Orleans Saints (0-3)
After a failing to beat the Falcons at home, Drew Brees will lead the Saints to San Diego to take on the Chargers. The last time the Chargers beat the Saints was in 2004 when Brees was the Chargers quarterback. Brees has led the league in passing yards six times in his career, and currently, leads the league with 1,062. Interestingly enough, Brees never passed for more than 4,000 yards with the Chargers and had never passed for less than 4,000 yards with the Saints. For the past ten years, the Saints have been known for their ability to put points on the board in a hurry. Impressively they’ve accumulated 80 points in three games but have surrendered 97. The Saints woes go deeper than their 0-3 start to the season, as they also failed to win a single one of their four preseason games, and while preseason wins have no merit on the regular season, it would have been good for morale. The Chargers have scored 87 points on the season and allowed 73. The Chargers and Saints are two of the best teams in the league at scoring points, and the quarterback duel between Philip Rivers and Drew Brees goes deeper than just a clash of the two greatest quarterbacks of the decade. It’s the prodigy versus the pedagogue. Brees mentored Rivers for two years when they were both on the Chargers. I would break down the two teams’ defenses; unfortunately, they haven’t shown up yet this season.