Freak has never seen so many tight games
The Freak can’t remember the NFL being this tight so early in any season.
There is so much parity in the league right now that after only 32 games in the first two weeks, 23 have ended with less than a seven-point spread.
You do the math and that’s almost 72 per cent of the games. The margin between winning and losing in the NFL is so close, and within a touchdown in most games.
Sunday was very exciting watching Red Zone around 4:30 p.m. It was great to see, just as a football fan, so many close games into the fourth quarter.
With so many critical drives by teams, and seeing a set of different casts and characters making plays for their teams, it was enjoyable. There were last-second wins and The Freak means last second by the Bills over the Panthers; the Bears escaping with a win over the Vikings; the Saints marching the field with a minute left on the clock against the Bucs, and the Chiefs making a couple of key first downs late in the game to hold off the Cowboys by a point.
And that’s not all as five other games came down to the wire, and had everyone on the edge of their seats. I really don’t know if there is anything more nerve-racking for die-hard fans than the last two minutes of a game when your team is down less than a touchdown and they have the ball trying to win; your team needs to get a first down on a big third-down play to ice the game, or your opponent is driving and looking to win the game.
We all have been there and it’s great when you win those games, but it’s a sleepless night when you don’t.
Great drama, great TV, great excitement. It’s what the NFL is all about this season.
The sure thing
The Freak has been on fire the first two weeks, going 12-for-14 and picking two straight upset specials. Let’s hope the momentum will continue this week.
Probably the two biggest home favourites in years are on the schedule this week.
No one is probably going to beat the Seahawks at home this season, and it surely won’t be the struggling Jacksonville Jaguars, who can’t even beat the Raiders. Being a 17-point favourite, there is a better chance of The Freak getting hit by lightning on Sunday than the Jags beating the Seahawks. As Russell Wilson always says, “Go Hawks.”
The other huge favourite at home this week is Denver over the Raiders. Being a divisional game, this will be competitive and physical, but in the end Oakland is no match for Denver’s high-octane offence. Peyton Manning will be on the bench by midway through the third quarter. It won’t be because of an injury, but from a Broncos’ blowout. Guess The Freak will be heading to bed early on Monday night.
What a difference having your head coach on the sideline with you. The Saints are 2-0 (won-lost) with Coach Payton back and are at home to the improved Cardinals, who finally have an NFL quarterback in Carson Palmer. However, the Saints’ D, which was the worst in the NFL last season, is also improved with defensive co-ordinator Rob Ryan calling the shots. The Saints remain undefeated.
Don’t mortgage the house picks
If you start the season 0-2, history tells us you have a 12-per-cent chance of making the playoffs. If you start the season 0-3, you have no chance of playing in the playoffs. This is what’s at stake as both the Giants (0-2) and Panthers (0-2) meet in Charlotte. It has been a painful first two weeks for The Freak watching the Gmen. Realistically, if you cannot run the ball just a little bit in the NFL, you are toast. The Giants can’t run the rock right now, and are too one dimensional. Take the Panthers at home.
In a meeting of the two worst starting quarterbacks in the league, Weeden (now Brian Hoyer, Browns 0-2) vs. Ponder (Vikings 0-2), they will show the world how not to play the position. Both teams cannot get the ball to their wideouts, and it will be just a dink and dunk game to the tight ends and backs. However, Minnesota does have a pretty good running back named Adrian Peterson, who will be the difference, and the Browns are minus the just-traded Trent Richardson. Vikes win their first of the season.
Miami made the biggest moves in the off-season, and it appears to be paying dividends as they are undefeated after two road wins. The local Dolphins’ fans must be very excited by the start, and Miami heads home to play the Falcons. Over the past couple of seasons, whatever it may be, the Fish do not play well at home. Perhaps it’s all the beaches and golf courses that would be a distraction for most. Miami hasn’t had a start like this in a long time, and it’s even longer since they started 3-0. That was back in the Miami Vice television show days. Dolphins beat the Falcons on a Tannehill to Wallace bomb late in the game.
The Bears are 2-0 (won-lost) and take to the road in Pittsburgh, which is one of those winless teams that is really struggling offensively.
Losing wide receiver Mike Wallace to free agency, injuries to tight end Heath Miller and to All-Pro centre Maurice Pouncy has put the Steelers in a pretty big hole.
Pittsburgh will play desperate football and pressure Bears quarterback Jay Cutler all game. Steelers get in the win column.
Last week: 6-for-7.
Season: 12-for-14 (85.7 per cent).
John Turner is a Summerside schoolteacher. His column appears every Saturday during the NFL season. Feel free to e-mail questions and comments to email@example.com.