Like every NFL season, the 2011-2012 version has brought us some great headlines, surprising side stories, and the head scratchingly bizarre. Some of this stuff most of us will claim we saw coming, other events are completely out of left field, but all of them are part of my Quick Slants: Weeks 1-3 edition. Instead of doing a specifically tailored dissection of one game, I’ll just give a bunch of short observation’s I’ve had of the NFL landscape every few weeks, to keep it fresh and interesting (translation: so that I don’t have to write/you don’t have to read a 1200 word post when this is so much easier.) With that, off we go
*The New England Patriots literally look like a carbon copy of the 2004-2005 Phoenix Suns: One half absolutely ridiculous, perfectly paced offense that can stack up points so fast the scoreboard can’t even keep track like the DDR showdown from Grandma's Boy; one half tissue paper thin defense with more holes in it than Sonny Corleone’s body does after the tollbooth scene in The Godfather.
*The Oakland Raiders, after going through many treatments, have finally seemed to have recovered from the suckitude that the malignant disease “JeMarcus Russell-it is” left them with for years. We are looking at a team that, had they been able to stem a late surge by the Bills, that could be 3-0 right now. Holy shit. I am looking at that right, the Raiders?? Yeah…I am. Plenty of season for them to mess it up, but at least they look like a decent football team so far. Darren McFadden is transforming into a top tier running back with every passing week. Oh, and they also have a walking potential felony in their drunk ass kicker Sebastian Janikowski, who just so happens to also had a right leg made of titanium as he makes 50 yard field goals all day. Fun all around with this group
*I can’t help but wonder if Adrian Peterson just signed his way into being “Barry Sanders 2.0.” Not in terms of production; Barry, in my opinion, was the best running back to ever play the game. But in signing a 7 year, 100 million dollar deal, he’s essentially locked himself into a losing franchise that frankly doesn’t have much going on besides him. McNabb is completely and utterly cooked, Leslie Frazier is making fans pine for Brad Childress (maybe not, Childress was truly awful) and can’t force a turnover for their lives. Oh, and they’ve been outscored 67-6 in the second half of their games. If Adrian signed for the money, good move. If he signed to be on a winning club….yikes.
*Who in the hell saw the Buffalo Bills being the only team left in the AFC going 3-0?? The proverbial walking joke of the past 5 to 10 seasons, a group of football based futility that if you saw on your favorite teams schedule, you instantly penciled your team in for a win? Yeah, not happening this year. Ryan Fitzpatrick is absolutely GUNNING. He has a competent receiving core in Stevie Johnson, Donald Jones, and David Nelson. Fred Jackson, long an under rated back, is tearing through defenses with reckless abandon. That being said, in way am I penciling the Bills for a Superbowl Birth simply on their early success. They still have a truly AWFUL defense that struggles particularly against the run. It will be tough for them to win games if their offense fizzles at all. (NOTE: Did anyone see the dwarf athletic trainers the Bills had during the Aaron Willams injury this past Sunday? Dude is living proof that Gimli and his kin aren’t just mythical beings of Middle Earth. Linky goodness here)
*The NFC west is absolutely terrible. In other fascinating news, the sun rose still in the East and set in the West today. (I’d like to take this opportunity to give Frank Gore the middle finger. You’re one of the main reasons my Yahoo fantasy team sucks. Thanks, ass)
*The Eagles, despite the constant media blow jobs they received upon signing all these amazing Pro Bowl players, are 1-2 due to a secondary that apparently skipped the section of camp where they learned how to tackle, an offensive line more porous than a sponge, and their premier quarterback’s propensity to dangerously run out of the pocket has caused him to suffer a concussion and a broken hand in back to back weeks. Just another sign that hype and NFL “analysts” (edit: meathead dumbfucks who used to play football, so they think they are intelligent) anointing you as the team to beat in preseason means absolutely dick.
*In a really pleasant turn of events, the Detroit Lions are 3-0 and look every bit as talented as they have been touted. It’s taken a few years for all the pieces to assemble and Matthew Stafford to stay healthy, but I can’t help but love this team. Maybe it’s partially out of my affection for Barry Sanders, maybe I can sympathize with a city that has had next to nothing sports related to root for in years. But these guys are awesome on both sides of the ball. Stafford can sling it like a boss and Calvin Johnson (aptly named Megatron) is a freak in a league where wide receivers are already freakishly athletic human beings. Ndamukong Suh and Kyle Vandenbosch are a TWO MAN pass rush. Just awesome shit to watch, and I actually hope it continues (if for no other reason than to justify having them play every thanksgiving. This year they might actually…play a competitive game?!? I didn’t think Thanksgiving could get any better.)