Thoughts and commentary from on air personality Eric Mathews. Host of Game Night Hoo Rah, UK GameDay football, and Sunday Mornings with Eric and April. These thoughts and opinions are those of a loud mouth from right here in central Kentucky. Don't expect great insight or amazing grammar on this blog. This is a soap box of interestings topics. Feel free to interact by using twitter @EricWLXG.Â
Divisions where no one knows what will happen next:
-NFC East: Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington, New York
A week ago, I claimed Philadelphia to be the best team in the NFL, I'm not wavering after the lose to San Francisco, but I wonder if the 49ers have found a way to halt the Philadelphia pass attack. If so, how long till other D Coordinators figure out how to ground the Eagles?
On Sunday night the Dallas Cowboys looked like a Super Bowl team and so did New York on Thursday night! Is this a fluke? New York, no. Dallas, give me a week and I'll answer with a yes or no, rather than a shoulder shrug.
Washington looked good in week 3 with Kirk Cousins. He looked poised, he looked comfortable, he looked like a pure NFL quarterback, but against New York he struggled and new head coach Jay Gruden looked very frustrated with the overall performance.
NFC North- Chicago, Green Bay, Minnesota, Detroit
I thought Detroit would run away with this division, but Chicago looked good and there seemed to be a feel that Jay Cutler was more efficient. Then Green Bay proved many people wrong as Cutler continues to struggle with the Packers going to 1-9 against them in his career.
Minnesota, a team surrounded by turmoil took on Atlanta and Teddy Bridgewater saved the day along with an impressive running attack. I thought Atlanta would be true contender in the NFC but with their performance against Cincinnati and now Minnesota, Atlanta looks to be in more turmoil than Minnesota, believe in Zimmer for Minnesota.
Detroit looks strong and was never really threatened by New York. Megatron, outside of week 1 has been fairly silent. I look for a breakout game from him this week against Buffalo.
NFC West: Arizona, Seattle, San Francisco, St.Louis
Not sold on Seattle. Crazy, right?!?! It's hard to repeat anything in the NFL. This division makes it even tougher. Arizona is a really good football team. They had a bye week to help them get healthy (Carson Palmer) but John Skelton could be the QB of the future for the Cards. (I couldn't help but chuckle when I typed that! John Skelton? The Future?)
San Francisco's defense looked really good against Philadelphia and may have corrected what they needed to in the locker room to make another run. But Harbaugh brings drama. As for St. Louis, just put on a red hat and cheer for your baseball team and hope James Laurinaitis stays with the Rams.
AFC East- New England, Miami, Buffalo, New York:
One of the few times I was proven right and it involved New England. The Patriots just are not what they use to be, Tom Brady doesn't have the pieces he usually does and they are extremely young in many ways. New England could still win the division though at 8-8. This is an odd division, but a weak division.
Miami could reach 10 wins, just depends if their offense decide to show up for at least 8 more games. Defense is strong, offense not so much. Buffalo had the attention of the league after starting 2-0. Now they are 2-2 and are changing QBs. Breaking away from Manuel to Kyle Orton? Bad move Buffalo, stick with Manuel, not Orton, who has always been known as "meh" his entire career.
Game to watch in week 5: Arizona @ Denver
-First real test for the Cardinals, both are coming off bye weeks and are extremely hungry.
Week three is in done and over after the Bears performance on Monday Night Football. For some reason this morning I thought of an idea called "Tuesday Touchback". We've all heard of "Monday Morning Quarterback", assessing the prior's day events in the NFL. Well, I want to get in on the fun and decided to go a day later with thoughts and opinions called "Tuesday Touchback" looking back at the week that was in the NFL.
Best Team in the NFL: Philadelphia Eagles- This one causes a stir as the Eagles have had to comeback in each of their three games this season. But scoring 74 combined points in the second half of those three games, shows me this is a team that gets stronger as the game goes, there's something to be said about that, the Eagles are very good, and to me, are doing it with players we don't know that much about yet.
Worst Team in the NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers- There's nothing about this team I like, except maybe their head coach Lovie Smith. He will get this organization right, but for now, this team and franchise is hurting. Lovie knows defense, and this defense needs to be corrected immediately!
Team to watch our for: Arizona Cardinals- The Cards missed out on the playoffs last season, even though they went 10-6! They start the season 3-0 and 2 of those wins have come with John Skelton at quarterback!!! This team has talent spread around the field and will hurt some feelings (San Francisco).
Fools Gold: New England Patriots- I say this knowing I could be surprised, but I just don't see it right now. The Patriots are having a tough time getting going and so is Tom Brady. They are 2-1, but I can't get past the lose to the Dolphins in week 1, and then they struggle against the Raiders at home in week 3. The defense is improved, giving up only 49 points in the first three weeks, 33 of that in the opening game. Edleman is efficient at wide receiver, but something about this team screams "2-1 isn't accurate".
Game to watch in week 4: Carolina @ Baltimore- Is Cam healthy or will we see Derek Anderson again? He looked good in week 1. Pittsburgh took care of Carolina on Sunday Night football in Carolina, can Baltimore do the same but at home? The Ravens are still struggling at who will take majority of the snaps at running back. There hasn't been a rusher who has passed 100 yards in their first three games, and on top of that, they've had a different leading rusher all three games! Sure Joe Flacco does what Joe Flacco does (728 yrds passing, 4 TDs) but how long can the Ravens survive without a rushing attack in the AFC North?
Avery is a rookie, but is progressing to become more of a role player in the NFL. Listen here to learn about the former Wildcat and current Tennessee Titan on the first few months of his career, as well as his relationship with former Wildcat Wesley Woodyard.
This has been the hottest topic over the last 24 hours and I've come up with a few opinions from a few different angles. As always, I encourage interaction with you!
-Ray Rice and his punishment:
The video is pretty concrete. It's painful to watch because in my eyes, he didn't seem to have much if any remorse after striking his then faience (now wife). He looked down at her after delivering the hit, no sign of "Oh what did I just do?" and as he was dragging her, his feet kept making contact with her body, with lack of caring. I was getting the vibe of "look at what you made me do". The video is disturbing and extremely disappointing.
The punishment was well deserved but should have come long before, even without video. If he would have been suspended the entire season, would there have been as much outrage? I don't know.
Janay Palmer and her response:
-This is the confusing part for me. I feel bad for her but at the same time, I'm disappointed in her. After this incident, she not only stayed with him but married him! The overall perception is she did it for money. "He's a professional athlete, therefore she will take the abuse or however you want to word it because she will be able to live a lavish life." This seems to be popular opinion of those who are not familiar with her situation. On the other hand, she loves the man and this is one incident, therefore she is giving him a second chance. I don't know, as I stated, this part confuses me. No matter what, due to Ray's release, and potentially being black balled from the league. Her life has certainly changed.
He has taken a large hit in the PR department. Recently being reported he and the league didn't ask to view the camera footage in the elevator. Goodell, I believe was trying to be a good boss essentially. He wanted to take Ray and Janay's word on the incident. What ever their word may have been. Did Ray lie? Did he tell him exactly what we saw in the video? Only they know, but I firmly believe Goodell was taking what he was told as the complete truth of his employee. Wouldn't you want that as employee with an employer?
Regardless of the video, they should have suspended Ray a longer period of time after the NFL's ruling. Again, I believe they were trying to make a smart investment in their employee, taking his and Janay's word on what happened. What I really don't like was the push on social media, quoting Janay, regretting her role on the matter. Then turning around to start marketing Ray Rice pink jerseys on their website.
Janay wrote a scathing instagram message pointing the finger at the media for ruining her's and Ray's life. In many ways, she's right, the media unveiled the ugliness of the incident. Is this right? To me, it is, because Ray Rice is out of the league and the NFL shouldn't have a person like this in the league. This opinion was voiced by many players in the league on twitter when the video was released. Same instance, I feel remorse. This is a private manner with a family, but here is the silver lining. If an athlete wants to be professional then they and their family become more public to the world. Is this fair? Well, hindsight is 20/20, when an athlete signs contracts worth millions of dollars then this becomes a part of it. The athlete's salary to take care of their family is paid for by sponsors who are trying to reach fans and the fans themselves are paying to see the athlete perform, by default are paying the salary as well.
Take what you want from this, all I know is this is one big mess for all involved.