I recently learned that the New York Giants are a football team. Thank you, Phil Simms.
Week 3’s primetime games won’t offer observations as astute, but they are primetime football, which is good enough. Sunday Night features the Denver Broncos taking on the Detroit Lions, and Monday Night features the Kansas City Chiefs travelling to face the Green Bay Packers.
Sunday Night Preview: These Teams Are Nearly Identical
I don’t think I’ve been as undecided on a football game as I currently am with the upcoming Broncos-Lions game on Sunday Night. Let’s start off with the laundry list.
Both offensive lines are garbage, Peyton Manning has declined to the point where he’s not even a top-15 QB. Matthew Stafford is banged up. The Broncos have a better defense, but the Lions have the home field advantage. Denver has won some very ugly games to go to 2-0, while the Lions lost ugly games to sink to 0-2. Denver’s run game has declined, while Detroit’s run game is inexperienced. Need I go on?
The point is that both teams are eerily similar in their struggles, and I expect a pretty close (re: bad) game that will be decided in the 4th quarter. Which leads to a troubling matter; Since 2011, the Detroit Lions are 2-15 when blowing a 4th quarter lead, with the 3rd lowest win percentage (11.8%). The Broncos, on the other hand, are 3-3 in these situations. That sample size is still bigger than the amount of quality games from Kirk Cousins.
As you can see, it’s difficult for me to have confidence in either team winning, but I’m going the McNabb Route and cancelling out the possibility of a tie. I think the Broncos win this game despite Peyton Manning having the arm strength of a newborn child. I feel that the defense will create loads of pressure on Stafford and the OL, and mistakes shall shoot into the sky.
Monday Night Preview: Class of 2005 Reunion
Alex Smith and Aaron Rodgers are the sole survivors of the 2005 QB draft class. We know the story already: San Francisco chose Smith when they were supposed to select Rodgers according to numerous analysts, Rodgers slid down and rode the bench behind future HOF QB Brett Favre, and ended up having a Hall of Fame career of his own. The rest is history.
Both Rodgers and Smith have had successful careers, though it’s clear who’s far superior. Rodgers has been consistently elite since 2011, while Smith has never had a top 10 season, even when Jim Harbaugh came and cleaned him up. This year, Rodgers only has 4 more passing yards than Smith, on 6 less completions, but has 4.6 air yards per attempt, compared to Smith’s 2.2.
In terms of the matchup at hand, the Packers have the upper hand at QB, receivers, and offensive line, while the Chiefs have the upper hand at RB (Charles), tight end (Kelce), and defense. Reigning sack leader Justin Houston offers a challenge to the often-good Green Bay pass protection, but unlike Peyton Manning, Rodgers can escape tacklers, and is well known for his ability to buy time in the pocket. In other words, challenge accepted.
Jordy Nelson may be out for the season, but God is a Packers fan, and Green Bay’s home field advantage is amongst the best in the league, even dismantling the Seahawks on Sunday Night in week 2. So chalk it up to Green Bay for Monday Night.