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Ten Thoughts on the NFL

Los Angeles Rams v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

1) Way back on Thursday Night Football, A.J. Green of the Cincinnati Bengals torched the Dolphins for 10 catches and 173 yards with a TD. But that performance was kind of lost in the shuffle after Atlanta’s Julio Jones dropped a 12/300/1 stat line against the Carolina Panthers.

2) Sticking with that game...

Fess up, how many of you fantasy football players had Matt Ryan on your bench?

The Atlanta Falcons’ QB went off on Monday with 503 yards passing and 4 TD passes. The match-up against the vaunted Panther D scared some off from playing Ryan, but these 1-3 Panthers don’t look like the 15-1, NFC Champion Panthers from a year ago.

3) Speaking of surprise teams that are struggling, the Arizona Cardinals are also 1-3. Last year they went 13-3 and many experts predicted them to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. There’s plenty of time for them to get back on track, but with starting QB Carson Palmer in concussion protocol, it may get worse before it gets better.

4) After looking like one of the worst teams in the NFL after a week one throttling at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers, the Los Angeles Rams have won three straight to sit tied with the Seattle Seahawks atop the NFC West.

The Rams are the only winning team with a negative point differential (-13), but all that mattes is the W.

5) The Rams aren’t the only team wining with defense, the Minnesota Vikings are 4-0 and look like the best team in the NFC though the first quarter of the season. They are top 10 in all the team defensive categories, they lead the league with a +10 turnover margin and quarterback Sam Bradford has a passer rating over 100 with zero turnovers. #WinningFootball

6) Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan is the biggest troll in sports. After their shutout of the New England Patriots, Ryan said that his “sources inside the New England Patriot building” informed him that the Pats would be starting Jacoby Brissett at QB.

Ryan continued the troll job by adding, “How’s that? I’ll stir some stuff up. ‘Who was it?’”

The media ran with it and I’m sure it ruffled a few feathers in Patriot camp, but Ryan admitted he was just having a little fun.

“That’s just great. Because, man, I stirred the pot. Because you know they’re sitting back and going, ‘Who is it? Who is it?’ I was B.S.-ing the whole time. … If people were worried about it, that’s awesome. That’s good.”

I’m sure Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick isn’t losing any sleep over Ryan’s shenanigans, but if I were Rex Ryan, I’m not sure I’d poke the top dog of the AFC East. Belichick’s teams have a history of filing these little digs away and making teams pay. Let’s just say if I were a betting man, I’d take the Pats in their October 30th rematch and I’d take the over.

7) Last week we talked about the five rookie QBs that have played this year and how good their overall numbers were. With the injury to the Broncos’ Trevor Siemian we saw a 6th rookie get some reps and Paxton Lynch didn’t disappoint. He went 14 for 24 (58.3%), with 170 yards, 1 TD and a passer rating of 94.1.

Siemian’s injury is to his non throwing shoulder, so he’ll probably be ready to go this week when they host the Falcons. But if he’s not 100% A-OK, I think I’d let Lynch have a shot at Atlanta’s pitiful D.

8) Before tight end Jimmy Graham was hurt last year (torn patellar tendon) he only had one 100 yard receiving game for the Seattle Seahawks. There were questions last year if he was even a fit for their offense, and even more questions about him recovering form his injury this season.

With his second 100 yard receiving game in a row coming on Sunday, I think he’s fitting in rather nicely. If he’s back to being a match-up nightmare for opposing defenses, the Seattle offense will be really tough to slow down.

9) The Oakland Raiders beat the Baltimore Ravens 28-27, to go 3-1 on the young season. The four TD passes by Derek Carr and the three TD catches by Micheal Crabtree garnered most of the headlines, but Oakland’s pass protection didn’t allow a sack or a QB hit, and on the season the Raiders have allowed a league low 2 sacks and 8 QBH.

If they can keep protecting Carr like that, you may as well pencil them in the playoffs right now.

10) The three teams that knocked off the Chicago Bears are a combined 9-2.

Some fans didn’t expect the Philadelphia Eagles or Dallas Cowboys to be any good, but what if they are? What if the Bears are finally starting to hit their stride after a tough open to their season?

The Bears still have injury issues, they still have to prove that the offensive game-plan against the Lions wasn’t an aberration, their defense has to prove that they can rush the passer at some point, but what if this Bears team is starting to gel?

With two winnable games next up on the schedule for the Chicago Bears, how would sitting at 3-3 and preparing for a Thursday Night game agaisnt the Green Bay Packers make you feel?

Sure they have to travel to Indy and first take care of business against the Colts this Sunday, but a win makes it two in a row and suddenly fans have some hope to cling to. They then host the 1-3 Jaguars the following week and a win there makes what looked like a lost season, suddenly interesting.

Did that win on Sunday against the Lions bring you guys any positive vibes?

10a) In case you missed it, I did this before the game on Sunday.