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One Team, One Jersey: Los Angeles Chargers

With the beginning of a new year comes the beginning of a new series. I’ve spent hundreds of hours (not an exaggeration) enthralled in game film sessions, reading player profiles, scrounging through stat sheets and scanning the histories of all the NFL franchises. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. Welcome to One Team, One Jersey.

As a jersey collector and connoisseur, I am constantly expanding my repertoire and so I thought I should probably expand my search to all the teams of pro football. Buying every jersey I want would be too expensive though. Picking one for each team is reasonable and so became the idea that is One Team, One Jersey.

If you could only have one jersey from each NFL team, who would it be? There are a few ground rules:

The player you choose must have played for that team more than any other AND must have been on that team’s roster during the 2017 season.

Aside from that, it’s up to you what you prioritize: character, statistical production, championships, a combination of the three. Your call.

Who will you choose?

The 2004 quarterback class was one for the ages as franchise stalwarts Eli Manning, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger all went in the first round. (Poor J.P. Losman was also taken in the first round by the Bills.)

All three have aged well and Rivers has been no different. Over his 14-year NFL career, Rivers, along with Eli and Ben, has thrown for over 50,000 yards and 300 touchdowns, putting all three in the top ten of each category. All three have the chance to be Hall of Famers but there’s a notable difference between them: Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning have each won two Super Bowls. Philip Rivers hasn’t been to one.

That monkey has been on Rivers’ back for a long time and will be for the rest of his life. That’s what happens when you’re drafted alongside talented stars that also play your position. You will always be compared to them, no matter how unfair it is that you are judged by someone else’s merits rather than your own.

Roethlisberger is a probable HOFer for moments like the final drive in Super Bowl 43 or the back-to-back games he threw six touchdown passes or the multiple playoff wins he has. Eli is a possible HOFer for moments like the Tyree helmet catch that dethroned the undefeated Patriots. Rivers is unlikely to get into Canton because he doesn’t have that moment.

That’s not to say the guy isn’t a good player. He’s breached 4,000 yards nine times in his career and owns nearly every Charger passing record.

But it’s also difficult to overlook the 2006 season, when the then San Diego Chargers went 14-2 with Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson in the backfield and couldn’t win even one playoff game with home-field advantage. Also, Tomlinson won MVP and Offensive Player of the Year during that run, just as a friendly reminder.

It’s hard to overlook the Chargers falling short in the AFC Championship the following year to New England, although I do give Rivers a ton of credit (Rivers played the game with a torn ACL).

In the 2008 season, Rivers led the Bolts to their third consecutive AFC West title before dropping yet another contest in the divisional round, this time to the Steelers.

In 2009, after a 13-3 campaign, Rivers and San Diego left defeated in their first playoff game again, this time to the Mark Sanchez-led Jets.

Rivers has spent six of the last seven years on the couch come playoff time and don’t worry, the one game he did get to, he lost.

Look, I have nothing against Rivers. He’s a talented quarterback and still one of the better ones in the NFL. The Chargers haven’t made it to the playoffs solely because of Rivers. There are plenty of other factors at play.

The fact remains: 4-5 in the playoffs. Zero AFC Championship wins.

That just doesn’t scream Hall of Fame.

Is there a chance he gets in? Sure. He’s still been one of the most prolific passers of his generation, but he’s not Ben, Brady, Brees, Peyton, Rodgers or even Eli. He’s just not a good bet.

He’s still fun to watch. He’s still a gunslinger. He’s still elite. He’s just not tier one, top-of-the-game elite.

Neither is his number one receiver, Keenan Allen. After a strong rookie season (Fun fact: At the time, only five receivers in NFL history had more receiving yards their rookie year than Allen’s 1,046), Allen suffered a broken collarbone, lacerated kidney and torn ACL in back-to-back-to-back years. He performed great this past campaign, winning Comeback Player of the Year. He’s a constant target for Rivers who will pad his stat sheet with receptions (one of five players with over 100 catches last year), run a full route tree (His 13.7 ypc was in the upper third for receivers) and has the vision to make plays in the open field (His 458 yards after catch ranked him fifth among wideouts).

Remove this past year and the game to game consistency that you look for number one receivers to produce isn’t there. He’s a capable route runner but ran a 4.7 at the combine. He was recovering from a knee sprain that year and admitted he wasn’t 100% for Indy, but ran a 4.56 dash his senior year of high school, which isn’t out of this world speed for a receiver. While he’s 6’2″ and can make vertical plays, he doesn’t play an aggressive style like Demaryius or, more appropriately, like DeAndre Hopkins does. He prefers to out-finesse defenders than out-muscle them. He’s got the cut ability to do that.

He is athletic enough to torture defenses who don’t have either agile corners or experienced defenders (12 recs vs BUF, 11 vs DAL, 10 vs CLE). When he has to play top-end corners, such as Aqib Talib in division-foe Denver, he struggles to take over games the way we are used to seeing top end flights do. In two games against Denver this season, Allen compiled 5 catches for 35 yards and 3 for 41.

There are a lot of other factors at play. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time or funding needed to go over additional game tape and count his matchups against man versus zone and do even more stat-crunching than I’ve already done. You also have to consider the team’s game plan that week and the in-game situation at that moment.

Overall, Allen is a great receiver in fantasy football. He’s a reliable option for an experienced and still physically-gifted quarterback and is in a scheme that allows him a high volume of targets. For that reason alone, he can be counted on for five receptions a game and a solid yards after catch bonus on a week-to-week basis. As a receiver, Allen is an above average talent that has never seen his potential fully nurtured due to injury and it’s prevented him from joining the ranks of AB, Julio, Green and Odell.

Melvin Gordon, the stud from Wisconsin, still has the breakout speed that commands respect. Even now, defenses are still trying to force him to the inside and still he is able to make it work. You saw it in college, you saw it in 2016 and you saw it this past schedule. He hasn’t peaked yet though and I want to see what the next stage of his progression looks like before I buy in, which leaves me to discuss the player I just can’t pass up.

Antonio Gates is one of the best tight ends in NFL history and when you consider he never played a down of college football, well, that just speaks to the amount of athleticism this guy has. Imagine being so physically gifted that you could pick up something at the last possible second and be better than people who had been doing that thing for their whole lives. Everyone around you has spent countless hours perfecting their craft and you’ve made them look like boys among a behemoth who just learned the rules of the game. That’s frightening.

When you say the phrase “red zone threat,” I think Antonio Gates. Dude is too big and too strong. You could make the argument he was the one that started bringing basketball stars to the game of football.

He’s one of only ten players in NFL history to amass 100 touchdown catches and he’s currently 30th in receiving yards.

Melvin Ingram is a solid edge rusher. Joey Bosa is a technically-refined player that has some more hurdles to go through. Jason Verrett is a capable corner.

Antonio Gates? He’s a freak and worth my jersey spot for the Chargers.

My pick: Antonio Gates. My jersey: Home Blue.

 

Image result for antonio gates home jersey free use

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2016-2017 NFL Power Rankings: Week 7

1. Patriots (+0)

New England is simply too good, railroading anyone who dares to get in their way. Brady is on pace to be the first player ever to win the MVP without playing a full season (can’t recall anyone who has ever done that).

2. Vikings (+0)

Vikings drop their first game of the year. Philly showed their vulnerable on the offensive line (Minnesota’s two starting tackles are both out with injury). With that said, Minnesota is going to have to drop another game before they lose command of this spot.

3. Falcons (+0)

The loss to Seattle is hard to penalize them for. San Diego in the last few weeks has shown they can be dangerous. That said, a home game vs. Green Bay is a must-win.

4. Cowboys (+0)

Bye. Pumped for DAL and PHI on SNF.

5. Broncos (+1)

Denver humiliated Brock Osweiler. Established dominance. C.J. Anderson’s injury will certainly change the offense. Curious to see how they adjust.

6. Eagles (+5)

Who would have thought we’d have two NFC East teams in the top-ten this year? Philly dropped their last two but silenced the doubters with a win over the Vikings.

7. Raiders (+1)

I’m still perplexed how this team sits here on my board but there just aren’t a lot of teams I’d take over Oakland.

8. Seahawks (-3)

What we witnessed on Sunday Night Football was torturous in every sense of the word. Every time Seattle has a change to put the division under lock and key, they give analysts a doubt as to how good they really are. With ten minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, the Seahawks had yet to have multiple first downs on a possession. Russell Wilson is playing hurt and Seattle has decide how long they want to deal with that handicap.

9. Steelers (-2)

A Pittsburgh team led by Landry Jones lost to 11 to New England. Teams who were healthy and faced New England have lost by more. A well-deserved bye week for the Steelers should give them the recuperation time they need.

10. Chiefs (-1)

Shouldn’t have had troubles with New Orleans. AFC West is toughest division in football right now.

11. Lions (+7)

Consecutive wins over Philly, Los Angeles and Washington look pretty good, especially for a team near the bottom in rushing. Stafford hasn’t lost a step without Calvin and has looked better this year than he has in recent ones.

12. Redskins (+0)

Narrow loss to Washington doesn’t diminish their ranking this week.

13. Packers (+0)

A win over a Chicago team that had to play most of the game with Matt Barkley at quarterback is not astounding.

14. Bills (-4)

The foolish Bills started McCoy with a bum hamstring. McCoy promptly injured his hamstring further and is now unlikely to play against New England in a must-win game if they want any chance of capturing the AFC East. Foolish indeed. Oh and they got torched by Miami, too.

15. Bengals (-1)

Win a meaningful game. Please, for the love of all that’s holy, win a meaningful game, Cincinnati, or your fall in the rankings will continue.

16. Giants (-1)

OBJ saved this team last week. Case Keenum saved the Giants season this week.

17. Chargers (+7)

Wins over Denver and Atlanta in back-to-back weeks have saved San Diego’s season and shown, had it not been for failing in the clutch multiple times early, they could be the front runners in the West. As I said, West is the best right now.

18. Rams (-1)

Todd Gurley has the third-worst ypc (3.0) among qualified players. Keenum just threw four interceptions.

19. Cardinals (+1)

That game on Sunday night was a crime against humanity. David Johnson was the only entertainment to be had.

20. Dolphins

Jay Ajayi became the fourth runningback in NFL history to run for 200 yards in back-to-back games. He has single-handedly resurrected the Dolphins’ season.

21. Texans (-2)

Embarrassed. Brock Osweiler threw for the second fewest passing yards on 40 attempts in NFL history. $72 million for this guy.

22. Ravens (-6)

The Ravens skid continues, dropping their fourth consecutive game.

23. Panthers (+0)

Bye.

24. Saints (+1)

The offense is killer. Nearly beat Kansas City.

25. Titans (-3)

Should’ve beat Indy and grabbed the AFC South throne. They did not. The South is the weakest division in football, again.

26. Buccaneers (+0)

Beat San Fran. Yay.

27. Colts (+0)

Beating the Titans is nice and all. Show me more.

28. Jets (+0)

They beat the Ravens and ended their slip n slide but that doesn’t excuse said slide.

29. Bears (+1)

Cutler returns next week. That’s good.

30. 49ers (-1)

Own that six-game losing streak, San Fran!

31. Jaguars (+0)

This team is horrid despite the talent they have. Need changes in the staff if they want to move forward.

32. Browns (+0)

They’ve been close to winning a few times. I’m taking them against the Jets.

Biggest Climb: Lions, Chargers (+7)

Biggest Fall: Ravens (-6)

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2016-2017 NFL Power Rankings: Week 6

1. Patriots (+0)

The Bengals were no match. New England remains the king.

2. Vikings (+0)

The Vikings had a bye and maintain their spot. They play Philly next week, another tough test.

3. Falcons (+1)

Atlanta nearly pulled off the trifecta and if it weren’t for a blatant pass interference no-call, Atlanta wins in Seattle. Their strength of schedule and competitiveness in those games moves them up a spot.

4. Cowboys (+2)

Elliott is a bulldozer and Prescott the perfect game manager. I believe in the Cowboys this year.

5. Seahawks (+3)

Seattle gets a big win over Atlanta, showing they can compete with the big boys.

6. Broncos (-3)

Back-to-back losses drops Denver out of the top five but remain a dangerous team.

7. Steelers (-2)

Pittsburgh has another drastic collapse, flailing against the Dolphins. Ben is now out. Unless they’re competitive against New England, they’ll likely be out of the top ten next week.

8. Raiders (-1)

Oakland falls to Kansas City but have accomplished too much thus far to fall out of my select group.

9. Chiefs (+2)

The Chiefs strength of schedule will likely kick them out next week but an impressive return from the bye week can’t be ignored.

10. Bills (+4)

LeSean McCoy is having a great year and the Bills defense has shown up the last few games. LeSean is hurt and unlikely to be himself next week. How will the offense respond?

11. Eagles (-2)

Wentz was hassled all game and lose an inter-divisional game to the Redskins. I can hear people talking jumping off the Eagles bandwagon already. The team has been competitive in their last two losses. I’m not concerned yet.

12. Redskins (+9)

I have not given the Redskins the credit that they’ve deserved. This week, I make up for that and they give me a reason to, topping Philly at home.

13. Packers (-3)

Green Bay falls to Dallas. Their stats were bloating going into this game, especially on defense. The Cowboys set the record straight. Rodgers is not himself this year. Don’t sound the alarm, but their playoff hopes are shrinking.

14. Bengals (-2)

Cincinnati is 0-4 in meaningful games (PIT, DEN, DAL, NE). Wins against sub-.500 teams will not get you to the playoffs.

15. Giants (+2)

The media and the Giants organization have been giving Odell Beckham Jr. an earful. He may have just saved their season.

16. Ravens (-1)

The Ravens are now 1-3 in meaningful games and on a three-game losing streak. They need to beat the Jets next week.

17. Rams (-1)

As I said in my sports report last week, the Ram defense is not what it was. Todd Gurley cannot carry this offense. With that said, LA showed on Sunday that they can find a way to put up points if they need to. They put up 28 on Detroit.

18. Lions (+0)

Detroit had a tough streak of losses to Tennessee, Green Bay and Chicago but have bounced back with wins over Philadelphia and Los Angeles. They have Washington next week.

19. Texans (-6)

Houston’s offense looked dysfunctional versus Indianapolis. Imagine how they’ll play against Denver next week. Osweiler has not demonstrated he’s worth that contract.

20. Cardinals (-1)

Arizona has to do a lot to redeem himself. Beating a limping dog like the Jets is a small step.

21. Dolphins (+2)

Miami torched Pittsburgh. An injured Ben certainly helped but Jay Ajayi’s historic rushing performance was something.

22. Titans (+0)

Tennessee might be the frontrunner of the AFC South. I’m not calling it but it could happen. They’ve got the Colts next week.

23. Panthers (-2)

Carolina suffers a fourth-straight loss. They have a bye now. Hopefully they can regroup.

24. Chargers (+6)

Finally get a win and against Denver. Let’s see if they improve now that they have the monkey off their back. Bad news: they play Atlanta on Sunday.

25. Saints (+4)

The Saints top the Panthers at home. Believe in Brees, New Orleans. There ain’t no defense to believe in.

26. Buccaneers (+0)

Tampa Bay has the tools on offense that they could be higher than this. Still waiting for them to demonstrate it.

27. Colts (-3)

A blow lead by the Colts against a team they manhandled for almost an entire 60 just isn’t gonna cut it.

28. Jets (-3)

They’re bad.

29. 49ers (-2)

Kaepernick looked better than Gabbert but the team doesn’t have the talent to compete.

30. Bears (+1)

Narrow loss to the Jaguars. Brian Hoyer doesn’t look like a backup quarterback at least.

31. Jaguars (-3)

They have all the reason to improve. They just don’t.

32. Browns (+0)

The Browns.

Biggest Climb: Redskins (+9)

Biggest Drop: Texans (-6) 

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Tim Sports Report for 2016 NFL Week 5

Top 5

  1. RB Ezekiel Elliott 15 carries for 134 yards, 2 TDs vs. CIN

2. QB Ben Roethlisberger 28/40 for 380 yards, 4 TDs, Fmb, 124.4 passer rating vs. NYJ

3. RB David Johnson 27 carries for 157 yards, 2 TDs vs. SF

4. WR T.Y. Hilton 10 receptions for 171 yards, TD vs. CHI

5. QB Tom Brady 28/40 for 406 yards, 3 TDs, 127.7 QBR vs. CLE

Worst of the Worst

5. QB Ryan Tannehill 12/18 for 191 yards, 2 INTs, 62.3 QBR vs. TEN

4. Cleveland is still Cleveland.

3. Rams D. Where are you? They’ve allowed 28+ points in four of six games this season.

2. Carolina continues implosion, drops to 1-4

  1. San Diego blows another one, misses field goal to force game into overtime.

Steelers Recap

The Jets of 2015 are gone. They were dismantled. The secondary is being torn apart. The d-line is doing all it can but it hasn’t been enough. The quarterback situation in New York is a mess. The Steelers beat them handedly in all aspect and had all the reason to.

Game of the Week: Cowboys @ Packers

I could easily pick Atlanta in my game of the week, facing Seattle on the road, but I’m taking Dallas vs. Green Bay. Dallas is a vastly different team from last year and I’m taking them in an upset at Lambeau.

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2016-2017 NFL Power Rankings: Week 5

1. Patriots (+1)

Tom Brady is back with no rust to show from his absence. The Patriots are healthy. The Patriots are lethal.

2. Vikings (+1)

I’m still amazed that Minnesota has accomplished what they’ve accomplished without Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson. Truly an astounding feat.

3. Broncos (-2)

Denver missed Trevor Siemian on Sunday. Paxton Lynch showed his potential but made some youthful mistakes.

4. Falcons (+3)

Over Carolina. Over Denver. Not only that, they’ve set a franchise record for most points through five games (175). Can they beat Seattle on the road and complete the trifecta? If they do, it’s likely they find themselves at number one next week.

5. Steelers (+0)

Pittsburgh maintains its spot at five after a dismantling of the Jets.

6. Cowboys (+11)

I hate the Cowboys but the team is good this year. There’s no denying that. While a lack of competition is a valid argument, Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott have achieved. Elliott is the third rookie to have 130 rushing yards in three straight games. Despite how high I have them ranked, I see an upset in the forecast. I have Dallas beating Green Bay at Lambeau. If they do that, I’ll know for sure they belong in this conversation. They also have Philly the following week.

7. Raiders (+2)

Oakland is a peculiar team. They’re dead last in yards allowed and near the bottom in every defensive category. They’ve allowed over 2,200 yards and 150 points through five games. They’re only the fourth team to accomplish that in NFL history. They’re also the only one to accomplish it and still have a winning record. That might be because, according to my rankings, they’ve played two top-15 teams in five games. As the schedule hardens, I don’t know if this team will be able to overcome its defensive failings but thus far, they’ve found a way, somehow, and that can’t be ignored.

8. Seahawks (+0)

Bye. Seattle’s defense is at the top in ypg, but they also haven’t played a top-15 team yet. Let’s see how they do as the game heats up. They’ve got Atlanta, their first true test.

9. Eagles (+1)

They lost their first game because of a late fumble. Can’t penalize them for that, especially when two other teams in the top ten did so much worse.

10. Packers (-6)

I’m fed up with Green Bay. Lacy is the best player on offense right now. Not Rodgers, not Nelson and not Cobb. That pass attack needs to figure it out. Rodgers told us to relax and played well against Detroit, but let’s not forget that was Detroit. They struggled with the Giants, a team that just built their defense this offseason.

11. Chiefs (+0)

Bye. Steelers crushed them. They come back and face another flying offense, Oakland.

12. Bengals (-6)

They’ve faced three top-ten teams and haven’t beaten any of them. If you can’t compete when it counts, you don’t belong in the top-ten or the playoffs. Of course, Cincy knows about the latter all too well. I’ve said it for years. Cincinnati needs a receiver opposite of Green. Last year, Sanu showed he could be that guy. They chose not to re-sign him. Right now, they’re asking Brandon LaFell to be that guy. That’s laughable.

13. Texans (+0)

Hard to penalize a team as limited on offense as Houston for having troubles with Minnesota but another loss won’t be overshadowed.

14. Bills (+9)

Buffalo had a rough 0-2 start. They’ve won their last three. I see no reason why they can’t make it four against San Francisco. If they don’t, expect them to drop. Not much of an aerial attack in Buffalo with Taylor’s inconsistency and Watkins’ absence, but the defense has come together. They don’t have tough competition until the middle of the season. That’s when we’ll know who this team really is.

15. Ravens (+0)

Narrow loss to the Redskins can’t be skipped over. My concern with Baltimore’s stats and record thus far was strength of schedule. I might have been right about that.

16. Rams (+0)

The Rams have a tough schedule. 3-2 three weeks in, with this offense, regardless of competition, is a feat. That said, LA is middle of the road, nothing more.

17. Giants (+1)

The defense impressed against Green Bay but that very well could have been Green Bay’s recent ineptitude. On offense, it’s a battle of who sucks more, Eli or the run game.

18. Lions (+2)

They grab a narrow win against Philly. I want to see more before I jump up and down.

19. Cardinals (+0)

No points for a win over Blaine Gabbert. None.

20. Panthers (-8)

No Newton. No Panthers defense. No Panthers win. A loss to Tampa Bay at home is very unsettling.

21. Redskins (+1)

They sneak past Baltimore. DeSean hasn’t lit it up. Cousins is hanging in there. Not much to say here.

22. Titans (+3)

I picked Tennessee over Miami even though ESPN Pick ‘Em had that as an upset. I didn’t think it was. I was correct.

23. Dolphins (-2)

The Dolphins are drowning. Get it? Because they’re fish, they’re not supposed to drown? I’m gonna move on now.

24. Colts (+0)

I couldn’t tell you what this team did on Sunday. Probably because a win over Chicago does nothing to change my mind about them.

25. Jets (-11)

The Jets suck. Who knows where the 2015 team went.

26. Buccaneers (+4)

Tampa Bay gets some valuable points for a road win against the NFC champs, though at this point, it seems like a disservice to the term to call them that.

27. 49ers (-1)

They lose a point not for losing to Arizona but for letting David Johnson steamroll them. Kap starts on Sunday. Looking forward to it.

28. Jaguars (+0)

Bye. Jacksonville versus Chicago. Oh boy.

29. Saints (+0)

Bye. We’ll get to see if they got a defense over the last week. Probably not.

30. Chargers (-3)

They blew another one. How can you blow this many games in a row?

31. Bears (+0)

Here the Bears are likely to remain for the 2016 season.

32. Browns (+0)

Here the Browns are guaranteed to remain for the 2016 season. Last week, I said the Browns would start five quarterbacks this season. They started Charlie Whitehurst this week after Kessler was knocked out. Four down, one to go!

Biggest Climb: Cowboys (+11)

Biggest Drop: Jets (-11)

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Tim Sports Report for 2016 NFL Week 4

Top 5

  1. WR Julio Jones 12 receptions for 300 yards, TD vs. CAR

Fourth player in Super Bowl era to have 300 yards receiving in a game.

2. QB Ben Roethlisberger 22/27 for 300 yards, 5 TDs, 152.5 passer rating vs. KC

Sixth quarterback to have five touchdowns in five different games

3. QB Matt Ryan 28/37 for 503 yards, 4 TDs, INT, 142.5 passer rating vs. CAR

4. Bills LB Zach Brown 15 tackles, 13 solo, sack, two forced fumbles vs. NE

5. WR A.J. Green 10 receptions for 173 yards, TD vs. MIA

Worst of the Worst

5. QB Carson Palmer 23/36 for 288 yards, TD, INT, Fmb, 86.3 passer rating vs. LA

4. QB Matthew Stafford 23/6 for 213 yards, 2 INTs, 56.8 QBR vs. CHI

3. Jets D, where are you? 23 vs. CIN, 31 vs. BUF, 24 vs. KC, 27 vs. SEA

2. Quarterbacks knocked out: Newton, Palmer, Siemian

  1. San Diego drops another one. Chargers have led in final two minutes in all three of their losses.

Steelers Recap

It was a week after one of the worst games in Steelers history. The Steelers responded as we expected, or had all the right in the world to expect. Defiantly and confidently. Roethlisberger had one of the best games of his career against a team that had just picked off Ryan Fitzpatrick six times, one of the few teams to ever accomplish that feat. The defense held the Chiefs to 14 points. Cam Heyward had three sacks. The Steelers were back and showed their game in Philly was just that. One game, a memory soon to be lost in the deeper recesses of the team’s minds. Up against the struggling Jets next week, it’s impossible for me not to take Pittsburgh.

Game of the Week: Falcons @ Broncos

The best offense against one of the best defenses. If Siemian starts, I have to give the edge to Denver. If Lynch starts, it gets a whole lot closer. Either way, I’m taking Denver but not confidently. I think this game could go either way.

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Tim Sports Report for 2016 NFL Week 3

Top 5

  1. QB Trevor Siemian 28/35 for 312 yards, 4 TDs, 132.1 passer rating vs. CIN

First quarterback to throw for 300 yards and 4 TDs without an interception in his first road start.

2. Vikings record eight sacks, pick Cam three times in road win against Carolina.

3. WR Marvin Jones 6 receptions for 205 yards, 2 TDs vs. GB

4. QB Aaron Rodgers 15/24 for 205, 4 TDs, 129.3 passer rating vs. DET

5. RB LeSean McCoy 17 carries for 110 yards, 2 TDs vs. ARI

Worst of the Worst

5. Cody Parkey misses three field goals, including potential gamewinner for Cleveland.

4. San Diego chokes away a lead again.

3. QB Carson Palmer 26/50 for 287 yards, 4 INTs, 36.0 passer rating vs. BUF

2. Steelers suffer worst loss since ’89.

  1. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick 20/44 for 188 yards, 6 INTs, 18.2 passer rating vs. KC

Steelers Recap

I don’t want to talk about it. I really don’t. It was one of the worst Steelers games I’ve seen. The offense was lost and the defense confused and battered. I couldn’t even watch the whole game. The idea that an offense as talented as the Steelers couldn’t score even one touchdown against Philly is disturbing. I’m not in panic mode but if they suffer a second loss like that, it speaks to a larger problem that needs to be addressed.

Game of the Week: Panthers @ Falcons

Not a lot of games jump up from the schedule but this one does. Matty Ice is dropping some bombs. Carolina is on their heels, but will it play out that way? I got Atlanta in an upset.

 

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Tim Sports Report for 2016 NFL Week 2

Top 5

  1. Stefon Diggs 9 receptions for 182 yards, TD vs. GB

2. RB Matt Forte 30 carries for 100 yards, 3 TDs vs. BUF

3. WR Jarvis Landry 10 receptions for 135 yards vs. NE

4. LB Von Miller 7 tackles, 5 solo, 3 sacks, forced fumble vs. IND

5. LeGarrette Blount 29 carries for 123 yards, TD vs. MIA

Worst of the Worst

5. Norman switched to cover Dez in the 4th quarter. Just the 4th.

4. Seahawks manage three points versus Rams.

3. Jameis Winston 27/52 for 243, TD, 4 INTs, fumble, 39.2 passer rating vs. ARI

2. Jaguars obliterated 38-14 against San Diego.

  1. Browns surrender 20-0 lead versus Ravens, lose 25-20 and lose Josh McCown, forcing Cody Kessler into the starting role.

Steelers Recap

Pittsburgh didn’t pay their best football on Sunday. Ben wasn’t at his best, Antonio Brown didn’t have a highlight reel day and the defense got just one sack. None of it mattered. Pittsburgh got it done. When their offense wasn’t in rhythm, they still put up 24. That’s scary. Against a rookie quarterback in Philly, I’m taking Pittsburgh. Confidently.

Game of the Week: Broncos at Bengals

Cincinnati can contend in the AFC and Denver remains the best team in the league. Can the Bengals upset the Broncos? I definitely think they’re capable. Jeremy Hill needs to get his engine going and the defense has to exploit Siemian at quarterback. I’m just not sure if any of that is going to happen so I’m taking Denver.

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2016-2017 NFL Power Rankings: Week 1

1. Broncos

A 21-20 win showed us Denver hasn’t changed. The defense is still full of pressure cookers and once again, the Panthers couldn’t protect Cam in the Super Bowl rematch. C.J. Anderson warranted a top-five slot in my sports report and Trevor Siemian didn’t do half bad considering he was facing the second-best defense in the league.

2. Panthers

The Panthers still haven’t found an answer to the labyrinth that is the Broncos defense, but otherwise look to be a top contender for the Super Bowl.

3. Patriots

No Brady. No Gronk. On the road in Arizona. None of it mattered. New England remains the king of the AFC.

4. Steelers

Not far behind them is Pittsburgh, who put up an offensive clinic on the Redskins. Granted, it’s Washington but the Steelers manhandled the entire game.

5. Packers

Green Bay got it done against the Jaguars, who look like a real football team this year.

6. Bengals

A.J. Green desolated Revis Island and the Bengals defense held its own against the Jets. Cincinnati surrendered seven sacks, however, and were forced to quit on the run game halfway through, something that they can’t lean on in the future.

7. Jets

If it wasn’t for Revis not showing up to play and Fitzpatrick being Fitzpatrick and throwing a fourth quarter interception, the Jets could have won. The front seven looked especially lethal and Forte didn’t appear to lose a step in his first game in New York.

8. Cardinals

They looked bad. They struggled at home against a Patriot squad without Brady and Gronk. There’s no reason they should have lost. I have little faith in a Palmer-led offense when it comes to the postseason. Performances in big games like the one on Sunday night give me all the reason to doubt.

9. Jaguars

Most likely too high of a rating for Jacksonville, but they impressed me in their game against Green Bay. They didn’t just look like a football team. They looked like a good one. I’m interested to see how they fare against a more balanced team. Green Bay doesn’t have an exceptional defense.

10. Chiefs

It’s hard to rank after just one week of play but it’s hard to leave a team off the top-ten that came from 17 points down to win in overtime. Shows some determination, especially when they did it all without their best player, Jamaal Charles.

11. Raiders

The Raiders defense does not match with the hype. That said, the offense kept them in the game. Now we just have to see if the defense can do the same down the stretch.

12. Texans

Texans looked comfortable with Lamar Miller in the backfield and Brock Osweiler at quarterback. I just wonder how long that’s going to last.

13. Giants

Giants should have won the NFC East last year and had it not been for three losses because of bad time management, it’s likely they would’ve. I expect them to win it this year. One down and 15 to go.

14. Seahawks

The offensive line is weak. Russ can’t run forever, can he? There’s no Lynch to rely on behind him. There’s a lot of pressure on Russ this year, perhaps too much.

15. Dolphins

Gave Seattle a run for their money. Will the defense start performing the way it should have last year?

16. Lions

Stafford didn’t seem to lose a step against Indianapolis. Granted, not a tough defense to deal with.

17. Colts

Andrew Luck looked like himself but as with Stafford, not much competition.

18. Vikings

Without Bridgewater, the offense will struggle, but Minnesota was a top-ten defense last year and fifth in points against per game. I see no reason why they can’t reach similar numbers this year.

19. Buccaneers

A scoring fiasco it was yet again with the Bucs but will the ship remain steady or collapse midway through its voyage?

20. Chargers

It was so like San Diego to fall apart with a huge lead. I wasn’t even surprised. It just felt like something San Diego would do.

21. 49ers

San Francisco is trying to identify themselves again and time will tell if Chip Kelly is the head of that new dogma.

22. Ravens

Baltimore struggled last year and with Buffalo and Cleveland in weeks one and two, it’s gonna be hard to tell early on if they’re back to their old selves.

23. Eagles

I’m not high on Philly, not with that defense and a rookie quarterback. Against Cleveland, I didn’t learn much, aside from Cleveland is still Cleveland.

24. Redskins

Washington paid Kirk Cousins $20 million for a franchise tag season. Through game one, two interceptions and zero touchdowns. Not the type of production that you’re looking for. I thought tagging Cousins was a bad idea. It’s looking that way thus far. And let’s not talk about how bad the Washington defense looked against Pittsburgh and that Jay Gruden thought the best spot for highly-touted Josh Norman was not opposite Antonio Brown but on the whole other side of the field.

25. Cowboys

Dallas has a rookie QB and RB. I’m not expecting much.

26. Falcons

Matt Ryan? Check. Julio Jones? Check. Defense? Still looking.

27. Bills

That offense isn’t looking good and with Rob Ryan coaching the defense, it’s looking like a down year for Buffalo.

28. Saints

I don’t care how great Drew Brees is. The run game isn’t helping and the defense is aimless.

29. Bears

Bears are a team that’s hard to read. Sometimes I think they have potential and other times I don’t. I’m still surprised they let Forte leave but I’m interested to see how Chicago plays without him.

30. Titans

DeMarco and Derrick Henry in the backfield and Marcus Mariota behind center. Wide receiver is still a question and the defense isn’t exactly full of starlets but there might be a bright future for this team. In like five years.

31. Rams

This team looked bad. Real bad. Bad like a malnourished college team bad. Todd Gurley and nobody on offense and the defense was a no-show. Against San Francisco. No matter how you phrase it, it sounds awful.

32. Browns

Cleveland. RG3 on injured reserve already. Do I need to say more?

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Tim Sports Report for 2016 NFL Week 1

Top 5

  1. WR A.J. Green 12 receptions for 180 yards, TD vs. NYJ

2. RB DeAngelo Williams 26 carries for 143 yards, 2 TDs, 6 receptions for 28 yards vs. WAS

Becomes oldest RB (33) with 100 rushing yards and 2 rushing TDs in a game since Jerome Bettis in 2005.

3. RB Spencer Ware 11 carries for 70 yards, TD, 7 receptions for 129 yards vs. SD

4. RB C.J. Anderson 20 carries for 92 yards, TD, 4 receptions for 47 yards, TD vs. CAR

5. QB Drew Brees 28/42 for 423 yards, 4 TDs, Fmb, 131.3 passer rating vs. OAK

Worst of the Worst

5. Terrance Williams blows it, choosing to stay in the field of play rather than get out-of-bounds and stop the clock, essentially losing Dallas the game singlehandedly.

4. Chargers blow 24-3 lead to Chiefs.

3. Redskins put Josh Norman on the opposite side of Antonio Brown, let Brown rip them for 8 receptions for 126 yards, 2 TDs. There’s no logical explanation for this.

2. Cam headhunting. I didn’t get to watch all of the NFL opener but I saw all the hits by Friday. Once again, the NFL demonstrates a lack of empathy.

  1. Cardinals fail to beat Patriots without Brady AND Gronk AND at home

Steelers Recap

The Steelers looked sluggish early but Ben began to connect with his younger stars and the defense showed up, surrendering only three third down conversions in the contest. Meanwhile, DeAngelo Williams had one of the best performances of the week, once again defying time and making the argument that Pittsburgh doesn’t need LeVeon Bell’s irresponsibility, knee injuries and salary cap hit. The offensive line again made the debate that it deserves top-ten praise and Antonio Brown once again proved he can’t be ignored. At the end of the game, it was more of the same.

The Bengals come to Heinz Field on Sunday. After surrendering seven sacks on Sunday against the Jets and failing to get the run game going, Dalton was forced to air it out to Green, who proved to be Cincinnati’s savior and the week’s greatest performer, buying real estate on Revis Island. It’s likely Green will have another big day against Pittsburgh but if the Steelers are able to cancel everything else the Bengals have going on offense, it’s likely the Steelers offense will be able to outscore them. I’ll take Pittsburgh at home.

Game of the Week: Bengals @ Steelers

All of this to say, it’s my game of the week. I had the Panthers-Broncos game pegged for week one and I doubt this AFC North battle will disappoint.

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