Each week, the Rampant Discourse staff will offer their quick takes and rampant reactions to the NFL 2017 season.
This week will once again be a light week, with only Paul’s reactions to the games.
Nobody looked good on TNF: Thursday Night Football featured the team I picked to win the NFC South and the team I picked to go 18-1 (whoops) in a game where everything screamed “shootout.” So far this season, New England’s defense had resembled rebel troopers trying to stop Darth Vader from getting Death Star plans, while Tampa Bay was dealing with a number of defensive injuries. Despite this, both offenses struggled mightily to put up points and often looked bad. I still have confidence the Patriots will right the ship because that’s what they always do, but I have real concerns about the Bucs catching up to the Falcons and the surprising Panthers. Doug Martin looked good coming back from suspension, but Jameis Winston still hasn’t taken that step forward from good QB to elite.
Still on the Eagles/Rams bandwagons: The Eagles looked real nice in all three phases of the game in a dominating win over the Cardinals; they have started putting some distance between themselves and the rest of the NFC East. Next week’s game against the Panthers will be a real interesting test of where both teams are. The Rams had a prime opportunity to make a statement win against the division bully Seahawks and claim sole possession of first place, but ended up barely falling short. Despite the loss, I’m still a big believer in the Rams. They were right there in the game and had multiple opportunities to win. The defense was stout, and while Goff made some mistakes, he also drove them down the field and put them in a position to win. I’m looking forward to this division race coming down to the last few weeks of the season, which very few people would’ve predicted before the season.
Raiders at risk of falling too far behind: The Raiders, currently at 2-3, might’ve been my worst division winner pick. The Texans are also 2-3, but are breaking in a rookie QB who didn’t start the first game and have shown serious fight the past few weeks while the Raiders haven’t shown any fight. Also, the Texans are just one game behind the AFC South leading Jaguars. Meanwhile, the Raiders find themselves looking (way) up at Kansas City and Denver, teams that I apparently very much underestimated in the preseason. I simply did not anticipate such a dramatic change from 33 year old QB Alex Smith, who has transformed from a dink-and-dunk type passer to somebody who throws downfield so often (and so successfully). We’ll see if this success translates into a deep playoff run, but for now, it’s hard to see the Chiefs falling off in the regular season.