Tom's Quick Six: NFL Week 4
WFUV's Tommy Aldrich takes a look at what happened this past weekend in the NFL, as well as what's going to happen Monday night when the Giants take on the Vikings.
Last Thursday’s color rush matchup between the Bengals and Dolphins was one to forget. The Dolphins offense - missing four starting offensive lineman and two newly signed studs in Arian Foster and Jordan Cameron - looked like something out of the BIG 10 instead of the NFL. The unit had come into the night 32nd in the league on third down conversions and proceeded to go 2-11 on the key down against Cincinnati's D. Though his stats don’t shout it (15 of 25 for 189 yards with one TD and one pick), Ryan Tannehill’s play and body language should be even more concerning to the Miami fan than the blowout itself. The ex-Aggie was not only seeing ghosts in the pocket on Thursday night, but - of most concern - looked extremely hesitant to get rid of the ball.
Props go to:
AJ Green: Who continues to prove to the entire nation that he was worthy of being selected 4th overall in the 2011 draft - two picks ahead of Julio Jones. While Julio in full form may be the more impressive specimen, the wideout from Georgia has quietly caught 10 more touchdowns and remained markedly healthier than the Alabama product in their first 5 seasons. Green had 10 receptions for 173 yards on Thursday night, with a score to go along with it.
Andy Dalton: The pro-bowl quarterback went for 296 yards and a score on Thursday and looked good doin’ it. Dalton appears more comfortable and confident every time I watch him, and Thursday night was no exception.
Geno Atkins: Who is consistently a force and the heartbeat of a vicious Bengals defence. In a league where Aaron Donald exploded on the scene - Atkins has been pushing NFL pockets for six years.
And now for a quick six from this week’s Sunday action:
I. NFC West Watch: The Rams are 3-1 and the Cardinals are 1-3 (And Jared Goff isn't the starting QB), anybody see that coming? Los Angeles have already beaten the Seahawks and Cardinals and finally look like the tough defensive team that they have quietly been for the past few years. Few defenses have as many young first round picks as the Rams do (see: Aaron Donald, Robert Quinn, Alec Olgletree, Mark Barron and Michael Brockers).
II. All Will Fuller has done since coming into the league is make plays. PPF’s fastest player in week 4, the rookie from Notre Dame hit 21 mph during a punt that he took the house against Tennessee. Fuller caught 7 balls for 81 yards and a touchdown against the Titans to add to his stellar day. The young wideout reminds me a whole lot of a young Desean Jackson.
III. Julio Jones was an absolute monster in the Georgia dome as he and Matt Ryan connected 12 times for 300 yards and touchdown. The Panthers defense looked like it was missing a certain cornerback (one Josh Norman) as Matt Ryan threw for a ridiculous 503 yards. Ryan is playing as well as any QB in the league through four weeks and has led the Falcons to a 3-1 record. Not bad for a team who has disappointed in the past few seasons
IV. Derek Carr is a professional dot-maker, and the Raiders are making pretty plays everytime I watch them (thank you, Redzone). A lot of these special plays are being made by former top ten draft pick Michael Crabtree, who has finally found his home in the NFL. The veteran has always had the talent, but took a few years to find the right system to develop it. Now in Oakland, Crabtree is the main play maker in an offense that, under Jack Del Rio, has found tremendous success in being unpredictable and aggressive. This game winning TD about sums it up. (make sure to watch the replay to see Crabtree's route).
V: Ohio State Rookie Watch: A lot of these guys (and there are quite a few of them this year) are having success early on. Three stick out to me.
1. Ezekiel Elliott: is casually leading the league in rushing, having rushed for 130+ in back to back games. He is the front runner for rookie of the year.
2. Michael Thomas: a wide receiver for New Orleans is becoming a primary target for Drew Brees - he has 21 receptions on the season for 229 yards and two touchdowns. He is a big bodied receiver, who, at 6-3 is serious threat in the redzone.
3. Eli Apple: Who will be sitting tonight against the Vikings due to a tweaked hammy, but who also has already surpassed Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie as the second cornerback for the Giants, starting opposite Janoris Jenkins. The six-foot corner is physical at the line and loves to tackle.
VI: Good Teams Watch:
Patriots: So four weeks went by and the Pats managed to go 3-1 without Brady (and really Gronk too, who has been playing injured). Sounds about right, doesn't it? The best coached football team in the league will be getting the best quarterback in the league back now. Watch out.
Broncos: Are 4-0 and have yet to seriously be challenged. And I'll tell you it's not Trevor Siemian doing the work, it's that defense. I’m honestly waiting for someone to give them a run for their money, I really haven't seen it.
Monday Night Prediction: 0-3 on the season.
Tonight the Giants will face the Vikings in their new and improved stadium. No defense is playing more cohesively than Minnesota's and Sam Bradford and Stefon Diggs seem as legitimate of a threat as Eli Manning and Odell Beckham are.
For the Giants to win, they need to create a turnover or two and suffocate Sam Bradford in the pocket. If not, the Vikings will take advantage of the Giants who will be without 3 of four starting DB’s. I think the Giants are hungry after last Sunday’s embarrassing loss and that Odell Beckham will find himself in the endzone for the first time this season.
Giants: 24 - Vikings: 17