PANIC or SETTLE IN Week — Week 4… the first of four quarterly bench marks of the NFL’s sixteen week season. The week where identities are almost fully established. There is still room for anything to happen but it’s definitely the week where you realize where your team stands. The fear of reality comes into play following week four since most teams now have seen at least one divisional rival and enough to know where there team stands. It’s the week that has some teams settling in and realizing they have something good in front of them and has other teams reaching for that bright-red panic button!
Cincinnati Bengals 22, Miami Dolphins 7
What happened to the good looking Dolphins orange? Thursday Night’s color-rush uniforms once again featured horrifying jerseys as Miami sported all-orange jerseys that looked like they had been ran through the wash with bleach, giving a peachy hint to it. The extra sweet uniforms were replicated in the Dolphins tackling ability as exploited by A.J. Green’s ten catches for 166 yards. The Dolphins defense looked about as bad as Ryan Tannehill’s off-season contract extension is starting to look. The Dolphins need to pound that PANIC button after their week four loss. The Bengals are now 2-2 but with their losses coming to Pittsburgh and Denver, are feeling like they have solid ground in the AFC with their shellacking of the Dolphins on the road in a shortened week.
Jacksonville Jaguars 30, Indianapolis Colts 27 [In London]
Apologies to England. Hard to say from America whether our neighbors across the pond really appreciate these publicity-stunt football games or if the NFL is just trying to compensate Americans that live overseas and trying to cure their melon-shaped football cravings. Either way, there was nothing of good coming from the 8:30 A.M. Central Standard Time kickoff between the AFC South Rivals. It was close but both of these teams still need to be striking the PANIC button. The Colts still have issues on the O-Line and now are showing signs of poor mental-strength defensively as dumb penalties plagued the Colts throughout the game. To the Jags credit they took advantage of the untimely Indy mistakes to give themselves enough of a lead to hold off another late surge by Luck and Co. who are starting to gain another bad reputation trait of being slow-starters. The Jags need to hit the PANIC button for a different reason. The AFC South is ug-lay! If they ever wanted a year of mediocre Jacksonville football to reach the playoffs they need to press-on hard in 2016 and make something out of this season!
Buffalo Bills 16, New England Patriots 0
So the Ryan brothers aren’t totally incompetent. Thankfully for Buffalo, they had a week of tape to prepare for Jacoby Brissett who finally started looking like a third-stringer in the Patriots goose-egg at home against their AFC East foes. It was the first time Bill Belichick had been shutout in New England. (2) Meanwhile, The Ryan’s found footing after being hung by the media following week three but who knows how long it will provide them with air supply. The Patriots can now SETTLE IN physically thanks to their upcoming week 5 bye week and from a roster stand-point as Tom Brady looks to reclaim his throne in Foxborough behind center. The Bills will once again ROUTINELY hit the PANIC button, as will be their full-season reaction thanks to the hole they just reached out of at 2-2.
Chicago Bears 17, Detroit Lions 14
The NFC North Toilet bowl part one. Both these teams have a recent history of mediocrity and inability to finish out games. While one, Chicago, is learning they need not be so reliant on Jay Cutler thanks to Brian Hoyer’s performances in relief. The other, Detroit, is learning they can not just expect Matt Stafford to handle the burden of a lackluster roster week after week. The Bears are hitting the short and long term PANIC button due to their predicament at quarterback and need to figure out where they stand with Cutler before he comes back. Detroit’s going to have to enter SETTLE IN mode. Falling to 1-3 with their line win coming to the Colts in week one they need to realize who’s worth keeping or cutting for post-2016.
Washington Redskins 31, Cleveland Browns 20
Washington benefited Sunday from a weak opponent in the Browns who have too many overall problems to be anything but a loser in 2016. However, the Redskins should also ease the seat back and realize their playoff meal ticket. A.k.a. the NFC East. Enjoy the easy wins like Cleveland when you can, but Washington’s real weekends will consist their most familiar foes.
Seattle Seahawks 27, New York Jets 17
New York; SETTLE IN for a losing season. Here’s why. You didn’t PANIC and buy-in on Ryan Fitzpatrick this off season. That seems to be a good thing as of right now. Fitz is giving Jets fans just that between his nine interceptions to one touchdown pass in the past two games. (2) The Patriots are going to command the AFC East again, just accept the rebuild 6-10/7-9 season and get the cement wet. Seattle; SETTLE IN, once again they slow played the start of the year but the Seahawks will get their offensive wings flapping as the leaves turn colors. Russell Wilson played insanely well (23-32 with 309 yards and three TDs, through injuries). (4) Don’t look back on the first quarter with heavy eyes Seattle just actually prep for be Rams this time around.
Oakland Raiders 28, Baltimore Ravens 27
Both teams SETTLE IN; this should have been the package sent to London as this actually looked like two playoff teams. Granted, due to Denver and Pittsburgh they maybe relegated to Wild Card slots, both are appearing to be teams with something of merit through the first quarter.
Atlanta Falcons 48, Carolina Panthers 33
Carolina- PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! The secondary without Josh Norman looks as unrecognized to the 2015 Panthers as the Presidential campaign’s running mates. (5) Hard to say if they will have a chance to defend their NFC title from a year ago given they just lost an in division game to an Atlanta team that finally has the football world double-taking the Georgia product. The Falcons just need to SETTLE IN and focus on redemption of their week one loss to the Bucs and they’ll be able to enjoy their early leg up on the Saints and Panthers in the NFC South.
Houston Texans 27, Tennessee Titans 20
And so begins the ugly war for the AFC DIRTY SOUTH! ALL AFC SOUTH TEAMS SHOULD BE PANICKING! The Texans no-longer have their eye-catcher with J.J. Watt’s season ending back injury and the Titans can’t seem to get a big enough advantage to propel their run-game properly. (7) Meanwhile the Jags are the Jags and the Colts are a hot mess week in and week out. Since there is no consistency in the AFC South all teams should be on red-alert if an of them really want a shot at the playoffs. Luck fully for the foursome of mediocre squads, and unfortunately for the remaining AFC soon-to-be snubs, one of these teams will be enabled a playoff spot as a matter of South champion default. The question is who will execute the right amount of PANIC to SETTLE IN to that spot?
Dallas Cowboys 24, San Francisco 49ers 17
Okay San Francisco, jokes over. You can now SETTLE IN to the bad year you were expecting. However, PANIC because now comes the story line of when does Colin Kaepernick actually get a chance to play again? (8) Holy Willy Beamen! Dallas now has a real dilemma. Who knows when or if Tony Romo comes back this season, but if/when he does there is now a question of who should start with legitimacy being cemented in Prescott’s ability to lead the Dallas offense back against the 49ers in week four (trailed by 14 in the second quarter). Like the 49ers, Cowboys fan’s should also be PANICKING about their QB controversy. Unlike the 49ers, the Cowboys may have two legit QBs and SF has two letdowns of QBs.
Los Angeles Rams 17, Arizona Cardinals 13
Both of these teams need to PANIC. Arizona is now 1-3 and gave up a chance to really neutralize the state of the NFC West Sunday during their contest with the Rams. The loss from Zona however pushed the Rams into a 2-1 start out in the division, making them the likely favorite to claim the divisional auto-playoff bid. (9) Not too mention, the Cardinals offense. Yes, the Rams are one of the league’s perceived better defensive teams. But to only put up thirteen points at home is puzzling and worrisome. Los Angeles also needs to PANIC by what appears in their rear-view mirror. That opening week loss to San Fran may comeback to haunt them if they don’t continue to push through the NFC West and claim that top spot in the division, because as recent history has shown the Rams are underdog-dominant but when it’s time to step up they lose their balance.
New Orleans Saints 35, San Diego Chargers 34
San Diego, New Orleans both SETTLE IN; neither have nothing but old names under center. Phillip Rivers and Drew Brees are both great… The team’s they play for are not. No need to PANIC, both of these teams will be battling for the number one pick of next may’s draft.
Denver Broncos 27, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7
PANIC TAMPA BAY, that global warming thing… may be real. (10) As far as our NFL franchise goes, nah you’re good. You have time to let Winston continue to progress himself as an NFL diamond, right now he’s half way through the buffing process as a coal. Get some more players around him, the Bucs are about a year away. Denver – SETTLE IN. WE GET IT YOUR FRANCHISE IS PROPERLY RAN!
Pittsburgh Steelers 43, Kansas City Chiefs 14
The Steelers played like pros Sunday Night, following a bad loss they came back and opened a can of whoop-ass when in question. Just like pros do. However, they still need to PANIC. Here’s why; in the long term of things playing in the Steel city come January will be key, especially if they find themselves against Tommy Brady. Due to the Pats 3-1 start without Brady they are just as likely to claim HFA in the AFC playoffs. If Pittsburgh settles they may lose their chance at a home stadium come playoff time. Let’s face it, no one wants to go to Foxborough in the winter (football player or not). KC, don’t feel bad, the Steelers were sort of destined to win this game. Unfortunately the Chiefs also need to worry and PANIC! Because the Raiders may be very much for real, and the Oakland-Kansas City rivalry ma imply a playoff spot this season since it doesn’t seem the Broncs are regressing at all in 2016.
Minnesota Vikings 24, New York Giants 10
SETTLE IN Minnesota. Your team is for real! The D is nasty (NFL first ranked in Give/Take) and Sam Bradford is finally playing like a first round draft quarterback. (6) Just take care of the team’s remaining roster health and carry on! New York Giants; PANIC! Not only have they fallen to 2-2 with consecutive losses but they are looking like they are losing their own sideline as well. Really makes you wonder if letting the Tom Coughlin regime end before his time was really the right move, because right now they look about as opposite the Coughlin standard teams as possible with the antics of their stars like Odell Beckham Jr.