NFL Week Three Preview
It’s week three of the NFL season and as usual we’ll preview the games on British TV this weekend.
New York Jets @ Miami Dolphins (Sunday 1pm ET/6pm BST)
Last season was the year of Tim Tebow. His electrifying comeback wins throughout the season were all the more thrilling because the punditocracy said he couldn’t throw the ball. He was a tight end, or a running back, masquerading as a quarterback. And yet he kept winning. And winning and winning and winning. Including a thrilling over time playoff victory over the Steelers.
This year he’s blocking on the punt team for the Jets. We haven’t seen much of the Jets’ much vaunted new wildcat, with Tebow as the focal point. They were supposed to run all sorts of bizarre plays with Tebow’s ability to run and throw making the Jets’ offense a nightmare to defend.
In a convincing loss, and a convincing win, so far in the 2012 season, we haven’t seen much of Timmy. Except blocking punts. We’ll see if he’s allowed to run and chuck in Miami, the home of the wildcat.
The Jets are up against a, so far, unimpressive rookie quarterback. And a team recovering from a stint on HBO’s revealing reality series Hard Knocks. The funniest revelation of which was that quarterback Ryan Tannehill hadn’t learned the divisions of the NFL. Pretty essential knowledge for a starting QB. He was never one for geography.
Houston Texans @ Denver Broncos (Sunday 4.25pm ET/9.25pm BST)
The Texans are one of only six unbeaten teams in the league after two games. Parity in the NFL is here to stay. They look to have their division locked up already. Their elite running back pairing of Ben Tate and Arian Foster are already running riot.
It hasn’t been as smooth a start for the Broncos. They won handily against Pittsburgh in their first game, but Peyton Manning’s return season went to pot against the Falcons on Monday night. He threw three interceptions in the first quarter. I’ll repeat that. Peyton Manning threw three interceptions in the first quarter. Oops. Looks like he’s still a work in progress. But this is still Peyton we’re talking about, and it’s a foolish man who ever bets against him.
New England Patriots @ Baltimore Ravens (Sunday 8.20pm ET/Monday 1.20am BST)
We have a great AFC rivalry on Sunday night, a repeat of last year’s AFC Championship game. Ravens’ defensive stalwarts Ray Lewis and Ed Reed love nothing more than catching stray Tom Brady passes and/or smashing him into the dirt.
But the Ravens’ D has yet to find its stride this season. But neither has the equally heralded New England offense. The Patriots lost Aaron Hernandez to injury last week, he’ll be out for some time. Normally one injury wouldn’t be such a big deal. But unfortunately for the Patriots their entire offense hinges on their two tight ends, Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski. With Hernandez out Pats’ coach Bill Belichick will have to rethink their whole offense. The scary thing for Baltimore? He’s more than capable of doing that.
Green Bay Packers @ Seattle Seahawks (Monday 8.30pm ET/Tuesday 1.30am BST)
The Monday night game comes from the rambunctious CenturyLink Field. We all know Super Bowl XLV winners Green Bay are the better team, with league MVP Aaron Rodgers running the offense. But strange things happen when big favourites travel to Seattle.
Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson looked composed in last week’s win over the Cowboys. If he’s allowed to play his own game, not merely manage the offense, he could shock a few people. Then again we could see a Packers’ blow out. But I still think Seattle shocks the world.
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