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From the Press Box: Know That You Know Nothing

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From the Press Box: Know That You Know Nothing

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning by Brad Mills—USA TODAY Sports.

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning by Brad Mills—USA TODAY Sports.

Week 4 is upon us and we’re at the point where bye weeks start messing with your fantasy football plans and we realize that everything we thought preseason was wrong.

Well at least most of it.

Think of the teams we believed were likely division winners from the preseason:

 

AFC

Denver Broncos

Cincinnati Bengals

New England Patriots

Indianapolis Colts

 

NFC

Seattle Seahawks

New Orleans Saints

Green Bay Packers

Philadelphia Eagles

 

Of those teams, the Bengals and Broncos are division leaders in the AFC while only the Eagles lead their division in the NFC. The Patriots are technically tied with the Bills for the lead in the East, but they have a division loss so the Bills are up top for now.

The Colts, Saints and Packers are 1-2, and the Seahawks are behind a 3-0 Cardinals team at 2-1.

None of this is set in stone—certainly I’m not saying that this is how things will remain. However, very few people outside of Buffalo had the Bills as leading the AFC East after three games, most people had the Panthers as dead in the water, not tied with the Falcons for the NFC South lead, nobody expected the Lions to be leading the NFC North, tied with the Bears and the Packers to sit at last in their division.

Heck, nobody thought Houston would have only one loss at this point, forget being ahead of the Colts for the AFC South.

This is why, despite the ridiculous crap off the field, that the NFL is the king of the sports world. No matter what you think is going to happen—or how sure you are something will happen—it never goes to plan.

Speaking of which:

 

Good Job, NFL, Good Effort

So we’re officially at the end of the week and we have had no off the field drama (new or otherwise) all week.

We can actually focus on football which, let’s be honest, is what we all want.

This is not to say that we should suddenly go back to ignoring domestic violence, child abuse or any of the other issues raised during the last few months nor does it mean those problems are solved in the NFL. I myself continue to hold the league’s feet to the fire, though if we’re honest my book of matches is smaller than, say, ESPN’s.

But it’s a nice change of pace to be able to talk about football for a while.

 

Thursday Night Football

Speaking of football—if we’re going to do the Thursday Night Football thing, can we get some better games? Or at least arrange things in such a way to where teams aren’t exhausted when they play it on the heels of a Sunday game?

Here’s my idea: don’t start the Thursday games until bye weeks begin and only play teams which have just had a bye. It’s not an easy scheduling scenario, but they have dealt with worse. You’d get teams fresh off a break and not exhausted, and I guarantee the quality of play will go up.

Will it always mean good games? No because when you schedule Tampa Bay and Atlanta in the Spring, the idea is they are both good teams. We didn’t expect Tampa to be the dumpster fire it has been on both sides of the ball.

But game for game, it would be better.

It won’t happen because the NFL is chasing money and would be happier if they could swing 20 Thursday games into a 16 game season, but I think it’s the only way to salvage what has become a pretty disappointing weekly event.

 

The Growth of the Giants

I wrote about the Giants twice at Sports on Earth this week, once from Metlife Stadium and yesterday breaking down how they slowed down Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt.

It’s been an interesting process, watching this team from training camp to now. Looking from the outside, most will think that there was some miraculous turn of events during the win over the Texans and I suppose there is some truth to that.

This was a team building towards this for months. It was only a matter of time before it clicked.

The closest thing to a miracle might be Eli Manning’s ability to let go of the micromanaging control he had in Kevin Gilbride’s offense. Manning was used to knowing everything everyone was supposed to do in his old offense and that was a scheme he played in for a decade.

Letting go of that isn’t easy and perhaps we didn’t really appreciate that prior to the season.

Ultimately, there has been a laundry list of issues the Giants offense has had to face—injuries on the offensive line and at wide receiver and a new offensive coordinator among them—but it might be that Manning’s inability to let go of his control has been what was holding them back.

Two games does not a season make, but the Giants look like they are on the upswing and this offense has the potential to only get better as the season goes on.

Certainly, Coach Coughlin is happy.

 

 

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