Let's turn our focus away from the miserable Steelers' performance and instead look at some of the other compelling Week 3 happenings and early season developments. I'll present a player or team, and mention if I'd buy or sell them, so to speak, moving forward.
1) New England
That's a shameful loss at home to a previously inept Miami Dolphins squad. The defense has some question marks coming into the season, and though they were able to hold down two suspect teams in NYJ and KC, they got exposed in a big way against Miami on the ground. They weren't as bad as they looked Sunday, but the offense clearly is not even a shell of its former self with Matt Cassel in there. Randy Moss has just 12 catches and 1 TD through three games. Will the Patriots miss the playoffs in 2008? They'll likely be chasing either the Titans, Colts, Chargers or Broncos for a Wild Card berth if Buffalo wins the division. Long way to go, but the Pats don't seem better than any of those teams without Tom Brady to me.
2) Kurt Warner
The venerable QB, who stormed out of the gates to start 2008, had his first minor setback this year. He wasn't terrible by any means in the Arizona Cardinals 24-17 defeat to the Washington Redskins, but he did turn the ball over, and perhaps most importantly, reminded his fans that he's a totally different QB when he's presented with any sort of pressure. Will Kurt Warner make it all the way through the 2008 season uninjured and as the starting QB ? And will he finally help the Cards strip the Seahawks of the hegemony they've enjoyed over the NFC West for quite some time now?
3) Buffalo BIlls
The Bills squeaked out a 24-23 win over the hapless Oakland Raiders. There's both good and bad news involved in that statement. But, in reality, what I'm sure Bills fans are ecstatic about is the development of 2nd year QB Trent Edwards. The Stanford product calmly led his team down the field for two late 4th quarter scores. The defense has some talent, there's playmakers on the outside and at RB, and the ST's are one of the top ten units in the league. If Edwards has arrived (which it's not yet clear he has, at least on a consistent basis), then the Bills have to be taken seriously. Do the Bills strip the Pats of their AFC crowns just one year after NE's perfect season?
4) Kansas City Chiefs
Last year, we were subjected to the possibility of having both a perfect 16-0 season (NE) and a perfectly futile 0-16 season (Miami). Through 3 games, it's clear the Chiefs are the worst team in the league. The most recent loss, a 38-14 setback to the Falcons, proved the Chiefs are inept on both sides of the ball. They may turn in a better performance on defense in future weeks, but it's not clear that there's any reason to believe the offense will get any better. Their best shot at winning may actually be Week 16 against the Miami Dolphins. Are the Chiefs the worst team in the league and might we see an 0-16 season from them this year?
5) Jay Cutler
Most all pundits had the Broncos on the down and out heading into this season. The concerns about the Broncos were actually legitimate, especially those that were based around their defense, which has given up gobs of points and yards, particularly the past two weeks in victories over SD and NO. Last year, or the year before, the Broncos don't win those games. Why? Jay Cutler wasn't the same player then as he is now. I'll be the first to admit I was skeptical of Cutler's potential. It wasn't a 'tools' concern for me. It was attitude and whether he had the same stab-you-in-the-heart instinct that Manning and Brady have, or the same 'football-is-everything' mindset that warriors like Ben Roethlisberger have. I seem to be wrong, as Cutler has complete control over his offense. He's moving well in the pocket, throwing accurately for the most part, and avoiding the temptation to make the impossible, a temptation that plagues many young QBs, including our own just a few short years ago.
For the year, Cutler's: 73-108 (67.6 %), 914 yards, 8 TDs, 2 INTs, 110.6 QB Rating
If an MVP Award was handed out after just 3 games, Cutler might get the nod. Will Cutler's play stay at least close to this level for most of 2008 and will the Broncos either win the AFC West or snag one of the WC slots that most thought would go to two AFC South teams?