Things are starting to become clearer in 2015 -- the Packers are good, the Bears are...well...not. Not at all. In fact, to call them good would be an affront to good everywhere, and to do so even sarcastically would be a kick in the cajones of humor.
That's the obvious. Let's take a look at the not-quite-so-obvious from Week 3.
The vaunted Ravens defense is no more.
They lost Haloti Ngata to free agency and Terrell Suggs to injury. Those were easily their two best defensive players, and it shows. They've faced some pretty decent offenses, to be sure, but each of them has glaring flaws. Despite that, Baltimore is struggling to stop them. And their offense isn't able to keep up either. The Rams did them a huge favor by putting Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on ice for several weeks but, after three brutal losses, the last thing any team wants is to go on the road on a very short week to play a bitter rival.
The NFC South mantle has been passed to the Panthers.
The beginning of the end comes for everyone. Time marches on and becomes more cruel with each passing day. The Saints' Drew Brees may be injured right now, but he hasn't played like his former self for some time. Luke McCown played valiantly in his stead, but his efforts, in the end, went for naught. Cam Newton's Panthers, meanwhile, have been looking scrappy and capable of rising to any occasion. Newton has been efficient and both sides of the ball are doing enough to compete with any team. The last few years were no fluke -- the Panthers are the new kings of the south, at least on the NFC side. Unless, of course, the Falcons have something to say about it. Because...
The (still undefeated) Falcons gutted out the toughest win of the season (so far).
Approaching halftime, the Brandon Weeden-led Cowboys were winning 21-7 after Joseph Randle put on a rushing clinic. But the Falcons would close the gap, ending the half down 28-17. From there, to say it was "all Atlanta" would be an understatement of Biblical proportions. Matt Ryan and Davonta Freeman would score 21 unanswered points in the second half, with the winning ones coming with just over six minutes to go in the game. So, place your bets...Carolina, or Atlanta? We'll find out in about 14 weeks.
For one week, the following teams did not suck: The Texans, Eagles and Colts.
Let's not get too excited, here. The Texans were playing a rookie with two games under his belt, the Eagles were playing the Jets (if you even saw just the highlights, you know I needn't say more) and Andrew Luck was good for roughly one quarter. Still, each of these teams managed to finally win a game. Bonus points: the Colts and the Texans are, at 1-2, tied for the lead in the AFC South. The NFC South has two very good teams; the AFC South doesn't even have one mediocre one.
The entire Chargers team clearly missed the charter flight to Minnesota.
Because, if that's not true, then the people of San Diego may well force the team to move to Los Angeles. Before November. Calling Sunday's "effort" a Dumpster Fire would be doing a huge disservice to the Cleveland Browns, who have copyrighted the phrase.
The late-afternoon games aren't even worth a comment.
114 to 21. That was the combined margin of victory for the Patriots, Bills and Seahawks.By the start of the fourth quarters, fans may have been hoping networks would preempt the remaining 15 minutes of "football" with a showing of Heidi.
Finally...Ben Roethlisberger is made of Adamantium.
There is no other explanation. Knees shouldn't bend like that without being ripped to shreds. And it would explain why he has thrown touchdowns with 300-pound defensive linemen hanging on his shoulders, or simply shrugged off linebackers and defensive backs. I've seen him with knee injuries, busted ankles, separated shoulders. I've seen his nose twisted about 45 degrees from a sucker punch. I've watch his face mask be removed so his neck could be stabilized, only to see him return for the second half. The man is a robot, or else he's Wolverine's second cousin. Either way, I can't imagine him being out more than four weeks without it involving horse tranquilizers and cast-iron restraints.