1. New York Giants Offensive Rookies
This comes in part from my own bias for my hometown team, as several rookies have helped contribute to their team’s success this year. But on Sunday the Giants rookies were especially good, leading to a comeback victory. Running Back Andre Williams took over for an injured Rashad Jennings and bowled over defenders for 65 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, first round pick Odell Beckham made his NFL debut and tallied 44 receiving yards and a touchdown which put the Giants up for good in the fourth quarter. Beckham also drew a crucial drive-extending pass interference call earlier in the game. On another occasion Eli Manning grossly missed a wide-open Beckham who had beaten his defender for what would have been a sure touchdown. The Giants new offense is continuing to progress, and the addition of Beckham and the emergence of Williams will help further their quest to join the league’s elite.
2. Demaryius Thomas
If I weren’t a Giants fan this guy would probably be #1 on the Hot list, because his Sunday afternoon was one for the ages. Against an undefeated Arizona team with a notoriously tough defense, Thomas went off for 226 yards and 2 touchdowns, and could have had another 70+ yard touchdown if it were not called back for a penalty. Up until this game Thomas had been relatively quiet, taking a backseat to the other Thomas, tight end Julius. However, this massive game reminded everyone how lethal Demaryius can be, which is a scary sight for all defenses who have the misfortune of running into the Broncos. With starting running back Montee Ball going down with a groin injury, Demaryius might be getting even more targets in the near future, and on Sunday he reminded everyone that he certainly knows what to do with those targets.
3. New England Patriots
Before Sunday night’s game, ESPN published an article citing sources that claimed that given the Patriots’ recent struggles, Tom Brady was seriously considering leaving the team at some point before his career was over. Then the Patriots dropped 43 points on the previously undefeated Bengals, while yielding only 17 points to the fearsome Cincinnati offense. Did we really all think the Patriots had dropped off into mediocrity? Sure, they have not done enough yet to prove they are legitimate Super Bowl contenders, but Sunday night silenced the critics for the time being. The Patriots look to regain form in the next few weeks with weaker opponents before hosting the Broncos in week 9 in a matchup that would allow New England to prove it still belongs amongst the NFL’s elite.
1. New York Jets
CBS cut away from the Jets game to switch to 60 Minutes or another late game depending on where you live. That fact says more than I can about the current state of the Jets. Geno Smith was replaced by Michael Vick, and the two combined they passed for 60 yards. The Jets had 151 yards of total offense and 94 yards worth of penalties. They looked weak in every aspect of the game. On the bright side, the Jets now get to head home for next week’s matchup. Which is against the Broncos. They might stand a better chance in week 7…at New England. Unfortunately for Jets fans, it looks like the suffering is far from over.
2. Jack Locker
I like Jake Locker, I really do. The oft-hurt young quarterback for the Titans suffered another injury Sunday after enduring a brutal hit on an 11-yard touchdown run. Locker had completed 8 of 11 passes with one passing touchdown and the aforementioned rushing touchdown before he was forced to leave with what was called a hand injury. I’m hoping team doctors gave him the proper concussion tests on the sideline, because Locker’s head and neck seemed to bear much of the impact. Locker has had such a promising career so far, but that promise has yet to translate to consistent success. He has been injured too frequently to be able to really improve as a player. It’s a shame, because I think he could gain a lot of national praise for his play if he could only manage to stay on the field. Lets hope this injury is really just a minor one so Locker can continue to grow.
3. Chicago Bears
The Bears started the season at a strong 2-1, and looked like they would be able to take control of the grueling NFC North with the Packers struggling to find themselves. Two weeks later, the Bears now sit at a dim 2-3. Following a tough loss to the Packers, the Bears continued their slide against a struggling Panthers team this week. It’s not difficult to diagnose the Bears’ problems, fixing them is more difficult matter. The defense has struggled and been further weakened by injuries, and Jay Cutler has been, well, Jay Cutler. Cutler now has 8 turnovers in the first 5 games, despite showing flashes of brilliance. It seems Chicago fans are stuck hoping Cutler can limit his mistakes enough that the Bears can remain competitive with the Packers.
Photo: Andrew Weber/USA Today Sports