(Eli Manning, Victor Cruz photos courtesy of N.Y. Giants)
By Clark Judge
Sunday’s biggest winner? Giants’ GM Jerry Reese.
He’s the guy who put spent $200 million to fix the holes in one of the league’s worst defenses, and for the second straight week that defense held up.
One big difference: Its one thing to shut down Dak Prescott; its another to stonewall Drew Brees, and that’s exactly what happened in the Giants’ 16-13 last-second win. Not only did the Giants D hold Brees to one touchdown; it scored the Giants’ only TD… OK, it was the special teams … with Janoris Jenkins (one of Reese’s free-agent acquisitions) picking up a blocked field goal and taking it to the house.
The Giants surrendered 51 points in their first two starts a year ago, both losses. They surrendered 32 (and two touchdowns) in their first two this season, both wins. Bottom line: There are 200 million reasons to like this Giants’ defense and Big Blue’s chances of winning the NFC East. Jerry Reese, you can exhale.
(Matt Stafford photo courtesy of the Detroit Lions)
- Riddle me this: Why is it OK for the NFL to have San Francisco play a Monday-night game, then travel cross country on a short week to meet a Carolina team that’s been off nine days? Someone? Anyone?
2. Houston is 2-0. The rest of the AFC South is 1-.5. Just sayin’.
3. Not sure which is more dangerous: Cam Newton or the Samsung Note 7 phone.
4. Just when you start to trust Matthew Stafford, this happens.
5. Yep, that was a big win for Dallas. The Cowboys finally won without Tony Romo. But let’s be honest: While Dak Prescott played well, he didn’t win it. Kirk Cousins lost it.
6. Arian Foster hurt? Stunning.
7. That Jameis Winston MVP campaign can take a time out.
8. Somewhere, Pete Carroll is still cursing officials.
9. I’d like to believe in the Jets, too, but did you check their schedule? It looks like this through October: Sept. 2 – at Kansas City; Oct. 2 – vs. Seattle; Oct. 9 – at Pittsburgh; Oct. 17 – at Arizona; and Oct. 23 – vs. Baltimore. Translation: Four of their next five opponents are 2016 playoff teams. Ouch.
10. Joe Flacco must have Mike Wallace on his fantasy-football team.
11. Memo to Charles Woodson: For Terrelle Pryor to reach 1,800 yards receiving … as you predicted … he would need to average … average … 122 yards per game. There’s a better chance of you winning another Heisman, Charles.
12. The Sam Bradford Minnesota mantra: Better here than Philadelphia.
13. What happens first – a Rams’ TD or Adam Sandler Oscar?
14. At this point, I’m not sure who’s the bigger villain in New England: Roger Goodell or Kiko Alonso.
15. And that, folks, is why Von Miller makes the big bucks.
WHAT WE LEARNED …
(Rick Spielman photo courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings)
Minnesota GM Rick Spielman passed the first test with Sam Bradford. Bradford was more than accurate vs. Green Bay; he was remarkably accurate. With the possible loss of Adrian Peterson, the Vikings may have to lean on Bradford more than they anticipated.
Jack Del Rio gambled again … and won — this time on a fourth-and-goal that became a touchdown. Vegas is going to love him.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are what we thought they were. They stink.
New Orleans needs another tune-up, jump-start, something. For the third straight season they’re 0-2.
Ezekiel Elliott doesn’t need gloves. He needs glue. He fumbled twice Sunday, sending him to the sidelines.
With New England’s next game on Thursday, there’s no way Jimmy Garoppolo plays … I don’t care what the docs say.
Never bet against Mike McCoy when he plays Jacksonville. It’s the one opponent he can beat. He’s 4-0 vs. the Jags.
Russell Wilson is not alright. And neither is his offensive line.
Kelvin Benjamin is back. So is Victor Cruz.
… AND WHAT WE DID NOT
(Jared Goff photo courtesy of the L.A. Rams)
When the Rams decide enough is enough and start rookie Jared Goff.
What to make of the Baltimore defense. It shut down Buffalo a week ago but was punctured for three first-half touchdowns by … Cleveland? OK, so Baltimore won. But this just in, Ravens’ fans: Your team was pushed to the mat by a quarterback who played the second half with one arm.
What it takes for Miami to win in Foxboro. Second or third-string QBs, it doesn’t matter. They can’t beat ’em. That’s eight straight losses for the Fins in New England.
Why Washington’s defense isn’t better with Josh Norman. Enough of the griping about Cousins. That defense must make stops.
What constitutes a catch. Don’t get me started.
What the Bucs saw in Roberto Aguayo.
How Mike Zimmer rattles Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers lost two of his last three starts vs. Minnesota, with just four TDs and never throwing for more than 300 yards in any game.
When the Raiders learn how to play defense.
When Blake Bortles wins on the road. He won exactly once on the road … in his career.
How far the Broncos go when/if the Denver defense doesn’t score.
THIS WEEK’S HALL-OF-FAME NOMINEE
(Philip Rivers photo courtesy of the San Diego Chargers)
San Diego QB Philip Rivers. No Keenan Allen, no Danny Woodhead, no problem. The best quarterback in the AFC West is 6-1 vs. Jacksonville in his career, completing over 70 percent of his passes, with 19 touchdowns and four interceptions. Rivers never looked better than Sunday, and this time the Bolts did what they could not a week ago: They protected a 21-point lead.
THIS WEEK’S HALL-OF-SHAME NOMINEE
(Jameis Winston photo courtesy of the Tampa Bay Bucs)
Tampa Bay QB Jameis Winston.This was supposed to be the game where we measured the improvement of the Tampa Bay quarterback, he of four touchdown passes last weekend. So what happens? What happens is he commits five turnovers, including four interceptions, in a lopsided loss that should put those Tampa Bay playoff predictions on hold. Turnovers were the concern of scouts when Winston left Florida State, but he cleaned them up the second half of 2016. This was a giant step backward.