It has been five weeks and one game since the NFL season began, and odds are, you have a lot more questions then answers about this season. What is the deal with Peyton? Where in the world did Devonta Freeman come from? Can DeAndre Hopkins keep up the torrid target pace? There are plenty of questions out there already but, before we get to that, lets start with the stuff that we can answer.
Is Aaron Rodgers the best quarterback in the league? Yes, the Rams may have broke Aaron Rodgers streak of 586 straight passes at home without an interception last Sunday, but that doesn’t change the fact that Rodgers is still the best qb around.
Are the Patriots going to keep demolishing teams this season on their “DeflateGate” revenge tour? Ummm, yes. And you wouldn’t believe who the next recipient is. The Colts. Who better to receive a massive “Gronking” then the team that brought the deflated footballs to light? As much as the Patriots want people to believe that this is just another game, we know that this is not the case. Tom Brady and co. will be out for blood Sunday night.
Well then, now that we’ve got that out of the way, on to the hard stuff. This season has been pretty crazy to say the least. The Seahawks for starters, are in third in their division at 2-3. Many people in the preseason had this team making a lot of noise this season and some predicted another super bowl visit. Lots of that talk was fueled by their offseason acquisition of star tight end Jimmy Graham from New Orleans. But so far this season, the offense has looked extremely shaky and Graham has been severely under used. Plus the play of their offensive line has been very poor, sparking questions about whether sending their starting center to another team for a player they won’t utilize was the right call. The first two games of the season they were without star safety Kam Chancellor due to a contract holdout, but since he has returned, the defense has improved drastically. But again, their main issue is the offense, and if they want to have a chance to play into January and February, they need to figure it out soon.
Another mystery this year is the regression of Peyton Manning. Expectations for this season weren’t too high for Manning, but the numbers he has been putting up so far are not what we are used to seeing. He is thirteenth in the league in passing yards and tied for eighteenth in touchdowns. It’s not just the lack of production, it’s the look of his game too. He is not getting the ball out as fast as he used too and it’s showing with his 12 sacks so far this year, and his deep ball has just not been there for him. If he is going to put up big numbers, then this is the week to do it, as he is going against the Cleveland Browns who are missing to of their top players in the secondary.
Now, Devonta Freeman… If you have him on your team, congratulations, you’re probably riding a nice win streak. And if you have had to play him once or more times over the last few weeks, I am sorry for your loss. This guy is doing things that haven’t been done since LaDainian Tomlinson. He has been destroying defenses for four straight weeks, putting up 25+ fantasy points each week. He is now leading the league in rushing, and he has only been starting since week 3. I don’t see this train stopping either. They have a pretty soft schedule for the remainder of the season and you have to love the way he runs. He isn’t just finding the holes and hitting them, he is ripping through them like a runaway train, and making tacklers think twice about taking him on. I like Freeman all season long.
And the last question, can Deandre Hopkins break the single-season target record. The current record is 208 held by Rob Moore set in 1997. Hopkins is on pace for 240. He should be able to break the record just because the guy is the clear number one receiving target on the team, and they aren’t a great team so they will have to play catch-up in most of their games. The only thing holding him back is the quarterback. So far through the season it hasn’t been a problem, both Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallet have done a great job finding Hopkins and feeding him the ball. It’s just the lack of consistency at the position that could hold him back. He can’t build a solid chemistry with a quarterback when they get swapped every four weeks. I still like him and expect him to break the target record, and that may not be the only record for him this year.