Mike Carlson's Monday NFL Review: A 'crazily' entertaining Sunday

KC's Kareem Hunt had another 'monster day'
KC's Kareem Hunt had another 'monster day'

In his regular Monday review of the weekend NFL action, Mike Carlson attempts to make sense of what was a hugely entertaining set of Sunday fixtures, assesses the growing influence of offense and looks ahead at the Monday night game...

"Teams are allowed less contact in pre-season and practices, and it's hard to build the cohesion a line needs without having them move against live opposition. Because it's about timing, until they get that right, the defense, who play a reacting game, have a distinct advantage. Some of the bigger scores in week three were a sign that offense is catching up to defense around the league."

Unpredictable much?


Here's a treble to consider. Jacksonville and Blake Bortles running up 44 on the Ravens. Case Keenum throwing for 369 yards and three touchdowns. The Bears overcoming 110 yards passing from Mike Glennon because of 216 yards running from Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen to win in Pittsburgh.

If you could have got odds on all three, they should have been about the same as the odds of the moon spinning out of orbit and crashing into Mars.

This is the sort of thing that makes pundits look bad. When you consider many of us spent half our time trying to explain the nature of Donald Trump's attack on those players kneeling for the national anthem, which turned a handful of protesters into an army of solidarity, it's no surprise that a crazily entertaining Sunday (and I'd include Thursday's unlikely 41-39 shootout between the Rams and 49ers) went somewhat under the radar.

I had thought Tampa were in with a good shot against the Vikes, simply because of Keenum. I think I forgot about his brighter moments, and the idea that the Vikes would be able to protect him and make his life easier. I wasn't prepared for Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen to run amok in the Bucs' secondary.

I thought the Chargers, back at 'home' in Carson, would rebound from two narrow losses and play the Chiefs tough: but despite Melvin Ingram's pass rushing, they had few answers for the variety the Chiefs' offense offers. Kareem Hunt had another monster day, and KC's defense shut down Philip Rivers. Mea culpa.


Offensive units getting into the swing


You do get the sense that offensive lines are finally getting into the rhythm of the game. Teams are allowed less contact in pre-season and practices, and it's hard to build the cohesion a line needs without having them move against live opposition. Because it's about timing, until they get that right, the defense, who play a reacting game, have a distinct advantage. Some of the bigger scores in week three were a sign that offense is catching up to defense around the league.

On the other hand, the Texans not only covered but came close to a win, and the Skins were even better against the Raiders than I thought, and won easily. So some solace there. I'm also pretty happy with last Monday's column, where my treble of the under on Lions-Giants, Paul Perkins under 42 yards rushing and Evan Engram over 34 receiving was spot on. Even a broken clock is right twice a day, right?


Monday Night Football - Cowboys @ Arizona


Tonight I still like the Cowboys on the road in Arizona, even giving 3 at 21/20. I wonder what the Cowboys can do to try to stop the Cards' receivers: JJ Nelson was the big threat against Indy when they won last week, but Dowtown John Brown is out, so it may be easier to keep Nelson in check. He's 5/6 on the over/under of 50.5 yards; I lean toward the over but I feel stronger about Larry Fitagerald coming in under 68.5 yards, also at 5/6.

The Cards gave up 79 yards to tight end Jack Doyle last week, as they held wideout T.Y. Hilton in check, I suspect something of the same to occur this week, with Jason Witten at evens to go over 4.5 catches looking pretty good. Witten (15/8) and Dez Bryant (13/10) to score a touchdown also interest me.

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Our tipster Neil Harvey has a full preview of Cowboys @ Arizona

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