Is there anything more American than binge-watching football all weekend?
The answer is no. No there is not.
This past weekend was glorious. We witnessed some football that ranged from excellent to mediocre to just plain strange, ahem Titans and Dolphins we’re looking at you. This week figures to be just as entertaining.
Players of the Week
This week we’re profiling Mizzou quarterback Drew Lock. He is a superior talent at the quarterback position. He has never garnered much national attention though. Heck even within his own conference he doesn’t generate a significant amount of buzz. But don’t make a mistake in thinking that he’s not exciting, because he is. He’s put up some of the best passing numbers in league history, and no one has even batted an eye. I think this year is his year though.
Heading into his senior season, he seems to have grown not only in stature but maturity as well. Through two games so far he’s thrown for 687 yards and eight touchdowns while giving up zero interceptions. Probably most impressive was his 10.2 per carry average last week. He had five rushes for 51 yards and a touchdown. He’s never really been a rusher, so this was interesting to see. His numbers are no doubt shiny, but he has yet to face an SEC defense. Once he does that and passes the test, then we will be talking about a potential Heisman candidate.
I’m taking the bait on Jarvis Landry. After putting up some terrific numbers in Miami the past few seasons, the LSU alum was abruptly traded by the same team that drafted him. If the sting of that pain wasn’t enough, he was traded to the winless since forever Cleveland Browns. To give the Browns credit, they have been putting together a team that is a lot more stable and talented than in years past. They now have one of the best wide receiver rotations in the league thanks to Landry.
The only real question mark is at the quarterback position. They have super reliable Tyrod Taylor starting at the moment, and he quickly developed a connection with Landry. That being apparent in the 15 passes thrown his way 7 of which he was able to turn into 106 yards. Landry had a good game against a good opponent in the Pittsburg Steelers. I liked what I saw in the Browns, and I think Landry can continue having an impact. He is a great fantasy player that I would continue to start in my lineup going forward.
Games of the Week
Vandy vs. # 8 Notre Dame
Normally when a conference bottom feeder faces a top 10 team you would be very confident in saying that the ranked team wins. But Vanderbilt isn’t your average bottom feeder. On paper, Notre Dame is the clear favorite. But Vanderbilt is one heck of a football team. They don’t shy away from anyone, and their defense is legit. Kyle Shurmur is one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC and is as reliable as they come. Being the son of a former NFL player/coordinator surely doesn’t hurt. If Notre Dame rolls into this one thinking they will get an easy victory, then they will be sorely mistaken. Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason has always had his team ready to go. The Commodores are undefeated heading into this one having only surrendered two total touchdowns. So expect a low scoring game that will likely be won on big plays.
Notre Dame is a very talented team that has future NFL players all over its roster. They don’t face the same level of talent as Vanderbilt week in and week out, but they still can compete with anyone. I think they will prevail in this one, but it will be a lot closer than most think.
Sat 9/15 – 2:30 ET – NBC
Final Score: 21-10 Notre Dame
# 12 LSU vs. #7 Auburn
The Cajun whisperer Ed Orgeron has another tough test this week but so is life in the SEC West. Auburn has looked impressive in the early goings and has opened up this series as a 9.5 point favorite. With the home-field advantage, it’s not surprising Auburn is picked to win. This will be a knockdown drag out matchup between the two teams, but ultimately I think LSU’s offensive inefficiencies catch up to them in this one. They’re very porous along the offensive line and have held up against inferior defenses so far. Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele will be looking to stuff the run and create chaos for the offensive line. LSU has Ohio State grad transfer Joe Burrow at quarterback. He has played well through two games but hasn’t been super productive. I see no reason to believe the flip will switch this week. It should be a close game until the second half when Auburn will start to pull away.
Sat 9/15 – 3:30 ET – CBS
Final Score: 37-28 Auburn
Missouri vs. Purdue
Mizzou is set up nicely in the battle for the east. Right now, it’s looking like Georgia and then everyone else. But Kentucky and Missouri both share the distinction with Georgia of being undefeated heading into week three. Kentucky has a relatively easy nonconference this week in Murray State, so I expect them to win. Missouri, on the other hand, has a tougher game on its hands. The Boilermakers are a well-coached team with some talented players. Drew Lock will try and impress the scouts in this one by showcasing his arm talent. He will need a productive game if the Tigers want to improve their record to 3-0.
Purdue should give Mizzou a tougher test than what they’ve been facing, but I think that Drew Lock will prove too much to handle. His Heisman campaign will pick up steam with a quality win on the road.
Sat 9/15 – 7:30 ET – BTN
Final Score: 48-14 Missouri
Seahawks vs. Bears
Even though they suffered a painful loss that they should have won last week against the Packers, the Bears look for real this year. Khalil Mack looks like the missing piece that they were looking for. The two-time defensive player of the year would probably be helpful for any defense but the way he plugged in last week on essentially zero preparation was incredible to see. Mack fit the unit well and could have a career year in Chicago if he remains healthy. He produced two takeaways and helped his teammates get to the quarterback with his ability to generate pressure. Mack will elevate the play of his teammates. A couple of SEC alums, Eddie Jackson (Alabama) and Roquon Smith (Georgia) will be glad for it.
The Seahawks attempted to address their offensive line woes that plagued them last year, but it is still very much a work in progress which is especially sad because they have an exclusively SEC offensive line. Their passing game is also dangerously thin with Doug Baldwin out while dealing with a partial MCL tear. They have a decent three-man mix but lack very little experience after that. The most intriguing player they have at wide receiver is the NCAA all-time rushing touchdown leader Keenan Reynolds. The former Navy quarterback was just called up from the practice squad. He could be a solid contributor if used in the right situations as he has a knack for finding the end zone. His skill set is very comparable to Baldwin’s so that should help his case immensely. He’s a possible waiver wire sleeper.
I think the Bears defense is going to be too much to handle for the Seahawks. I think the Bears also continue their defensive scoring trend which will help out the young offense led by Mitch Trubisky.
Mon 9/17 – 8:15 ET – ESPN
Final Score: 35-27 Bears
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(Photo Courtesy GridironNow.com)