By Sterling Pingree
(This is the mostly unedited notes of Sterling Pingree in preparation of Friday’s edition of The Drive.)
The Browns won a football game Thursday night, ending a drought of 635 days since Cleveland defeated the Chargers on Christmas eve 2016. But did you know, that game was played on a Saturday, so the Browns last two wins have come on a Saturday and Thursday, NFL football is traditionally played on Sundays. To find the Browns last victory on the Lord ’s Day, you have to go all the way back to December 13, 2015 over the 49ers, which was 1014 days ago and is an active streak. All three of these games were at home, when was the last time the Brown won a road game? 1077 days ago, on October 11, 2015 at Baltimore, the Browns defeated the Ravens in overtime.
Stat of the day: The Browns are the first team in NFL history with a .500 winning percentage through 3 weeks of the season. Fun fact, three more teams could manage the same feat this Sunday, if the Packers and Vikings lose and the Steelers win, there would be four teams with a .500 winning percentage through 3 weeks of the NFL season. These sorts of things never happened with the old overtime rules, so thank goodness they changed them. History every week.
New Orleans Saints 1-1 at Atlanta Falcons 1-1
What is wrong with the Saints? Offense isn’t clicking, defense isn’t very good. Lost to TB, squeaked by Cleveland in week 2, but Cleveland can now win games so is that as bad as it seemed?
Falcons very much the same, looked anemic vs Philly on the road, home sweet dome, beat Carolina week 2. No Devonta Freeman, but Tevin Coleman might be the best back up RB in the league in an offense that needs it.
Green Bay 1-0-1 at Washington 1-1
Rodgers is playing on one leg and that might be enough. This seems like a classic Alex Smith gets a win that doesn’t make a lot of sense. Washington is the good bad team, won’t beat good teams but under good circumstances, can beat equal or worse teams. Jay Gruden’s job safe? I almost forgot he was still in Washington, doesn’t bode well for his job security.
Indianapolis 1-1 at Philadelphia 1-1
Colts have looked better than I thought they would, beat the Redskins, who might be bad, hung around Cincy though. Luck might be healthy.
Wentz starting for Philly, feels like the season depends on how good he is and how quickly. Injury to Ajayi, he’s out, will have to rely on Corey Clement and Darren Sproles. Philly feels SB hangovery. Colts HC Frank Reich was in Philly last season.
Buffalo 0-2 at Minnesota 1-0-1
The Bills are bad. Really really bad. This is the biggest mis-match of the week and maybe the season. Buffalo on paper should get shut out. Only game Buffalo has a chance to win is maybe one of their two games with the Jets now that Darnold is officially a “Jets QB”. If not it’d have to be at home or the Lions in Orchard Park December 16th. That’s it, that’s the list.
Oakland 0-2 at Miami 2-0
Raiders, going west coast, to east coast, 1pm game but can the Dolphins really start 3-0 heading into week 4 with New England? Remember the Dan Campbell game three years ago when they were the talk of the AFC and the Pats smacked them in the mouth on Thursday Night Football? Raiders are a mess, though almost got win at Denver last week. I wonder what Dan Campbell is doing now?
Denver 2-0 at Baltimore 1-1
Speaking of which, is Denver good or playing bad teams? And which is Baltimore? Spanked Buffalo week 1 and got hit in the mouth vs Cincy. Baltimore doesn’t do one thing really well. As Flacco goes, so goes the Ravens. Very limited team, but has a chance because AFC North might be wide open. The Ravens are like a used car you don’t want, but isn’t as bad as other used cars you’ve seen, doesn’t have many miles but that’s because the engine has been rebuilt twice and cracked a head gasket last 4th of July.
Cincinnati 2-0 at Carolina 1-1
Cincy has a lot of speed on both sides, John Ross is becoming a player. Dalton is a game manager. Dalton is the Marvin Lewis of quarterbacks, or Marvin Lewis is the Andy Dalton of coaches. It’s one or the other, either way, that’s true compatibility. (I hope Brady and Belichick are taking notes of Dalton and Lewis’s relationship.)
New York Giants 0-2 at Houston 0-2
The Giants are bad and 0-2. Houston is good and 0-2. Played Pats and Titans, should have beaten Blane Gabbert last weekend, Bill O’Brien is on the hot seat. A lot of talent, will make a run to a wild card spot, but has to execute. Eli Manning looks AWFUL, a ton of weapons but can’t get the ball out. No offensive line. Barkley is really good. I don’t want to watch this, game but would do it because, well it’s football.
Tennessee 1-1 at Jacksonville 2-0
Titans are pretenders, can’t find their footing, lucky to beat Houston in week 2. Jacksonville riding high after beating the Pats. Do they let up here? Jacksonville might have a solid home field advantage. Little hangover potential here for the Jags? I mean, they are the first NFL team to have to play the week after winning their Super Bowl. That seems wrong.
San Francisco 1-1 at Kansas City 2-0
Chiefs first home game of the year, talk of the NFL. Last year’s quarterback flavor of the week Jimmy G against this year’s QB De Jour in Maholmes. Chiefs are good early in the season, but their defense is a dumpster fire. They let a half interested Ben and AB come back on them last week from 21-0 down to make it close in Pittsburgh. Surprisingly, this is the 1pm Fox game in the Bangor area and I’m okay with that. (Just in case you were wondering, CBS at 1pm has Raiders at Dolphins and Fox has the 4:25p game, Cowboys at Seahawks. Apparently nobody told Fox it isn’t 2014.)
LA Chargers 1-1 at LA Rams 2-0
The Battle of Los Angeles! (Trademarked: Rage Against Machine) Chargers got their first win, tough schedule to start, Chiefs, Bills (no) and now Rams. Is this really a road game? Do either team have a stadium? Does either team have fans? Rams should have fans. Good test for Rams, they’ve pounded Oakland and the Cardinals to start the year, how good is this team really? Stealth best game of the weekend and would love to watch it, but we have to watch “Dem Boys” not pass the ball (because they’re bad at it) against the “Legion of Gloom”. Speaking of gloom………
Dallas 1-1 at Seattle 0-2
Neither team is good. Seattle can’t protect Russell Wilson, Dallas might be able to rush the passer. Neither has receivers, Dallas has Zeke. Picking Seattle based off of the 12th man. If Seattle loses, the 12th man is done, the Legion of Boom era is done, Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson, are they next????/ (Spoiler alert: They’re probably next. Carroll isn’t a rebuilder, if this season goes south, the grumblings of Carroll retiring will start. When you hear the grumblings, be sure to grumble back and give me credit.)
Chicago 1-1 at Arizona 0-2
“They were, who we thought they were!!!!!! If you want to crown ‘em? Then Crown em! They were who we thought they were! And we let em off the hook!” Denny Green RIP. Bears’ defense looks really good. Cardinals might be one of the 2-3 worst teams in the NFL, time to go with Josh Rosen? Too soon? Don’t fall into trap that Buffalo did with Josh Allen. Sam Bradford keeps getting paid, what the heck!?! Sam Bradford is the Jamal Crawford of the NFL. Or Marcus Camby, inter-sports comparisons are never one to one.
New England 1-1 at Detroit 0-2
Bounce back game for the Pats. Taking on Matty P, Lions have given up 78 points in the first two games to Jets and 49ers. What do the Lions do well? They can throw the ball. Will Pats have a pass rush? No Flowers and no Chung, that’ll hurt the Pats in toughness because both guys can thump. Wise hurt his hand late in the Jags game, but looks like he’s going to be a go, but how effective can he be?
The big question, will Josh Gordon play? That’s worth the price of admission itself, but I want to see Sony Michel in his second start, this time not playing in 100 degree heat against the Jags defense. Couple of brief flashes from Sony last week, look for more carries against the Detroit front-seven.
Something to watch for, Tom Brady and Drew Brees both enter week 3 with 493 career passing touch downs, trailing only Brett Favre with 508 and Peyton Manning with 539.
Pittsburgh 0-1-1 at Tampa Bay 2-0
The Steelers are a mess and I’m picking the Bucs. I can’t believe I’m saying the second part, first part I totally believe. Steelers have skated by on success and good vibes but Tomlin has a big problem on his hands if he can’t turn this thing around and quickly. Will Bell play this season? In a stand off! Bucs are NOT for real, they won’t make the post season, but if the Steelers go 0-2-1 to start the season? They’re looking at a tough road. Because that defense is HORRIFIC! Tomlin inherited a good team from Cowher and has been able to maintain the level of success, but we’ve never seen how Mike Tomlin reacts when things go wrong. He’s always struck me as a bit of a front runner, it’ll be interesting to see what happens if things continue to trend in the direction they are going on and off the field with his biggest stars.
Sterling Pingree is a co-host on The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.