Against the Grain Week 2 Recap

By Andrew “McLovin” Perloff

Each week I’ll update the Against the Grain Wheel wager and share five contrarian thoughts on Sunday’s football action.

WHEEL WAGER UPDATE

Three underdogs to win outright ever week: Over 50%, Dan spins McLovin’s Wheel of Awesomeness. Under 50% – McLovin spins Wheel of Punishment

Week 2: 1-2 (Cardinals, Cowboys, 49ers)

Got on the board thanks the Cardinals edging the Lions in Arizona. But the Cowboys let me down. Like everyone in Dallas, I blame the play-calling and late-game lack of discipline. The Niners were the first underdog I’ve picked that got blown out, but I blame the weather delay for killing the rhythm of the game.

Three other underdogs won outright – the Chargers, Bills and Dolphins. If you watched last Friday, I was seriously tempted by all three. I know, I know. Shut up McLovin. Watch the segment … the velcroe was giving me all sorts of problems and gave me few options.

Look Ahead to Next Week WOP picks: The key to Week 3 is AFC North home underdogs – the Steelers, Bengals and Ravens are all getting points this weekend. Is that division as bad as people think right now? Vegas isn’t buying the Chiefs yet, but you have to think Andy Reid will be fired up to face his former team in Philly on Thursday night.

Magic Number until Wheel of Punishment: 21 (how many losses until it’s time to spin).

FIVE AGAINST THE GRAIN GRANULES

1. RGIII not the only problem in Washington: Well, he is a problem, but the defense is a bigger problem. Pro Football Focus reported this morning that the Redskins have missed 30 tackles in their first two games. This unit ranked 28th overall last season and didn’t improve significantly. In a way they’re worse because they’re playing two rookie DBs – David Amerson and Bacarri Rambo  — that teams appear to be targeting. Griffin looks bad, but he doesn’t even have a chance because they’re getting behind so quickly and can’t run the ball.

2. NFL is going to love Johnny Manziel: What are the knocks? He signed footballs for money? Teams could care less. They’d have no one to draft if they didn’t take players who may have broken NCAA rules. The height is a problem, but Russell Wilson continues to blow that up. Manziel’s arm strength is fine. His speed is legit. And seems to have a knack of avoiding big hits. The only fear is that he has such a good line at Texas A&M right now, he won’t be able to do as much if a bad team takes him. But NFL Network’s Mike Mayock said the Aggies’ line is much better because Manziel helps them cover up any mistakes they make.

3. Don’t credit offensive genius Andy Reid for Chiefs’ 2-0 start: Reid deserves credit for brining confidence to a team that should have won a lot more games under Romeo Crennel. That defense should be winning games. Defensive tackle Dontari Poe, who I admittedly thought was a workout wonder, is a revelation. He’s causing Haloti Ngata-type problems for offenses. So far, Reid’s offense isn’t scaring anyone. But that might be just fine. (By the way, I’ll admit this take is not really against the grain).

4. Chip Kelly’s gonna learn: The Eagles coach said after the game that he didn’t care about the clock, but he  should have eaten up some time at the end of the game instead of giving the Chargers such a great chance to mount a drive for game-winning field goal.  He was just being defensive in his postgame presser. After last week’s win, everyone assumed that the Eagles were a finished product. But this is his second week coaching in the NFL and there will be hiccups and the defense isn’t good.

5. The Bucs are going to dangerous later in the season: The narrative is about Josh Freeman struggling, but they could easily be 2-0. They had the Jets beaten until a last-second late hit flag in Week 1. And then they had a late lead over the Saints, but missed a field goal that could have given them enough of a pad to win. Freeman is bad right now, but the defense has stars and will win a few games on its own.

GIANTS-BRONCOS RECAP

(I spent Sunday at the Meadowlands for SI. Here’s three takes on the game)

1. Looking at the Broncos schedule, I don’t see where the losses are.  At New England on Nov. 24 doesn’t look scary any more. Dec. 22 at Houston looks like the toughest game right now.

http://www.nfl.com/teams/schedule?team=den

2. This game wasn’t about Peyton vs. Eli. The Broncos success running the ball made the difference – Knowshon Moreno was great with 93 yards on 13 carries with 2 TDs. The Giants’ running game is a serious concern.

3. Wes Welker was rocking orange pants and dark suede shoes with no socks after the game. That’s gotta mean something.

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