Sports Centralby Cian Fahey
- We've moved to The Sports Central
- Avery Bradley's stuttering start to Boston Celtics career is no more
- New England Patriots - a case for keeping Brandon Lloyd
- Tom Brady's contract extension puts pressure on New England Patriots to perform in short-term
- Jeff Green's approach epitomizes Boston Celtics Post-Rajon Rondo
1. Cam Newton
Newton had a few things going against him when evaluating where he would land on this list. The simple fact that he was the first overall player taken in this year's draft made me want to go elsewhere. However you cannot deny what the record-breaking former Auburn star has achieved in Carolina.
The Panthers may only be 1-2 but Newton has more than held up his end of the deal. A Panthers' defense, that has lost Thomas Davis and Jon Beason for the year, simply cannot support the offense enough.
In three games Newton has astronomical numbers for a veteran quarterback. Numbers that are only blighted by a tough game against the Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers. With 1,012 passing yards, four TDs, four INTs, 71 rushing yards and two rushing TDs, Newton has been the best rookie so far.
It is not only his statistics however, as Newton has shown already that his accuracy and intelligence was totally underrated coming out of college. The velocity and accuracy with which he throws the football is only eclipsed by his surprising ability to understand NFL defenses.
2. Ryan Kerrigan
The former Purdue man may not have lit up the stat sheets just yet, however he has excelled as part of what looks a very promising defense in Washington. Kerrigan is an intense football player that doesn't appear to have struggled to transition from defensive end in college to linebacker in the NFL.
It is not that big a surprise considering he was thought to be a great leader in college as a captain for Purdue. He and Brian Orakpo should be a frightening duo in years to come for opposing quarterbacks, but that doesn't mean he isn't already very effective.
Even as a rookie Kerrigan has already made a game changing play for his team. His interception against the New York Giants led to a touchdown that ultimately gave the team their opening day victory. Kerrigan has added 1.5 sacks and 13 tackles to go along with his interception and touchdown.
The Minnesota Vikings' loss to the Detroit Lions made them only the fifth team in NFL history to blow halftime leads in each of first three games of a season. The Lions had lost 13 straight games in Minnesota until this weekend.
Calvin Johnson's two touchdowns made him the first player in NFL history to start the season with at least two touchdowns in the first three games of the season. Johnson's second touchdown was his 34th since 2008, the most during that span.
The team that loses the coin toss in overtime is 12-9 in the past 21 regular season games.
After beating the San Diego Chargers and Miami Dolphins, relatively comfortably, most fans will be expecting a similar result today against the Buffalo Bills.
The Bills have been the biggest surprise so far this year, enjoying two victories in the first two weeks of the season. Both teams sit at 2-0 however the Bills are being somewhat overlooked because of the teams that they have beaten.
A comeback victory over the Oakland Raiders last week, followed a blowout victory against the Kansas City Chiefs on opening day. The Chiefs continued to be blown out by the Lions while the Raiders victory came in the final seconds.
Ryan Fitzpatrick had his fifth fourth quarter comeback victory as he led the Buffalo Bills to a 38-35 win against the Oakland Raiders.
Kevin Kolb's 73 yard touchdown pass to Larry Fitzgerald allowed the receiver to tie Roy Green for a Cardinals' franchise record in touchdown receptions.
Adrian Peterson has 53 career rushing touchdowns for the Minnesota Vikings, that is already the most in franchise history.
The New England Patriots make their home debut this week, against the San Diego Chargers, after dismantling the Miami Dolphins on the road last week.
Despite struggling offensively against the Minnesota Vikings, the Chargers should provide a stern test for the Patriots and test their Super Bowl credentials.
Tom Brady had a record setting 517 yards last week in Miami. With arguably the best starting secondary in the league coming to town, don't expect him to put in such a machine-like performance this week.
Tom Brady has rightfully been receiving a lot of praise for his 517 yard performance on Monday night in Miami. However those 517 yards are just statistics.
Statistics that give Brady all the credit.
Now obviously everyone knows that Wes Welker, Deion Branch and Aaron Hernandez had a lot to do with turning Brady's master strokes into touchdowns. However what really stood out from the Patriots victory over the Miami Dolphins, was the play of the team's offensive line.
The New England Patriots kick off the 2011 NFL regular season in Miami tonight facing off against the hometown Dolphins.
Last season the Patriots beat the Dolphins easily in both matchups but things should be much different this year as the Patriots enter the game with more question marks than most people think while the Dolphins have improved over last season.
Off-season additions Chad Ochocinco and Albert Haynesworth are essentially unknown quantities at this point as Ochocinco has struggled to adapt to the Patriots' system while Haynesworth has struggled to simply get onto the football field.
NFL MVP: Aaron Rodgers.
Rodgers got off to a great start in the Packers season opening victory over the New Orleans Saints. The amazing thing about the offense around the reigning Super Bowl MVP is that he has more firepower than he had last season. Randall Cobb exploded on his debut while Jermichael Finley proved last night that he is 100% healthy once again. Ryan Grant's return will give the offense overall more balance which should take pressure off of Rodgers and make teams more hesitant to blitz him.
Rodgers could lead the league in every quarterback statistic this year and in my mind should snatch the MVP award from the clutches of Tom Brady, Philip Rivers etc.
NFL Defensive Player of the Year: Troy Polamalu.
The New England Patriots' released Brandon Tate this week who landed with the Cincinnati Bengals. Tate likely lost his job as a direct result of the new kickoff rule in the NFL that littered the regular season with more touchbacks than returns.
For the coming season, all kickoffs will be taken from the 35 yard line while every runner has to be within five yards of the 35 yard line before starting their run.
These new rules have obviously taken out a lot of the excitement for fans and one team has already shown their displeasure as the Chicago Bears kicked off from the 30 yard line in the preseason.
Many across the league will see this as a major shock but Patriots fans know that Meriweather never truly played to his two time Pro Bowl status. Meriweather's lack of discipline within the scheme and his tendency to freelance ultimately tested the patience of Bill Belichick too much. It was somewhat of a shock still however as the Patriots lack great safety play and released James Sanders prior to the deadline. Sergio Brown and Patrick Chung appear to be the projected starters right now which could be worrying for Patriots fans.
Morris fell victim to the numbers game in the Patriots backfield as rookies Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley were always going to make the roster with BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead already in the fray. Morris has only been a bit part player in New England because of injury but will have a chance to land with another roster. A notable running back move also made was the Patriots putting Kevin Faulk on the physically unable to perform list which will make him miss the first six weeks of the season at least.
As soon as the NFL changed its kickoff rules Brandon Tate's job was in jeopardy. He has excelled for the Patriots as a returner but never made the desired impact as a receiver. Tate has the speed and all the physical abilities to be an NFL receiver but needs more time to develop better consistency and an understanding of the game. Tate will definitely be considered a bust for the Patriots especially for the fact that he was drafted one place before Mike Wallace of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Tight ends Lee Smith and Will Yeatman, running back Eric Kettani, offensive lineman Thomas Austin, linebacker Niko Koutouvides, cornerback Ross Ventrone, and defensive linemen Markell Carter, Landon Cohen, Aaron Lavarias, Eric Moore and Alex Silvestro were also released.
Defensive Linemen Ron Brace and Brandon Deaderick join Kevin Faulk on the PUP list.
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