NFL on Sling: Football for Breakfast as Colts Face Jaguars in London on the NFL Network; Chiefs vs. Steelers on NBC; FOX Regional Action
(All times Eastern)
Indianapolis Colts (1-2) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-3)
9:30am ET Sunday on the NFL Network
Poor Andrew Luck… Loses the first game of the season on a Lions field goal with 8 seconds to play, after having led his own team on a 75-yard touchdown that finished with 43 seconds on the clock. Then he loses 34-20 to the Broncos in a game in which he throws a pick six to Aqib Talib early in the fourth quarter, and then down 6 with 1:51 has a fumble scooped up by Denver’s Shane Ray and run into the end zone. Finally, last week, against San Diego, Indy had some good Luck, as he found T.Y. Hilton for a 63-yard touchdown pass with 1:17 to play for a 26-22 final. When Indy finally won a game, they did it without Donte Moncrief, who broke his scapula against Denver and is out for another few weeks, and this week they may be without guard Joe Reitz, who hurt his back. But as long as Luck has Hilton, a two-time Pro Bowler on pace for his best season yet, there’s hope.
Indy’s defense has been awful thus far, allowing the third-most points (95), the fifth-most yards per play (6.4), they’ve made just a single interception, they’re fourth in flags, and eighth in penalty yards, which has led to half their opponents’ possessions ending in a score.
After starting the year with back-to-back 300-yard games, Jaguars QB Blake Bortles ran into the Ravens, who held him 24-for-38 for 194 yards, 2 TD’s and 3 INT’s, as the Jags lost yet again, for the sixth straight game going back to last season. And who was it that they last beat? Why it was Colts! Don’t anticipate a repeat. Bortles has more INT’s, 6, than TD’s, 5, the Jags leading rusher, T.J. Yeldon has carried the ball 34 times for 84 yards, and the team averaged 2.8 yards per carry.
The Colts’ defense is even more porous than the Jaguars, but Indy has a big advantage both in the air and on the ground. Luck and Hilton should have the Jacksonville secondary wheezing by the third quarter.
Kansas City Chiefs (2-1) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1)
8:30pm ET Sunday on NBC
QB Alex Smith came out firing in the first game racking up 363 yards on 34 of 48 passing with a pair of TDs against the Chargers, but has cooled since, passing for just 423 yards and a touchdown in the next two games. Smith has been sacked more time than any other QB going back to 2011, and then trend continues to haunt him, as he’s pace to go down a career high 48 times – given that this goes back to his time in SF, it would be grossly unfair to blame the O-line. He does, however, make up for it by rarely throwing interceptions, this just 1 so far in 118 attempts.
The Kansas City ground game is still breathlessly awaiting the return of Jamaal Charles, but in the meantime, they’ve got Spencer Ware doing the heavy lifting, and so far he’s done OK. He leads the team in yards from scrimmage with 387, with 202 on the ground, 185 receiving. And All Pro tight end Travis Kelce is off to a hot start, as well, catching 17 of 21 passes thrown his way for 197 yards.
On defense, Marcus Peters, who made the Pro Bowl as a rookie last year, is having another fine season, having already grabbed 4 interceptions. Peters helps give the Chiefs one of the better secondaries in the league, allowing a completion rate of just 56.6%, snaring a league-best 8 interceptions, and allowing just 2 TD’s through the air – though it should be noted that 6 of those INTs came last week against Ryan Fitzpatrick of the Jets, who had a quarterback rating of 18.2 for the day in a 24-3 loss.
The Chiefs are going to need a great pass defense against the Steelers as long as Antonio Brown is wearing the black and gold. Brown already has 24 receptions for 305 yards and 2 touchdowns, and can be counted on to keep slicing up secondaries as long as he’s not chased off the field for wearing blue sneakers with pictures of his kids. Pittsburgh’s offense should get a huge lift Sunday, with the return of Le’Veon Bell, who’s coming back from a 3-game suspension for missing a drug test. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has said the Chiefs will “see Le'Veon Bell and probably a lot of him on Sunday.“ And hopefully Markus Wheaton, the Steelers’ secondary receiver, will be back up to speed after an inglorious return from injury last week, during which he caught 1 of 5 balls thrown his way for – wait for it – 2 yards.
Bell can’t get to Pittsburgh soon enough, as the Steelers gained just 29 yards on 10 carries last week against the Eagles, getting run down by the Wentz Wagon 34-3, as Ben Roethlisberger was sacked 4 times, threw an interception and fumbled twice. It was the fewest points scored by a Roethlisberger-led offense in nearly five years.
Pittsburgh’s defense has given up the second-most passing yards in the NFL so far, but just 3 passing touchdowns, and opponents are averaging a below-average 22 points per game.
The Steelers at home, with Le’Veon Bell back in the fold, are going to want to take out last week’s aggressions on someone, and tragically for folks in Kansas City, the Chiefs will be there.
Watch the Colts vs. the Jaguars at 9:30am ET Sunday on the NFL Network by subscribing to Sling Blue’s Sports Extra and the Chiefs vs. Steelers at 8:30pme ET Sunday on NBC by subscribing to (Sling Blue](https://www.sling.com/)
Here’s Sunday’s regional NFL action on FOX:
1pm ET on FOX
Carolina Panthers (1-2) vs. Atlanta Falcons (2-1)
Seattle Seahawks (2-1) vs. New York Jets (1-2)
Detroit Lions (1-2) vs. Chicago Bears (0-3)
4:25pm ET on FOX
Los Angeles Rams (2-1) vs. Arizona Cardinals (1-2)
New Orleans Saints (0-3) vs. San Diego Chargers (1-2)
Dallas Cowboys (2-1) vs. San Francisco 49ers (1-2)
Watch regional NFL action on FOX by subscribing to Sling Blue