Every NFL fan knows there’s something they — meaning the national media, fans of other teams, or just people in general — don’t understand about your favorite team.
Smith is a risk-averse passer who hasn’t always been the most thrilling quarterback to watch but is generally safe and efficient. A total of 178 of his 368 yards against New England came on deep passes. In that single game, Smith’s two touchdown passes of 75-plus yards equaled his career total of two touchdown passes of 75 yards or more.
So is Smith a deep-ball guy now? Or has he always been capable of this, and he just didn’t take the shots? Arrowhead Pride has the answer.
The rest of SB Nation’s NFL sites also broke down the things everyone misunderstands about their respective teams. Here’s the truth about every team:
Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals’ season isn’t over
The NFC West looks bad: This may not be a full fledged return to the NFC Worst days, but Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco do not inspire confidence that they’ll be running away with the division. This plays to the Cardinals benefit. If they can stay afloat until November, when David Johnson may be back, they not only have a chance at winning the division, but they have a shot at being a team to reckon with in the playoffs.
For more, check out the entire entry at Revenge of the Birds.
Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons don’t always blow it, like they did in the Super Bowl
What they keep getting wrong, over and over again, is the characterization of this team as an implosion waiting to happen. You saw it on the Sunday Night Football broadcast, when Cris Collinsworth kept trying to push the narrative that the Falcons were in danger of letting up a lead, suffering a Super Bowl hangover, or whatever particular angle he was humping away at for four quarters in what turned out to be a blowout win for Atlanta. You can’t throw a rock on the Internet or a football broadcast without nailing someone who thinks the Falcons are doomed in the head, which is why I’d encourage you to pick up a rock or two.
For more, check out the entire entry at the Falcoholic.
Baltimore Ravens: Joe Flacco isn’t elite, but he’s still a good QB
Now, on to the most outdated conversion of all time: Is Joe Flacco elite? Obviously, Flacco is not elite. However, he is surely a top-15 quarterback. Flacco has the arm strength and ability to extend plays. His decision-making is far from ideal. The bottom line with Flacco is that he is a Super Bowl MVP and a proven winner. He is a second-tier quarterback; he needs help, but surely can help any team win a Super Bowl.
For more, check out the entire entry at Baltimore Beatdown.
Buffalo Bills: The Bills aren’t tanking, folks
Fans and national media members alike have hinted and screamed one word in regards to the 2017 Buffalo Bills recently: Tank. The opinion that the Bills are tanking in order to get a top-tier draft pick in 2018 is a valid opinion, one that has merit on the surface. However, I don’t think this is a standard tank job.
For more, check out the entire entry at Buffalo Rumblings.
Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton is not an inaccurate passer
Of course his ‘completion percentage’ is going to be lower if he’s making higher risk throws. Despite what Colin Cowherd says, it’s easier (and lazier) to dump the ball off five yards from the line of scrimmage to your running back and let him do all the work instead of throwing it down field to your receivers who may or may not come down with the catch. So why does Newton continue to get so much hate over a number that’s not really even relevant?
For more, check out the entire entry at Cat Scratch Reader.
Chicago Bears: GM Ryan Pace knows what he’s doing
Windy City Gridiron decided to leave it up to their commenters to decide this one. Fans had plenty of suggestions, but the one from commenter Z Chillman stood out:
Reality is that Ryan Pace has a plan. Lester did a nice job comparing the Ryan Pace’s efforts to rebuild the Bears to Reggie McKenzie’s efforts rebuilding the Raiders. Signed FAs that either A) flashed and stalled elsewhere and could benefit from a change of scenery (Sitton and Hicks), or B) were veterans who were low cost, higher floor but lower ceiling guys (re: they were okay and cheap). Then they used the draft to try and hit home runs.
For more, check out the entire entry at Windy City Gridiron.
Cincinnati Bengals: Andy Dalton isn’t the problem
Fans and media say that Andy Dalton needs to be benched for this offense to get back on track, and that he’s also is to blame for the Cincinnati Bengals failing to score a touchdown in the first two games of the season.
Is he really the one to blame? I think there are more layers to this than that. I doubt inserting AJ McCarron fixes all the other issues the Bengals had over the first two weeks.
For more, check out the entire entry at Cincy Jungle.
Cleveland Browns: Hue Jackson and Sashi Brown aren’t on the hot seat
Even if Jackson can only put together a handful of wins this year, the clearer picture isn’t supposed to take focus until a year from now. Haslam is in this for the long haul, and unless there ends up being significant locker room turmoil at some point, it’s hard to fathom Jackson or any members of the front office having their jobs be in jeopardy.
For more, check out the entire entry at Dawgs by Nature.
Dallas Cowboys: The defense is better than you think
The Cowboys defense is built to keep everything in front of them, then make the tackle. This kind of defense may not always look pretty on the stat sheet, but it can be very effective.
For more, check out the entire entry at Blogging the Boys.
Denver Broncos: The entire team is constantly underestimated
I heard on the radio just today - some national ESPN radio show, can’t remember which one. The question was which team will end up the best defense in the NFL this year?
For more, check out the entire entry at Mile High Report.
Detroit Lions: They never get any respect, even when they’re winning
So what do “they” get wrong about the Detroit Lions? I think they focus too much on the history and not enough on the present. There are plenty of reasons to doubt this current Lions team. Their defense has yet to be truly tested, and their offensive line has some clear questions, especially on the left side.
But let’s not get it twisted. The Lions have been one of the better teams in the NFL since 2014, and have never been treated like it.
For more, check out the entire entry at Pride of Detroit.
Green Bay Packers: The Packers don’t need to run the ball more
Green Bay’s best offensive weapon is Aaron Rodgers, and getting him the most opportunities to do what he does should be the focus of the offense. Every run play called essentially removes an opportunity for Aaron Rodgers to be Aaron Rodgers. In addition, the average passing play has a much higher rate of return than the average running play. With these facts in mind, it would be unbelievably stupid to call an equal number of running plays and passing plays in the name of “balance.”
For more, check out the entire entry at Acme Packing Company.
Houston Texans: It’s not just the quarterback’s fault
For years we’ve heard from various pundits that the Texans are “just a quarterback away from being a Super Bowl team.” Do you think that’s a fair assessment of the 2017 Houston Texans? Or do you think that the team’s glaring shortcomings at, say, offensive line are a bigger issue than the QB play these days?
For more, check out the entire entry at Battle Red Blog.
Indianapolis Colts: The Colts have more talent than just Andrew Luck
They act like the Colts are devoid of any talent outside of Luck. They talk like every other part of the roster could be blown up and swapped out and there would be no difference.
There are a number of issues facing the Colts in 2017 but lacking talent is not one of them at a lot of positions.
For more, check out the entire entry at Stampede Blue.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Not blaming Tom Coughlin and the front office enough
And Coughlin hasn’t done squat to improve the most important position in professional sports. I take that back — he signed Ryan Nassib.
In fact, Coughlin somehow took two steps back in that department, cutting Brandon Allen. Was Allen any good? No. But why not do anything in the quarterback department other than signing a mediocre player and cutting a bad one?
For more, check out the entire entry at Big Cat Country.
Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs’ “new” offense is not new
They say that the Kansas City Chiefs have a new offense now. That Andy Reid is dialing up deep balls and that’s why we see Alex Smith stretching the field more often in this early part of the season.
Is that really the case? Is the Chiefs offense that different? I don’t think it is. I think a lot of these plays were in the playbook before. I think it’s as simple as this: Alex is throwing it deeper now.
For more, check out the entire entry at Arrowhead Pride.
Los Angeles Chargers: Injuries are not their biggest problem
I think the thing everyone gets wrong about the Chargers is that they always fall into the "they're loaded and a playoff team if healthy" trap. I see it every offseason and it always makes me laugh because people get so focused on the first 22 spots on the roster that they overlook the back 31 spots, which is usually the part of the roster that determines whether a team is 6-10 or 10-6.
For more, check out the entire entry at Bolts from the Blue.
Los Angeles Rams: There’s a good reason fans don’t attend games
Fans, as a whole, are wise enough to know who the Rams are as a franchise and make appropriate decisions with the two most valuable currencies of all: their money and their time.
A franchise that misled two cities over 25 years. A franchise that hasn’t won in 13 years. A franchise that, as they would have you believe, doesn’t hold any responsibility for giving fans, committed, casual and otherwise, a reason to show up.
For more, check out the entire entry at Turf Show Times.
Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins are a good team that shouldn’t be ignored
The Dolphins are a team that has a veteran quarterback who is comfortable in the head coach’s offensive system, they have a stud running back in Jay Ajayi, they have a trio of receivers in DeVante Parker, Jarvis Landry, and Kenny Stills who perfectly complement each other, they have a defensive line that features Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake and Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, they have Pro Bowl safety Reshad Jones, they have first-round pick defensive end Charles Harris, and they have up-and-coming cornerback Xavien Howard.
For more, check out the entire entry at the Phinsider.
Minnesota Vikings: Xavier Rhodes is criminally underrated
I said this when Rhodes signed his big contract this offseason, and I’ll say it again. There isn’t a cornerback in the National Football League that I would trade Xavier Rhodes straight-up for. Not Richard Sherman, not Josh Norman, not Desmond Trufant, not any of them. Xavier Rhodes is, bar none, the best corner in the National Football League, and experts across the NFL universe could right a pretty significant wrong by finally giving him the recognition that some of those other corners receive.
For more, check out the entire entry at the Daily Norseman.
New England Patriots: The holes on the roster are unexpected
Over at Pats Pulpit, Rich Hill decided to look inward, to see how he misjudged this team, and not others:
But the biggest surprise on offense has to come with the performance of the Patriots offensive tackles. They have not been consistently holding up their end of the bargain and providing Tom Brady with enough time in the pocket to capitalize on the deep speed of Hogan or Cooks or Dorsett.
For more, check out the entire entry at Pats Pulpit.
New Orleans Saints: The Saints really did exist before Drew Brees and Sean Payton
Forgotten by too many in NFL history was how good the New Orleans Saints were through the late 1980s and early 1990s. Believe it or not, young fans, this team once played outstanding DEFENSIVE football. It's a concept that sometimes gets lost on the Saints teams of today, but those New Orleans Saints teams had one of the most fearsome defensive squads of it's time.
For more, check out the entire entry at Canal Street Chronicles.
New York Giants: They’ve got diehard fans too
If you want to talk about this year, maybe “they” get wrong that the Giants have an improved offense. It sure looks that way after two games.
Maybe “they” get wrong that the Giants’ fan base isn’t as passionate as those in, say, Seattle or, dare I say, Philly.
For more, check out the entire entry at Big Blue View.
New York Jets: The Jets aren’t that young
Over the offseason, the Jets shedded veteran after veteran. After so many old big name players left, it created a perception that the Jets had become a young team. When you are bad, the idea that you are rebuilding and focused on youth tends to set in.
That isn’t really the case, though, at least on offense.
For more, check out the entire entry at Gang Green Nation.
Oakland Raiders: Marshawn Lynch picked up where he left off
There isn’t a person who has watched him run this year who would say he is not the back he once was. It’s a long season, but the opinion Marshawn is not a valuable addition to this Raiders team is already looking debunked. Just ask the head coach of the Raiders next opponent who said Marshawn is “fun and terrifying to watch.”
For more, check out the entire entry at Silver and Black Pride.
Philadelphia Eagles: Carson Wentz can still be a great quarterback
To be clear, I’m not saying Wentz is above criticism. He still has a lot of room for improvement. But to essentially write him off entirely, as some have done, is ridiculous.
The statistics without context, the film analysis without perspective, the rigid personal bias without room for admitting mistake — it’s all what “they” get wrong about the Eagles, and more specifically, the team’s franchise quarterback.
For more, check out the entire entry at Bleeding Green Nation.
Pittsburgh Steelers: The defense is not a weakness anymore
I am not trying to prove this 2017 defense is perfect, or even great, but the thought of the team having to win solely by their lethal offense is something which simply isn’t true anymore. Sure, an offense that can score at will makes things a lot easier for any defense, but the Steelers defense has proven they are capable of winning games even if their offense doesn’t find the end zone as much as everyone hopes.
For more, check out the entire entry at Behind the Steel Curtain.
San Francisco 49ers: The defense is more talented than it gets credit for
This group is still learning to gel, and there will be hiccups along the way. But the notion that the 49ers are a lot of talent away from contending is simply not true on the defensive side of the ball.
For more, check out the entire entry at Niners Nation.
Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks are actually one of the top road teams in the NFL
I suppose it gets lost in the shuffle due to Seattle’s deserved reputation for being incredibly dominant at home. Well guess what? Not only are the Seahawks outstanding at home, they’ve now established themselves as one of the best teams on the road, and don’t let anyone tell you anything otherwise.
For more, check out the entire entry at Field Gulls.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs are more than their offense
More importantly, though, most offseason analyses seem to have completely whiffed on the Bucs defense. The pass rush was lively against the Bears, even though the team notched only one sack, and the three takeaways and shutout until the final two minutes of the games were signs of dominance, rather than imminent collapse.
For more, check out the entire entry at Bucs Nation.
Tennessee Titans: They weren’t switching to a spread offense
However, the Titans are a team that wants to run the ball and control the line of scrimmage. The focus of their offense is always going to be the running game. They are going to rely on DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry to move the chains and wear down defenses.
For more, check out the entire entry at Music City Miracles.
Washington: This team is built to win
To me, what I thought people got wrong all offseason was the general expectation of wins. Sportsbooks lived in the 6/6.5 neighborhood before ticking up, and the “they” folks jumped all over the under. I am not one to EVER question the very good...fellas that make betting lines in this great nation of ours. Instead, I look at the 53-man roster and I struggle to see how folks so willingly buy into what would be a decline from the two years of progress this franchise has made.
For more, check out the entire entry at Hogs Haven.