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Three weeks in -- strange NFL season

It's been a bumpy ride in the early going for some of the league's premier teams
09/25/2013 5:41 PM ET
By Doug Williams

Eli Manning's Giants are one of several teams off to surprisingly poor starts.(AP)
It's been a mildly disappointing and slightly odd NFL season thus far ... and I'm not just saying that as a Giants fan.

Would I have said this after Week 2? Maybe not, but it's worth mentioning now. After Week 3, when there were only four games that came down to a winning margin of five points or less, it is beginning to feel like there aren't as many exciting games as usual.

In terms of story lines, Peyton Manning leads the pack. After three games, he's thrown for over 1,100 yards and 12 TDs. After Peyton, though, not many individual stats jump out. Guys like CJ Spiller and Alfred Morris will play great one week and terribly the next. And it's more of the same as far as team story lines are concerned.

There are the Broncos and the Seahawks and then there is pretty much everyone else. Even Patriots fans will tell you that despite their team being 3-0, they're no juggernaut. Then there are teams like the Dolphins, Chiefs, Saints and Bears who may very well be legitimate, but it's too early to tell. Then, through a sea of mediocrity, comes the bottom of the barrel. Which, this year, is full of teams we are used to being good. The Packers, 49ers and Falcons are 1-2, while the Giants, Redskins and Steelers are 0-3.

While I play fantasy football, I don't live and die by it -- goes to show you why I'm 0-3. But even I can tell that it hasn't been a sexy year so far on any side of the ball. No running backs are off to dominant starts except for LeSean McCoy, who is the only back averaging over 100 yards per game. And Peyton Manning may be the only quarterback who has put up Pro Bowl numbers thus far, with the possible exceptions of Aaron Rodgers and Matt Stafford. Other than Brady and Peyton, many of the big name quarterbacks are struggling. RGIII, Aaron Rodgers, Colin Kaepernick, Matt Ryan, Eli Manning, and Ben Roethlisberger's teams are a combined 3-15 with 25 interceptions.

I wish I could say that the team defense stats make more sense in terms of who is good and who is not but they don't. The Bears are 3-0 and rank 25th and the Steelers are 0-3 and rank fifth.

The one statistic, that seems to make sense is that teams are winning at home and losing on the road. Only 16 teams have won on the road this season, meaning that home teams are 32-16 thus far. Other than that, it doesn't seem to matter who your quarterback is or how many yards your defense gives up.

I don't have an explanation for this weirdness, and I don't have a fix to suggest. It's just interesting to see these odd numbers on paper. It's still early but this coming week we'll be a quarter of the way through the regular season. We'll have to stay tuned.

Let's hope for some close, exciting games from here on out. 

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