We enter Week 3 of the NFL season with the same uncertainty as last week thanks to a wild Week 2. We are also haunted once again by the possibility of more horribly officiated games thanks to the inept replacement referees.
The regular NFL officials may not have been perfect, but they didn't display the kind on laughable incompetence that these fill-ins have showed in just a few weeks. All referees are human. They are going to make mistakes. However, you never heard stories like the one this past week about a ref officiating the Eagles-Ravens game rooting for LeSean McCoy because Shady is on his fantasy team.
The NFL's substitute officials might as well be plucked out of the stands these days. We aren't dealing with respectable upholders of the NFL rulebook. We're dealing with football fans in pinstripes. While fans are still watching the games, the overall product is suffering. Every week, the games themselves are overshadowed by the replacement refs' miscues.
Eli Manning threw for 510 yards, but all of the focus was on the botched intentional grounding call late in the Ravens-Eagles game. The Cardinals and Seahawks pulled off huge upsets, but that note was dwarfed by a horrendous pass interference call on Ike Taylor in the Steelers-Jets clash.
No game is decided on one play, but try telling that irate fans who feel like they're getting hosed by subpar officiating.
It's time for the regular referees to return. It's a statement that every person in the game seems to share—from fans to players to talking heads on sports radio—except for the league itself. For someone as concerned with the NFL's image as commissioner Roger Goodell claims to be, it's mighty hypocritical of him to just stand back while replacement officials blacken the eyes of the sport he resides over.
Now, as for the games themselves. The tables turned a bit in Week 2. Dallas couldn't capitalize off its big win against the Giants in the opener and got throttled by Seattle. The Saints continue to struggle under new management. The Bills bounced back from being dominated by the Jets while Gang Green took it on the chin against the Steelers. The Eagles, yet again, managed to squeeze out a one-point victory over an AFC North opponent.
Week 3 opens up with an intriguing matchup between the Panthers and Giants. The Giants needed some second-half heroics to avoid a loss to Tampa Bay and an 0-2 start, while Carolina bounced back from their Tampa Bay loss in the opening week with a win over the Saints. Panthers-Giants may be the best matchup in a third week that isn't as high on dramatic storylines as the previous two weeks.
Hopefully, what this week lacks in drama is made up for in fortune for yours truly. A couple of lucky covers kept me from sinking under .500 for the week and I finished Week 2 with a 7-7-2 record. For the season, I'm just slightly above average with a 15-14-2 mark.
Let's move on to Week 3. As always, these spreads are based off USA Today's odds section by Danny Sheridan.