Are they back?

It was a miraculous Monday Night Football final stand. At one point it appeared Jalen Hurts may challenge for the best QB performance in franchise history, but after a late pick and conservative play calling with a good lead, he would have to settle for 17th best. Not only did the Hurts/Goedert stack come through strong, but Strictly Southern’s stars would struggle to produce late, as well. Justin Jefferson was completely contained despite every effort by Cousins to force it to him, and Russell Wilson would continue to struggle in a new offense. The cherry on top was a -8 point showing from the Miami Dolphins defense which was preyed upon by a ridiculous Lamar Jackson game.

After losing 4 of the last 5 in the matchup, the victory was a breath of fresh air. Defeating one of the premier franchises in Strictly Southern is a strong way to get the season kicked off. But are the Electric Horsemen of old really back? The Horsemen started 2015, 2016 & 2017 2-0 but hadn’t done it since. One interesting thing that happened in each of those 2-0 start seasons was that the Horsemen won the league championship. Their 123.2 average points per game through 2 is their best in the PPR era and second only to a 126.0 PPG red hot 2013 start before reception points.

It’s too early to crown them yet, but after toiling away with a couple 10th and 3rd place finishes since their last championship, it may be time for opponents to fear the Electric Horsemen once more.

The Dangerous Angels and Electric Horsemen have developed a sort of rivalry since they entered the league in 2018. A rivalry kind of like the Bears and Packers where one team rarely wins. In four years and 5 meetings, the Horses lead the series 4-1 including a 2021 playoff meeting that sent the Angels packing in the first round. An additional exhibition game after elimination in the Asshammer playoffs of 2019 would also see the Horsemen victorious, claiming their foe’s 9th round pick. So make that 5-1.

The Angels come off a heartbreaking loss against 3rd and Unpredictable in week 2, one gifted to Unpredictable as so many others have been. Many of the several injured players that sat out last week’s competition should be back in the lineup this week, only resting to insure victory for the back to back defending champions. Free agent acquisition from week 2, Jeff Wilson Jr, seems to have supplanted Devin Singletary in the backfield (especially with the return of Gabriel Davis, Tee Higgins and/or Michael Pittman – all out last week).

The matchups seem to favor the Horsemen for the most part. Michael Thomas looks primed for another start after ceding his role in week 2 to JuJu Smith-Schuster (whose performance will likely lead to a season long benching). The wide receiver room is crowded with mid-level talent looking to truly break out, and the time for Drake London is coming soon – but maybe not this week. Antonio Gibson’s clock may be running out while London’s is winding up, but he should still get two more starts before his role in the Washington offense changes with the arrival of Brian Robinson.

FantasyPros has the Horsemen with a 59.4% chance of victory and a 7.6 point favorite, ESPN has 51% and 1.4 points. Najee Harris kicks off the action on Thursday Night Football.

In other action…

  • Nosebleeds v Strictly Southern – The Nosebleeds are in an unfortunate position, leading a pack of three 0-2 teams into week 3. No 0-3 team has ever made the playoffs, so this could be game over if they can’t come through – barring some sort of miracle. Strictly Southern is coming off a frustrating loss to the undefeated Horsemen and surely slaughter the ‘bleeds behind some added motivation to stay above .500.
  • Pork Shanks v Legs With Holes – Shanks, once believed to challenged for the Asshammer, exploded for a league high through two weeks of 140.6 points – a total that would have approached the all time record had Tua gotten the start over Trey Lance (RIP). Legs With Holes, while 1-1, have an all-play record of 22.7%… this is second worst to only the 0% Straight Laced (who have back to back low point weeks). Shanks destroy the Holes with their rising talent – which gets even more impressive with the return of Kittle anchored to a quarterback that’s actually good.
  • Drunken Aces v Straight Laced – The surprising 2-0 Aces should have absolutely nothing to stand in the way of them going 3-0 for the second time in franchise history. Straight Laced may challenge the winless 2020 Nosebleeds for the worst team in history. That team went 0-13, averaged 82 PPG, and went on to win the Asshammer in consecutive years.
  • Bumpy’s Berries v Heavy Pistols – The Berries enter this week 0-2 for the first time since 2016 facing a Heavy Pistols team that looks to improve to their best start in team history at 3-0. A preseason dark horse candidate, the Pistols haven’t disappointed.  They sit atop the Dumpy Division and look primed to send the Berries into a deep season long depression. No team that has started 0-3 has finished better than 4-9 since league expansion.
  • The Blackouts v 3rd and Unpredictable – Despite several lackluster performances, Unpredictable unfortunately cruised to victory last week behind an offseason trade of Higgins for Waddle (which the Horsemen forewarned the Angels about) – avoiding their first 0-2 start since 2016. The Blackouts’ laissez faire management style has been questionable thus far, having empty roster spots up until the start of Monday night’s games last week despite nearly a month of time to fill the roster with upside candidates. And now they lose Mike Evans for the contest. Unpredictable sadly wins this contest and returns as a championship contender.

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