Dallas @ Atlanta
Strange goings on with both of these teams last week. The Cowboys pulled themselves off the mat to win in Philadelphia, while the Falcons’ winning streak came to an end at 3 games with a confounding loss in Cleveland. Their performances were exactly what I expected, but the exact opposite. I’ve been trying to figure out what happened, and I think I’ve come up with the most logical explanation: while traveling from Dallas to Philly and Atlanta to Cleveland the Cowboy and Falcon flightpaths intersected over Kentucky and at that very moment lightning struck both planes causing ... you guessed it ... full team body swaps. That explains why the Cowboys played like the Falcons and the Falcons played like the Cowboys, the Cowboys were the Falcons, and the Falcons were the Cowboys. Phew, glad we could reconcile that. It’s unclear if the body swaps are still in effect, or if they’ve been undone by another equally powerful act of nature. If on Sunday we see Dak Prescott attempt a pass more than 20 yards downfield we’ll know that the swap still stands.
Carolina @ Detroit
Prior to last week there was some buzz about Cam Newton being a possible MVP candidate. He quelled that discussion in the 1st quarter against Pittsburgh when he threw a horrendous pick six from his own end zone. Obviously I’m exaggerating, one throw can’t totally derail an MVP campaign. Well actually, if Newton had thrown a pass that got deflected so hard back toward him that it shattered his face mask, shot into his gaping mouth (I assume he’d be screaming because of the ball that’s rocketing toward him), and lodged sideways in his throat. Doctors would then be unable to extricate the football because the operation would be too dangerous, and frankly the whole thing would look too hilarious to undo. So yeah, hypothetically one throw could ruin an MVP season. Since Newton’s wasn’t quite that bad look for him to rebound this Sunday.
Tennessee @ Indianapolis
This match-up has a mirror image this week in the Cincy/Baltimore game. A 5-4 @ 4-5 intra-divisional contest in which the winner will be in a good position to make a run at a playoff spot. It’s a Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s scenario, the same yet different. Of course, the only difference being that when looking into a mirror everything is backwards.
Tampa Bay @ New York
I hesitate to even say this, but the Ryan Fitzpatrick MVP Watch has become a little facetious. After leading the Bucs to a mere 3 points in a home loss to Washington last week it now seems that Fitz’s MVP train has come off the rails. Almost made it to the station though didn’t it? And by almost I mean he had like three or four good games. Look, sometimes I get a little too far ahead of myself. Maybe I should have learned years ago when I poured all my money into Surge the soda that launched an all out assault on your taste buds and mainstream soft drinks simultaneously. It was foolish, and I reacted too quickly based on a small sample size. It’s similar to what happened here with Fitzpatrick. But do I regret it? Absolutely not. It’s like Surge always said, “Life’s a scream,” and baby, I ain’t hoarse yet.
Houston @ Washington
Both of these teams are 6-3 division leaders who are seemingly of no concern to the rest of the league. So if this game happens in a forest and nobody sees it did it really happen? Also, why is it happening in a forest? I’d actually be much more interested in watching it if that were the case. I imagine passing would be a lot more difficult. Not only because the trees would get in the way, but also defenders could hide behind them and jump out at opportune moments to intercept passes. Ok, this is really stupid, but honestly Washington is such a boring team that I don’t really know what to say. Hopefully they’ll lose themselves into irrelevancy soon.
Pittsburgh @ Jacksonville
With his continued absence this week Le’Veon Bell has officially ended his 2018 season before it even began. The Steelers seemingly moved on weeks ago and have shaken off a slow start to look like a strong candidate to nab a first round bye in the playoffs yet again. Still, it’s hard to believe that Bell won’t be at Heinz Field at all this season ... Or won’t he? I for one think Bell should pull a Sting. No, not a clever caper involving off-track betting; I’m saying he should go the same route Sting did in WCW in 1996/97. Start showing up to games up on top of the Heinz Field overhang with a baseball bat, wearing a trench coat (Crow make-up optional). For the rest of the regular season he just stands there ominously, then in the playoffs during a crucial drive in the 4th quarter he repels down, and starts wreaking havoc. Bat shots for everyone, he lays out Antonio Brown and Maurkice Pouncey, takes the ball, hands it to Roethlisberger (who he hasn’t touched yet), points the bat at him and instantaneously shoots back up onto the roof, away from the action. Roethlisberger is then sacked immediately and the Steelers lose. I don’t know, that’s what I hope happens at least.
Cincinnati @ Baltimore
Of course the main difference when looking into a mirror is that everything is backwards. It’s a Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr. scenario, the same yet different. This is a 5-4 @ 4-5 intra-divisional contest in which the winner will be in a good position to make a run at a playoff spot. This match-up has a mirror image this week in the Tennessee/Indy game.
Oakland @ Arizona
How does it happen that each week we have a seemingly worse match-up. In consecutive weeks we’ve seen Niners/Cardinals, Niners/Raiders, Niners/Giants ... oh I guess the Niners have just had a ridiculous schedule recently. But finally here’s one that isn't their fault. You don’t have the Niners to push around anymore! ... Because they’re on a bye week; when they return you can recommence with the pushing. Arizona has been one of the said pushers, having only beaten San Francisco so far. They’ll keep it in the Bay on Sunday and hand the Raiders yet another ignominious loss. Feel free to read all about it after not watching the game.
Denver @ Los Angeles Chargers
Talk about teams going in different directions, these two will be doing just that on Sunday. Those directions will be determined after the coin toss and will then alternate each quarter. It’s standard NFL procedure, and thus we should expect exactly that when the Broncos and Chargers tangle this Sunday. We should also expect a win for the “home” team, because the Broncos are lousy as hell with a sprinkling of occasional mediocrity. Whichever level we see this week likely won’t be good enough, as it hasn’t been for the last two months in which Denver has gone 1-6 after a 2-0 start.
Philadelphia @ New Orleans
This was a miraculous pass away from being the NFC championship game last season. This time around we’re a highly unlikely series of events away from it being the title game. The Saints look poised for a deep playoff run, the Eagles, on the other hand, do not. Things just aren’t working out the same for Philly this season, and the fire doesn’t seem to be burning as hot as it was in 2017. It’s possible that winning the Super Bowl is the worst thing that could’ve happened to this franchise. Ya know, except for the fact that they won the Super Bowl. We’re all waiting for them to return to their championship form, except for the Saints and the rest of the teams in the NFC, they seem cool with this.
Minnesota @ Chicago
You know what time it is! Let's check in with our old pal Cris Collinsworth for some dynamite analysis on this match-up:
Thanks Thin Crust!
Kansas City vs. Los Angeles Rams
Alright, this is getting ridiculous, this game belongs in Mexico where it was originally scheduled! They can’t just send us an entire football game and expect us to deal with it. This was their problem, not ours! If they wanted us to accept this game they should have gone through the proper channels, not just foisted this upon us and expected us to deal with it. This is yet another example of Mexico sending us low lifes, criminals, and murderers, and that’s just the Rams defense. Bottom line, send this game back to Mexico and let it be played in its native land. You’re going to hear a lot of opinions about this game, but take it from me, a man who clearly has a complete understanding of the situation, that I’m right about this, and everything.