Tennessee @ Atlanta
In last Thursday’s loss to Jacksonville, Titans’ quarterback Marcus Mariota was sacked an NFL single game record 27 times. Ok that might be an exaggeration, I didn’t look up the actual number, but it felt like 27. Suffice it to say, Tennessee has to figure out a better way to keep Mariota upright, and I think I have just the thing. I saw a news story last week about a very stupid invention: chair legs that attach to pants. I suppose they’re meant for travel or being outdoors for an extended period of time, I don’t know, like I said they're very stupid; but I’m bringing them to the NFL. Specifically to Marcus Mariota. Think about it, he drops back to pass, gets hit, but haha! He falls back into a seated position! He’s still alive! He stands back up and zings a ball downfield. Now whether or not that ball gets intercepted is another discussion entirely, all I know is Mariota didn’t get sacked. Would these chair legs be allowed under the league’s strict uniform rules? No. Would Mariota get hit so hard that the legs wouldn’t be able to break his fall and may even end up impaling him? Possibly. But we won’t know until we try. What do ya say Marcus? Ok, I’ll just sit here and wait ... on my chair pants!
New England @ Buffalo
The Patriots have been cruising through the 2019 season seemingly without a care in the world (on the field that is). But this Sunday they’re running into the buzz saw that is the Buffalo Bills. One could make the argument that the Bills’ 3-0 record isn’t very impressive considering that their opponents’ combined record is 1-8. Well guess what? Three of those eight losses came from the Bills baby! These guys are crushing dreams and derailing seasons left and right. They gave Sam Darnold mono in Week 1, they sent Eli Manning out to pasture in Week 2, and in Week 3 they beat Andy Dalton ... some guys don’t need insult added to injury, they’re already well aware of their standing. So in other words, Tom Brady better watch the eff out. Sure, Brady is 28-2 against the Bills in meaningful games (I’m excluding a Week 17 loss that had no postseason implications in which he only played a half), so you might expect him to be unphased by this tilt. But if Buffalo wins and we find out after the game that Brady has herpes, don’t say I didn’t warn ya.
Kansas City @ Detroit
It’s a battle of unbeatens in Detroit! Usually that sentence can’t be accurately used after Week 1, so this is nothing to sneeze at. The last time the Lions were undefeated this far into a season they were still playing in Rome and their schedule consisted mostly of Christians. Sure, they don’t have the sparkling, totally unblemished 3-0 mark that the Chiefs carry, but 2-0-1 is literally undefeated nonetheless. Obviously Kansas City presents Detroit with their toughest test yet, but if there’s one coach in the league who’s always ready for a test it’s Matt Patricia, the man who has a pencil tucked behind his ear at all times! Unfortunately for Matt, this test is cutting edge and done completely electronically, rendering his pencil useless. Consequently it could be a tough Sunday for the Lions coach, because there’s nothing worse than losing at home and having your pencil rendered useless.
Oakland @ Indianapolis
Whoa, wait a minute, the Colts are good?!? Man I wonder how Andrew Luck must feel right now. What’s that? Like a healthy, well-rested person? Oh. Well good for him. But Jacoby Brissett seems to be feeling fine too. He’s led the Colts to a 2-1 record, with the Raiders coming to town. So soon he’ll have led the Colts to a 3-1 record, and if you look at their remaining schedule it’s not hard to fathom them finishing at 10-6, the same record they had last season. If you had walked up to me the night Luck retired and told me that I would’ve said to you, “Excuse me, do you mind? I’m trying to enjoy dinner my lady bro! Don’t make me go HAM on you chief.” A bit of clarification: Luck retired on a Saturday night.
Los Angeles Chargers @ Miami
After consecutive losses the Chargers sure could use a win. “Our ears are burning!” replied the Dolphins. Miami actually hung with the Cowboys for a half last week before settling in to a nice, comfortable 31-6 loss. The Dolphins have now scored 16 points on the season. They’ve given up more than that in a quarter three separate times already. So I think we can all agree, Miami stinks to high heaven. Though, if there’s one team that can step up and pull off a shocking loss though, historically it could be the Chargers. Do I think it will happen? No. But I wouldn’t put anything past them. That being said, L.A. will probably be up 21-0 by the end of the 1st quarter.
Washington @ New York Giants
The Giants’ season is saved! In his first game as starter Daniel Jones threw for two TDs, ran for two more, and led New York to their first win of the season. Sure it took the Bucs’ kicker missing a 34 yard field goal attempt as time expired to actually get that win, but it counts all the same! Now the wunderkind gets a home game against winless Washington to showcase his talents in da Big Apple baby! No doubt Jones will be showered with praise as Broadway’s newest star. Or he’ll throw a few picks and be pelted with rotten tomatoes as he walks off the field after a loss. But hey, dems da breaks in New York, da greatest city of Earf! One week you’re beatin’ the Bucs, the next you’re sayin’ “Aw shucks.” After game one you’re feelin’ fine; after game two you’re buried under the 50 yard line. Well actually, they’d probably have to bury Jones at one of the 48s, because Jimmy Hoffa is under the 50.
Cleveland @ Baltimore
Things have been pretty dreary for the Browns in this young season after months of hype had us believing this team was primed for a playoff run. The offense has looked fairly lousy, and the fireworks we were promised have mostly been duds. But guess what, if they win this game they’re in first place in the AFC North! That’s right, shockingly their season isn't over after three weeks. That being said, they’ll have to improve PRONTO. I didn’t capitalize that for emphasis, it’s an acronym I’ve created: Pass Receiving Of Negatively Thrown Oblongs. Which I guess means they need to catch more laterals? Hmm, that seems stupid. But I don’t know, I mean I came up with acronym, so it has to be legit.
Carolina @ Houston
When I heard that Cam Newton had a damaged Lisfranc, I assumed it was a reference to his wardrobe. But after looking up Liz Frank clothing online and finding nothing I realized there had been a misunderstanding. It sounds like Newton will continue to miss time due to his foot injury, but I’m not sure that’s the worst news the Panthers could get. Carolina back-up Kyle Allen led the team to a win in Arizona, and while some may not think that’s very impressive consider the fact that the Panthers were coming off a home loss to the Bucs. The way I see it, as does the world of mathematics, the Panthers’ 2019 winning percentage is infinitely higher with Allen as their starter than Newton. And with infinity there is truly no end to the possibilities. Godspeed Kyle Allen, on your limitless journey through the cosmos of success! That being said, I think Houston wins this one.
Tampa Bay @ Los Angeles Rams
The Rams have methodically plowed their way to a 3-0 record. It hasn’t been very flashy, but they’re getting the job done. It’s what Bill Walsh used to refer to as “baked potato football,” unimpressive but effective. And hey, if it’s good enough for Bill Walsh it should be good enough for the Rams. Now, did Walsh actually ever use the phrase “baked potato football”? No. I just made it up, but that doesn’t make the metaphor any less apt does it? Don’t answer that. I said don't! Yeah, well what do you know, you human baked potato? I expect the Rams to burst forth from the oven this week and win with a flourish against a nearly mediocre Bucs squad.
Seattle @ Arizona
The Cardinals had a stumble last week, losing to the Kyle Allen-led Panthers at home by 18. Carolina stood firm against the air raid offense, forcing Kyler Murray into only 4 yards per pass attempt. I haven’t seen anybody so unimpressed by and air raid since Sabrina in Dazed and Confused. To their credit, Arizona is sticking to the game plan, throwing the ball 71% of the time so far in 2019. Perhaps it’s because of this high percentage that Murray ranks near the bottom of the league in yards per attempt. Or maybe it’s because they average so few yards per attempt that they have to throw it more. It’s a real catch 22. Unfortunately for the Cardinals they don’t have a 22 to catch the ball. From what I can tell that number is currently not in use on their active roster. All of these very concrete factors can’t be ignored, so I’ll take the Hawks to bounce back here.
Minnesota @ Chicago
The Vikings and Bears both enter this match-up at 2-1 with each of their lone losses coming against the Packers. Couple that with the fact that the Lions are 2-0-1, and all of a sudden, whoever loses this game will be in last place in the NFC North. Is it possible this a must-win game for both teams? I don’t know, I hesitate to label any game a must-win for fear of the existential crisis these players may fall into as a result of losing a game in which losing is not an option. But it’s certainly an important contest which is bad news for both of these quarterbacks. Neither Cousins nor Trubisky seem cut out for a big stage, so look for them both to do their damndest to lose this game in the fourth quarter. Not only because the stakes are high, but winning would lead to a better record and even more important games in the future that these QBs want to avoid at all costs. As a result it will likely come down to who makes the fewest mistakes. I guess that means I'll pick the home team.
Jacksonville @ Denver
These two teams seem to be on a similar path. They both have had dominating defenses in the recent past that are no longer quite the force they once were. Also they've both turned to exciting backup quarterbacks to lead them for the immediate future. Oh wait, Joe Flacco wasn’t the Broncos’ backup ... and he’s not exciting. Well at least the Jags have something mildly interesting going on with Gardner Minshew. Outside of that I’m not sure why somebody would feel compelled to watch this game. I guess you could bet thousands of dollars on it, that would certainly give it some juice. And why not? You never do anything fun with your money, live a little! Make sure you pick the right team though, losing that much money is no fun.
Dallas @ New Orleans
The Saints have given up 28, 27, and 27 points in their games this season. The Cowboys have scored 35, 31, and 31 so far. They're both models of consistency, so it seems pretty obvious what to go with here. But first let me check-in with the man who will be calling this game, Cris Collinsworth, to confirm my assumptions:
Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh
Bum bum bum bum! Bah bum bah blaaaahhh! In case you couldn’t tell, that was the sound of the Monday Night Football theme devolving into vomiting. ESPN can’t be thrilled with this match-up of 0-3 squads. Sure they can try to sell it as “Someone’s gotta win!” But if I were them my pitch would be more like, “Hey it’s the only game on tonight and you’re not burnt out on this season yet are you? Oh gimme a break, you’re gonna tell yourself you’re not gonna watch, but just wait. You’ll be flipping around the guide and nothing will be on besides shows about tiny houses and 90 day fiancés, and you’ve seen most of those already, so you’ll say ‘I guess I can check what the score in the game is.’ And so you’ll turn it on, and before you know it you’ve watched the whole second quarter, and you won’t even turn the channel during the baffling halftime segment when they show some sort of music video from an up and coming(?) musician. The malaise of this lousy game will wash over you like a warm sub-tropical wave pulling you to sea, never to return again. And you won’t even care, you’ll just let it take you.” I’m not sure if they could fit all that in a 30 second spot though, so yeah “Someone’s gotta win!” is probably a better way to go.