During Atlanta’s collapse against Dallas last week one of the announcers said it would be an “unimaginable loss” for Falcons fans. Look buddy, these are Falcons fans you’re talking about, no loss is unimaginable at this point. That being said, Atlanta massively blew that game, and their season seems to be in a downward spiral. But guess what, Falcons hunt in a downward spiral! Maybe. I’m not sure, but it seems reasonable enough, and works with the motif I’m going for. The Bears are 2-0 but I don't think I’m very impressed. In fact, I’d go so far as to say I’m not impressed. They have a pair of four point wins over the Lions and Giants. And sure, all they can do is beat the teams on their schedule, but if they had beat those teams by a lot more I’d be taking the Bears more seriously. Normally not taking bears seriously is dangerous, but I ain’t in the woods baby, so who gives a rip?
Los Angeles at Buffalo
Ah, tale as old as time, the great city rivalry of Los Angeles and Buffalo. It’s always, who’s got the better wings? LA or Buffalo? Where are the best beaches? LA or Buffalo? Which one is the real entertainment capital of the world? None of these questions will be answered on Sunday, but as a consolation we might find out which city has the better football team. They both look like playoff squads so far, though I’m pretty sure all but like 8 teams are going to make the playoffs this season, so what does that really mean? Still this one should be entertaining, which is fitting because it’s being played in Buffalo, the entertainment capital of the world. I know, I know, don’t at me.
Washington at Cleveland
At the end of his team’s loss to Arizona last week, Washington coach Ron Rivera chose not to use his remaining time outs while down 12 in the 4th quarter. If he had stopped the clock he would have forced the Cardinals into kicking their field goal earlier and giving Washington the ball back with much more time than the :26 left they ended up having. Sure they would’ve only had a minute or two, but it’s definitely more likely to come out of that scenario with a win than if you sit and watch the clock run out. So what gives? I’m guessing Rivera was trying to send a message to his team. And that message is ... I don’t really know what I’m doing here guys. It’s blunders like these that would make Rivera a more fitting coach for his opponent this week. Though, from what I saw last week coaching for the opponent seems to be Rivera’s specialty.
Tennessee at Minnesota
What is happening with these Vikings? They’re 0-2, their defense has given up the second most points in the league, and they’ve had perhaps the worst quarterback play in the NFL. Maybe a downgraded supporting cast is to blame, but Kirk Cousins has been godawful. He’ll need a complete turnaround to make the Vikings into a contender. Does he have that in him? I’m not sure, but over the next few weeks we’re going to learn a lot about Cousins. His favorite color, his dream job, who he has a crush on, like if he had to choose. We’ll also know if his future involves being a starting quarterback in the NFL. I’ve already given up on the Vikings, which of course means that they’ll win this game. But if I were to pick them to win again this week they’d no doubt lose. What a conundrum. I’ll side with the Titans because they’re like a kid who’s parents are only children, they don’t have Cousins.
Las Vegas at New England
In a conference call with New England reporters this week, Raiders coach Jon Gruden referred to Cam Newton as “Slam” Newton, a nickname the coach apparently bestowed upon him when they met back in 2011 before Newton was selected first overall in the draft. So basically Gruden came up with what he thought was a clever nickname, it didn’t get over, and now, nine years later he’s still trying to make it work. Just let it go Jon. People weren’t buying it then, and they aren’t now. Look, back in the 90s my dad called Charles Barkley Charles Barfley one time. The important part of that sentence is that he did it one time. We didn’t laugh so he moved on. And the thing is, Charles Barfley is better than Slam Newton. Gruden is clearly out of touch, which makes it all the more mystifying that he’s the coach who enters this game with the better record on the season. Sure, it’s a small sample size, but that win over the Saints last week was nothing to sneeze at. And really we should all be trying to minimize our public sneezing anyway. While the Raiders do look better than expected, I have to pick New England here. And I’m not doing it just because I was calling Gruden a dope. I’m not slamming Jon Gruden here. Though Cam Newton might on Sunday. Hey, Slam Newton, how about that for a nickname?
San Francisco at New York Giants
The Niners were physically decimated last week in MetLife Stadium. Not by the Jets, but by the turf. And now they’re back for revenge. Niners, MetLife, round 2 next on Fox! I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s how this game was promoted. I mean, it’s not like the network’s going to want to remind people that the Giants are involved, right? Especially without Saquon Barkley. Come to think of it, I have a solution to that problem that could make this game much more entertaining and provide a measure of atonement for the Niners. New York’s new starting running back? The MetLife Stadium head groundskeeper. Buckle up buddy, you’re about to get wailed on! Actually, I just looked him up and it turns out he played some ball back in high school. Whoa, I found a YouTube clip, you guys he’s got some pretty good moves. From what I’m reading he could’ve maybe got a college scholarship but he quit the team before his senior season because he got too into grass. Well, with or without the MLGK (MetLife groundskeeper) toting the ball I still expect the Giants to succumb to whatever version of the 49ers makes it to the game on Sunday.
Cincinnati at Philadelphia
Carson Wentz has the second lowest rating of any starting quarterback in the league. Is it possible that he’s hurt? Maybe, but I don’t know what part of his body. In other words I’m wondering from whence is Wentz’s wince? ...
... I want to apologize to my family. The Eagles will need to make a similar gesture if they lose this game. Not because the Bengals are necessarily that bad, more so that a loss would put Philly at 0-3 and on the verge of a total collapse. And if Wentz keeps playing the way he has that’s exactly where they’ll be. At that point they might as well throw in the towel, call Josh McCown, and tell him to get his ass to Philly cuz he’s got games to lose.
Houston at Pittsburgh
These poor Texans. They have the worst point differential in the league, but is it their fault? They had to play the Chiefs and Ravens in the first two weeks, and now they have to go to Pittsburgh. Not only that, but they have to play a football game while they’re there! The good news for Houston is that I’m not sure the Steelers are all that good. They beat the Giants in Week 1, then held on to get past Denver in Week 2. I’m not even sure that’s more impressive than losing to the KC and Baltimore by a combined 31 points. If youactually stop and think about it, who’s really 2-0? Yes, I know it’s the Steelers, but I mean if you look at it relatively ... Ok, fine I guess you’re just gonna keep crapping on this. Just for that I’m picking Houston. How do ya like me now? Seriously, what do you think of me? Just kidding, forget it. Let’s move on.
New York Jets at Indianapolis
The Jets might very well be the worst team in the league. It’s hard to know if it’s their quarterback Sam Darnold’s fault. But hey, maybe it’s time to give the backup a shot and see what he can do. And of course, the backup is ... Joe Flacco! Oh baby, the FlaccMan gonna rise from the dead! Flacco and Frank Gore in the same backfield? Super Bowl XLVII fans are getting chills at the mere possibility. Oh you didn’t know about the fervent Super Bowl XLVII Stans out there? Yeah there’s a bustling sub-reddit. But don’t go in there with any of your weak crap about Harbaugh Bowl and the blackout, nah you gotta have intricate knowledge of the ins and outs of that game. Like that, uh, Joe Flacco and Frank Gore both played in it. Look, let’s change the subject before r/SB47 comes after me. The Colts got on the right track last week, and now that track takes them directly towards the Jets. Wait, why are the Jets on a track? That doesn’t make sense transportationally. The point is Indy should get a second straight win.
Carolina at Los Angeles Chargers
The Panthers without Christian McCaffrey feels like when the best character leaves a show and it’s barely even worth watching. Like The Office without Michael Scott, or Family Matters without Aunt Rachel, or Family Matters without Judy Winslow. The Chargers are also without a key member of their backfield as starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor will miss a second consecutive week with a punctured lung caused by an errant painkiller shot from the team doctor. It seems like a calamitous, yet honest, mistake until you consider that the doctor’s name is Dustin Herbert! That’s right, just like the Chargers now starting quarterback Justin Herbert. And guess what, he’s of no relation! Nope, just a coincidence. But he does own a Herbert jersey. Still though, it’s unclear if he bought it just because that’s his name too and he thought it would be funny. And if that’s the case, he’s right, it’s hilarious. Also comical is the prospect of Carolina succeeding without McCaffrey. Much more comical than Family Matters was without Judy Winslow!
Tampa Bay at Denver
I tried to warn ya Fangio, but you just have to be the rebel. The “bad boy of the NFL” as you like to call yourself. In case you haven’t heard, ol’ Vic went and got himself fined 100 Gs by the NFL for not wearing his mask on the sidelines last week. Could’ve saved himself a lot of dough if he’d read this blog and heeded my advice, but there’s no chance of that happening is there? Hell, I think I saw him smoking a cig in between plays last Sunday. Yeah, he was sporting a leather jacket, listening to rock and roll music, and taking deep drags off a heater. While Fangio’s coaching style may be conservative, his brazen disregard for the rules certainly isn’t. Vic would be wise to wear his mask against the Bucs though, so that the world doesn’t see him cursing out his new quarterback Jeff Driskel. But you know that ain’t gonna matter to the Fangie Man. Get this, he thinks swearing is cool. Can you believe this guy?!?
Detroit at Arizona
At first glance Lions/Cardinals might not seem like much of a rivalry, but don’t forget, these teams tied in Week 1 last year. That stalemate sent these two squadrons hurdling into a dovetail that inevitably led them to this moment. Finally they’ll settle this score. The nation, nay, the world will finally know who reigns supreme. It’s been a long, arduous year, and without a doubt the most difficult part has been that emptiness in all of our souls. A crater that was formed on September 8th, 2019, and, with any luck, will be filled come Sunday. We’re almost on the other side of this thing gang, we just have to hang in there for a few more days. Unless of course they tie again, in which case ... Honestly I don’t even want to think about it. I have to believe that a winner will emerge. In times like these, when the world is tied, belief is all we have.
Dallas at Seattle
The Cowboys ran two fake punts last week and were stopped on both. So either they’ll never attempt one again, or just keep trying until they benefit from the law of averages. But they should be careful with the trickery, because Pete Carroll is a real “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, what’s your deal?!?” type of guy. Though, with the way these offenses can play, it’s possible that neither team will have to line up for a punt in this game, so it may not matter much. If you’re a big fan of the conference player of the week awards you’re no doubt salivating at the idea of NFC’s offensive player of Week 1 Russell Wilson going back and forth with the Week 2 winner Dak Prescott. And that’s pretty gross. Salivating in general is not pleasant, but the fact that you’re doing it while thinking about a football game is truly bizarre. Why don’t we just get to the pick now before you get drool on me.
Green Bay at New Orleans
It's a pivotal match-up in the NFC that could eventually have playoff ramifications. For a game this important we're lucky that we have Cris Collinsworth in the booth to breakdown the action. Let's hear what he'll be keeping an eye on come Sunday night:
Whoa, this is one party I am NOT gonna miss. Can I come? You don't have to answer now CC. Just e-mail me the deets before Sunday.
Kansas City at Baltimore
Oh great, Monday Nigh Football. Seems like ever since ABC moved the franchise to ESPN the quality of match-ups has gone down considerably. And in recent years it’s been even worse. So let’s see, what leftover crumbs the NFL gave us this time ... Holy shit! Chiefs and Ravens! How the hell did this happen?!? Maybe it was like an auction style fantasy draft and ESPN spent all they had on this one game. Which of course means that the rest of their schedule is completely made up of $1 pick-ups. But that’s a future problem, and we’re living for today baby! We got the match-up of the year this Monday, who cares what comes after? But it’s not like Giants/Lions is it? Checking ... Nope! So yeah, who cares? In this battle of young MVP QBs who will win? Simple, the fans. Which will make us tied for first in the NFC South.
Last week when I first saw the commercial promoting this as the Thursday Night match-up I thought the league would be better off advertising it with a simple full screen graphic that read “There will be an NFL game on next Thursday. Does it really matter who the teams are? Just tune in.” And that’s it. No music or sound of any kind, just 30 seconds of that on the screen. But after watching these teams play their respective games in Week 2 I gotta say, I’m pretty jazzed for Phins/Jags. These teams have just the right amount of friskiness and are lacking just the right amount of competence to make for a highly entertaining affair. Come on, Fitzmagic vs. Minshew Mania? With those two QBs at the helm this game should be aired exclusively on Sling TV. I can guarantee there will be more interceptions than effs given (or at the very least it will be a tie). If the total points end up under 50 you have my permission, nay, encouragement to stop reading this blog forever. JUST KIDDING! Please don’t leave! I was trying to be brazen like Fitzpatrick and Minshew but I didn't dare approach their level. I’m a fraud! (Loud sobbing ...) Anyway, this should be a fun one!
Oh hell yeah, two big time markets going head to head! The Big Apple vs. The Windy City. But don’t be too worried about gusts this Sunday, because Chicago actually got that nickname from their politicians blowing so much hot air. And of course, we all know that New York City is called The Big Apple because of the giant, 6-story tall apple that’s been sitting on 41st Street since 1911. No one knows how it got there, or how it became so big, or why it hasn’t been removed since it’s been slowly rotting for decades and continues to breed millions of maggots on a weekly basis. But hey that’s just another reason that New York is the greatest city on Earff!
Atlanta at Dallas
Can a Week 2 game be a must win? As far as I’m concerned, yes! And that’s because I say every game is a must win! That would be my policy if I were an NFL owner: every loss, coach gets fired. You might say that’s too short of a leash, but I’d counter by saying, no one tells me how to walk my dog! Obviously whichever of these teams loses can still rally to make the playoffs, but for the Falcons falling into a hole would be an all too familiar feeling. They started 1-4 in 2018 and 1-7 last season, ending up at 7-9 both times. Some say it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish, but those people clearly don’t understand how NFL standings work. On the other side, if the Cowboys fall to 0-2 ahead of a trip to Seattle in Week 3 all hellwill break loose ... for Cowboys fans. The rest of the country will be having a ball.
Detroit at Green Bay
The common narrative surrounding Aaron Rodgers’ outstanding Week 1 performance is that he’s had a fire lit under him by talk of a drop off in his play and the Packers’ selection of his potential successor in the first round of the draft. Yes, Aaron Rodgers is at his best when he’s angry. And you know what, I just find that really immature. What kind of example does that set for the kids? To tell them that the best way to do your job is pissed off? Disgraceful. It’s the same problem I had with that guy in Avengers. You know, Sean Connery? The lions blew a big lead last week, and I expect them to lose again here too. But on the bright side they might not get ahead at all, so they won’t have to be embarrassed by how badly they blew it.
Jacksonville at Tennessee
Last week I joked about the Jags having no one attend their first game. Apparently I didn’t have up to date information, because there were indeed fans at TIAA Bank Field. And of course there were. I’m surprised they didn’t allow full capacity. I imagine the commissioner would raise a stink if the Jags did permit that, but one of his advisors would likely place a hand on his shoulder and simply say, “Forget it Rog, it’s Jacksonville.” Both of these teams come into this game at 1-0, but only one can come out of it with an iron grip on first place in the AFC South. Who will it ... the Titans. It’ll be the Titans.
Minnesota at Indianapolis
Before the season I picked both of these teams to win their divisions. And of course it’s only been a week ... so you haven’t forgotten yet. But give it about six weeks and no one will be the wiser. I simply make a few quick edits and then when mid season rolls around and we revisit my preseason playoff picks to see how they’re shaping up the Vikings and Colts are no where to be found. It’s unethical, and borderline despicable, but I could say the same thing about how both of these teams played last week. Now one of them will be 0-2 and be looking at, what is historically, an uphill battle to make it to the playoffs. Deciding who that will be is pretty simple: one of them lost to the Packers, the other one lost to the Jags.
Buffalo at Miami
If the Bills start 2-0 we still won’t know how good they are. Their wins will be over the Jets and Dolphins. It’s like a kid beating up their younger siblings, then showing up at school thinking they’re tough. And who knows, maybe they are. Maybe they waltz in wearing a Big Johnson tee, rub a few kids’ faces in the mud, and get detention for calling their teacher a buttsniffer. Then again, maybe they cry from embarrassment when the teacher tells them to turn their obscene shirt inside out and everyone laughs. It’s anybody’s guess. However, if Buffalo loses to Miami we’ll know exactly who they are. Especially because they’ll be walking off the field with their jerseys inside out.
San Francisco at New York Jets
Just a couple of lousy 0-1 squads. Ok fine, obviously these teams aren’t exactly the same. One wears green, the other wears red. Those color schemes are very different; opposite ends of the spectrum. Other than that though, these groups are in the same boat. Alright, I admit the Jets might be in worse shape than the Niners in the long run. Especially now that LeVeon Bell is already hurt. Maybe it won’t be a big deal though, let’s see their backup is ... checking ... Frank Gore?!? Is that real? Does that make this a Frank Gore revenge game? Does anything count as a revenge game if you’ve played for half the league? I don’t know, but I’m buying it. And in reality LeVeon Bell really wasn’t contributing that much. Maybe the Jets are better off with a motivated Frank Gore carrying the ball. Even if they are though, that probably won’t be good enough.
Los Angeles Rams at Philadelphia
Last week the Rams held on to beat the Cowboys thanks in large part to an offensive pass interference penalty that was drawn via a masterful acting job by Jalen Ramsey. Somebody should have told him that the Emmy’s are this Sunday! Hmm, I guess the actual acting doesn’t usually happen at the Emmy’s. And if he were hoping to get a nomination, it would make sense to submit his performance before the ceremony. So great job Jalen! Give him the trophy! It’s hard to know if LA’s win last Sunday night was a statement victory over a quality Dallas squad or a narrow escape against a team that is once again destined to underachieve. The Eagles should be desperate after a calamitous Week 1, and I always say take the more desperate team ... unless they really suck. But I think Philly’s decent enough, so I follow my own rules here.
Denver at Pittsburgh
Broncos coach Vic Fangio regularly took his mask off to talk on the sidelines during Denver’s Monday night loss. That defeats the purpose of the mask. He wasn’t the only coach across the league who was guilty of that practice in Week 1, but Fangio was one of the more blatant offenders. It’s not that big of a deal though since Fangio is a robust 62 years old. As we all know the older you get the better your body is at fighting the virus, because of all the years of experience your immune system has. Apparently those decades of seasoning don’t improve one’s clock management skills though, as Fangio blamed himself for holding onto timeouts in a narrow defeat against the Titans. It’s ironic that Vic ran out of time, since that’s exactly what’s going to happen if he keeps not wearing his mask! I’m picking Pittsburgh to win based solely on this negligence. And also the fact that I think the Steelers are better.
Carolina at Tampa Bay
The world desperately wants to laugh at ol’ Tom Brady right
now. This poor guy has given 20 years of his life for our entertainment
and at the first sign of struggle we all pile on. Making fun of the pick
six he threw, or how odd he looks in a Bucs uniform, or how weird his
farts probably smell. Yeah I’ve heard it all. And I’m sick of it! He’s
gonna come back this week and rub our noses in it. Yes, come Sunday
afternoon we’re all gonna know exactly how Tom Brady’s farts smell, and I
Washington at Arizona
Whoa, I gotta admit, those did smell pretty weird. Anyhow, did anybody think these teams would both be 1-0 going into this match-up? If you say yes I’ll know you’re a liar, and that all the promises you made me were false. It just wasn’t feasible that Washington and Arizona would be playing each other with both coming off wins. That hasn’t happened since 2011! Ok so, that’s not as long ago as I thought it’d be. Actually that 2011 contest also happened in Week 2 when both teams were 1-0. Does that have any bearing on this Sunday’s game? No. But what an amazing tidbit, huh? The bottom line is, one of these teams will be 2-0 come Sunday, and we’ll have to take them for real. The other will fall to 1-1 and comfortably into their familiar role of pesky lil’ scamps.
Kansas City at Los Angeles Chargers
After he turned into the sex car from Titanic last Thursday I wouldn’t be surprised if Andy Reid switched from a face shield to a mask this week. If and when he does, a reporter at the postgame press conference will ask him why he made the move, to which Reid will reply, “I haven’t the foggiest!” The crowd will go wild, someone will toss Reid a top hat and cane, and he’ll do a little leg kick, tip-o-the-cap saunter. The reporters will hoist him onto their shoulders, their gleeful energy so powerful that he’ll be light as a feather. Oh wait, the press conferences are all remote now. Maybe this scenario isn’t so realistic after all. It also doesn’t seem realistic for the Chargers to be able to contain Patrick Mahomes, but surprisingly his highest yardage total in four career games against LAC is 256. KC is also 3-1 in those games, so passing yards are probably overrated. Regardless of how gaudy Mahomes’ stats are the Chiefs should win and their coach should be able to see it all much better this time.
Baltimore at Houston
Yeesh, the Texans have a tough opening schedule. First the Chiefs, now the Ravens. But hey, it’s like Ric Flair said, “To be the man you gotta beat the man.” Though in the NFL that’s not totally true. You can win a weak division, skate into the playoffs, then hope some other teams pull upsets to eliminate the heavy hitters. But, “To be the man, you gotta catch some breaks and hope for the best” doesn’t have the same ring to it. Baltimore looked to be in mid season form in Week 1, then again they were playing the Browns. Meanwhile, Houston was frustratingly disheveled as per usual, then again they were playing the Chiefs. So while the Ravens’ competition increases here, the Texans’ remains just as tough. So what does that mean? I dunno, Baltimore by 7?
New England at Seattle
The new look Patriots (they let their quarterback run now!) versus the new look Seahawks (they let their quarterback throw now!). Who prevails? Let's see what the man who will be calling them game thinks. Cris?
I don't think we were supposed to know most of that. But you're an open book CriColl, and that's why we love ya.
New Orleans at Las Vegas
This feels like the schedule taunting us. America’s two biggest party cities going head to head in a country with no partying! What’s that? People in these cities are still partying? Oh people all over the country are still partying? That’s not good. I guess some folks would rather die than not party. Or, more to the point, would rather other people die than not party. Well, despite what I’m sure would be thousands of willing attendees the Las Vegas Raiders will not be allowing any spectators into their brand new stadium. A stadium that I’ve heard compared to the Death Star more than a few times. But I’m not sure exactly why. The Death Star was gray. Allegiant Stadium is black. They don’t look like each other! Why do people keep saying this?!? I guess you could say it looks like Darth Vader’s armor, but the thing about Darth Vader’s armor is that it’s not the Death Star. Look, I have to stop writing about this game, it’s making me too upset. Definitely not in a party mood.
There are a lot of similarities between starting quarterbacks Joe Burrow and Baker Mayfield. Both were slighted backups in college who transferred before winning the Heisman and being drafted #1 overall, all the while displaying a certain panache. Their paths continue to parallel as a vengeful God deigned to crush their respective spirits by banishing them to pro football purgatory: Ohio. Of course, the Bengals and Browns haven’t always been lousy. In fact, Cincinnati was a consistent contender throughout the first half of the last decade. But when you consider that the combined amount of playoff wins between the two franchises over the last 25 seasons is zero, you can imagine that they wouldn’t be the most desirable landing spots for a couple of young quarterbacks who are used to success. But hey, a truly great player makes his own destiny! Well, not really, destiny by its definition is predetermined, so that’s not possible. But perhaps Burrow and Mayfield aren’t destined to fail ... Ok, perhaps Burrow isn’t destined to fail. He’s only played once after all, and he was mostly solid. Though I have to assume that starting his 2nd NFL game on three days of prep will work to his detriment. I’ll take the Browns, but not feel great about it.
Strangely enough the Chick-fil-a in Mercedes-Benz stadium will be open on Sundays this season even though there will be no fans to enjoy it. It’s a faulty business model, but that doesn’t bother the Chick-fil-a folks. They just want to stick it to the liberal elite and declare that they’re gonna do things their own way! And speak of the devil, a bunch of coastal scumbags are going down to Georgia this Sunday. If it were up to these Seattle folks, all the players on the field would have to stay 6 feet apart. Pffff. The field’s not even wide enough for that ya geniuses! Regardless of their loose values and assaults against personal freedom, this Seattle group will probably still win, because city folk always have something up their sleeve. That’s right, they wear sleeves. Don’t get me started ...
New York Jets at Buffalo
There’s optimism in Buffalo that the Bills could win their first division title since 1995. Back when the nation had Pac-Man fever and an actor from California made it all the way to the White House! Urkel ruled the airwaves and a group of British mop tops drove America mental. Look, I’ll be honest, I forgot what was really happening back in 1995, and odds are that most Bills fans don’t remember either. What with the majority of them having suffered concussions at a tailgate. But that doesn’t mean their optimism is delusional, it’s not like they’re Jets fans. Look for Buffalo to win and the whole team to do the Macarena afterward. Hey! The Macarena! There’s something from ninety ... six. Damn it!
Chicago at Detroit
If you’re planning on watching two NFC North games on Sunday, this should be on your list. If you’re low on screens though don’t worry too much about missing this. Actually, that begs the question, how many screens at home would you need for this game to find its way onto one? Based on the fact that there are 9 early games, I’d say 8. And no, I won’t tell you which game it beats out ... but it’s Raiders/Panthers.
Green Bay at Minnesota
Kirk Cousins made waves recently when talking about virus concerns by saying “if I die I die.” Wouldn’t it be ironic if what killed him wasn’t COVID but a merciless Russian boxer? I didn’t say it would be funny, just ironic. I mean sure, I’d laugh, and you would too, but it’s not like we want it to happen. And that’s what makes us good people: If pressed we would not want Kirk Cousins to hypothetically be killed by a Russian boxer. Bravo to us! And bravo to you Kirk Cousins, for your bizarrely casual take on death. On the bright side you may one day wind up on the list of “Greatest quarterbacks to never win a Super Bowl and die of COVID.”
Miami at New England
When I saw Bill Belichick in a Subway ad a couple weeks ago I knew the Patriots dynasty was officially over. He’s clearly desperate now. By this time next year he’ll have a show in Branson, Missouri. Apparently not being doused with Gatorade at the end of last season has left him thirsty. It’s possible that he’ll never get that celebratory bath again. And that’s a shame, because I’m willing to bet that it’s the only time he has a bath of any kind. Hey that’s not what I meant; I’m just saying he seems like more of a shower guy. But also that he smells ... probably like a Subway now. It will be interesting to see how the Pats looks without Brady, and considering they lost this same match-up last season with Tawmy, there’s a very real chance that they could drop this opener. But following a unique offseason I have to give the advantage to the team with the better coach. And despite his recent foray into mediocre sandwich hawkery, that’s Bill Belichick.
Philadelphia at Washington
The Eagles are employing Josh McCown as their emergency QB. But not a normal emergency QB, no, McCown will be separate from the team and only be called into action if COVID wipes out the Philly quarterback room. That’s right, Josh McCown is the King Ralph of the NFL. And anyone who’s seen that movie is rooting for exactly that to happen. Actually, what we’re really rooting for is John Goodman to become the Eagles quarterback. But I suppose a 41 year old high school coach is the next best thing. Now that I think about it, the dad from Just The Ten Of Us is probably the poor man’s Goodman, not McCown, but that’s beside the point. Hey, speaking of points, here’s how many I think both teams will score:
Las Vegas at Carolina
The Raiders are now in their third location in 25ish years. It makes you wonder where they’ll go next. Where does someone go after Vegas? Wait a minute, the Branson Raiders with head coach Bill Belichick?!? Mark my words. Mark them! Oh, sorry didn’t see you marking there. My bad. As for this particular game, do you have Christian McCaffrey on your fantasy team? No? Me neither, so let’s move on!
Indianapolis at Jacksonville
It’s pretty shocking that the Jags aren’t one of the teams that has decided to allow fans. Though it’s possible that the team has told fans that they can come to the stadium, and that the people of Jacksonville simply said “No thanks.” Not because they’re concerned about safety (c’mon), just that they’d rather not watch what’s going to happen in person. They’re exercising their own sort of opt out clause.As has the Jaguars’ front office. It’s clear that they’re thinking more about the future, and with good reason. Who wouldn’t want to amass high draft picks after a bastardized college football season? On the other hand, the Colts are gearing up for a playoff run this season, or at least they better be, because their new quarterback is a 38 year old father of 8. Come to think of it, is the Rivers family disobeying social distancing ordinances just by all living together? 10 people in one house can’t be legal (but it can be hilarious). He’ll be out of the house this weekend, and should get a win.
Cleveland at Baltimore
Baltimore’s last regular season loss was at home against the Browns. You can bet that the Ravens haven’t forgotten. Or you can bet that they have forgotten. I’ll give you +110 on “have.” C’mon, want some of the action? Fantastic! Wow, $500! That’s a sizable wager, but I think I can handle it. Now I’ll just stash this away for safe ... what the hell is this? Counterfeit money?!? You son of a ... It’s orange! I could tell right away. Ok, fine it took me a second. I thought maybe it was some sort of new alteration the government made. Wait why am I explaining myself to you? You’re the one who tried to cheat me! Get the hell out of here, I never want to see your face again! Actually, can you come back and read the rest of these picks, and then the 16 weeks after that? Oh, and don’t forget the playoffs too. Thaaaanks!
Los Angeles Chargers at Cincinnati
The last time these teams played in Cincinnati was the 1981 AFC Championship game, also known as the Freezer Bowl. That’s an amazing bit of scheduling happenstance, combined with my total fabrication of a stat. But hey, if I can’t remember it happening, does it really count? Turns out the answer is yes. I learned that the hard way when I was convicted of a number of sleepwalking crimes. The Chargers can’t afford to sleepwalk through this one. Sure they’ll probably win, but trust me they should not sleepwalk. Terrible things can happen. Terrible, life-altering things. Like losing to the Bengals.
Tampa Bay at New Orleans
With the additions of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, the Bucs are now the most must see TV Florida has had to offer since The Golden Girls or the final season of Dexter. And yes, I know both of those took place in Miami, but c’mon name one TV show that was set in Tampa. You can’t, because there aren’t any. Nothing interesting happens in Tampa ... outside of Busch Gardens of course. That’s what makes this situation all the more intriguing. Maybe not as thrilling as a ride on Tigris, Florida’s tallest launch coaster, but it should still be fun.
Arizona at San Francisco
Can the Cardinals do what the Niners did last year and enjoy a meteoric rise from division doormat to Super Bowl loser? If you believe the preseason buzz then the answer is, “Well not so fast, but they might make the playoffs.” Whoa mama, this hype train is outta control! Stop it, I want to get off. Let me out at like the 8-8 mark. With that in mind, they should put up a fight here before ultimately derailing down the stretch.
Dallas at Los Angeles Rams
An intriguing match-up to open the Sunday Night schedule made all the more intriguing by the man in the booth calling the game. He's back with us for another season, so let's get right to him. Ladies and gents, CriColl:
Cris, have you been tested recently? Your voice sounded a bit off there. Anyway, who am I to disagree with CC? I'll go with Los Angeles.
Pittsburgh at New York Giants
I have a strategy for the Giants that I think just might work; hear me out. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will show up to the stadium and, being the oblivious oaf I like to believe he is, ask if he can see his old draftmate Eli. To which the Giants should respond, “Eli Manning hasn’t been the quarterback here for 50 years.” This would no doubt send Ben into an existential spiral, causing him to question his own mortality. And as we all know, existential spirals are detrimental to throwing football spirals, so Roethlisberger would be in real trouble. Now, will the Giants actually do this? No. Just another sign that they’re an organization in disarray, and a prime example of why they’ll lose this game.
Tennessee at Denver
I have a feeling that the Broncos may pull the mild upset. They’re playing at home so ... actually who knows if that will even matter. This season will be a true test of fans’ impact on the game. Will home winning percentages drop without crowd support? Or is the home field advantage more about travel and having to get ready in a slightly less luxurious locker room? I pray that it’s the former, otherwise it will mean that we don’t matter at all. That I’ll have to stop saying “we” like I’m actually part of the team. The Titans have to win to avoid shattering our fragile illusion. And if they don’t, then God help us all. Seriously God ... help us all. What are you waiting for?!?
There was a moment this past winter when I knew that life would never be the same again. Our world was about to change. By now you know what I’m talking about: the 15 minutes or so on January 12th when it looked like we were going to have an all AFC South title game between the Texans and Titans. I’m not certain, but I have to assume that the league would have reworked the schedule to make it the first ever Thursday night conference championship game. Of course, the Chiefs promptly erased Houston’s 24-0 lead by halftime of their divisional round playoff game, and went on to win it all. But for a brief, glorious moment it seemed like 2020 could be a truly magical year. As it is, we’re currently late in the third quarter of one of the worst years on the books. Will 2020 rally for the same kind of come from behind win that propelled Kansas City to its first championship win in 50 years? Maybe if we change quarterbacks. But hey, enough wallowing. Football is back, and not a moment too soon! Or, well, maybe it’s way too soon ... But what am I gonna do, not watch? Get real ya dingbat. I expect the Chiefs to win, and the 16,000 fans in attendance to go wild! Mainly due to the anxiety caused from being around that many other people.
Holy smokes gang, is it football season already?!? I swear
it feels like the Super Bowl was just yesterday. Isn’t it funny how that
happens sometimes? You blink and then … society as you know it crumbles. It’s
just one of those things. Random! Heh heh … Look, I won’t lie to you folks, my
brain has deteriorated substantially over the past six months. The isolation
and lack of social engagement has left me a withered husk of my formal self. Sure
I’ve tried to keep myself occupied like everybody else has: baking bread,
bingeing TV shows, starting to type lists then staring blankly at the wall for
minutes trying to remember what you were going to write. See what I mean? I
know you all come here for (debatably) the most intelligent football writing on
the internet but I’m not sure I can live up to expectations this time. While
we’re on the subject of expectations, why don’t we go ahead and delve into my
predictions for the 2020 NFL season. (Yes! Dynamite segue. Perhaps I’ve
underestimated my mental acuity after all. Alright, now where was I … Uhh … Oh
boy, I have no idea what I was just about to say … Was I talking about Mr.
Destiny? For some reason I have this feeling that I was telling you all about
the 1990 Jim Belushi comedy Mr. Destiny … [2 and a half hours later] … Oh
right! The 2020 NFL preview. In hindsight I should have just read back over
what I already typed. That would’ve been a lot quicker.)
I’ve done preseason playoff predictions for the last 8
years. I’d like to lie to you all and say that I have a 100% accuracy rate. And
actually, are you guys going to go back and check the archives? Because if not,
then I do have a 100% accuracy rate. Incredible, right? But if you did
take the time to verify the veracity of my claim then you’re already aware that
I’ve correctly predicted only 59% of playoff teams since 2012. That averages
out to about 7 of the 12 teams. It’s actually kind of impressive when you
consider that someone picking at random would only get 38% right. However, when
you take into account that I’m making “educated” guesses, it’s a bit mediocre. And
that’s why I’m making a vow right now to do better this season. I hereby
guarantee that I’ll hit on more than 7 of the playoff teams this time. Am I
this confident because the league expanded the playoff field to 14 teams meaning
I don’t even have to improve my percentage to reach my goal? Yes. Any other
questions hot shot? No? Good, then let’s take a look at the 2020 NFL standings,
and the 14 teams that will qualify for the postseason.
New England Patriots
New York Jets
Kansas City Chiefs
Los Angeles Chargers
Las Vegas Raiders
New York Giants
Washington Football Team
Green Bay Packers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
New Orleans Saints
San Francisco 49ers
Los Angeles Rams
As you can see some teams will struggle on the field, some
will struggle off of it, and some poor bastards will do both.
Moving on to the playoffs …
AFC Wild Card Round
#2 Ravens over #7 Texans
#3 Bills over #6 Patriots
#5 Steelers over #4 Colts
NFC Wild Card Round
#7 Rams over #2 Vikings
#3 Cowboys over #6 Saints
#5 49ers over #4 Buccaneers
AFC Divisional Round
#1 Chiefs over #5 Steelers
#2 Ravens over #3 Bills
NFC Divisional Round
#1 Seahawks over #7 Rams
#5 49ers over #3 Cowboys
AFC Championship Game
#2 Ravens over #1 Chiefs
NFC Championship Game
#1 Seahawks over #5 49ers
Super Bowl LV
Seahawks over Ravens
Wow, what a ride! And just like the last 6 months it all
went by in a flash. Also, I know this is the Raiders’ first season in Nevada, and
typically the NFL doesn’t take their championship game to a brand new stadium,
but wouldn’t it make sense for Super Bowl LV to be held in Las Vegas? Why not?
Oh right, I forgot why the Raiders were only going to be able to play 4 games
this season. Never mind.
Anyway, be sure to come back every Thursday and Friday for
weekly picks. Unless you have something better to do. But keep in mind, I know
that you don’t.