I don’t care if they’re 3-0, I still refuse to believe that the Bears are good. And has anybody else noticed that they win every game by 4 points? What does it mean exactly? I’m not sure, but I know it’s fishy, and I don’t like it one bit. Oh wait they named Nick Foles the starter? Hell yeah! I’m on board baby! Let ‘er rip Nick. Though you might want to be careful this Sunday, because the Colts have been one of the best defenses in the league through the first 3 weeks. Now is that because they’re truly an elite unit, or is it more a result of their opponents? Thus far they’ve gone up against the Jags, Vikings, and Jets. Not exactly the 2007 Patriots. Not exactly the 1907 Patriots either ... because their franchise didn’t exist at that point, and neither did the NFL. So you can imagine why that aforementioned group is not comparable to the 1907 Patriots. But are Indy’s opponents perhaps so lousy in part because they’ve played the Colts? It’s a real chicken/egg scenario, and I for one don’t know the answer. But if they make Nick Foles lay an egg on Sunday we’ll know exactly what’s up.
Jacksonville @ Cincinnati
Last week Joe Burrow got the first tie of his career before his first win. He’s the first quarterback to accomplish that “feat” since Ty Evens, of the 1927 Cleveland Bulldogs. It was a record Evens was born to achieve. And he didn’t stop there, Ty played to a draw in 90% of his starts. The only instances in which he didn’t were a result of him being too slow to catch up to his own teammates and tackle them before they could score the winning touchdown. Wait a minute, now that I think about it, Kyler Murray tied in his very first game last year. So that doesn’t add up. And actually, I just looked up Ty Evens on Pro Football Reference and didn’t find anything. I’m starting to think this was a completely made up character! That’s the last time I get my NFL trivia from a Scooby Doo episode. Anyway, let’s get to this game. Gardner Minshew wanted us all to believe he was a consistent quarterback, and he would’ve gotten away with it too if it wasn’t for that pesky Thursday Night performance in Week 3. I think it’s time for Joe Burrow to complete his storied journey from loss to tie to win. But don’t be surprised if Minshew pulls out some hijinkies.
Cleveland @ Dallas
The Cowboys have to feel pretty good about where they sit at 1-2 in the NFC East. Don’t concentrate so much on the record, but more the second part of that sentence. Just look at the rest of their division right now, the other three teams are a combined 1-7-1, and the only win came because two of the teams were playing each other so someone had to win. Whoops, sorry Eagles, I forgot games don’t necessarily have to be won by anybody. So while it might not be an ideal start to the season for Dallas I still consider them a safe bet to make the playoffs. This game against the Browns however, would not be a safe bet of any kind, because it’s hard to predict what exactly will go down when these teams meet. Over the past couple seasons they’ve both seemed hellbent on playing wacky games that they eventually lose. So what will happen when neither team can get out of its own way? The fourth quarter is going to look like an electric football game. Random collisions, players running with no apparent sense of direction, guys just spinning. It should actually be pretty fun to watch.
New Orleans @ Detroit
The Saints have stumbled to a disappointing 1-2 start, and I can’t say for certain, but I think I might know what their primary issue is. New Orleans keeps playing indoors. Their schedule has forced them into defiance of the prevailing advice from leading health experts who have repeatedly told us that gatherings of any kind should be done outside. The Saints are playing scared and I don’t blame them. They’re probably hearing COVID’s footsteps on every play. It gets worse, they don’t have an outdoor game until Week 8, and that’s if they make it that far. With the minefield that they have to traverse I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t. This game got a lot more interesting after the Lions won in Arizona last week. Could they hang with New Orleans and make this a close game? Absolutely they could hang with New Orleans and make this a close game. Could they beat New Orleans? Absolutely they could hang with New Orleans and make this a close game. I just think the Saints will be desperate and figure out how to keep themselves alive ... in the NFC.
Seattle @ Miami
The Seahawks are taking this “Let Russ Cook” movement a bit too far now. Don’t get me wrong, I fully endorse the increased pass attempts, it’s clearly working. What I’m worried about is how literally they’re treating the cooking concept, because Seattle is operating like an actual restaurant. Their margins are so thin that they need that high production to keep operating at their current level. Ya know, just like I’ve heard restaurants run. But the numbers are quite astounding. Wilson has thrown for a record 14 TD passes over the first 3 games while the Hawks’ defense has given up the most passing yards ever to this point in the season. That’s a high churn rate. Yet, at 3-0, they’re making it work so far. Maybe the secret is that in terms of opposing QB rating the Seattle D ranks 18th. Not great, but not historically bad either. That’s also a good descriptor for Ryan Fitzpatrick, who will be going up against said defense this Sunday. In an unsurprising prediction I’m going to guess that he throws for 350 or so yards in a loss. It’s really all the Seahawks’ kitchen knows how to make at this point.
Los Angeles Chargers @ Tampa Bay
Last Sunday the Chargers found yet another new way to lose. We’re accustomed to seeing them collapse, or miss an easy game-winning field goal, but botching a hook and ladder that would have won it with no time left on the clock? I can’t say I’ve seen it go down exactly like that before. It’s a “nearly miraculous win loss.” Sure it would’ve been an amazing and unlikely outcome, but it was right there. A good pitch from Keenan Allen to Austin Ekeler would have won them the game. It’s hard for a team in the Chargers’ position to find a way to make that loss heartbreaking, but they managed to do it, and none of us should be surprised. I also won’t be surprised if they don’t have such an opportunity this week seeing as how tough Tampa has been on opposing quarterbacks so far this season. Sure, it’s a very small sample size, and two of those men were Teddy Bridgewater and Jeff Driskel, but it’s not as if Justin Herbert has been out of this world so far. He’s been fine, but I’m not sure that will cut it this Sunday. I have to give the guy credit though, he can hit a guy on a hook pattern. Now the Chargers just need to find a receiver that can pitch.
Baltimore @ Washington
Oh baby, the Battle for the Beltway! Well not really, the Beltway is just in Washington. Come to think of it, I don’t really know what the Beltway is. I assume it’s a road, and not an actual belt, right? Like why would a city need its pants held up? Cities don’t wear pants. Then again, I’ve never been to Washington D.C. ... Is there a huge pair of pants that encapsulates our nation’s capital? Oh my god ... Ok, I looked it up, just as I suspected, it’s a highway. Never for a second did I think it was an actual belt. Nope, never, and you can’t prove otherwise. But hey, get this: Baltimore also has a beltway! So this really is the Battle of the Beltways. Maybe I should just go back and delete everything I’ve written after that first sentence. Yeah, probably. But then I’d have to come up with something to say other than that the Ravens should easily beat the Football Team. Hmm ... let’s stick with the belt stuff.
Arizona @ Carolina
When Kardinals koach Kliff Kingsbury and Panthers coach Matt Rhule were working in the Big 12 Kingsbury was fired after his Texas Tech team lost to Rhule’s Baylor squad in 2018. This week Kingsbury told reporters that Rhule called him after that game to apologize, feeling bad that the loss had cost Kliff his job. Now it’s Kingsbury’s chance at vengeance. That’s right, he’s going to beat Matt Rhule and get him fired! It’s a tall order considering Rhule is going to be four games into a 7 year $62 million contract. But who knows, maybe Arizona gets ahead by so much that Rhule starts punching his own players and spitting in refs’ faces. I’m not saying it’s likely, but just don’t be surprised come the fourth quarter if you see Kingsbury on the sideline coldly staring across the field as his counterpart loses his mind.
Minnesota @ Houston
With both of these preseason playoff picks coming into this game at 0-3 it might as well be called the Disappointment Bowl. Up until now I’d only used that phrase regarding that one time as a kid when I got Breyer’s rainbow ice cream from the store. In retrospect, I’m not sure what I thought it would taste like, but I know it wasn’t that. Likewise, I didn’t know if these teams would be great going into the season, but I didn’t think they’d look like this. The Texans’ situation may be mostly a symptom of their schedule, but they’ve only even been competitive in one game so far, so even with the built in excuse their start hasn’t been encouraging. Then there’s the Vikings, who have looked even worse. I know that before the season Kirk Cousins said “if I die, I die ...” but I thought he was taking about the risks of playing football during a pandemic, not how he’d be performing on a weekly basis. To be fair, his numbers did improve some last week, but Minnesota still lost, and Cousins still ranks in the bottom five in the league in terms of starting quarterback ratings. I predict this will be a close game in which we learn very little; truly fitting for the Disappointment Bowl. In keeping with the theme, the Vikings are allowing players’ parents to attend this game, but only if they promise to slowly shake their heads the whole time.
New York Giants @ Los Angeles Rams
The Giants may be the worst team in the league. And don’t forget, this is a league that includes the Jets! But just look at last week, New York (again, the Giants, not the Jets) got steamrolled by the depleted Niners to fall to 0-3 with a thud. They’ve scored 38 points on the season, a total that probably wouldn’t be enough to win this one game. Aside from a flat first half last week the Rams have looked solid in 2020. In fact, they overcame a monumental 28-3 deficit to take a 4th quarter lead against the Bills before losing on a late TD. The drive that resulted in that TD was extended by a dubious pass interference call against LA. Many a Ram cried foul about said call, and the rest of us all had a good laugh. After the 2019 NFC Championship game no Ram player, coach, or fan is allowed to lament a pass interference call for at least another 20 years. It’s like OJ complaining that his prison sentence for stealing his memorabilia back was too harsh. I mean, you might be right on this occasion, but come on, you know you deserve it. Something tells me LA won’t have much to carp about after this one.
New England @ Kansas City
In a scheduling windfall the Patriots get to face a team coming off of Monday Night Football for the second week in a row. What could be easier? Enjoy it while it lasts guys, because next week you have to go up against an extra rested squad coming off of Thursday Night Football ... the Broncos! That’s right, no more lethargic slugs like these Chiefs, nah, you have to tangle with some buckin’ Broncs. Ya know what though, after watching Kansas City play the last couple seasons I’m not so sure a shortened week will result in an automatic loss. They seem to know what they’re doing for the most part. I suppose that could be said for New England as well. The Pats, in part due to their schedule benefits, sit at 2-1 and have the look of a serious playoff contender. The Chiefs, however, have established themselves as the new kings of the AFC Mountain. And as we all know from playing that game as children, you simply don’t just shove them off and become the new king. Wait, that is how that game is played, huh? Ok, so I guess if/when the Chiefs lose whoever beats them is the new King of the AFC Mountain. And then whoever beats that team is the new King, and so on and so on. This will be fun to track for the remainder of the season. And you won’t see it anywhere else besides this blog, because it’s very stupid!
Buffalo @ Las Vegas
Bills quarterback Josh Allen was credited with a 4th quarter comeback victory last week after leading a touchdown drive in the final minutes to beat the Rams. And hey, he got it done when he needed to. He displayed true grit overcoming that deficit and proved that he’ll never give up. No game is out of reach. With that being said, that winning TD came only after Buffalo had blown a 28-3 second half lead to go down by 4. It’s kind of like a closer letting the other team score a few runs just so he can get the save. He’s a rascal, and ya gotta love it, unless you’re a Bills fan, who no doubt suffered countless wing evacuations during the fourth quarter. And I’m not talking about airplane emergency exits. Meanwhile, the Raiders created a bit of an off-the-field kerfuffle this week when a handful of players were photographed without their masks on at a charity event. I understand the protocols that the league has put in place, but cut them some slack, what’s the worst that could happen? A COVID chain reaction that sweeps through the league forcing the cancellation of the season and a barren sports landscape for the foreseeable future? Hmm. PUT THE MASKS ON! Please god, don’t do this to us!
Philadelphia @ San Francisco
Two of the past three NFC champions go head to head in what might not be the marquee match-up we would have expected. But game is a headliner if Cris Collinsworth is in the booth. Let's check in with him now and see what he thinks. 49ers 26-19
Atlanta @ Green Bay
It’s obvious now that the Falcons are doing this on purpose. They must be preparing for when they’ll allow a limited number of fans back into Mercedes-Benz Stadium. This is their process of weeding out who really cares about them. By the time they get there (November, December) they won’t have to worry about turning fans away, because only about 10,000 people will want to come to the games anyway. If they’re lucky. It’s a stupid plan, but hey, this way they won’t have to hurt anybody’s feelings. They’ll alienate their fanbase in the process, yes, but it will be less awkward down the road. This game could end up being Atlanta’s most atrocious loss of all. Honestly, how much would this Falcons team have to be up on Aaron Rodgers in the 4th quarter for you to think they were going to win? 21? 28? Infinity? Is it infinity points? Of course, a historic comeback victory for Rodgers and the Packers is contingent upon Atlanta getting up by that much. I doubt that will happen, but at this point we really shouldn’t put anything past the Falcons.
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