Don’t look now, but these Panthers might not be half bad! Actually do look now, because they’ve been pretty entertaining lately. Ok, you can stop looking again, your stare is clearly starting to make them uncomfortable. Now I’m uncomfortable too, will ya cut it out?!? As for the Falcons, they’re coming off what could be considered their least embarrassing loss of the season, which is ironic because it was also their largest margin of defeat. So that should give you an idea of how Atlanta’s season has gone. Or you haven’t being paying attention and you’re very confused. Maybe you’ve never watched football period ... Is that why you were leering so hard at the Panthers? You were just miffed by the whole situation? Wow, I feel bad now, sorry for the misunderstanding. Hey wait a minute, you’re wearing a Jeremy Shockey jersey! Get out of here ya creep!
Las Vegas at Kansas City
Well he did it again! Bill Belichick cracked the code on a heretofore seemingly unstoppable player. Yes, the Patriots’ defense stymied Patrick Mahomes on Monday night en route to a 26-10 loss. Back to the drawing board Patty! As a result of that debacle against New England, the Chiefs have fallen to 4-0 on the season and must look to regroup against a hungry Vegas squad. Hey, if they’re so hungry why don’t they stop in to one of those buffets that their city is so famous for?!? Oh right, buffets are probably closed now. Well hopefully for the Raiders buffets aren’t open in Kansas City either, because if anyone’s libel to feast in this game it’s Patrick Mahomes. Or at least that’s what I would have said before Belichick broke him. It’s anybody’s game now
Arizona at New York Jets
After a promising beginning to the season the Cardinals are struggling. Appropriately the squad from Arizona is currently marooned in the desert, slowly dehydrating and desperately seeking relief. Enter the New York Jets, the NFL’s equivalent of an IV bag. They’ve arrived just in time to nurse Arizona back to health. If the Jets can lose to a team with Brett Rypien as the starting quarterback nothing is off the table. Could they go 0-16? I doubt it, but I can’t rule it out. In a way that makes the Jets the most entertaining team in the league, because anything is possible. But in a lot of other, more relevant, ways they’re the least entertaining team in the league. That is, until they announced they’re starting Joe “FlaccMan” Flacco this Sunday. Things are about to get spicy! Oh sorry, I meant to type “sloppy.” Things are about to get sloppy!
Philadelphia at Pittsburgh
Three years ago Carson Wentz was going to be the MVP of the league before blowing out his knee in Week 14. Now he goes through large stretches of games where he can’t seem to throw an accurate pass. So what gives? The most logical explanation is probably that his multiple injuries have affected his mechanics or even his confidence. A more outlandish theory would be that a sorcerer granted him the powers to throw only so many perfect passes, and he’s quickly running out of them. As always, the truth is probably somewhere in between. But neither possibility can be ruled out. Thanks to the Titans’ COVID outbreak the Steelers got to take last week off of work. Lucky! Now they get to play the Eagles. Lucky! Philly did get their first win of the season last Sunday, but their performance was hardly spellbinding. For them to have a chance in this one they’ll need that aforementioned sorcerer to be spell-casting.
Los Angeles Rams at Washington
The Rams offense had been cruising early on this season until they ran into the formidable New York Giants defense in Week 4. The same group that had just surrendered 36 points to Nick Mullens and the Niners in their previous game. Hmm, maybe there’s reason to be concerned about the LA offense. I mean, don’t let it keep you up at night, but it’s worth monitoring. This week they’ll take on Washington who gives up an average of 28 points per game, a truly pathetic total that places them 22nd in the league. Wow, not even that low. This season truly is a “Scoring Fiesta” as all the news outlets are calling it. In an effort to keep up, the Washington offense has benched their 2nd year quarterback Dwayne Haskins after his 11th start. Based on Haskins’ performance the move is justified, but it’s a pretty short leash for a 1st round pick. Especially on a team that’s still developing, and at 1-3 don’t have a very realistic shot of rallying to make a playoff run. Whoops! I forgot they were in the NFC East. They’re only a half game out of first. Start unloading those future draft picks and bring in some talent that can help you win now! And by “win now” I mean get to 7-9, because that should be good enough.
Cincinnati at Baltimore
Over the past three games the Bengals have gone from loss to tie to win. Based on this natural progression, they’re due for ... a double win! Unfortunately those don’t exist, but an upset victory over a divisional opponent may be the closest approximation. Now, is that possible? It’s 2020 baby, anything is possible! Now that I think about it though that may only apply to terrible things. Uh oh, what does this mean for the steadily improving Cincinnati squad? A double loss? God help them.
Jacksonville at Houston
After trying to make fools of us all with their Week 1 win, the Jaguars are now 1-3 and have comfortably settled into their assumed preseason position as maybe the worst team in the league. And it couldn’t be a more welcome regression for the Texans, who are desperately seeking their first win of the season. In fact, they’re so eager that they fired their head coach in an effort to motivate the team to finally get off the schneid. Of course, he was also a toxic personality who gave away their best player and scads of draft picks in ill-advised trades. So perhaps the move wasn't as short-sighted as I initially thought. But will it pay immediate dividends anyway? I don’t see how it couldn’t. After all, Houston’s new interim coach is ... checking ... Romeo Crennel. Uhh huhhhh huhhh. Ok, maybe they won’t see a complete turnaround, but even still they should have enough to get this first win.
Miami at San Francisco
With his atrocious, game-ruining pick six last Sunday Nick Mullens reminded us all that he is not a starting quarterback in the NFL. Unfortunately for the 49ers he was their starting quarterback for the last couple games. It didn’t come back to bite them until the second half of his second game, but bite them it did. It’s like that old rhyme about backup QBs says: halves one through three let them roam free; but in half number four they’ll throw picks galore. It just goes to show, rhymes are always true. Luckily for San Fran they have a chance to get regular starter Jimmy Garoppolo back on the field this week. He’ll definitely give them a better chance to win, and he likely won’t have to do too much to get by the Dolphins. Though, that’s always kind of been the gameplan with Garoppolo. I mean, you know the popular rhyme about him, right? If you need a game manager he’ll be quite the fit, but ask him to win the game and you’re in deep shit.
Indianapolis at Cleveland
For over a year Cleveland fans have lived in the same space that I did for a few days after taking a couple Imodium tablets, they’ve been waiting for the Browns to show up. More specifically, the potent Browns’ offense that we saw last Sunday. Or maybe “potent” isn’t the right way to describe it. Explosive! Yes, the explosive Browns. Whatever you want to call them, this Cleveland team may finally be living up to the hype that surrounded them before last season. On Sunday they’ll meet their 3-1 counterparts who have been playing like the football equivalent of those aforementioned Imodium tablets. The Colts defense has been stopping up their opponents over the last few weeks, giving up a mere 10 points per game since their opening day debacle in Jacksonville. So what happens when explosive Browns meet an immovable object? Usually a trip to the proctologist. This football game should be just as entertaining.
New York Giants at Dallas
A lot of people are having fun at the expense of the NFC East. Calling it the NFC Least. Saying it’s the worst division in football. Cracking on their combined 3-12-1 record. Joking that they’ll make history by having a division champ who also gets the first pick in the draft. You know, hacky stuff, like their defenses are obeying social distancing guidelines while on the field. Or that they’re all such basement dwellers that they’re like the league’s shunned family member who’s fed fish heads and has no exposure to natural light. Your typical barbs. But cut them all some slack, football is hard. Especially when you suck at it. These two #squads have been lousy in different ways. With the Cowboys it’s been mostly ridiculous shootouts in which their offense can’t overcome their D. As for the Giants, the offense has basically been the barf emoji. They’ve scored 47 points on the season. That’s especially bad when you consider that the average point total for any team in any game is 26. It’s hard to imagine New York getting there, which means they won’t have enough to hang with Dallas.
Minnesota at Seattle
The Vikings may finally be starting to put things together; or they got their first win of the season last week because they played an even more dysfunctional team, the Texans. Either way they'll have to keep the momentum going to go head to head with the 4-0 Seahawks. But hey, enough of my yackin', let's hear what this game's color commentator Cris Collinsworth has to say about it:
You've given us all a lot to think about CriColl.
Denver at New England
the rivalry that defined the AFC from 2012-2015. Broncos vs. Patriots,
Manning vs. Brady. And now? Rypien vs. Hoyer. Uhhh huhhhh. It’s only
been 5 years, but it might as well have been 500. Not really, I doubt
either of these current QBs will hold onto the job for another 495
years. That’s not necessarily a knock on them, I just don’t expect
football to exist at that point. If it does then who knows, maybe Rypien
or Hoyer is still giving it a go in 2515. After all, Rypien wasn’t half
bad in his debut against the Jets last Thursday. Then again, it was the
Jets. The Broncos will have a tougher opponent this week. And while
Brian Hoyer was far from spectacular on Monday against the Chiefs,
including two critical red zone blunders, the team around him looks
superior. So whether it’s Hoyer or Jarrett Stidham who ends up taking
the majority of the snaps, I expect New England to come out on top. I
mean the head coaches in this game are Vic Fangio and Bill Belichick.
Safe to say only one of them has a chance to be recognized on the NFL’s
600th Anniversary Team.
Los Angeles Chargers at New Orleans
Enough time has passed since he was in San Diego that you probably won’t hear much about Drew Brees facing his former team in this game And that makes sense, because at this point there are basically none of Brees’s former teammates still on the Chargers. I say basically for a reason, because Los Angeles long snapper Cretch Fitley has been on the team for 31 seasons. At a spry 53 years young he’s the second oldest player in the league behind Vinny Testaverde. He’s also the author of the renowned auto-biography “Hey, Why’s That Kicker Upside Down?: My Life as a Man Who Bends Over and Flings a Ball Really Hard.” The critical consensus was that if you can make it past the title it’s not half bad. None of that has much to do with the outcome of this game other than to illustrate the point that Drew Brees is getting up there in age, and it’s starting to show. He’ll probably have enough chutzpah to get the win here. Even if he doesn’t, the Chargers will find a way to lose, as is their wont. One thing’s for sure though, LA’s latest calamity won’t be due to a long-snapping error. Not when they have the most experienced ball-flinger on earth.
Tuesday (?!?) Night
Buffalo at Tennessee
might sound strange, but of all the people who could be upset with the
Titans’ COVID outbreak, I think Bills fans have a right to be most
peeved. Think about it, Buffalo is finally on a clear path to a division
title for the first time in 25 years and the Titans are trying to blow
up their spot. Yes, Tennessee may eventually blow up everybody’s
spot, but it’s the people of Buffalo that would feel it the most. In
fact, the Bills might want to sit this one out just to be safe. Forfeit
the battle to win the war. Though that’s not likely considering how
hellbent the NFL seems on sticking as closely to the original schedule
as possible. I suppose if all involved parties test negative ahead of
the game then it’s as safe a scenario as any other game that’s been
played so far. So I say fear not Buffalo, nothing could go wrong! It’s
2020, this is YOUR year! Just goofing, 2020 is no one’s year.
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