LAST WEEK: 8-6
Houston at Tennessee
Cincinnati at Indianapolis
Atlanta at Minnesota
Denver at New England
Washington at New York Giants
Baltimore at Philadelphia
Press Your Luck: No Chiefs, no Chiefs, no Chiefs ... STOP! Chiefs. SHIT! Agh, tough break Baltimore, better luck next year. With Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott out for the remainder of the season I’m left wonder, are the Eagles the favorite to win the NFC East now? And if so, just how many wins will it take? I think the answer to the first question is surprisingly yes, and the answer to the second is, maybe 6? Side note: those are also the answers to the questions are you still willing to watch an NFC East game? And, how many beers would you need to make it through the whole thing?
Cleveland at Pittsburgh
Call this a corporate retreat game, because before it’s over we’re gonna learn a lot about these teams; and maybe, just maybe, they’ll learn something about themselves as well. Also, someone will probably do something stupid that their co-workers laugh about for the next few months. Looking at you Baker Mayfield. The Browns' recent success has folks wondering if we’re finally seeing them achieve their full potential. So it’s fitting that right as they’re hitting that crescendo they’d run into the Steelers, a team that Cleveland has only beaten 7 times since 1994. For full context, they’ve played each other 49 times in that span. Pittsburgh is their measuring stick, and they’ve been coming up short for decades now. But maybe, juuuust maybe, it’s time for a growth spurt. What do I base that on? Clearly not history. Sometimes you just have faith. Like when you do a trust fall at a corporate retreat. My eyes are closed and I’m falling backwards, are you there Browns? Browns ... Browns?!? Oh god no!
Chicago at Carolina
I keep not believing in either of these teams. I’ve been doubting them at every turn, and I’m ready to say that I was wrong ... about one of them. These Panthers are pretty solid! Bears, keep digging through that trash, because that’s where you belong. In fact, I’m gonna tie mine up in a tree so you can’t get at it. Suckers. I don’t know how exactly Chicago is 4-1, I just know that I’m not buying it. Will I be saying this same thing when they’re 10-1? No. Because that timeline doesn’t exist. They’ll probably be 5-6 at that point. Mark my words! No? Fine, read my words! Also no? Well then wait, who am I talking to right now? Hmm, this is sad now. The Panthers, on the other hand, have been anything but. I think they get their fourth win a row and take the Chic-ugh-o Bears down a peg.
Detroit at Jacksonville
I know they were only on bye for a week, but it feels like we haven’t seen the Lions play in a month. And maybe they haven’t. Would anybody notice if the Lions didn’t have another game this season? Probably some of the players. Their families would also sense that they were at home more than usual. But outside of that, I’m not so sure. Actually, the lack of Lions would probably be most noticeable in the resulting league-wide dip in comebacks. Statisticians would see the decline and, after exhaustive research, discover that it was due to Detroit being absent from the schedule. In case you weren’t aware, the Lions have now lost five straight games in which they’ve held a double digit lead. That’s an NFL record. Is it possible that we see a sixth on Sunday? Absolutely. They’re playing against Minshew and the Jags, anything could happen. If there are less than 8 combined interceptions in this game I’ll be disappointed. That being said, I believe Detroit will hold on for the win this time, and very few people will care.
New York Jets at Miami
Were Dolphins fans happy with their blowout win over the Niners? I’m sure it was an enjoyable afternoon for a group that hasn’t had a ton over the last few years. But the problem was, Ryan Fitzpatrick was too good. His performance is just making us wait longer for the Tua debut. Delaying the in-Tavagailoa-table. Yeah, I know it didn’t work, but sometimes you just gotta take a shot. It’s that same philosophy that Ryan Fitzpatrick has based his game around. And that’s why Miami fans shouldn't be too worried. If I know Fitzpatrick like I think I do he’ll string together a couple stinkers soon enough. Speaking of young QBs, will the Jets move on from theirs if they get the #1 pick? It’s something they have to start seriously thinking about since they’re hurtling with increasing momentum towards that top spot. One thing’s for sure, if New York does decide to ditch Darnold they should avoid signing Fitzpatrick as a bridge QB; that is unless they want to wait a while to see that rookie on the field.
Green Bay at Tampa Bay
The Buccaneers turned the ball over on downs to seal their fate at the end of their Week 5 Thursday night loss in Chicago. Shortly after the play was over Tampa quarterback Tom Brady held up four fingers while staring at the refs. It quickly became apparent that Brady had not known what down it is. Or at least that’s what Tom would have you believe. I think he knew, but when he got aggressive and threw an ill-advised downfield pass that didn’t convert the 4th & 6 he pretended that he thought he had another down, in an effort to make himself look better. And Brady has such hubris that he probably thought he could convince the refs that he was right, or even that he should just get another down. Part of me admired the attempt. Shoot your shot Tommy. But most of me finds it hilarious. Nice try pal, ya lost to the Bears, this is the life you’ve chosen now. To make matters worse, the Bucs are now facing the undefeated Packers, whose offense has been so potent that they haven’t had to worry about keeping track of whether or not it’s 3rd or 4th down. Usually they don’t get that far.
Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco
After a calamitous return for Jimmy Garoppolo the 49ers try to right the ship against a Rams team that's regaining their Super Bowl form. If you ask me it's not a recipe for San Fran success, but what do I know? Let's see what Sunday Night Football analyst Cris Collinsworth has to say about it:We've all been there Cris. I mean, not necessarily there, but I feel ya.
Kansas City at Buffalo
Oof, what a tough blow to Thursday to lose this game. And I don’t mean for Fox/NFL Network’s production of Thursday Night Football, because they’re still airing the game. That sweet advertiser cash will still be rolling in. What I’m taking about is Thursday the day. This is a huge match-up and now it's gone. Thursday had to suffer through Dolphins/Jags and Broncos/Jets. Even the Bucs/Bears meeting that looked good on paper was kind of a slog. Finally Thursday had something to hang its hat on: Chiefs and Bills, two division leaders with explosive offenses. Grab the punk, light that wick, run like hell and ... oh god Scottie tripped. He’s too close! Get up Scottie! Get up! Should we run back for him? There’s not enough time! He knew the risks involved! He’ll live with the consequences! Scottie cover eyes! Your gorgeous eyes Scottie, cover them! Scottie!!! ... and watch the fireworks baby. But now? Nothing. Monday gets a marquee match-up while Thursday is left with an empty, charred wasteland. Just like poor Scottie’s face. You know he could’ve been a model. People from New York were interested!
Arizona at Dallas
After a monumental, franchise-altering Sunday in Dallas, the major takeaway from the Cowboys’ Week 5 win has to be: aren’t you just thrilled for Andy Dalton?!? I mean the poor guy gets kicked to the curb by Cincinnati, and it looks like he may never get another shot to show us all what he’s made of. But now fortune has smiled on Dalton and all of us by granting him another opportunity to shine. Does it make it any less enjoyable that it required Dak Prescott’s ankle snapping in half to get us here? Yes. Actually it’s not enjoyable at all. In fact, I find it despicable that Dalton even entered the game after Prescott’s injury. The Cowboys should have played with only 10 men out of respect. Boy, real roller coaster of emotions for me here. It’s actually like a typical 2020 Cowboys game. Started off one way and then totally flipped somewhere around the middle. Will that pattern remain with Andy Dalton at the helm? Only (half)time will tell.