One Thing Week 8

AFC

North

Steelers- JuJu Smith-Schuster saved the day for the Steelers with his 97-yard touchdown catch late in the third quarter. That catch and run helped overshadow what was a so-so performance from Roethlisberger and the rest of the offense. The defense didn’t have its best game either only registering 2 sacks against backup tackles and allowing 423 yards passing from Matt Stanford. They won the game however and that’s all that really matters as they remain on track for a first-round bye.

Ravens- the Ravens got a much needed win to stay alive in the division. After that scary hit from Kiko Alonso, it’s anyone’s guess as to if joe flaccid will miss any time. The Ravens defense returned to its old self with a dominant shutout and two defensive touchdowns and running back Alex Collins looked great against a good Miami defense. If they can keep this up the Ravens could challenge Pittsburgh for the division.

Bengals– Carlos Dunlap’s tipped pick-six may have been the play that won it for Cincinnati but there were a couple others that should have lost it for them. After asking for more carries last week Joe Mixon got them but he only picked up

Browns- well hue Jackson finally stuck with one quarterback for a full game and Deshone Kizer played maybe his best game of the season. For the most part, he made good decisions and good throws. Despite this progress, it’s getting more and more difficult to find a win on the Browns upcoming schedule.

South

Titans- After their bye, the Titans are still tied for first in their division. A win against the suddenly surging Ravens will help them keep pace.

Jaguars- Coming out of their bye the Jaguars look to keep in contention for the division lead with a win over the slumping Bengals.

Texans- Although this year’s Seahawks defense is a far cry from the units that beat Peyton Manning and almost beat Tom Brady in the Super Bowl, heck it’s not even as good as the unit that got trounced in the playoffs last year, Deshaun Watson put up the impressive totals of 402 yards passing, 67 yards rushing, and 4 touchdowns. However, Watson’s 3 interceptions seem to give away this team as one that’s at least a year away from true contention.

Colts- Jack Doyle is back. After dropped passes and fumbles over the past few games Doyle put up 12 catches for 121 yards and a touchdown against the Bengals. it wasn’t enough however as Indy fell 24-23. Indy has a tough test next week against Houston as they hope to remain relevant in a crowded division.

East

Patriots- At the end of September, the Patriots were in last place for points allowed, at the end of October the Pats have moved up to 18th. It seems though if it’s not one thing it’s another. This week on their red zone trips the Pats were 1 for 4 and with Gostkowski missing two kicks the game was definitely closer than it could have been. The Pats go into their bye tied for the best record in the AFC and at the perfect time with injuries mounting.

Bills- Who would have thought that the Bills would be 5-2 eight weeks into the season? The Bills continued their personnel approach of addition by subtraction when they traded defensive tackle Marcel Darius for a sixth-round pick. As long as they don’t trade away LeSean McCoy the Bills have as good a chance as they’ve ever had to break their 17-year postseason drought.

Dolphins- I can admit when I’m wrong, and I was terribly wrong about the impact Matt Moore would have on the Dolphins offense. After leading a 14 comeback against the Jets last week I was convinced that he would provide Miami with the spark they needed going forward. After getting shut out and with two pick-sixes its clear that Matt Moore is not the guy.

Jets- Now sitting at 3-5 the team that rallied for a 3 game win streak to go to 3-2 seems far off. The Jets are technically not out of it yet but a 1-3 record in the division and with the team seemingly finding ways to lose after blowing two 14 point leads and a fourth-quarter lead in its last three Games their chances of making the playoffs don’t look great.

NFC

North

Vikings- after coming out to a sluggish start in London mike simmers team finally realized they were playing the Browns and ended the game with a commanding 33-16 lead. Going into their bye week Minnesota is in a great spot with a division lead and a top record in the NFC.

Packers- The Packers had better hope they figured out with to do without Aaron Rodgers on their bye week. They have an opportunity to stay relevant with two division game coming up.

Lions- On Sunday Night Matt Stanford passed for over 400 yards with no touchdowns. That’s the second time in his career he’s done that. Over the last 20 years, no other QB has even one such performance. What does that mean? I’m not totally sure but here’s an easier to digest stat: The lions were 0-5 in the red zone and did not register a single touchdown the entire game. Couple that with a defense that was penalized at seemingly the worst times and you have the lions sitting at 3-4. With Aaron Rodgers out the division is still wide open bu the Lions cant have any more performances like this if they hope to qualify for the postseason.

Bears- On this weeks installment of “no one knows what a catch is” we take you to the Superdome where Bears tight end Zach Miller has apparently pulled in a TD pass grabbing the ball and pulling it in as he goes to the ground. But no, its called back and everyone is left wondering what a catch in the national football league is. Miller suffered a gruesome knee injury on the play but luckily he had successful emergency surgery and doctors were able to save his leg. As Mitch Trubisky slowly comes along the future is bright for the Bears… next season.

South

Saints- This game was tighter than it needed to be after two late Mark Ingram fumbles but once again, on offense, the day was won through Ingram and his backfield partner Alvin Kamara. Both backs chipped in over 75 total yards a TD apiece paving the way for the Saints fifth straight win. The division is still anyone’s to win right now the saints will need to keep their winning ways going against the Buccaneers next week.

Panthers- A solid win against a division opponent lets Carolina keep pace in a competitive division and the return of Luke Kuechly bodes well for an already good Panthers defense. A win against Atlanta next week would go a long way to cementing their place in the division.

Falcons- Things didn’t always look good for Atlanta in the rain on Sunday with Matt Ryan fumbling he snap three or four times but in the end, they pulled it out with Matt Bryant a perfect 4-4 on field goals and an outstanding catch by Mohamed Sanu in the back of the end zone. Next week the Falcons have a chance to move to second place in the division with a win over the Panthers.

Buccaneers- Jameis Winston is good? Jameis Winston is bad? Jameis Winston is inconsistent. That’s the one of the only thing you can really say about Winston in his third year. There’s not a lot of great things your can say about the Buccaneers as a team; they seem directionless and unmotivated. At 2-5 not sure where this team goes from here.

East

Eagles- Carson Wentz continues to shine throwing 2 touchdowns and leading his team to victory. The Eagles sit at 7-1with the best record in the league but Wentz no his offense will be tested next week when they take on the dangerous Denver defense.

Cowboys- This was a big win for the ‘Boys. At 4-3 and 2-0 in the division, the Cowboys have not yet played the first place Eagles. Now that Elliott’s suspension is back The Cowboys could be in trouble as their next six games are the Chiefs, Falcons, Eagles, Chargers, Redskins, and Giants. It will take a team effort and big showing from Dak to keep this team in contention for the division.

Redskins- This loss as brutal for the ‘Skins. They now sit at 3-4 and 0-3 in the division and their hopes of making the playoffs took a major hit. Technically no one is eliminated this early in the season but its awfully unlikely that Washington makes the playoffs.

Giants- The Giants are in an interesting spot, at 1-6 they’re most likely not going to make the playoffs so what’s the move for them? Do they keep valiantly trying and pursue the victories, or do they see this as an opportunity to get younger guys involved and work toward next season? We’ll get a look at their future plans when they take on the Rams next week.

West

Seahawks- with a win on Sunday the Hawks moved into first in the division but all throughout the day Russel Wilson was running for his life. The Seahawks hope that will change after trading for left tackle Duane Brown to help stabilize the offensive line.

Rams- Coming off their bye the Rams will look to keep pace with the Seahawks for the top record in the division in their game against the Giants.

Cardinals- With the news that David Johnson will most likely not be back the Cardinals season has an even more bleak outlook. This could be Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgeralds last year in the league and its a little sad if this is their swan song.

49ers- With their stunning trade for Jimmy Garoppolo The Niners have injected hope into their franchise. while not expected to suit up this weekend to play he seems to be the perfect fit for the offense Kyle Shanahan likes to run. Things could be looking up in San Francisco.

One Thing Week 7

Another NFL week has come and gone and the early signs of contenders can be seen among the pack. We’ll cover it all from the Raider’s Thursday night thriller to the Eagles Monday night win.

AFC

North

Steelers– After wins the last two weeks it looks like the only thing that can stop the Steelers is themselves. If they can avoid any internal mess and continue to hand Le’Veon Bell the ball the Steelers will be tough to beat.

Ravens– Joe Flacco threw the ball 39 times and couldn’t muster more than 186 passing yards and a garbage-time touchdown. This used to be a team that relied on its defense and Justin Tucker to win games but when the offense can’t even get into field goal range and the defense

Bengals– For two quarters it looked like the Bengals had a good chance to knock off the defending division champs as the score was tied 14-14 at the half with the teams going back and forth but ultimately it was the Bengals lack of quality line play and abandonment of the run game that allowed the second half box score to read 15-0 in favor of the Steelers.

Browns– After 10,363 snaps Joe Thomas missed the first snap of his career and with that, a record that will (probably) never be broken is set in stone. Joe Thomas was the best thing about the Cleveland Browns and now the factory of sadness get even sadder.

South

Jaguars– A shutout win without the guy your offense is centered around is a great win under any circumstances and to have that win come against a division opponent is just cake. The jags look to have one of the top defenses and rushing attacks in the league a combination that could end up leading Jacksonville to the playoffs.

Titans– This was an impressive game by any stretch for the Titans. The only good thing that happened this game was they eventually got the win after the Cleveland Browns forced over time. In a tight division, at the momentum, the Titans are far from contenders.

Texans– Coming off a bye week the Texans and rookie Deshaun Watson will be tested by the Seattle Seahawks after falling to second in the division.

Colts– Getting shut out is never good and then to have your star receiver call ou the offensive line is worse. Opponents have finally figured out the few plays Jacoby Brissett has had time to learn and even with new general manager Chris Ballard’s shrewd free agency moves this squad has underperformed. If this keeps up believe the rumors will start about a Chuck Pagano firing before season’s end.

East

Patriots– This was easily the Pats most complete game of the year. From start to finish they demonstrated consistent play and held a passer under 300 yards or the first time all season. That’s not to say it was a perfect game, five red zone trips and only 2 touchdowns is something Belichick is sure to point to as an area to improve but an underrated aspect of this game was the fact that it’s the first game this season where all 4 of the Pats running backs were healthy. Dion Lewis, James White, Rex Burkehead, and Mike Gillislee combined for 202 total yards.

Bills– Tyron Taylor was once again solid as the Bills survived a late rally from the Buccaneers. The Bills, according to coach Doug McDermott, are motivated by the talk of them tanking this year. It remains to be seen how the season ends for them but right now the Bills are right in the race for the AFC crown. However, a tough test awaits next week as they take on the Raiders.

Dolphins– This looked to be yet another disappointing Dolphins loss. Even after Matt Moore came in he threw an interception. But Moore galvanized this team and beat a respectable Jets squad. Right after the Tannehill injury, I thought Adam Gase should have stuck with Matt Moore but no Gase’s hands are tied as it looks like Cutler won’t make it back for this weeks Thursday night game. If the Dolphins can win they’ll tie the Patriots for the best record in the division.

Jets– Going into the fourth quarter with a 28-14 lead should give you a good chance to win but after two Dolphins TD drives the Jets found themselves tied. Josh McCown has exceeded expectations this year but with 47 seconds remaining he threw a bad interception from the Jet’s 15-yard line which set up the Dolphin’s game-winner. The Jets still aren’t out of it and a surprise win against a reeling Falcons team would far exceed expectations from the beginning of the year.

West

Chiefs– Still leading the division despite the loss the to raiders the shock and awe of the early season offensive wrinkles and ingenuity appear to have worn off. The good news is that Alex Smith continues to play at a high level previously unseen from the 13th year pro. The Chiefs will have a chance to get back to winning and reassert themselves when the Broncos visit them next week

Broncos– The Broncos offense needs help. Trevor Siemien is clearly not the guy

Chargers– The suddenly resurgent Los Angelos Chargers are sitting 2 games out of first place in the division after their 0-4 start. They have an important slate of games coming up which will tell if they are contenders or pretenders.

Raiders– This was such an important game for this team. If they were to fall to 2-5 their season could have been over. But Derek Carr wouldn’t allow it. He was great all game especially on the last drive executing the game-winning play five or six times including plays called back by penalties. The Raiders have 3 straight AFC East games coming up ending with the Patriots.

NFC

North

Vikings The Vikings are the NFC team no one is talking about and they have quietly moved to 5-2 on the strength of their defense and a running game that appears to have recovered nicely from the loss of Dalvin Cook. They will have some tough decisions to make when both Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater are healthy enough to return but for now, they sit atop their division with a game against the Browns next on the schedule.

Packers– Now that the Green Bay defense isn’t buttressed by an offense that can score 30 points there’s a lot more pressure on Clay Matthews and Co. to pick up the slack. As for the offense, it was odd to see Mike McCarthy give a guy who’s in his third year with the team a gameplan fit for someone who’s in his third week with the team. The Packers need to reshape their offense around burgeoning rookie Aaron Jones if they hope to be in a position where Aaron Rodgers will be able to come save them.

Lions– Coming off their bye this team is hoping to show more consistency after an early season run where they were all over the place. They’ll have a great opportunity as they take on the 5-2 Steelers on Sunday night

Bears– the last tie a QB won two straight games and completed less than ten passes was Tim Tebow on the Broncos in 2011, and who might the coach have been? none other than John Fox. Kidding aside Mitchell Trubisky is not Tebow. Bears coaches and players have come away impressed with Trubisky since taking over the starting job 3 weeks ago. Accolades abound for rookie safety Eddie Jackson after two 75 yard defensive touchdowns and he remains a player to watch as part of a possibly strong rookie class for Chicago.

South

Saints– After starting the season 0-2 with a blowout loss to the Patriots the Saints have stacked up 4 straight wins to move into first in the division. Despite early struggles by Brees the Saints backs once again went for over 200 total yards and the Saints were able to come back and win. The defense, although not great, is not the sieve it once was setting the Saints up well for the rest of the season.

Panthers– The Panthers Offense has problems, and they all stem from the offensive line. Without enough time to set up and throw properly Newton is forced into risky throws. The line hasn’t been any better run blocking either not giving McCaffrey room to run between the tackles and the pressure on Cam means his role is reduced to dump-offs and screens and he can’t run routes down the field like the Panthers envisioned. The Panthers have two important division games coming up against Tampa Bay and Atlanta that could put them either at the top or bottom of the division

Falcons– Despite all the “just another game” talk running through Atlanta this week it was apparent this game meant something more when they attempted a fourth down conversion 11 minutes into the game. Even with their high powered offense and aggressiveness, the Falcons would only score with under 5 minutes remaining with the game already out of reach. Steve Sarkisian has been a major downgrade from Kyle Shanahan and the Falcons need to figure it out before their season slips away.

Buccaneers– After an offseason in which many had Tampa penciled in as a playoff contender it’s more than surprising to find them sitting at 2-4 through seven weeks. For whatever reason, offensive minded coach Dirk Koetter cant seem to work Desean Jackson into his offense. O.J. Howard though has looked every bit the first round talent as he broke out last week with 6 grabs for 98 yards and 2 touchdowns. With two big divisional games looming can the Bucs save their season?

East

Eagles– The only team with one loss the eagle now sport the NFL’s best record at 6-1. Carson Wentz has been electric since week one and is finally getting the props he deserves. The defensive back seven is a work in progress and the loss of Jordan Hicks and Jason Peters will definitely hurt but with 3 division wins and Carson Wentz, the Eagles are in a great spot.

Cowboys– Will he or won’t he is the biggest question regarding the Cowboys season. So far Zeke has gone back and forth with the NFL over his suspension. The Cowboys have a difficult schedule the rest of the season and if Zeke were to miss any time it could severely hurt the playoff chances of a squad that already sits at 3-3. Also, safety Jeff Heath made an extra point last Sunday which was pretty cool.

Redskins– Washington is clearly hurting right now with injuries on both sides of the ball impacting team performance. They have a tough slate of games coming up and the ‘skins will have to come up big with or without their currently injured teammates if they hope to have a chance at the postseason.

Giants– After their big win last week many, myself included, inferred that maybe the Giants had figured out how to effectively use their personal and that the shift of play-calling away from Ben McAdoo would possibly lead to more wins down the road. After only registering 7 points against the Seahawks its back to the drawing board once again.

West

Rams– After shutting out the Cardinals its clear this Rams team is one to be reckoned with. Sean McVay continues to innovate on offense with Jared Goff taking a keeper in for a touchdown and Wade Philips has continued to improve his defense. The Rams can’t take their foot off the pedal as the Seahawks sit only one game behind them in the division.

Seahawks– After a 1-2 start, Seattle has won their last 3 as they close in on the Rams. I feel like its a worrisome thing when your star receiver shoves your offensive line coach but things like this seem to come up a few times a season nowadays for the Seahawks.

Cardinals– At 3-4 and in a tight division there’s a chance the Cardinals could still make the playoffs, but the loss of Carson Palmer coupled with David Johnson being out all but seals the fate of the Arizona Cardinals. However, you won’t see any quit out of Bruce Arian’s squad as they look to get to .500 against the Niners.

49ers– Another week, another loss for the Niners who join the Browns at 0-7. But fear not Niners fans, despite the winless start coach Kyle Shanahan believes “sometimes you’ve got to go through this stuff to find out who the special people are.”

One Thing Week 6


Nobody knows anything. That’s the only takeaway so far this season that everyone can agree on. Parity has descended upon the league and at this point in the season it’s still too early to call any team a true super bowl contender. The various injuries to star player haven’t helped either and we seem to be in the midst of a year where almost any team can make the playoffs.

AFC

North

Steelers– After a dismal showing last week against Jacksonville, the Steelers came up big, spoiling the last undefeated team in the league. Running the offense through Le’Veon Bell is what really got this O back in gear.

Ravens– This might have been the worst loss of the week. There isn’t one thing you point to as a problem for them. The offense is struggling, as is Joe Flacco, and the defense couldn’t stop a rookie quarterback.

Bengals– The Bengals will have a big test next week going up against a resurgent Steelers squad after coming off their bye week. With the division mostly wide open even after their horrendous offensive start, a win against Pittsburgh could go a long way to a potential playoff push.

Browns– Not sure what Hue Jackson was thinking when he decided to put in Kevin Hogan last week and start him this week. The Browns have too many issues to list them all, but deciding what to do at QB the rest of the season should be the first one addressed.

South

Texans– Deshaun Watson continues to shine. Even though it was against the winless Browns, the rookie showed great arm strength and ability to fling the ball all over the field. Watson will need to cut down on rookie mistakes like his pick-six, as the Texans offense looks to pick up some of the slack from a defense weakened by injuries.

Jaguars– After Leonard Fournette ripped off a 75-yard touchdown run on his first carry, it looked to be a game that the rookie running back would dominate. However, he posted just 55 yards on his next 20 carries before leaving with a scary non-contact injury. It remains to be seen whether the Jags are just a bad team that has overachieved in some games or a good team that has underachieved in others

Colts– Jacoby Brissett played well, but his playmakers let him down. Jack Doyle fumbled and couldn’t seem to hang onto a pass, Donte Moncrief dropped a would-be touchdown and TY Hilton was invisible the entire game. Dropping to last in the division won’t help, but the hope that Andrew Luck returns in time to make meaningful contributions this season will continue to keep Colts fans interested.

Titans– In a game where Marcus Mariota played without the ability to run or scramble, the Titans defense came up big in the second half, holding the Colts to 9 points. Mariota was also awesome in the fourth quarter, going 6 for 6 with 103 passing yards. They’ll have an easy go of it next week when they visit the 0-6 Browns.

West

Chiefs– For all the trickery and finesse the Chiefs had used to attain their 5-0 record, they found out quickly it’s wouldn’t be working against the Steelers. Only time will tell if the Steelers have on tape the blueprint to beat them.

Broncos– Vance Joseph’s squad was embarrassed on Sunday night when the 0-5 Giants came into Denver and left with a dominant win. A run defense that been a strength for this team all year and had kept the likes of Melvin Gordon, Ezekiel Elliot, LeSean McCoy, and Marshawn Lynch to 95 total rushing yards gave up 117 to Orleans Darkwa. Despite that, the worst part of the night for the Broncos might have been when Emmanuel Sanders left the game with an ankle injury. Even when the defense returns to its dominant form the offense will still every playmaker possible to help whoever is under center.

Raiders– The Raiders use of Marshawn Lynch is questionable at best. It’s hard to understand why they brought him out of retirement if they were only going to hand him the ball 13 times. With his offensive line struggling, Derek Carr has too as he’s not used to facing pressure – he’d been sacked only 4 times last season. Giving Lynch more carries should help alleviate some of that pressure and maybe translate into wins.

Chargers– Win number two for the (at the moment) number two LA team. Once again the great pass rushing duo of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram put pressure on the opposing offense. Melvin Gordon, for the second game in a row, put the team on his back with 150 total yards and 2 touchdowns. They will have a big test next week taking on the Broncos.

East

Patriots– It wasn’t pretty, but they did it. There was a stretch during this game where they looked like the Patriots we expected at the beginning of the season, scoring 21 unanswered points to dig themselves out of a 14 point hole. This team still has flaws, however, and will be tested again facing an underperforming Falcons team next week.

Bills– Now sitting in second place in the division after their bye week the Bills will take on a severely underperforming Buccaneers team that may or may not feature Jameis Winston. A win here would keep the Bills relevant for first in the division.

Jets– There’s a lot of things to say about the Jets this season. One thing you cant say is that they’ve given up. The upstart Jets were a worthy opponent for the defending champions but ultimately came up short. Of course, we have to mention the call that ultimately took points off the board for the Jets and gave the ball to the Pats. According to the NFL rules, the play was called as it should have been. Austin Seferian-Jenkins lost control of the ball and was unable to reestablish control before the ball crossed the plane and went out of the end zone. For the referee’s explanation, click here courtesy of ESPN’s Mike Reiss.

Dolphins– The Dolphins are another team where I’m not quite sure where they stand. After getting shut out in London, this team has put up two straight wins with this one coming against the defending NFC champions after being down 17 points. It won’t be any easier to tell next week when they take on the Jets.

NFC

North

Packers– There’s not much to say about the Packers at this point. There’s no telling what kind of team the Packers will be when Aaron Rodgers returns- if he returns. It’s a detriment to the game when a player of Rodgers’ caliber gets injured for any extended amount of time, but he might join a long list of stars who’ve been shelved for this season. Green Bay will now find out for sure what it has in Brett Hundley unless they bring in someone else.

Vikings– The Vikings have certainly faced their own injury struggles with Sam Bradford, Dalvin Cook, and Stefon Diggs. The good news is the defense is still good, but the offense is constantly a mixed bag depending on who is playing. The Vikings could take the next step to becoming contenders by beating the Ravens next week.

Lions– For whatever reason, no matter the score, every Lions game seems to come down to the fourth quarter. It’s hard to know what to make of the Lions at this point in the season, but seeing how the wins they’ve had have come against struggling teams it might be fair to say the Lions aren’t a good team.

Bears– Mitch Trubisky’s first win, hopefully, the first of many if you’re a Bears fan. The duo of Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen has worked wonders for the Bears, combining for 222 total yards this game. The Bears might not have much to play for this season, but if Mitch Trubisky continues to develop they could be setting themselves up for the future.

South

Panthers– Cam Newton continues to baffle me. One moment he’s confidently leading his team, seemingly making every play, the next he’s losing his composure and turning the football over on cringe-worthy plays. The bright side is Christian McCaffrey making plays all over the field and the defense living up to its billing as one of the top units in the league, plus they’re leading the division.

Falcons– Another home loss for Dan Quinn’s crew. Is it time to push the panic button? Not yet, although their upcoming schedule isn’t the easy with matchups against the Patriots, Panthers, and Cowboys comprising three of their next four games. This is still a team with a boatload of offensive playmakers and anything can happen.

Saints– Trading Adrian Peterson might be the best thing the Saints have done this season. Without the future Hall of Famer, Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara combined for 237 total yards and 2 touchdowns. The Saints defense came to play too, scoring 3 touchdowns and providing splash plays throughout the day. With the Saints above .500 for the first time since 2013 and playing in a tight division, there’s hope for a return to the playoffs this season.

Buccaneers– It’s never a good sign when your franchise quarterback gets injured, but even when Jameis Winston has been healthy this Tampa Bay team has severely underperformed. Winston has yet to get on the same page as Desean Jackson and still seems to make the same mistakes he made as a rookie. This team still has a lot of work to do if it hopes to have a chance at the postseason.

West

Rams– If you asked, not many people would have thought the Rams would be leading the division at any point this season, much less after six weeks. But they’ve done it through Sean McVay’s innovative play calls, Wade Phillips’ opportunistic defense and John Fassel’s excellent special teams unit. The only thing that remains to be seen is can they keep it up?

Seahawks– Coming off their bye, a Seahawks team that seems to always be up and down this part of the season will take on a Giants team that appears to have possibly figured it out and has nothing to lose.

Cardinals– It’s the old guy show on the Cardinals offense with the triplets of Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald and Adrian Peterson running the show. The Cardinals will have to get Peterson involved with the passing game before they become too predictable, but after the start they’ve had, sitting a game out of first in the division is pretty good.

49ers– After Brian Hoyer got injured, it was time to see what they have in the first QB picked of the John Lynch era. C.J. Beathard finished with 245 yards on 19 of 36 passing with one touchdown and one interception. Still without a win, the best you can say about this team at the moment is that they don’t quit, bringing the game down to the last second against the Redskins.

East

Eagles– With this being such a wild NFL season, there are two things we know for sure about this year’s Eagles: Carson Wentz will keep making plays and people will keep questioning whether he is actually good. Carson Wentz has been great so far this year and always seems to make one jaw-dropping play each week. Jim Schwartz has the Eagles D-Line on fire and if they keep it up they can mask the deficiencies at corner until Ronald Darby returns. If the Eagles can keep this up, they could be looking at a trip to the postseason.

Redskins– After Chris Thompson lit the League on fire the first few weeks with explosive plays there were calls for him to get more early touches. It didn’t quite work out with Thompson not gaining substantial yardage. It’s still too early to tell if the Redskins are contenders or pretenders, but next week’s game against the Eagles would go a long way toward figuring that out.

Cowboys– The Cowboys had their bye week this week and they needed it. After losing to Aaron Rodgers in what might be his last game this season, the ‘boys have a lot of questions to answer and holes to plug. Ezekiel Elliot hasn’t quite played up to his level from last year and his struggles have bled into Dak Prescott. With Zeke’s suspension looming, it’s important for the Cowboys to retool their offense and find something that works. They’ll have a good chance to experiment and impress when they take on the 0-6 49ers.

Giants– In a game without their top 3 receivers and sporting an 0-5 record, the New York football Giants went into Mile High stadium to face a top defense and came out with an arguably dominant win. The difference? McAdoo handing over play calling to Mike Sullivan, a reshuffled offensive line that actually worked and the mindset of a team with nothing to lose. Despite this positive win, no team beginning the season with an 0-5 record has ever made the playoffs.

One Thing Week 3


What a week this was. From the wild Thursday night game to the incredible finishes and stunning performances what a week this was. With all the recent talk of how the product in the NFL has declined and the lack of competition and no close games, this past week solved all of those concerns. Even though we haven’t yet made it out of the first quarter of the season teams are already writing the story of the 2017 season. Here’s one takeaway for each team from the latest chapter.

 

AFC

NORTH

Ravens- the Ravens must have been dealing with some serious jet-lag when they took the field Sunday against the Jaguars. Joe Flacco completed 8 of 18 pass attempts with 2 interceptions and no touchdowns. The Baltimore defense was equally as bad allowing 44 points and 4 touchdown passes from Blake Bortles. After 10 takeaways in their first two games no one was expecting this kind of performance. However, this was the first game the Baltimore Ravens franchise had ever played that wasn’t in America and I would still expect to see the team back to its usual self next week when they welcome their rivals, the Steelers, into Baltimore.

Steelers- For whatever reason the Steelers vaunted offense is not clearing the bar. An offense that features Big Ben, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon should score more than 17 points against the Bears.

Bengals- How about this Bill Lazor guy? Under their new offensive coordinator, the Bengals rolled to two touchdowns on their first two drives. Even though the offense couldn’t put away Aaron Rodgers and the Pack at the end, this game will serve as a jumping off point for the rest of their season.

Browns- saying this was not Deshone Kizer’s best day is an understatement. The rookie signal-caller was 22/47 with 2 touchdowns and 3 picks. The Browns made the score close at the end but the Colts had this game in hand.

SOUTH

Jaguars- this week the Jaguars looked more like the team that beat the Texans 29-7 and ekes like the team that lost to the Titans 37-16. The Jaguar’s defense almost blanked the Ravens. Jacksonville will have a chance to flex its muscles again next week against the Jets.

Titans- After their most recent performance, the Titans offensive line is ready to challenge for the title of best in football. Taylor Lewan, Quinton Spain, Ben Jones, Josh Kline, and Jack Conklin absolutely dominated the Seattle defense and for now, DeMarco Murray silenced all the people calling for Derrick Henry.

Colts- Colts fans have to be relieved that after expecting Scott Tolzien to start the first few games of this season the organization swung a deal for Jacoby Brissett. The second-year pro filled the game tape with a multitude of big plays and positive moments. The celebration will be short lived however as this team travels to Seattle to take on an angry Seahawks team.

Texans- Even though coach Bill O’Brien feels that there are no moral victories there is a lot of positives to take away from this loss. After underperforming the first two games of the season, the Texans pass-rushing trio of Mercilus, Watt, and Clowney got back to their old selves registering 3 sacks and a forced fumble combined. Deshaun Watson also kept New England’s defense off balance for much of the game and after players from both sides remarked how impressed they were with him.

 

EAST

Bills- After only managing 3 points a week ago against the Panthers expectations were low with an even more stingy defense in the Denver Broncos coming to town. But the Bills were ready and after a first quarter where they totaled only 10 yards the Bills managed 6 scoring drives and converted in key spots to put the game away. Even after a win against a quality team, things don’t get any easier next week when the Bills travel to play the defending NFC champions.

Patriots- Michael Jordan once said, “I’ve never lost a game, I just ran out of time.” The same can be said of Tom Brady. After trailing late all it took was a little Brady magic as he overcame a 2nd and 20 and a 3rd and 18 to get the Pats into the endzone. At 40 years old he completed 5 of 8 deep passes for 185 yards and 3 touchdowns and continues to defy logic about how aging players should perform. Brady’s heroics shouldn’t overshadow the poor offensive line play and shaky defense that put New England in a hole. This team is good right now but it’s still a far cry from the one people expected to be 16-0.

Dolphins- Jay Cutler giveth and Jay Cutler taketh away. After leading Miami to a close victory in Week 2 the league was reintroduced to the ugly side of Jay Cutler. It wasn’t all his fault though, not much can be expected from an offense when your leading rusher ends up with 16 yards on 11 carries and the other team just wants it more than you.

Jets- For Jets fans hoping for a tank and an 0-16 season to lock up Sam Darnold came away disappointed. Fans on the other end of that spectrum were excited to see the Jets play inspired football, avoid major mistakes and put together a great defensive game that should have ended in a shutout had it not been for a last play touchdown.

WEST

Chiefs- It’s hard to go 3-0. Only the Chiefs and the Falcons have remained unbeaten after Week 3. Kareem Hunt again put on a show but the real star of the game was KC’s defense which forced 3 interceptions and gave the conservative offense short fields.

Broncos- What a difference a week makes. After eviscerating the Cowboys defense Siemian came back down to earth when he was forced to make throws on third down after C.J. Anderson, who had been Denver’s driving force offensively, carried 8 times for 36 yards with 32 of them coming on one play. The Broncos will look to bounce back against the division rival Raiders next week.

Raiders- Coming into the game most expected the Oakland defense to have a rough go of it, what no one expected was the Oakland offense to have an outing that was just as bad or possibly worse but that’s exactly what happened Sunday night. Last season when he was part of MVP consideration QB Derek Carr was sacked only 16 times. Against the Redskins he was sacked 4 times and his two 1000 yard receivers from last year were nowhere to be found combining for 2 catches for 13 yards and two drops. Marshawn Lynch was a nonfactor as the Raiders O-line couldn’t push anybody around. The offense will be tested again when it travels to Denver next week.

Chargers- Through the first 2 games of the season it had looked like Philip Rivers had transcended his mistake-prone times but against an old foe he fell back on old habits throwing 3 INTs. Still winless the only bright spot, albeit an incredibly bright one, is their duo of Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa. Ingram had 3 sacks on the day and both he and Bosa were in the backfield all day. If this keeps up those two will become the most feared pass rush duo in the league.

 

NFC

North

Packers- down big at home – no problem, throw a pick six – no problem, defense allowing a team that hadn’t scored a touchdown to score 3 – no problem. When the game is on the line, money on the table let Aaron Rodgers go to work. During the game however it didn’t look too much like Rodgers game. He threw only the second pick six of his career and looked skittish for most of the game behind a line that gave up 6 sacks. They’ll need to get it together for a quick turnaround as the Bears come to town on a Thursday night. Last thing – for your “really?” moment; that was Aaron Rodgers first ever win in OT, really.

Vikings- coming in it looked like Jameis Winston and an explosive Buccaneers offense would take over a game in which Sam Bradford was out with an injury. However (Steven A voice) that prognostication couldn’t have been further than what happened. Case Keenum seems to have a knack for beating the Buccaneers as he’s now 3-0 against them in his career with 793 passing yards and 7 touchdown passes across those games. Keenum had a lot of help from Dalvin Cook who has become the unquestioned bell cow back carrying 27 times for 97 yards and a TD. The Minnesota defense also came up big picking off Jameis Winston 3 times and playing overall suffocating defense. With 3 teams in the division 2-1, the Vikings have a chance to take the number 1 spot in the division with a win against the Lions.

Lions- It just seems to be the fate of the lions to have their games decided by a wild sequence in the last minute of the game. The Lion’s defense was impressive picking off reigning MVP Matt Ryan 3 times returning 1 for a touchdown. Controversial ending aside, theLionss had many chances to win but Matt Stanford couldn’t get anything going consistently without a presence in the run game. This is a big week for the NFC north with 3 teams at 2-1 and all the teams playing division games. With a win over the Vikings, the could make an important statement in the division.

Bears- These are the types of games the Bears can win. Games where they take advantage of opportunities and run the ball. A lot. Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen. Combined for 216 yards on 35 carries. Through 3 games Tarik Cohen has the most targets and catches of all running backs. Until Mitch Trubisky gets a shot this team will have to rely on its two young running backs to win games. And of course, we have to talk about Marcus Cooper. He now joins an infamous group of players who had a touchdown but because of cockiness, unawareness, or pure stupidity fumbled the ball and cost his team 6 points.
South

Falcons- the Falcons are 3-0 right now, a lucky 3-0 but undefeated none the less. Opening the season against 3 NFC north teams their blowout of the packers is bracketed by scares from the bears and the lions. It’s still too early to call it for any team but despite what their record suggests they have been less than perfect. During his MVP season, Matt Ryan didn’t have a multi-interception game but he threw 3 on Sunday almost throwing away the game in the process. The Falcons have one more game next week before their bye so they have time to get themselves in order before mid-season.

Panthers- Something is not quite right with Cam Newton. The 2015 MVP has not regained that form that won him the award. Throwing 3 INTs against one of the worst secondaries in football is never a good sign. The only bright spot was first round rookie Christian McCaffrey catching 9 balls for 101 yards. Struggling to stay relevant in the division race, the Panthers have a tough one next week when they travel to Foxborough to take on the Patriots.

Buccaneers- 2 games into their 2017 season the Buccaneers have put together two very different performances. After blowing out the Bears in their first game Tampa Bay’s offense could not get it together against a stingy Minnesota unit. Their Franchise QB Jameis Winston threw 3 INTs and the ground game only managed 26 yards. Equally concerning was the Buccaneers defensive effort against a team missing its starting quarterback. There’s still reason for optimism though Doug Martin comes back in two weeks and the 0-3 New York Giants come to Florida in what could be a good bounce back game.

Saints- The Ted Ginn revenge game really wasn’t. The former Panthers wideout caught 2 balls for 44 yards and a TD with 1 carry for 15 yards. The biggest takeaway from this game is Sean Payton admitting that he still hasn’t quite figured out how to best utilize his 3 running backs. New Orleans has a chance next week to get to .500 with a win against a Miami Dolphins team still seeking direction.
EAST

Eagles- what a joy it is to watch Carson Wentz develop and progress. The second year quarterback is loads more athletic than defenses seem to realize dazzling defenses with one “wow” run or escape each week. There’s a lot to like about a close win against a division rival the fact that the Eagles let the Giants get back into this one is concerning. If it hadn’t been for rookie Jake Elliot and his rookie record 61 yard buzzer beater field goal the Eagles could be answering questions about an epic collapse if things hadn’t gone their way in OT. Sitting atop the division the Eagles visit the underperforming chargers next week.

Cowboys- Dallas did not get off to a particularly good start on Monday night. After a rough first quarter, the offense steadily improved eventually rolling to 28 on four touchdowns from Dak and Zeke. The defensive MVP is split between DE Demarcus Lawrence who seems to be turning into the premier pass rusher the Cowboys envisioned he would be when they took him in the second round, and rookie cornerback Jordan Lewis who was all over the field with good coverage and sound tackling. After rebounding well from their loss to Denver and a poor start on Monday night, Dallas will take on the suddenly hot Los Angelos rams offense.

Redskins- it was almost a dominant performance in all three phases from the Washington Redskins on Sunday night. The secondary led by Josh Norman nabbed 2 INTs and their pass rushers bullied the Oakland offensive line racking up 6 sacks on Derek Carr. Kirk Cousins completed 25 of 30 passes for 3 touchdowns and no interceptions and Chris Thompson had another dominant all-purpose performance. The Redskins will have an opportunity to show that Sunday night wasn’t a fluke when they take on the undefeated Chiefs on Monday night.

Giants- almost. They almost did it. After a late rally and big plays from their wide revivers the giants had finally reached 20 points for the first time in their last 10 games. 0-3 is not the way any team with playoff hopes wants to start the season. The Giants have major problems along their offensive line and under center and they may be too big for the defense and OBJ to overcome. The Giants have a chance to turn their season around next week when they visit an also underperforming Buccaneers team.

 

WEST

Rams- The youngest head coach in NFL history is off to a good start sitting atop the division at 2-1 with two 40 point games under his belt. He’s gotten there with inventive offense and an enterprising defense. After a disappointing 2016, Todd Gurley looks to be back to what we saw in the first few games of 2015. We’ll get a good look at whether this Rams team is legit or not when they take on the Dallas Cowboys next week.

Seahawks- We know the Seahawks offensive line is a problem but who would have that now the Seattle defense might be a problem. This unit was manhandled in the second half of the game as it appeared that Mike Mularkey’s “exotic smash mouth” offense wore them down. Russell Wilson’s career passing day was overshadowed by his defense which gave up two touchdowns of over 50 yards including the first rushing touchdown 75 yards or more since 2009. Seattle will have to hope that it can sort itself out defensively and return to form against the Colts next to get to .500.

Cardinals- There was a lot of bad Monday night from the Arizona Cardinals but let’s start with the good; Larry Fitzgerald is Amazing. He finished with 13 grabs for 149 yards and a score. He was absolutely electric out there making one spectacular catch after another. Now for the bad. Bruce Arians playcalling and game management were atrocious in the final quarter and the offensive line couldn’t block three rushers. Their season is on life support right now but a home game against an 0-3 Niners team could be just what the doctor ordered.

49ers- Despite their 0-3 start it can be argued that the 49ers have had a successful season so far. In their Thursday night loss to the Rams, the Niners showed a fortitude and fight not seen since the Jim Harbaugh era. Kyle Shanahan takes his squad next week to take on a reeling Arizona in a game where the 49ers could find some success in the win-loss column as well.

 

Sunday Primer Week 3

You would be forgiven for not expecting much excitement in a Thursday night game that featured the Rams and the 49ers. But the game between the two youngest coaches to ever face off against each other in NFL history far exceeded expectations featuring great play design, lots of scoring, a fourth-quarter comeback, and best of all some gritty, no-quit football from both sides.

 

5. Seattle @ Tennessee

Two teams that don’t play each other often and two teams most are picking to make the playoffs. With both teams sitting at 1-1 this game is an opportunity to

 

4. Kansas City @ Los Angelos Chargers

Andy Reid’s squad has looked like maybe the NFL’s best team through two games and now they have a divisional test against a talented but underperforming Chargers team that has blown two big fourth quarter opportunities in as many games. An 0-3 start puts the Chargers in a big hole in maybe the NFL’s division. Expect the Chargers to pull out all the stops in this one.

 

3. Houston @ New England

Last season in 432 regular season pass attempts Tom Brady threw only 2 interceptions. In one divisional playoff game against the Texans, he threw 2. After their week 1 debacle, the Patriots have appeared to bounce back after beating the Saints but this game will be a true test on both sides of the ball for the defending champions even though this Texans unit gave up 22 points to the Jaguars and has the second least amount of passing yards in the league with only the Buccaneers (who have only played 1 game) behind them.

 

2. Atlanta @ Detroit

With the Lions off to their first 2-0 start since 2011 and the Falcons looking to build off last years success with their own 2-0 start, this game features two hot quarterbacks and enterprising defenses and will serve one team with its first loss of the season. A win for the Lions gives them sole possession of first place in the NFC North while a win for the Falcons allows them to keep pace with the also 2-0 Panthers. Expect a shootout between these two hot QBs with young defenses.

 

1. Oakland @ Washington

Another matchup of two teams that don’t play each other often, the Sunday night game features two high-flying offenses from 2016. The only difference in 2017 appears to be that the Raiders have recaptured their 2016 glory right out of the gate hanging 45 on the Jets last week. Kirk Cousins and his offense have struggled some only managing 17 points against the Eagles in the opener and then getting by for a win against the Rams. If Jay Gruden can get his offense running again this should be a high-scoring game filled with points on both sides.

Sunday Primer Week 2

img_1135     Week 2 got off to a fairly uninspiring start with rookie QB Deshaun Watson and the Texans outlasting the Bengals in a defensive battle on Thursday night. But this weekend’s slate of games should provide much more entertainment and intrigue. Here are this week’s top 5 games.

 

5. New England @ New Orleans

Savor this matchup. This might be the final time these two legendary QBs face-off against each other. This is very well a game that should be high scoring with New Orleans suspect secondary and New England still trying to figure itself out on that side of the ball.

 

4. Philadelphia @ Kansas City

The student faces the master when Andy Reid’s former offensive coordinator Doug Pederson comes to Kansas City. Reid’s squad should be riding high after upsetting the Patriots last week and the Eagles looked good in all phases last week beating a division rival. Even without the coaching intrigue, this is still a matchup of two good teams looking to go up 2-0 in competitive divisions.

 

3. Minnesota @ Pittsburgh

Sam Bradford was practically perfect last week completing 27 of 32 passes for 346 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Vikings defense put the clamps on Drew Brees and the Saints offense for most of the game last week and look to have a repeat performance against the Steelers explosive offense. Top rookie T.J. Watt looks to offer a repeat performance after his 2 sack, 1 int, 7 tackle performance week one.

 

2. Dallas @ Denver

The Denver defense will be arguably the best unit Dak and Zeke have ever faced. Both second-year players came up big in their week one win but this game will test both of them. After an offseason of uncertainty, Trevor Siemian emerged as the starter and did enough to lead Denver to a win last week. He’ll face a Dallas defense that racked up 3 sacks on Eli Manning in week one.

 

1. Green Bay @ Atlanta

Here’s the big one, a rematch of last year’s NFC Championship game. After being embarrassed last January Aaron Rodgers and the Packers will be looking to spoil the Falcons on their new stadium’s opening night. This potential playoff matchup between two top NFC teams could become important later in the year as playoff positions are decided.

2017 Player Predictions

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Almost there…

We’re only a few hours away from the start of a new NFL season. With a new season comes new storylines, new rising stars, and a chance for anything to happen. With this in mind let’s take a look at some bold predictions for the upcoming season.

 

Joey Bosa will be All-Pro

With Melvin Ingram coming into his own on the other side of the line the second year will face less double teams. Even with JJ Watt back spending a full offseason with the Chargers should help Bosa outperform his 10.5 sacks in 12 games from his rookie year.

 

By the end of the season Joe Mixon will play the most snaps of any Bengals running back

Even though at the time of writing this he’s 3rd on the depth chart behind Giovanni Bernard and Jeremy Hill the 2017 2nd rounder’s talent is undeniable. With Jeremy Hill in a contract year and Bernard’s primary role as a pass catching back the bengals will want to take a look at the 6’1″ 226 pounder.

 

Stephon Gilmore will earn Pro Bowl honors this season 

When the New England Patriots signed Gilmore to a 65 million dollar contract this offseason it was met with some skepticism. How could a player who was never voted to a pro bowl deserve that kind of money? Well all reports out of patriots camp his performance in the teams preseaon games (preseason, I know) seem to have him poised for a big season under head coach Bill Belichick.

 

Drew Brees won’t reach 5000 yards passing

With the additions of Adrian Peterson through FA and Alvin Kamara through the draft joining mainstay Mark Ingram the Saints are poised to become a much more run heavy team. Giving carries to those three talented backs will cut into Brees passing attempts keeping him from breaking the 5000 yard barrier for the 6th time.

 

Jameis Winston will emerge as an MVP candidate in Tampa Bay’s high octane offense

Jameis Winston’s numbers have improved every year, increasing his yards and touchdowns in 2016 from his rookie numbers. 2017 should be no different and when you add O.J. Howard and Desean Jackson and Chris Godwin to a passing offense that already featured Mike Evans there’s potential for big passing numbers. The Buccaneers already have a solid defense and the return of Doug Martin after his suspension should allow for the team success necessary to generate MVP buzz.

 

Big year for Jamison Crowder

Desean Jackson is gone. Pierre Garçon is gone. Those were the top two receivers in Washington’s vertical offense last season. Both now play for teams other than the Redskins. All those targets and receptions have to go to someone and Terrelle Pryor can’t have them all. The third year pro out of Duke has quietly impressed in his first two seasons and caught a team high 7 touchdowns last season and there’s still room to improve.

 

Saints Michael Thomas ascends to one of the top 5 receivers in the league

In his rookie year, Michael Thomas put up 92 receptions, 1,137 yards, and 9 touchdowns in 15 games with 12 starts. And that was him sharing an offense with Brandin Cooks who’s now on the Patriots. With a full season as Drew Brees top target it’s not crazy to think he could put up monster numbers and join the ranks of the truly elite receivers of the game today.

 

Christian McCaffrey helps rejuvenate the Panthers offense

Panther’s Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula saw the same Super Bowl LI the rest of us saw. According to the MMQB’s Peter King, the amount of dump off passes that James White caught was eye-opening. “In the Super Bowl, how many passes do you think Tom Brady threw to his backs? Mostly completed, right?” McCaffrey will be that outlet for Cam Newton to keep the offense from stalling and help the Panther’s offense return to prominence.