Is Justin Jefferson done in Minnesota? Carolina isn’t just losing on Sundays, slow down on the Lions and news flash: Tom Brady really is amazing.
Last Week: 5 – 8 – 1
Season: 36 – 37 – 5
Thursday (8:20PM ET)
Broncos 8 at Chiefs 19
Kansas City just wins. I don’t even think they’re trying that hard, which of course is not true but you know what I mean. They just make sure they win and they’ll worry about firing the engines to full blast in January. Just curious… do Bronco fans hate Russell Wilson more or Sean Payton? I don’t understand how an offense with as much talent as Denver can be so bad, but then maybe that talent isn’t really that talented. Steve Smith seems to certainly think so.
Early, Early Game (9:30AM ET)
Ravens at Titans
Baltimore played with their food last week and it ended up biting them. The Ravens controlled every aspect of that game for 48 minutes. Unfortunately, dropped passes (two touchdowns no less), a miscommunication on 4th down, and some sloppy quarterback play kept the game within reach for the Steelers so they took it. Good teams dispose of lesser teams early and Baltimore failed to do it against the Colts and made the same mistake with the Steelers. Statistically speaking, Baltimore’s rushing attack is fine, better than fine, in fact. It’s the 4th best in the NFL. However, I think another season without a true lead back continues to drag this offense down. There’s no home run hitter in the backfield and the unit lacks explosiveness. I think ultimately both the Ravens and Titans end up in the playoffs but you can drive yourself crazy trying to figure out what version of each team will show up from week to week. TITANS +4.5
Early Games (1:00PM ET)
Commanders at Falcons
Desmond Ridder was on a direct flight to the bench a week ago. Instead, he rerouted with a near perfect performance. Obviously, an NFL quarterback needs to produce on a consistent basis, but Ridder’s performance against Houston bought him some time to continue developing on the field and not from the sideline. I think I might be in on Atlanta. Still not the biggest Arthur Smith guy but that offense is some tinkering away from being a real problem. FALCONS -2.5
Vikings at Bears
Is it possible Justin Jefferson just played his last snap for the Vikings? I know, it sounds outrageous and “click-baity” (not a real word), but hear me out. Jefferson wants a new contract. The deal did not get done this past offseason. The Vikings will now be without their best player for the next month and are another loss or two from essentially being toast for the season. They do not have a long-term solution at Quarterback. Kirk Cousins is fine, probably even underrated, but I don’t think Minnesota wants to build their future around him. They’ve also been yard-saling assets the last six months and Cousins could be the next out the door, so competing in the near future does not appear to be a top priority. Thus… 1. Does Jefferson even want to be apart of what Minnesota is doing? And… 2. Does Minnesota just grab two firsts and a second or third for Jefferson and double down on the rebuilding effort? I know it sounds crazy, but it’s not really that crazy. I can’t believe I’m taking the Vikings here. What am I doing? VIKINGS -3
Seahawks at Bengals
The AFC North had a month head start to separate themselves from the Bengals and a sluggish/gimpy Joe Burrow. They failed. Cincinnati is only a game out and Burrow appeared back to form. Yes, the Bengals are still dealing with injuries and even their win in Arizona wasn’t the prettiest of wins, but the worst certainly seems behind the Bengals and the rest of the division failed to capitalize. SEAHAWKS +2.5
49ers at Browns
We are five weeks in and the two best quarterbacks in the NFC according to my eyes are Brock Purdy and Jared Goff. The former was the last pick of the 2022 draft, the latter an unwanted castoff. Perhaps the craziest part is I don’t think either of them is a fraud. Goff has been darn near excellent for nearly two years and Purdy literally hasn’t lost. I would like to think Purdy is a product of Kyle Shanahan’s offensive wizardry, and maybe that is part of it, but Purdy makes impressive throws every game that make it hard to argue otherwise. Anyway… No Deshaun Watson. No Nick Chubb. Bad weather. Coming off a great win against what was thought to be a top threat in the NFC. This has all the makings of a massive let down game for the Niners. They’ll win but I’m taking the points. BROWNS +9.5
Panthers at Dolphins
Not a great time to be a Panthers fan.
Traded one of the NFL’s top 3 most potent weapons for a 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th rounder.
Traded their top offensive weapon (after the McCaffrey trade), their 2024 first round pick and two second round picks to move up 8 spots and draft what currently looks like the wrong quarterback.
Did I mention that the 2024 first is almost certainly going to be a top 5 pick? Nauseating.
If Miami doesn’t look past this week toward their showdown with the Eagles they could easily score 50+ against a Panthers team that will be without nearly half a dozen starters. No line is too high here. DOLPHINS -14
Colts at Jaguars
Jacksonville offense when not in Jacksonville; 26 points per game. Jacksonville offense when in Jacksonville; 26 points total. Maybe London made the Jaguars whole, but I’ll have to see it stateside before I believe the Jaguar offense is actually what many expected. COLTS +4
Saints at Texans
I’m in on the Texans. DeMeco Ryans has the team believing it can compete despite a roster many believed was among the NFL’s worst. I know it’s unwise to judge a draft class after only a month, but CJ Stroud has all the good vibes to his game. Very similar to a young Joe Burrow, Stroud is unfazed by the moments of an NFL game. He’s not perfect and there’s still plenty to improve, but he is far and away the best of the 2023 draft class right now, and there’s little evidence of that changing down the road, in my opinion. I hate this pick but I’m tired of New Orleans crushing me. SAINTS -1.5
Afternoon Games (4:05PM ET)
Patriots at Raiders
Tom Brady’s resume looks better by the day. I’m not saying Bill Belichick doesn’t deserve credit for New England’s decades long run of success. That’s just stupid. However, I am saying maybe Brady deserves more of it. The Patriots did not and do not draft well, and still Brady found away to keep that offense competitive and more often than not… elite. Now we get to see what the Patriots lack of talent looks like with an average QB and the footage is gross. I saw a list of New England’s offensive draft picks over recent years and the list was just that; offensive. It could have been a G League basketball roster and I wouldn’t have known. You can’t draft poorly and compete in the NFL… unless of course you had Tom Brady. RAIDERS -2.5
Cardinals at Rams
Sometimes I watch Matthew Stafford and think he’s the best quarterback in the league. Then there’s the 2nd half against the Eagles and you wonder if he got drunk during halftime. I know he’s on an island out there because Sean McVay hates running the football, and I know the Eagles pass rush went into high gear, but 10/21 for 83 yards is Zach Wilson output. CARDINALS +7
Eagles at Jets
Look ahead game for the Eagles here. I’d feel awful about this one except for two things. First, the Eagles pass rush against Zach Wilson could be the equivalent of dropping a goat into a lion’s den. Second, there will be a good number of Eagle fans driving up the turnpike to make sure the Eagles don’t sleep walk through this one. It was great to see Jalen Hurts somewhat unleashed in the ground game. He still doesn’t look right, though. He’s hesitant and clearly lacks any kind of burst. Not sure if there’s an injury or just him being extremely cautious, but the offense cannot reach it’s full potential without Hurts as a weapon. It’s clearly impacted the offense in the red zone. Also, can we figure out a balance with the receivers so one of them isn’t miserable and isolated on the sideline every week? Thanks. EAGLES -6.5
Lions at Buccaneers
Detroit looks very good. Yes, it’s true. They are also a lot of fun to watch. However, and please don’t egg my house for raining on the nationally loved Lions, maybe we should consider their schedule before we go ahead and crown them a legitimate contender in the NFC? I’m not discrediting their victory over the Chiefs in Week 1, but that game was a loss for the Chiefs the moment Travis Kelce was ruled out, so yeh I’m discrediting it. Lol. Since that victory, the Lions have beaten the Falcons, Packers and Panthers. Not exactly the toughest of opponents and one could even argue the three worst quarterbacks in the NFC (apologies to Daniel Jones). My point is: Maybe slow down on the Detroit love. BUCCANEERS +3
Sunday Night (8:20PM ET)
Giants at Bills
The Giants are the biggest dumpster fire outside of Carolina. The biggest difference is we don’t have to see the Carolina wreckage on national TV every week. Can we mercy rule the Giants already or do we need to wait another two weeks? Every year there’s at least one team that overcomes a slow start and crawls their way back into playoff contention. I liked the Giants as that team when the schedule came out. These poor guys drew the Cowboys, 49ers, Dolphins and Bills within the first six weeks. However, the Giants look dreadful and the injuries are mounting. The schedule softens after this, so maybe there’s still a glimmer of hope but there’s little evidence of any competency from the Giants to this point. BILLS -15
Monday Night (8:15PM ET)
Cowboys at Chargers
I wasn’t completely the surprised the Cowboys got trounced by San Francisco. This is the Mike McCarthy/Dak Prescott modus operandi, after all. I was, however, reasonably alarmed by how ineffective the Dallas defense was at limiting Brock Purdy and the 49er offense, especially after some early success. Once the 49ers went up 7-0, the Dallas defense “won” three straight possessions; two punts and a Christian McCaffrey fumble. I thought we were in for a great game. Nope. San Francisco went on to score touchdowns on five of their next six possessions, slamming the door on the Cowboys and any hope of an entertaining game. I don’t know why the Cowboys don’t run the football more and pass out of play action, but I am certainly thrilled whenever they let Prescott drop back and try to win the game. CHARGERS +2.5