Chicago vs. Green Bay
Aaron Rodgers looked more like his old self, going up against their division rival the Bears. Chicago certainly isn’t a good team. A few weeks ago when Jay Cutler was injured and Brian Hoyer came in many speculated if this was addition by subtraction as Jay Cutler has struggled mightily for a few years now. Hoyer left the game due to a broken arm on a nasty hit by Clay Matthews. Their third stringer is Matt Barkley. I think Chicago fans want Cutler back now. An observation (though not surprising) from this game is that the Packer’s truly will be carried as far as Rodgers can take them. The Packers started WR Ty Montgomery at RB for God’s sake.
A few rookie shoutouts. Leonard Floyd (who I picked in the HH predictions post to win DROY) has a good coming out party against Green Bay notching 2 sacks forcing a fumble and recovering that fumble for Chicago’s only TD of the game. Green Bay’s Blake Martinez (who I touted in the offseason as a potential Skins prospect) notched his first interception of the year and had a college flashback thinking the play was over after the interception then realizing he can actually return it.
New York (Giants) vs. Los Angeles
Landon Collins has the pick 6 and return of the year. Collins wasn't done yet as he picked off Case Keenum again in the 4th quarter. This was a boring game to watch and the Giants are able to pull out a win with a Rashad Jennings run. It’s really a shame the Redskins weren’t able to pull out a win against the Lions (I’ll talk about that more later) but the Giants look like the worst team in the division by far (which I may get crap for saying since we do have the same record) and are still somehow winning.
Minnesota vs. Philadelphia
What a waste and choke by Minnesota. Where was the offense? Where was the defense? Where was the special teams? That is all. Sorry, I don’t feel like saying more through my disgust.
Indianapolis vs. Tennessee
A high scoring contest in the lowly AFC South. The Colts finally did not blow a 4th quarter league. Jack Doyle and Andrew Luck are looking very impressive working with one another. Old man Frank Gore is still effectively chugging along. Marcus Mariota is still making way too many mistakes and Tennessee's defense is just not very good. Demarco Murray is still the only player on offense that plays with any semblance of consistency.
Buffalo vs. Miami
Let me get this straight. The Bills crush the 49ers last week to the tune of 45-16. This week their defense was nowhere to be found against a lowly Dolphins squad. I will give credit to the Dolphins though. Their offense finally looks a bit confident. Handing the ball to Jay Ajayi has paid off the past couple weeks and Ryan Tannehill hasn't looked like complete garbage. He actually had a good game. The Patriots are gonna run away with the division but has Miami begun to turn it around with his division win? I’m not so sure.
Jacksonville vs. Oakland
Say it with me: “Gabe, you are an idiot for believing in the Jaguars. You are an idiot for drafting Blake Bortles, Allen Robinson, and Allen Hurns in one of your fantasy leagues. You were duped you bought into the HYPE”. It’s true I did buy into the idea of Jacksonville being able to be competitive in their division. Blake Bortles is so bad right down and it's trickling down and affecting the entire team. On the weekdays I listen to The Football Guys podcast with Sigmund Bloom. A few weeks ago a guest on one of the “On The Couch” episodes suggested that Blake Bortles didn’t prepare this offseason and instead rested on his laurels. I’m not here to say whether that's true or not but if it is Bortles wouldn't be the first guy to do it nor should he be surprised by the results.
When all cylinders are firing Derek Carr, Michael Crabtree, and Amari Cooper may be one of the best QB/WR connections in all of football.
Washington vs. Detroit
SIGH. I had a feeling it wouldn’t go our way. Matthew Stafford didn’t even have his best game against us yet somehow he still found a way to stick it to Redskins Nation in the end. I dread using the term “must win” but folks are already calling next week’s matchup against the Bengals a “must win”. Winning 5 in a row is no small feat in the NFL but its almost something the Redskins had to do in my opinion. The loss hurts because there is no real separation now between us and the Giants (who I know we are better than).
Maybe the division was meant to be neck and neck this year but this win would have put us in 2nd place instead of 3rd and potentially last if we lose the next game and the Giants win. Oh well. Everyone knows how much I hyped up Jones in the offseason and during the season for that matter but its time to shut that down at least partially. As a running back you can not fumble in the NFL and Jones’ fumbles last Sunday were so hurtful to the team. On a more positive note Kirk Cousins has had a few consecutive solid performances. I am very much encouraged by that and hope the team gets back on track.
Tampa Bay vs. San Francisco
San Francisco started off pretty good. Colin Kaepernick had a below average showing and didn’t produce nearly enough through the air. The real star of this game though was Jamies Winston. Sometimes I watch Winston and I go “WTF?”and other times it feels like I’m watching a QB with all-pro potential. This game the potential all -pro came out to play. He saw the field well made plays moving in the pocket and threw accurately. In addition to Winston’s excellence, the Bucs ran all over the 49ers defense.
Jaquizz Rodgers (yes Jaquizz Rodgers) ran all over the 49ers to the tune of over 150 rushing yards by himself. The feel-good story of the draft season for me was Peyton Barber. Barber went undrafted out of Auburn, was signed to the Bucs, the Bucs cut him then signed him to the practice squad then promoted him to the active roster a few weeks ago. He scored his first NFL touchdown in this game and he has some jets.
Seattle vs. Arizona
Complete snooze fest. Kickers gonna suck sometimes. That really is it.
New England vs. Pittsburgh
There was a moment in this game where I actually thought Landry Jones of all people would lead a comeback and maybe play spoiler. It was short lived. Who are we kidding? In all likelyhood the Patriots are in route to cruise to another AFC title. On offense though one player stood out more than Brady and Gronk. It’s LaGarette Blount. Statistically, I have no idea where Blount ranks among RBs relative to this point in his career but on the field it sure seems like he is quietly one of the most reliable and sneaky productive backs in the past 6 or 7 years.
Houston vs. Denver
Trevor Siemian is better than Brock Osweiler and it’s not close. I’m not going to get into the business of trying to label Osweiler 7 games into his first year of being a full-time NFL starter but overall he has not played well. Osweiler’s play has been so bad in the eyes of one Texans fan that he started a go fund me page to buy out the QBs contract. If I were Houston as crazy as it sounds with a WR like DeAndre Hopkins I would rely on the run game as much as possible. Both Alfred Blue and Lamar Miller had 11 carries a piece on Sunday. Both were averaging over 5 yards per carry. Lean on that Texans.
Kansas City vs. New Orleans
Drew Brees can’t do it all by himself but he sure is trying. Rookie Michael Thomas is looking like he’s one of Brees’ favorite targets right now. This was a great game for offense. Oh and on the defensive side of things Marcus Peters is an absolute beast! He has 5 picks in 6 games and may very well beat his career (and rookie) best of 8 in a season. I’ll just reiterate all the talking points about Alex Smith. Underappreciated, sneaky efficient, sneaky productive. What’s most impressive about the Chiefs is their ability to keep the run game going with Spencer Ware in Jamal Charles absence.
New York (Jets) vs. Baltimore
Ah the irony. Fitz gets benched. Geno tears and ACL. Fitz comes back and leads the team to victory then complains about being benched post game. The best thing that happened for the Jets this game though is that Matt forte got going. The Jets defense also absolutely smothered Terrence West who had been having success running the ball for the Ravens. The Ravens are in an absolute freefall.
San Diego vs. Atlanta
First of all, I really appreciated the throwback uniforms Atlanta was sporting this game they brought back so much nostalgia. Julio Jones had a pipsqueak day compared to his 300-yard performance earlier in the season but it still wasn’t enough. San Diego has the be the best worst team I’ve seem in a long time. It's been a while since I’ve seen a team that can consistently blow 4 quarter leads and mount impressive comeback wins. Melvin Gordon is proving he really is good. Whether you agreed or disagreed with the Bosa saga that went on this offseason you can’t deny the kid is a major talent. The guy has only played in 3 games yet has 4 sacks. Denzel Perryman (from the U) also came up big this game with an interception and a key stop to help the Chargers win.
Cleveland vs. Cincinnati
I’ll be honest. I really did not want to watch this. A week after I tap Kessler as the future of the Browns he hurts himself. Draft time favorite Kevin Hogan enters and does decently. Do I need to convince any of you how good A.J. Green is? His Hail Mary catch was insane. That Jeremy Hill guy is pretty good too. I guess you can look like the 2nd coming of Walter Peyton when there is absolutely no run defense.