Just a quick takeaway from today’s NFL action. Hope you enjoy.
PITTSBURGH 28 @ CINCINNATI 21
As a Bengals fan, this result is not surprising. I did not expect them to win today. Although they certainly got my hopes up by taking the lead with just over one minute left to play. Problem is they gave the ball back to the Steelers with all three timeouts left. You could see the writing on the wall before the Bengals even made the PAT to take the lead 21-20. Bengals fans could have a legitimate grip with the game winning touchdown coming on a “pick play” where there was less pick and more outright offensive pass interference, but I’m not one to blame the refs. Just play better. The good news for Cincy? They are still tied for first place with Baltimore at 4-2 in the AFC North. Bad news is they head to, as I write this, undefeated Kansas City next week for Sunday Night Football. Pittsburgh enters their bye week at 3-2-1 and one more win over Baltimore or Cincinnati away from the division lead. Oh, and they just might be adding the single best skill player in the league back to the team in Le’Veon Bell.
SEATTLE 27 @ OAKLAND 3 (Game played in London, England)
I kind of like Oakland here and boy was that dumb. I figured Seattle had shot their load last week against LA and would just be worn down and sleeping on the Raiders. But after this I just think Oakland is very bad. Like 3-13 bad. Seattle is solid, but I don’t think they should be beating anyone 27-3 without Earl Thomas. Their defense is just not the same without him on the field. This was basically a shutout. Oakland made their field goal with only 8 minutes to play and it was already 0-27. Pretty surprising today, but I think when we look back at this scoreline in maybe Week 12 it will be pretty expected by then.
INDIANAPOLIS 34 @ NY JETS 42
I texted a buddy around noon today that I kind of liked the Colts defense because they were getting rookie LB Darius Leonard back from injury. He is a monster. That plus facing rookie Sam Darnold kind of looked like an appealing match up. I’m not ready to say I was horribly wrong here though as the scoreline indictates. The second play of the game was a pick 6 thrown by Andrew Luck (who is basically a poor man’s Brett Favre at this point), and then he led them down the field and scored on the ensuing possession. It was 7-7 in under three minutes and the Jets hadn’t even taken a snap on offense. They drove and kicked a field goal. After forcing a three and out, Darnold threw a pick on their second drive. The aforementioned Darius Leonard forced a fumble on the Jets’ next drive. Then a three and out. So, four drives, three points, two turnovers. Solid start for the Indy D. The Colts offense proceeds to fumble it back to New York in their own territory. The Jets only have to go 43 yards for a touchdown and they do with two third down conversions. Luck answers with another interception and the Jets put together a scoring drive of 4 plays, -8 yards in 29 seconds….. come on. Now I’ll give Darnold some credit, he led them to a field goal with only 42 seconds left in the first half on 6 plays and 58 yards. If we take away the first and last drives, the Jets ran 19 plays and gained 59 yards on 5 possessions. Yet they led 23-13 thanks to Andrew Luck throwing 2 interceptions and 17 points off turnovers. The Jets scored 6 “normal” points. Now I’m not chalking this up as a win by any stretch. I just think this is a game that you really had to have eyes on to understand and the box score lies.
LA CHARGERS 38 @ CLEVELAND 14
I didn’t see a second of this one, so take it with a grain of salt. This just makes me think of Dennis Green’s legendary press conference. The Browns are who I thought they were. An average team with some promising young talent. Not ready to compete yet. The Chargers had 449 total yards to the Browns’ 317. They also ran 14 fewer plays. That’s 7.7 yards per play to 4.4 yards per play. Not good for the home team. Weird thing is Phil Rivers only threw for 207 yards. Hard to imagine how you put up 38 points with so few passing yards. Melvin Gordon ran for 132 yards and 3 touchdowns and let’s just say I’m very happy to have him on my fantasy team. Jarvis Landry was held to only 2 catches for 11 yards, so let’s just say I’m not happy to have him on the same fantasy team. I was watching the Sunday Night Football pregame and I think they said Baker Mayfield was hurt during the game, so there has to be more to the story here. I just checked the drive charts, and Cleveland was down 3-14 late in the second quarter and failed to convert on 4th and 2 from the Chargers’ 23-yard line. The Chargers then scored in 1:22 and it was 21-3 just like that. The Browns got a field goal as time expired in the second quarter, but Baker threw a pick on their first drive out of halftime and the Chargers scored on the next play. It was 28-6 with 11:49 left in the third after that. A Browns three and out followed by a Chargers 11 play, 81 yard, 7:10 drive to make it 35-6 sealed the deal. Sad thing is Cleveland couldn’t really move the ball down 14-35 in the fourth quarter. That is prime stat-stuffing garbage time for fantasy owners. Come on Cleveland…
TAMPA BAY 29 @ ATLANTA 34
I loved the Falcons -3.5 last Monday. Told my buddy to jump all over that. He brought up a good point that the public was all over Atlanta as well (fading the public is much smarter than being on the same side as the majority of bettors…think about it, Vegas has to keep those lights on somehow right?), but I just couldn’t shake the feeling that Atlanta would win this by at least a touchdown. They went up 21-6 and picked off Jameis Winston with less than five minutes in the first half, but punted it back and gave up a touchdown. Really could have put the game out of reach there. It ended up 24-13 at halftime in favor of Atlanta. Tampa Bay got within two early in the fourth quarter, but the Falcons answered with a touchdown. The Bucs answered right back and it was 29-31 with only 3:47 to play. The Falcons made a field goal to cover the spread and HOLY CRAP DID I GET LUCKY. I’m reading the play-by-play as I’m typing… Tampa had it at the Atlanta 5 yard line with 7 seconds left!!! Atlanta -3.5 never in doubt!!!
CAROLINA 17 @ WASHINGTON 23
This is a classic overreaction game. Washington gets embarrassed on Monday Night Football. Everyone is writing them off. They are home underdogs. And they win. Along with the Colts and Dolphins, Washington made up my three teams not getting any respect this week that I thought presented value. If only I had an avenue to share my thoughts publicly before things happen… Anyway, Adrian Peterson had 17 carries for 97 yards. My dude Paul Richardson Jr. caught a touchdown and Washington took care of business. It was 14-0 after the first quarter. Carolina didn’t even score until 3:05 left in the first half. At halftime it was 17-6 Washington. They exchanged field goals then a Panther touchdown made it 17-20 with 8:32 left in the game. Washington tacked on three more before stopping Carolina on 4th & 5 with only 38 seconds left from their own 16-yard line. The NFL man, delivers awesome finishes every week.
ARIZONA 17 @ MINNESOTA 27
This one wasn’t even as close as the score indicates. Minnesota out gained them 411-269 total yards. Passing was similar at 216-208 yards with the Vikings edging the Cards. Rushing is where Minnesota killed them. 195 yards to 61 for Arizona. Pretty sure the narrative surrounding Minnesota was their poor offensive line play… welp. Each team turned it over 2 times. It was the Latavious Murray show. 24 carries for 155 yards and a touchdown. Oh yeah and Adam freaking Thielen. 11 catches for 123 yards and a touchdown. That dude is annoying. (In an unrelated note, I have Stefon Diggs on several fantasy teams and Thielen on exactly zero.)
BUFFALO 13 @ HOUSTON 20
Wow. A combined 27 first downs and each team gained less then 4 yards per play. I don’t have the league averages, but suffice it to say these two were very below average on offense today. Add that to three turnovers each, and goodness gracious. My thoughts are with anyone that sat through this poopfecta down in Houston today. The Astros are in the ALCS at least. Nathan Peterman threw it 12 times… I guess Josh Allen got hurt? LeSean McCoy had 16 carries for 73 yards… maybe give him the ball more. Houston trailed 10-13 with 13 minutes left in the game. How in the hell are you losing to Nathan Peterman at home? Yeesh. Luckily for the Texans, Peterman threw a pick six with only 1:30 left. Just for good measure he threw another interception on the next drive. Truly amazing stuff here. My takeaway is this: Houston isn’t good and Buffalo is very, very bad. Will they win another game this year?
CHICAGO 28 @ MIAMI 31 (OT)
Similar to the Carolina-Washington game, everyone was writing Miami off after their collapse last week. They outplayed the Bengals for over 2.5 quarters and aside from two incredibly random pick 6’s including a ‘ball bouncing off a helmet into a defensive lineman’s hands’ interception. In what universe should Mitchell Trubisky be favored on the road? I’ll give you a hint, not this one. Now, it did go to overtime and Chicago missed a 53-yarder to win it in OT. I think the lesson here is that neither team is very good. I will be surprised if either one makes the playoffs.
LA RAMS 23 @ DENVER 20
Man, Vegas must have cleaned up today. The Rams were favored by 7 points and led by 10 late. Denver scored to make it 20-23 with only 1:22 to play. The onside kick did not work. In what is not even slightly breaking news to anyone, Todd Gurley is really freaking good at football. He ran for 208 yards and 2 touchdowns on 28 carries. Gotta hope he doesn’t get over used in the regular season. The Rams are legit Super Bowl contenders. Case Keenum threw for over 300 yards, but that doesn’t mean much. This game wasn’t nearly as close as the final score. It was 20-3 with 3:09 left in the third quarter and Keenum threw a pick in LA territory. Not to be outdone, Jared Goff threw an interception right back and Denver scored to make it 10-20 still in the third quarter. The Rams drove into the red zone, but had to settle for a field goal. It was never really in doubt for the Rams, but of course Denver covers the spread.
BALTIMORE 21 @ TENNESSEE 0
This game was fun. It produced some awesome stats.
Titans first downs: 7
Titans punts: 9
Baltimore sacks: 11
Breaking news: It is not good if you let your quarterback get sacked more times then you get first downs. Holy cow I do not understand Tennessee. They got former LA Rams offensive coordinator Matt LeFleur and I really expected Mariota to take a step forward with some nice weapons around him. Baltimore does have a legit defense, but goodness how do you get shut out at home?? At least my boy Crabtree finally caught a touchdown. Just in time for me to bench him on my fantasy team. Fun stuff.
JACKSONVILLE 7 @ DALLAS 40
Did not see this coming. I may or may not have allocated some capital on Jason Garrett to be the first coach fired this season, so this was the opposite of what I wanted to see. It was 10-0 Dallas and I remember thinking that the Jags were done. Blake Bortles just cannot come from behind. He has to have a lead to be effective. Also missing Leonard Fournette is just killing Jacksonville on offense. Biggest takeaway in my opinion: Dak Prescott looked good. Two touchdowns and 82 yards rushing. He added a rushing touchdown as well. Cole Beasley caught 9 passes for 101 yards and 2 touchdowns. Man stacking those two up in a daily fantasy lineup would have been profitable. Jacksonville hosts Houston next week. I love the Jags in that spot. Dallas goes to Washington in what is now a big NFC East match up with first place on the line.
It was a fun Week 6, on to Kansas City…