Who’d have thought that the best game of the early slate would be Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh.
Not only was it the most competitive of the 1:00 games, coming down to a last second touchdown by the Buccaneers to seal the upset, but it featured a surprising number of trick plays and big gainers from what are normally a pair of low key offenses. Oh by the way, whose idea was it to sign Josh McCown instead of giving Mike Glennon a full season to show what he can do?
This Week’s Sucked And Won
The Texans’ O-line (HOU). I’m blaming them for the havoc wreaked by the Buffalo defense. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was sacked twice and got hit 9 more times. Houston running backs Arian Foster and Alfred Blue combined for a horrendous 15 yards on 17 carries, as Buffalo defenders spent the entire game in Houston’s backfield. It is a miracle the Texans won this game.
And then there were two…Actually, the remaining undefeated teams are a bit anti-climactic, since both of them (Arizona & Cincinnati) had byes this week. Which one will fall first? My money’s on both. Cincinnati plays at New England next week while the Cardinals travel to Denver. And then there were none.
Shocking realization of the week
Green Bay vs. Chicago? No punts. Not one. Not all game. Nice job, defense.
Revenge is sweet. Both of this week’s “out to show his old team” matchups came out in favor of the dissed player. Ryan Fitzpatrick outplayed EJ Manuel to lead the Texans to a win over the Bills and Steve Smith was a one-man wrecking crew, catching 7 balls for 134 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Panthers.
This Week’s Great But Lost
Antonio Brown, WR (PIT). Brown caught 7 balls for 134 yards and 2 touchdowns, but he also completed a pass (to Le’Veon Bell) for 17 yards. Definitely not his fault they lost.
How did the Detroit Lions go from a middle of the pack defense to #1 in the NFL? Did they bring in some key free agents? No. Did they commit to improving their defense in the draft? No, not that either. Instead, the one big difference in Detroit’s defense this season is they scrapped the moronic wide-9 (the defensive equivalent of the run and shoot) and are playing a conventional 4-3 with a variety of blitz packages in place. The wide-9 has been abject failure everywhere it’s been run. The next coach to implement it should be fired on the spot.
Thursday Pick: Minnesota (+9.5) @Green Bay (MGM Mirage)
9.5 points seems like an awful lot to give to a 2-2 Vikings team that is better than people thought and excited about playing for Teddy Bridgewater. It seems like a lot to give with a Green Bay team that only just looked good last week against the Bears. But the Vikes have yet to play a game that finished with a margin in single digits – it’s feast or famine – and the Pack has mostly owned Minnesota in the Rodgers era. I’ll give the points, but I don’t like the game.
Green Bay Packers 28 Minnesota Vikings 17
“We worked on that in practice. Romeo and J.B. had us prepared. They told us, ‘Look, they love that play,’ so we practiced against it. And J.J. made the play twice, exactly the same as he did today. The first time he knocked the ball down. The second time he made the pick and went all the way.” – Texans S Danieal Manning, revealing that, yes, Houston actually practiced J.J. Watt’s 80 yard pick-six.
“There’s more coming.” – Giants TE Larry Donnell, after catching 7 passes for 54 yards and 3 touchdowns against Washington.
“We want Vick.” – NY Jets fans, chanting for Geno Smith’s backup during their game against the Lions.
“Teddy! Teddy! Teddy!” – Minnesota Vikings fans, upon seeing rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater return to the sidelines after leaving Sunday’s game with an injury.
“It stinks. It hurts. I feel sick.” – Steelers S Mike Mitchell, following the team’s collapse against Tampa Bay.
“He’s not playing. How can that help? He’s not on the field.” – Raiders RB Maurice Jones-Drew, responding to a question about whether coach Dennis Allen should be fired.
“We didn’t play very well. It’s pretty obvious. The team scores 38 points, you didn’t play very well.” – Panthers LB Luke Kuechly on their loss to the Ravens.
“Today was a total team not-effort on offense.” – Eagles OC Pat Shurmur, on the team getting shut out (the Eagles 21 points were all scored on defense or special teams).
“Sometimes a 90% Calvin is better than a lot of folks.” – Lions coach Jim Caldwell, on his decision to play Calvin Johnson even though he wasn’t healthy.
“I wanted a piece of the cake. Whenever you get the opportunity, you got to take advantage of it. That’s exactly what happened. I put the dagger. Boom!” – Cowboys WR Dez Bryant, apparently so excited about beating the Saints he went completely insane.