Buffalo over Miami
-Harvard Fitzpatrick inspired CBS to air a montage of his achievements at Harvard. Before Harvard became The Man in Buffalo, he was the guy from Harvard. Literally, any time he came in for the injured starter, Dierdorf or Fouts or Moose would remark, "Harvard played football at HARVARD." I don't refer to him by his real name because of the overwhelming coverage of his Ivy League education. Anyway, the Bills truly lost to the Patriots. Jackson fumbled twice at critical times. Harvard had the game in his hands with under a minute left. As soon as the ball left his hands I knew it'd be pick. It looked like a Madden video game contest when you know you just threw a piece of shit to the defender, sealing your humiliating defeat. Fitzpatrick's ball traveled the speed of a flock of geese crossing a street.
Miami scored three points and Tennessee looked amazing against them. The bye week was the worst thing for the team. Ryan Tannehill threw three interceptions, causing Bill Simmons to announce the end of Tannehill's career. This game is going to be terrible. Thursday Night Football hasn't been great overall. The turnaround for the teams is too fast. Miami's best chance is its defense finding form again. Buffalo's offense may be sloppy. A couple of Miami turnovers could swing the game and put the Bills out of it; or Spiller goes off for 150 yards and 2 TDs, and Harvard plays mistake-free football.
Atlanta over Arizona
-Atlanta still can't beat the New Orleans Saints, but at least the Cardinals are coming to town. Will the Cardinals be the team which started the season 4-0 after the bye? Probably not. The Falcons weren't attacked by any websites because of their loss. The concussions to three starting QBs, and the focus on their backups dimmed the spotlight on Atlanta. What the hell do I know anyway? Why would someone pick nits with an 8-1 team? Page clicks, I reason, and a lack of other story ideas during the grind of day-to-day NFL coverage. Their loss was really a game of inches. Harry Douglas getting tackled at the 1 was the key moment of the game. Gonzalez dropped the 4th down pass to seal their defeat, an unfortunate thing for Gonzalez who had a great game.
Dallas over Cleveland
-Dallas wasn't great against the Eagles. Tony Romo's great escape from Eagles tacklers was impressive, but it happened in part because the Eagles can't tackle. Dallas will probably use the same formula to beat Cleveland and get to .500. Maybe a big special teams play gives the offense a short field in a tight spot during the game; the defense will pick off Weeden at least once, even though their defense has been completely ordinary this season. Meanwhile, Brandon Weeden's constantly misidentified in Cleveland. Is it some running joke because he's 29 years old? It's not funny. 29 is young. It reminds me of Twitter jokes during any national event whether it's a debate, awards show, or whatever, when seemingly everyone tells the same bad jokes; however, the jokes are re-tweeted and re-tweeted until they pop up in a daily newspaper the next day, forcing me to wonder why I bother with social media at all.
Green Bay over Detroit
-Calvin Johnson's 207 yard, 1 TD game caught me by surprise. I innocently watched FOX's ticker during the Eagles game and saw that. My fantasy team rejoiced. Green Bay had a bye. One wonders if the team is healthier now. Detroit's mediocre now. Their success last season was really in the first half. They regressed in the second half and lost in the wild card round. I never expected the Lions to be a good team this season. Johnson's not scoring touchdowns, because he's being tackled in the 5 yard line. Stafford's finding him. His TD drought, with Sunday being an exception, suggests a greater focus on him after last season, i.e. better game-planning for Megatron so he doesn't kill secondaries each time Detroit reaches the end-zone.
Cincinnati over Kansas City
-Ike Reese loved the fight in Kansas City Monday night; that even though the team's 1-7, they played their
hearts out AND knocked Big Ben out. The Chiefs, of course, lost. Bad teams have those games where they're in it late in the 4th quarter; however, those efforts are few and far between. The Bengals ended their four game losing streak. Marvin Lewis told his boys they need to keep pushing. I watched NFL Network's Sound FX and was underwhelmed by words shared on the sideline. The language hasn't changed in decades. Coaches yell clichés. Players nod. Pete Carroll walked around in celebration, but no one joined him. He was 'Wooing' and making gestures of a victorious nature. Marshawn high-fived his coach but more because Carroll's his coach and he had no choice. I don't need to hear any coach mic'd up. The result will be incredibly uninteresting.
St. Louis over New York Jets
-Mark Sanchez is still QB#1 for the Jets. Rex Ryan won't turn to Tebow despite the mounting cries for him. The Jets are the anti-Hollywood football team. Hollywood football teams are quarterbacked by a great man and great athlete, the running back is always charismatic and cocky, and the receivers have personality and catch phrases. The jets employ two mediocre-to-bad quarterbacks, an occasionally impressive running back, and a reserve team for their wide receivers. Defenses are ignored in Hollywood. The Jets defense isn't great anymore, but they're still the best overall unit on the team. The Rams' tie with the 49ers was horrible, but more on that later. I just want to point of the delay of game penalty the special teams took with the game on the line. Jeff Fisher's expression afterwards was amazing. He was not happy.
Philadelphia over Washington
-Nick Foles starts for the Philadelphia Eagles, which satisfies, at the very least, the WIP callers. There's open speculation about who replaces Andy Reid in the offseason, which plays stay and which go, and all that nonsense. The Redskins game has barely been covered, but Friday is when the focus totally shifts to the game. I think the defense is in trouble against RG3. If Jim Johnson were still coordinating the defense, he'd confound and befuddle RG3. Of course something's going to break Todd Bowles' way. The defense played well against Dallas. They lack speed, though, especially on the outside. Reid owns the Redskins. Foles should perform well behind a more cohesive offensive line. Kelly and the King will split snaps at right tackle. If anything, this is the most intriguing Eagles game of the season.
Tampa Bay over Carolina
-Paul Domowitch of The Daily News wrote about Carolina's problems beginning with a coach and GM who did not see eye-to-eye, with the Mike Tolbert signing as the example of the discord. Ron Rivera might not be a head coach ever again, but he'll be an excellent assistant next season. He was a sought-after assistant in Philadelphia. Tampa Bay, meanwhile, continues to do their jobs (as Dierdorf would say). TB overcame an early Chargers lead because the Chargers are mediocre and now the Padres have surpassed them as the most enjoyable San Diego squadron to watch. Carolina lost in week 1 to the Bucs. It's clear Tampa's just better. They will sweep the two meetings, and Cam Newton will be insulted once more by the national media.
Houston over Jacksonville
-The Jaguars are a terrible football team, but their black uniforms are still awesome. The only watchable part of the Jaguars in last Thursday's game against Indy was their black uniforms. I used to think the black uniforms made them 20% better, especially Byron Leftwich. They wore black in their playoff game against New England several years ago. I fervently believed they'd win on the strength of their uniforms and their defense. The Jags need to wear the all-white uniforms on Sunday. Is Maurice Jones-Drew going to play? No, really, I'm asking because I don't know. My friend, Dunk, had a great nickname for Cecil Shorts, a nickname so good I'm surprised ESPN didn't swoop him up to join a show featuring Herm Edwards, Jaws, and Trent Dilfer.
New Orleans over Oakland
-I missed most of Oakland's loss in which they allowed 55 points scored on them. I hope the color analyst, as the extra point was kicked for the 55th point, continued gushing about Dennis Allen's system and making his team believe. It may've been "Just wait til Allen has a full off-season to make this HIS team." The Carson Palmer trade screwed their ability to draft talent and develop that way. The Raiders need a better secondary; that'll improve the team. Anyway, New Orleans is relevant again after knocking off the undefeated Falcons. The Saints should 35+ points. The Raiders will play slightly better in Oakland.
Denver over San Diego
-Manning never had a problem beating Norv's Chargers in the past. Norv will continue to lose to Peyton Manning, and the citizens of San Diego will forget about the game by remembering they live in a paradise.
New England over Indianapolis
-Might the Luck v. Brady rivalry begin? No. New England beat Buffalo thanks to Harvard Fitzpatrick and Fred Jackson. Indianapolis had a great win after their emotional win with Chuck Pagano so it follows they'll lose a close one to the Patriots.
Baltimore over Pittsburgh
-The Ravens are 7-2. Yes, 7-2. One would've thought they were close to .500 by reading Associated Press articles. Roethlisberger won't play. My jaboy Leftwich will start his first game since 2009. I was the only one in America who thought Leftwich should've continued starting over Garrard. Pittsburgh used to win games with Dennis Dixon because of their impeccable scheme. Baltimore figured out how to beat Pittsburgh with Ben, though. The tide turned in their rivalry. Pittsburgh will not win a gritty 13-10 game.
Chicago over San Francisco
-ESPN usually gets screwed on several MNF games a year, which serves them right for being a horrible channel and a piss poor excuse for journalism. Read John Koblin's piece about ESPN and Tebow on Deadspin for specifics. It sucks for Chicago to lose Cutler for the second season in a row. The Super Bowl talk begins and then Cutler gets hurt. Alex Smith will play. He passed the concussion test. I imagine the NFL's concussion test is, "Do you feel less horrible today?" If the answer is a maybe, the concussed player plays.
Last Week: 9-4-1
THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK