The Buffalo Bills sent a message to their fans this week that they are going full gusto to end their 18-year playoff drought as they acquired Kelvin Benjamin from the Carolina Panthers, giving Tyrod Taylor the deep threat receiver Buffalo was sorely lacking. The Bills defense has been strong all season and should be able to shut down the New York Jets who play hard but don’t have the talent to win.
The Atlanta Falcons ended their three-game skid with a win over the Jets in a monsoon at the Meadowlands. The Falcons were not impressive in the win as the Jets missed several opportunities given to them by Matt Ryan turnovers. The Carolina Panthers also ended a skid and also have not been impressive as Cam Newton’s 2015 MVP seems so far away. The Panthers have played poorly at home all season and have been dominated by Atlanta in the last three games.
The Houston Texans appear to have gotten the steal of the draft, by trading up to pick Deshaun Watson with the #12 overall pick. Watson has set a new NFL record, throwing 19 touchdowns in his first seven games, and he is coming off his first 400-yard game. The Texans are just 3-4 due to a banged-up defense. The Indianapolis Colts are 2-6 with their only two wins coming against the only NFL teams without a win. Even when they play well they make a back-breaking mistake that leads to a loss. In Houston, this one smells like a blowout.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have turned the corner, at 4-3 they are right in the thick of the playoff chase. While they have yet to win a game in Jacksonville this year and have yet to win two in a row, their defense has been stout form the start. The Cincinnati Bengals have a host of problems on offense, as Andy Dalton has been struggling from the start of the season. Against the Jaguars pass rush it could be trouble all day for Dalton as the Jaguars continue their climb in the AFC South.
It’s hard to find a more disappointing team than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who at 2-5 have taken a major step backward after narrowly missing the playoffs last season. Jameis Winston has regressed after showing signs of stardom last year, as he has been plagued by turnover problems. DeSean Jackson their big offseason acquisition has been nearly invisible as the defense has been unable to come up with the big stop all year. The New Orleans Saints meanwhile have an improved defense, while Drew Brees continues putting up big numbers at the age of 38.
Coming off their bye week with a record of 1-6 the New York Giants remain a team in turmoil. Another of their key defensive backs has gotten in hot water with the team, as Janoris Jenkins has been suspended for failing to show up to practice after the week off. True the Giants only win came when the suspended Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie, but the Los Angeles Rams have a capable offense, led by Jared Goff and Todd Gurley who are both having breakout seasons. The only concern is will the young Rams stumble coming off their own bye.
After three straight losses, the Denver Broncos have bencher quarterback Trevor Siemian who had five interceptions in their loss on Monday Night to the Chiefs. With Paxton Lynch sidelined, they are hoping Brock Osweiler could find his game and spark a turnaround. However, Osweiler who was released by the Browns is hardly the answer. At 6-1 the Philadelphia Eagles are flying high, with Carson Wentz getting serious MVP consideration. Look for the Eagles to continue their strong play, as the Broncos contemplate activating John Elway.
At 4-4 the Baltimore Ravens have had their ups and down this season. Last week was a high point as they beat the Dolphins 4-0 on Thursday Night Football. The Tennessee Titans at 4-3 have also had their struggles. However, coming off their bye week the Titans could be primed to make a run, as quarterback Marcus Mariota has had a week to rest his sore hamstring, which has been a cause of some of the Titans struggles on offense.
The San Francisco 49ers feel they have gotten the quarterback they have been looking for after sending a second-round pick to New England for Jimmy Garoppolo. While it is unlikely that Garopollo will play, needing time to learn the playbook in just three days, the rest of the team has to feel better about themselves that their team is able to complete a deal. The Arizona Cardinals meanwhile have their own problems with Carson Palmer on the shelf. Neither Blaine Gabbert or Drew Stanton is the answer for Arizona, who now need to find their own quarterback of the future.
Last week the Seattle Seahawks showed some real mettle, beating the Texans in a classic quarterback shootout. This week they won’t need to put up as many points as the Washington Redskins come in with a banged up offensive line. Even if the Redskins were at 100% health, they would have trouble winning with the 12th Man making their voices heard at Century Link Field. With the injuries, the Redskins have sustained it’s safe to say this should be an easy win for the Seahawks.
The never-ending Ezekiel Elliott saga has the Dallas Cowboys not knowing midweek once again if their star running back will be able to play as the suspension is back on after the latest court ruling. This is the NFL of Roger Goodell confusion frustration and aggravation. Even if Elliott was cleared to play and there was no more suspension drama the Cowboys would have their work cut out for them against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs at 5-2 are a bounce here and there away from being unbeaten.
Can someone please explain what the hell the Miami Dolphins are doing? Why was Jay Ajayi traded? When Ajayi ran for over 100 yards the Dolphins won, when he didn’t you got scores like last week’s 40-0 debacle. Even worse Jay Cutler is back at practice which only means more pain and suffering oh the endless suffering. In two National Televises games, one in London one on Thursday the Dolphins have been outscored 60-0. I expect more pain against the Oakland Raiders, as Sunday Night is right for Stranger Things binge because their fans feel like they are in the upside down after Ajayi getting sent to Philadelphia for jack squat.
The Detroit Lions are back to being the Detroit Lions. After their fourth-quarter magic got them in the playoffs in 2016, this year they just can’t seem to get anything right, finding ways to lose games they outplay their opponents. The Lions failures in the red zone have been nearly awe-inspiring as they seem to play like a mime running into the invisible force field surrounding the end zone. The Green Bay Packers have their problems without Aaron Rodgers, but they always seem to beat Detroit at Lambeau Field.