Last week was a flat-out disaster for the Los Angeles Rams, as they lost at home to the Buccaneers. The defense faltered, and Jared Goff had trouble holding on to the ball. The Seattle Seahawks meanwhile had a strong game in Arizona. Hosting the Rams on Thursday Night sets up well for Seattle as they come in playing well on both sides of the ball. Add in the Seahawks history of winning at home, and this looks like a win for the Seahawks.
It is the battle of the backup quarterback as Kyle Allen and the Carolina Panthers play host to Gardner Minshew and the Jacksonville Jaguars. These two teams are so similar; it is as if they should have the Spiderman Meme attached. Both are 1995 expansion teams, named after ferocious felines. Both teams have strong defenses, and both have had modest success over the years. The Panthers have been to two Super Bowls, while the Jaguars have lost the AFC Championship three times. They also have the better player in Christian McCaffery who win carry the load for a Carolina win.
It is a battle of the winless teams, as the Cincinnati Bengals host the Arizona Cardinals. Each of these teams had their best showing in Week 1, where the Cardinals led by Kyler Murray had a fourth quarterback comeback in a tie against the Lions, while the Bengals played Seattle tough and lost on the road. Each team has played steadily worse since. The Bengals are the choice because they are home, and the Cardinals have to play an early game.
A matchup of inconsistent teams sees the Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons each coming off losses at home in Week 4. The Texans overall have looked better, as their defense has been steady for the most part, while the Falcons have been picked apart. Also troubling for Atlanta is the play of quarterback Matt Ryan, who has yet to have a strong game in 2019. For those reasons and Deshaun Watson, the Texans seem like the smart play.
The New Orleans Saints have managed things quite well without Drew Brees; Teddy Bridgewater has won his first two starts, thanks in part to the play of Alvin Kamara and the New Orleans defense. Over the years, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have given the Saints all they could handle, as they have split each of the last four years. This includes a win by Tampa in the season opener at the Superdome in 2018. The Saints will get the win, but Tampa will scratch and claw the entire 60 minutes.
Fans of the New York Giants have gone all-in on Daniel Jones, as the rookie quarterback from Duke has won his first two starts. Meanwhile, fans of the Minnesota Vikings are asking for a refund from Kirk Cousins, as the big free-agent signing from 2018 has yet to impress. Against winning teams, Cousins has been terrible, while excelling against the weak teams, just as he did with the Redskins. The Giants might be 2-2, but they are their issues, especially with Saquon Barkley on the shelf. Look for Cousins to get another win sending the Giants back under .500 to keep his string of beating losing teams alive.
This is the game that Khalil Mack has circled on his calendar for over a year, as the Chicago Bears linebacker faces his former team. The Oakland Raiders have had flashes this season, especially during their win in Indianapolis last week. The Bears also had a big game last week, as they nearly shutout the Vikings. Mitch Trubisky will likely miss a few weeks with an injured shoulder, but for the Bears with Chase Daniels winning as a backup is easier when you have a monster defense.
The Spruce Goose was airborne longer than the New York Jets in 2019. To call the season anything other than a disaster would be wrong for Gang Green, as high expectations have turned into cunceling before the end of September. Sam Darnold is still recovering from Mono; Luke Falk is again starting with a terrible offensive line protecting him. The Philadelphia Eagles meanwhile are coming off a gratifying win in Lambeau and appear ready to fly.
After three straight losses to start the season, the Pittsburgh Steelers got their first win on Monday Night. Mason Rudolph played well but is not going to make fans forget Ben Roethlisberger. The Baltimore Ravens meanwhile have lost their last two games and need a big win to rebound off the beating they got at home against the Browns. Overall the Ravens are the better team, and the game should be close as this series usually is. However, to believe the Steelers are back is as foolhardy, as they were helped out by a terrible performance by the Bengals.
The Tennessee Titans with fans calling for a change in quarterback marched into Atlanta last week and dominated the Falcons like they were Sherman’s Army. Marcus Mariota played his best game of the season as the Titans defense smothered the Falcons attack. The Buffalo Bills meanwhile suffered their first loss at home to the Patriots and played well especially on defense. However, with quarterback Josh Allen in concussion protocol and the energy spent it is hard to see them winning in Nashville, especially if Matt Barkley is forced to play.
Aren’t Super Bowl Champions supposed to play tough schedules? Then, what the hell is going on with the New England Patriots? At 4-0, they have played some of the worst teams in the NFL. The Bills last week are lone exception having been 3-0, but New England’s other three opponents are a combined 1-10 so far on the season. Now comes the 0-4 Redskins to add to that. Washington has clearly quit on their coach as Jay Gruden’s team is coming off a non-competitive effort against the Giants. If the Redskins can only score three on the Giants, the Patriots’ top-ranked defense may actually hold them to a negative score.
Last week was a total disaster for the Denver Broncos. Not only did they lose at home, dropping to 0-4 but also lost a key defensive player for the season as Bradley Chubb to an ACL injury. Joe Flacco has been terrible so far, and the Broncos do not have an available backup. The Los Angeles Chargers meanwhile got a boost from the return of Melvin Godron in Miami. Phillip Rivers has been good at beating the weaker teams, and right now they don’t come much weaker than the Broncos.
Could it be that the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys were each looking past last week’s game to their showdown at AT&T Stadium? Each team suffered their first loss in primetime games, which were expected to win. I expect this one to be a good game, with the game being decided in the final minutes. The Cowboys offensive line was beaten up in New Orleans, while the Packers have had a few extra days to rest. Aaron Rodgers has a habit of breaking Dallas’ heart late, and this game will be no different.
Last week was the first time that the Indianapolis Colts appeared to miss Andrew Luck as they were stunned at home by the Raiders. The Colts were somewhat banged up as several key players were out including T.Y. Hilton. It is hard to imagine them feeling better coming into a Sunday Night game in Arrowhead. The Chiefs are one of two 4-0 teams, coming off a magical two-minute drive by Patrick Mahomes. Look for Mahomes to shine under the lights, as the Chiefs keep pace with the Patriots.
The Cleveland Browns looked like the team that had the off-season hype as they went into Baltimore and stomped the Ravens. Now playing their third primetime game, as many as they have had the last three seasons combined, as they find themselves in San Francisco on a Monday Night. The San Francisco 49ers are coming off a bye after winning their first three games. They need to be careful not to come out flat because the Browns will take advantage. This one should be a good one, with Jimmy Garoppolo getting a late score for Niners win.