Wedding activities are starting to add up and the first thing to go is the sports stuff that doesn’t bring in much attention anyway. I was glad to have a break and just enjoy the engagement party but without time to look at the games…boy did my picks suffer.
I got pummeled at 6-8 on the week and didn’t even have time to look into the ATS picks or the over/under bets. That is certainly a low point on the season and put me in last place in my own household as Christen won the week at home and in our group with a 9-5 record, even after starting 0-1, and Ridley’s luck got her to 7-7 this week.
Unfortunately, I start my recaps with the last game of the week and that means I have to go straight into the Bills’ disastrous 24-22 loss to the Broncos on Monday Night Football. It was so disastrous that Buffalo fired their offensive coordinator, Ken Dorsey, the next morning. Somebody had to fall on the sword and while the playcalling had gotten stale and predictable, especially in the passing game, Dorsey is not the one on the field turning the ball over. That would primarily be Josh Allen.
Look, I am happy Allen is on the Bills and I want him to have success, but to pretend like his mistakes are all Dorsey’s fault is a misnomer. Allen leads the league in turnovers and he added three more to the tally with a pair of interceptions and a fumble. Correlation is not causation, despite what the fanbase is mostly saying. The first interception was a ball that probably should have been caught by Gabe Davis but the other one was just a misread of the defense and a poorly thrown ball. And let’s face it, the vast majority of Allen’s interceptions this year have been the mistake variety, not tipped passes. As an elite QB, you’re not supposed to make that same error over and over.
Buffalo turned the ball over 4 times in total and it probably should have been five but James Cooks’ second fumble bounced back into his arms in the most fortunate of moments. That one moment wasn’t enough to erase all the others and credit to the Broncos who played a good, measured game. Russell Wilson turned back the clock and looked the most like the guy Denver paid for since he’s put on a Broncos uniform and made just a filthy play, under pressure, to hit Courtland Sutton for a crucial TD on a blown play. Even with all the mistakes, the Bills were in a great position to win the game until yet another catastrophic error burned them as that 12-men-on-the-field penalty negated the field goal miss that would have given them the win. Vomit. Good game Denver.
We were treated to a lower-scoring Sunday night game but, with Josh McDaniels out of the picture, the Raiders improved to 5-5 on the year with a 16-12 win over the Jets and their elite defense. And not that the Jets’ offense is amazing, but the Vegas defense stepped up. Maybe there’s something to letting some heads roll.
Las Vegas didn’t necessarily look like a great team, but the Jets’ defense is tough for even the best offenses so the win is still a major step in the right direction for the Raiders and their offense. At the very least, Vegas seems to have figured out that getting Josh Jacobs a bunch of carries is a good idea and it helps free up Davante Adams.
We got a handful of really fun and wild afternoon games this week but we’ll start in the Pacific Northwest, with the Seahawks improving to 6-3 on the year with a 29-26 win over the Commanders. This one was a pretty close game the whole way as the biggest lead of the game was just 7 points. The Hawks had to work their way into the game as they got stung on a huge TD catch and run by Brian Robinson and just managed to tie the game at the half. Seattle didn’t score a TD until the 3rd quarter but they scored on three of their next four possessions, including the game-winning FG drive. This was the game you wanted to have your fantasy QBs in because Sam Howell and Geno Smith both went over 300 yards and threw multiple TDs. Washington may not be in as much trouble as it appeared when they cleared cap space.
In another high-scoring affair, the Lions narrowly edged out the Chargers, 41-38, in Los Angeles. When Detroit jumped out to a 17-3 lead in the second quarter, the game looked pretty well in hand at that point but the Bolts found a way to push the pace and scored TDs on their next 3 consecutive possessions to tie the game. Then the teams traded TDs to keep the game tied at 38-38. It was one of those whoever-has the-ball-last-is-going-to-win type of games and Detroit had it last for the game-winning FG drive. Even with the loss, this is what the Chargers offense is supposed to look like and could be a good catalyst for them.
Kyler Murray is back! Well, it wasn’t really that prolific and probably had something to do with James Conner returning as well but the Cardinals beat the Falcons in Arizona, 25-23, also on a last-second field goal. However, with so many of the league’s star players going down to season-ending injuries, it is good to have Kyler back. This was a close one the whole way too and should give the Cardinals a bit of confidence, even if it doesn’t change their playoff position.
The only game in the afternoon that didn’t end on a last-second field goal wasn’t even close as the Cowboys smacked around a hapless Giants, 49-17. It’s kind of surprising that New York even managed 17 but Dallas had just taken their foot off the gas at that point. If the Boys can continue to take advantage of Brandin Cooks to open up the passing game like this, they are going to be a handful the rest of the way.
It wasn’t just the afternoon either, although that’s where more of the last-second wins were iced, Week 10 was the week of close games as 10 games were decided by 4 points or less.
One of those was the Browns, 33-31, comeback win over the Ravens in Baltimore. Cleveland had already lost to the Ravens earlier in the season and it looked like Baltimore was getting ready to ascend before they blew a 15-point 3rd-quarter lead. The Ravens were still up by a TD with about 8 minutes left in the 4th quarter but it was Greg Newsome that had the pick-six and subsequent stand by the CLE defense that gave Dustin Hopkins the chance to win it, and he didn’t miss. I’m less sure how good either the Browns or Ravens are now, but it also came out on Wednesday morning that Deshaun Watson will have season-ending surgery on his throwing shoulder.
The 49ers came out of their bye week reloaded, getting Chase Young from the Commanders and getting Deebo Samuel back healthy, and they took out their frustrations on the Jaguars, 34-3. It was a particularly good win, on the road in Jacksonville where a lot of teams struggle. Defense was the name of the game as San Francisco sacked Trevor Lawrence 5 times, intercepted him twice, and forced and recovered 2 fumbles (1 off Lawrence). It was the inevitable cool-down game for JAX, but it was ice-cold thanks to the Niners.
Tennessee is learning pretty emphatically that the Will Levis experiment isn’t going so well. It was easy to see his one good game and think he was the savior, but it’s been mediocre at best since then and Tampa Bay shut them down 20-6. I wasn’t super confident in the Bucs and thought the Derrick Henry train was leaving the station but Tampa shut him down and gave the keys to Mike Evans who torched the Titans’ defense for 143 yards and a TD.
We are 10 weeks into the season and I still have no idea if the Steelers are good or not. This was a game where I plugged in a pick without really doing much thinking and then was in the middle of changing when the clock struck 10 am, so I got locked into Green Bay. Pittsburgh ultimately won 23-19 so I guess it was close enough for me to have picked the Packers. If the Steelers can run the ball and play defense, they will at least compete and that should be good enough to beat bad teams like Green Bay.
The Joshua Dobbs era is underway in Minnesota! Dobbs helped Minnesota get to 6-4 on the season with a 27-19 win over the Saints. The absence of Justin Jefferson has actually forced the Vikings to play their best football so it will be interesting to see what happens when he gets back since he is eligible to return from injured reserve. Meanwhile, Derek Carr is hurt again and while Jameis Winston is a capable backup, he is also very capable of throwing bad interceptions. The Saints’ defense forced three straight 3 & outs by the Vikes with the game in the balance and Winston went out and gave the ball right back. It will be interesting to see what is left of the Saints if Carr can’t play.
The biggest surprise of the week goes to the Texans who pulled the 30-27 upset over the Bengals in Cincinnati. Right as it appeared that Joe Burrow and company were finding their stride, Houston showed up to rain on their parade. Cincy struck first but the Texans answered and never trailed after the first half. A dropped would-be TD to Tyler Boyd didn’t help the Bengals, but neither did Devin Singletary who had the game of his career with 30 carries for 150 yards and a TD, and Noah Brown who put together another monster day with 7 catches for 172 yards.
I’m glad I didn’t wake up for the final international game of the season between the Colts and the Patriots in Germany because that game sucked! I figured the Pats’ defense would be able to hold the Colts’ offense in check and they did, but the New England offense is pretty abysmal.
Speaking of abysmal offenses, the Thursday night game saw the Bears eke out a close one over the Panthers, 16-13. These two have both been circling the drain this season and have each spent a moment in the last-place spot, so it’s not surprising.
The Eagles stay on top during their bye week, the 49ers are back in the Top 5, there’s a lot of movement around the middle, and Carolina nestles back into the basement.
|1. Eagles 8-1 (=)
|2. Lions 7-2 (+3)
|3. Chiefs 7-2 (=)
|4. Ravens 7-3 (-2)
|5. 49ers 6-3 (+2)
|6. Jaguars 6-3 (-2)
|7. Cowboys 6-3 (+1)
|8. Browns 6-3 (+4)
|9. Dolphins 6-3 (-3)
|10. Seahawks 6-3 (=)
|11. Steelers 6-3 (=)
|12. Vikings 6-4 (+4)
|13. Bengals 5-4 (-4)
|14. Texans 5-4 (+4)
|15. Bills 5-5 (-2)
|16. Saints 5-5 (-2)
|17. Colts 5-5 (+5)
|18. Raiders 5-5 (+6)
|19. Chargers 4-5 (-4)
|20. Broncos 4-5 (+5)
|21. Falcons 4-6 (-2)
|22. Buccaneers 4-5 (-2)
|23. Jets 4-5 (-6)
|24. Commanders 4-6 (-1)
|25. Titans 3-6 (-4)
|26. Packers 3-6 (=)
|27. Rams 3-6 (=)
|28. Bears 3-7 (=)
|29. Cardinals 2-8 (+3)
|30. Patriots 2-8 (=)
|31. Giants 2-8 (-2)
|32. Panthers 1-8 (-1)
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