…in the AFC. Normally, this space is where the Blowhard would comment on the most recent New England Patriots game. However, despite the 43-40 win against the previously undefeated Kansas City Chiefs and all the good (and bad) that came from it, we have not actually seen the game.
Yup, but we had a good reason…attending Game Two of the Boston Red Sox game against the Houston Astros at Fenway Park that very same night. Aaaaaand…haven’t had the chance to watch the replay or highlights or anything else.
I know…pathetic. But…
So we can really only give some very generic thoughts here. And of course, we will do that!!
Here’s the summary:
The Patriots defense stinks.
Other than that…one thing to note about the KC/NE game is that it just tightened up the race for the top. If the Chiefs won that game, they would be 6-0 and two games up on everyone else in the conference. The Pats would be 3-3 and in the middle of a slew of other teams in the AFC.
Now? Nope. Not only are the Chiefs 5-1 and the Pats right behind them at 4-2 (with of course the tiebreaker). But the Los Angeles Chargers, Miami Dolphins, Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens are also 4-2. The Steelers have rebounded to 3-2-1. And the Jets (?!), Titans, Texans (?!) and the Jaguars are still in the mix at 3-3.
Yes, it appears that teams like the Jets, Texans and Dolphins are fraud teams. Probably the Titans too. But…this is the NFL. So I guess you never know.
The Ravens appear to be the only team in the NFL to have some semblance of a defense. But they haven’t exactly played the iron of the league as of yet. No one else seems to be able to stop anyone. Guess that makes sense. Why? No one can touch the quarterback anymore. Nor the receivers. Now we have this ridiculous roughing the passer rules. “Can’t put your whole body weight on the QB…” What the F does that mean? And what the hell happened to the Jaguars. THEY were supposed to have an elite defense. Guess not.
I don’t even know where I am going with this. Just needed to write something I guess.
Let’s just say this: The Patriots may well still be the cream of the crop in the AFC, despite the fact that their defense is atrocious. That’s what it kind of all comes down to.
As for the start of Week Seven:
Denver (-2.5) at Arizona
One may have thought that the continuously putrid Thursday Night Football games over the years may have finally turned a corner with the exciting Week 4 matchup between the Vikings and Rams. Maybe even the Week 3 tilt between the Browns and Jets, where Baker Mayfield introduced himself to the world. Nope. Pats/Indy in Week 5 and Eagles/Giants in Week 6 followed. Now we have this mess. I bet the Broncos are glad they gave all that money to Case Keenum now. Plus the coaching hire of Vance Joseph seems to be working out great. That all being said…
Denver 27, Arizona 16.
Week (against the spread): 9-6
Week (straight up): 11-4
Season (against the spread): 46-47
Season (straight up): 56-37
Los Angeles Chargers (-1.5) at Cleveland
Cleveland is clearly improved. 2-0-1 at home. But the Chargers are better. 1.5 doesn’t seem like enough.
Los Angeles Chargers 30, Cleveland 23.
Buffalo at Houston (-7.5)
All five of Houston’s games have been decided by 7 points or less. Three by three points. Buffalo ain’t great and is on the road. But the feeling is they may keep it close.
Houston 24, Buffalo 18.
Carolina at Washington (-1.5)
The ‘Skins have been playing well every other week. This is the good one.
Washington 27, Carolina 24.
Chicago (-3.5) at Miami
Are the Bears for real? Looks like they could be. I know Miami isn’t and this will put them back to 3-3 after that phony 3-0 start.
Chicago 24, Miami 17.
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati (-2.5)
Speaking of fraud teams, the Bengals can’t be as good as 4-1, can they?! Two words: Marvin Lewis. That should answer your question.
Pittsburgh 41, Cincinnati 34.
Seattle (-3.5) at Oakland
Jon Gruden probably should have stayed in the booth after being away from the game for a decade. Then again, we can’t expect him to perform miracles with this Raiders team in his first year.
Seattle 27, Oakland 13.
Indianapolis at New York Jets (-2.5)
Indianapolis 31, New York Jets 17.
Arizona at Minnesota (-10.5)
Disappointing year for the Vikes thus far, but Arizona appears to be wretched this year, last week’s win against the possibly equally wretched 49ers notwithstanding.
Minnesota 34, Arizona 10.
Tampa Bay at Atlanta (-3.5)
I’m not sure how good the Falcons actually are, but I’m fairly certain they should be better than 1-4. I also think they are better than the Bucs. At least in their home stadium.
Atlanta 31, Tampa Bay 27.
Los Angeles Rams (-7.5) at Denver
The Rams look unstoppable. That’s all.
Los Angeles Rams 45, Denver 24.
Baltimore (-2.5) at Tennessee
This one may be another snoozefest. But at least the teams involved are better than the other one we spoke about earlier.
Baltimore 20, Tennessee 17.
Jacksonville (-3.5) at Dallas
Blake Bortles was brutal last week. And he sucks anyway. But Dallas sucks more. Similar to Marvin Lewis, I have no idea how Jason Garrett has hung on so long there.
Jacksonville 34, Dallas 16.
Kansas City at New England (-3.5)
Neither defense should stop either offense. But with all the weapons the Chiefs have, I have no idea how the Pats cover all of them. KC has had some big wins against the Pats in the middle of the regular season in recent years too. But the Patriots have also come out of the woodwork in games like this and shut a young QB down…especially in Foxborough. If the Pats lose, they will find themselves down by 3 games already in the AFC in the race for home-field advantage. They have risen to the occasion before. That all being said, I wish I could pick them here, but I simply can’t.
Kansas City 45, New England 34.
San Francisco at Green Bay (-9.5)
Boy, did the Niners season go right down the tubes once Jimmy Football got injured.
Green Bay 37, San Francisco 13.
Week (against the spread): 1-0
Week (straight up): 1-0
Season (against the spread): 38-41
Season (straight up): 46-33
…for the Philadelphia Eagles, that is. 2-3 record to start 2018. Pretty underwhelming, but still only a half game out of first. The 2018 NFC East everyone! I know, I know…Carson Wentz is coming back from a major injury. But he has been back for 3 games and the numbers are good anyway. So it can’t be all that bad.
Speaking of bad, the schedule thus far hasn’t been filled with heavyweights. Atlanta, Tampa, Indy, Tennessee and an underachieving thus far Minnesota team.
So what’s the problem? Looks like they have had some injuries. And you know…maybe they weren’t all that good last year in the first place? Sour grapes? Absolutely!! But backup quarterback Nick Foles played out of his mind in the NFC Championship and the Super Bowl and Coach Doug Pederson pushed all the right buttons. Good for them and give them a ton of credit.
But I hope they go 2-14 this year.
So the New England Patriots lost to the Eagles in the Super Bowl and their 3-2 record isn’t much better. Seems like they are up to their usual early season tricks however. We will see what it looks like Sunday night against the Kansas City Chiefs. We’ll talk more about that in the next piece. We sure as hell do not need to recap last weeks game against the Indianapolis Colts. Per usual, the Pats handled the Colts easily. But it was a little concerning how the defense played down the stretch of that game though.
Anyway, for now:
Philadelphia (-3.5) at New York Giants
Ah, so THAT’S why we started off the column with Eagle talk! Yup. So what more do we have to say here? The Giants still stink. And it was awesome to see them lose to the Carolina Panthers on a 63 yard field goal as time expired. Gave me great joy. That’s all.
Philadelphia 28, New York Giants 20.
Week (against the spread): 7-8
Week (straight up): 8-7
Season (against the spread): 37-41
Season (straight up): 45-33