Crazy week of postponements, delays, cancellations, collapses and gruesome injuries. When the dust had settled, we had an MVP favorite doing MVP things and tried to wrap our heads around last year's NFC Super Bowl representative getting blown out by last year's worst team (at this point in the season). Best game I watched was also the worst game, if you have empathy for these players anyway. Let's go.
Rams at Football Team: "Sort of hopeful we'll see Alex Smith at some point the next few games," I said. I didn't expect it to happen this soon. But the Rams are playing pretty awesome defense these days, knocking out Allen and clobbering Smith. Nice games for the Rams all around -- Goff, wideouts, Darrell Henderson. Not for Tyler Higbee; Gerald Everett had a better game, making Higbee skeptics look good. Washington offense didn't do much; it doesn't have much.
Eagles at Steelers: So who thought Chase Claypool would be the rookie to score 4 touchdowns in a game? Man, I didn't think Claypool would much get on the field. Just a shocking performance, and a shocking start to his career. And yeah I started Diontae Johnson yesterday, whose early injury certainly factored into Claypool blowing up. Steelers sure can draft wideouts. I also need to figure out how strongly to endorse Travis Fulgham. For real? A starter here going forward? At a minimum it seems easy to put him ahead of guys who might never get through a game healthy again like Jeffery and DJax. BTW, the big story of late is the disappearance of Zach Ertz. Guess the Eagles were right not to give him a huge contract. Big game for Miles Sanders against a tough run defense.
Cardinals at Jets: There's a lot to be said for just following the Jets around and picking against them in Survivor Pools. If anyone is paying attention in the Jets front office, Adam Gase should be the third head coach to be fired in the first half of the season. Big game for the Cardinals offense, including Chase Edmonds, who I guess I need to start using. I think it's reasonable to think he may at some point actually move past Kenyan Drake, though for now he's still playing behind him and touching the ball less. It hasn't changed yet, but Kingsbury can't be oblivious to what's going on. Nothing at all to say about the Jets beyond, another nice game for Jamison Crowder. And note that last week's star Jeff Smith caught 3 of 11 passes hurled his way.
Raiders at Kansas City: Raiders have now beat the preseason Super Bowl favorite Saints and Kansas City. It took a little while, but Jon Gruden seems to have a very nice offense in place these days. Patrick Mahomes finished with a great day in lineups, but was a little off with some throws and the defense was well below that. Kansas City lost Sammy Watkins to a hamstring injury, so we might see more of Mecole Hardman in the coming weeks. You have to wonder a little if we'll see more of Darrel Williams (who I had to start in a COVID-wrecked lineup yesterday, ouch) going forward, given the struggles of Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Or he's a nice buy-low candidate, since the big games will have to come in this offense.
Jaguars at Texans: About as expected. Neither team good defensively, Texans get a nice boost from having Bill O'Brien removed from the picture. But the schedule gets tough again and Houston is probably not going to contend in the AFC South. I went around benching Bills and Titans yesterday and somehow failed to bench Stefon Diggs in a league where my replacement would have been Brandin Cooks (huge game). Too many leagues, man. Nice game for David Johnson, mortal one for James Robinson, and DJ Chark left with an ankle injury. Jaguars looking more like the bad team we expected of late -- one-sided losses to Miami, Cincinnati and Houston the last three weeks.
Bengals at Ravens: It's simply infuriating that the Ravens can win in blowouts against bad defenses and have their running backs be absolutely unusable. I've half a mind to ship off J.K. Dobbins in dynasty right now but will try to think better of it. Mark Ingram seems to belong on the waiver wire - a disaster. Mark Andrews and Marquise Brown are the usable skill guys around Lamar Jackson. Joe Mixon's receiving usage saved a decent day while going nowhere on the ground.
Panthers at Falcons: Has there been a less surprising firing ever than Dan Quinn's last night? I thought it might happen at halftime. The GM too. Feel kind of bad for these guys not winning that Super Bowl. Where do the Falcons go from here? Looks like time to clean house. I guess you try to build around Matt Ryan and make another run a couple of years from now, but man the cupboard looks kind of empty aside from Calvin Ridley. I guess everyone who thanked us for Austin Hooper a year ago is grinding their teeth about Hayden Hurst. Hard to say if he's just not that good or if he's hamstrung by a simply disastrous offense that everyone has figured out. Carolina, better than expected on offense and defense.
Dolphins at 49ers: Who takes the bigger fall in this week's rankings: San Francisco offense, or defense? They made Ryan Fitzpatrick look like a Hall of Famer and the Dolphins D look like the '85 Bears. Just a disaster all the way around. Nice to see Preston Williams join the season. For San Francisco, I'm not sure where they go from here. Easy to say that Jimmy Garoppolo was so bad because his ankle wasn't right. But when Nick Mullens had that great first game I admit to thinking, hmm, I wonder if Garoppolo isn't that good. And you had to think it again yesterday. Never mind playoffs for San Francisco, fair to wonder if they're going to be a winning team. Five weeks in they've beaten the Jets and the Giants.
Giants at Cowboys: Sort of glued to this game yesterday afternoon, not the least of reasons being picking Dallas in a Survivor pool. Guess I'll get the Dak injury out of the way first. It was unpleasant and yet the kind of play longtime football watchers have seen plenty of times, when a guy gets tackled and the tackler twists the player's ankle underneath him. Oftentimes they get up. Like most (not everyone, people can be cruel) I feel pretty bad for Prescott. Seems like a good guy and he has a long rehab ahead. Kudos to the Cowboys for having one of the league's better No. 2 quarterbacks, who made a couple of amazing throws to pull it out for Dallas. (Giants had a couple of long touchdowns taken away on ticky-tack penalties; that Dallas defense is B A D.) Andy Dalton is going to lead this team to the playoffs; looks like 7-9 should do it.
Colts at Browns: Kareem Hunt is pretty good and anyone who had three AFC North teams making the playoffs this year can take a bow, cause it's happening. Colts certainly missed Darius Leonard, but the firm takeaway is this team is simply going to have a really hard time winning with Philip Rivers at quarterback. Fair to at least wonder if they'd be better off with Jacoby Brissett. Austin Hooper sighting, hard to trust but 10 targets is 10 targets.
Vikings at Seahawks: So when the Seahawks got the ball at their own 6-yard line down 5 points I said to my son, Here's where Russell Wilson locks up the MVP. There is no quarterback in the league and I'm not sure there's been one this century who I have been more sure would lead his team down the field for a game-winning touchdown. I didn't even doubt on the early 4th and 10, or when he had to throw the game-winning touchdown three times. The guy is great, that's all there is to it. So is DK Metcalf, limited route tree yah right. Impressive stuff. I will say that the Vikings probably should have kicked the field goal. I know, pick up the first down and you don't need to withstand a Russell Wilson drive. But kick the field goal, and the absolute worst-case scenario is overtime, and that requires Seattle scoring on back-to-back plays (touchdown and 2-point conversion) after driving the field. I don't know. I can see both arguments.
Monday, Monday: Chargers-Saints tonight, I think we all want to see Justin Herbert versus Drew Brees. Who had Michael Thomas missing this game for disciplinary reasons rather than a high ankle sprain? Crazy stuff. Chargers defense isn't so good these days so I think New Orleans will be better, but I am wondering if they are for real. I'll go Saints 30, Chargers 24.
Tuesday....afternoon: I guess Titans and Bills is probably going to happen. Still another day for a positive test to scotch everything, but so far so sort of good. It feels like we haven't seen these teams play in forever but hard to bet against the Bills right now. Buffalo 27, Tennessee 20.