Week 9: Winners, Losers and The Steady!
The start to my NFL writing journey has been a weird one. I have really appreciated the love and support from my friends and family. They enjoy what I write and even though these articles won’t be posted on any websites except my own for now, I will continue to write just for them! It hurts to be stabbed in the back like I have been. They took my “winners, losers and the steady” title and just have someone else write with that title, which is infuriating. I am doing my best to move on and forget about them, and it all starts with this article!
For those who are not familiar with this format, I do my status selection based on the teams season, where it is heading and what I believe their goals are, as well as if they won this week’s game or not. Sometimes winning is a good thing, sometimes it is a bad thing and sometimes it just doesn’t matter. I created “The Steady” category for those in between teams that other sports media writers don’t acknowledge. This is what makes my writing a little different and if you enjoy it, let me know! Leave a comment, send me an email or just DM me on social media! Let’s get to it.
Packers @ 49ers: Packers win 34-17
The 49ers have to be listed as Losers. I realize they have a million injuries. The stat going around is they have more than $80M of cap space on IR. That is brutal! Then, they put their Division III team out on the field against one of the best teams in the NFC, and they were embarrassed on national television. They fell below .500 on the season (4-5) and it looks like it is only going to get worse. This team was just in the Super Bowl a few months ago. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
The Packers took care of business, which is why I am going to make them Winners. They took a loss to the Vikings, which they should have won. Their other loss was to the Bucs and that’s a hit or miss team right now. If there is one thing I have seen from this Packers team over and over again, it’s they don’t show up against teams they should beat. That’s why people called them the “worst 13-3 team ever” last season. They showed up Thursday night and I would like to see them continue to beat down teams they should be beating down.
Seahawks @ Bills: Bills win 44-34
The Seahawks got absolutely embarrassed and are 100% Losers! That defense is HISTORICALLY bad. You have seen defenses get beat before and you have been some really bad defenses this season, but the Seahawks are allowing QBs to look like MVP candidates week in and week out. The worst part is Pete Carroll just received a 5 year contract extension and has no plans to change anything. He has shown no interest in firing defensive coordinator Ken Norton and no plans to change out personnel (ie. CB Tre Flowers). This defense will prevent Russell Wilson from winning MVP and from winning and playoff games.
The Bills are a tough team to nail down this season, especially Josh Allen. I will make them Winners this week, mainly for the fact they beat down Russell Wilson and created 4 turnovers. I don’t really credit the offense at all since this defense is making all offenses look great. The issue for the Bills has been their defense which is normally a top 3 defense. It looks pedestrian this year at best. After having a solid performance against the top scoring offense in football, maybe they have found their groove. If they truly have, look out.
Broncos @ Falcons: Falcons win 34-27
For a brief moment, I could have sworn the Falcons were going to blow this game. The Broncos just came back from a huge decifiet last week, so we know they have the ability. But, they did pull off the win which puts them in my Winners column. This is the offense we expected to see all season. There is no reason this team can’t put up 30+ points every week. The defense is and always will be sketchy, but Raheem Morris has put this team in position to fight for a playoff spot.
The Broncos are not a good team this season. I don’t believe Drew Lock is the future of this franchise and I’m in the same boat with Vic Fangio being the head coach for much longer. He is a defensive minded coach, but all of the Broncos draft picks and their thought process is offensive minded. It makes no sense. John Elway needs to get out of the way so the team can pick a good QB in the draft and they need to find an offensive minded coach so these young studs of WRs can have good coaching. I have them as Losers this week, but I see talent. The organization just needs to make some moves so that talent can bloom.
Bears @ Titans: Titans win 24-17
Oh, the Bears. This team used to be 5-1. We all knew they were sus! Now, they have officially been ejected from the ship. Now at 5-4, it seems like their season is close to being over. The defense held Derrick Henry to 68 yards rushing which is pretty darn good. No one questions the Bears defense. That offense is just hard to watch though. 52 pass attempts from Nick Foles is never the recipe for success. All 17 of their points came in the 4th quarter when the Titans started easing up on them. It’s bad football by the Bears, but it’s nothing we did not expect. I have them riding Steady this week, because it is just steadily sliding downhill.
The Titans were very disappointing on offense. Like I said, 21 carries for 68 yards from Henry and only 10 completed passes from TANNYHILL for 158 yards and 101 of those yards went to AJ Brown. Luckily, the defense came up huge with a fumble-6 and another fumble recovery. They shut out the Bears for 3 quarters and gave the offense enough space to hold onto the win. I am marking them Winners this week because they stopped their skid. Two losses in a row, and one was to the Bengals. They needed this win and they got it.
Ravens @ Colts: Ravens win 24-10
When I picked this game, I had the Colts winning because of their very good defense. Unfortunately, I forgot how bad their offense was. I hate Phillip Rivers with every ounce of my being and now, I found just a little bit more being to hate him with. That doesn’t make sense, but I don’t care! They are big ole Losers this week and in my mind, forever. They were losers for grabbing Rivers to be their QB this season, they were losers for not trading TY Hilton for literally anything and they are losers for wasting Jonathan Taylors early years of his career. They are not going to win a Super Bowl with Phillip Rivers! If you think that, you need therapy.
Another week, another TE being the top receiver for the Ravens. I continue to not be impressed by this team. Yeah, maybe I am a hater and just don’t care for their style of offense. I am fine with that though, because when they play good teams with good defenses, they lose because they don’t have another switch to flip. If they stop the run and cover the TEs up the seam, this team loses every time. Force Lamar to throw to the WRs outside the numbers. Congratulations, you win. Just to show you I’m not all negativity, I will mark them as Winners, mainly because it’s the Ravens first ever win against the Colts. For those who don’t know, the Colts used to be in Baltimore! So, it’s kind of a fun… rivalry? I don’t know what they call it, but it’s a fun storyline.
Panthers @ Chiefs: Chiefs win 33-31
The Panthers have asked a lot of Joey Slye the past two weeks. “Alright, we couldn’t get the ball any closer, so go out there and kick a game winning, record breaking field goal, ok? Thanks!”. Unfortunately he has missed both times, but I don’t blame him. They were 65 and 67 yard attempts. I still have the Panthers as Winners this week because they took the Chiefs down to the wire and they managed to get CMC involved in a fair and distributed offense. I love what they are doing with Curtis Samuel, Robby Anderson and DJ Moore are still threats all over the field, especially deep and now you add CMC to the mix. I don’t know if they can save this season, but next year? Oh man, I am hyped for the Panthers!
The Chiefs are also Winners this week because Patrick Mahomes is a beast, like we didn’t know that already, but still. Four more TD passes and 372 yards passing to make up for a non-existent running game. 12 carries for 30 yards is awful, but two receivers over 100 yards and Tyreek Hill has finally become relevant again. The Chiefs have had their bad moments this season, but so does every team. They are still my Super Bowl pick!
Lions @ Vikings: Vikings win 34-20
The Dalvin Cook’s… oh I mean the Minnesota Vikings, are Winners. Kirk Cousins had a good day doing what he does best. Let Dalvin Cook run wild and only throw the ball 20 or less times on play action. 3 TD passes for him, 2 rushing TDs for Dalvin and just a great day for this team. Dalvin almost has 500 yards from scrimmage the past two weeks. As long as he can stay healthy, which is a lot to ask of him these days, this team can still make a run for a playoff spot. Think I’m crazy? They play the Bears (x2), Cowboys, Panthers, Jags, Bucs, Saints and Lions to finish the season. That’s a realistic 9-7 or even 10-6 record if Dalvin keeps cooking.
I had some guy tell me in the offseason the Lions were going to be a playoff team this season. Maybe he said it just to be “that guy” and to be different, but he is still an idiot. Maybe I would have agreed with him if he told me they would have a winning record because they created a decent RB group. Even then, I would say Matthew Stafford is a broken old man, the defense is horrible and Matt Patrica is not a head coach. I don’t expect them to get any better and I don’t think they can get much worse unless the RB group starts racking up injuries. For that reason, they are still riding Steady!
Giants @ Washington: Giants win 23-20
Let me just get straight to the point. One of these teams had to win, but I am sure they both wish they could have lost. It’s all coming down to better draft picks for the Giants and Washington. They are both Losers this week because the Giants are pushing themselves out of a top 5 draft pick and Washington lost Kyle Allen to a nasty ankle injury, so they will have to start either Alex Smith or Dwayne Haskins the rest of the year. I honestly feel bad for fans of these organizations.
Texans @ Jaguars: Texans win 27-25
Similar to the Giants and Washington breakdown, the Texans and Jags are just a mess this year. Deshaun Watson said he would have had a major issue and would have raised hell if the team would have traded Will Fuller. You don’t want to raise hell over D-Hop though? Alright… Interesting. The Jaguars started 6th round pick Jake Luton at QB because of Minshews thumb injury. He threw for 304 yards and 1 TD with 1 INT. He gave his team a chance, but Watsons two 2 TDs proved to be better. I am placing both teams on my Steady list. For the Texans, if they win or lose, it doesn’t matter because they don’t have a first round pick. For the Jags, they lost so, good job, you are keeping up with the Jets for the #1 pick, but likely won’t get it because the Jets will go 0-16.
Raiders @ Chargers: Raiders win 31-26
The Raiders played a pretty good game. Not great, not bad, just good. I am going to mark them Winners because they did win the game and are keeping themselves in the playoff race. But, they found something in Devontae Booker who had 8 carries for 68 yards and a TD. Josh Jacobs has proved he will not be healthy for an entire season, so they need a solid backup. I believe they have found that in Booker and he will be my person of interest moving forward for the Raiders. I would love to see this turn into a nasty 1-2 punch of a backfield for them.
Justin Herbert has really blown up as a rookie for the Chargers. If it wasn’t for Joe Burrow actually winning games, he would be in the race for Rookie of the Year. 28/42 for 326 yards and 2 TDs but he needed 3 to win the game. Unfortunately, our XFL favorite Donald Parham dropped the pass in the endzone to hand the Chargers another last minute loss. It lands them on my Loser list and Anthony Lynn on my “extremely hot seat” list.
Steelers @ Cowboys: Steelers win 24-19
I am going to shock the world by listing the Steelers as Losers. This is a game where you should have won by 2+ TDs and shown the world that the offense is as good as the defense. Unfortunately, their defense allowed a 4th string QB to keep the Cowboys in the game and gave him a chance to win in the final seconds of the game. The offense struggled on the ground with James Connor leading the way with 9 carries for 22 yards. Big Ben did keep them alive with 3 TD passes, but by no means am I impressed. They have barely won their games the past 3 weeks. This team has cracks, but I am not sure who will expose those cracks first.
Garrett Gilbert everybody! The Cowboys almost beat the undefeated Steelers and the Refs.. Oh, sorry, no let’s keep them out of this. I don’t know, does it matter what I list the Cowboys as? Sure, let’s make them Winners! Participation trophy for almost beating the only undefeated team in football. Yay! Go celebrate!
Dolphins @ Cardinals: Dolphins win 34-31
This was probably the game of the week. When the Dolphins beat the Rams, everyone said the defense won it and Tua looked “meh”. And they were right! But this week, it was time for TUA TIME! 20/28 for 248 and 2 TDs was enough to out-duel Kyler and the Cardinals. The Dolphins are definitely Winners. I am genuinely wondering if the Dolphins are a real playoff team that can compete. The defense is in the top 3 of points allowed, the offense has been clicking even with Tua replacing Fitzmagic and Brian Flores is still my favorite head coach in football. I am in love with Miami right now.
Kyler absolutely balled out for the Cardinals. I feel very bad for him because instead of letting him run for the first down on 4th and 1, they kicked a 49 FG which somehow came up short. He had 11 carries for 106 yards and a TD with his 283 passing yards and 3 TDs. Shocking play call by Kliff Kingsbury and it cost them the game. Kyler voiced his frustration after the game. Hopefully this does not affect their relationship for the rest of the season and they can get back on track. Since it was this close of a game and the team still looked very good, I’ll have them riding Steady, as I expect them to pick it back up next week.
Saints @ Buccaneers: Saints win 38-3
*Enter a lot of laughing noises* Antiono Brown is already destroying this team! 3 Points!! They lost by 35 points!! Tom Brady had a 3.8 QBR!! The Bucs have officially been swept by the Saints!! There is nothing positive to say! The Bucs are huge Losers, probably the biggest losers of week 9.
Changing over to a positive tone, the Saints played extremely well in all three phases of the game. They are Winners in every sense of the word. They are starting to put themselves in the conversation for one of the best teams in football. I won’t go that far yet, but they finally put their entire team on the field, healthy and ready to play, and boy did they play well! If this is really how well they play when their entire team is healthy and not punching each other in practice, then they could be on the short list for Super Bowl contenders.
Patriots @ Jets: Patriots win 30-27
Let’s all calm down for a minute. The Patriots are not “back”! Cam Newton has not placed himself in the MVP race. The Dynasty has not revived itself. They beat the winless Jets by 3 points on a last second field goal to avoid overtime. Not to mention, the Jets lost that game on purpose in the 4th quarter. Don’t believe me, keep reading. By the way, the Patriots are riding Steady this week.
The Jets are aiming to go 0-16 and they showed us that on national television. They dominated most of this game and looked like a competent team. Then, the 4th quarter happened. Joe Falcco who looked amazing, then he threw into double coverage downfield and was intercepted on the first offensive play for the Jets. The Patriots turn it into points. Then, the Jets came out and the offensive line stopped playing football. Flacco got lit up multiple times and they went three and out. The Patriots make a few, way-to-easy completions and they kick the game winning FG. It was blatantly obvious they lost that game on purpose which makes them Losers for me because that is embarrassing and hurts the integrity of the game.