There's no need for introductions — we might run out of time and get stuck with a tie. So let's get on with the show:
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Washington 27 - Bengals 27 (OT, London)
Jay Gruden didn’t know that you could tie games.
I honestly don’t think teams quiz head coach candidates over late-game scenario clock management skills or basic knowledge of the rules. If there wasn’t a damn chart, I’m almost certain no one would ever go to for two. The algebra is too hard and everyone is too conservative.
I did know that ties can exist because I read one article about football this week. I understand that coaches lead busy lives, but Gruden never picked up that the Seahawks and Cardinals had tied on Sunday Night Football last week? What sort of insulated operation do they have in Virginia?
I also knew that if Kirk Cousins has three good quarters, you can count on him to fade away down the stretch. His Hail Mary toss at the end of overtime coming up 15 yards short of the end zone and out of bounds was the high point of the 2016 season for me.
The downside: Washington cannot finish 8-8 this season. The inevitable has been avoided.
The Bengals should be a lot better than this. How long can Marvin Lewis stay employed?
Also, this would have been a great opportunity to try out penalty kicks — just to test how it feels. Crowd would have been into it.
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Patriots 41 - Bills 25
The Patriots are a ruthless killing machine, and Rex Ryan angered it with all his talking.
There’s something beautiful about the Patriots laying waste to Ryan, who is so consumed by New England you’d think everyone on the team was playing in flip-flops. (If you get that joke, I’m sorry.)
He’s like a big-money SEC athletic director for Nick Saban — loony.
Bill Belichick doesn’t have time for emotions — he just needs to win so he can move on to the next team. He’s the Sisyphus of football — just do your job, rolling that ball up the hill forever until you die and can finally sleep.
Except Bill Belichick will never die.
Congrats to Ryan though, he’s back on the hot seat. Will he fire his own brother to save his own ass though? I think about that all the time.
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Panthers 30 - Cardinals 20
The Panthers looked great Sunday, and that couldn’t have anything to do with the Cardinals being the football representation of the poop emoji.
Seriously, put a fork in the Cardinals, they’re done. If they couldn’t burn the Carolina secondary, they’re hopeless.
Cam Newton had a nice game, but after it, he claimed that he no longer feels safe playing because of all the late hits he takes. His argument was sound and made perfect sense – I feel for the guy. But I heard it on the radio. Why did my opinion change when I saw he was wearing a giant green hat with a pink suit.
I’m all for players being fashionable, I can’t pull off anything they do. But someone needs to tell Cam that he looks like the world’s most suspect carney with some of those hats and suits. Does he spin a wheel in the morning?
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Jets 31 - Browns 28
The entire second half of this game was spent muttering: “oh no, Browns, not like this.”
The win was in their grasp, and then… that.
The Browns are the NFL’s adult son who lives with his parents. He’s been down on his luck for a long time, to the point where no one really thinks he’s going to move out of his parents house, and every year or so, there’s a new, grand plan to get back on track, only to see it fail rather miserably.
The Jets’ problems were not solved by their second-half comeback Sunday — they were just continued another week. This team is going to start Christian Hackenberg at quarterback at some point this year — book it.
Which happens first? Todd Bowles is fired or he quits. I’m calling it 50-50 right now.
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Texans 20 - Lions 13
No, he’s not back — he was never anywhere in the first place.
The quote of the day, though, comes from Texans owner Bob McNair, who said that Brock Osweiler is “basically a rookie” after Sunday’s game.
There is merit to that argument, but what I can’t get over is the man who signs the checks being cool committing $72 million in a salary-cap league to a “rookie” quarterback.
That seems like bad business, but maybe I’m the moron.
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Chiefs 30 - Colts 14
The Colts continue to be bad, while the Chiefs continue to keep games interesting for no viable reason. Seriously, this team is clock-work at letting teams get just close enough to make second halves somewhat interesting. Perhaps clock-work was the wrong word to use for an Andy Reid team.
A proposal that will probably get laughed out of the room — the Colts should trade Andrew Luck. Burn this sucker down and start from scratch with all the assets you could squeeze out of some desperate team (cough *Bears* cough). Luck makes too much for the Colts to ever put a decent team around him — cap management isn’t taken seriously in Indy — and he doesn’t deserve to play out his best years for a bad team. It’s an untenable situation that will probably never be rectified. There’s another word for that: sad.
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Saints 25 - Seahawks 20
Nothing makes sense anymore.
Raiders 30 - Buccaneers 24 (OT)
The Raiders are the worst best team in the NFL. That or their the best worst team in the league — it changes every time they play. Regardless, Derek Carr had an MVP-worthy performance in the win over Tampa Bay, which put together a decent defensive performance, despite the fat Carr stat-line.
Tampa is going to need Jameis Winston to lift his team up every now and again. I understand that he’s not surrounded by as much talent as Dak Prescott or Carson Wentz (the latter is debatable) but Winson seems stuck in neutral. When you draft a guy No. 1 overall, you don’t want that happening in year two. This could have been a show-me game for the Bucs — chalk it up to another squandered opportunity.
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Broncos 27 - Chargers 19
Positives: Phillip Rivers can wear his bolo ties without being ridiculed in Denver.
Negatives: Phillip Rivers’ play against the Broncos.
In the NFL in 2016, you only need to have one good unit and one mediocre one to win — case in point, the Denver Broncos. The offense is a mess — they still don’t trust Trevor Siemian to throw the ball more than 15 yards, which might be important for winning playoff games, but so long as the team has Von Miller playing defense, they’re going to win 12 games this year.
The Chargers have 8-8 written all over them, which should be considered a disappointment considering the amount of talent on the team. Joey Bosa continues to be a revelation as a pass rusher — it’s as if every play he wants to prove the Chargers’ ownership more wrong — but his influence, while a boost, isn’t enough to overcome a down offensive game from Rivers and company. San Diego needs an offensive weapon to step up or they’re going to be watching the playoffs at home, wherever that might be, once this season is over.
Falcons 33 - Packers 32
Defense? Who needs defense? It’s points-scoring time!
All too often in discussing the NFL we call games a “quarterback duel,” which is overly simplistic and unfair to the other 52 men on teach team’s roster.
Well, this was as close to a true quarterback duel as you’re going to get. Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers could have kept going into perpetuity Sunday. In this case, Ryan took the lead with 32 seconds left on a touchdown pass to Mo Sanu, lifting the Falcons to a much-needed win.
The Packers’ problems remain the same — the defense isn’t going to be good and the team’s offense will only go as far as Rodgers will take it (which could be pretty far). Atlanta is going to get some Super Bowl darkhorse buzz this week, but like every other year, they seem to be devolving as the weeks progress. By Week 14, I expect them to look like the Baltimore Ravens (that’s not a compliment).
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Cowboys 29 - Eagles 23 (OT)
Can we do this every week? Roger Goodell should send a gift basket to every player on both teams, and the coaching staffs too, because that contest, well-played and exciting, might have saved the league.
While the NFL wasn’t going to go under if this game was a blowout, the NFL did really, really, really need a good nationally televised game. This delivered. When was the last time you saw a well-contested game both in the trenches and with the skill position players? It’s been a while, but this game had it.
The Cowboys have now won six straight games and have the best record in the NFC, but don’t worry, we’ll spend at least the next week discussing who their quarterback should be. If the Cowboys decide to put Romo back under center this season, they deserve all the bad things that will surely follow.