Come get your sports league, because the NFL is officially out of control…
The insanity started almost immediately from the opening kick. The then-.500 Denver Broncos blanked the then-one loss Dallas Cowboys 6-0 in the first quarter and then 16-0 for the first half—in Dallas no less. Over in Jacksonville, the Jaguars were doing similar things to the previously unstoppable Buffalo Bills defense. Up in Cincinnati, the Bengals were still working on their New York Jets-inspired hangover and were getting mollywhopped by the Cleveland Browns in the “Battle for Ohio.”
Overall, five of the early-slate games ended with the team expected to win by experts tracked by Pickwatch going down...some of them going down hard.
100 percent of our users and experts thought the Bills would beat those Jaguars. Instead, they looked entirely impotent en route to a 9-6 loss. Those Cowboys were picked by 99 percent of those tracked and lost 30-16. 25 percent had the Browns, but they won as convincingly as anyone—41-16. In other news, the New Orleans Saints gave the Atlanta Falcons a 22-point fourth quarter onslaught and still lost and the New York Giants proved all 22 percent of the people who picked them correct and beat the Oakland Raiders.
The late games weren’t any more normal, as the Kyler Murray-less Arizona Cardinals mopped the floor with the San Francisco 49ers. Then, in primetime, the Tennessee Titans kicked the crap out of quarterback Matthew Stafford and the Los Angeles Rams, whom many of us considered the best team in the NFL up until they were absolutely embarrassed by the much-tougher Titans.
It’s been three weeks of upsets in a row, but put Week 9 down as the week the NFL officially went topsy turvy.
The Schottey Six: Toughest Outs Among Sub-.500 Teams
1. Indianapolis Colts (4-5) — Easily the best non-.500 team on paper, the Colts have an issue playing down to competition but also play up to competition with the best of them.
2. Minnesota Vikings (3-5) — No one plays to lose the game quite like Coach Mike Zimmer and the Minnesota Vikings.
3. San Francisco 49ers (3-5) — Injuries have mauled this team, but for every mind-numbing loss, there are about
4. Detroit Lions (0-8) — The folks at Tankathon have the Lions ranked as the second-highest strength of schedule in the league and although they’re not likely to put many (or any?) in the win column, they’ve played some really good teams really close.
5. Philadelphia Eagles (3-6) — When you can consistently win in the trenches, you can keep games close and maybe steal a couple even from better competition.
6. Seattle Seahawks (3-5) — The team didn’t play much worse with Gino Smith, but getting Russell Wilson back should have some motivational benefit if nothing else.
Cleaning Out the Notebook
— Speaking of the fine folks at Tankathon, it was a good day for the Detroit Lions as many of the other teams in the running for the first pick ended up in the win column...not quite as good as the Jets and Eagles, though...both of those teams currently have two picks in the Top 10.
— Other than QB Daniel Jones, the guys who are contributing to the New York Giants aren’t the ones we would’ve expected to do so. Against the Las Vegas Raiders, the names were Devontae Booker (99 rush yards) and Evan Engram whom many Giants fans were hoping would get traded (or then cut) earlier in the week.
— Packers QB Jordan Love wasn’t nearly as bad as the critics think nor was he quite as good as his stat line, which was actually better than Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes. This isn’t Love’s team, nor is it his offense. If the Packers decide to move forward with Love at the helm in the near future, this game shouldn’t be held against him.
— You could’ve written the script of the Vikings-Ravens game even before kickoff. The Ravens and Vikings both play far too close to the vest and are in way too many close games...and the Vikings always find a way to lose. Everything else in that one was just drama.
— Arrogance is a hallmark of coaching...it almost has to be, but I’m not sure I’ve seen coaching quite as arrogant as Rams coach Sean McVay against the Titans. It’s almost if he couldn’t believe the Titans would keep being successful against his genius gameplan.
— Loving the James Conner game from Arizona. Once upon a time, a doctor gave the Cardinals running back a few days to live. Now, 173 total yards and three total TDs.
— Our most recent “Big Show” on Three & Out featured Super Agent and real-life Jerry Maguire, Leigh Steinberg. We’re bearing down on our 100th episode and have got some great stuff planned.
— Outside of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, just how bad is football in the state of Florida right now? From the college game to the pros, it’s just bad.
— Speaking of bad things in the state of Florida, the nor’easter visited the state this past weekend and it’s currently gloomy and 64 degrees up from the near-freezing temperatures, downpouring rain and gale force winds of the weekend. It was a good weekend to just grab a hard seltzer and watch a lot (and I do mean a lot) of football.
“We relish news of our heroes, forgetting that we are extraordinary to somebody, too.”—Helen Hayes