A couple thoughts ran through my head as I was watching the second consecutive genuinely exciting Thursday night game. First, I like that the Rams moved to L.A. before hiring Sean McVay. This Rams offense is too good for St. Louis. It’s too flashy, too explosive, too fun to watch. This team is the perfect L.A. squad. The good folks of Middle America would have no idea how to handle this level of glitz and glamour on the football field. It’s not their fault, it’s just in their DNA. Second, I’m conflicted about Cooper Kupp and Adam Thielen. While seeing them dominate NFL defenses keeps the dream alive, I like my white receivers 5’9″ and under, sneaky athletic, gritty, and only out there to move the chains. This new generation of actually athletic guys who can create explosive plays and score at will? I don’t know. I just don’t trust them. Third, this was an excellent jersey matchup. The Rams’ throwbacks are always money and the Vikings’ white with purple pants look is great, as well. Fourth, this was the ultimate Kirk Cousins game- big stats, some crazy throws, never really threatening enough to make the better team nervous. This game was so good I’m convinced the rest of this week is going to be absolutely terrible! Some real stinkers on the horizon folks. The bill always comes for good Thursday night games.
Buffalo Bills at Green Bay Packers (-10)
I respect my readers’ intelligence too much to insinuate that last week’s improbable domination of the Vikings was anything more that a fluke Bills win, but this is still giving me pause. The Packers might actually stink. Their defense is bad, they can’t run the ball, and if Aaron Rodgers isn’t 110% they can’t really pass, either. Those are pretty big concerns, IMO. Still, the Bills can’t cover two road games in a row, can they? I’ll just flip a coin. Actually, you know what? Out of respect for the Yung GOAT Josh Allen, I’ll pick the Bills.
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots (-7)
Pats don’t lose three straight games, alright? It just doesn’t happen. The only way to get me even slightly concerned about this Pats season would be losing this game, and now that I’ve made that known, I know the Pats will dominate. You think Bill doesn’t read? You think Tom isn’t staying up to date on the happenings of briansden69.com? Please. This is already over. RIP Dolphins, congrats on starting 3-0.
Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys (-3)
Every Cowboys game makes me want to puke, and this is no different. I already know how boring this is gonna be. The Cowboys will just bleed the clock out and score 17 points, and the Lions will be frustrated in the first half then come storming back in the fourth, only to run out of time as Dak throws for 168 yards. At least it’s not in prime time.
Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts (-1.5)
You really just have to turn your brain off for this one, but they way the NFL works the Texans are about to win 40-0. The second your season ends is when the bad teams kick it into high gear. And honestly, I’m still not ruling out a 9-7 finish for Houston, either. Also Andrew Luck is bad.
Tampa Bay Bucs at Chicago Bears (-3)
I don’t think it’s a stretch to call this the season finale of Fitzmagic. And what a run it was. Just Monday night was the perfect encapsulation of his entire career. The lowest lows imaginable coupled with some preposterously high highs. The Bucs pretty much have to throw him out there for one last ride before putting Jameis back in after the bye, so cherish this game. The mixture of Fitz and Khalil Mack will undoubtedly lead to hilarity. A few terrible picks, a few amazing throws, probably another 400 yard game because why not, and a hard-fought Bucs loss. This is a big game for Mitch Trubisky, too. If he still looks bad against a suspect Bucs defense, the rumblings are going to get real loud.
Philadelphia Eagles (-4) at Tennessee Titans
How about this game and Bucs-Bears being the only two games where both teams have winning records this week? Mike Vrabel, grinding out wins like nobody’s business. Listen, the Titans just signed Austin Davis as emergency QB because Blaine Gabbert got hurt. That’s pretty much all you need to know. There’s no Eagles version of the Bad Bortles Game.
Cincinatti Bengals at Atlanta Falcons (-4)
Can we talk about how cool of a name Ito Smith is? It’s a pretty cool name. Anyway, I’m curious to see how the Falcons will avoid giving the ball to Julio Jones in the red zone, because his inability to score touchdowns is one of my favorite current storylines. Will Dissly has two receiving touchdowns and Julio has zero. Calvin Ridley has more touchdowns this year already than Julio had last year. It’s insanity. Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the Falcons are a popular Super Bowl pick who have yet to really get going. Like always, the Bengals are just kind of there, inoffensively good. I don’t want to call this a must win for the Falcons, but this is a must win for the Falcons.
New York Jets at Jacksonville Jaguars (-7.5)
Dear god. Pray for Sam Darnold, an impressionable youngster who is already getting corrupted by Jets stink. Remember when they won the Super Bowl in week 1? Such a crazy time. The universe always corrects itself, yet another reason I know the Pats aren’t going anywhere. The Jets will never be good, will never have a good quarterback, and will always be an embarrassment. So it is written, so it shall be done.
Seattle Seahawks (-3) at Arizona C*******s
Cleveland Browns at Oakland Raiders (-3)
The fact that the Raiders are still favored despite looking poopy and Baker Mayfield getting the start has me questioning everything I’ve ever known. I was sure the Browns would be able to capitalize on a rare positive result and start their first winning streak since the Korean War, but now I don’t know. This game has burrowed deep into my brain and refuses to leave. I know taking the Raiders is a sucker pick, here, but I can’t help it. I’m taking the cheese.
New Orleans Saints (-3.5) at New York Giants
As I alluded to in this week’s Monday Thoughts™, I’m addicted to crazy reception totals, particularly when they don’t come with a ton of yards. Mike Furrey getting 98 catches for barely 1,000 yards in 06 was my favorite receiving season ever until Jarvis Landry had 192 catches for 400 yards last year. Both Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara are averaging at least ten catches a game and less than eleven yards per catch. This makes me very happy and I want it to continue all season. Giants already won their Super Bowl by not starting 0-3 and are begging to get steamrolled.
San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Chargers (-10.5)
Next time you hear someone complain about roughing the passer penalties, force them to watch every 49er game for the rest of the season. There’s a reason QBs are a protected species, and it rhymes with C.J. Beathard starting games in prime time.
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3)
My sources are confirming that these two teams don’t like each other. In fact, any and all reports of love being lost between the two sides are utterly FALSE and should be disregarded. Did you know these games are physical? I didn’t, but the people on TV recently told me they were. As I said last week, I’ve got the Ravens figured out this year, and losing this game by a lot is very on brand. The only thing that might keep the Steelers from running away with it is the lack of drama they’ve dealt with this week, which is the fuel that keeps the Steelers Express going.
Kansas City Chiefs (-5) at Denver Broncos
This game is happening in October, which means we’ve got one more month of Chiefs dominance before everything starts to fall apart. Pat “God” Mahomes has shown no sign of being even slightly phased by NFL defenses, and I don’t really expect that to change. Yes, it’s in Denver, and yes, they have Von Miller, but this ain’t 2015, anymore. Having a Sunday off is kind of like a mini-bye, and no one beats Andy Reid after a bye.