There is no rule declaring the NFL will rule over the sports world in perpetuity. That league ratings are down are a byproduct of the election cycle, obviously, but aside from that all the evening games have been pretty bad. I struggled to get through the penalty orgy that was Jets-Cardinals and I've been trying to get as much football as I can with my weird weekend schedule.
I'm glad that NFL executives are sweating the decreasing numbers. How about they actually care for their players and dial back these Thursday evening games or maybe add another week to the regular season so that each team receives two off-weeks? Blasphemy!
Chicago 20 @ Green Bay 23: I can't measure why Aaron Rodgers has looked so average. Usually his ability to extend plays bears fruit for the Packers and yet, thus far, it's produced rotten returns. We are on the door of the halfway point of the season so I'm not going to overreact but it's troubling that the Packers seem off.
NY Giants 26 @ Los Angeles (by way of Loooooooondon) 16: Giants.
New Orleans 34 @ Kansas City 37: I'm sure every defender employed by the Saints receives a game check. I'm sure they know how to read a playbook. I'm sure they learned how to cover, tackle and react. Wait, am I sure?
Indianapolis 19 @ Tennessee 17: I don't know.
Minnesota 23 @ Philadelphia 17: I fully expect the fans to boo Sam Bradford although trading him led to the revelation that's been Carson Wentz and the draft haul they acquired for moving their former starter.
Cleveland 20 @ Cincinnati 30: With Ben Roethlisberger on the mend, the Bengals have to string together some wins now if they plan on making the knockout round.
Washington 21 @ Detroit 24: Lions?
Oakland 20 @ Jacksonville 14: Raiders, why not?
Buffalo 23 @ Miami 16: LeSean McCoy is going to be out for this game (and maybe more with a hamstring injury) so it doesn't look good on the road even with a Dolphins team that few believe in. The Dolphins beat the Steelers last week which should provide some sort of identity but does one exist in Florida, really?
Baltimore 26 @ NY Jets 23: Ryan Fitzpatrick put Todd Bowles in the position to staple him to the bench. After holding out for a more lucrative contract - his right, by the way - all he managed to accomplish was a boatload of interceptions and horrendous field position for his defense; epic quarterback play I have to admit.
So that leaves Geno Smith with the gargantuan task of moving an offense that has stagnated and a defense that's been uninspired and pushed around; a departure from league-wide expectations. Over the last four games they've surrendered 27.5 points which isn't going to win any contests, especially when the former starter throws footballs that often find themselves in the hands of players adorned in the opposing uniforms. Eric Decker isn't available and they've featured Matt Forte less each week although I expect him to be very active over the rest of the season. I don't know how they'll grade Smith but this is going to be the tape that proves what he is or isn't, fairly or not.
Tampa Bay 16 @ San Francisco 19: If there's a game where Colin Kaepernick's going to show that there's still the quarterback that tore through the NFL a few years ago, this is the one. The Buccaneers looked strong just a few weeks ago and seemed to come back to earth once the attention landed on them.
San Diego 20 @ Atlanta 27: I'm picking the Falcons, here, and they're going to lay an egg because of it. I have that much power.
New England 31 @ Pittsburgh 13: I feel sick. Ben Roethlisberger should be out of the lineup for anywhere between 4-6 weeks - and my Super Bowl winner is at risk. There was a lot of noise that Tom Brady was going to be rusty upon his return. You know I really haven't seen it, maybe this is the week.
Seattle 26 @ Arizona 24: I don't trust Carson Palmer as he seems to have regressed (or returned) to what he's always been - and that will not produce a Super Bowl title. I like the Cardinals and I'm hoping they find their way back into the NFC conversation but I see their ceiling being the NFC Championship game. I want to be wrong.
Houston 21 @ Denver 27: I'll go with the champs at home.
Last Week: 9-6
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