One week after the Buccaneers got their first win of the season, they put it to the Falcons for their second in as many weeks. While the 41-28 blowout that tied the two teams up at the bottom of the NFC South may speak more for how bad the Falcons are, rather than how much improved the Bucs are, putting up 41 in a game at least made for an entertaining game on Sunday. Newly acquired free agent, Bobby Rainey, scored two touchdowns for the Bucs on Sunday, to go along with 163-yards on 30 carries. Not bad for a guy who didn’t even have a team this time last month. And Matt Glennon was a near perfect 20-23, throwing for two touchdowns as well. As for the Falcons, this loss just proves how bad things have gotten this year. Despite having Pro Bowl players like Matt Ryan, Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez, Steven Jackson on offense and Osi Umenyiora on defense, there is really no understanding why this team is having such troubles. Nonetheless, the troubles don’t look to be stopping any time soon. Next week the Falcons will play the Saints, in what could be a blow out, and the Bucs will try for three in a row as they face off against Detroit.
Don’t let the Jets fool you. Once you think they got things going and are making moves, they will disappoint and prove that they are nothing more than the New York Jets you’d expect them to be. Coming off their bye-week, the Jets had a chance to pull closer to the Patriots atop the AFC East and also make themselves a prime candidate for the playoffs. A win would also snap their win-loss alternating record that they’ve had all year. Instead, they had four turnovers on Sunday and Geno Smith was an embarrassing 8-23 with three interceptions as the Bills ran away with a 37-14 win. EJ Manuel proved why it was him that was drafted ahead of Smith in this past years NFL Draft, going 20-28 and throwing for two touchdowns. This game shouldn’t have been a surprise. Yet we can’t help to scratch our heads with the Jets. Next week they’ll play Baltimore and, if history tells us anything, they should be able to lock up the win since they lost this weekend. Then again, the Jets love to surprise so who knows. As for the Bills, they have a bye week and will face off against a struggling Atlanta team on the first day of December.
Added to the list of underachieving teams on Sunday is the Detroit Lions. Sure, they haven’t won in their last nine trips to Pittsburgh, but going up against a team that only had three wins on the season going into Sunday, you’d think that the Lions would’ve loved the opportunity to make a bit of breathing room in the NFC North. Instead, Ben Roethlisberger was able to throw for four touchdowns in a 37-27 victory, only Pittsburgh’s fourth on the year. Apparently the Lions only wanted to play in the second quarter of this game, as they put up all 27 of their points during this period. They were held scoreless the rest of the game, while the Steelers were able to put up a steady flow of points throughout the game. They needed the fourth quarter to seal it, but that’s when Roethlisberger showed his veteran knowledge and was able to rally his team to victory. Matt Stafford had an uncharacteristically bad game, going 19-46, even though in those 19 completions he was able to rack up 362 yards. As to be expected, 179 of those yards went to Calvin Johnson, as did both of Stafford’s touchdown attempts. What might be worse for the Lions is the fact that the Bears were able to edge out a win this weekend, tying the two teams atop the NFC North. As for the Steelers, who have now won four of their last six, they somehow went from last to second in the AFC North and now have the potential of turning this season around. Oh the glory and surprise that is NFL football.
The Philadelphia Eagles went out this week and, unlike some other teams that played on Sunday, did exactly what they needed to do. Their 24-16 win over the Redskins gives the Eagles first place in the NFC East, and has fans excited about the future of Nick Foles. Although the quarterback who threw for ten touchdowns in the last two games didn’t put any up on Sunday, in the air at least, his 17-26 was enough to manage the game. And his 47-yards rushing and one touchdown were also big helps for the Eagles in this one. As for RGIII, he once again looked to be just average, continuing his sophomore slump with a 17-35 effort for 264 yards. While the Redskins fall to 3-7, the Eagles have now gone 4-1 under Nick Foles and are 6-5 overall. As mentioned, that’s enough for first place in the NFC East, and they’ll have to wait to see what happens as they have a bye week next week. This will give them plenty of time to rest up for Arizona, who they’ll play on December 1st. As for the Redskins, in an otherwise forgettable season, they now will welcome San Francisco to town next Monday night.
With an hour delay due to weather, you can imagine that the Bears were in their locker room keeping an eye on the Lions losing their game. A win would put them in a tie for first place in the NFC North, and considering they didn’t have Jay Cutler under center, a win would speak volumes for their ability to win even without their starting quarterback. Along with the delay, it also took an extra period of play, but the Bears were able to top the Ravens 23-20 on a Robbie Gould 38-yard field goal. Josh McCown was able to fill in for Cutler, going 19-31 for 216 yards. He also had a touchdown and didn’t throw any interceptions. As for the highest paid quarterback in the league, Joe Flacco went only 17-31 for 162 yards and threw two picks. The Ravens, who at 4-6 aren’t necessarily out of the playoff race quite yet, will face off against the unpredictable Jets next weekend. The Bears will look to keep up in the NFC North and keep pace with the Lions, as they face the Rams. They’ll hope to get Cutler back as soon as possible, or that McCown can continue winning while Cutler is on the bench.
The Bengals finally got a win they needed. It doesn’t hurt that it came against an AFC divisional foe as well. Their 41-20 rout of the Browns, should hopefully also give them some momentum moving forward as well. Despite the Browns shooting ahead early and leading 13-0 after one, the Bengals would storm back and put up 31 in the second quarter to make it 31-13 at halftime in their favor. And while Jason Campbell would score another touchdown for the Browns in the third, it wasn’t enough to keep up with the monster second quarter by the Bengals. Josh Campbell is getting used to being under center for the Browns. He was threw 56 times, completing 27 passes. This is the kind of passing game that more established, and more accurate quarterbacks should be getting, so there are plenty of teams that can take note of the Browns scheme. However, Campbell would throw three interceptions that resulted in two touchdowns for the Bengals. Andy Dalton didn’t have the best of games, completing less than fifty-percent of his passes (13-27) for only 92 yards. And despite the fact he had two interceptions, he did have three touchdowns as well. Another bright point for the Browns was the 125 receiving yards by Josh Gorden, one of which resulted in a touchdown. The Bengals are first in the AFC North, but they have to feel the pressure coming from all of the other teams in their division. The Steelers, Ravens and Browns are all 4-6, and things look to be getting really interesting in the division. Next week the Bengals will play the Chargers, while the Browns will play those Steelers that are starting to heat up.
On the Friday before the NFL weekend began, it Terrelle Pryor and Case Keenum were the quarterbacks for the Raiders and Texans, respectively. However, when Sunday night ended, neither of those quarterbacks future with their teams would be safe. While it was announced that Pryor would miss Sunday’s game entirely due to a knee injury, his replacement, Matt McGloin came in and threw three touchdown passes in his first NFL start to help the Raiders win, 28-23. In Gary Kubiak’s return to the Texans, he would sit Keenum in the third quarterback, and put the ball back in the hands of former starting QB, Matt Schaub. While McGloins finish to the game will lead for question in Oakland and whether or not Pryor is the right choice moving forward, it’s unlikely that Schaub will be given that option in Houston. During his return to the game, Schuab got into an argument with Andre Johnson, who is likely to be much more valuable to the franchise than the quarterback who many have pointed the finger at as the weak link. At 2-8, the Texans season is all but over now, but they’ll get a look at the Jacksonville Jaguars next weekend. As for the Raiders, we’ll have to see who will start for them behind center next weekend when they play Tennessee.
Speaking of those Jags, they would follow up their first win of the season last weekend, with a game against the Cardinals this weekend. Unfortunately for Jacksonville, their winning streak would be stopped at one as the Cardinals were able to win this one, 27-14. With their win, and the 49ers loss, the Cardinals are now in second place in the NFC West, and possibly more in the playoff race than some people give them credit for. Carson Palmer has been considered one of the weaker quarterbacks to start for a team this year, though his 30-42 performance for 419 yards on Sunday was more than respectable. Considering he also put up two touchdowns and didn’t turn the ball over, there isn’t much more you could ask for. 193 of Palmer’s yards would go to Malcom Floyd, who was hit on 6 of 11 targets. The biggest problem for the Cardinals could be a lack of a running game. Although Rashad Mendenhall had a touchdown, his 14 yards on 13 carries
With the AFC West showdown going down Sunday night, the Chargers could’ve used a win to get a bit closer to the top of that division. However, despite playing one of the most distracted teams in the NFL, they somehow flopped and lost to the Dolphins, 20-16. Philip Rivers threw for just under 300 yards, going 22-34 for a touchdown and an interception. But Ryan Tannehill also had 22 completions on 35 attempts, for 268 yards. Both QB’s threw a touchdown and an interception. However it was the penalties that really was the reason that Chargers lost, getting flagged 10 times for 76-yards. Thanks to the Jets loss, the Dolphins are back in second place in the AFC East at 5-5. The Chargers, who have now lost three in a row, drop to 4-6 and things don’t get much easier next weekend against the Chiefs.
The Vikings would’ve loved to have ruined the return of Percy Harvin, as he suited up for the first time with the Seahawks. However it was Harvin that had a game changing play that allowed the Seahawks to move to 10-1 on the season. Although the game was close at 17-13 with just a few minutes left until halftime, Harvin would return a 58-yard kick that would set up another touchdown for the Seahawks that put the game out of reach. Per usual, Marshawn Lynch was huge on Sunday, rushing for two touchdowns and also finding the end zone on a six-yard reception from Russell Wilson. Wilson would have 224 more yards and one more touchdown to complete the game. As for the Vikings, they would once again switch out Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel throughout the game, neither of which were very productive, combining for three interceptions. The Seahawks have faced off against some less-than-impressive teams in the last four weeks, but in two weeks they’ll get a real test against the Saints. That will be followed by a game against the 49ers, so we expect the Seahawks to really show who they are in the coming weeks. As for the Vikings, they’ll head to Green Bay, who are likely to be without Aaron Rodgers still, so it could be a huge opportunity for the Vikings to land a win.
While the Seahawks will play the 49ers and Saints in the coming weeks, the two teams would face off against each other in week 11. The 49ers have got to be kicking themselves after this one. In an NFC matchup that they really needed to win in order to keep up with the Seahawks and Saints, they headed into the four quarter up by 3 and make it 6 after another field goal. However the Saints would end the game on three field goals of their own, to pull out a 23-20 win. Partial reason that the Saints had this opportunity was because of the hit that Ahmad Brooks put on Drew Brees, that would be flagged and give Brees another chance to get within field goal range. Brees would throw for 305 yards on the night, going 30-43. But the Saints had three team turnovers, which could’ve ended their undefeated streak at home this year. Instead, they move to 8-2 and are keeping pace with the Seahawks for the best record in the NFC. The win could also have huge playoff implications, if these two teams meet one another later on down the road. Not only have the 49ers now lost two heartbreaking games in a row, but they are also proving to be having a hard time with other competitive teams. Sure they rallied off wins against teams with sub-.500 records, but they need to be able to finish strong if they hope for a return trip to the Super Bowl. Luckily for them, they’ll face another sub-.500 team in the Redskins next weekend, while the Saints will also get an easy one against Atlanta.
While many teams like the 49ers, Lions and Chiefs were cooled down with losses this weekend, the Giants continued their hot streak. The team that caused severe panic in New York, has now won six in a row and finds themselves right in the thick of the NFC East. Their win over the Packers could’ve have come at a better time. Although the Packers still boast one of the more complete teams in the league, they’ve been pestered with injuries in recent weeks, including one to their biggest asset, Aaron Rodgers. Things looked close in the fourth quarter, as the Giants had a 20-13 lead and the Packers were about to begin a drive. But Jason Pierre-Paul would get an interception that would turn into a touchdown, that would seal it all for the red-hot Giants. While the Giants are now on everyone’s radar and make the game that they play against the Cowboys next weekend very interesting, the Packers have now lost three in a row and could be without Rodgers for at least three more weeks. While the remainder of their schedule isn’t full of playoff contending teams, they’ll have to win more often than not if they hope to put themselves in that conversation instead.
The Sunday night showdown between the Broncos and Chiefs was one of the most anticipated of the weekend. And for anyone who watched that wasn’t a Chiefs fan, you likely weren’t disappointed. The last undefeated team, the Chiefs and their highly vaunted defense were picked apart routinely by the Broncos on Sunday. Peyton Manning was able to throw for 323 yards on 24-40 passing, 121 of those yards went to Demariyus Thomas. Knowshon Moreno would put up another 79 yards rushing, and rookie Monte Ball would score on two crucial running attempts in the red zone. Now, atop the entire AFC, the Broncos will get another chance to prove their might next weekend, this time against the Patriots. Alex Smith is known for getting a bit of slack for not being able to carry the Chiefs offense, but he threw for 230 yards on 21 of 45 passing. Not a great effort, but nothing to scoff at either. The Chiefs will look to return to their winning ways against divisional San Diego next weekend, in hopes to keep up with the Broncos for home field advantage in the playoffs.