Oct 22. 2022
Thursday Night Football
Washington Commanders @ Chicago Bears
Amazon needs to do something about these Thursday Night Football games. The new owners of the mid-week slot have been dealing with some of the worst matchups of the year for the past three weeks. The ecommerce giant paid $1 billion to own the exclusive streaming rights for the next 11 years. With 15 Thursday slots a year, that is roughly 6 million per game during the duration of the contract. Despite the boring nature of the games, Amazon seems to have tapped a new market of NFL fan, as Thursday Night Football viewership is up 11% from last year when the games aired on FOX. The Bears Commanders game did contribute to the ratings boost, but I’m not sure the game itself will help retain those numbers.
The defences owned the first quarter, each forcing a three and out on their first series. The third drive of the game, by Justin Fields and the Bears, was stopped short in the redzone, when Commanders defensive tackle John Ridgeway tipped a pass into the air. The ball dropped to Jonathan Allen for an interception. The first points of the game would come in the final minute of the half off the foot of Commander’s kicker Joey Slye. That 3-0 lead would hold up until a 40-yard touchdown by Chicago wide receiver Dante Pettis eight minutes into the third quarter, giving the Bears their only points on the night. A second Slye field goal and a goal line rushing touchdown by Brian Robinson Jr in the fourth quarter would round out the scoring on the night, and give the Commanders their second win of the season. Justin Fields came within a yard of a walk-off touchdown but was stuffed by Benjamin St. Juste on fourth down, ending the game. The Commanders play their week seven matchup at home against the Green Bay Packers and the Bears travel to New England to play the Patriots at Foxboro.
Final Score: (2-4) Washington Commanders 12
(2-4) Chicago Bears 7
Sunday 1 O’clock Games
Baltimore Ravens @ New York Giants
The Baltimore Ravens have led by two scores in every game they’ve played this season. In three of those games, they were able to hold on and stay in the win column, but the other two games featured blown fourth quarter leads. This is a troubling trend for the Ravens and their fans, but it couldn’t happen again, for a third time in only six weeks, right? Right?
The Ravens got off to their usual hot start, opening the scoring in the second quarter on a 30-yard Kenyan Drake touchdown run. On the next drive Giants quarterback Daniel Jones would counter with a five-yard strike to Wan’Dale Robinson, tying the game at 7. A 34-yard field goal by Justin Tucker gave the Ravens a 10-7 advantage going into half an added another from 23 yards out after the Ravens failed to cash in on a 65-yard drive to start the third quarter. Graham Gano hit a field goal of his own for the Giants, followed by Lamar Jackson finding his favourite target, Mark Andrews, for a 12-yard touchdown to start the fourth quarter. With the two score lead established, the Ravens had a chance to exercise past demons and hold on for the victory. Daniel Jones had other ideas, throwing a dart to Daniel Bellinger for a touchdown with six minutes remaining in the game. 20-17, Ravens. On the subsequent drive, Lamar Jackson fumbled the snap, picked it up himself, scrambled to the right and threw an ill-advised cross body pass to his fullback Patrick Ricard. Julian Love stepped in front of it, picking it off and returning it to the Ravens 12-yard line. Saquon Barkley would hammer it in for a touchdown two plays later. 24-20, Giants. With one more drive to avoid a devastating loss, Lamar fumbled the ball on a Kayvon Thibodeaux sack, sealing the game for the Giants and improving their record to 5-1. The Giants continue to roll and look to make it six wins under new coach Brian Daboll in week seven against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Baltimore takes their 3-3 record back home to play the Cleveland Browns.
Final Score: (5-1) New York Giants 24
(3-3) Baltimore Ravens 20
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Indianapolis Colts
The Colts might be the most perplexing team in the NFL. They lose games they shouldn’t lose; they win games they shouldn’t win. But against the Jaguars, a team with a similar narrative this season, it appeared to be a true coin flip. The Colts had been waiting for their former MVP quarterback Matt Ryan to make his mark, and boy did he on Sunday. Matty Ice threw the ball 58 times, racking up 389 yards and three touchdowns.
A back and forth first half resulted in a 14-13 lead for the Jaguars at the start of the third quarter. Trevor Lawrence scored his second rushing touchdown of the game on the half’s opening drive, giving the Jags an eight-point cushion. Deon Jackson, who is serving as Jonathan Taylor’s replacement, then scored to cut into the lead, but a failed two-point conversion attempt would stop the Colts from tying it up. Who needs a tie though? How about a lead? Matt Ryan’s thoughts exactly, and he found tight end Jelani Woods for a 10-yard tub a couple minutes into the fourth quarter. But then Trevor Lawrence swung the game back in the Jags favour, with a three-yard pass to Christian Kirk for a touchdown, making it 27-26 with just under three minutes to play. Matty then ‘Iced’ the game with 23 seconds left, finding rookie wide receiver Alec Pierce for a 32-yard score. The two most unpredictable teams gave fans a classic battle, and with the Colts coming out on top, they improve their record to above .500 for the first time this year. Jacksonville moves to 2-4.
Final Score: (3-2-1) Indianapolis Colts 34
(2-4) Jacksonville Jaguars 27
New England Patriots @ Cleveland Browns
Zappe dee do da Zappe de day, why oh why won’t the Pats go away? The answer is simple, the greatest coach of all-time, Bill Belichick. On paper, this roster shouldn’t be good, but the emergence of a rookie late round pick quarterback has turned this season around. Sound familiar?
Bailey Zappe its starting to look comfortable in this Patriot offence. Last week, his first win as a started was helped by his defence and running backs, but this week, Zappe made his mark. He threw for 309 yards and two touchdowns in the game, against a very underrated Browns defence. The game was close at times, but after New England gained the 17-6 lead off of a Tyquan Thornton touchdown early in the third quarter, they never looked back. Rhamondre Stevenson had 76-yards and two touchdowns on the ground, and looks to have cemented his role as the lead back over Damien Harris. The patriots get back to .500 on the season, and make the AFC East, a once top heavy division, into maybe the most competitive in the league, as none of the teams sport a losing record. Week 13 and the return of Deshaun Watson could not come fast enough for the Browns, as they’ve lost three straight games and play the Ravens in Baltimore in week seven. The Patriots will try to build on their recent success in Foxboro, where they host the Chicago Bears for Monday Night Football.
Final Score: (3-3) New England Patriots 38
(2-4) Cleveland Browns 15
Cincinnati Bengals @ New Orleans Saints
We knew it was coming. The Joe Burrow game. Until Sunday, Burrow had only eclipsed 300 yards one time, and in that game, he also threw four interceptions. The former LSU quarterback’s return to Louisiana was not only his welcome back to his Alma Mater, but also his welcome back to the ranks of elite NFL QBs. He completed 76 percent of his passes, threw for 300 yards, rushed for 25 yards and had four total touchdowns, three through the air and one on the ground.
Despite the dominance of the Bengals captain, the Saints matched him throughout the game. Their top three wide receivers were ruled out before kickoff, so New Orleans had to make do with what they had, and they actually had the lead for the majority of the game. It wasn’t until a 60-yard touchdown by Ja’marr Chase with two minutes left in the fourth quarter that the Bengals were able to wrestle victory from the arms of defeat. New Orleans leaned heavily on running back Alvin Kamara and kicker Will Lutz throughout the contest, the former racking up 124 all-purpose yards and a touchdown, while the latter was a perfect four for four on field goal attempts. In the end, the lack of a passing game proved to be the difference, and the Saints fell to 2-4 on the season. They will have a short week upcoming, playing on Thursday Night Football against the Arizona Cardinals, while Cincinnati will take on the Atlanta Falcons at home.
Final Score: (3-3) Cincinnati Bengals 30
(2-4) New Orleans Saints 26
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Tom Brady is under fire from the media for what it seems like the first time in his long illustrious career. He chose to attend the wedding of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft in New York City on the Friday before his team’s matchup with the Steelers in Pittsburgh. It has also been reported that the Buccaneers have granted their star quarterback, ‘Veteran Rest Days’ every Wednesday during game weeks. So as ridiculous as it may be, Tom Brady’s commitment to football has been called into question. Sunday’s game against the Steelers will only stoke the flames of that narrative. Najee Harris would open the scoring with a touchdown off of a screen pass by Steelers rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett, which would be countered by a 30-yard field goal by Buccs kicker Ryan Succop. Succop would add another on the next drive after Brady’s second visit to the redzone without hitting paydirt. The Steelers would respond in kind, with a 55-yard bomb off the leg of Chris Boswell, to make the score 10-6 Steelers. The kicking brigade would continue to end out the half, as the Buccaneers reduced the Steelers lead to just one point on a 54-yard kick. After another field goal by each team, Kenny Pickett was viciously sacked by Tampa linebacker Devin White, forcing him to exit the game with an injury. This brought in Mitch Trubisky to close out the game. He did just that, finding Chase Claypool for a fourth quarter touchdown, extending Pittsburgh’s lead to eight. The Tom Brady comeback story is one we’ve read many times, but Brady wasn’t able to add another chapter on Sunday, missing the conversion attempt after a Leonard Fournette touchdown brought the Buccaneers within two points. After an abysmal loss last week in Buffalo, the Steelers were in desperate need of a bounce back game. This one fit the ‘Bill’ as it were, bringing them to 2-4 on the season. Miami awaits in the sunshine state for a week seven matchup. Tampa travels to take on the rebuilding Panthers in Carolina.
Final Score: (2-4) Pittsburgh Steelers 20
(3-3) Tampa Bay Buccaneers 18
San Francisco 49ers @ Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons have surprised many NFL fans this year. After their franchise quarterback Matt Ryan went to Indianapolis and they lost their top receiver, Calvin Ridley, to a year-long suspension, prospects entering the season were bleak. But under new signal caller Marcus Mariota, they have been surprisingly competitive. The Niners came to Atlanta on a two-game win streak, and Jimmy Garoppolo was starting to look like the safe, stable quarterback that brought them to the Super Bowl in 2020. This game wouldn’t follow that narrative. After a two-yard touchdown from Mycole Pruitt to put the Falcons ahead, Jeff Wilson Jr would fumble on the 20-yard line, and AJ Terrell would scoop it up and score, giving Atlanta a 14-0 lead early in the game. San Francisco would tie the game before half with two Brandon Aiyuk touchdowns, but Marcus Mariota would add a touchdown of his own before the break. Kyle Pitts would then restore the two-score lead with a seven-yard touchdown, his first since coming back from injury. That lead would stand for the rest of the game. Garoppolo threw two interceptions in the game, and the second half offence completely stalled, leading to what many would call an upset loss. No Falcons players had stat lines that popped off the page, yet they were able to secure the victory pretty decisively. They look to carry that momentum into week seven in Cincinnati against the Bengals, while the 49ers, and their newly acquired running back Christian McCaffery, go back home to host the Kansas City Chiefs.
Final Score: (3-3) Atlanta Falcons 28
(3-3) San Francisco 49ers 14
New York Jets @ Green Bay Packers
Wait a second, are the New York Jets good? If beating the back-to-back MVP in his home stadium makes you good, then the Jets certainly qualify. The emergence of rookie runningback Breece Hall has been a godsend for the gang green’s offence and he had 121-yards and a touchdown in his first trip to Lambeau Field. The game went without a touchdown and tied at 3 apiece until the middle of the third quarter, when Braxton Berrios ran in a 20-yard sweep to put the Jets up 10-3. Three minutes later, after forcing the Packers into a three and out, the Jets special teams blocked the Packers punt attempt, and it was scooped up by Will Parks for the touchdown. All of the sudden Green Bay was in a two-score hole, with a little over a quarter of football to play. Allen Lazard would score just before the end of the third quarter, to make it 17-10, but the aforementioned Breece Hall touchdown on a 34-yard scamper would put the lights out in Lambeau. The Jets improve to 4-2, their best start in over a decade and Aaron Rodgers is left wondering how the Packers still haven’t found him a quality receiver.
Final Score: (4-2) New York Jets 27
(3-3) Green Bay Packers 10
Minnesota Vikings @ Miami Dolphins
The Vikings are a major story heading into week 6 at 4-1. Under new coach Kevin O’Connell the offence looks rejuvenated and the defence looks as stout as any Mike Zimmer unit. Their opponents also enter the game limping, with their starting quarterback down and their backup questionable, the third stringer, Skyler Thompson was set to take the field. But, after the first half, the Dolphins defence seemed to have mitigated the potential damage, and the score stood at 10-3 for the Vikings. Despite this, Teddy Bridgewater would replace Thompson, apparently being cleared for action at halftime. The third quarter went scoreless, but Kirk Cousins found Adam Thielen for a score to start the fourth. Teddy would respond with one of his own, a strike to tight end Mike Gesicki, bringing the game to within one score with 10 minutes remaining. Star Vikings running back Dalvin Cook had been quiet throughout the game, but broke his silence at the most opportune time with a 54-yard touchdown run, extending the Vikings lead back to two scores. Bridgewater would find Gesicki for his second touchdown of the game minutes later, but it was too little too late for the Dolphins, losing at home for the first time this season. Miami will remain at home for week seven, taking on the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Vikings will take this victory into their bye week.
Final Score: (5-1) Minnesota Vikings 24
(3-3) Miami Dolphins 16
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