Nov 5, 2022
Thursday Night Football
Baltimore Ravens @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Baltimore has a knack for getting off to hot starts this season. Normally, this is a huge advantage for a team, because they can easily control the game script, but the Ravens have had a tough time closing out games. Thursday saw that saw script flipped, Tom Brady and the Buccaneers came flying out of the gate, ending up with a 10-3 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Buccs have had issues establishing a run game, which has put more pressure on Brady to make plays. Leonard Fournette has had a harder time finding holes to run through after the injuries to the interior of the O-Line early in the season, but he was able to break through for a goal line touchdown early in the game. After that however, he was pretty silent, carrying the ball just nine times and averaging just 2.7 yards per carry.
The second quarter went without any changes to the scoreboard, but after some halftime adjustments, the Ravens were able to break through and tie the game with a six-yard touchdown run by Kenyan Drake. Mark Andrews, Lamar Jackson’s favourite target, went down early in this game, so the intermediate throws that are crucial to the Ravens’ success were now directed to rookie Isaiah Likely. The former Coastal Carolina tight end stepped up big time for his offence, scoring the next touchdown and racking up 77-yards on six receptions. Mike Evans then caught a 51-yard bomb from Brady to start the fourth quarter, setting up a Ryan Succop field goal to cut the Ravens’ lead to four. But throughout the game for every punch Tampa threw, Baltimore had a counter, this time the counter was Devin Duvernay who busted a run to the outside for a 15-yard touchdown. Although Julio Jones would add a last-minute score for the Buccs, it was too little too late, and the Ravens held on for the victory. It marks the first time since Tom Brady’s rookie season that he’s been beaten in three straight games and he’ll try to avoid a fourth loss next week against the LA Rams. The Ravens will travel to New Orleans for another primetime matchup on Monday Night Football against the Saints.
Final Score: (5-3) Baltimore Ravens 27
(3-5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers 22
NFL London 9:30 Game
Denver Broncos @ Jacksonville Jaguars
We know Russell Wilson was ready for this game. He told us as much. He apparently had a very productive plane ride over the Atlantic, four hours of plyometrics, two hours studying the playbook, an hour of meditation and an hour of sleep. However, all of this preparation didn’t stop him from throwing an interception on the Bronco’s first drive to Jaguars corner Tyson Campbell. The turnover gave Jacksonville excellent field position, and allowed Trevor Lawrence to find Evan Engram for a 22-yard touchdown to open the scoring. After strong defensive outings from both teams on the next few drives, Lawrence again found himself in the redzone, but this time his pass went to Bronco’s safety Justin Simmons. The defensive stop didn’t result in any points for the Bronco’s but kept the game within striking distance. After a Jaguars field goal, the Broncos were finally able to break through and put some points on the board, as Jerry Jeudy ran in a touchdown from six-yards out, making the score 10-7 Jacksonville at halftime. The Second half featured a battle for field position as the defences were able to hold off the opposing attack for the most part, but Melvin Gordan and Travis Etienne would both score rushing touchdowns for their respective teams, putting the Jaguars up three points with four minutes left in the game. Then, out of no-where, the old Russ emerged and took over the game. He placed one of his signature deep balls 49-yards on a dime to KJ Hamler bringing Denver to the Jacksonville 32. Two-minutes later, newly acquired goal line back Latavius Murray pushed his way into the endzone for the game winning score.
Denver enters their bye week with a much-needed win, and will try to build on that success in week 10 in Tennessee. The Jaguars have a date at home with the Las Vegas Raiders, another AFC West team that is in desperate need of a win.
Final Score: (3-5) Denver Broncos 21
(2-6) Jacksonville Jaguars 17
Sunday 1 O’clock Games
Miami Dolphins @ Detroit Lions
The Dolphins are 4-0 with Tua starting, so confidence was high before their game in Detroit, where Tagovailoa would play his second game since returning from a concussion. The confidence was well placed. Tua put up 382-yards and three touchdowns in an unexpectedly exciting shootout. It was the Lions who started the action though, going up 14-0 in the first quarter courtesy of a Jamaal Williams rushing TD and a D’Andre Swift TD through the air. Tua would respond in kind, finding Jalen Waddle in the corner of the endzone before the quarter was out. Next, Williams would put the Lions back up two scores before Waddle cut into the lead again with a 29-yard touchdown. The teams would swap field goals before the half was over, making it 27-17 Lions going into the second half.
It was all Dolphins down the stretch. The defence would prove unrelenting as they blanked Jared Goff the rest of the way, while Tua added two more touchdowns in the third quarter to seal the win. The Dolphins extent Tua’s record to 5-0 as a starter and will try to get that number to six in week nine at Chicago. The Lions will host the struggling Green Bay Packers at Ford Field.
Final Score: 5-3) Miami Dolphins 31
(1-7) Detroit Lions 27
Carolina Panthers @Atlanta Falcons
This game was surprisingly entertaining. In typical shootout fashion, this back-and-forth contest had action right from the jump. Panthers corner Donte Jackson intercepted Marcus Mariota’s, first pass of the game, setting the tone for what was to come. As the teams exchanged blows, neither were able to break away from the other, and after three quarters it was a one score game, setting up what would be a scintillating finish.
Panther’s running back Donta Foreman would get his second TD of the game, barging his way into the endzone to tie it at 21. The Falcons would then take their lead back with a 30-yard Younghoe Koo field goal. Forman continued his dominance on the ground on the very next drive, cashing in a third TD of the game from 12-yards out. 28-24 Panthers. This is when all hell broke loose. Damiere Byrd caught a pass on a comeback route at the 33 before weaving his way past six Panthers defenders and into the endzone. 31-28 Falcons. PJ Walker would turn the ball over on downs on the next possession, giving the Falcons excellent field position and resulting in a 34-yard field goal by Koo. 34-28 Falcons. With just 36 seconds on the clock, Walker found Terrance Marshall on the sideline for 15-yards, stopping the clock with enough time for one last heave to the endzone. Channeling his inner Aaron Rodgers, Walker would then make one of the best passes of the year, a 62-yard bomb across his body, and landing in the outstretched arms of DJ Moore in the endzone. The play tied the game and should’ve won it with the extra point, but a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty pushed the kick back and Eddie Pineiro missed it. Then in overtime, Mariota threw a brutal interception, setting up another game winning kick for Pineiro. He missed it again. He would not get a third chance, as on the next drive the Falcons sent a 41-yard kick through the uprights and won the game.
Final Score: (4-4) Atlanta Falcons 37 (OT)
(2-6) Carolina Panthers 34
Arizona Cardinals @ Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings are good ladies and gentlemen. Maybe very good. But their lack of competition up to this point in the season left many people thinking they could be pretenders rather than contenders. Kyler Murray and the Cardinals may not be the big dogs in the NFC, but they would represent a quality win if Minnesota could pull it off.
Kirk Cousins opened the scoring with a very uncharacteristic 17-yard rushing touchdown. With the score at 7-3 in the second quarter, Cousins found tight end Jonny Mundt in the endzone to make it a two-possession game. It looked like the Vikings would take that into the second half, until DeAndre Hopkins made a phenomenal one-handed grab in the endzone to cut the lead to four. The Cardinals received the ball to start the second half, and Kyler picked up where he left off at the end of the first, chewing six minutes off the clock before slinging a screen pass to Zack Ertz, who made a man miss and bulldozed his way in for a score. Minnesota responded with their own six-minute drive, commencing with an Alexander Mattison touchdown to give the Vikings their lead back. On the subsequent drive, Murray would target a streaking Robbie Anderson on a deep ball that was left about 20-yards short and picked off by Vikings safety Harrison Smith. A quick pass to Justin Jefferson would put the Vikings back into the redzone, and Dalvin Cook would finish off the drive with a four-yard touchdown. Kyler would try to pull off some magic, scoring the next nine points to bring Arizona within two, but would ultimately fall short. No pun intended. KJ Osborn would add a late game touchdown to extend the Vikings lead to eight, and that’s where it would stay. DeAndre Hopkins had 159-yards and a touchdown in the loss, and his team will host the red-hot Seattle Seahawks in week nine. The Vikings will travel to Washington to take on the Commanders.
Final Score: (6-1) Minnesota Vikings 34
(3-5) Arizona Cardinals 26
Chicago Bears @ Dallas Cowboys
Dak Prescott is healthy, and much to Stephen A Smith’s chagrin, they’ve got the whole league saying, how bout dem Cowboys? The NFC East is suddenly one of the best divisions in football, and after about a decade of mediocrity, it now sports three teams with a serious chance to be the top seed in the conference. The Bears are playing good football too, they beat the Patriots by double digits the week before, and have had two straight games with 200 total rush yards, the only team in the NFL that can say that.
The Bears continued their strong rushing attack against the Cowboys, who have one of the best defensive lines in football. Khalil Herbert Justin Fields and David Montgomery combined for 212 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, and Fields added two more touchdowns through the air. It has been rumoured that the Bears have taken to borrowing plays from the Baltimore Ravens’ offence, which makes sense seeing that both teams have athletic dual threat options at quarterback. It seems to be working, and it worked for 29 points against the Cowboys on Sunday.
Unfortunately, the Cowboys put up 49. If the Bears had gotten a couple of stops early in the game, they might have been able to turn it into a marathon, run out some clock and keep it close. But after the Cowboys went up 14-0 early, it was clear the Bears just didn’t have a gameplan to keep up. Tony Pollard saw the great run game on the other side of the field, and he upped the ante, laying down 131 yards and three touchdowns on just 14 carries. Dak Prescott was equally impressive, and seemed to finally find his rhythm in the pass game, throwing for 250 yards and finding CeeDee Lamb and Jake Ferguson for touchdowns. He would also add a rushing touchdown to boot. The Cowboys have had the best defence in the NFL so far this year, and if their offence can keep clicking, they are a serious contender in the NFC. They have a week nine bye coming up, and will try be fresh and ready to try and catch the Eagles for the division lead in the second half of the season. The Bears week nine matchup will see them host the Miami Dolphins at Soldier Field
Final Score: (6-2) Dallas Cowboys 49
(3-5) Chicago Bears 29
Las Vegas Raiders @ New Orleans Saints
Not much to say about this one. The Las Vegas Raiders got blanked, and the New Orleans Saints were up big early, and never looked back. Alvin Kamara punched in a one-yard touchdown to put the Saints up at the end of the first quarter, and Derek Carr threw a brutal interception to Tyrann Mathieu to kick off the second. Kamara would add his second score of the game on a 16-yard rush and Will Lutz converted on a 37-yard field goal on the Saints next two drives, giving New Orleans a 17-point lead going into halftime. Andy Dalton hit Kamara over the middle for a 36-yard score and his third touchdown of the game to start the third quarter, and that was all she wrote. New Orleans would put the game into cruise control, and by the end neither team were playing their starters. Every week the NFL slate gives us at least one lopsided game, and for week nine this was it. Kamara broke out for 158 yards and three TDs in the game, reminding everyone he is still one of the best dual threat weapons in the game. Next week the Raiders will need to rebound against the Jacksonville Jaguars if they have any chance of salvaging their season. Although it may already be too far gone. The Saints will have an extra day to prep for a home matchup with the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football.
Final Score: (3-5) New Orleans Saints 24
(2-5) Las Vegas Raiders 0
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles are coming off their bye week after the best start to their season in recent memory. The Steelers have had their worst start in recent memory. Conventional wisdom would say take the Eagles in a blowout. Conventional wisdom would be right. It seemed like Jalen Hurts was running a practice session in the first half, and he hit AJ Brown for three touchdowns on essentially the same play. I guess if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. The Steelers did try to keep it close, and Chase Claypool to TJ Watt touchdown at the end of the first quarter did tie the game, but after that it was no contest. Philadelphia was just too consistent, and Pittsburgh’s defence couldn’t get a stop. The Eagles took their 21-10 lead into the second half and added two more scores before time expired, one 34-yard pass to Zach Pascal and another an 11-yarder by Miles Sanders on the ground. The Eagles have now won seven straight, and will try to make it eight on Thursday Night Football against the Houston Texans. The Steelers limp into their bye week at 2-6, and might want to start looking into next year’s draft.
Final Score: (7-0) Philadelphia Eagles 35
(2-6) Pittsburgh Steelers 13
New England Patriots @ New York Jets
The Jets are in second place in the AFC East. They have a great head coach in Robert Saleh. They had an excellent draft in 2022. Their fans are excited about the team’s future. If you’d said any of those statements at this time last year, I would’ve called you a liar. But it’s reality. The rebuild is ahead of schedule, and Zack Wilson has been surrounded by talented pieces to expedite his development. In every young quarterback’s progression, there will be games that stand out for positives, and games that stand out for negatives. This game just happens to be both. Wilson threw for 355 yards and two touchdowns, but he also threw three interceptions. One of which cost his team a chance to win the game.
The Patriots on the other hand, seem to know what they are. Bill Belichick’s greatest skill is knowing his team and designing a gameplan that highlights their strengths and hides their weaknesses. New England is clearly limited at quarterback. Mac Jones isn’t Tom Brady, but he can and the ball off, and throw check downs. So that’s what the Patriots did. Through the first half, this gameplan led to a 10-6 Jets lead. But Belichick stuck with the run, kept opting for the easy passes, and waited for Zack Wilson to make mistakes. And he did. On two consecutive drives in the fourth quarter, Wilson threw blatant interceptions when a simple throw away would’ve sufficed. He did find Ty Conklin for a late touchdown, but there was simply not enough time left to mount a comeback. The Jets are still 5-3, but look a lot different without their star running back Breece Hal, and Wilson has shown he’s not ready to carry the team on his back just yet. New York will play a second straight divisional opponent at home when they host the Buffalo Bills in week nine. The Patriots will also be at home against Sam Ehlinger and the Indianapolis Colts.
Final Score: (4-4) New England Patriots 22
(5-3) New York Jets 17
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