I was all excited. It was my first time seeing MY Miami Dolphins live in person… Week 6, 2021, vs the hapless Jaguars in London. It was going to be a WONDERFUL sunday. Great atmosphere, great stadium, great friends with me… and I’ve completely forgotten what happened in the Fins vs Jags game if I’m honest with you… Zero recollection. Must’ve bumped my head… Anyway, beyond the absolute “dumpster fire” that was the battle of Florida at Spurs Stadium, Week 6 had a number of electric games and great moments. Let’s tuck in…

The Owner Of Chicago

Credit: Sky Sports

“I’ve owned you my whole f**king life. I own you. I still own you.”

The statement heard around the NFL world. Emphatic. Brutally honest. Divisive. But… above all else… Correct. Aaron Rodgers OWNS the Chicago Bears. Hey, he was listed as their owner on Wikipedia for a brief moment on Sunday, so who am I to argue? Am I over-stating the importance of one provocative and inflammatory statement by leading off this column with this game? Perhaps… Maybe… Probably?! But yet it feels right too. Aside from the drama vs San Francisco in Week 3, I haven’t touched much on Rodgers and the Pack in the first third of the season.

Let me tell you, just like the Bills loss to the Steelers, the Packers Week 1 loss to the Saints feels like a COMPLETE aberration. The Packers are legit for real. Should we surprised? No. They’ve lost in back-to-back NFC Title Games… but after all the uncertainty of the summer, it’s been a remarkable retort from the reigning, defending, undisputed NFL MVP of a season ago by rattling off 5 wins in a row and putting themselves firmly at the front of the pack attempting to get back to the NFC Title game, trailing only the Cardinals… and we’ll get to them later.

But I wanted to emphasise that the Packers have got it all, and a really good chance of breaking their duck and finding a way to get to the SuperBowl. The defense is improved from a season ago, and AJ Dillon is developing into a great second fiddle behind Aaron Jones. Davante Adams? They’re aren’t enough words… and with LaFleur and Rodgers’ relationship seemingly strong… this Last Dance might well end just like the last one did… but with a different reaction in the city of Chicago.

Speaking of Chicago, a couple of quick notes: 

  • Khalil Herbert, welcome to the league! A great performance from him.
  • Chicago having David Montgomery, Damien Williams AND Khalil Herbert is a pretty impressive 3-headed monster if we’re honest.
  • Justin Fields… we need to be patient. I’m not yet convinced that he’s the “Ohio State bust” QB that Twitter really wants him to be, but it’s not clicking just yet.
  • The Bears defense is definitely not what it once was, but holding the Packers offense to 24 points shows they’ve still got some life in them.
  • Matt Nagy… will still be lucky to make it through this season. Buccaneers, 49ers & Steelers on MNF before a bye week… What happens if the Bears go 0-3 in those games? I wonder…

And, don’t forget… Aaron Rodgers owns the Chicago Bears. Sorry, not sorry.

Hail Mayfield Goes To Waste As Cardinals Cruise To 6-0

Credit: David Richard (Associated Press)

The Hail Mayfield deserved more than being a footnote in a 23 point loss. It really did. Donovan People-Jones’ miraculous grab on the stroke of halftime meant the Browns headed into half-time against the Cardinals only down 9 despite being out-fought and out-thought for much of the first half an hour.

There was momentum, there was belief that Cleveland might be able to be the team to end the Cardinals unbeaten start to the season. But that optimism… didn’t last long. The Browns were shut out in the second half, and Arizona roared home to move to 6-0. The Cardinals, two-and-a-half point underdogs in this one, are proving their doubters wrong week in, and week out. This win even came without their Head Coach, as Kliff Kingsbury was sidelined by the COVID protocol.

It mattered not. The Cardinals have a legitimately good running game, with the elusive Chase Edmonds spelled by the bruising James Conner, all with the ever-present threat of the Zone Read from Kyler Murray in the backfield. Rondale Moore is a sparkplug, AJ Green is back catching touchdowns, and Christian Kirk has speed to burn. Oh, and did I fail to mention they just picked up Zach Ertz in a trade with Philly? The team is STACKED and ready to win right now.

I mean, the Browns even managed to keep DeAndre Hopkins quiet enough – he only caught three passes all day – and yet they still got taken apart. The main issue with Hopkins’ catches was that two of those three were Touchdowns, one where he was so uncovered in the endzone he could’ve built an IKEA chair from scratch, taken a seat and still had time to catch Kyler’s pass. Arizona is rolling, and barring an absolutely biblical level miracle will be 7-0 next Sunday after dispatching the Texans.

For Cleveland, we have some issues. The Browns defense, which had been stellar up until last week, has now been breached to the tune of 84 points in two weeks. Not great. And if that wasn’t enough… it feels like everybody on their offense is banged up. Nick Chubb missed this game, as did the Browns two stud Tackles Jedrick Wills and Jack Conklin, Jarvis Landry has been on IR, Odell Beckham Jr. was in and out of the medical tent, Kareem Hunt was lost to a calf injury (and now seems like he’s headed to IR)… AND Baker’s non-throwing shoulder seems to get more and more injured every week. It’s not pretty for the Browns right now.

No panic – this team is still quality and should still have enough to make it to the playoffs – but with the Bengals purring and the Ravens flying… the AFC North Title (that many, including myself, predicted to go to the Browns this season) is suddenly a much bigger uncertainty than it had appeared. I’m still #TeamBaker (and always will be) but the questions are getting louder each week right now. Kevin Stefanski needs to find some answers fast, but it’s hard to solve a riddle like the injury bug. What else do the Browns not need? A short week. No surprise it’s Browns vs Broncos on Thursday night football then, is it? When it rains… you know the rest. But in Arizona… the sun continues to shine brightly.

Cowboys Win A Thriller In Foxboro

Credit: Michael Dwyer (Associated Press)

Listen… I get it. It’s the Cowboys. It’s Jerry Jones. It’s the Cowboys fans. But… that doesn’t make it untrue. This year… might be the Cowboys’ year. It really might. Dallas went into New England and dug out an overtime victory against Bill Belichick and the Patriots.

Despite some questionable decision-making from Mike McCarthy, Dak Prescott is leading this team towards the promised land. Zeke looks resurrected, perhaps by the pressure Tony Pollard is putting on him from behind. Cooper & Lamb are an unbelievable partnership to have out wide. Dalton Schultz is becoming a premier TE in this league… AND what has always been the achilles heel… this Cowboys defense… continues to make game-changing plays. Trevon Diggs… my man. I’ve seen comparisons to Deion Sanders… Let’s slow THAT particular narrative right now, but this man is SPECIAL; 7 INTs through 6 games is patently bananas. Is he giving up a lot of yards? Uh huh, yeah he is, but his ballhawk mentality you just cannot teach, and it’s helping this team win.

Now, there was some awful play JUST after that, where Mac Jones hit Kendrick Bourne for a long TD which gave the Pats fans in Foxboro some real hope of the upset victory. But it wasn’t to be. The Cowboys D stiffened on the opening possession in OT, made the Pats punt, and Dak proceeded to march his troops all the way down the field, before hitting CeeDee Lamb and allowing him to literally wave bye bye to the Patriots. Absolute elite sh*thousery from Lamb, it must be said. I’m a believer, I’m on the bandwagon, and the Cowboys are 5-1 going into their Bye week. Dallas is the place to be right now… 

But in New England, I continue to be impressed by Mac Jones… worryingly so. I DO NOT need another 10+ year dynasty of success with Belichick smugly smirking as his dink and dunk offense wins championship after championship. Now, we’re a way away from that right now, but Mac Jones is giving the Patriots fans enough to cheer about to believe that brighter days are on the horizon.

The Patriots had absolutely no right to be in this game as long as they were, but their defense made plays all night, picking off Dak in the endzone, and then forcing a fumble as Prescott tried to sneak for a TD on 4th and Goal. Belichick’s scheme is still working to limit the best offenses in the league. Jones will need more support around him, but Hunter Henry, Jonnu Smith & Damien Harris are proving to be capable pieces, it’s really the talent at WR that will need to be upgraded for the Patriots to get back into the AFC Title discussion.

Credit to Jones for also showing his toughness after getting destroyed by Randy Gregory on a sack. He got straight back up and carried on grinding. The fans in New England loooooove that. They’re not going to have a great season this year, but they’re building nicely for the future. In Dallas, however, their time is now. 

Quick Hits

Credit: Matt Dunham (Associated Press)
  • Oh you wanted me to write extendedly about the Miami Dolphins losing to the Jacksonville Jaguars in London? I can’t. Too Painful. How on EARTH does Matthew Wright bend that Field Goal inside the uprights to tie the game? Miserable.
  • Jaylen Waddle & Mike Gesicki, you’re my guys. Tua… I need more. Brian Flores… I need more.
  • Congratulations to Trevor Lawrence on getting his first win in the NFL… Urban… you’re on borrowed time.
  • I really thought this article would be based around the Chargers vs Ravens game this week… but what was billed as a battle between AFC Title contenders turned into a one-sided beatdown from 2016’s elite running backs. Le’Veon Bell, Devonta Freeman & Latavius Murray were running with a vengeance and all scored TDs. The Ravens are the real deal.
  • On the flip side, this was a crash back down to earth for Justin Herbert and the Chargers. Bounces didn’t go their way, 4th down attempts failed, and the usual magic from Ekeler, Allen & Williams was nowhere to be found. The Chargers will be alright long term, but the one-sided nature of this one bruises their credentials somewhat.
  • I really don’t know what to think about the Vikings OR the Panthers. Both teams confuse me no end. 
  • Joe Burrow and the Bengals are in danger of being a very good football team.
  • Dan Campbell and the Lions are in danger of going 0-17 if they play like they did yesterday. Not at all surprised to see Campbell call out Jared Goff post-game; they absolutely do need more.
  • Carson Wentz’ best friend in the world should be Jonathan Taylor. The Colts are showing some life despite all their wide-receivers being injured. T.Y. Hilton returned from injury, played well… and then got re-injured! Tough for the Colts.
  • I feel bad for Brandin Cooks. He’s really trying to keep this Texans team moving the ball. It’s not enough.
  • Similarly to the Colts, the Giants have no wide-receivers either. Really have to hope Kadarius Toney’s ankle injury isn’t serious. Daniel Jones is… not working out right now.
  • Cooper Kupp x Matthew Stafford is a cheat code. The Rams have bounced back wonderfully from their defeat to the Cardinals.
  • Speaking of bouncing back from defeat… was there anybody who doubted that the Chiefs would bounce back and annihilate the Washington Football Team? Not me. Darrel Williams stepped up. It would be really nice for Mahomes if his receivers would stop letting the ball go through their hands for INTs…
  • The Las Vegas Raiders put a miserable two weeks behind them with a convincing victory over the Denver Broncos. 
  • I’m very glad that my premonition that the 3-0 Broncos would find themselves crashing back to earth has come true. They’ll have a losing record by the end of Thursday night, once the Browns have dispatched them. Sorry Broncos fans; it’s not personal, but Teddy Bridgewater is not the answer.
  • Poor Geno Smith… Tough ending to the night. That’s two in two now that the Seahawks have had the ball with a chance to win the game and yet a turnover has killed them. Seattle are 2-4… and fighting to keep their heads above water. With two games against the Cardinals, plus one against the Rams, 49ers & Packers still to come…
  • Big Ben didn’t exactly look convincing, but it was just enough to get the Steelers a win. Najee Harris is going to be a superstar for decades to come. He’s a gift-wrapped present for whoever takes over when Ben eventually retires. However… the Steelers may well finish bottom of the AFC North. Wild times.

MNF Prediction: (Season Record: 4-1)

Credit: USA Today Sports

Shoutout Lamar Jackson for his miraculous comeback last week keeping our winning streak going. Four in a row now following the egregious opening week Raiders win over the Ravens. This one however… is a tricky one.

The Buffalo Bills are ROLLING. Having just dispatched the Chiefs at Arrowhead, you’d be hard pushed to find a Bills fan who isn’t dreaming – and starting to believe – that this year could be the year for them. Josh Allen has found Stefon Diggs, Emmanuel Sanders & Dawson Knox to be the exact supporting cast he needs, whilst a much-improved defense held the Chiefs in check last weekend.

The AFC is wiiiiiide open and the Bills have to be right near, if not at the top of the list of contenders. And there’s a number in the chasing pack who believe it can be their year too… Enter: the Tennessee Titans. It’s been a bit of an up-and-down start to the season for the Titans, who themselves have been plagued by injuries to skill position players. They seem set to get both Julio Jones and AJ Brown back to offer Ryan Tannehill some targets down the field, and “Tractorcito” Derrick Henry continues to chug along making linebackers wish they’d never been born.

So with all that said – and all the star power on the field – you best believe I’m banking on points in this game. The Titans will run the ball hard, and throw when needed to their big guys on the outside. Buuuuuuuuuuuuut I think the Bills are the better team here. The Titans have a number of pieces, but they have a number of holes as well. After the performance they put in last week, I’m just not picking against Josh Allen.

Official Prediction: Buffalo Bills

Week 7 Preview

We’re obviously into Bye Week season now, with just 6 games in the “early window” next Sunday, but there’s enough quality matchups to remain engaged and excited. As previously mentioned, we’ve got the injury-plagued Browns vs the not-good Broncos on Thursday Night, though who is actually able to play for the Browns will decide how that one goes.

On Sunday, the Titans vs the Chiefs is the headline matchup. In the late window, the Cardinals seek to move to 7-0 vs the Texans, and the Rams and Buccaneers will surely annihilate the Lions and Bears respectively. Sunday Night Football gives us the Colts vs the 49ers, as (probably) Trey Lance looks to get his first win against a rejuvenated Indianapolis team. And – in a matchup you never thought you would see on Monday night football – Geno Smith’s Seahawks face Jameis Winston’s Saints. That one will definitely be weird and chaotic. As always, I’m @CallumJDSquires on Twitter & Instagram. Come say hi. Don’t mention the Dolphins… Peace.

Callum Squires