Week 10 Recap - Hail Murray!

What a Sunday. I, for one, LOVED having a more even split of games in the early and late window. RedZone is just easier to watch with 5 or 6 games in each slate, rather than 8 and 3 or something similar. And yesterday was a GREAT Sunday. We had late drama in Detroit, long Field Goals seemingly EVERYWHERE, and one moment that will be replayed for decades to come. Let’s jump into it. 

Kyler's Magic Moment Kills Bills

The classic “Duel in the Desert” saying is obviously overused at this point, but it feels exceptionally valid to describe this one. Josh Allen was back to his best – a la last week vs Seattle – and looked to have won the day with his fantastic TD pass to (quietly the statistically best receiver in league this season) Stefon Diggs. This loss was very tough on the Bills, who have turned into a very good football team over the last three seasons. They’re still on their way to their first AFC East title in a quarter of a century, but this one hurts.

How do you fully explain losing a game that way? What DeAndre Hopkins did was legitimately unbelievable, and goes a long way to backing up what he’s been saying on social media the past month or so; he’s been very outspoken in his belief that he’s the best receiver in the league. When you Moss 3 guys for the game winning TD on a Hail Mary, it’s hard to argue against him. However, the catch doesn’t happen without the throw, and WHAT a throw it was. That baseball arm really came in useful on that one. Kyler’s magic is just so infectious. It’s hard not to love him, regardless of your feelings towards the Cardinals.

I’m personally of the opinion that the NFC West is the best division in football – AFC North a very close second – and with 3 teams all sitting at 6-3, plus the injured 49ers at 4-6, this playoff race is going to be very interesting. I still think the Seahawks (who are severely missing Chris Carson) find a way to put some defense together and win the division, but I can see Kyler and DeAndre forcing the Cardinals into second place and a Wildcard spot. I’d love to see it. For the Bills, this will hopefully only be a momentary blip. They face the Chargers and the (very injured) 49ers in their next two, which should see them move to 9-3. There’s zero doubt in my mind that the Bills are headed to a division championship and the playoffs, but they won’t forget this heartbreak that fast. What else is there to say? Hail Murray!

Hail Murray

Is Russ Cooked?!

Speaking of the NFC West… Let’s talk about those Seahawks. They’re now 1-2 in the division, in 3rd place, and have to face Kyler and the Cardinals again on Thursday night. Eeeeeek. What’s gone wrong?! Well, the defense has been atrocious, BUT the lack of a legitimate run game has put too much emphasis on Russell Wilson. Teams are goading him into bad throws. I’m feeling GREAT about my take that Chris Carson is the most undervalued and underappreciated Running Back in football.

Seattle looks LOST without their running game. It’s strange, because Russ was cooking so much that Carson had actually not been blowing people away on the ground. The air raid that took Seattle to a 5-0 start has stalled, leaving them 1-3 in their last 4. Alex Collins and Deejay Dallas are just not Chris Carson. They’re not even Carlos Hyde, who’s also been out hurt. The threat of the run game was opening up space for Wilson, Lockett and Metcalf through the air. Incredibly, Metcalf didn’t have a catch yesterday until the final minute of the 3rd quarter yesterday. Insane.

Thursday now looks like it could be pivotal for the Seahawks season. A win puts them back on track with four straight forward looking games to follow (Eagles, Giants, Jets, Washington). A loss? The Cardinals would have a clear lead and the tiebreaker head-to-head. Not good for a team who looked like potential Super Bowl contenders a month ago. Are we overreacting? Probably. 

But I think part of that is because I really don’t think the Rams are anything special. I CANNOT believe they’re 6-3. Their defense and Sean McVay being a genius is why their record is so good. I’m still yet to be convinced that Jared Goff can “win the big one,” but they have found a way to win a number of games I thought they had no right to win. This was one of those. Credit to Jalen Ramsey for shadowing DK Metcalf so effectively. Credit Akers, Brown and Henderson for ALL being effective in the run game. You want an acid test? Good thing. Rams vs Buccaneers on Monday Night Football next week. Beat Brady, then we’ll talk about the Rams being for real.

Cam vs Lamar - Neither threw the best pass of the game...

The Sunday nightcap was somewhat of a surprise to me. The Battle of two Running QB’s – how far removed is this from Brady vs Flacco of the past? –  was won by Cam Newton! The Patriots found some defense and, even more incredibly, some offense!

Fine, the best pass of the game was thrown by a wide receiver but, hey, we can’t all be Tom Brady. Jakobi Meyers auditioned for the backup QB position – he can’t be worse than Brian Hoyer, can he? – and Rex Burkhead and Damien Harris tried and succeeded in running through the usually stout Baltimore front. Not having Calais Campbell was clearly an issue for Harbaugh’s boys.

Lamar looked good at times, but something about him still doesn’t match the unbridled electricity of last campaign. The utterly jaw-dropping explosions down the field have all but stopped, and relying on Willie Snead to be your go to offensive piece feels like it’s a doomed approach long term. The Ravens running onslaught appears to have slowed, despite adding the elusive JK Dobbins. Mark Andrews and Marquise Brown haven’t taken their projected leaps to superstardom. The Ravens are really confusing. Everything about them screams “very good team,” and yet here we are with them tied for 2nd in the AFC North, with the Browns, at 6-3. Also, the loss of Nick Boyle could be seriously hurtful in their pass and run block schemes. 

For the Pats, I think they’re too far back to make a push for a playoff spot. I think they’ll end up right around 8-8 – you didn’t think Bill Belichick would have a losing season, did you? – but I don’t think that will be good enough for a playoff spot this season. Has Cam done enough to stay with the Patriots next season? Maybe… it’s hard to ever REALLY know what’s going on in Foxboro. They keep saying how much they all love Cam, but yet they’re 4-5. Hard to imagine they want another season without a serious playoff challenge.

And the Ravens? They need to steady the ship and keep plowing forward, but with the Titans next week, and the Steelers and Browns again still to come… they’ve got some tough games upcoming. It just doesn’t feel like this year will be the Super Bowl Lamar promised Baltimore on draft night. I’m sure it will come, but perhaps not in 2021.

Hail Murray

MNF Prediction (Season Record: 11-2)

I’m quietly very proud of going 11-2 after 13 games on Mondays (and Tuesday) this season. Admittedly, most have been (in my opinion) fairly easy to call, but you still gotta call ‘em! Thanks to the Jets for ruining my acca last weekend by rediscovering how to play offense, but thankfully Cam and the Pats still got the win. 

This week, we get an NFC North slugfest. Well, I don’t think it should be, but it could be. I’ve repeatedly put my neck on the line and said I don’t think the Bears are a good team, and so far they’ve proven me right, falling from 5-1 to 5-4. Here’s where they fall back to .500. Do I trust Kirk Cousins? No. Do I trust Dalvin Cook? Yes. Unequivocally, yes. I think, despite the Bears stout defense, the Vikings run game can dominate both the clock and the territory and grind out a win. No David Montgomery. I can’t trust Nick Foles right now. Jefferson and Thielen are there to bail Cousins out when Minnesota does have to pass on 3rd and long… Gimme the Vikings tonight.

Quick Hits

  • The Dolphins are 6-3. Tua is 3-0. Absolute scenes.
  • The Dolphins next 3 games? Broncos, Jets, Bengals. THEY MIGHT BE 9-3!!!
  • Steelers keep rolling. 9-0 for the first time in Franchise history is impressive enough, but their ability to beat you multiple different ways is perhaps the scariest thing about them. 
  • Nick Chubb. C’mon man. Sincerely, everyone who had Browns -3.5…
  • Sidenote, the Browns are 6-3! Love it. Eagles and Jaguars up next… The Browns are a playoff team. 
  • Chase Claypool, Juju, James Washington, Diontae Johnson… Do the Steelers have the best WR quarter besides the Bucs? Yes, me thinks.
  • Get well soon Teddy Bridge and Drew Breezy.
  • The Saints are on fire. Don’t write them off, even if it IS Jameis who starts next week.
  • Drew Lock just isn’t good. Not for me. Sorry Broncos, no winning season this year.
  • Shoutout Marvin Jones for a very smart play to set up the Matt Prater BOMB for the win. Lions deserved some good fortune.
  • Big up the Jaguars for actually trying to compete with the Packers. I’m surprised they had so much success. 
  • Are the New York Giants actually about to win the NFC East? Maybe. Here’s a strange idea; Andy Dalton gets healthy and manages to lead the Cowboys to a division title despite the awful start to their season. It’s not impossible!

Week 11

Obviously, we start with a bang with Seahawks vs Cardinals on Thursday night, but we get a couple nice Sunday matchups too. Packers vs Colts is intriguing. The Colts could really lay down a marker if they can beat A-A-Rodg, but I reckon the Packers have enough weapons to get through that defense regardless. Also, the Sunday Night Raiders vs Chiefs game sees Patty Mahomes trying to avenge his only defeat this season, and the aforementioned Monday Night clash between Brady and Goff is the first since Super Bowl 53… Tasty. As always, I’m @callumjdsquires on Twitter and Instagram. Come chat. Have a great week gang.