The New Orleans Saints are back; they manhandled Tampa Bay last week in Tampa Bay; after Bruce Arians said his Buccaneers were light years ahead of Week 1, where they lost by double digits to New Orleans. Fast forward to Week 9, and New Orleans handed Tom Brady one of the most lopsided losses of his career 38 – 3. Kudos, if you saw that coming, I know I didn’t.
The Jets are 0 – 9; the Steelers are 8 – 0! Whose streak ends first? I’m going to go with the Steelers; it’s harder for good teams to keep winning than for a bad team to get a win. Upset alert this week: Cincinnati beats Pittsburgh!
Miami is keeping pace in the NFL playoff race, I still don’t see them making it, but they have won two in a row since benching fan-favorite Ryan Fitzpatrick. Tua Tagovailoa is managing the game well enough for his team to stay competitive. The Future is bright in Miami.
The Eagles have a chance to get the NFC to look respectable this week. If the Eagles win, the NFC East will have a .500 club for the first time since Week 1. The Eagles will most likely hang on and win this division; the bad news for them is their next five games are against powerhouse clubs.
Every game is big from here on one out for the contenders. Teams who lost last week need to bounce back, the #1 seed in both conferences is still in play, and it is crucial since the #2 seed no longer gets a bye week. The Saints, Packers, Buccaneers, Seahawks all need to keep it going, and Pittsburgh cant take their pedal off the metal with Kansas City and Buffalo right there waiting to leapfrog them.
As for me, after two mediocre weeks of one game below .500, I’m hoping to get back on the plus side this week. Still, I am pretty happy to be nine wins over .500 overall in such a challenging year. Bring on the 2nd half!
Players of the week
Josh Allan, QB, Buffalo Bills
3 Passing TDs, 1 Rushing TD, 429 Total YDs
Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings
2 TDs, 252 Total YDs
Richie James, WR, San Francisco 49ers
1 TD, 184 Receiving YDs
In the hot seat?
As the NFL begins to enter its second half, I have decided not to pick on a coach or player, or even a team this week. Trevor Lawrence is considered to be the top draft pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. Being the NFL #1 pick is regarded as one of the biggest honors in sports, and it is generally worth millions of added dollars to that player’s lifetime earnings. That said, many #1 picks end of as busts. The thing is it’s not always their fault; sometimes they get drafted to teams who flat out belong playing in the college system; enter if you will, the New York Jets, currently winless at 0 and 9, almost a certainty for the #1 pick. Does Trevor Lawrence declare for the draft and risk his career in playing for a spiraling team out of control with no leadership anywhere? Only he knows that at this point, and he hasn’t ruled out returning to college ball for one more year, or perhaps we see a team try and trade for the pick, or do we get an Eli Manning / Philip Rivers from 2004 in 2021? No matter what happens, best of luck to Trevor Lawrence, but this will be interesting!
Team of the Week
The NFL Season is officially halfway over; the Buffalo Bills are 7 and 2 sitting atop the AFC East. This past week they won a shootout over one of the hottest QB’s in Football, Russel Wilson, and the Seattle Seahawks. In the end, Seattle torched Buffalo’s big “D,” as I had predicted, but Buffalo flat-out ran rough shot over Seattle, 44 to 34. If they can stay healthy, the Bills could be relevant past the first playoff game for the first time in a long time. Can they go on the road to Arizona this week and keep it going?