Hey Titans Ever On readers, Phill Lytle here. I am hoping this will become a weekly installment. Good friend and occasional Rambling Ever On contributor, Mark Sass, will be handling the heavy lifting on these. Hope you guys enjoy his look and commentary for this week’s games around the league.
Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills
The Dolphins are the whipping boy of the NFL this year. Fitzpatrick has been named the starting QB for the game, but does it even matter? The Bills bring one of the NFL’s top defenses which will be rested and ready to go after the bye week. With hopes of challenging the Pats for the division every game is crucial for Buffalo.
Houston Texans @ Indianapolis Colts
Good coaches tell their team that every divisional game is important. Some like this one are a little more important than others. The winner takes sole possession of 1st in the AFC South. The media is beginning to talk about Watson in the same hushed and near reverent tone as they did about Mahomes last season. And the Colts who were supposed to be lost with the unexpected retirement of Luck appear unfazed.
Minnesota Vikings @ Detroit Lions
How quickly things can change in the NFL. A couple of weeks ago the sky was falling for the Vikings. Fans were worried the team might tank for the season. Now they are a game out of first place. Will the Lions be able to shake off the myriad of bad calls which cost them a win last week? Or will that game become a spiraling point for their season?
L.A. Rams @ Atlanta Falcons
Both teams have been a disappointment in 2019. But last year’s Superbowl runner up, the Rams, still have a shot at the post season. However, a loss in this game would leave them under .500 and facing the real possibility of missing the playoffs. Everyone expects new acquisition, Ramsey, to be miraculously healed of all his ailments and ready to play. The Falcons continue to find ways to lose. Even though it’s early they’re playing for pride now.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Cincinnati Bengals
Minshew mania has calmed down a bit after 2 losses each by only a TD. But “The ‘Stache” still looks like a legit NFL QB. In the topsy-turvy land of the AFC South anything could happen. The banged up Bengals have lost several close games this season. Perhaps this is the week they finally break into the win column.
San Francisco 49ers @ Washington Redskins
The Niners are finally getting some respect and rightfully so. This week is a chance to flex their muscles against an inferior opponent. Interim coach, Bill Callahan, has the ‘Skins coming off their first win of the season. Can he pull off a huge upset? Doubtful, but you never know in the NFL.
Oakland Raiders @ Green Bay Packers
With consecutive wins against quality opponents, Colts & Bears, the Raiders have surprised many and seemingly come out of nowhere. A win on the road at one of the toughest stadiums in the league would be huge for Oakland. Despite Rodgers not quite performing up to his typical high standards the Pack are 5-1. But the team is so improved in every aspect that Rodgers doesn’t have to tie on the cape during each game.
Arizona Cardinals @ N.Y. Giants
This game showcases two of the NFL’s young guns at the QB position. Yet they couldn’t be more different. Murray is a short, modern, mobile, and athletic QB while Jones is a tall, classic pocket passer (though he has the wheels of youth too). The air show should be on full display and there is excitement surrounding this match-up despite both teams’ sub .500 record.
San Diego Chargers @ Tennessee Titans
Both teams started the season with legitimate aspirations for the post season. Both teams now stand on the razor’s edge of going 2-5 and being all but out of playoff contention. The Chargers have floundered despite the return of holdout RB Gordon. Are they overrated? The Titans have named Tannehill the starting QB and benched Mariota. Will the move jump-start their offense or are there deeper problems?
New Orleans Saints @ Chicago Bears
The Saints lose their unquestioned leader, Brees. No problem. Bridgewater has proved more than capable of leading the team. For the first time in what feels like forever the Saints defense is for real. Speaking of D… the Bears defense is still one of the best in the NFL and will keep their team in every game. Trubisky is scheduled to return at QB. If he can play within himself then this could be a the best game of the week!
Baltimore Ravens @ Seattle Seahawks
The Ravens are an impressive 4-2. But who have they beaten? Some of the worst in the NFL: Dolphins, Bengals, Steelers, and Cardinals. This is a chance to make their mark on the NFL season with a win in the home of the 12th Man. Russell Wilson is playing out of his mind to this point in the season. He’s probably the front runner for MVP. Oh, and Wilson has a complete team around him too.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys
Both teams are 3-3. But the same record seems very different for these two teams. The Eagles are feeling better about their record and appear to be on the rise while the Cowboys are thinking they should have more wins and are on the decline.
New England Patriots @ N.Y. Jets
The Pats boast one of the best defenses ever in the Brady/Belichick era. Scary. Brady appears to have traced his family lineage back to Ponce de Leon. Sam Darnold’s return to the Jets active roster makes them more of a threat. But this match up looks one sided regardless.