Written By: Dylan Moran
Welcome to the second edition of winners, losers, and the steady! Since we are still trying to figure out what the heck we are doing, this article will look a little different! I am now going to handle the AFC and NFC teams from Sundays 1 PM and 4 PM games! We are going to do it game by game so you can locate your team easily instead of searching the whole article for them.
If you are not familiar with how this article works, I base the team’s status on what happened this week while taking into consideration how their season has been going and what their “goals” might be for the rest of the year. For example, the Jets beating the Bills still would put the Jets in the loser column because now you are in danger of losing the first overall pick and Trevor Lawrence. What would they gain by winning this game? To me, it makes no sense so, for that reason, they would be losers. Simple, right? Let’s do it!
** Bye Weeks: Colts, Dolphins, Vikings, Ravens
Bills @ Jets: Bills win 18-10
The Jets did, however, manage to avoid winning. So this will land them on the Staying Steady list. Besides staying a winless team and continuing to secure the first overall pick, Sam Darnold (12/23 for 120 yards and 2 INTs) played terribly. He just keeps confirming that this is the correct direction for the organization. #TankForTrevor
The Bills are borderline losers after that performance. So, keep that in mind when I tell you they will also land on the Staying Steady list. Why are they not winners? For the past two weeks, the offense has looked poor. The defense was a top 3 defense last season and now they look, pedestrian. I gave them a pass since they played 2 of the three best teams in the AFC. They were supposed to come into New York and blow the Jets away and get their confidence back both on offense and defense. I do not believe they accomplished that. Josh Allen (30/43 for 307 yards) was also their leading rusher with 11 carries for 61 yards. If anyone in this game was a winner, it was Tyler Bass who went 6/8 on FG attempts and scored the Bills only points. Now they have to face their division rivals in the Patriots next week.
Lions @ Falcons: Lions win 23-22
Oh, The Falcons! The gift that keeps on giving! The question was which of these 4th quarter disaster teams was going to blow the late lead. We now have our answer! They had a 92.9% win probability with 14 seconds left on the clock and then a TJ Hockenson TD catch squished the hearts of Falcons fans everywhere. Normally, the phrase has ripped their hearts out, but they have already been ripped out. Now, their hearts have been thrown to the ground and squished. The Falcons are 100% Losers. If you cannot hold a lead against the Detroit Lions, then your season has to be looked at as a complete loss, now sitting at 1-6.
The Lions are shockingly going to be my first Winners of the day! The running game had a tough time but I still love what I am seeing from D’Andre Swift (9 carries for 27 yards and 1 TD) and he is working on his hands with 4 catches on 5 targets for 21 yards. The Lions, whether they keep Matthew Stafford (25/36 for 340 yards and 1 TD) or not, Swift should be the lead back this franchise has been looking for, for decades. They are 3-3 in a strong NFC North division, so a playoff push might be tough, even with a 7th seed.
Browns @ Bengals: Browns win 37-34
The Browns are impossible to understand. I am going to mark them as Winners because Baker Mayfield (22/28 for 297, 5 TDs, and 1 INT) went OFF. After he started out 0-5 with an INT and losing OBJ to a knee injury, he went 22-23 with those numbers! It seemed like he was heading to the bench again, but he overcame the early struggles and threw a game-winning dime to the rookie Donovan Peoples-Jones (3 receptions for 56 yards and 1 TD). No OBJ, no Nick Chubb, and multiple injuries to the offensive line, they managed to drop 37 points. The defense racked up 4 sacks and Myles Garrett continued his DPOY run with 2 of those sacks and a forced fumble. Let’s try and do it two weeks in a row!
The Bengals will have to ride the Staying Steady list because they still can’t close out games. Sure, Joe Burrow (35/47 for 406 yards, 3 TDs, and 1 INT) played pretty well. What is not shown is the 3 INTs that the Browns defense dropped. I am sure if Joe Mixon was available for this game, they could have run the ball more efficiently and maybe run the clock out near the end of the game. However, that is a big maybe when playing the Browns stout defense front. I don’t expect the Bengals to be a playoff team, but I would like to see them close out games and Joe Burrow to be a touch more accurate with the ball. Baby steps!
Steelers @ Titans: Steelers win 27-24
The Steelers are without a doubt Winners. They won the game and they won the respect of most NFL fans. Big Ben (32/49 for 268 yards, 2 TDs, and 3 INTs) could have closed this game out much sooner if he took care of the ball, but I digress. The defense held King Henry to 75 yards without Devin Bush. JuJu Smith-Schuster (9 receptions for 85 yards) made his first appearance of the season and Diontae Johnson (9 receptions for 80 yards and 2 TDs) took over the Chase Claypool role. Sitting at 6-0 with this defense and very capable offense, you have to start thinking about a deep playoff team as long as Big Ben stays healthy.
The Titans have a high ceiling and lofty expectations moving forward. That is why they are Losers today. “Wow, that’s kind of harsh dude”. Well, when you are undefeated and need 3 INTs from your defense so your offense can produce 24 points, you are going to be on the loser board. Ryan TANNEHILL (have to be a fan of my podcast to understand that) went 18/30 for 220 yards and 2 TDs, but as mentioned before, King Henry (20 carries for 75 yards and 1 TD) couldn’t carry them to victory. The Titans are 16-0 when he runs for over 100 yards. That is great and all but if he is contained, can Ryan bail them out? The answer is sometimes. Unfortunately, sometimes won’t win you the Super Bowl, especially when you are stacked against teams like the Steelers and Chiefs.
Panthers @ Saints: Saints win 27-24
The Saints had one of their better offensive days of the season and that’s why they are Winners. They managed to do it without Michael Thomas and Emmanual Sanders. Drew Brees (29/36 for 287 yards and 2 TDs) showed his ability to use anyone he has on the field as a weapon. Marquez Callaway (8 receptions for 75 yards) and Deonte Harris (4 receptions for 46 yards and 1 TD) came out of nowhere and carried this team in the air, obviously alongside Alvin Kamara (14 carries for 83 yards and 8 receptions for 65 yards). The defense completely stifled the Panthers run game and it resulted in a win.
The Panthers will end up on the Loser board today. As mentioned above, the run game was completely shut down. Mike Davis led the way with 7 carries for 12 yards. Fortunately for the Panthers, they have a competent QB in Teddy Bridgewater (23/28 for 254 yards and 2 TDs) who kept them in this game. DJ Moore (4 receptions for 93 yards and 2 TDs) continues to blow the lid off of defenses. We can all accept the defense is young and inexperienced, but the offense should have higher expectations 7 weeks into the season. If Matt Rhule can get CMC back and continue to run a balanced offense, they just might be able to make a playoff run for that 7th seed.
Cowboys @ Washington: Washington wins 25-3
What do you want me today in defense of the Cowboys? That Andy Dalton got hurt? The offensive line is in shambles? Those are not really positive notes, just sad facts. Before Andy got hurt, he was still 9/19 for 75 yards and 1 INT which bounced out of the hands of Zeke Elliott (12 carries for 75 yards), who has looked horrible the past 2 weeks. Both QBs who came into this game were sacked 3 times (6 total). This team is going to rely on the 7th round draft pick QB Ben DiNucci (2 for 3 for 39 yards) for at least one week because Dalton was decapitated. Their only saving grace is they are in the NFC East, but I am leaning heavily towards the Eagles to win it after this disaster of a football game. Oh yeah, they are Losers for this week.
I am going to go bold here and say the Washington Football Team are Winners this week. Are they hurting their chances for even a top 5 draft pick this year with how many poor teams there are? Maybe. But I’ll say again, this is the NFC East! Sitting at 2-5, they are a half-game back from the division lead. They have a very good defense and a top 3 defensive front 7. The offense is obviously a huge liability and the reason they won’t WIN any playoff games, but maybe, just maybe, their defense can carry them to the playoffs. I doubt Antonio Gibson (20 carries for 128 yards and a TD) and Terry McLaurin (7 receptions for 90 yards and a TD) can keep up that pace against good teams. What a story that would be! Riverboat Ron fights off cancer and leads dumpster fire Washington Football Team to playoff appearance!
Packers @ Texans: Packers win 35-20
The Packers let up on the gas in the second half for a moment, and my first thought was “The Texans are not the team you want to do that against”. Then I remembered this is the 2020 Texans. Aaron Rodgers (23/34 for 283 and 4 TDs) has thrown for 10 TDs in the past two games against the Texans. Even without Aaron Jones, the Packers bounced back from a bad week and got back on track. Jamaal Williams (19 carries, 77 yards, and 1 TD) can’t be slept on any longer. When Jones is in the game, these two are one of the best one-two punches at RB in the league. The Packers had a great bounce back week and can be declared Winners!
The Texans have to be Losers. They are now 1-6 and wasting the career of DeShaun Watson (29/39 for 309 and 2 TDs). I realize the man responsible for that in Bill O’Brien is gone now, but it is hard to watch them lose game after game. The defense had 1 QB hit and no sacks on Aaron Rodgers. David Johnson’s corpse managed 42 yards on 14 carries and one of the top receivers for the day is Browns reject RB Duke Johnson (5 receptions for 43 yards). It’s a tanking type of year for this team, but that is going to be tough to rebuild this disaster with no draft picks and Deshaun Watson’s contract.
Buccaneers @ Raiders: Bucs win 45-20
For two weeks in a row, The Bucs looked like the Super Bowl contenders we thought they were going to be. They are definitely Winners this week after dispatching the Raiders. Tom Brady (33/45 for 369 and 4 TDs) is creating his own system and it heavily involves Julian Edelman 2.0 and Scotty Miller (6 receptions for 109 yards, and 1 TD). Chris Godwin (9 receptions for 88 yards and 1 TD) got back on track after dealing with injuries and Gronk (5 receptions for 62 yards and a TD) kept rolling! The defense, especially the front 7, is probably the best in the league. If this team stays healthy, I don’t know why the Super Bowl is not a legitimate ceiling.
The Raiders had to rely on Derek Carr (24/36 for 284 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT) and that is usually going to end up poorly. Josh Jacobs (10 carries for 17 yards) could not get anything going against that front 7 so Derek Carr needed to make magic happen. Let me tell you if Aaron Rodgers couldn’t do it last week, Derek Carr is not doing it this week. I still think the Raiders have a lot of talent. They had COVID issues with the O-line this week and when the Bucs are next up, that’s not a position group you can lose practice time with. The Raiders are going to be marked as Staying Steady because of the O-line issues and the fact they still beat the Chiefs a week ago. That was cool!
Chiefs @ Broncos: Chiefs win 43-16
The Chiefs offense had a pretty good day in comparison to how they normally perform. Sure, it was snowing. Wow, it’s Denver in late October, shocking. The defense and special teams though showed up to play and that is why they are Winners this week. 2 INTs (one pick-6), 3 fumble recoveries, and a kickoff return for a TD. Even if the offense is a touch off, the other two phases of the game can still create a blowout style game. If you are a stats person, Patty Mahomie went 12/23 for 200 yards and 1 TD and CEH had 8 carries for 46 yards and a TD. Le’Veon Bell got some action too, getting 6 carries for 39 yards.
The Broncos could have been steady this week, but with 5 turnovers, that will easily put you on the Losers list. If they would have just lost like a normal team with a bunch of punts, I would have understood that and let them go easily. This team cannot draft a good QB to save their lives (Drew Lock 24/40 for 254 and 2 INTs). The last time they had a successful season, they got Peyton Manning from the Colts. Time to get John Elway out of the Draft War Room.
49ers @ Patriots: 49ers win 33-6
The 49ers just keep racking up the injuries. Mostert is on IR and now Jeff Wilson (17 carries for 112 yards and 3 TDs) who carried this team today has a high ankle sprain. I don’t know who is going to be the RB next week! JaMycal Hasty? Yeah, sure, go for it. Jimmy G went 20/25 for 277 which sounds good until you throw in the 2 INTs and no TDs. If Cam Newton was any bit competent today, this game could have gone very different. With all of that taken into consideration and the fact the 49ers have to play the Seahawks next week, I will put them as Staying Steady. The defense almost saved them, but the injuries and Jimmy G’s poor job of taking care of the ball will knock them down a bit.
The Patriots find themselves in a very poor spot. Between Cam Newton (9/15 for 98 yards and 3 INTs) and Jarrett Stidham (6/10 for 64 yards and 1 INT), I don’t know who they start next week. I would stay with Cam if I was in charge and hope he can find his old self from before he got placed on the COVID-19 reserve list. For now, they are Losers and staring at the end of their dynasty.
Jaguars @ Chargers: Chargers win 39-29
The Chargers are fools for wanting to hide Justin Herbert (27/43 for 347 yards and 3 TDs along with 9 carries for 66 yards and a TD) behind Tyrod Taylor. He is a great QB who has some rookie accuracy issues, but he can hit the deep ball, gets the ball out quickly, and makes very few mistakes. The Chargers are Winners this week even though they played the lowly Jaguars. Being able to watch your young QB face some adversity in a back and forth game and come out on top is a great sign. Having a guy like Keenan Allen (10 receptions for 125 yards) is a big help. The defense racked up 5 sacks and a fumble recovery as well. This is a very good team and if they can keep it all together for next season, look out!
The Jaguars are so fun to root for but at the end of the day they lose, lose, and lose. This is their goal, however. Completely tank and rack up draft picks. The Dolphins did it first and they seem to be doing pretty well so far this season. The Jaguars will be trying to follow their gameplan. For that, they will be Winners for this week, mostly because I want to end this article on a happy note! #MinshewMania baby!
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