Green Bay Packers (4-6) vs Philadelphia Eagles (5-5) 8:30pm ET on ESPN
Man, times are tough in Green Bay, where the Packers have gone from 4-2 to 4-6 in the blink of a month. Last week the Pack got worked by the Redskins 42-24. Washington QB Kirk Cousins had his way with the Green Bay secondary, connecting on 21 of 30 for 375 yards and 3 touchdowns, and teammate Robert Kelley ran for 137 yards and 3 TDs on 24 carries.
Kansas City Chiefs (7-3) vs Denver Broncos (7-3) 8:30pm ET on NBC
Down by 2 with 3 seconds on the clock and 66 yards from victory, Kansas City Chiefs’ QB Alex Smith went short over the middle to Albert Wilson, who lateraled to Tyreek Hill, who in turn lateraled to Eric Fisher, who then fumbled the ball only to have it recovered by Tampa Bay defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, thereby securing the Buccaneers’ 19-17 win. It was the type of moment that leaves middle-aged men clutching their chests. But the play that really killed the Chiefs’ chances came on 2nd-and-goal from Tampa’s 6 yard line, when Smith’s pass for Chris Conley got picked off by Tampa DB Chris Conte, who ran it back 53 yards to set up the Bucs’... Read More
Chiefs at Texans (4:20pm ET Saturday, ESPN) Show of hands – who thought after Week 7, when the Chiefs and Texans were both 2-5, that they’d then go a combined 16-2 and be meeting in the playoffs? Not one of you. Nice work, people.
The 2015 Kansas City Chiefs are a tale of two seasons: They started the year 1-5, scoring 21.2 points per game, while giving up 26.5. The following week they began their current 10-game winning streak, during which they’ve outscored the opposition 27.8-12.8. What kind of change precipitates a 20.3-point swing? Head coach Andy Reid and offensive coordinator Doug Pederson retooled the offense following the loss of running back Jamaal Charles in a Week 5 defeat at the hands of the Bears; Charcandrick West and Spencer began... Read More
Lions at Saints (8:30pm ET Monday, ESPN) The Detroit Lions started the season in a complete free-fall, going 1-7 before winning 3 straight. But, the good times are over as they’ve returned to their losing ways for the past two weeks to bring their record to 4-9, consigning them to the cellar of the NFC North.
How does a team go from 11-5 and a Wild Card berth to the fourth-worst record in the league just a year later? The blame can essentially be laid at the feet of the defense. Last year, the Lions D was 2nd in yards allowed and 3rd in points. This year? 16th and 28th. What happened? The biggest difference is clearly the departure of free agent DT Ndamukong Suh. Yes, Suh’s replacement, Haloti Ngata,... Read More
Even at 5-7 and riding a 3-game losing streak, the New York Football Giants find themselves in the thick of the playoff hunt, in a 3-way tie for first place in the NFC East – OK, technically they’re in 3rd place due to their division record, but, still… Five of their losses have come by a total of 11 points, so it’s not so much that they’re simply terrible as they are snakebitten. Not like “Dallas Cowboys” snakebitten; more like “leading pass rusher blows his fingers off with fireworks” snakebitten. Jason Pierre-Paul did make it back for Week 9, but hasn’t been his old self, and without the services of Victor Cruz this year, Eli Manning has been left with Odell Beckham... Read More
Cowboys at Redskins (8:30pm ET Monday, ESPN) You gotta hand it to the Dallas Cowboys: For all the bad luck that befell them this season, they still had a puncher’s chance as late as Week 11 of making the playoffs. But, that dream died when quarterback Tony Romo went down for the season having re-broken his collarbone in a 33-14 Thanksgiving Day loss to Carolina. Romo’s taken a lot of heat over the years, but the fact is the ‘Boys are 3-0 in the games he started (and finished) this year, and 0-8 in those he didn’t. Throw in the 6-week absence of All-Pro wide receiver Dez Bryant and you’ve got the ingredients for the 27th most passing yards, 28th most passing TDs, the 2nd most interceptions.
Bills at Patriots (8:30pm ET Monday, ESPN) If the season ended today, the 5-4 Buffalo Bills would be in the playoffs for the first time since Doug Flutie lined up under center and Bill Clinton was president. While first-year head coach Rex Ryan jibber-jabbers to any journalist bored enough to listen, the story of the Bills’ season has been the play of quarterback Tyrod (just change it to Tie Rod and be done with it, man) Taylor. After four years riding the pine in Baltimore, where he got into just 14 games, not even throwing a single pass in 5 of them, Taylor finally got his shot this season, and has made the most of it.
In 7 starts this season, Taylor has led the Bills to a 5-2 record,... Read More
The bad news is the Houston Texans are 3-5. The good news is they play in the AFC South, are just a half-game behind the Colts for first place, and Colts QB Andrew Luck is gonna miss 2 to 6 weeks with a lacerated kidney and an abdominal strain. Though middle-of-the-pack in total offensive yardage, the Texans are working harder for than anyone except the lowly Niners, gaining a meager 5.0 yards per play, including a tragic 5.9 yards per pass play and a just plain embarrassing 3.3 yards per rushing play.
QB Brian Hoyer seems to have won the battle with fellow Patriots cast-off Ryan Mallett for the starting job. Hoyer’s led the team to two wins in their last three games since taking the reins full time,... Read More
The Chicago Bears are 2-5, with both their wins coming on scoring plays in the final 20 seconds of the game, which is another way of saying this is a team potentially just two plays away from being winless. However, they’ve also lost their last two games on a field goal in OT and another with 4 seconds on the clock, which is another way of saying they’re just two plays away from potentially being 4-3. But the fact remains they’ve scored the fifth-fewest points, and gained fourth-fewest in yards-per-play, they do all sorts of things poorly, but none terribly well, except, maybe, take care of the ball, as they’ve only committed 8 turnovers.
The Indianapolis Colts are 3-4. They have been outscored by 27 points; are 1-3 at home; QB Andrew Luck’s 9 interceptions are the lion’s share of their 15 turnovers this season, the second-most in the NFL; they’ve gone into halftime without having scored a point three times; in Week 5 head coach Chuck Pagano called what has been called the worst play in NFL history; and rookie wide receiver Phillip Dorsett has broken his ankle and will be out 4 to 6 weeks. Despite all this, the Colts sit atop the AFC South.
Just seven weeks into the season, Luck has gone from The Next Great Quarterback to The Great Question Mark. No one seems to know what’s wrong with Read More
After serving as Tom Brady’s sacrificial lamb in the season opener, the Pittsburgh Steelers rebounded to win their next two games, but the second victory was a costly one: QB Ben Roethlisberger suffered a torn MCL midway through the third quarter, knocking him out of commission for 4-6 weeks.
Michael Vick (surely there’s a better candidate available, no?) filled in last week for Big Ben, and while he completed 19 of 26 passes, he averaged a paltry 4.8 yards per attempt, to go along with 33 yards rushing on 9 carries. What really killed the Steelers was Vick’s inability to convert on two fourth downs in overtime, and kicker Josh Scobee’s missing field goal attempts from 41 and 49 yards in the fourth... Read More
Last year the Lions and Seahawks went a combined 23-9. Three weeks into the 2015 season, they collectively sit at 1-5. However, while the Seahawks appear to be getting their act together, the Lions continue to circle the drain.
The 0-3 Lions have been outscored by an average of 9 points a game, with each loss worse than the previous one. QB Matthew Stafford is second in the league with 5 interceptions, while the team is averaging a league-worst 2.6 yards per rushing attempt, having gained a grand total of 135 yards. A staggering 24.2% of their drives have ended in a turnover; in fact, the offense has more turnovers than touchdowns.
Things got so bad after Week 3’s loss to Denver – when the Lions averaged 1.43 yards per... Read More
Coming off the best season of his career, Andrew Luck was supposed to lead the Colts to a cakewalk over the Bills last week as a mere formality on the march to Super Bowl 50. It didn’t quite work out that way.
Luck went 26 for 46 in pass attempts, with two interceptions and no touchdowns until the end of the third quarter, while his backfield managed only 64 yards. The Colts' defense didn’t fare much better, allowing the Bills to score on four consecutive possessions to run up a 24-0 lead.
Meanwhile in New York (actually New Jersey), the traditionally hapless Jets, who lost QB Geno Smith in the preseason to a broken jaw – because a teammate punched him, no less – surprised everyone by lighting... Read More
Monday Night Football is finally back this week, with not one but two NFL games to help quell your withdrawal symptoms from the long and difficult offseason. We go back to the usual format of one Monday night game a week next Monday, so you don’t need to worry about overdosing and/or getting divorced as the season goes on.
We’re starting off with a couple of great matchups: Philadelphia at Atlanta and Minnesota at San Francisco.
Eagles at Falcons (6:55pm ET, ESPN)
With new quarterback Sam Bradford coming off of an unusually strong preseason performance after missing the 2014 season because of an ACL injury, the Eagles are poised to make some real noise in the NFC East, particularly with newly minted teammate DeMarco Murray, who led the... Read More
Dwayne Johnson offers this warning in the new HBO show Ballers, which premieres June 21: “Football has a way of making a man feel invincible.”
But when it comes to money, even the game’s biggest stars are anything but invincible. To name just a few: Warren Sapp, Terrell Owens, Dan Marino, Jamal Lewis, and Vince Young all lost fortunes.
That’s where Johnson comes in. He plays former pro football player Spencer Strassmore, who is trying to reinvent himself as a financial adviser who just can’t shake the game—or commoditizing friendships with players who need his help.
According to a recent report in the Washington Post, one in every six NFL players files for bankruptcy within 12 years of retirement, and the rates of failure for the stars... Read More
WATCH THE NFL DRAFT AT 8pm THURSDAY ON ESPN WITH SLING TV
It is a bad time of year to be JaMarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf. It’s become a spring ritual for them to be made fun of on lists of NFL Draft busts and this year, especially, the focus will be on quarterbacks.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will likely select either Florida State’s Jameis Winston or Oregon’s Marcus Mariota to be their TD tosser of the future with the No. 1 pick.
But don’t buy fully into all those lists of draft busts. Of course there are busts. There always will be. Just remember that for every Tim Couch (No. 1 pick, 1999), there’s a Peyton Manning (No. 1 pick, 1998). For every... Read More