NFL 2023: WEEK NINE times out of ten

I, and football, are back. The big news, of course, is the passing of the trade deadline. And once again it was a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing. The Bears inexplicably rent Montez Sweat for half a season for a second round pick (likely in the top 36). The Packers hope to get healthier in the secondary and get a roughly 40 spot pick swap in the 3rd round to give up Rasul Douglas, whose been a find for them. Chase Young gets shipped off to the Niners as a half season rental for a compensatory 3rd round pick. Good for both sides. I don’t expect any of these trades to move the needle much, but Young, when healthy and motivated (he’ll be playing for a long term contract, so he’ll be motivated) could be a difference maker. All in all, a pretty boring trade deadline (although the Eagles did get a ton better getting my guy Kevin Byard from the Titans).

Other news tidbits: the Raiders dump their head coach and GM a couple years after they never should have hired them in the first place. I do so love watching the Raiders implode. And now with Davante Adams getting pissy, the benching of beauty queen Jimmy G (after 3 tries at spelling his last name, I gave up), and the complete waste of Maxx Crosby’s considerable talents, they get back to floundering. Way to go, nepo-owner Mark Davis!

And now we’re at the stage in the season when a bunch of new Qbs get their chance to start (Come on Down, Aidan O’Connell, Will Levis, Jaren Hall, Brett Rypien, Clayton Tune, and Taylor Heinicke (has Arthur Smith never seen him play before?), and fans of struggling teams begin to look forward to the NFL draft, when all their dreams will come true … until next year’s games start. Could be an interesting week.

Here’s your games:

Thursday Night Football

Tennessee Titans (+2.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers (-2.5)

Sunday, November 5, 2023


Miami Dolphins (+2.5) at Kansas City Chiefs (-2.5)


Minnesota Vikings (+4) at Atlanta Falcons (-4)
Seattle Seahawks (+5.5) at Baltimore Ravens (-5.5)
Arizona Cardinals (+7) at Cleveland Browns (-7)
Los Angeles Rams (+2.5) at Green Bay Packers (-2.5)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+2.5) at Houston Texans (-2.5)
Washington Commanders (+2.5) at New England Patriots (-2.5)
Chicago Bears (+6.5) at New Orleans Saints (-6.5)


Indianapolis Colts (-2.5) at Carolina Panthers (+2.5)
New York Giants (+3) at Las Vegas Raiders (-3)
Dallas Cowboys (+3) at Philadelphia Eagles (-3)

Sunday Night Football

Buffalo Bills (+1.5) at Cincinnati Bengals (-1.5)

Monday Night Football

Los Angeles Chargers (-1.5) at New York Jets (+1.5)

Damn, there’s a lot of interesting games this weekend. Mostly due to replacement Qbs getting introduced to the NFL is usually fun to watch. But there are a couple of really good games with Super Bowl contenders and playoff seeding implications. Should be fun.

I would have never thought the Steelers were 4-3, yet here they are making Thursday’s game interesting. They have a -34 point differential, yet are tied for second in their conference. This will be my first real chance to see how the hell they’re above .500 with the 2nd worst scoring offense in the league. Add in that I get to watch the NEXT BIG THING AT QB[sub]tm[/sub] (after Tyson Bagent, of course), in Will Levis, and this game will definitely draw my eyes.

As I’ve shared before, I love me the Sunday am games. Nothing like waking up, getting a cup of Irish Breakfast Tea and a couple sausage biscuit, plopping down on the couch and watching two great teams duke it out in front of a bunch of European fans. The Chiefs and Dolphins have been up and down all year, but they’re both clearly in the running for a championship. Should be a ton of points and a ton of action. I’m excited!

Then in the early games, I get to watch the Pack spin their wheels with a QB who is not showing any signs of getting better against a team that may be without their starting QB. Could be ugly. Very ugly. Like a pile of 6 week old roadkill ugly. But, luckily if that game sears my eyeballs with bad play, I can switch to either the Tyson Bagent show (which I’m enjoying very much) or watch the Browns make Clayton Tune wish Kyler Murray was healthy.

The late games have another stellar game with the Cowboys/Eagles matching up. Two very good defenses with very good offenses in a grudge game. What’s not to like? Well, except for the inevitable 30 shots of Jerry Jones. Ugh.

Sunday nights game is another great matchup with two more contenders in the Bills and Bengals matching up. Joe Burrow is now seemingly healthy and playing a ton better, and both teams have quietly good defenses. Should be another tight, interesting game.

And, after all that great football, we get a MNF with the closest spread of the week. Sure it’s just the consistently underperforming Chargers versus the “Oh, yeah. Backup Qbs ARE important” Jets. I expect the Chargers defense to put 11 men in the box to stop Breece Hall and force Zach Wilson to throw, while the Jets defense once again attempts to carry the team to a victory. It’ll be fun seeing how Brandon Staley can find a brand new way to fuck up his team.

So, its looking like a great weekend of NFL football. Hope you’re all ready. Let’s fucking go!

Ravens/Seahawks is another interesting game between two division leaders. Now that the Niners have come back to earth, Seattle is quietly on top of the NFC West, while Baltimore is playing solid football on both sides of the ball.

(Slight nitpick: Steelers are tied for second in their division, not conference.)

There are a lot of teams this year whose play does not match what I’d expect from their record. Raiders and Chargers are tied in their division? Jacksonville at 7-2? Denver has 3 wins?

I get the appeal of the morning game for you easterners. The only thing better than the 10:00 am start out west is the 9:00 am college football kickoff on Saturday. But I draw the line at the 5:15 am start for that early game. It’s a bummer, cause Chiefs/'Fins should be a fun one.

Both my teams (Niners and Lions) are off this weekend, so I guess I’ll go with rooting against the teams I want to lose. So go Ravens! (I don’t dislike Seattle, but SF evidently needs help to win the division.) And go Eagles! (Because Dallas.)

I am not confident. Lamarr Jackson is 17-1 in games against NFC teams. It’s a weird statistic and I’m not sure what it signifies except that the Ravens are really good with him at QB. The Ravens seem extremely solid this year and the Seahawks have been making a lot of mistakes and yet still playing just good enough to beat almost everybody. (It’s the “almost” part that’s key.)

We’ll see I guess. This year, for some reason Seattle is a great 1st quarter team that builds up big leads then struggles to maintain them. Which is the opposite of how they were under Russell Wilson. If they can be as good in all 4 quarters that as they are in the first, they are unstoppable. The team is mostly healthy right now, and added a good pass rusher who will be starting, so they might show up.

I’m fearing another Dolphin blowout loss; they’ve looked like a paper tiger against good competition this year. And their offensive line is injured all to hell, which doesn’t bode well.

But there’s always hope. K.C. has been vulnerable this year. And I’m pretty sure Tay-Tay isn’t making the trip. Supposedly, Miami’s defense is starting to gel - at the least, Jalen Ramsey is playing. So we shall see.

Meanwhile, I’m happy to watch tonight. For some reason, I have a soft spot for Tennessee, so I’m looking forward to seeing if Will Levis is the real deal.

Buffalo v Cincy on Sunday night will also be a good one. Who Dey!

I am expecting the Raiders to rally around their interim coaches and hand the Giants a beatdown. And yes, I’m aware that Daniel Jones will start.

It’s the rematch of the Demar Hamlin game this week. So that’ll be a big part of the conversation.

Now I’m seeing a 6:30 am start out west. Did they change the time, or was I an idiot looking at the MNF game? (Don’t answer, I know which one it was.)

Seattle needs to treat this as a playoff game, not only to take a full-game lead over SF but to also prove they can play and win against another great team.

The first 20 minutes of that game were a brutal slog. Something like a dozen penalties and a half dozen injuries.

It seems like dark magic that my Steelers are somehow 5-3, but here we are.

And my favourite stat to follow this year: Lots of people are lauding the Dolphins as having a historically great offense, and I think we all would agree that the Steelers are in the discussion for worst offense of all time, and yet:

Dolphins: 6 wins, combined record of teams they’ve beaten 13-33
Steelers: 5 wins, combined record of teams they’ve beaten 19-20

Note: in the Dolphins stat i’m counting NE’s 2-6 twice

The Guardian discusses every contender’s fatal flaw.

Baltimore Ravens: health
Miami Dolphins: turnovers
Kansas City Chiefs: receivers
Jacksonville Jaguars: pass rush
Buffalo Bills: interior defensive line
Cincinnati Bengals: cornerbacks

Philadelphia Eagles: linebackers and safeties
Detroit Lions: inexperience
San Francisco 49ers: defensive identity (and offensive line)
Dallas Cowboys: explosive plays
Seattle Seahawks: pass rush

Hope you’re right, otherwise it will be another “burn and bury the tape” game like last week’s gem - Giants/Jets.

Their pass rush is really good, this is a bad read. They are #6 in sacks this year so far and just traded for another good veteran pass rusher.

Their real weakness is inconsistency. They don’t have any glaring weaknesses except whatever shows up in a game. They’ll suddenly be weak against the run or have a bunch of turnovers or struggle to run or something. It’s frustrating as a fan because you have no idea what to expect.

I’m even more confident that the Raiders will win now that I’ve learned that the interim coach is Antonio Pierce. He was the MLB on the Giants’ 2007 Superbowl team.

Who would thunk that the Chiefs/Fins game would turn into a defensive battle? And the difference in the game would be a defensive TD?

Neither QB threw for more than 200 yards. Tyreek Hill had 8 catches for 62 yards, which is well below his season average. Travis Kelce had 3 catches for 14 yards. 13 punts in the game.

Bottom line was a huge win for the Chiefs. Particularly with upcoming games against the Eagles, Bills, and Bengals.

Tua missed some key receivers in crucial moments. On the last drive, on 3rd down (the game effectively ended on the next down, when Miami fumbled the snap and Tua was sacked), he threw a duck when Cedric Wilson was running wide open into the end zone. And earlier in the game, on a short third down, he missed Jaylen Waddle, who had beaten his man and had wide open field in front of him.

If I’m a Chief’s fan, I’m glad to win, but I’m quite uncomfortable seeing my offense only score 2 touchdowns (the third was a fumble return by the D).

You watch a game like today and wonder how Seattle has 5 wins. Inconsistent is right.

Arizona had 58 total yards of offense today.

I’m sure the NFL loves these international games but I consider them a travesty