As we continue to work through this wild NFL season, one thing is pretty apparent. Mediocre teams are EVERYWHERE. All you have to do is take a look at the standings and the parity is all over the place. By my count, there are currently 19 teams with a record between 5-3 and 3-5. The NFL loves this. The more teams that stay alive, the better the product, the more people continue to watch, which ultimately means more money. There are certainly the juggernauts, the Eagles, Bills, and Chiefs. Will these teams continue their strong seasons? Philly is off to an 8-0 start and has another mini bye week after playing on Thursday night. As always with this column, let’s first take a look at the Thursday Night Football recap, followed by last week’s predictions, and then this week’s.
Eagles 29, Texans 17
Eagles top performer(s): The usual suspects from this elite offense remained busy on Thursday night in their win. Jalen Hurts had another strong game with a 128.9 QB rating. Add in strong performances from Dallas Goedert, AJ Brown, and Miles Sanders, and one can see how they won, even though they played far from a clean and perfect game. Multiple guys on this offense are capable of producing monster fantasy weeks at any time. I expect another big showing next Monday night against the Commanders. Texans top performer(s): As I stated last week, the only fantasy relevant option from the Texans is stud rookie Dameon Pierce. I predicted he would have a strong game, mainly due to Philly’s weak run defense, especially without Jordan Davis, who was placed on IR due to a high ankle sprain. How did Pierce respond? Well, how’s 139 yards rushing? Pretty good, although I’m sure his fantasy owners would have loved a score. Pierce is easily a weekly must-start.
Last Week’s Headlines/Predictions:
Headline: The Patriots Have a QB Controversy: Verdict: Legitimate. Mac Jones played the entirety of their win over the Jets however his stat line consisted of 24/35 for 194 yards 1 TD and 1 INT which leads to a 79.9 QB rating. The Jets defense is good. However, I still think Zappe long-term is the better QB for New England. I’ll take the L in this week’s “battle,” but I’m optimistic I’ll be correct in the long-run. Stay tuned on this one. Headline: The Eagles Will Go 17-0 in the Regular Season: Verdict: Talkin’ Crazy. So far, the Birds are 8-0. Their schedule looks favorable, but I still have a hard time seeing this team, or any team for that matter, going 17-0. As an Eagles fan, I obviously hope I’m wrong on this one, but, again, this is one that we will keep a close eye on in the weeks to come. Headline: All NFL Games Should Be Played on Grass: Verdict: Legitimate (but will not happen). This was in the news after Cooper Kupp suggested this last week. I wholeheartedly agree with Kupp’s take, but, as I stated, it will never happen. It’s ultimately cheaper for owners to have turf fields due to it being cheaper to maintain than grass. I would be willing to guarantee it would reduce the amount of injuries league-wide, but we will never see the whole league transitioning to grass. It’s a shame.
Miscellaneous Quick Hits:
The Jaguars top the Broncos in London, which solidifies Denver’s standing as sellers heading into the trade deadline this week. As a result, Bradley Chubb and Jerry Jeudy are traded. Well, Chubb was traded. That was the only thing I got right on this one. Give me the Jets +2.5 at home versus New England. Lock it in! Man, another L on this one. Was expecting more out of Zach Wilson. Sam Ehlinger provides the spark that the Colts offense desperately needs. This includes JT returning to last season’s form, and oh by the way, the Colts win. Yeah, so definitely not my week regarding predictions. Such a disappointing season for Indy, which led to the firing of their offensive coordinator this week. This Week’s (Week 9) Bold Predictions/Headlines: Headline: The Bucs and Rams Will Both Miss the Playoffs This is a topic of conversation this week since these teams are facing off against each other in a rematch from last year’s playoffs. Both teams are struggling at the moment, but I still have a hard time seeing BOTH of these team’s miss the playoffs. Ultimately, I think the Bucs will sneak in, and the Rams will miss out on the playoffs. Verdict: Talkin’ Crazy. Headline: The Dolphins are Super Bowl Contenders Okay, this was a bold prediction from a few weeks ago, and I claimed we were all talkin’ crazy. However, now I am changing my stance. This offense is legit, and the addition of Bradley Chubb is massive for their defense and pass rush. The Dolphins are really going for it, and I love the moves they have made. I still don’t think they’re on the caliber of the Bills and Chiefs, but they’re not that far off. Verdict: Legitimate. Headline: Jonathan Taylor Will Be Considered One of The Biggest Fantasy Football Busts Well, JT has had a rough year as it pertains to injuries. Let’s get that out of the way. But, my goodness, what an awful return for those that drafted JT number one overall. Just when we all thought he would get “back on track” last week vs Washington, he finished with 76 rushing yards. Now, he is out again this week, and Deon Jackson will get the start. It’s hard to see JT’s season turning around quickly. This is important to remember when it comes to next year’s number one pick. Just because they performed great last year, does NOT guarantee similar results the next year. Verdict: Legitimate.
Miscellaneous Quick Hits:
I think the Chiefs cover versus the Titans. Their defense will attempt to contain King Henry, who will still probably eat, but they’ll shut down Malik Willis. This one is extra bold, but I like the Lions to beat the Packers this week, straight up. I think the Cardinals redeem their loss versus Seattle earlier in the season and Deandre Hopkins continues to put up absurd numbers. Let’s hope for some more hits this week, I could certainly use it after last week!