The NFL is king. If there were any doubts about why America convenes every Sunday for five consecutive months, the first two weeks of the season erased them. The narratives, the superstars, the comebacks, we’ve seen a little bit of everything so far. With our next Sunday six days away, let’s talk about what just happened.
Arizona Cardinals 29 – Las Vegas Raiders 23
I’ve long been low on the Arizona Cardinals, and Sunday’s win didn’t do much to change that. They were once again totally outmatched in the first half. Somehow, they managed to erase a 20-point deficit.
Kyler Murray ran for his life, evading tackles and pulling off some of the most improbable pre-LOS plays I’ve ever seen. That’s a symptom of a much scarier illness.
If not for Murray’s innate ability to take over games by himself, Arizona would have been blown out of the water. Again. The coaching is bad. The roster is bad. It’s not a recipe for success.
Maybe this win speaks more about the Raiders…
Detroit Lions 36 – Washington Commanders 27
To continue with the theme of unpleasant play, let’s talk about Carson Wentz. The Wentz experience is comparable to our own childhood memories. Often romanticized and sorely missed, Wentz’ rookie year was as impressive as it was unsustainable.
At some point, teams will come to the realization that Wentz is just not very good. Hopefully they will stop wasting assets on him, pretending he’ll be good enough for a 10-7 record.
Sunday saw Wentz end up with 337 yards and three touchdowns. His interception, fumble, and five sacks kept Washington in a bad spot. We shouldn’t be confident in them beating any real teams, especially if their defense continues to play hookie as well.
Los Angeles Rams 31 – Atlanta Falcons 27
So close to ending the curse of 28-3. So far from resembling a competent football team.
Oh, and they’re using a wide receiver at fullback now. Expect to see that copied all over the league by Week 8.
The Falcons, on the other hand, look as bad as ever. No team is more proficient in giving hope and ripping it away. Head coach Arthur Smith’s comments about tight end (but really wide receiver) Kyle Pitts does nothing but anger fans. The team has two stars ready to tear up seams, and the supposed guru hasn’t been able to unlock them concurrently.
Mr. Smith, I know the roster is bad. I’m just asking you to actually use the good players, and maybe it will look a little better.
New York Giants 19 – Carolina Panthers 16
Every year, a bad team sneaks into the dance. This time around, it could be the New York Giants. Much like Sean McDermott’s first year in Buffalo, a nine-win team might land you a late January contest, but it’s no guarantee the quarterback sticks around.
Daniel Jones has not found much success. The offense as a whole has been pretty dreadful outside of Saquon Barkley. Yet, they’re 2-0 and have dates with Cooper Rush and Justin Fields marked on their calendar. A legitimate chance to start 4-0 could give them a head start in the NFC East. A fourth-place schedule offers even more assistance.
Make no mistake, Brian Daboll’s team is one of the worst in football. Taking their moneyline is an adrenaline trip with lots of financial downsides. But…there’s a path. DraftKings has them at +110 to make the playoffs. The -140 line on the other side is much safer, and will likely deflate once that first loss does arrive.
Enjoy it, Giants fans. Being competitive is fun while it lasts.
San Francisco 49ers 27 – Seattle Seahawks 7
A whole lot of bad words. That’s the only plausible takeaway from this game, at least for the San Francisco 49ers.
In what would have been Trey Lance’s first non-monsoon game of the 2022 season, Sunday offered an opportunity to show everyone the progress he had made. Instead, he suffered a severe ankle injury that ended his season.
The 49ers are back to Jimmy Garoppolo. Back to square one. Back to a big playoff win followed by a bigger playoff loss.
Lance’s injury was simply gut-wrenching. Still, for San Francisco, things remain very much the same. They’re still as strong, if not stronger than before, even if it ultimately doesn’t matter. From a betting perspective, virtually nothing changes. As long as Garoppolo doesn’t have one of his patented breakdowns, they’re a strong candidate to cover each week.