The one thing I learned about the NFL on Sunday is that I know nothing about the NFL. I knew that the Cardinals laying three points to the lowly Panthers was too good to be true, but I laid the points anyway because there was no way that Kyler Murray was going to turn the ball over like he did against Detroit for the second straight week and the Panthers may have defeated the Chargers, but Arizona’s offense was a whole different animal.
To be fair, Murray didn’t throw any interceptions, but he did lose a fumble while only averaging 4.3 yards per pass attempt. Meanwhile, Teddy Bridgewater continued to look like a bona-fide starter, leading a balanced attack while pushing the ball downfield with Jets castoff Robbie Anderson.
I also thought the Texans were an easy pick because they were desperate for a win and had played one of the league’s toughest schedules so far. Surely the terrible Vikings would provide an opportunity for Bill O’Brien’s team to get back on track. Nope, and they aren’t O’Brien’s team anymore, either. Deshaun Watson played a pretty good game, but it was Kirk Cousins and Minnesota who got back on track. Houston’s defense isn’t what it used to be, and Cousins torched it for 260 yards on only 22 throws. Adam Thielen and rookie Justin Jefferson both gained more than 100 receiving yards, and Dalvin Cook was a bell cow on the ground.
So my Sunday didn’t go so well, but I am on track to win a pair of fantasy match-ups. Here’s the rest of my takeaways from Sunday.
Bengals 33, Jaguars 25
If I end up winning those fantasy match-ups, it won’t be because I benched DJ Chark at the last moment because I found out that both Davante Adams and Allen Lazard would be sitting for Green Bay on Monday. That meant Marquez Valdes-Scantling would finally get a chance to shine against the Falcons. We’ll see if that works out, but he probably won’t outscore Chark, who exploded for eight catches, 95 yards, and two touchdowns. The Jags couldn’t stop Joe Mixon, though. Cincinnati’s workhorse gained 151 yards with two scores on 25 totes.
Browns 49, Cowboys 38
Oh goodness the Cowboys are horrendous. Well, not on offense. The defense was once again shredded in the early going, but this time Dallas’s miracle comeback attempt fell a little short. Odell Beckham Jr. scored three times, including once on the ground, where the Browns as a team averaged 7.7 yards per carry. Baker Mayfield didn’t even need to do that much. Jarvis Landry even threw a touchdown pass for him on a trick play.
Saints 35, Lions 29
Detroit jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, but the Saints rolled off five unanswered touchdowns and the Lions didn’t score again until late in the third quarter. Drew Brees might be a bigger fan of yards per attempt today, since his average was a robust 9.8 thanks to a strong, two-headed rushing attack that set up the pass. Emmanuel Sanders led everyone in targets, catches, and yards, which I totally could have told you would happen as I was releasing him from my fantasy team. The Lions are 1-3, but they’ve played a very tough schedule so I feel good about betting on them going forward even if they didn’t cover this one.
Seahawks 31, Dolphins 23
Seattle keeps rolling along. Its schedule has been meh so far, but it’s clearly one of the top three teams in the NFC along with Tampa Bay and Green Bay. Russell Wilson kept cooking in this one, and the defense kept Miami out of the end zone until garbage time. One of the reasons why Wilson has been impossible to slow down is his ability to spread the ball around. He has many talented receivers, but somehow Greg Olsen ended up leading the Seahawks in targets.
Buccaneers 38, Chargers 31
Tyrod Taylor’s starting days are over. Justin Herbert didn’t lead his team to a win on Sunday, but his skills were on full display and he once again pushed an elite NFL team to its limits. Just look at this ball he threw in a critical juncture.
I wasn’t a Herbert believer when he was at Oregon, but it’s impossible not to love him after he completed 20 of 25 passes for 290 yards against the Bucs. You have to wonder how long Anthony Lynn was going to wait before replacing Taylor, but fate intervened for him. I feel for Taylor, but there’s not much of an argument for him to ever start for Los Angeles again.
Oh, and Tom Brady threw five touchdown passes while leading Tampa Bay back from a 24-7 deficit. Plus, Ronald Jones looks like a productive NFL tailback? Crazy times.
Ravens 31, Football Team 17
Washington stinks, and if the Eagles hadn’t blown a huge lead to them in Week 1, Philadelphia would have already clinched the NFC East. Dwayne Haskins continues to play JUST well enough to trick Washington into thinking he’s the quarterback of the future, so that’s nice. It helps Haskins’s case that Terry McLaurin has developed into a stud. He’s gone over 60 yards receiving in every game this season and went over 100 in two of them.
Rams 17, Giants 9
The Giants have a defense? We know by now they can shut down the run, but they also held Los Angeles’s passing game in check save for one long touchdown catch by Cooper Kupp against cover zero. That turned out to be the difference as Danny Dimes failed to cash in on numerous chances to tie the game. Blake Martinez and James Bradberry have taken the defense to another level, and the Giants even ran the ball well in this one, but Dimes could not for the life of him get the ball downfield. I think the Rams are good, but all of their wins have come against the NFC East! Gotta see how they play against their division.
Colts 19, Bears 11
Do the Colts have a good defense or are they just playing garbage offenses? There’s not enough data for me to determine that answer yet, but it’s a good sign that they shut down Chicago’s running attack and made Nick Foles look like a guy who would lose a quarterback competition to Mitch Trubisky. Philip Rivers didn’t look so hot either, but Rodrigo Blankenship came through with four field goals when the offense stalled to give Indianapolis a comfortable win.
Bills 30, Raiders 23
Another week and another reason to brag about getting a great value on Stefon Diggs in fantasy. What? You guys didn’t think he would be better with Josh Allen throwing him the ball than with Kirk Freaking Cousins? That looks kind of dumb right now, and the auction league I’m in that let me get a WR1 for WR3 prices is paying for it. Also, apparently Nelson Agholor can catch the ball now that he’s on the west coast? He snagged all four of his targets, including one for a difficult touchdown reception.
Eagles 25, 49ers 20
I have something to get off my chest. I originally had San Francisco in a money line parlay with Liverpool because I am a BIG idiot. After the futbol team lost, I pivoted to the Eagles spread because it moved all the way to 8.5, and boy was that a smarter decision. Nick Mullens threw a couple of horrid interceptions to bail out the desperate Birds, and C.J. Beathard came in late, almost pulling off a miracle victory. Carson Wentz’s stats don’t look good, but I thought he looked like an improved quarterback. His fourth-quarter touchdown pass to something called Travis Fulgham was hella clutch and right on the money.
Cool, that’s it for Week 4. Thursday Night Football is actually an appealing game this week, but who am I kidding? I watch every week no matter what! It’s football!