Vikings 31, Texans 13— Minnesota is on an improbable 18-2 spread run, 5-0 this year; they’ve scored four TDs on special teams/defense, are 15-30 on 3rd down last two weeks. Only one of their five wins is by less than nine points. Houston was 1-13 on 3rd down in this game, averaged 3.4 yards/pass attempt- home team won/covered all five of their games this year.
Tennessee 30, Miami 17— Dolphins are now a horrendous 13-34 vs spread in their last 47 games as a home favorite- that goes back 10.5 years. How many coaches have to get fired before Miami realizes Ryan Tannehill isn’t good? Titans gave up a punt return TD for second week in a row, but had a 14-yard edge in field position, were +2 in turnovers.
Stat of Day: Over last four weeks, from Weeks 2-5, NFL teams that were +2 or better in turnovers are 27-1 SU- they’re 28-4 for the season.
Patriots 33, Browns 13— Brady threw for 406 yards, three TDs in his return from suspension. Cleveland got two more QB’s KO’d, wound up using Terrelle Pryor at QB, meaning that thru five games this year (0-5), they’ve already used five QB’s and probably have to sign (at least) one more for next week. If they use Pryor at QB, then they lose their best WR.
Steelers 31, Jets 13— Pittsburgh had 30 first downs; on three drives, they had 6+ first downs- Steelers averaged 7.8 yards/pass attempt, were 5-10 on 3rd down. Jets lost field position by 11 yards, after losing it by 13 yards last week. Over last three games, Jets have been outscored 37-7 in second half. Cleveland is desperate for a QB; Jets have four on their roster- shouldn’t these teams make a trade?
Redskins 16, Ravens 10— Baltimore drove 75 yards on nine plays for a TD on their first drive; rest of the game? 60 plays for 231 yards, with one FG on 11 drives. Redskins were one of four teams this week to score a TD on defense/special teams- those teams went 3-1 in their game, are 12-7 for the season, with two other games where both teams had one. All five Baltimore games have been decided by 6 or less points.
Lions 24, Eagles 23— Philly had 14 penalties for 111 yards, Detroit two for 18. Wentz rallied team back from 21-10 deficit, but Lions kicked winning FG with 1:28 left. There were 113 plays from scrimmage in this game, 111 in the Miami game; the Texas-Oklahoma game had 168 plays, the Colorado-USC game 153. You get more bang for your entertainment buck watching college games.
Colts 29, Bears 23— Chicago led 23-19 with 4:00 left, but Indy scored 10 points in last 3:49 for their second win. Surprised that Buck/Aikman had this game- weak card of games on FOX this week. Bears had six plays of 20+ yards, as Hoyer threw for 397 yards; only one of Indy’s eight plays of 20+ yards came on first down. High scoring games, but teams combined to go just 5-21 on third down. Hoyer had big game, but missed Jeffrey in end zone on Chicago’s last drive to try and win the game.
Falcons 23, Broncos 16— Atlanta gave up 31 pts/game in their 3-1 start; they held Denver to 267 TY, 4.5 yards/pass attempt in leading this game wire/wire. Falcons started LY 5-0, wound up 8-8; you get the idea this 4-1 start is based on more solid footing. Rookie QB Lynch was 23-35/223 yards in his first NFL start, was sacked six times. NFC teams are 14-8 vs AFC clubs this season- they were 4-2 this week.
After the game, Denver coach Kubiak was taken to the hospital with “flu-like symptoms”. When he was coach in Houston, Kubiak had a mini-strike at halftime of a game. We hope he is healthy. Denver plays on Thursday night this week, by the way.
Bills 30, Rams 19— Buffalo punter Schmidt was star of game, with four of his six punts pinning LA inside its own 20-yard line. Rams drove 86 yards on one drive but had to kick a FG. Buffalo was +3 in turnovers and in essence got a 4th turnover on a roughing/punter penalty. Taylor is a lot like Doug Flutie was; mobile but not a big runner, little scatter-armed, a good leader. Bills have won three games in row after an 0-2 start.
Raiders 34, Chargers 31— 4-1 start for Oakland, with three wins by 3 or less points. You have to feel for San Diego; another brutal loss, with their punter muffing the hold on chip-shot game-tying FG just before 2:00 warning. Chargers turned ball over four times (-3)30.4 pts/game and are 1-4- they had 150 rushing yards in Week 2, have combined for 149 rushing yards in three games since.
Cowboys 28, Bengals 14— To me the most surprising score of week; this game wasn’t close to being this close- it was 28-0 in 4th quarter. Dallas ran ball for 180 yards; only eight of 54 plays they ran came on third down. You have to wonder about NFL scouting when Prescott plays so well as a rookie QB but wasn’t that highly touted- I don’t think the DUI he supposedly got in March hurt his draft position. No one was taking him higher than Dallas did, no matter what.
Washington 5, Dodgers 2— Unlikely hero? Backup catcher Jose Lobaton, playing only because Wilson Ramos hurt his knee at the end of the regular season. Lobaton hit a 3-run homer in the bottom of the 4th when LA led 2-0. Nationals’ bullpen got the last 14 outs without allowing a run, so series heads to Tinseltown tied 1-1. TV executives breathe a sigh of relief, with first series guaranteed to have a Game 4.
Blue Jays 7, Rangers 6— Josh Donaldson scored from second on a force play to end the game as Toronto sweeps the Rangers and moves on to the ALCS. I’m an A’s fan; Donaldson is awesome and Oakland didn’t get nearly enough for him when the was traded (for financial reasons). But hey, those guys advising Billy Beane went to college in the Ivy League, so they must be smart, right?
Packers 23, Giants 16– Not a great night for either QB, but for third time in last four games, Giants scored zero or one offensive TD. For the week, favorites are 5-7-1, home teams 5-7-1, over 7-6.