12:59: We have eight games on one screen on channel 702 of DirecTV, a good way to follow the early games, as long as the Rams aren’t playing- they play tonight. Bengals-Colts is the one game that isn’t being shown on this screen.
1:04: Minnesota QB Cousins throws an INT on the Vikings’ first play; no bueno. If there were fans in the stands, they’d be grumbling right now.
1:07: Falcons take advantage; Ryan-to-Jones gives Atlanta a 7-0 lead, first TD of the day in the league.
1:08: 4-1 Bears score an early TD, lead the Panthers 7-0 early on in Charlotte.
1:12: Lamar Jackson scrambles, throws a TD, Ravens lead 7-0 in nPhilly, as the NFC East’s struggles continue. Coming into this week, NFC East squads are 3-12-1 ATS outside the division.
1:14: Washington misses a field goal against the Giants; Detroit scores an early TD against the the Jaguars in Jacksonville.
Speaking of Jacksonville, if I owned the Jaguars and we were home underdogs to Detroit, I’d have a talk with my football people and ask what the BLEEP is going on????
1:15: Baker Mayfield throws a pick-6, Browns are down 10-0 in Pittsburgh- they’ve lost 16 games in a row in Pittsburgh, and appear to be on a fast track to #17.
1:19: Tannehill throws a TD for the Titans; they led Houston 7-0.
When Tannehill was a rookie with Miami, they were on HBO’s Hard Knocks, and there was a conversation where Tannehill and Matt Moore, the other QB, are talking in a meeting room. Tannehill tells Moore that he doesn’t know who the other three teams in the AFC East are.
“How do you not know that?!?!?!” Moore was as incredulous as I was.
1:22: Denver leads 6-0 in Foxboro, kicking field goals on their first two drives, but not taking full advantage of scoring opportunities.
1:23: Giants 3, Redskins 0— The moveable force leads the resistible object.
1:25: Falcons lead 10-0 in Minnesota; this is where I’m supposed to point out that Kirk Cousins makes $28M a year, but won only one playoff game (1-2). He is 20-18-1 in 2+ years QB’ing the Vikings.
I admire Vikings’ coach Mike Zimmer; guy has had eight operations on one of his eyes but he still coaches. I’ve had two eye operations in the last 13 months; has to be very difficult for him to work as hard as coaches do while properly maintaining his eye, or maybe that’s why he’s had to have eight operations- could be he isn’t maintaining the eye.
1:27: Carolina kicks a FG, trail Chicago 7-3, first game today where both teams have scored.
1:32: Giants lead 10-0; Jones throws a 23-yard TD pass to Slayton.
1:35: Titans lead Houston 14-0; the Texans traded star WR DeAndre Hopkins, then fired the guy who traded him four games later— not a well-run franchise. Great players help win games.
1:42: Ravens lead 14-0 in Philly; Eagles drafted Carson Wentz in 2016, won the Super Bowl the next year, but Wentz had gotten injured during the season and Nick Foles was the hero, but now Foles plays for the Bears and Wentz is increasingly viewed as a suspect.
1:45: Denver leads 9-0 in Foxboro; they have Drew Lock back at QB, and have FG’s on their first three drives. It is super-ironic that John Elway is struggling to find a franchise QB for the team he once starred for.
1:50: Daniel Jones runs for 49 yards; problem is, he runs better than he throws, which isn’t so great for an NFL QB.
I miss watching NFL games at the Westgate Theater in Las Vegas, the same room where Barry Manilow performs. Seats 1,500 people; there is a concession stand on the left, betting windows in the back, and people have always been cool when I’ve been there.
One Sunday in the Westgate 2-3 years ago, I’m talking to this guy wearing a Cardinals’ jersey; we’re shooting the breeze about sports, gambling, Las Vegas; all of a sudden, it dawns on me that this guy is betting $6,000 a game, while I’m stressed out about my $30 wager. Oy.
Las Vegas is the big time of gambling; can’t wait to get back there.
2:00: Denver leads 9-3 in Foxboro; over bettors are queasy. Teams are moving the ball, but not scoring touchdowns.
Bengals led 21-0 in Indy, now lead 21-7; at one point, Joe Burrow was a 3rd-string QB at Ohio State, playing behind JT Barrett and Dwayne Haskins. Anyone want to ask Urban Meyer about that?
2:03: Baker Mayfield scrambles, throws another INT; Cleveland QB’s are measured by how they do against the Steelers/Ravens, who rule the AFC North. This ain’t going well.
2:07: Tannehill has Tennessee ahead of the Texans 21-7; in a couple weeks, Titans play Cincinnati, and Tannehill will meet up with Zac Taylor, whose father-in-law is Mike Sherman, the guy who moved Tannehill from WR to QB while they were both at Texas A&M.
2:14: Denver leads 12-3 at halftime in Foxboro; four possessions, four FG’s.
This is where I break down Bill Belichick’s career as a head coach:
— With Tom Brady at QB: 219-64, six Super Bowl titles
— Without Tom Brady at QB: 56-65, and down 12-3 at halftime today
2:16: Giants lead 13-10; Washington’s Kyle Allen throws a TD with 0:13 left in the half. Giants have mostly dominated the half, but lead only 13-10.
2:28: Eagles get stopped on 4th-and-a in the red zone, trail 17-0 with 0:56 left in the half, and may be at least a little grateful there are no fans there to boo them off the field.
Note to self; buy some Halloween candy, Reese’s cups or KitKats. That way, if no kids show up, I’ve still got a bowlful of candy I like.
With most of the games at halftime, time for a nutritious meal, a bowl of Fruit Loops.
2:48: Broncos lead 15-3 in Foxboro; five possessions, five FG’s. Has this ever happened before, a team with field goals on their first five drives?
2:53: Houston has rallied, cutting the Titans lead to 21-17.
Jennifer Garner must have a great agent; she does a ton of commercials.
2:55: New England’s tight end fumbles, Denver has the ball in NE territory- they kick yet another FG, now lead 18-3.
3:00: There was a time 10-11 years ago when Jacksonville owner Shahid Khan tried to buy the Rams, when they were in St Louis. Mercifully, that didn’t happen, because Stan Kroenke moved the Rams to LA and that’s a good thing.
3:02: Falcons lead 23-7 in Minnesota; Mike Zimmer is a defensive-minded coach, and has gone thru offensive coordinators very quickly. Watching the Vikings gag away that game in Seattle Monday night, it had to be a dispiriting loss, and today they look like a depressed team.
3:05: Guy on the Eagles runs 70+ yards, fumbles, and a teammate recovers for a TD, but then Philly goes for two points- why? When was it decided that going for two all the time was such a great idea?
3:09: Jones throws a terrible INT in the end zone, Giants still lead, but only 13-10.
3:11: Matt Ryan throws another TD pass, Falcons lead 30-7, and interim coaches are about to go 2-0 this season in their first game after the firing.
3:13: Lamar Jackson runs 37 yards for a TD; he could’ve run to Newark before he got hit, and the Ravens are jogging, 24-6.
3:19: Tennessee misses a FG, still trails 23-21, in what looks like the best of these early games.
3:20: Steelers lead Cleveland 31-7 and Case Keenum is in at QB for the Browns; I’ll be doing a look at Keenum’s unusual career pretty soon. Guy moves around a lot.
3:25: Cam Newton gets the Patriots in the end for the first TD of the day, but they miss on the 2-point play, trail 18-9 with 8:31 left. First TD of the game for either side.
3:27: Tennessee’s Derrick Henry runs 94 yards for a TD, Titans lead 29-23 with 9:23 left.
3:29: Washington kicks a FG; they’re 13-13 with the Giants, 8:56 left. My cousin bet the Giants on the money line. Kind of glad I’m not there right now.
3:32: Deshaun Watson throws a 53-yard TD pass, Houston leads 30-29 with 8:29 left. Thisis really a good game.
3:37: Denver QB Lock throws an awful INT; Patriots get the ball on Denver’s 25, but only kicks a field goal, and trails 18-12 with 3:23 left.
3:42: Lock throws ANOTHER interception, and New England is going to steal this bleeping game. Denver just cut Blake Bortles, who can’t possibly be worse than the guys the Broncos have been using at QB.
3:44: Giants get sack/fumble/TD, take a 20-13 lead with 3:29 left.
3:50: Former QB Julian Edelman throws an 18-yard pass to Cam Newton on a trick play; Newton is way bigger than the DB’s, is bigger than lot of linebackers. Patriots are on the move.
3:52: Eagles’ tight end Zach Ertz sprains his ankle; the Philly offense is messed up.
3:53: Houston scores a TD, leads 36-29; they go for 2 to get ahead by nine points (two scores) but miss on the try. I have no problem with that strategy.
3:54: Denver holds on, wins 18-12 in Foxboro, without scoring a TD. Belichick falls to 56-66 in his career with a QB other than Brady.
3:56: Redskins score TD with 0:36 left, trail 20-19, and Rivera has them go for two points- they don’t get it, much to the relief of a certain living room on Long Island.
Unless your QB is a great runner, I’m a firm believer in kicking the PAT and going to OT, but football coaches have this macho attitude that we can run them over, but it makes very little sense. Then again, no one asked me.
4:00: Titans score with 0:04 left to force overtime, and now the TV guys are killing Romeo Crennel for going for two after Houston’s last TD.
4:07: Tennessee wins coin toss in OT, Watson winces noticeably, not showing whole lot of faith in his defense.
4:12: Once down 21-0, Colts have rallied to lead Indianapolis 31-27; Burrow throws a pick in Colt territory with 0:32 left.
Philip Rivers grew up in Alabama, but neither Alabama/Auburn saw him as a starting QB, so he went to NC State, where he started for four years, and since has played 17 years in the NFL.
4:14: Derrick Henry scores TD, puts Houston’s defense out of its misery, 42-36. He ran the ball for 221 yards and looked like a man amongst boys.
Tennessee is 5-0, but they have a four wins by 3 or fewer points, plus this overtime win.
4:19: Eagles have rallied, have ball down 30-22, after Baltimore killed off only 0:27 on their last drive. After a terrible interference call on Baltimore, Wentz sneaks in for a TD with 1:55 left, but the 2-point try fails, and Ravens hold on, 30-28.
Eagles scored four TD’s, but never tried an extra point- they went for two four times.
Pretty good card of early games, considering it is October, when league tries to hide lot of the lesser-appealing non-divisional matchups.