(Sterling notes are the actual show notes of Drive host Sterling Pingree for the Friday edition of the show. Excuse any spelling or grammar mistakes as they are his thoughts, takes and ramblings about each NFL game.)
By Sterling Pingree
Thursday Night football has the best match up of the week? I just wanted to say that out loud to see what it tasted like. That’s like saying “Joe Buck is towering over Troy Aikman”, I just never thought those words would come out of my mouth. I’m going to Pats-Colts next Thursday, where I presume that I will tower over Joe Buck too.
Jets 1-2 at Jacksonville 2-1
The Jets stomped the Lions. The Jags and Lions stomped the Pats, so the Jets and Jaguars are clearly playing for AFC supremacy. If you Rock, Paper Scissor (RPS, not to be confused with RPO) nothing in the NFL makes sense. The Jets beat the Lions and lost to the Dolphins and Browns. The Jags beat the Giants in a rock fight (I’m guessing the Giants threw scissor, always stupid in the winds of the Meadowlands), pounded the Patriots in the heat and then lost an old school 1940’s Big 10 field goal kicking battle with Tennessee at home. The Blake Bortles era ladies and gentlemen.
Miami 3-0 at New England 1-2
The Patriots can’t lose 3 in a row, can they? To be fair, I didn’t think that Miami could win three in a row either. Pats are continuously banged up, Burkhead and Bentley are on IR and thusly are down to 2 active running backs, James White and Sony Michel. Michel’s been getting raked over this week, I’m going to say it was play calling because the outside pitches and screens weren’t working. Blocking wasn’t there on the pitches but dropping passes wide open in the flat is all on Michel. Brady directly saying that James White needs to be a bigger part of the offense was revealing and I’d be surprised if he didn’t play a big part of the passing game this weekend. The Patriots have looked slow on both sides of the ball (special teams has looked fine) an infusion of speed from Gordon and Edelman the next two weeks could do wonders. Do we see Gordon make his debut this week? Possible, or they could wait until the Thursday nighter vs Indy just 4 days later.
Philadelphia 2-1 at Tennessee 2-1
So Mike Vrabel starts Blane Gabbert in week 3 at Jacksonville. Gabbert gets knocked out of the game, who was presumably starting in place of the banged up Marcus Mariota. But who comes in when Gabbert goes out? Marcus Mariota. There is some real Tampa Bay Rays “beginning pitcher” stuff going on here. Both teams are 2-1, I’m not real sure how that is, Carson Wentz is back but the Eagles feel like a very different team in 2018.
Houston 0-3 at Indianapolis 1-2
This feels like a Thursday Night game and probably will be, complete with color rush uniforms where both wear white from head to toe. The Watson might be injured chatter has started, it could be true but just as the “Andrew Luck actually might be healthy” talk started, Frank Reich had to put Jacoby Brissett in at the end of last week’s game to throw up a last second hail mary. I can’t remember ever seeing this happen before, or since for that matter. Nail in the coffin game for Houston, they can’t start 0-4. Houston radio host Cody Stoots said on The Drive before the opener, that this was the best Texans team on paper that they’ve ever had.
Buffalo 1-2 at Green Bay 1-1-1
Let’s play a little RPS. Green Bay tied Minnesota in Green Bay. Buffalo blew out Minnesota, in Minnesota. Green Bay’s quarterback has some sort of cousin to a torn ACL. Therefore, Green Bay is a -10.5 favorite. Wait, what? This is going to be an open book test for Buffalo to see if last week was a total fluke or not. Green Bay’s defense is amongst the worst in the league, which will give Josh Allen every chance to go into Green Bay and win. That being said, I can’t imagine picking Buffalo to win this one. It defies nature because I can’t picture ever seeing these two teams play before. The Bills at Lambeau? Just feels unnatural some how. Maybe it’s the high cholesterol of the collective fan bases?
Detroit 1-2 at Dallas 1-2
The Thanksgiving Showdown! The two teams you sit through every year whether you want to or not but you totally want to because you don’t want to talk to the “random friend a family member brought with them who plants themselves in the living room and continuously suggests changing the channel over to the dog show.” (WE WILL NOT SHARON!)
Tampa Bay 2-1 at Chicago 2-1
Well the other shoe dropped on Fitzmagic, and the Bucs still almost beat Pittsburgh. Chicago’s defense looks really good through 3 games, how good? Khalil Mack has a sack and forced fumble in 3 straight games. That’s Derrick Thomas NFL ’95 production. Before the season, or atleast before the Mack trade, both of these teams having winning records through 3 weeks was almost unthinkable, but now? Still a little unthinkable when you consider their quarterbacks are Ryan Fitzpatrick and the other is Mitchell Trubisky. Question, if Fitz throws 3 picks in the first half like last week, does Dirk Koetter putt him for Jameis Winston? I wouldn’t, but I also don’t look like one of the Gatlin Brothers.
Cincinnati 2-1 at Atlanta 1-2
As I write this column, I try to write the team records from memory which of course gets harder as the season goes along. When I got to this game and Atlanta particularly, I couldn’t think of their record or who they had played. I know they lost the opener at Philly and then last week they almost tied New Orleans, or did they tie New Orleans? How many teams have ties right now? No, the Saints scored, because Brees ran in a sneak to win. (Brees is QB 1 of my TWO fantasy teams, I know you needed to know that. Here’s how my season has gone so far. Just kidding, nobody, NOBODY cares about anybody else’s fantasy teams. The more people accept that, the better off our society will be.)
Seattle 1-2 at Arizona 0-3
The Josh Rosen era has begun in Arizona and I have $100 to anybody who can tell me whether or not that is a good thing or will make any difference at all. My prediction for this Cardinals season is Rosen will get hurt, be replaced by Sam Bradford, who will get injured when a water attendant (that’s the PC term we use for that job now) gets a little overzealous and spikes the Gatorade bottle off Bradford’s K-9, lodges it into his cheek, which swells shut on him during his snap count at which time Aaron Donald sacks Bradford, rupturing his spleen and knocks him out for the rest of these season. Bradford is then replaced by John Skelton.
Cleveland 1-1-1 at Oakland 0-3
The Browns won a game. Now what? Baker Mayfield is the starting quarterback, after much deliberation, Hue Jackson decided not to start the recently concussed Tyrod (pronounced Trod) Taylor. It was astounding after the win last Thursday that Jackson said he would have to look at the tape before he declared who the starting quarterback was. What was that realization like? After watching Hard Knocks, I imagine Hue pulled his coaches into the room and said something like “Guys, when you’re in this seat you have to make some tough decisions. And I’ve looked at all the footage from the big win, as I’m calling it. And you know what guys? I think Baker might be ready, I think he might be our guy. And you know what else? I’m going to start him this week over Tyrod Taylor. What do you think about that?!?!!” To which the rest of the room would sit in gobsmacked silence until Todd Haley’s head explodes.
New Orleans 2-1 at New York Giants 1-2
How did the Giants win a game? Who let them do that? The Giants can run the ball a little bit. They can’t do much else. The Saints are a much better team, but always have a touch of that 2000’s Peyton Manning-dome softness to them. Even though it isn’t, hot dog wrappers flying through the air cold and blustery time yet Metlife Stadium, I still think Brees doesn’t play well in the breeze. Though a recommended dosage of Alvin Kamara could win this game. Barkley and Kamara running the ball is the only watchable part of this game.
San Francisco 1-2 at LA Chargers 1-2
Unfortunately this is the dawning of the CJ Beathard era in San Fran and that alone pretty much renders the rest of their games unwatchable. The 49ers were solid with Jimmy G and looked to be mounting a comeback when he went down in KC last Sunday, but Garappolo was doing it without many weapons around him. How good is George Kittle going to be with CJ Beathard getting him the football? The Chargers have had a tough schedule so far, but I think they’re going to sneak up on teams like they did last year, Rivers, Gordon and Allen make up one of the top QB-RB-WR trios in the AFC and when that defense gets Joey Bosa back, they’re as balanced a unit as the conference has in a year where things appear to be fairly wide open.
Baltimore 2-1 at Pittsburgh 1-1-1
Baltimore has been the most extreme team this year, blowing out the Bills, getting whacked by Cincy in week 2 and then beating Denver. This might be the most perplexing team in the league right now and they’re taking on a team that’s 1-1-1. The Pittsburgh defense is truly horrible and have won a game by 3 points where the other team turned the ball over 4 times and tied the Browns on a day when they turned the ball over twice. The Steelers seem like a really soft 1-1-1 team, but don’t they all?
Kansas City 3-0 at Denver 2-1
Patrick Mahomes toughest test thus far? I think this going to be a really tough game for the Chiefs: Mile High, Monday night, against Von Miller and that pass rush. We’ve seen what that crowd can do to good offenses that depend on timing and we’ll see what the first year starter can muster. The easy Super Bowl prediction right now is Chiefs and Rams, which if this season has taught us anything, nothing that seems easy this year is actually true.
Sterling Pingree (@SterlingPingree on Twitter) is a co-host on The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.Com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.