You wanna fight?
Sunday around the NFL saw plenty of fights around the league. We didn’t quite get to Mortal Kombat or Killer Instinct levels of fighting. It was more like the brawls that would break out in the NES classic Ice Hockey. But there were some hot tempers flaring that should keep the NFL office busy today as it sorts out discipline to a good number of players this week.
Meanwhile, the Eagles continue to fly in the NFC. And that’s where we begin this edition of the NFL Blitz.
Too early for playoff talk, but the Eagles and Rams looked good on Sunday
After the first Sunday of November, the NFC playoff picture is beginning to come together. We could potentially be heading to an NFC Championship Game in Philly between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Los Angeles Rams. If you bet on that at the beginning of the year, I’m going to need you to give me some insider tips.
Both Rams and Eagles involved in blowouts. Except they’re the leading teams….. pic.twitter.com/GSWmZBN8Rd
— Seth (@IllestInsigne) November 5, 2017
Both the Eagles and Rams put up 51 points on the scoreboard this weekend. The Eagles improved to 6-0 in conference play and remained undefeated at home with a 51-23 victory against the Denver Broncos that was hardly even that close through the first three quarters. Carson Wentz became the first quarterback this season to reach 20 touchdown passes, tossing four to bring his season total to 23 with just five interceptions thrown. This is just Wentz’s second season in the league, and he has already shown great growth from his rookie season numbers of 16 touchdown passes and 14 interceptions.
Of course, the Eagles also improved the roster around him, including last week’s trade deadline acquisition of running back Jay Ajayi from the Miami Dolphins. Ajayi reached the end zone on a 46-yard touchdown run in his Eagles debut, much to the delight of his new home fans. Rookie running back Corey Clement is proving to be a valuable asset in a deep running game too after having three total touchdowns in the blowout win.
Top 3 NFL teams in point differential through Week 9:
1. Rams (+108)
2. Eagles (+104)
3. Jaguars (+89)
As everyone predicted.
— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) November 6, 2017
Just north in New Jersey, the Rams had their own blowout to deal with on the road against the New York Giants. Second-year Rams starter Jared Goff also had a career day with four touchdown passes with 311 passing yards. The Rams blew the door wide open in the second and third quarters by outscoring the Giants 41-3 in those two quarters alone. The Rams even connected for a touchdown on a 3rd and 33. With the win, the Rams moved to 6-2, joining the New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings with that mark as the race for a first-round playoff bye is now officially on.
The Eagles have the upper hand on the top spot in the NFC as they go into a bye week. The Rams are currently fourth in the NFC playoff standings. It is still too soon to start breaking down the playoff scenarios, but with the Rams in sole possession of the NFC West after their win and the Seahawks taking a loss, it’s not crazy to start thinking about a possible NFC Championship Game between the Eagles and Rams? These offenses are dangerous right now. And in one month, they’re playing each other in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Times says you should probably expect that one to be flexed to Sunday night, taking the place of a Steelers-Ravens game.
Can we just go ahead and Flex the Eagles @ Rams game on 12/10/17 to Sunday Night Football please? Thank You #WentzVsGoff
— Kirk Morrison (@kirkmorrison) November 5, 2017
Imagine the possibilities…
Will the jags meet the eagles or rams in super bowl
— Dan Hicken (@DanHicken) November 5, 2017
Falcons and the Super Bowl Curse
I don’t know where you fall on the whole idea of the Madden Curse or the Super Bowl curse, but the Atlanta Falcons sure seem to be suffering from the Big Game hangover that a good handful of teams in the Super Bowl era have previously experienced. The latest example of that was Sunday’s loss to the last team to suffer from a Super Bowl hangover, the Carolina Panthers.
The play which really stands out from Sunday’s 20-17 loss at Carolina was this wide-open pass to the endzone from Matt Ryan to Julio Jones, where Jones could not hang onto the ball for a fourth down touchdown.
“We won’t have a Super Bowl hangover” – Falcons fans pic.twitter.com/xNbA6hNn2m
— Deshaun Watson Fan (@KingFavre) November 5, 2017
Then, in the final minutes of the game, Matt Ryan could not complete a pass in a three-point game.
Matt Ryan in the two-minute drill needing to score to win tosses three incomplete passes in a row. Falcons Super Bowl hangover is real.
— Will Reeve Jr (@WillReeveJr) November 5, 2017
That Super Bowl hangover feeling… pic.twitter.com/QUNfjd17Wy
— Tim Campbell (@BgTimeTimmyJim) November 5, 2017
The Falcons fell to 4-4 on the year, making for an uphill battle just to get back to the postseason. (Although Atlanta is currently in ninth place in the NFC, so they are right on the cusp of a playoff return at the beginning of November.) But the Falcons are now two games behind New Orleans and one game in the loss column behind Carolina, and the next few weeks may not be easy either. Atlanta hosts the Dallas Cowboys next week and then it is off to Seattle to play the Seahawks the following week. There are also still two games against the Saints that could either help the Falcons climb back in this or bury them for good.
Atlanta has lost four of their last five games after a 3-0 start to the season.
— Sasha Murray (@SashaMurray) November 5, 2017
Are the Cowboys better than the Eagles? Chiefs’ Tamba Hali says so
Earlier in the NFL season, the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Eagles. On Sunday, the Chiefs lost to the Dallas Cowboys, 28-17. Despite the Cowboys having more losses this season, the victory over the Chiefs must mean the Cowboys are better than the Eagles, right? That’s some weird logic for an argument, but Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali is willing to go on record with it.
Chiefs veteran LB Tamba Hali says he thinks the Cowboys are the best team in the league. Better than the Eagles? He thinks so, he says
— Jori Epstein (@JoriEpstein) November 6, 2017
Using the “Team A beat a team Team B lost to, so that must mean Team A is the better team” logic is faulty, of course. Case in point: the Cowboys were ripped to shreds by the Broncos in Week 2, 42-17. You know, the same Broncos that were just dominated by the Eagles. But despite having three losses, the Cowboys are still a viable threat to any team they face, especially as long as Ezekiel Elliott continues to get the upper hand in his legal back-and-forth with the league over his suspension.
A good game through three quarters, Dallas blanked the Kansas City offense in the fourth quarter while Dak Prescott connected with Cole Beasley for a score to cushion the lead midway through the fourth quarter. Elliott rushed for 93 yards and a score and Prescott passed for 249 yards and two touchdowns. Dallas did lose wide receiver Dez Bryant to an injury, so we’ll monitor his status.
The Cowboys even managed to win a game when they gave up one of the dumbest touchdowns of the season.
I cannot believe the Chiefs just got the Cowboys with this pic.twitter.com/QNzjauCg4M
— That Dude (@cjzer0) November 5, 2017
The Cowboys visit the Falcons next week and will finally get a crack at the Eagles in two weeks when they host Philadelphia for a Sunday night game.
The Race For No. 1 (Draft Pick)
For the first time all season, the Cleveland Browns did not lose a game this week. The Browns had the week off, but I had the Bye Week at -3.5, so I lost out on that one. But the San Francisco 49ers could not avoid yet another loss in their quest for the top overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Despite adding Jimmy Garraoppolo to the team last week, the 49ers kept C.J. Beathard in charge of the offense against the Arizona Cardinals. It, uh, did not go well. Beathard was 24-of-51 for 294 yards without a touchdown and one interception. He was sacked five times as well, and the Niners allowed Adrian Peterson to rush for a career-high 37 times for 159 yards. Give the 49ers some credit, because they have shown some fight this season. They even went to the fourth quarter tied 10-10, but the 49ers are now the 0-and-9ers.
Tensions boiled over in the game, which was a theme to the day around the league. Late in the game, as Beathard was tackled on a slide at the end of a run, there was some pushing and shoving, and eventually a few punches here and there that led to three players being ejected.
The 49ers and Browns remain the NFL’s only teams without a win this season. As mentioned earlier, the Giants lost again and are now 1-7.
Redskins 17, Seahawks 14: I feel like I can’t figure out a few teams this season. The Seahawks have been one of them, because I never quite know what to expect. Remember that awesome shootout win over the Houston Texans? That is already a distant memory after dropping a 17-14 game at home against Washington. It was a game neither team really deserved to win considering the mistakes made throughout.
Jaguars 23, Bengals 7: The Jags notched their fifth win of the season, and have not allowed more than nine points in any of their wins this season. Of course, when the Jaguars allow more than nine points to be scored, they are also 0-3. The 23-7 win against the Bengals came a week after a shutout of the Colts, and the Chargers and Browns are on deck. These Jaguars might be a problem in the AFC if this defensive trend continues.
This was another game highlighted by a fight. This time, it was A.J. Green choking Jalen Ramsey from behind after Ramsey gave him a good shove. Both players were ejected from the game.
A.J. Green fight against Jalen Ramsey. pic.twitter.com/LWLA326SCl
— Josh Kirkendall (@Josh_Kirkendall) November 5, 2017
It seems Ramsey wanted a piece of Green after being ejected as well.
An Everbank official just said after leaving the field, Jalen Ramsey tried to get to AJ Green in the Visitors' LR. JSO had to get him away
— Marcel Robinson (@MarcelASJax) November 5, 2017
Saints 30, Buccaneers 10: Want another game with a fight? Head to New Orleans for the NFC South matchup between the Saints and Bucs. But first, let’s talk about the pregame speech Jameis Winston had for his teammates that included Winston licking his fingers and asking who else wanted to taste a “W.” Former NFL player Anthony Adams, who is quite the Twitter all-star, took some time to do a quick video response to Winston’s unique pregame speech.
— ANTHONY ADAMS (@spiceadams) November 6, 2017
That pregame speech clearly didn’t do much considering the outcome of the game, dropping the Bucs to 2-6 while the Saints won their sixth in a row to improve to 6-2. Winston was taken out of the game with a shoulder injury after halftime (supposedly?) and replaced by Ryan Fitzpatrick. And from the bench, Winston got involved in some verbal jousting with Saints rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore. After poking Lattimore in the back of the helmet, Bucs receiver Mike Evans came in to level Lattimore and somehow avoided an ejection.
— John Sabol (@John_Sabol) November 5, 2017
Saints head coach Sean Payton was angry about the lack of ejection, but said after the game he expects the NFL office will handle the decision correctly.
“If there’s not an ejection in that situation then I don’t know when there’s supposed to be an ejection,” Payton said after the game. Evans absolutely should have been ejected. He should expect to be issued a suspension in the coming days.
Titans 23, Ravens 20: Once upon a time, the defense was the glue of the Baltimore Ravens. That is no longer the case, as The Baltimore Sun argued following the Ravens falling to 4-5 this season. The defense didn’t have a horrible afternoon, but the offense’s struggles mean the Ravens really need the defense to lock it down like the Super Bowl-caliber defense anchored by Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.
The Ravens have lost three of their past four games and are falling farther and farther behind the Steelers in the AFC North as a result. Meanwhile, teams may want to avoid throwing the ball in the proximity of Kevin Byard.
"I'm in the zone."
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) November 5, 2017
Colts 20, Texans 14: The 2017 season may already be a lost one for the Texans following the season-ending injury to Deshaun Watson. That means the Texans move forward with Tom Savage at quarterback until Bill O’Brien loses it and has to roll with Matt McGloin for the first time since the two were together at Penn State. After a horrible home loss to the woeful Indianapolis Colts, Savage summed it up perfectly.
“It’s probably the most frustrating game of my life,” Savage said following his fourth career start [per The Houston Chronicle]. “It’s just one of those deals that I just wasn’t making the throws and guys were open. I’m not going to give you the politically correct answer and say like blah blah blah we can get better. No, I have to make the throws. I played like crap. That’s what it is.”
Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett passed for 308 yards and two scores in the win, and T.Y. Hilton caught five passes for 175 yards and both touchdowns. He remains the best thing going with the Colts.
Raiders 27, Dolphins 24: In the Sunday night matchup in Miami, Derek Carr and the Raiders offense finally seemed to get on the same page and managed to get out of Miami with a much-needed win. Carr passed for 300 yards and a score and Marshawn Lynch scored two touchdowns on the ground. Lost in the shuffle was Jay Cutler throwing for 311 yards and three touchdowns without an interception, although some of that came late in the game with the Raiders looking poised for the win regardless.
But your play of the game came after Ndamukong Suh made a dive to knock the football loose from the hand of Carr.
Suh dive pic.twitter.com/YQsRvMURs9
— ⓂarcusD (@_MarcusD2_) November 6, 2017
Amazingly, the play only got better and wildly more entertaining from there. Raiders offensive lineman Marshall Newhouse picked up the football and started rumbling and stumbling his way up the field, only to go for a helicopter ride and lose control of the football himself. He was credited with both a fumble recovery and a lost fumble on this play.
lol lineman running pic.twitter.com/imlyzHy5dp
— ⓂarcusD (@_MarcusD2_) November 6, 2017
Marshall Newhouse helicopter pic.twitter.com/1TQ8fOetqQ
— ⓂarcusD (@_MarcusD2_) November 6, 2017
Now watch that in reverse.
Marshall Newhouse helicopter reversed pic.twitter.com/tomjhKR1o3
— ⓂarcusD (@_MarcusD2_) November 6, 2017
All your rowdy friends are coming over tonight
A key NFC North showdown takes the Monday night stage with the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions both needing a win to keep their hopes alive. Give me the Lions on the road. Matthew Stafford may pass for 350 yards and may even throw a touchdown this time.