Not a lot of people realize this, but Baker Mayfield and myself share a lot of similarities:
We have both been to Texas,
We have both won the same amount of playoff games,
We have both shown that we’re elite at shot-gunning beers,
And we have both been reborn after a shocking and borderline traumatizing week one.
Ok, maybe we don’t have any similarities, but my last point does ring true.
Baker Mayfield came out Thursday night and played as if he wanted the entire football community to know he isn’t washed up quite yet.
Going 16/23 for 219 yards and two touchdowns, including an unbelievable strike to Odell Beckham Jr.,
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) September 18, 2020
His performance provided a stark contrast to his week one production, and gave Browns fans a glimmer of hope heading into the remainder of the season.
I, on the other hand, have been reborn after a mortifying week one performance by the Vikings.
After watching the game this past Sunday, my face was completely seared off as if I just opened the Ark of the Covenant in Indiana Jones.
Thus is the reason this column is late and did not include the Thursday night game.
But I have recovered, I’m back, and I blaze on with my degenerative tendencies.
As always, my picks are in BOLD.
Rams (PK) @ Philadelphia
While Philadelphia are getting a few starters back from injury after a surprising dismantling by the Washington Football Team (I still hate writing that out), Aaron Donald seems like he is still too much for this Eagles’ offensive line.
My biggest question: If Philadelphia and, by extension, Carson Wentz bomb this year, what happens to all the North Dakota Eagles fans? Do they come back to Vikings fandom with their tail between their legs?
Carolina (+8.5) @ Tampa Bay
I know it has been one week, but how long until we open up the “Rob Gronkowski Support Group”?
Or should I just buy some ad space instead?
“If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with ‘Drafting Gronk Way Too Early In Your Fantasy League’, please don’t wait, call us today for a free legal consultation.”
Tampa Bay will be good, but it’ll take some time to gel without preseason reps.
Pittsburgh (-7.5) vs. Denver
After holding Saquon Barkley to just six yards on 15 carries last week, it’s hard to see any scenario in which the Broncos are effective on the ground in this matchup.
On the flip side, it’s just like old times as Ben Roethlisberger returned to form week 1 with 229 yards passing and three touchdowns. At this rate it won’t be long before he gets into a motorcycle crash and is accused of sexual assault.
Atlanta (+4.5) @ Dallas
Despite the loss, Matt Ryan threw for 450 yards and two touchdowns last week, supporting three different 100+ yard receivers.
Willing passer, shaky running back, loaded receiving corps. This seems like what Bill O’Brien was trying to do in Houston, but in Atlanta they, you know, have a more competent front office.
Jets (+7) vs. San Francisco
Betting on the Jets at +7 against the reigning Super Bowl runner up is a special kind of stupid. (Almost as stupid as keeping an injured LeVeon Bell in the game, resulting in him going to IR.)
But I have a weird feeling about this game.
San Francisco just lost to the Cardinals, and they have a number of key inactives/questionables, the likes of: Richard Sherman, George Kittle, and a few other important pieces.
I’m getting a strong “Super Bowl Hangover” vibe from the 49ers in the early goings of the season.
Buffalo (-5.5) @ Miami
In recent history, the NFL mustache has shown its’ generous power, as well as its’ unyielding fury.
Baker Mayfield first popularized the glorious ‘stache (in recent years), but as of late the magic has gone against him.
Gardner Minshew came on the scene with a similar mustache, and it appears as its power has blessed him with great play.
Josh Allen started the season with a mustache that would make a 70s porn star blush. After 369 total yards and three touchdowns last week, will the power of the mustache bless Allen again?
Minnesota (+3) @ Indianapolis
After last week, this truly seems like a “must win” for the Vikings truthers (myself included) who believed the Vikings would win the division.
Can you imagine the panic and hysteria if the Vikings not only start 0-2, but start 0-2 by way of ex-Wisconsin Badger (and Colts starting running back) Jonathan Taylor driving yet another spike through the hearts of Minnesota fans?
I’ll be watching this one from my bunker.
Detroit (+6) @ Green Bay
Yes, Aaron Rodgers torched the Vikings last week.
Yes, Mitch Trubisky torched the Lions in the fourth quarter last week.
But strange things always happen when the Lions and Packers match up together, and the Lions have covered the spread in each of the last six meetings against Green Bay.
Giants (+5.5) @ Chicago
The Giants looked absolutely dysfunctional week one against the Steelers.
But if you really get in there and investigate, there is more dysfunction for Chicago.
Allen Robinson is pulling a Diggs and demanding a trade mid-season, and Trubisky already used up his allotted fourth quarter comebacks for the season after week one.
Hard not to see Saquon Barkley rebound after only rushing for six yards last week.
Jacksonville (+8.5) @ Tennessee
Remember that mustache magic I was talking about in the Buffalo – Miami entry?
Gardner Minshew has successfully harnessed the power of the mustache. So much so, that I honestly believe he can separate his life into a distinct “pre-mustache” and “post-mustache” phase.
Never bet against a mustache, especially when you get 8.5 points.
Arizona (-7) vs. Washington
Do you hear that sound?
That’s the sound of the entire Cardinals front office laughing at Bill O’Brien for trading them DeAndre Hopkins for peanuts.
Baltimore (-7) @ Houston
Bill O’Brien doesn’t hear that sound, he’s too busy gawking over his over-the-hill (physically speaking) running back.
Side note: Do you think O’Brien paid Chris Collinsworth to say nice things about the David Johnson trade during the season opener last Thursday?
Every time David Johnson ran for more than 10 yards, Collinsworth would make some quip about how “that trade doesn’t look so bad right about now”.
And every time he said that I wanted to reach through the television and punch him in the face.
It was a stupid trade then, it’s a stupid trade now, it’s a trade that will be studied for years to come as what not to do in trade negotiations.
Kansas City (-8.5) @ Chargers
So let me get this straight:
The defending Super Bowl Champion Chiefs, who already had one of the most electric offenses in the NFL, filled their only “hole” with a first-round running back that already looks to be a complete stud?
Is there any chance they don’t repeat this year?
Seattle (-4) vs. New England
What’s the over/under for the number of NFL talking heads saying the Patriots success was ALL because of Bill Belichick if the Patriots start 2-0 and the Tom Brady-led Buccaneers start 0-2?
New Orleans (-5.5) @ Las Vegas
If you look past the fanfare of Tom Brady losing his first game with the Buccaneers, you’ll find the stats of Drew Brees.
Brees played fairly poorly week one, throwing for only 160 yards and completing 60% of his passes.
Is father time catching up to the 41 year-old quarterback?
That may be the case, but despite Brees’ decline and lack of Michael Thomas, it’s hard to see the Saints losing this one.