Thursday Night Recap
The Vikings increase their record to 6-2 after a decisive win over the Washington Redskins on Thursday Night Football. In Adrian Peterson’s return to Minnesota he would go on to eclipse LaDainian Tomlison as the sixth leading rusher of all time trailing Curtis ‘My Favorite’ Martin by 400 yards. The only concerning side of the Vikings offense is Red Zone production where they would convert 1-4. A 400 yard offense lead by Dalvin Cooks 93 rushing yards and 73 receiving is as serious as they come for a running back MVP candidate. Cousins threw for an efficient 23/26 and recorded 285 yards through the air hitting Diggs 7 times for 143 yards. Linval Joseph and Anthony Barr anchored the Vikings defense both recording sacks and outside of Keenum stringing together drives by Soft coverage at times, the vikings have depth that will continue to give Quarterbacks problems. Keenum would leave the game with a concussion which forced the Redskins to play rookie Haskins. The Redskins play calling would allow Haskins a couple short throws but the Vikings defense would end up proving the young rookie wouldn’t be viable against the best teams in the NFL – not that they are asking him too, but you’d expect the Redskins to look for another Veteran to step in if Keenum is out for a significant time.
The Buccaneers rush defense is ranked 1st in the NFL with 68y/pg and while they are giving up 30.8p/gm much of that has to do with Jameis Winston inconsistency. At first glance Winston still has a great arm with a lot of capability and is 12th in total yards with 1771 accompanied by 10 interceptions (through 6 games)- second most Interceptions by a Starting Quarterback (1st Baker Mayfield 11).
I was critical of Winston last week in a game against Carolina, but a middle of the pack Buccaneers team has had a hard first 7 game schedule – Rams, 49ers, Panthers x2, Saints, Giants (for what its worth) – will get a team with less weapons than the previous 6 in the 26th ranked offense Tennessee Titans. Shaquil Barrett whom leads the tough Buccaneers line backing unit with 9 sacks will have will have the opportunity to add to that number Sunday with the Titans line and QB inconsistency. Much of Winstons mistakes last week came as he threw 54 times and was playing from behind. This week the Buccaneers defense should make it so there is less pressure to carry a team throwing the ball excessively.
Lions defense is giving u 139.2 rushing/ypg and is going up against a Giants team where Saquon Barkley has 5.4 y/pc. Averaging only 77y/pg is low for a running back many of us consider being a top 5 at his position. While you can decide yourself if you want to call him Danny ‘Dimes’ or Danny ‘Dud’ the Giants are under utilizing the talent that Saquon has.The Lions offense is still formidable as Stafford has been a Quarterback leading the 14th ranked offense. Stafford has 1751 yards and is throwing for an impressive 13-3 Td/Int ratio. Regardless of the stats Stafford has put up in his last three outtings, the three game losing streaks proves holes in defense and the lack of run stopping has lead to decent run teams looking great. Which means Saquon should look like we think he can.
Patriots offense has been beatable but the good news is the addition of Sanu gives Brady another target as the Patriots receivers continue to drop like flies. The defense is still the best in the nfl giving up 223.1 y/pg. Mentioned above Baker Mayfield is leading the league in Interceptions and the offense has been a shell of preseason predictions. Like many young Quarterbacks before him turnovers have been the biggest problem for Mayfield, but having a running back like Nick Chubb who averaged 6.1y/pc and had 20 carries for 122 yards is another dynamic weapon the offense is starting to utilize.
It’s by far the biggest long shot I have on my list of upsets this week so if you are someone who has a couple losses to go for one you think Baker and this Browns offense can pick up momentum in the back half of the season.
Outside of the personnel which we all know the Browns have, coaching and putting these players in the best position might be something the Browns look at going forward. As Kitchens and Todd Marken you don’t have to go out and beat the Patriots (even though I hope it happens) but Baker and the Browns line didn’t give up a sack – Baker recognizing when to get rid of the ball and making plays with his legs – means play calling is leaving Baker throwing into coverage most young QBs aren’t asked too do.
If the Eagles win at Buffalo I think their playoff hopes are alive. When you look at the totality of the NFC this season the NFC West looks to be shaping up to have three – Seahawks, Rams, 49ers – teams going to the playoffs unless something unaccepted happens. The Vikings and Packers both look to be playoff teams with the Vikings performance on Thursday possibly moving them up on some peoples boards. The Saints are leading the NFC South without Drew Brees, and he is still expected to return – so as long as Teddy Keeps playing how he has and Kamara and Thomas are healthy this offense can get you to the playoffs. The Eagles trail the Cowboys by one game which would leave one more wild card position open. Teams contending for that spot are the Panthers, Bears Cardinals. If the Eagles only beat teams that have better records than to finish the season they would finish 7-9 . Last week Carson Wentz went 16/26 and was sacked three times. This Bills defense is 4th against the run and 10th against the pass, not to mention the only defense that – with the help of Allen and the offense – an almost beat the unblemished Patriots team.