Not having the Bills to watch this weekend was a mixed blessing if you live in WNY. It was a glorious autumn weekend to watch the leaves, or Heaven help us, rake them. Who knows what it’ll be like next Sunday night when the Bills host the Green Bay Packers. The long range forecast is low 60’s, but we know how predicting tomorrow is tough enough.
With the Bills off, it was a chance to watch some other NFL action, and this weekend provided some surprises and a couple shockers.
So the Bills hit the bye week at 5-1, with four of the six on the road. Gotta feel good about that, right? But. The Bills have only a half game lead in the AFC East over A) Dolphins B) Patriots or C) Jets. It’s C. The Jets are 5-2 after a 16-9 win at Russell Wilsonless Denver. Are they for REAL? Are the NY Giants for real at 6-1? Are the Tampa Bay Bucs for real?
The win for the Jets was costly. With qb Zach Wilson a game manager at best, they rely on a strong running game to compliment a talented and aggressive young defense. One of their early surprises was 2nd round pick Breece Hall, a bruiser from Iowa St. who was off to a scintillating start both as a runner and pass receiver. But Hall suffered a torn ACL at Denver and is out for the season.
This was also an interesting week for media and Twitter fans, with rampant speculation quoting “sources” that know the Bills are among teams interested in Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey, or perhaps wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr? OBJ a “sure thing” according to his former Rams teammate Von Miller, but my take is the Bills have zero interest in OBJ, who recently claimed he was insulted by a low ball offer to stay with the Rams. The Bills are playing along only to let Miller have his Twitter, and now Podcast, fun.
So the big story finally breaks that the San Francisco 49ers have given up a slew of draft picks for McCaffrey, who still has talent despite some wear and tear and history of injuries. But with the 49ers getting healthy again, maybe this would put the Niners into the Super Bowl conversation? San Fran, statistically, went into Sunday’s game against the KC Chiefs in Santa Clara as the NFL’s number 1 defense allowing just over 280 yards per game. The Bills are #2 at just over 300 allowed per game. McCaffrey could be a huge help for the Jimmy Garoppolo offense. Theoretically.
Didn’t quite pan out. McCaffrey saw limited action, but made no difference because he doesn’t play defense. The Chiefs, after a slow start, ran the Niners out of Levi’s Stadium 44-23. The Chiefs racked up over 500 yards of offense, with Patrick Mahomes throwing for 443 yards and 3 TD’s. If you want to talk about defenses, you might look back a week at the Bills 24-20 win at KC. That win, especially with the come from behind element from Josh Allen, becomes even bigger now after the Chief’s impressive performance. KC, now 5-2, is in the driver’s seat in the AFC West, which has sprung a few leaks. The Chargers, Raiders and Broncos are all struggling. The Chargers surprising 37-23 home loss to Seattle was made even worse as star cornerback JC Jackson suffered a broken knee cap and will be out indefinitely. Jackson signed a 5-year $82.5 M contract in the offseason.
Two games were stunners, with both involving future Hall of Fame qb’s. The most shocking of all, was Tampa Bay’s 21-3 loss at “tanking” Carolina. Tom Brady with 290 yards and no TD’s as the discombobulated Bucs fall to 3-4. I’ve said it before, but I’ll be surprised if Brady finishes the season. He’s the GOAT. I’ll argue that all day, but that doesn’t give him the green light to put his personal problems in direct conflict with the goals of an NFL franchise and its fans. If the players took a vote, my bet is it would be unanimous to let Brady hit the road.
The other surprise happened to the team the Bills will be back in action against next Sunday night in Orchard Park, the Green Bay Packers. Aaron Rodgers was held to under 200 yards passing and a couple TD’s in a 23-21 loss at Washington. The Packers offense is a wreck, and the Bills are already 10 ½ point favorites, a first in Rodgers career. This is scary territory, and I’ve already seen one prominent Vegas insider recommend taking the points. After the loss at Washington, Rodgers told the media “I’m not worried about this squad. This week, nobody’s going to give us a chance, going to Buffalo on Sunday Night Football. Shoot, this might be the best thing for us.”
The Bills should be ok though.
Sean McDermott is 5-0 coming off bye weeks as Head Coach of the Bills. Why? His players say he learned a long time ago from KC coach Andy Reid to give his players time off to regroup, and he trusts his veterans to make sure everybody stays focused. I’d expect nothing less this week.
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