We’re past the midway point and approaching Week 11 of the NFL season. So far, there’ve been plenty of surprises, both good and bad, and a lot of COVID-related fines.
Just as we envisioned, right?
One thing is for sure, five things I predicted way back on Sept. 2 have me looking a bit like Nostradamus.
Quick disclaimer: I did say the Dallas Cowboys would beat the Buffalo Bills in the Super Bowl. Had to get that out of the way and start this column with complete transparency.
Now, about that column from 11 weeks ago...
I told you to look for the Bills to win the AFC East, as they would emerge as the best team in the division behind a strengthened defense and revitalized offense with the addition of Stefon Diggs. Despite Sunday’s stunner in Glendale, where DeAndre Hopkins hauled in Kyler Murray’s 43-yard pass with two seconds left to give the Arizona Cardinals an improbable 32-30 victory, Buffalo still leads the East by one-half game over the Miami Dolphins.
Speaking of the Fins, I told you last season’s late surge — winning five of their last nine — was a sign of things to come and they would be a highly improved team and “I most certainly would consider over five wins.” Well, Miami already has six and is knocking on Buffalo’s door.
I’ve been amused by the “nobody saw this coming” talk in regard to the Las Vegas Raiders’ run this season. Ahem, my exact comment was the “Las Vegas Raiders should win more than seven games - end of story.” They’re sitting at 6-3 with seven games to play, and they’ve already beaten three teams with six wins, including the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs in Kansas City. The rematch is this Sunday in Las Vegas. Will the seventh win be inside Allegiant Stadium? Stay tuned.
With the three positives out of the way, let’s talk about the two teams I told you to be wary of.
First, I told you the Houston Texans were a good team to fade, especially over the first four weeks, saying “it wouldn’t shock me to see them 0-4 by Oct. 4.” They started 0-4, won in Week 5 and are now 2-7 with a fired coach to their credit. I am guessing they’re missing Hail Mary Hopkins now.
First, I told you the Houston Texans were a good team to fade, especially over the first four weeks, saying “it wouldn’t shock me to see them 0-4 by Oct. 4.” They started 0-4, won in Week 5 and are now 2-7 with a fired coach to their credit. I am guessing they’re missing Hail Mary Hopkins nowWe asked and you voted...— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) November 13, 2020
The Midseason Offensive Rookie of the Year is @Chargers QB Justin Herbert! #BoltUp pic.twitter.com/9DQPAMzbNK
Finally, and this is my second favorite prediction behind the Raiders, is telling you “a big disappointment might be last year’s runner-up, as I’m not convinced the San Francisco 49ers are going to be anything close to what we saw in 2019.” Nothing more than a facade, and I promised you the win total of 10.5 was too high, and that the hook might get you. San Francisco is 4-6 with six games left. Even a 6-0 run lands on 10 and it stays under.
Not bad, eh? Five for five with things to watch. And while I’m looking good there, my Week 10 picks took a blow with a 1-4-1 kick to the groin. Time to bounce back.
Falcons at Saints -4.5: It’s Jameis Winston time! I hope Drew Brees will be O.K., but this is Winston’s time to shine, and I’m confident he can lead this offense. Officially taking over against a division foe will help boost his confidence. SAINTS
Patriots -2 at Texans: I may have chosen the Bills to win the AFC East, but I also thought New England would stay in the hunt. Sunday night’s win against Baltimore surely bolstered morale. Houston continues its spiral. PATRIOTS
Steelers -10 at Jaguars: No shot Jacksonville is as good as it looked against the Green Bay Packers last week. Pittsburgh, on the other hand, is every bit as good as we’re seeing. Has the engraver started chiseling Mike Tomlin’s name on the Coach of the Year trophy? STEELERS
Bengals +1.5 at Washington: A quick gut check from the best team in football, the Steelers, will have Cincinnati back on track for this quick road trip to the nation’s capital. Cincinnati still has to face the Steelers and the Ravens again, so contests like become must-win games. BENGALS
Jets at Chargers -8.5: New York flies across the country and can easily slip into tank-mode against a much-better team that should have more than two wins and will certainly be looking to avenge last week’s loss in Miami. Justin Herbert will have his best game of the season. CHARGERS
Rams at Buccaneers -3.5: The two most significant wins for Los Angeles came against the offensively starved Chicago Bears and defensively challenged Seattle Seahawks. Tampa Bay is 1-2 in primetime games, and that can’t be sitting right with Tom Brady. BUCCANEERS
Last Week: 1-4-1