It was an up and down day for the AFC West. All four teams had very tough opponents, a lot on the line, and it showed in the games.
The Kansas City Chiefs were the only undefeated team in the AFC West, the Los Angeles Chargers and Oakland Raiders had split the first two games, and the Denver Broncos were still looking for their first win of the 2019 season.
What would week 3 bring for the AFC West? Well, it was a rollercoaster for sure. One with expected losses, expected wins, and two games that were fantastic down to the last minute!
On Saturday all 32 teams finalized their 53-man roster, releasing and waiving players in a surprising frenzy. The big news, of course, was the blockbuster trade of Houston Texans defensive end Jadeveon Clowney to the Seattle Seahawks.
The Texans were willing to pay roughly half of Clowney’s $15.9 million salary for 2019 despite the franchised tag they placed on him. I would call that a win for Clowney and he gets to be a part of a newly built Seahawks front defense that now consists of Clowney, linebacker K.J. Wright, DE Ziggy Ansah, defensive lineman L.J. Collier, and LB Bobby Wagner.
By now, you’re all aware of the news that broke Football Twitter yesterday morning around 11 am. Just in case you’re not, here’s a brief recap. Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy was accused by his ex-girlfriend’s best friend of beating his ex-girlfriend, beating a dog so badly that it put the dog into kidney failure, and beating his son for wetting the bed. She also accused him of using drugs and PEDs.
McCoy then released a statement saying that the claims are false and that he hasn’t had any contact with the people who were involved for months.
Obviously, things are looking terrible for McCoy right now. While yes, the circumstances are a little suspect around the entire thing and we don’t know the entire story, domestic violence in the NFL has been brought back to the forefront.
So, you may have heard, we had a little snow for the Bills/Colts game last Sunday.
For those unfamiliar with the white stuff, what you saw on TV is what is called a lake-effect snowstorm. It occurs when a cold air mass picks up moisture by passing over a large body of warm water, like a lake. Since Buffalo is situated between two (lucky us!) Great Lakes, Erie and Ontario, these storms occur frequently until the lakes freeze over.
Head Coach Sean McDermott stunned everyone at his morning press conference announcing he was making a change at quarterback, benching quarterback Tyrod Taylor for rookie Nathan Peterman. McDermott said it’s about “becoming a better team.”
When head coach Sean McDermott finally hangs up his whistle at the end of his football career, he should take a job in marketing. McDermott has a slogan for every situation. He has them printed on signs hanging around the locker room. They are sprinkled throughout his speeches to the players and the media. For home games, McDermott came up with the catchphrase, “Defend Our Dirt,“ and went so far as to give each player a little glass jar containing some of the rubber fibers from the playing field at New Era stadium mixed with sand from training camp.
As corny as that may be, the message was received. The Bills are a perfect 4-0 at home following Sunday’s 31-14 win over the Raiders. This is the first time they have been perfect at home since 1995.
Week 7 was full of surprises, and I still ended up picking 10 games correctly. Week 8 is likely to be a bit more predictable, but if the trend of 2017 being weird continues, we could all be shocked by some of the outcomes. I’m a bit late getting my column written, so for now, I’m posting my picks for the first six games of the week. I’ll update this a bit later with the remaining games. Here’s to Week 8!
Miami Dolphins (4-2) @ Baltimore Ravens (3-4)
Thursday Night Football pits the 31st ranked offense and 18th ranked defense of the Ravens against the 32nd ranked offense and 10th ranked defense of the Dolphins. With rankings like those, it’s pretty clear this game will be decided by the defense that plays the most complete game.
A dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind.
A journey into a wondrous land of imagination…”
It began after the final second elapsed on the Bills 23-17 win over the (formerly) undefeated Atlanta Falcons. All around Western New York, a low murmur of voices were expressing wonderment. Disbelief. Excitement. Almost every caller to the local radio post-game shows began their comments with, “I know there’s a lot of the season left, but do you think…?” Or, “I know I shouldn’t be getting my hopes up yet, but…” Or, “The team wasn’t supposed to be any good this year. How do you explain…?”
It does feel as if we’ve entered the Twilight Zone. Staring at the AFC East standings, seeing the Buffalo Bills, 3-1, all alone at the top of the heap, is nothing if not surreal. The previous week’s win over the Denver Broncos was a terrific accomplishment for coach Sean McDermott’s team. But getting a win on the road, against last year’s NFC Champions is something else altogether.
Since taking over the leadership of the Bills, General Manager Brandon Beane and Head Coach Sean McDermott have begged both players and the fan base to “Trust the process.” Trust them during the NFL draft, when they swapped their No. 10 spot with Kansas City and dropped 16 places in exchange for the Chief’s 2018 first-round pick. Trust them when they traded starting cornerback Ronald Darby to the Eagles for wide receiver Jordan Matthews and a 2018 third-round pick. Trust them when they absolutely stunned both the fans and even the Bills players by trading wide receiver Sammy Watkins to the Los Angeles Rams for cornerback E. J. Gaines and a 2018 second-round draft pick.
Beane assured Bills fans that their plan was to do everything necessary to get to the playoffs this year. But, at the same time, they traded away established players for future draft picks. Confused? Just trust us, they say.
The first two games of the 2017 season were a shaky win over a “tanking” Jets team, and an abysmal offensive showing in a loss to Carolina. These did little to inspire confidence in the new regime. Fans were quickly resigned to the idea that the 17-year playoff drought would eventually turn 18.