Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.
NY Jets @ Buffalo (even)
Despite sacking Andy Dalton seven times, the Jets lost to the Bengals 23-22 as A.J. Green‘s 12 receptions for 180 yards and a touchdown paced Cincinnati. New York looks to bounce back against the Bills and former Jets head coach Rex Ryan.
“We know the Bills will be fired up for Thursday night’s game,” Todd Bowles said. “Rex Ryan had his lap band removed, and I hear he said he plans to whip us with it.
“I can assure you, Darrelle Revis will play at an All Pro level. ‘Revis Island’ isn’t gone, it’s just under new ownership.”
The Bills offense stagnated in a 13-7 loss to the Ravens in Baltimore. Buffalo managed only 150 yards of total offense. They’ll need a big game from quarterback Tyrod Taylor to beat the Jets and their fearsome front seven.
“They call Tyrod ‘T-Mobile,'” Rex Ryan said. “That’s because he’s very elusive. And speaking of players who ‘get around,’ I’m surprised former Jet Antonio Cromartie doesn’t have a cell phone-related nickname, because he gets ‘service’ everywhere.
“Here’s some not so surprising news: there’s a foot issue in Buffalo. Here’s some more surprising news: it’s not a foot fetish. It’s Sammy Watkins‘ foot. He’s feeling discomfort in his surgically-repaired foot. Usually, when I talk about a ‘foot,’ the next word out of my mouth isn’t ‘limp,’ but in this case it is. Sammy walks with a limp, but he plans on playing.”
Jets win, 21-17.
Baltimore @ Cleveland (+7)
In his debut for the Browns, Robert Griffin III injured his left should and was placed on injured reserve. Cleveland lost 29-10 to the Eagles and will need a win to avoid an 0-2 hole.
“Robert probably should have run out of bounds instead of taking the hit,” Hue Jackson said. “In any case, he got ‘sidelined’ with his play, which he can also do without getting injured.”
The Ravens used a stifling defense and a big play from free agent acquisition Mike Wallace to slip past the Bills 13-7 last week. Wallace and Joe Flacco hooked up on a 66-yard bomb in the second quarter.
“Wallace has speed to burn,” John Harbaugh said. “I know that because he’s been run out of town so fast by the Steelers, Dolphins, and Vikings.
“I liked what I saw from our defense. I really wasn’t expecting them to be that good. It’s like they magically acquired mystical powers, or maybe they were just hosed down with deer antler spray by Ray Lewis. Ray swears by that stuff, but not under oath.”
During the singing of the national anthem, Steve Smith, Sr. raises a fist, not in protest, but in preparation to punch a young teammate needling him about his age. Smith later catches a touchdown pass from Flacco, and Ravens roll, 26-12.
Tennessee @ Detroit (-5)
“It was quite a battle between Andrew and I,” Stafford said. “To go along with all those TD’s, we both completed passes to eight different receivers. Jim Irsay would say we’re lucky we weren’t charged with ‘distribution.’
“We’re getting along just fine without Calvin Johnson. But we do miss him. However, he is with us in spirit. He’s an inspiration to us all, as well as to the Lions No. 1 cross-dressing fan, ‘Mega-Tran.'”
Stafford passes for a score and runs for another, and the Lions win, 29-27.
Miami @ New England (-6)
Jimmy Garoppolo passed for 264 yards and a touchdown as the Patriots left University Of Phoenix Stadium with a 23-21 win over the Cardinals.
“I’ve become a cult hero in Foxboro,” Garoppolo said. “As such, my jerseys are selling for high prices that really don’t reflect their eventual value. That’s one of the effects of inflation.”
“That was a tough loss,” Ryan Tannehill said. “A few more losses like that, and you begin to question yourself, or head back to college if you’re Nick Saban.
“We’ve scouted Jimmy Garoppolo very well,” Adam Gase said. “Like any Patriot quarterback, he has a great relationship with his receivers, and an even better relationship with his locker room attendants.”
New England wins, 23-20.
New Orleans @ NY Giants (-6)
Drew Brees passed for 423 yards and 4 touchdowns, but his stellar day went for naught as the Saints fell 35-34 to the Raiders. Oakland racked up 486 yards of total offense, and converted a gutsy two-point conversion to steal the win.
“It would be easy to say our defense choked,” Brees said. “That would be incorrect. To choke, you have to wrap two hands around a neck, but I don’t think our defense can wrap two hands around anything.
“Last year against the Giants, I passed for seven touchdowns in honor of Jason Pierre-Paul‘s remaining fingers.”
The Giants pick up a vital NFC East road win with a 20-19 win over the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Eli Manning tossed 3 touchdown passes, including the game-winner to Victor Cruz late in the fourth quarter.
“I think Victor proved he’s back stronger than ever,” Manning said, “and it’s great to have him back. But don’t ask him to kneel for the sake of social or political change. If you ask Victor to ‘take a knee,’ he gets a disturbing flashback to the diagnosis a doctor said after his injury back in 2014.”
Giants win, 36-27.
Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh (-3½)
A.J. Green’s monster game powered the Bengals to a 23-22 win over the Jets at MetLife Stadium. Green had 12 catches for 180 yards and a 54-yard touchdown catch.
“I was being shadowed by Darrelle Revis all day,” Green said. “Or maybe it was just Revis’ shadow that was guarding me.
“The last time we met the Steelers, we blew the game thanks to some really stupid personal fouls. Marvin Lewis wants to make sure we don’t forget about that, so he constantly reminds us about it, usually in his voice as lead singer of his do wop group, ‘Marvin Lewis and the Mental Errors.'”
The Steelers blasted the Redskins 38-16, powered by the Ben Roethlisberger/Antonio Brown/DeAngelo Williams triumvirate. Roethlisberger tossed 3 TD passes, two to Brown, and Williams rushed for 2 scores.
“This isn’t your father’s ‘Steel Curtain,'” Roethlisberger said. “This team is built on offense, and with Brown, Williams, and myself, we’re guaranteed to score. Just call us the ‘Steel Certain.’
“But we still have a strong, attacking defense, and 38-year-old James Harrison is still making plays. James plays angry. You can always count on him to be in a bad mood. It could be because someone PED’d in his cornflakes.
“But James’ demeanor is offset by the fun-loving Brown’s antics. He was penalized for twerking after scoring against the Redskins. Of course, he got fined, so, in essence, the NFL ‘slapped that booty.'”
Bengals win, 27-24.
Dallas @ Washington (-3)
Dallas fell 20-19 to the Giants at home last week, done in by the inability to score touchdowns. The Cowboys offense settled for four field goals, including two in the red zone, as the team dropped to 1-15 in their last 16 games without Tony Romo.
“But, I can find comfort in my Cowboys-themed helicopter. I don’t have a mid-life crises, I have a mid-year crisis. And chicks will do anything for a ride in my chopper. Heck, they’re the ones that inspired me to name it the ‘Cop’-a-Feel.'”
The Redskins couldn’t stop the high-powered Steelers offense in a 38-18 Monday night loss. Kirk Cousins passed for 329 yards, but threw 2 interceptions and no touchdowns.
“I posted my statistics on Facebook,” Cousins said. “As you could guess, a lot ‘Skins fans ‘unliked that.’
“Our prized free agent acquisition, Josh Norman, didn’t spend much time guarding Brown. I’m not sure why. Why would you pay someone upwards of $75 million not to guard someone, unless you’re the Jets?”
Washington wins, 27-26.
San Francisco @ Carolina (-13½)
The Panthers lost 21-20 to the Broncos when Graham Gano‘s 50-yard field goal as time expired sailed wide right. Cam Newton was hit eight times by the Denver defense, and several were helmet-to-helmet hits, although none were flagged by the officials.
“We’ve lost our last two games to the Broncos,” Ron Rivera said. “So, we’re 0-2 head-to-head. Head-to-head, Cam Newton has a much worse record.
“We’re still defined by our defense, and Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis epitomize the toughness and intestinal fortitude, respectively, of the unit. If Kuechly is the D’s heart, then Thomas Davis is the D’s nuts.”
“First of all, let me address the Colin Kaepernick issue,” Kelly said. “I thought his cornrows spoke volumes about the plight of Nebraska’s corn farmers. Hopefully, that will open a national dialogue on the subject.”
Carolina wins, 26-9.
Kansas City @ Houston (-2)
The last time the Chiefs and Texans met, Kansas City left Houston with a 30-0 win in the wild card round of the playoffs. Houston tuned up for the rematch with a 23-14 win over the Bears last week.
“That loss to the Chiefs was a low point for this franchise,” J.J. Watt said. “Sadly, the ‘high point’ for this franchise is my career best in the box jump.”
The Texans force 4 turnovers and avenge last year’s playoff defeat with a 24-13 win.
Seattle @ Los Angeles (+3½)
The Seahawks repelled the Dolphins upset bid, winning 12-10 on Russell Wilson’s touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin with 31 seconds left.
“Russell engineered that drive with an injured ankle,” Pete Carroll said. “He was hurt when Ndamukong Suh stepped on the ankle. Russell is listed as ‘Questionable’ to play, and ‘Probable’ to attend a support group meeting for players who have been stepped on by Suh.”
The Rams managed only 185 yards of total offense, including just 47 on the ground from Todd Gurley, in Monday night’s 28-0 shellacking by the 49ers.
“I hear the fans in Los Angeles are modeling themselves after those in Seattle,” Jeff Fisher said. “Those fans in Seattle are called the ’12s.’ The joke around L.A. is if we don’t play better, our fans will take to calling themselves the ‘4 And 12’s.’
“But really, it’s no time to panic. I think we’re right on schedule. We’re right on pace to lose 16 games, which would surely give us the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. And I’m sure we could harvest a load of draft picks by trading that pick to a team that actually knows how to select a franchise quarterback with that pick.”
Wilson toughs out a start, and the Seahawks use a conservative offense and dominant defense to beat the Rams. Seattle wins, 22-14.
Tampa Bay @ Arizona (-6½)
Jameis Winston shook off and early interception and passed for 281 yards and 4 touchdowns as the Bucs beat the Falcons, 31-24. At 1-0, Tampa sits atop the NFC South standings.
“Jameis played like he wanted to tell the world that last year was no fluke,” Mike Evans said. “As they say, he ‘made a statement.’ Now, whether his statement jibes with the victim’s, I mean the Falcons,’ version is anyone’s guess.”
The favored Cardinals lost to the Patriots 23-21 when Chandler Catanzaro‘s 47-yard field goal missed to the left.
“That was heartbreaking,” Carson Palmer said, “for the players and the fans in attendance. I guess it’s no surprise that the Patriots found a way to deflate an entire stadium.”
Cardinals win, 31-21.
Indianapolis @ Denver (-6)
Four touchdown passes by Andrew Luck were not enough as the Lions stole a 39-35 win at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts will look to rebound in Denver against the defending Super Bowl champions.
“I feel like I’m back to my old self,” Luck said. “I feel refreshed after nine months of not being knocked around by defenders. It turns out, in some instances, ‘time out’ is good for you. But not always, Chuck Pagano.”
In a rematch of last year’s Super Bowl, the Broncos again roughed up Cam Newton and took the win, but not before Graham Gano’s 50-yard field goal missed right. Denver looks to go 2-0 with a win over Andrew Luck and the Colts.
“We got inside Newton’s head,” Von Miller said, “but not as much as we got upside his head.
“The Colts used to be in Baltimore. John Elway has a history with that franchise, but he’s reluctant to discuss it. You can ask him to talk about it, but he refuses to ‘go there.'”
Denver picks off Luck twice, and the Broncos attack a shaky Colts defense.
Denver wins, 31-20.
Atlanta @ Oakland (-4½)
“People say it was an extremely bold move to go for two,” Jack Del Rio said. “It wasn’t really. Look, this is the Saints defense we’re talking about; we could gain two yards with our hands tied behind our backs. Heck, the Raiders of the 1970s and ’80’s were winning Super Bowls with their hands cuffed behind their backs.
“Really, I’m honored to be able to say ‘let’s go for two’ as a member of the Raiders organization. I think long-time fans remember fondly when Raider legend Kenny Stabler would himself often say, ‘let’s go for two.’ Of course, he was bellied up the bar and his actual words were ‘Let’s make it a double.'”
The Falcons head to the Black Hole with an 0-1 record and a hobbled receiving corps, with Julio Jones and Mohammed Sanu both dealing ankle injuries.
“Julio and Mohammed will be fine,” Matt Ryan said. “Limping into Oakland is not that big of a deal; limping out of Oakland can be a problem, especially if you’ve just spent a foggy night at Sebastian Janikowski‘s place.”
Raiders win, 34-24.
Jacksonville @ San Diego (-3)
The Jaguars nearly upset the visiting Packers before succumbing 27-23. Blake Bortles passed for 320 yards and 1 touchdown, but the Packers, and Aaron Rodgers especially, made plays when it counted most.
“Someday,” Bortles said, “I’d like to be like Rodgers and date an X-Man.”
Chargers win, 26-24.
Green Bay @ Minnesota (+2½)
The Vikings welcome Green Bay to the first-ever game at U.S. Bank Stadium, which was built on the site of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.
The Packers head to Minneapolis for their second straight road game after earning a tough 27-23 at Jacksonville’s EverBank Stadium. Aaron Rodgers had arguably the best play of week one when he threw a pinpoint, 29-yard touchdown strike to Davante Adams while Jags safety Jalen Ramsey nearly had Rodgers wrapped up.
“Ramsey almost had a big sack,” Rodgers said. “He found out that I have abigger sack. If anyone needs proof, I’ll have Brett Favre text them a picture.”
The Vikes pound Peterson into the heart of the Packers defense, and employ a “bend, but don’t break” defense to pull off a 23-20 upset.
Philadelphia @ Chicago (-3)
Eagles rookie quarterback Carson Wentz passed for 278 yards and 2 touchdowns in Philly’s 29-10 whipping of the Browns. Wentz was the second player selected in April’s NFL Draft.
“Carson certainly outplayed Robert Griffin III,” Doug Pederson said. “Carson is now 1-0 against division ‘III’ quarterbacks.
“Carson looks like our quarterback of the future. In recent history, when you were talking ‘quarterback of the future’ in Philadelphia, the future only meant months, or weeks, or sometimes just days.”
Bears head coach John Fox gets defensive, not in response to criticism of his coaching skill, but in devising a game plan to stop Wentz. The Bears force 3 turnovers, and Jay Cutler tosses 2 scores.
Chicago wins, 26-20.