Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.
Houston @ New England (+2½)
Injury concerns are mounting for the Patriots after Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a right shoulder injury in New England’s 31-24 win over the Dolphins.
“We’re not worried,” Bill Belichick said. “We can just as easily say ‘Next man up’ with Garoppolo in the locker room as we can say ‘Next ball down‘ with Tom Brady in the locker room.
“Two more games and Brady will be back, and Garoppolo will be nothing more than an afterthought, or a piece of teasing trade bait to dangle in front of one of the many teams searching for an answer at quarterback.”
The Texans improved to 2-0 after a 19-12 win over the Chiefs. Texans head coach Bill O’Brien served as Bill Belichick’s offensive coordinator during the 2011 season.
“I learned a lot under Belichick,” O’Brien said. “Like the value of the word ‘integrity.’ And the meaning of the words ‘lack of.'”
The Pats take offense at being listed as home underdog, then go on the defensive, confusing Brock Osweiler with a variety of disguised coverages, exotic blitzes, and stinging insults about the state of Idaho.
Chowder beats small potatoes, and Stephen Gostkowski kicks the game-winner with second remaining. New England wins, 20-18.
Arizona @ Buffalo (+4)
The Bills lost to the Jets 37-31 last Thursday, sending Buffalo to an 0-2 start. The next day, offensive coordinator Greg Roman was fired.
“Me and my brother Rob had a huge meal after the game,” Rex Ryan said, “and we decided that ‘somebody had to go.’ So, after Rob blew up the bathroom, we decided that someone else had to go, and that was Roman.
“Bills fans may ask why the offensive coordinator was fired, and not the defensive coordinator. I could give you an insincere answer, but that would be a lie, or I could give say the name ‘Rob Ryan,’ but that would be a big fat lie. Anyway, it’s a fair question, and my answer to it is ‘It’s all relative.'”
The Cardinals bounced back from their week 1 loss to the Patriots with an overwhelming 40-7 win over the visiting Buccaneers. Carson Palmer passed for three touchdowns, while the Cards picked off Jameis Winston four times.
“To Jameis, that is how you do things the right way,” Palmer said.
“We’re heading to Buffalo to play a Bills team that is desperate for a win. And, as they say, nobody knows how to circle the wagons like the Bills. And what do you call it when the Ryan twins are helming those wagons? ‘Circle jerks.'”
Cardinals win, 29-22. Bruce Arians is carried off the field. Rex and Rob Ryan are not.
Minnesota @ Carolina (-7)
The formidable Vikings defense held Aaron Rodgers to 213 yards passing and sacked him 5 times as Minnesota christened U.S. Bank Stadium with a huge 17-14 win. The Vikes are 2-0 and lead the NFC North.
“We made Rodgers look ordinary,” Mike Zimmer said. “And I know ordinary quarterbacks when I see one, or see three, which happens when I look at my depth chart.
“Adrian Peterson has a torn meniscus, and he’s probably done for the season. But don’t count him out. Adrian is a fighter. If he were a boxer, I’d give him a puncher’s chance of playing. If he were a tennis player, I’d say he would ‘ace’ rehab. If he were a baseball player, I’d say he’d probably be a ‘switch hitter.'”
“Cam plans on rewriting the Panthers record book,” Ron Rivera said. “He’s already the franchise record holder for ‘most dumb hats worn.’
“We want Cam to be careful taking hits,” Ron Rivera said. “But he continues to play with reckless abandon, taking unnecessary hits even as we plead with him not to. It’s clear to see that Cam has proven he has one of the hardest heads in the NFL.”
Newton rushes for a score, and Thomas Davis scoops up a fumble late in the game and returns it for a score.
Panthers win, 19-14.
Denver @ Cincinnati (-3)
“I may not be the most gifted athletically,” Siemian said, “but what I lack in physical gifts, I make up with my mental acumen. Our defense isn’t the only part of this team that leads with its head.”
The Bengals offense was stymied by the Steelers is a 24-16 loss in Pittsburgh. Cincinnati was limited to 46 yards rushing and committed two turnovers.
“Forty-six yards just won’t cut it,” Andy Dalton, “unless it’s in the form of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. In that case, it’s the perfect remedy for a Steelers victory.
“On that note, Vontaze Burfict is chomping at the bit to get back on the field. Our defense really needs his talents, especially his leadership and knowledge. In fact, defensive coordinator Paul Guenther can’t wait to yell at him, like he did in January, to, ‘Get your head in the game!'”
Bengals win, 24-20.
Detroit @ Green Bay (-7)
The Lions blew a 15-3 fourth quarter lead and lost 16-15 to the visiting Titans at Ford Field. Up next is a NFC North showdown against the Packers at Lambeau Field.
“We obviously aren’t capable of playing with a lead,” Jim Caldwell said. “What we need is a big, bruising running back who’s able to pick up the tough yardage. In other words, we need a player who can ‘move the chains,’ preferably while the chains aren’t attached to him.”
The Packers are 1-1 heading into their first home game this season. After a close win at Jacksonville, the Packers were nipped 17-14 in Minnesota, as Aaron Rodgers suffered through one of his worst games.
“The Vikings rattled me,” Rodgers said, “and I didn’t play well. I know that disappointed a lot of Packers fans, and I apologize. Green Bay fans expect their quarterbacks to play with a certain amount of ‘mettle.’ Now, if Brett Favre hears the word ‘mettle,’ he may mistake it for ‘metal’ and try to sell you a copper bracelet, copper knee brace, or copper-plated Vicodin dispenser.”
Packers win, 27-24.
Baltimore @ Jacksonville (+1)
The Ravens stormed back from a 20-0 first quarter deficit to beat the Browns, 25-20. Baltimore is 2-0 for the first time since 2009.
“The Harbaugh brothers are both undefeated as coaches,” John Harbaugh said. “That’s where the similarities with my brother Jim end. I don’t eat boogers. Now, my little brother Jim does. When he was a child, he earned the nickname ‘Pick 6,’ and it certainly wasn’t for his skills as a defensive back.”
The Jaguars look to avoid an 0-3 start to the season against the Ravens. Last week, the Jags were demolished 35-14 by the Chargers.
“If we lose to the Ravens,” Gus Bradley said, “I could find myself on the hot seat. And, by ‘hot seat,’ I mean a red eye ticket on a plane to Buffalo, where I hear unqualified coaches are all the rage.”
On the Ravens pre-game radio broadcast, Jim Harbaugh calls in to serve as special guest prognosticator and, as expected, picks his nose.
Jaguars win, 30-24.
Cleveland @ Miami (-10)
The Browns are 0-2 after blowing a 20-0 lead to the Ravens in an eventual 25-20 loss. In that game, Josh McCown injured his left shoulder and is out for Sunday’s game in Miami.
“We’re starting a kid named Cody Kessler,” Hue Jackson said. “He’s a rookie out of USC, so he knows his way around a hot tub. USC used to be known as ‘Quarterback U.’ Now it’s known as ‘Quarterback Boo.’
“Please don’t ask me about passing on a certain quarterback in the draft. We had an opportunity and passed on it. You could say our chance ‘came andWentz.'”
The Dolphins lost 31-24 at New England and are now 0-2, already two games back of the division lead.
“If you look by our name in the win column,” Adam Gase said, “you’ll see a blank. If you look into my eyes, you’ll see a blank stare, also known as the ‘faraway Gase.’
“The Browns are bringing their talents to South Beach. Against a rookie quarterback, we plan to bring the ‘Heat.'”
Miami wins, 26-21.
Washington @ New York Giants (-4½)
The Redskins are 0-2 and quarterback Kurt Cousins is struggling, and rumors are swirling that teammates are not happy with his play.
“Kurt’s had some costly interceptions this season,” Jay Gruden said. “As a coach who doesn’t badmouth his quarterbacks, I don’t want to say how many, so I’ll just say this: ‘Kurt Cousins III.’
“There are rumors that teammates are critical of Cousins’ play. One of those teammates may or may not be Pierre Garcon. If it is Garcon, I’d like to publicly apologize to Kurt by saying ‘pardon my French.'”
The Giants won a surprisingly defensive struggle with the Saints, triumphing 16-13 on Josh Brown‘s 23-yard field goal as time expired.
“There was a field goal attempt,” Eli Manning said, “and Brown ‘hit’ it, then he ‘punched’ the air in celebration. And, it was ‘reported’ multiple times.
“We did something most though impossible, and that’s make the New Orleans defense look good. We couldn’t even score an offensive touchdown against them. We couldn’t even go marching in on the Saints.”
For pre-game warmups, Josh Norman arrives on the MetLife Stadium field carrying a wiffle bat. Beckham has a childish hissy fit, but is calmed by the words once spoken by Giants legend Lawrence Taylor, who once said, “You’re how old again?”
Beckham scores an early touchdown, but Norman picks off a tipped Manning pass and sets up a late Redskins rally.
Washington wins, 26-23.
Oakland @ Tennessee (-1½)
“For three quarters,” Mike Mularkey said, “we’ve played like crap. That’s pretty much the same as playing like ‘Mularkey.’
“But I like my team’s spirit. Actually, I don’t, but I was paid by Jack Daniel’s and George Dickel to mention ‘Tennessee spirits.’ ‘Bottoms up!’ That’s what a head coach who’s used to being in last place says.”
The Oakland defense surrendered 528 yards of total offense to the Falcons in a 35-28 loss. The Raiders also gave up over 500 yards of total offense in their Week 1 win over the Saints.
“Our defense is black and holey,” Jack Del Rio said. “We can’t stop anyone. We ‘Can’t Stop The Offense,’ and my favorite Bay Area 1970s novelty disco act, the Village People, ‘Can’t Stop the Music.’ What does that have to do with anything, you may ask? Everything. One person can’t turn our defense around. It’s gonna take a village. That’s why I’ll preface my pregame speech to my defense by saying, ‘Young men, are you listening to me?”
Tennessee pounds the rock right slap dab into the middle of the Raiders defense, and Mariota later finds room on the outside, scoring on a bootleg.
Titans win, 31-27.
San Francisco @ Seattle (-10)
The Seahawks lost 9-6 to the Rams in Los Angeles, and injury concerns continue to mount. Wide receivers Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett suffered knee injuries, while Russell Wilson continues to nurse a sprained ankle.
“There are some words,” Pete Carroll said, “that I said in the final moments of Super Bowl 49 that would certainly apply here. Those words are ‘Let’s run it.’
“Sure, our injury list is longer than a list of sanctions levied upon me when I was coach at USC, but I don’t plan on bailing on this team. Our offense may be slack, but we still have arguably the league’s best defense, and they plan to pick up the slack.”
The 49ers were hammered 47-26 by the Panthers and are now 1-1 in the NFC West.
“I thought Blaine Gabbert did an admirable job against a tough defense,” Chip Kelly said. “But he has a ways to go before we start mentioning him with the greats of 49er lore. So, for now, he’ll be known as ‘No Montana.'”
Late in the fourth quarter, the game is delayed for 45 minutes when a Seattle fan runs onto the field. After order is restored, the Seahawks are penalized for “12” man on the field.
Seahawks win, 20-13.
Los Angeles @ Tampa Bay (-4½)
The Bucs fell to 1-1 after a 40-7 beat down in Arizona. Jameis Winston had 5 turnovers and only 1 touchdown pass.
“I’m ashamed of my performance,” Winston said. “By saying that, I feel I need to clarify exactly which performance I’m referring to. I’ll give you a hint, or better yet, I’ll give you clues, as well as some pretty convincing evidence. Still can’t conclusively solve the riddle? Then you must work for the Tallahassee Police Department.”
In their 2016 opener in Los Angeles, the Rams KO’d the lifeless Seahawks 9-3.
“The Seahawks flight arrived at Los Angeles on Friday,” Jeff Fisher said. “And that was the only ‘touchdown’ of our season.”
Tampa wins, 23-22.
San Diego @ Indianapolis (-3)
Philip Rivers threw for four touchdowns as the Chargers built a 35-0 lead on their way to a 38-14 win over the Jaguars.
“Sadly,” Rivers said, “we lost Danny Woodhead for the season due to a torn ACL. I call Danny a lot of names. ‘Friend’ is one of them. The ‘Human Checkdown’ is another. ‘Small White Hope’ is yet another.
“But Melvin Gordon is ready to assume a greater role in the offense. You could say he will be ‘charged with an offense,’ but doing so might cause him to be mistaken for Josh Gordon.”
The Colts lost 34-20 in Denver as two Andrew Luck turnovers were returned for scores by the Broncos. Indy is 0-2 in the AFC South.
“Andrew Luck is not a Catholic,” Chuck Pagano said, “but he suffers from protection issues nonetheless.
“0-2 is no reason to panic, especially in the AFC South. Or maybe what I’m trying to say is ‘The AFC South causes no panic, especially if you are the No 5-seeded wild card team.'”
Colts win, 30-28.
New York Jets @ Kansas City (-3)
“Forte seems to have found the ‘Fountain of Youth,'” Todd Bowles said. “With apologies to Ponce De León, it appears to be in Buffalo.”
The Chiefs were held without a touchdown in a 19-12 loss to the Texans. Now 1-1, Kansas City hopes to rebound against the visiting Jets.
“It’s good to be back at Arrowhead Stadium,” Andy Reid said. “No one loves ‘home cooking’ more than me.”
Alex Smith passes for 2 touchdowns, and the Chiefs win 27-20.
Pittsburgh @ Philadelphia (+5)
The Steelers came out on top 24-16 in their AFC North showdown with the Bengals. On Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field, the Eagles host the Steelers.
“This is the battle of the Keystone State,” Ben Roethlisberger said. “We’re excited. And so is Le’Veon Bell. This is the last game of his suspension. Hey, here’s an interesting thought: if our tight end Jesse James was suspended, would he be called the ‘Outlaw Jesse James?’
“I’m impressed by what I see from Carson Wentz. He’s shown an uncommon maturity for a rookie. I foresee a long and successful career for him, as long as he stays within himself, off of motorcycles, out of women’s bathrooms.”
The Eagles blasted the Bears 29-14 at Soldier Field. Ryan Matthews rushed for two scores, and Carson Wentz passed for 184 yards and a touchdown.
“We’re so pleased Wentz was available in the draft,” Doug Pederson said. “It turns out the Browns can ‘pass’ on something.”
With the Eagles trailing 24-17, Wentz throws an ill-advised underhanded pass which is picked off by Ross Cockrell, who returns it 68 yards for a touchdown.
Steelers win, 31-17.
Chicago @ Dallas (-7)
The Cowboys beat the Redskins 27-23 at FedEx Field, led by a balanced offense and a strong day by rookie quarterback Dak Prescott.
The erratic Bears lost to the Eagles 29-14 last week, done in by a shaky defense and an offense that turned the ball over three times.
“Two of those turnovers were Jay Cutler‘s,” John Fox said. “That’s what Cutler calls ‘taking ownership.’
“Buddy Ryan once punched the offensive coordinator in Houston. If he were alive today and in Chicago, he would punch Cutler, and I’m sure he’d say Cutler ‘sucks 46 Ds.'”
Dallas wins, 31-20.
Atlanta @ New Orleans (-3)
The Saints are 0-2 after another narrow defeat, this time a 16-13 loss to the Giants. They’ll try to get back on track when the Falcons invade the Superdome.
“This game has a familiar feel,” Drew Brees said. “Much like our 2006 Monday night game against the Falcons, which followed Hurricane Katrina, this Monday night’s game also follows a natural disaster. That would be Rob Ryan and the 2015 Saints defense.”
The Falcons evened their record with a 35-28 win at Oakland. Matt Ryan passed for 396 yards and 3 touchdowns.
“Jack Del Rio may be known for ‘going for two,'” Ryan said, “but against the Raiders defense, you should always ‘go for six.'”
Atlanta wins, 32-30.