Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.
Miami @ Cincinnati (-7)
The Dolphins needed overtime to capture a 30-24 win over the Browns, notching their first win of the season. Jay Ajayi‘s 11-yard scoring run ended the game with 8:26 left in overtime.
“In Arian Foster‘s injury absence,” Adam Gase said, “we went with the ‘running back by committee’ rushing attack. Yes, you heard right — Foster is injured. Arian is a good football player, but he wouldn’t make a good baseballplayer, because he’d be called ‘out’ 50% of the time.
“But a win is a win is a win, and that’s two more wins that we have. And we look forward to playing in Cincinnati. I’m sure we’ll be welcomed to the Jungle, where they have fun and games. They’ve got everything you want, except playoff wins.”
The Bengals lost 27-19 to the visiting Broncos, who held Andy Dalton to just 206 yards passing and sacked him 4 times. Cincy fell to 1-2.
“The Broncos are defending Super Bowl champions,” Marvin Lewis said. “With 312 passing yards and 4 touchdowns through the air, I’d say they wereoffending Super Bowl champions.
“We’ve placed ourselves in a must-win situation. My playoff record says I’m 0-7 in must-win situations. Despite that, we’re treating Thursday night’s game as a playoff game. And, to my knowledge, no one’s ever lost a playoff game on a Thursday. So all is good.
“A.J. Green became a new father last week. Now, when A.J. asks, ‘Who’s your daddy?,’ Darrelle Revis won’t be the only one saying, ‘You are.'”
Dalton throws 2 touchdown passes to Green, and the Cincy defense knocks Ryan Tannehill out of the game late in the fourth, putting a serious damper on Tannehill’s “Play 60” campaign.
Bengals win, 30-24.
Indianapolis @ Jacksonville (+2½)
The Jaguars are 0-3 after last week’s 19-17 home loss to the Ravens. Blake Bortles threw 3 interceptions and has 6 on the year.
“Blake is the best quarterback in the NFL,” Gus Bradley said. “That, my friend, is a statement of such inaccuracy that Bortles’ inaccuracy pales in comparison. Hopefully, that will build his confidence.
“I really can’t explain why we’ve been so bad. I’d like to figure out why, but I’ll need some assistance to do so. Jaguars management obviously feels the same way, because there are already ‘Help Wanted’ signs posted out front.”
The Colts won their first game of the season, defeating the Chargers 26-22 at Lucas Oil Stadium. Andrew Luck passed for 331 yards, but had 2 turnovers, one of which was returned for a touchdown.
“Despite the win,” Chuck Pagano said, “we’re still not a very good team. Just a short two years ago, we were a very good team, and advanced to the AFC championship game. So, it’s tough to comprehend how we’ve fallen so much. In other words, it’s a tough reality to face. Or, in Jim Irsay’s words, it’s a ‘hard pill to swallow.’
“This game is being played in London, and with one win between the two teams involved, Wembley Stadium gets to witness a real wanker-fest. And both coaches, who might not make back to America with their employment intact, are real ‘damp squibs.'”
Jacksonville wins, 31-28.
Carolina @ Atlanta (+3)
Cam Newton threw three interceptions and was sacked eight times as the Panthers fell 22-10 to the visiting Vikings. The Panthers are 1-2 and a game behind the 2-1 Falcons in the NFC South.
“The ‘Purple People Eaters’ didn’t eat me,” Newton said, “but they did chew me up and spit me out. As you know, I’m a connoisseur of head wear, so I’d like to thank the Vikings responsible for those eight sacks and 12 quarterback hits for ‘putting a hat on me.’
“I fully expect us to bounce back in a big way in Atlanta. Sure they’re leading the division, but do the Falcons think they can beat us? That’s a riot. If you want to talk about ‘inequality,’ just look at the difference between us and the rest of the NFC South.”
The Falcons had their way with the Saints in a 45-32 win in the Superdome on Monday night. Atlanta rushed for 217 yards as a team, and Tevin Coleman scored 3 touchdowns.
“Devonta Freeman and Coleman ran all over the Saints defense,” Matt Ryan said. “Apparently, to the New Orleans defense, running backs are not tackle eligible.’
“The Saints defense is unstoppable. In other words, when they need a ‘stop,’ they’re ‘un-able’ to make it. I’ve heard through a reliable source that they plan on changing the nickname of New Orleans to the ‘Too Easy.'”
Luke Kuechly convenes a players-only meeting after the Panthers arrival in Atlanta, where he simply reminds his teammates that they play in the NFC South.
Carolina wins, 24-17.
Oakland @ Baltimore (-3½)
The Raiders defense stepped up in a 17-10 win over the Titans in Tennessee. After two games in which they surrendered over 500 yards of total offense, Oakland held the Titans to 393 yards.
“I’m pleased with the way our defense responded,” Jack Del Rio said. “Finally, our defense is making progress instead of the opposing offense.
“This game could be decided by the kickers. Sebastian Janikowski and Justin Tucker have two of the strongest right legs in the NFL. I’m glad Sebastian is on my team. I, for one, ‘sleep easy’ knowing Sebastian is my kicker, as do some women knowing Sebastian is their date.”
The Ravens won a hard-fought, defensive battle at Jacksonville, knocking off the Jaguars 19-17, winning on Justin Tucker’s 54-yard field goal with 1:57 left in the game.
“Jacksonville’s Jalen Ramsey said he didn’t respect Steve Smith,” John Harbaugh said, “I don’t think he knows who he’s talking to. Steve demandsrespect. He spells it ‘R-E-S-P-E-C-T-K-O.’
“I’m doing some of my finest coaching. The synergy between my players and I is amazing. Like a true member of the Harbaugh family, I’ve got my finger on it. Not a booger, but the pulse of the Ravens.”
A situation on the sidelines occurs when Steve Smith leaves the game with a sore knee, and trainers discover that there is no ice to treat Smith’s legitimate injury. It’s a scenario that Ray Lewis would describe as “obstruction of just ice.”
Baltimore wins, 27-24.
Detroit @ Chicago (+3)
With Brian Hoyer in for the injured Jay Cutler, the Bears lost 31-17 to the Cowboys in Dallas. John Fox said he wouldn’t guarantee Cutler the starting job when he returns from his injury.
“Jay has a sprained thumb,” John Fox said. “A sprain is likely when you have your thumb up your ass for the entirety of the Eagles game. Jay took himself out of the game, and once again, his toughness is being questioned, even by his No. 1 fan club, the ‘Chi-Males.’
“But let’s not blame Jay for all of the team’s problems. Everyone is accountable, including me. Like Jay-Z once said, ‘I got 99 problems, of which I’m one.’ What’s that? Jay-Z didn’t say that? Whatever. I’m no rapper. And Jay-Z is no football coach. And like me, Jay-Z hasn’t produced anything worth a damn in years.”
The Lions are 1-2 after last week’s 31-24 loss to the Packers at Lambeau Field. Detroit fell behind 31-3 before a second half rally made it close.
“We dug ourselves a hole,” Matthew Stafford said, “and it was six feet deep.
“Aaron Rodgers threw 4 first-half touchdown passes. This after many had questioned whether he was still an elite quarterback. Here’s some advice to any defense facing Rodgers when he has something to prove: don’t ‘R-E-L-A-X.'”
Stafford passes for 2 scores, one to his new favorite target, Marvin “Marva-Tron” Jones.
Detroit wins, 31-24.
Tennessee @ Houston (-6½)
The Texans were shutout 27-0 by the Patriots last Thursday, as third-string quarterback Jacoby Brissette led the Pats. Houston had 3 turnovers, including two on kickoff returns that both led to New England touchdowns.
“The clock struck ‘0’ on our undefeated season,” Bill O’Brien said. “That ‘0’ signified time and score. Now, we’ve lost J.J. Watt for the season after he reinjured his back. That means we’re going to need Jadeveon Clowney to anchor our defensive line. Clowney may be the most athletically-gifted big man in the league. We call him ‘The Specimen,’ which is a cool nickname, but causes a great deal of confusion when the NFL drops by for urine tests.
“The Patriots organization is the standard of greatness, and we wanted to see how we compared. Unfortunately, the Pats took the ‘measuring stick’ and flogged us with it.”
The Titans lost 17-10 to the Raiders and are now 1-2, one game behind the Texans in the AFC South.
“Marcus Mariota is struggling,” Mike Mularkey said. “But he is a former Heisman Trophy winner. Now, if he’s not careful, he may find himself playing outfield in the New York Mets system.”
Houston wins, 27-13.
Buffalo @ New England (-4½)
The Patriots blanked the visiting Texans 27-0 last Thursday, led by third-string quarterback Jacoby Brissett. Brissett sprained his thumb in the win, but will play on Sunday as Rex Ryan and Bills visit Foxboro.
“I’m sure Rex will have some strong words to fire up his team,” Bill Belichick said. “But that’s not a problem. Rex can just as easily win an eating contest as he can an eating your words contest. When you mention the Ryan brothers, it reminds me of how we’ve gotten fat on the AFC East.”
“We’ve had 10 days to prepare for the Bills, which is great. Can’t we all use a week’s vacation every now and then?”
The Bills shocked the visiting Cardinals 33-18, picking off Carson Palmer four times and sacking him 5 times.
“That win may have saved my job,” Ryan said. “And obviously, I’d rather be discussing ‘hot feet’ as opposed to the ‘hot seat.’
“I always welcome the challenge that Belichick and the Patriots present. I admire his ability to take a second-rate quarterback and make him a success. I just wish I had that ability.”
Belichick interferes with the Bills preparation by refusing to announce the team’s starter at quarterback until just minutes before the game. As a gesture of good will, however, he announces the Pats starter for next week’s game well in advance.
The Patriots pick apart the Bills with their short passing game, as Jimmy Garoppolo completes 21-of-28 passes for 75 yards.
New England wins, 30-16.
Seattle @ New York Jets (+1½)
Ryan Fitzpatrick threw six interceptions as the Jets were destroyed 24-3 by the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. New York fell to 1-2 on the season, two games behind the 3-0 Patriots.
“Ryan has a degree from Harvard,” Todd Bowles said. “That’s Ivy League; six interceptions is ‘VI League.’
“But really, six is a small number when you consider that there are 11,999,994 other reasons that we may have overpaid for Ryan’s services.”
Seattle crushed the 49ers 37-18, led by an offense that piled up 418 yards of total offense and a defense limited the 49ers to only 254 yards. Russell Wilson, already dealing with an ankle injury, injured his left knee in the win.
“Russell will be fine,” Richard Sherman said. “Russell never gets down on himself. He’s always looking at the positive. Russell is a cross between an optimist and an optometrist, because he always sees things through rose-colored glasses.
“Fitzpatrick’s confidence is shaken. And the last thing an unconfident quarterback wants to face is the Seattle defense. We’ll play mind games with him. In fact, I’m already inside his head. He threw six interceptions last week, and I just ‘picked’ his brain.”
The Jets’ front seven will keep them in the game, and Fitzpatrick will be looking for the long ball against a Seahawks defensive backfield eager to create turnovers.
Jets win, 19-14.
Cleveland @ Washington (-7½)
The Browns lost 30-24 in overtime at Miami with rookie Cody Kessler starting at quarterback. Terrelle Pryor chipped in with 35 yards passing and 144 yards receiving.
“Terrelle is a multi-threat athlete,” Hue Jackson said. “He can run, pass, and catch. And, if no one’s looking, he can return punts. By that, I mean he takes ‘kickbacks.’
“This will be a homecoming for Robert Griffin III and it will be twice as nice. He’ll get to experience not playing from a different sideline.”
The Redskins upset the Giants 29-27 for their first win of the season. Kirk Cousins passed for 296 yards and two touchdowns and had no interception.
“Kirk was ‘in the zone,'” Jay Gruden said. “Luckily, it wasn’t the ‘red zone.'”
Prior to the game, the Redskins public address announcer introduces Griffin, who is respectfully given a moment of silence by the FedEx Field crowd.
Washington wins, 30-26.
Denver @ Tampa Bay (+3)
Trevor Siemian passed for four touchdowns in Denver’s 27-19 win in Cincinnati. Siemian threw two TD strikes to Emmanuel Sanders, one to DeMaryius Thomas, and one to John Phillips.
“There’s a new ‘Sheriff’ in town,” Gary Kubiak said, “and it’s not Peyton Manning. It appears we have a new franchise quarterback, and the word ‘pizza’ doesn’t appear before the ‘franchise quarterback.’
“Aqib Talib is making his return to Tampa. Here’s what surprising about that: he’s arriving because of his own free will, and not because of extradition.”
After an opening week win in Atlanta, the Bucs have lost two straight, the latest a 37-32 loss to the visiting Rams. Jameis Winston passed for 405 yards and 3 touchdowns, but had 2 turnovers that the Rams cashed in for 14 points.
“Jameis leads the NFL in pass attempts,” Dirk Koetter said. “We’re looking for more balance in the offense to assure Jameis doesn’t wear out his arm. His numbers of throws raises red flags. See, he doesn’t have to go to a Publix grocery store to set off alarms.
“Jameis’ popularity is growing. In the NFC South, he could soon be giving Cam Newton a run for his money as the league’s best dual threat quarterback. Pretty soon, Jameis won’t be known for stealing groceries, he’ll be known for stealing headlines.”
The Bucs jump on the board first, and take a 7-0 lead, but the Broncos devastating pass rush decides to make some unwanted advances, and penetrate the Bucs offensive line at will, resulting in six sacks.
On offense, the Broncos establish the run with C.J. Anderson, then attack the Tampa back line with play action.
Denver wins, 29-13.
Los Angeles @ Arizona (-8)
The Rams lit up the scoreboard for 37 points in last week’s 37-32 win over the Buccaneers in Tampa. Todd Gurley rushed for 2 scores and Case Keenum tossed 2 TD passes.
“Case played well,” Jeff Fisher said. “His only mistake was an interception early in the game, and that’s the only ‘No. 1 pick’ worth talking about on this team.
“We gave up a lot to get Jared Goff. In support of Colin Kaepernick, he’s sitting for the entire game.”
The Cardinals ran into a motivated Bills team in Buffalo, who throttled Arizona 33-18. Carson Palmer was pressured into a miserable day, throwing four interceptions.
“We got ‘road’ hard,” Bruce Arians said. “Carson was just terrible, and I gave him an earful all the way home on the flight from Buffalo to Phoenix. Carson will tell you that’s what’s called ‘flying coach.'”
The Cards bounce and win, 30-20.
New Orleans @ San Diego (-4)
The Saints are 0-3 and reeling after Monday night’s 45-32 loss to the visiting Falcons.
“Our defense has been atrocious,” Sean Payton said. “Fans have taken to chants of ‘Fence!’ because there’s no point in saying ‘D.’
“Despite all their troubles, our defense has done something nearly everyone thought impossible: they’ve made it look like Rob Ryan wasn’t the problem.”
The Chargers lost in Indianapolis, 26-22, done in by 3 fumbles, the last of which killed a potential game-winning drive.
“As a Catholic,” Rivers said, “I can say with certainty that was a ‘mass’ of turnovers.'”
Saints win, 31-27.
Dallas @ San Francisco (+3)
The 49ers lost to the Seahawks 37-18 last week, domination by a Seattle defense that allowed only 12 first downs. San Francisco is 1-2, tied with the Cardinals for last in the NFC West, but only one game out of first.
“I love our position in the NFC West,” Chip Kelly said. “Trust me, I’d much rather talk about the ‘standings’ as opposed to the ‘sittings.'”
Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 140 yards and Dak Prescott rushed for a score and passed for another as the Cowboys beat the Bears, 31-17.
“Ezekiel spent three years at Ohio State,” Jason Garrett said, “which is also known as ‘graduating.'”
Cowboys win, 26-20.
Kansas City @ Pittsburgh (-6)
The Steelers were blasted 34-3 by rookie Carson Wentz and the Eagles, as the Pittsburgh offense mustered only 29 yards on the ground. Help is on the way, as Le’Veon Bell returns after serving a three-game suspension for missing a drug test.
“Le’Veon can’t wait to get to the field,” Mike Tomlin said. “On the bus ride to the stadium, he called ‘shotgun.'”
The Chiefs bounced back from their Week 2 loss to Houston with a resounding 24-3 win over the visiting Jets. They’ll need a superior effort from their defense to limit the Steelers offense, which is made even more dynamic with the addition of Bell.
“I hear Bell is ready to roll,” Andy Reid said, “which is kind of the reason he was suspended in the first place. Bell is arguably the best all-around running back in the NFL. With a talent like that, the Steelers are thinking ‘Super Bowl,’ as long as Bell is not thinking ‘Smoka Bowl.'”
Steelers win, 24-21.
New York Giants @ Minnesota (-4½)
The formidable Minnesota defense sacked Cam Newton eight times and intercepted him three times in the Vikes’ 22-10 road win over the Panthers. Minnesota is 3-0, atop the NFC North, and one of five undefeated teams.
“The last time Newton saw 8 sacks,” Mike Zimmer said, “they were full of money and his father was about to send him to Mississippi State.”
The Giants lost for the first time, falling 29-27 to the Redskins. Eli Manning threw 2 interceptions, including a pick on the Giants’ final possession to seal the Redskins win.
“I’ve was the offensive coordinator under Tom Coughlin for two years,” Ben McAdoo said. “I learned from the best at making that facial expression of disgust when Eli makes those costly turnovers. So, when I was hired as head coach to succeed Coughlin, there was not a person alive who said I was ‘just another pretty face.'”
The short-tempered Odell Beckham, Jr. doesn’t “lose it,” he actually wins it, with a 20-yard touchdown pass from Manning late in the fourth quarter.
New York wins, 22-20.