2019 NFL: Week 8
I never thought I would feel like this.
I do my best to call things down the middle when it comes to the NFL. However, I’ve made it no secret that I’m not a fan of the New England Patriots. I’m just not. You can accuse me of hating their success and I wouldn’t argue with you. It’s aggravating. Let’s break it down.
They’ve won the AFC East every year since 2009. They’ve reached the AFC Championship game every year since 2011. Played in five Super Bowls (including the last three seasons) and won three. Their 11 wins in 2018 was the least amount they’ve won since they won 10 in 2009.
At the end of every season since 2016, when they completed the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history to beat the Falcons, I’ve prayed that Tom Brady would have his fill of the NFL and decide to retire to life of staring at the wall, or whatever it is he does when he’s not watching film. And every year, he’s disappointed me.
(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)
And then … this week, a sudden ray of hope broke through the clouds of Patriots dominance, courtesy of ESPN’s Adam Schefter. With Brady’s contract expiring at the end of this season, he’s apparently put his house Massachusetts up for sale. And here’s the kicker: Schefter added that Tom is “setting it up to move on.”
People laughed at first. Where could he go, they asked. The concept of him playing for another organization is comical, at best, right? The guffawing continued until Wednesday, when Brady made an appearance on a Boston radio station, and while he made it clear that nothing is written in stone, he did make an interesting remark.
“I don’t know what the future holds and the great part is for me, football at this point is all borrowed time.”
For some reason, that’s when it hit me as a real possibility that Tom Brady might actually play football for another NFL team one day. I mistakenly thought that would make me feel happy. I wouldn’t resent him anymore, because if I’m being honest, it’s not the players or even Bill Belichick that irritate me. It’s the New England fans, who across all the major sports, are the absolute worst. They don’t deserve the success they’ve been given and they refuse to truly appreciate it because of the canyon sized chips on their shoulders.
And yet, the thought of Brady no longer playing his home games in Foxborough actually makes me … sad. Like I said before, I never thought I would feel like this.
Half the enjoyment of following this league is hating this team. As a fan, I root for the Rams and whatever team is facing the Patriots. Not having an object for my rage and conspiracy theories makes life as an NFL fan seem less fun. Everyone loves a villain and this organization has played that role perfectly for two decades. I would miss them.
But we’re probably getting way ahead of ourselves. Tom Brady probably won’t go anywhere and he’ll keep winning Super Bowls until he’s 65.
NFL’S TOP 10
1) Patriots — Speaking of hating this organization, linebacker Kyle Van Noy has elevated up the smugness ladder. His dumb, grinning face in postgame interviews along with his snarky remarks makes me throw batteries at the TV screen. But man, he can play. Also, I’ve never seen a secondary that makes quarterbacks wet themselves this much. This defense is giving short fields to Tom Brady every week, which is yet another reason to resent him. He’s being carried in his old age.
2) Packers — This is my prisoner of the moment ranking. My reasoning for putting Green Bay in this spot is simple: None of the teams ranked below don’t have Aaron Rodgers playing quarterback. You can’t overstate how impressive he looked against the Raiders. He wasn’t running around and making plays with his legs. He stood in the pocket and fired rocks. It was truly breathtaking. People have made a big fuss about how he would collaborate with head coach Matt LaFleur. The relationship seems to be flourishing.
3) Saints — Sean Payton is the clear frontrunner for coach of the year. The game on the road against the Bears clearly seemed like the spot where the Saints would stumble. They didn’t. Now they’ve got a game at home against the Cardinals before going into their bye week. And then it’s hello again to Drew Brees.
4) 49ers — They might be 6-0, but I’m being stubborn because their offense has been middling, at best. They did acquired WR Emmanuel Sanders via trade this week, but is he really the guy who will jumpstart their passing game? I have my doubts.
5) Bills — They have the 3rd-ranked defense in the league and they get to face the Eagles, who feature the 23rd-ranked offense. They’re sitting pretty at 6-1 at the moment, but looking at the schedule, things are looking even better. After facing struggling Philly, they get the Redskins at home, road games against the Browns and Dolphins and then a home game against the Broncos. Could this team actually be 11-1 in a few weeks? Gasp!
6) Vikings — Word around the mediasphere this week has this team as a legitimate Super Bowl contender. I’m not quite there yet, but I’m loving what I’m seeing out of their offense over the past few weeks. Except for that fourth down call during Thursday night’s win over the Redskins. That was garbage.
7) Ravens — Man, that win in Seattle was something, right? And while Lamar Jackson scooped up a ton of praise, I was more impressed with how the Ravens performed defensively against Russell Wilson. If this team is going to beat the Patriots in the postseason, their defense will need to get turnovers and be strong against the run. They’re more than capable.
8) Chiefs — Their bye isn’t until Week 12. Leading up to that they have games against the Packers, Vikings, Titans and Chargers. No gimmes there. Bad time to be without Patrick Mahomes. However, people rang the alarm bells when Drew Brees went down and the Saints have been just fine. If the Chiefs can squeeze out two wins before their bye week, they would still be in good shape. Let’s hope their defense can get some stops, because this team won’t be able to keep up in a shootout.
9) Colts — Frank Reich is another one of my coaching man crushes. And I’m buying all the Jacoby Brissett stock I can get. However, my main passion with this team is their defense. They’re young and play with an aggression that all great units have.
10) Seahawks — They’re coming off a tough loss, but there’s good news on Sunday. They get to face the Falcons, who are the NFL version of liquid paper. They just white out your flaws. Ask the Rams.
WHAT’S THE CHATTER?
Netflix shenanigans: As many people have, I watched Paul Rudd’s new show on Netflix and was surprised to see Tom Brady’s cameo. In fact, my wife and I both said at the same time “Is that Tom Brady?” And while he’s not a great actor at all, I thought his little scene was pretty funny. Two hours later, I started getting alerts that there was a budding controversy.
Apparently, people thought that since Tom was coming out of the spa to start that scene, he was taking a shot at Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who was (allegedly) involved in spa-related “activity” of the “illegal” sort. The tumult taught me a couple things.
– I’m not as cynical as I once thought.
– Maybe I’m not as observant as I should be.
More Patriots stuff: Man, I’ve been spending a lot of time talking about these townie goobers this week. But it bears addressing that the team traded defensive end Michael Bennett to the Cowboys for a seventh-round pick. Talk about falling stock …
Bennett is an interesting guy. Very intelligent and yet, a malcontent. He talked a lot when he was with the Seahawks until his production on the field dipped. Then the team decided his chatter wasn’t worth it and he was shipped to the Eagles in a trade. One thing I noticed watching Eagles games is that you didn’t notice Bennett much when he was on the field. He didn’t appear to make much of an impact, even though he finished 2018 with nine sacks.
So it wasn’t surprising to see that his time in New England didn’t last all that long. Well, hopefully things pick up for him in Dallas.
Watch what you say: I am a proud Sam Darnold apologist. I’m not excusing his performance on Monday night, because it was putrid. Actually, it was worse than that. It was crap. Actually, it was worse than that. It aspired to be crap.
That being said, I wasn’t joining the vultures who started circling when Sam, who was mic’d up for the game, was heard saying that he was seeing ghosts out there. People on Twitter pounced. Budding Patriots d-bag Kyle Van Noy, with his stupid grin, said “did he really say that?” after the game.
Thankfully, Brett Favre came to his aid.
“It’s not a new term. Quite frankly, I’m not surprised. A young player — the quarterback, especially — will have a tendency to see ghosts,” Favre said.
So, back off Sam. He’s going to be just fine. I hope.
Soap opera: Jalen Ramsey has had an eventful few weeks. First, he refused to take the field for the Jaguars. Err excuse me, he was “hurt” and couldn’t take the field, cough, liar, cough. Sorry, excuse me, lots of pollen in the air.
Then the star cornerback was traded to the Rams and he played well in their win over the Falcons. Now, more things are coming out. Apparently, he had been in a relationship with the sister of Giants receiver Golden Tate. According to the New York Post, Ramsey left Tate’s sister, who is pregnant, for a dancer in Las Vegas.
“I’m not happy at all with the disrespect that he’s shown towards my sister, and the things he’s done in the past, but I don’t really want to go too much into it,” Tate said to the Post.
And no, the Rams don’t face the Giants this season. Damn. That would have been good.
That’s just sad: Rewind back to 2015. Jameis Winston was the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft. The second pick that year was Marcus Mariota. Fast forward to the present day. Mariota has been benched in Tennessee in favor of Ryan Tannehill. Part of the backup quarterback’s job is to run the scout team, which imitates the upcoming opponent’s offense so the starting defense can get a look at what to expect.
The Titans face the Buccaneers on Sunday, a team quarterbacked by Jameis Winston. So, Mariota’s job is to pretend to be Jameis in practice. So, expect a lot of throws in the dirt and pick-sixes.
WHAT TO WATCH IN WEEK 8
Eagles at Bills: Like I said before, Buffalo is catching Philadelphia at the perfect time. This will be close, but I like the Bills to win.
Chargers at Bears: The grumbling is getting louder and louder. I still believe that Mitchell Trubisky can grow into an effective starting quarterback, but the amount of people who agree with me grows smaller with every passing week. If the Bears lose this one, look out.
Bengals at Rams: No, you don’t have to watch this game. But I’ll be up early for this one. I’m pretty sure even the Rams can’t screw this one up. Oh god, I just jinxed it.
Cardinals at Saints: Don’t look now, but Arizona is riding a hot streak. That should come to an end on Sunday … or will it?
Panthers at 49ers: A good test for San Francisco and of course, they get it at home. If they bottle up Christian McCaffrey, they will have earned my undying respect.
Browns at Patriots: Common sense says the Patriots will stomp Cleveland in short order, with New England’s defense forcing several turnovers. But … what if that doesn’t happen? What if Baker Mayfield cowboys up and gunslings his way to a victory?
Raiders at Texans: This should be entertaining.
Packers at Chiefs: This would have been entertaining if this happened three weeks ago.
Currently a Mobile Editor at Yahoo, Saraf spent 5.5 years (Oct. 2010 - Feb. 2016) working for FOX Sports as an NFL Editor and Writer. Prior to that, Saraf worked for CBS Interactive for 4.5 years (May 2006 - Oct. 2010) as a Staff Editor.