When the Buffalo Bills are clicking, they take a backseat to nobody in the NFL. The Bills looked like the Super Bowl contender many expected to see for a third straight week in a drubbing of the previously hot-as-a-firecracker Miami Dolphins.
THE NICKEL PACKAGE – FIVE QUICK HITTERS FROM SUNDAY
1. THE BUFFALO BILLS ARE THE NEW BEST TEAM IN FOOTBALL: After getting caught in a Week 1 emotional tsunami at MetLife Stadium against the Jets, the Bills have won three straight games including giving the Dolphins a full-service car wash on Sunday in a 48-20 win. Bills quarterback Josh Allen threw for 320 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for another. However, the key to Buffalo’s success (besides Allen obviously) is their defense. The Dolphins scored 70 points last week against the Broncos and then scored on their first two drives against the Bills D. However, Buffalo’s defense held Miami scoreless on eight of their final nine possessions including collecting a pair of turnovers. The only problem for the Bills defense may be a potential Achilles injury suffered by cornerback Tre’Davious White. The Bills’ third-straight win is the third consecutive game Buffalo won by at least 28 points. Wild.
Buffalo is playing so well that Stefon Diggs did his own Stone Cold Steve Austin impersonation following a score. Perhaps, the Dolphins will leave those emoji shirts at home next time.
2. THE DYNASTY IS DEAD…AND THEY NEED A NEW QUARTERBACK (AGAIN): During the summer I kept listening to a song by Lil Yachty called “Running Out of Time”. I’m reminded of that song after watching the Dallas Cowboys pummel the New England Patriots 38-3. Patriots quarterback Mac Jones is indeed running out of time like the Lil Yachty song. Jones finished 12 of 21 for 150 yards and two interceptions while throwing a pick six in an uninspired performance. He eventually gave way to Bailey Zappe. New England needs to move on.
Outside of a cup of coffee in the 2022 playoffs, Jones hasn’t shown much in high leverage situations. As pointed out by Michael Lombardi, Jones is 0-12 in games where his Patriots are an underdog. Zappe isn’t the short-term or long-term answer in New England (he was cut at the end of the preseason before coming back) so the Patriots will likely have to do something in the 2024 NFL Draft because Jones ain’t it. Meanwhile, the Cowboys bounced back after a dud in Arizona last Sunday to hand Bill Belichick the worst loss of his head coaching career.
Lastly, Patriots fans, you’ve had a tremendous run. The Patriots won six Super Bowls and arguably had the greatest head coach of all time in Belichick and the greatest quarterback of all-time in Tom Brady. The bill collectors have arrived and they are here to collect. Some dark days of Patriots Football could be ahead. Get ready to potentially learn some Drake Maye, buddy.
3. CINCINNATI, WE HAVE A PROBLEM: The Bengals got clobbered by the Titans on Sunday in somewhat shocking fashion. The 27-3 loss highlighted more problems with the Cincinnati passing game. Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow finished with 165 yards but lost wide receiver Tee Higgins to a rib injury. Ja’Marr Chase expressed his frustrations during a postgame interview when he said he was “always f—— open.” The Bengals are 1-3 and their multi-million dollar quarterback does not look his old self.
4. IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE AN EXHIBITION: Swelce or whatever moniker Taylor Swift and Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce are using entered Week 2 on Sunday night when the former showed up to watch Chiefs/Jets with Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, and Hugh Jackman among others. Perhaps Taylor and most of America showed up expecting to see her beau and Patrick Mahomes mop the MetLife Stadium turf with Zach Wilson’s Jets. Instead, the nation was treated to a 23-20 nail-biting Chiefs win. Mahomes was picked off twice and threw a third late in the fourth quarter but got bailed out on a weak penalty against Sauce Gardner late in the fourth quarter. Wilson gave a spirited effort by completing 28 of 39 passes for 245 yards and two touchdowns but a fourth quarter turnover muted a very respectable performance.
While this game might give Jets fan a slither hope (especially if Aaron Rodgers wants to return), it should raise a big red flag for Chiefs. The receivers are still struggling to get open. They managed to win a Super Bowl last year but in a league where repeating is almost impossible to do these days, the Chiefs must fix this or else.
5. THE YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY CONTINUES FOR THE EAGLES: The Eagles are one of two undefeated teams left in the NFL. After yesterday’s 34-31 win over Washington in overtime, Philly’s four wins are by a combined 28 points (that’s an average margin of seven points per win). They are making questionable coaching decisions (i.e. scoring a touchdown with less than two minutes left and in turn opening the door for Washington to get the game-tying score); and playing some questionable pass defense. The latter is a considerable problem since Matthew Stafford, Patrick Mahomes, Tua Tagovailoa, and Josh Allen are still lurking on a challenging schedule. Jalen Hurts played his best game of the season on Sunday so the offense appears to be rounding into form but this is still a different squad from the one that easily reached the Super Bowl last season.
LIVE FROM LONDON, IT’S TOY STORY, PART I: Jacksonville took on Atlanta in London as the Jaguars’ residency (?) got underway on Sunday. The game was a sideshow to the real main attraction – a presentation of the game through the eyes of Toy Story. Some people might think this was silly but I thought this was a fun way to put a spin on what otherwise was a ho-hum, paint-by-numbers kind of game. While I’ve never seen Toy Story, it doesn’t take a Disney buff to realize this was cool.
LIVE FROM LONDON, IT’S TOY STORY, PART II: Desmond Ridder is not making friends with his play in Atlanta thus far. That was on display during Sunday’s loss to Jacksonville. After Atlanta trailed 17-0, Ridder walked over to slap hands with teammate and wide receiver Mack Hollins…and the latter was having none of it. Ridder better wake up fast or the Falcons will be among the teams in the market for a new QB in 2024.
THE GREAT ESCAPE FROM AARON DONALD: Even though the Colts lost, rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson showcased his athleticism yet again on Sunday. The Colts fell behind 20-0 but rallied to force overtime behind an avalanche of athletic, off-platform throws by Richardson. His accuracy needs to improve (11 of 25) but when he puts it together, look out. Richardson tallied 265 total yards and three touchdowns.
Puka Nacua – another big time rookie – spoiled Richardson’s heroic comeback. The outstanding Rams rookie receiver caught nine passes for 163 yards and the game-winning touchdown in an OT win.
STUPOR BOWL III: The Bears lost again – this time to the Denver Broncos, 31-28, in a battle of 0-3 squads. Outside of the fantasy ramifications, let’s never speak of this game again like Stupor Bowls of years gone by.
CALEB WILLIAMS POWER RANKINGS:
OVERREACTIONARY POWER RANKINGS:
NEXT WEEK’S MAIN EVENT: One of the highest profile games of the 2023 NFL season takes place next Sunday night when the Dallas Cowboys head out west to take on the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday Night Football. Whenever you hear “49ers” or “Cowboys”, it’s hard to not think about the good old days if you’re a long-time football fan.
The 49ers and Cowboys last met during the NFC Divisional Playoffs in January with the Niners winning 19-12. It’s a tossup game but I’m sure we will not see a running back playing center to end the game this time.
Categories: buffalo bills, Taylor Swift, The Sunday Nickel, Travis Kelce