"The Stack" 10-21-20
*The following was a post for Monday, but we were unable to get it posted. We can now. I have also added some analysis from the MNF games and a World Series pick*
The Stack is back on this Monday and there were a number of good football games yesterday and some pretty fantastic performances. I’m looking at you Derrick Henry. We’ll get to all of the reaction plus picks for the two games today so let’s get right to “the stack” for today, Sunday, October 19th:
Broncos 18 Patriots 12
Pretty stunning result out of Foxboro. I get that COVID-19 hung its head for much of the time leading up to this game, but Bill Belichick would have a masterful gameplan against Drew Lock and the Broncos. While the Patriots did keep the Broncos out of the endzone, Brandon McManus still kicked six field goals. Cam Newton threw two interceptions and did not play well overall. This is a bad loss for the Patriots. A win could have applied a little more pressure on the Buffalo Bills to win tonight. Now, not so much. Very good win for the Broncos.
Texans 36 Titans 42
The Tennessee Titans flirted with their first loss thanks to a couple of missed field goals by Stephen Gostkowski and a defense that let Deshaun Watson throw all over them. Good thing for the Titans they have Derrick Henry. Henry only had 212 yards rushing and a couple of touchdowns and a couple of receptions including one in overtime that got the Titans deep into Texans territory and it eventually set up his game-winning touchdown run. This Titans team is special. Winning games like this shows that.
Browns 7 Steelers 38
Maybe it was not knowing for a while during the week if Odell Beckham Jr. if he had COVID. Maybe it was not knowing if Jarvis Landry, Baker Mayfield and/or OBJ would be able to play in this game at all. Either way, a statement was made in this game and it was that the Cleveland Browns are still nowhere close to the class of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Minkah Fitzpatrick had a pick-six on the Browns’ first possession of the game and it was all over from there. The Steelers are very good. The Browns are a good team as well, but they aren’t as good as the Steelers and have a long way to go to get there.
Ravens 30 Eagles 28
The Philadelphia Eagles looked terrible early on. Carson Wentz and the Eagles offense couldn’t do anything while Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens were doing just fine. Again the passing game wasn’t very good or crisp, but Jackson ran for over 100 yards. Yet Wentz and company battled back and made this a game. Aided by some Ravens penalties, Wentz willed his team and had a chance to tie it late on a two point conversion, but it failed miserably and the Ravens escaped with a victory. If the Eagles play like they did in the second half the whole game in the next few weeks, they will be fine. They are in the NFC East after all.
Washington 19 Giants 20
This game went about as you would expect for two teams with a combined one win headed into the game. At least it was close. The Giants looked like they had this game won when they recovered a fumble and ran it back for a touchdown with three minutes and change to go. Washington scored a touchdown inside of a minute and Riverboat Ron went for two, but couldn’t convert and the Giants picked up their first win of the season.
Falcons 40 Vikings 23
So which team fired their head coach and GM last week? By the looks of it, it was the Vikings. Kirk Cousins threw a pick on the very first play of the game and it was all downhill from there. He threw three in all and picked up his yards and two of his touchdowns in garbage time. Welcome back Julio Jones. Jones had over 130 yards receiving and two touchdowns including a sweet fourth down conversion where Matty Ice looked like he was going to run for it, stepped back before he crossed the line of scrimmage and floated a pass to Jones who then took it to the house. Ryan had a great game with 371 yards and four touchdowns. It was an embarrassing effort by the Vikings. Maybe they were still experiencing a hangover from last week’s heartbreak in Seattle. They’ll have their bye week to figure it out.
Lions 34 Jaguars 16
Congrats to the Detroit Lions for not blowing a double digit lead! Woohoo! It was the rushing attack that led the way with rookie running back DeAndre Swift rushing for 116 yards and two touchdowns and AP adding another score. The defense was strong against the Jaguars and Jacksonville really didn’t have much of a chance which is probably exactly what they want.
Bengals 27 Colts 31
It sure looked like the Cincinnati Bengals were going to snap their 18 game road losing streak, jumping out to a 21-0 lead over the Indianapolis Colts and their top ranked defense. Then I don’t know if they got a little relaxed or the Colts defense stepped up (perhaps a little bit of both), but the Bengals saw that lead disappear. Philip Rivers had his best game since week one and threw three touchdowns including the go-ahead one to Jack Doyle in the fourth quarter. Joe Burrow had a chance to get the win but threw an interception that iced the game. Good comeback win for the Colts in a game that they desperately needed. The Bengals are close. They’re competing, but they need some more pieces and more consistency.
Bears 23 Panthers 16
Like Kirk Cousins, Baker Mayfield and Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater also threw an interception on his first pass of the game. The Chicago Bears turned that interception into a touchdown and it set the tone for the rest of the game. It wasn’t an incredibly well played game, but the Bears ultimately prevailed thanks to another interception to end the game. They are now 5-1. Pretty amazing.
Jets 0 Dolphins 24
The New York Jets are a terrible team and Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Miami Dolphins exploited them early in this football game. Go figure. The Jets just flat out suck. But the story in this game is that Tua Tagovailoa got into the game late in the fourth quarter and completed a couple of passes. What a great story. He had a nearly career ending injury. So happy for him that he was able to get on the field.
Packers 10 Buccaneers 38
It was a battle of the Bays (The Bay of Pigs as Chris Berman has called it) and early on it was all Green Bay. They scored the first ten points of the game and had the ball looking for more when Aaron Rodgers threw a pick six, only his third of his career, and the floodgates began to open. The Bucs defense got more pressure on Rodgers. Rodgers threw another interception. And the Packers offense was really never in synch after that in part due to the relentless pressure of the Buccaneers defense. This was supposed to be a battle between Rodgers and Tom Brady, but it really never amounted to that thanks to the Buccaneers defense and running back Ronald Jones who had 113 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Maybe this will be a wakeup call for Green Bay. Likely it will. Right now though, with a dominating performance like that, the Bucs can once again start putting themselves in the Super Bowl contenders conversation.
Rams 16 49ers 24
Fantastic gameplan by San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan getting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo's confidence up early with all of the short passes to Deebo Samuel and George Kittle. Garoppolo played well in this game and the 49ers dominated the first half. It felt like the Rams didn’t have the ball at all. They played better in the second half, but a pick in the endzone ruined a chance in the fourth quarter and the 49ers prevailed for their first home win of the season. I had this score correct…just the winning team flipped around.
4-1 Kansas City Chiefs @ 4-1 Buffalo Bills 5 PM ET FOX & NFL Network
This game was rescheduled from Thursday to today due to the Bills playing the Titans on Tuesday. Both teams are coming off of a loss so there is going to be a little desperation from both sides. I think the Bills and Josh Allen are really anxious to get that terrible performance out of their mouths from last Tuesday and after the Las Vegas Raiders exploited the Chiefs defense last week, Allen is going to do the same. I hope I am wrong, but I am going with the upset here.
Prediction: Bills 34 Chiefs 30
3-2 Arizona Cardinals @ 2-3 Dallas Cowboys 8:15 PM ET ESPN MNF
This is the first game that the Cowboys will play without Dak Prescott at the helm. They are riding with the Red Rifle, Andy Dalton. The offense won’t be quite as good, but they still should be just fine. They don’t have to worry about Chandler Jones chasing Dalton down since he is out for the year. But can that porous Cowboys defense stop Kyler Murray and the Cardinals offense? I don’t think so. I am hopeful that the Cardinals won’t play like they did against the Panthers a couple of weeks go. They should beat the Cowboys. Don’t make me regret this, Arizona.
Prediction: Cardinals 37 Cowboys 27
So the Chiefs, in the rain, ran the ball 46 times against the suspect Bills run defense with great success. Rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire was sensational with 161 yards rushing. Perhaps the signing of Le'Veon Bell lit a fire under him. We'll see about that, but this game was about the Chiefs being able to run the ball and also Josh Allen's inaccuracy. The Bills quarterback was off pretty much all game long. The Bills were still in it for much of the game, but if a rematch comes down the road, the Bills will need a much better performance if they hope to win.
As for the Cardinals, what a whooping they gave the Cowboys. Ezekiel Elliott fumbled twice in the second quarter and that led to 14 Arizona points. Kyler Murray was off all night, completing just nine passes, but he did throw two touchdowns and ran for another. He was great and the Cardinals defense made life miserable for Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton. The Cowboys are a disaster thanks in large part to injuries and their defense is giving up points at a historic rate. Good thing they are in the NFC East.
World Series preview
The Los Angeles Dodgers against the Tampa Bay Rays from...Arlington, TX. It's a gorgeous park the Texas Rangers have. The Rays nearly blew a 3-0 series lead to the Houston Astros while the Dodgers overcame a 3-1 series deficit against the Atlanta Braves. Mookie Betts plays great defense. Cody Bellinger is just all-around great. Don't get me wrong, Randy Arozarena has become a star in the postseason for the Rays, but the Dodgers are just a more complete team. I want the Rays to win, but if not now, when Dodgers? It feels like if they don't win it this year, they won't win it at all with their current roster.
Prediction: Dodgers in 5
Coming up Thursday: College football weekend forecast, World Series reaction plus a TNF preview & prediction