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Overreaction Tuesday - The Bengals are Back

From House Enterprise, and inspired by Rich Eisen, I’m introducing “Overreaction Tuesday.” Every Tuesday throughout the NFL season, I will overreact to what I deem the biggest storyline to come from the prior weekend’s games across the league, that includes Thursday, Sunday, and Monday.

In the NFL, the stories and narratives change every single week. The bottom line is that it’s a long season (five months from Week 1 to the Super Bowl to be exact) and we don’t know how it’s going to end. All we can do is overreact to the most recent data, so let’s do that.


Week 8 - October 26-October 30, 2023

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 18 (3-4) @ Buffalo Bills 24 (5-3)

Overreaction: The Buccaneers offense is the reason they aren’t running away in the league’s worst division. The NFC South is currently the only division with zero teams that are better than .500, with the Falcons and Saints both at 4-4 and Tampa Bay right behind at 3-4. On offense, Tampa Bay has been struggling, scoring 18 or less in four of the last five games. The Bucs currently are 27th in the NFL in scoring, with a big reason why being the rushing attack. Tampa Bay averages just 77.9 rushing yards per game, which is 30th in the league. Fortunately for the Buccaneers, they still have four divisional games to go, including two against perhaps the worst team in the NFL, the Carolina Panthers. The Tampa Bay defense has been very good this season, particularly in the red zone, surrendering just 18.3 PPG, which is 6th in the NFL. If the offense can pick things up a bit, particularly in the rushing attack, the Buccaneers could very well still end up atop the NFC South.


Los Angeles Rams 20 (3-5) @ Dallas Cowboys 43 (5-2)

Overreaction: The Rams are cooked. Los Angeles shocked the league Week 1 when they went into Seattle and won. The emergence of rookie wide receiver Puka Nacua has been one of the main storylines this season for a team that was expected to do very little but was flying high through the first month of the season. That all came crashing down on Sunday against Dallas. Following a tough home loss last week to Pittsburgh, the Rams trailed 33-3 late in the first half to the Cowboys and never truly got back into the game. Quarterback Matthew Stafford threw a pick six, the Cowboys blocked a Rams punt for a safety, and Dallas receiver CeeDee Lamb caught two touchdowns in a 10 minute span, all in a disastrous first half. Stafford sustained an injury in the second half that knocked him out of the game as well, leaving Brett Rypien as the QB for LA. Moving forward, the Rams are now dealing with injuries and are falling behind their NFC West rivals. What started as such a promising season has quickly turned to disaster for the Rams, with a road trip to Lambeau up next in what might well be considered a must-win game.


Minnesota Vikings 24 (4-4) @ Green Bay Packers 10 (2-5)

Overreaction: Matt LaFleur is officially a darkhorse name to watch to be on the chopping block once the season wraps up. The Packers are losers of four straight games and have failed to score more than 17 in each of their last three, including the lowest point total in that span coming on Sunday against their NFC North rival Minnesota Vikings. Green Bay put up just 270 yards of offense, went 5-14 on third down and went 1-4 in the red zone. Along with that, the Packers wide receivers dropped six passes on Sunday, leaving quarterback Jordan Love with a poor statline and all of the burden that comes with a team that is struggling to win. However, what may be lost in this is the head coach, Matt LaFleur, who’s been leading the Packers since 2019. Of course, this is LaFleur’s first season as head coach without Aaron Rodges as the starting quarterback, so you’d assume that there’d be some kinks to work out. However, I don’t think anyone quite expected the offense to struggle quite as much as it has. If they don’t pick things up soon and Green Bay finishes toward the bottom of the league standings, don’t be surprised if the Packers don’t wait around to make a head coaching change.


Atlanta Falcons 23 (4-4) @ Tennessee Titans 28 (3-4)

Overreaction: The Falcons finally switching quarterbacks will win them the NFC South, in spite of Arthur Smith’s myriad of coaching gaffs. At halftime in Nashville, Atlanta trailed 14-3 and had 71 passing yards from quarterback Desmond Ridder. Finally, Head Coach Arthur Smith had had enough, opting to bench Ridder and starting Taylor Heinicke for the second half. Heinicke did not disappoint, throwing for 175 yards and a touchdown in the second half, but ultimately failing to overcome the halftime deficit. From the loss, it seems pretty clear that the Falcons need to cut their losses with Ridder and roll with Heinicke for a full game. In the second half on Sunday, the Falcons backup QB came in and immediately led three straight scoring drives, and added another touchdown drive later in the game. On the final offensive play for Atlanta, Heinicke hit receiver Van Jefferson in the hands and the pass was dropped. All to say, this loss is not because the backup quarterback didn’t do enough. Arthur Smith has a more effective QB that should now be the starter and tons of offensive weapons that don’t get enough usage. If the Falcons don’t pick it up soon, his job security is going to be very in the balance.


New Orleans Saints 38 (4-4) @ Indianapolis Colts 27 (3-5)

Overreaction: The Colts should be all in on next year. With the loss on Sunday to New Orleans, Indianapolis now is in dead last in the AFC South, has lost three straight, and is three games back of the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have already beat the Colts twice. The good news for Indy is that they were able to sign their stud running back Jonathan Taylor to an extension a few weeks ago and he’s looked great since, rushing for a season high 95 yards on just 12 carries on Sunday. Along with that, their first round QB Anthony Richardson from this past April looked great when he played, but has unfortunately ended up on the season-ending Injured Reserve list. It’s starting to feel like it’s time for the Colts to shift gears toward the future, if they haven’t already. They currently have one pick in each round of the 2024 NFL Draft and have wiggle room to add some veteran pieces before next year to help Anthony Richardson on offense, along with retooling the defense. If I’m Indy, my eyes are set on 2024.


New England Patriots 17 (2-6) @ Miami Dolphins 31 (6-2)

Overreaction: The Miami Dolphins are about to play their biggest game since…? On Sunday in Frankfurt, Germany, the Dolphins take on the Kansas City Chiefs in a battle of 6-2 teams. The winner moves solely into the top AFC spot and controls its own destiny for the conference’s 1 seed. Miami is coming off a nice performance in Week 8 while KC was the lowest scoring team in the league this past week in a horrible loss to the Broncos. For a Dolphins team that hasn’t won a playoff game since 2000 and hasn’t won its division since 2008, this very well may be the biggest game the Dolphins franchise has played in the last 15 years at least. Win, and they move atop the AFC. Lose, and that is three losses in three games against ‘legitimate’ opponents this season. It’s a huge measuring stick game for Miami and they need to win it.


New York Jets 13 (4-3) @ New York Giants 10 (2-6)

Overreaction: The Jets are going to make the playoffs. The dream scenario that the Jets can somehow put together enough wins to make the postseason just in time for the miraculous return of Aaron Rodgers is starting to not seem so far-fetched. The Jets have now won three straight games and just won the battle of New York over the Giants in a game they trailed for almost the entire second half. Thanks to the leg of Greg Zuerlein, who tied the game on the final play of regulation and won it in overtime, the Jets move to 4-3 on the year and win yet another tough and ugly game. But, a win is a win. Looking ahead, the Jets host the Chargers and play @ Las Vegas before a stretch against Buffalo, Miami and Atlanta. The schedule is relatively favorable from here on out and there is a clear path to the postseason for a team who many thought would crumble after losing its starting QB just four plays into the regular season.


Jacksonville Jaguars 20 (6-2) @ Pittsburgh Steelers 10 (4-3)

Overreaction: The Jags are the hottest team in the NFL. Jacksonville has won five straight games, the longest active streak in the NFL. The Jaguars have defeated Atlanta, Buffalo, Indianapolis, New Orleans and now Pittsburgh. That is no cake walk of a schedule and yet here they are at 6-2, tied with the best record in the AFC as they enter the bye. The Jaguars offense ranks 13th in the NFL while the defense ranks 24th. Where they thrive is in the turnover battle. Jacksonville has forced 18 turnovers this season, the most in the NFL, including a league-high 11 interceptions thanks in large part to both Darious Williams and Andre Cisco hauling in 3 INT’s so far this year. The Jags have a favorable schedule, but their success is hindered on maintaining this incredible pace in the turnover category. If they start to regress to the mean in forced turnovers, their middle of the pack offense and sub-par statistical defense may start to look like more of a problem.


Philadelphia Eagles 38 (7-1) @ Washington Commanders 31 (3-5)

Overreaction: The Eagles are the Super Bowl favorites in the NFL through eight weeks. Philly just put up 38 points on the Commanders despite fumbling inside the 5-yard line twice on Sunday. They easily could have scored 50+. Through eight weeks, the Eagles offense ranks 3rd in the NFL in yards per game and points per game. Their QB Jalen Hurts is 7th in the NFL in passing, their RB D’Andre Swift is 4th in the league in rushing (despite having the fewest attempts of any player in the top five), and their WR A.J. Brown is 2nd in the league in receiving and just broke the NFL record by putting up his 6th straight game of at least 125 receiving yards. He had 8 catches for 130 yards and 2 touchdowns on Sunday. The Eagles also have the 8th best defense in the NFL through the first two months, including the best rushing defense in the league, allowing just 65.5 rushing yards per game. Philadelphia owns the league’s best record, one of the most prolific offenses that features the game’s most unstoppable play, and a defense that can stop the run. If the Super Bowl was tomorrow, I’d take Philly over anyone.


Houston Texans 13 (3-4) @ Carolina Panthers 15 (1-6)

Overreaction: The Panthers may have switched playcallers during the bye week, but that certainly isn’t why they won their first game of the season. During their week off, Carolina Head Coach Frank Reich handed off play-calling duties to Offensive Coordinator Thomas Brown. The move by Reich yielded the Panthers first win, despite the offense putting up one of their lowest point totals of the season in a 15-13 victory. Panthers kicker Eddy Pineiro missed the PAT on the only touchdown scored, but redeemed himself with three field goals thereafter, including the game-winner as time expired to lift the team to their first win of the year. The Carolina offense generated just 224 yards on the day and went 1-4 in the red zone. Thankfully, the Panthers defense had its best game of the season, holding the Texans to just 13 points and 229 total yards, including just 119 through the air from Houston Quarterback CJ Stroud. Carolina is going to have a lot to clean up offensively if they want to start stringing some wins together, because switching play-callers certainly did not fix their problems.


Cleveland Browns 20 (4-3) @ Seattle Seahawks 24 (5-2)

Overreaction: The Seahawks have a legitimate chance to win the NFC West over San Francisco. Seattle has performed brilliantly since losing its opening game to the Rams, winning five of their last six with the gauntlet of its schedule on the horizon. Their most recent display, a 24-20 win over the Browns, was highlighted by a game-winning touchdown in the closing moments to seal a victory and move to 5-2 on the year. With San Francisco now having lost three straight games going into their bye, Seattle has taken control of first place in the NFC West, but for how long? In November, the Seahawks have road games at Baltimore, Los Angeles (Rams) and Dallas, with home games against Washington and San Francisco. Transitioning from November into December, Seattle has a stretch of games against San Francisco, @ Dallas, @ San Francisco, and home vs. Philadelphia. The Seahawks are 5-2, but their legitimacy as a title contender is still being questioned. We should have a much better idea of where this team stands over the next few weeks, starting with Sunday’s huge game in Baltimore against the Ravens.


Kansas City Chiefs 9 (6-2) @ Denver Broncos 24 (3-5)

Overreaction: Russell Wilson may be able to salvage his future as a Denver Bronco after all. Through the opening eight weeks, Wilson is 4th in the NFL in touchdown passes with 16, trailing only Kirk Cousins, Tua Tagovailoa, and Josh Allen, doing so with significantly less passing attempts than all of them. He’s also tied for 3rd among starting QB’s for fewest interceptions this year, throwing just 4 INT’s so far. Perhaps most importantly, this past Sunday, Wilson led the Broncos to a win over the Chiefs, snapping a 16 game losing streak to Kansas City, the longest active head-to-head winning streak in the NFL. In the game, Wilson had just 114 yards passing but threw 3 touchdowns and went 3-5 in the red zone. This came just two weeks after Denver scored just one touchdown in an 19-8 loss to KC on the road. The Broncos are still struggling as a team this season, with a measly 3-5 record. However, Russell Wilson does not seem to be the biggest of Denver’s issues. If he continues to take care of the ball and lead Denver to more wins, it’s not out of the question that Head Coach Sean Payton may want to stick with Wilson, especially when considering the possibility that they may miss out on a top quarterback prospect in the 2024 draft.


Baltimore Ravens 31 (6-2) @ Arizona Cardinals 24 (1-7)

Overreaction: And just like that, the Arizona Cardinals are in-line for the #1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Arizona suffered another loss on Sunday, this time to the Baltimore Ravens. With their loss and the Panthers win over Houston, the Cardinals now own the top pick in the 2024 NFL Draft…for now. Arizona has tons of draft capital for 2024, including two first round picks (their own + Houston’s), one second round pick, and three third round picks. On Monday, first year Head Coach Jonathan Gannon announced that a new quarterback would be starting Arizona’s next game on the road against Cleveland. With Kyler Murray still dealing with the final stages of his ACL rehab, it’ll presumably be rookie Clayton Tune getting his first NFL start against the NFL’s top defense. Tanking? No, that doesn’t happen in the NFL…


Cincinnati Bengals 31 (4-3) @ San Francisco 49ers 17 (5-3)

Overreaction: The Bengals are back and will surge to win the AFC North. What a statement the Bengals just made to the rest of the AFC and entire NFL on Sunday, going into San Francisco and never trailing in what was a dominant 31-17 win over the 49ers. Coming out of the bye week, Quarterback Joe Burrow threw for 283 yards and 3 touchdowns while rushing for 43. Receiver Ja’Marr Chase hauled in 10 catches for 100 yards and a touchdown, while RB Joe Mixon had his best game of the year, putting up 87 yards on 16 carries and a score. Most notably, Burrow’s mobility was back. The highest paid player in the NFL, Burrow, was dealing with a nagging calf injury that he suffered the first week of training camp in late July. Sunday was the healthiest he’s looked since that injury. Paired with an opportunistic defense that currently is 2nd in the league in turnover ratio (+7), Cincinnati is starting to find its footing, just in time for the second half of the season.


Chicago Bears 13 (2-6) @ Los Angeles Chargers 30 (3-4)

Overreaction: This was the first primetime game of the NFL season that featured two head coaches who will lose their jobs at the end of the season. Matt Eberflus for Chicago started rookie quarterback Tyson Bagent for the second straight game, coming off a victory over the Raiders in his first career start a week ago. Against LA, Bagent threw for 232 yards and 2 interceptions while his team was not competitive from the start. Brandon Staley for the Chargers has been around since 2021 and is still dealing with the hangover of how last season ended, a playoff loss to the Jaguars after leading 27-0. Now, his Chargers team is 3-4, with wins against the Vikings, Raiders, and Bears. With the amount of talent on the Chargers and the 5-20 head coaching record for Eberflus, it’s hard to see how either head coach from Sunday night’s game will be back for another season, unless something dramatic changes over the final half of 2023.


Las Vegas Raiders 14 (3-5) @ Detroit Lions 26 (6-2)

Overreaction: The Detroit Lions need to get out of their own way. Just one week after losing 38-6 to the Ravens, Detroit hosted its first Monday Night Football game in five years. Despite getting the win over the lowly Raiders, the Lions could have and probably should have completely dominated on the scoreboard. To start the game, Detroit had three field goal drives, two that stalled in the red zone. The Raiders offense started horribly but put together a great touchdown drive to make it 9-7 when it easily could have already been a three touchdown lead for Detroit. Finally, just before the half, the Lions found the endzone to make it 16-7 at the break. In the second half, quarterback Jared Goff threw a pick 6 and then running back Craig Reynolds fumbled inside the 5 on the ensuing drive. They were handing the Raiders points and costing themselves points time and time again. And still, they held the lead and won the game. Detroit outgained Las Vegas 486-157, held the Raiders to 77 passing yards and 1-9 on third down, and sacked Jimmy Garoppolo six times. The fact that this was just a 12 point win for Detroit in what was otherwise one of the more dominant performances by any team this season is extremely perplexing. The Lions can get away with a performance like that against a team like the Raiders, but not against teams like Baltimore. Still a ways to go for Detroit to be considered a legitimate contender.


Week 8 Teams on Bye: N/A

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