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Overreaction Tuesday - The Bills are Crumbling

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 7 - October 19-October 23, 2023



Jacksonville Jaguars 31 (5-2) @ New Orleans Saints 24 (3-4)

Overreaction: The Jaguars are the AFC team with the best chance to overthrow the Chiefs and take the 1 seed. Since back-to-back losses in Week 2 and Week 3, Jacksonville has won four in a row, beating Atlanta, Buffalo, Indianapolis, and New Orleans. The Jags have forced the most turnovers in the league (16), which has set them up in opportune scoring situations time and again throughout the last four weeks. QB Trevor Lawrence is currently 10th in the league in passing while running back Travis Etienne is 4th in the league in rushing and has more attempts than anyone in the league this year (127). With a favorable schedule ahead, Jacksonville does have a better chance than most at the AFC’s #1 seed for the postseason. The problem is the loss to Kansas City in Week 2, who now owns the tiebreaker over Jacksonville should it come to that. Regardless, the Jaguars are a team that already nobody wants to play and has begun to click as we near the midway point of the season.

 

Las Vegas Raiders 12 (3-4) @ Chicago Bears 30 (2-5)

Overreaction: Josh McDaniels’ time in Las Vegas is crumbling to an end. Las Vegas has defeated Denver, Green Bay, and New England this season. Those three squads hold a combined record of 6-14. Their losses have come against Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles (Chargers), and now the lowly Bears. The loss to Chicago was a low point for McDaniels, as it came against a rookie quarterback making his first career start in Tyson Bagent. The Raiders never led and didn’t score a touchdown until they trailed by 24 with under 2 minutes to go, making the score slightly less embarrassing at 30-12 instead of 30-6. Las Vegas was without its starting quarterback as well, opting for veteran Brain Hoyer to start in the place of Jimmy Garroppolo. Hoyer went 17/32 for 129 yards and 2 interceptions, the second of which was his final pass of the day after being returned for a touchdown. Down 30-6, McDaniels put in rookie QB Aiden O’Connell, who promptly threw an interception himself on the ensuing Raiders drive. Las Vegas still has to play @ Detroit, @ Miami, and Kansas City twice. With losses mounting and star players upset, it feels like McDaniels days as the Vegas head coach are numbered.

 

Cleveland Browns 39 (4-2) @ Indianapolis Colts 38 (3-4)


Overreaction: The Cleveland Browns have the league’s best defensive player and will make the playoffs because of him. On Sunday, defensive end Myles Garrett surpassed Reggie White (80 sacks) for most NFL sacks by a player prior to his 28th birthday since 1982, when the individual sack became an official stat. Garrett recorded his 82nd career sack in the game against Indianapolis adding to his ridiculous statline in the Brown’s win, recording 5 QB pressures, 2 sack fumbles (recovering one for a touchdown), 6 run stops, 3 tackles for loss, and a blocked field goal. He currently sits 3rd in the NFL in sacks this season (7.5) and is clearly in the conversation for Defensive Player of the Year as the best player on the league’s best defense. With their defense, the Browns will likely find themselves with a chance to win nearly every game they play, which has proved to be enough to secure victories over the past two weeks, with close wins over both San Francisco and Indianapolis catapulting Cleveland to a 4-2 record.

 

Buffalo Bills 25 (4-3) @ New England Patriots 29 (2-5)

Overreaction: The Bills are in very real trouble. From weeks 2-4, Buffalo won three games by 28+ points. Since, they lost in London to Jacksonville, barely beat the lowly Giants 14-9, and on Sunday lost to a Patriots team by giving up a season-high 29 points to an offense that hadn’t scored 29 over its past three games combined. On defense, key injuries to star linebacker Matt Milano and cornerback Tre’Davious White have begun to take a toll. On offense, the Bills are starting games too slow and are ending up in deficits that they can’t seem to climb out of. It happened in London, and against the Giants, and again on Sunday against their hated rival New England. Once the offense finally found its footing in the game, putting together three touchdown drives in four possessions, the Bills defense simultaneously fell apart, allowing scores on three out of four New England drives. The game ended just as it had started for the Buffalo offense, with a Josh Allen turnover. All of the sudden, the Bills are 4-3 and have a lot of tough games to play. They’re going to have to find more footing on offense to start games faster and give the depleted defense a chance to play a game from in front.

 

Washington Commanders 7 (3-4) @ New York Giants 14 (2-5)

Overreaction: The Ron Rivera era in Washington is beginning to come to an end. The Commanders might be the most inconsistent team in the NFL through three weeks. After beating Arizona in Week 1, Washington allowed at least 34 points in each of its next four games, going 1-3 through that stretch. Then, last week, the defense turned a corner in the win over Atlanta, before allowing a season-low in points scored on Sunday against New York, only to have the offense held below 10 points for the second time this season. In the stretch the defense gave up 34+ for four straight weeks, the offense scored 30+ twice and seemed to be finding a groove. All of this to say, the Commanders are inconsistent, which is another way of saying they are poorly coached. Washington is 29th in defense, 22nd in offense, and has allowed the most sacks (40) of any team in the league. If this rate keeps up, especially when considering there are brand new owners in town, it’s hard not to see a coaching regime change come 2024-25

 

Atlanta Falcons 16 (4-3) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13 (3-3)

Overreaction: The Falcons are the only team in the NFL that is over .500 in spite of its quarterback and head coach. Atlanta won a big game on Sunday, taking down the Buccaneers on the road to take over first place in the NFC South. Because of this, there are no imminent changes coming, even if it seems like there maybe should be. As has been highlighted in this blog before, Atlanta has used a Top 10 draft pick on a skill position player three years in a row, taking Kyle Pitts, Drake London, and Bijan Robinson the first round each of the last three years. And yet, remarkably, Head Coach Arthur Smith does not use his assets the way you might imagine. On Sunday, the Falcons ran 64 offensive plays. Pitts, London, and Robinson combined for involvement on 12 of them. The bulk of the work came from Tyler Allgeier in the running game, getting 21 carries for 59 yards. Backup RB Cordarrelle Paterson got 10 carries for 56 yards, while Bijan Robinson got 1 carry for 3 yards. It’s not just this game either; Robinson has 15 less carries than Allgeier this season and has rushed for 103 more yards. Why isn’t he getting more carries? With a quarterback in Desmond Ridder who has thrown as many touchdowns this season as interceptions (6), you’d think that getting the ball to your first round draft picks would help. This couch coach says so, and Arthur Smith either knows something we don’t or is simply unaware of what he has and isn’t using.

 

Detroit Lions 6 (5-2) @ Baltimore Ravens 38 (5-2)


Overreaction: The Ravens are the best team in the NFL that nobody is talking about. Baltimore could easily be undefeated at 7-0, but have lost a dud in the pouring rain against Indy and a road game against Pittsburgh thanks to seven drops by receivers. On Sunday, the Ravens put together their best performance of the season, blowing the doors off a Lions team that had just one loss entering the game and owned a win over Baltimore’s highly sought after AFC foe, Kansas City Chiefs. The game was over almost immediately as the Ravens scored touchdowns on four straight drives to open the game. 28-0 just like that. On defense, Baltimore forced three straight three-and-outs, making it so it was 28-0 by the time the Lions had converted a first down. Quarterback Lamar Jackson put together an MVP performance, throwing for 357 yards and 3 touchdowns while rushing for 36 yards and a score. The first half of Sunday’s game is what the Ravens look like when they’re firing on all cylinders. And when they do that, I’m not sure there’s a team in the league who can stop them.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers 24 (4-2) @ Los Angeles Rams 17 (3-4)

Overreaction: The Steelers have figured it out on offense and will make the playoffs because of it. Pittsburgh was 3-2 entering their bye week with all eyes on Offensive Coordinator Matt Canada for lack of performance. After a loss to Houston in which the offense scored just 6 points, the Steelers offense was abysmal in a 17-10 win over Baltimore. Thanks to the stellar defensive performance, Pittsburgh won the game. Now, coming out of the bye, the Steelers are starting to find their identity a bit more. In Sunday’s win over the Rams, Pittsburgh never turned it over and put up 300 yards of offense. A relatively low number, but a very complementary one to a game-wrecking defense. The Steelers now play three straight home games and have the schedule to stay in the playoff mix for the remainder of the season. There aren’t a lot of names on offense that scare you, but if Head Coach Mike Tomlin gets into the postseason, I wouldn’t bet against him.

 

Arizona Cardinals 10 (1-6) @ Seattle Seahawks 20 (4-2)


Overreaction: The Cardinals should get as many picks as they can for the 2024 NFL Draft. The NFL trade deadline is a week from today, so this is the last Overreaction Tuesday before that happens. Arizona has some strong assets to work with, such as wide receiver Marquise Brown, safety Budda Baker, and potentially quarterback Kyler Murray. If they wanted to, Arizona could continue to look toward the future and continue to build its stockpile of picks.Currently the Cardinals have 11 picks for 2024, including two first-rounders, one second-rounder, and three third-rounders. If I’m the Cardinals, I continue to go all-in on the future and look to build what could be one of the more exciting young rosters in the NFL.

 

Los Angeles Chargers 17 (2-4) @ Kansas City Chiefs 31 (6-1)

Overreaction: We just wrapped up Week 7, and the AFC West has already been won by the Kansas City Chiefs for an 8th straight year. Ok, not literally. However, through seven weeks, the Chiefs are 6-1 while the Raiders sit in 2nd at 3-4, the Chargers 2-4, and the Broncos 2-5. KC currently holds the #1 seed in the AFC and has a three game lead on its division. Only the Lions have a divisional lead as large. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes is having yet another MVP-worthy season, with his best performance coming on Sunday against the Chargers. On the year, Mahomes is 2nd in the NFL in passing yards, is tied for 1st in touchdown passes (15) and has taken the fewest sacks of any starting quarterback (7). Mahomes has time and, for the first time in his career, he has a top defense. The Chiefs D ranks 8th in total defense and is allowing the 3rd fewest points per game, only trailing Baltimore and San Francisco. They rank 8th in forced turnovers (11) and have not allowed more than 21 points scored in any game this season, holding opponents to 10 or less three times along the way. The Chiefs have a gauntlet of a schedule but if they keep performing the way they are, it’s hard to see a way they don’t advance back to Patrick Mahomes’ sixth AFC Championship game in as many years and perhaps another Super Bowl.

 

Green Bay Packers 17 (2-4) @ Denver Broncos 19 (2-5)


Overreaction: The Green Bay Packers have one of the worst offenses in the NFL. Flash back to Week 1…Jordan Love threw 3 touchdowns and led the Packers to a 38-20 win over the Bears. A week later, Green Bay led Atlanta on the road 24-12 going to the 4th quarter. Since that moment, the Packers offense has been a tick (or more) off. The Falcons outscored the Packers 13-0 in the 4th quarter and won the game 25-24. In Week 3, Green Bay didn’t score until the 4th quarter in a 18-17 comeback win over New Orleans. In the Week 4 loss, they fell behind 24-3 before converting a first down. And over the past two games, they failed to score more than 17 points and have now lost three games in a row. The Packers rank 26th on offense and are finally as healthy as they have been all season, and yet they were as inept as they’ve looked all season on Sunday and that was coming off the bye.

 

Miami Dolphins 17 (5-2) @ Philadelphia Eagles 31 (6-1)


Overreaction: The Miami Dolphins are not built to play legitimate opponents and are not one of the NFL’s best teams. The combined record of the five teams Miami has beaten is 8-25. Of the two they’ve lost to, the combined record is 10-4. Now, clearly, the Dolphins are really good. They lead the NFL in total offense and have put up nearly 500 more yards than any other team in the league. They’re atop the league in passing yards and rushing yards, and have a receiver in Tyreek Hill who has already racked up 902 yards this season (128.9 YPG). However, despite all of this, they don’t seem to be as good as originally thought. When you beat bad teams and lose to good teams, that will be the narrative, regardless of circumstance. The good news is that Miami has more opportunities to change that narrative, and soon. In two weeks, the Dolphins play the Chiefs and they close out the season with a three game stretch against Dallas, Baltimore, and Buffalo. If they are as good as the statistics say, they’ll need to start stringing some wins together against more formidable opponents, especially if they want to be considered in the same category as, say, Kansas City, Philadelphia, and San Francisco.

 

San Francisco 49ers 17 (5-2) @ Minnesota Vikings 22 (3-4)

Overreaction: The 49ers are the NFL’s best team that can’t handle adversity. San Francisco started the year 5-0, winning all five games by an average of nearly 20 points. Then, in Week 6, their perfect start came to an end in a 19-17 loss to Cleveland that saw the 49ers 4th quarter lead evaporate in the closing minutes, followed by a missed field goal from 41 yards that would have won the game. On Monday night, San Francisco battled adversity yet again, only to fold under pressure once again. For the second straight week, the offense sputtered and only put up 17 points in a loss, turning the ball over in crucial moments. On the SF opening drive, following a forced turnover by the 49ers defense, star running back Christian McCaffrey fumbled in the red zone, costing his team points. Later in the game, with San Francisco trailing by 5, QB Brock Purdy threw interceptions on back-to-back drives, which would ultimately be their final two drives of the night. Sure, San Francisco didn’t have star receiver Deebo Samuel, but they still had Christian McCaffrey, George Kittle, and Brandon Aiyuk on offense, not to mention the studs they have on defense. And while Samuel was a key missing piece, Minnesota was without the best receiver in football, Justin Jefferson, for the second straight game, and still put up 378 yards of passing offense. There’s no question that the 49ers are very good, probably one of the best teams in football. But winning games by a lot on losing back-to-back close games is showing a potential inability to overcome adversity. They are not yet ‘battle tested,’ but have plenty of opportunities left to change that.

 

Week 7 Teams on Bye:

  • Bengals (3-3)

  • Cowboys (4-2)

  • Titans (2-4)

  • Jets (3-3)

  • Panthers (0-6)

  • Texans (3-3)

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