As punishment for every pudding head tweeting “FOOTBALL IS BACK” 46 times a day since last week, the football gods decided to replace the souls of the 2019 Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears with the 2015 Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans.
What better way to kickoff the new year then by watching a game that plays like an AFC South TNF game in December?
Green Bay 10, Chicago 3
That game was brutal. Both teams rushed for less than 50 yards there as only one touchdown the entire night. Neither offense surpassed 254 yards.
The first six drives went like this: punt, punt, punt, field goal, punt, punt. The field goal was only exciting because it was a Bears’ kicker who made it and in case you aren’t hip to the special teams’ scene, converting a field goal from any distance was basically a win for Chicago.
The most exciting part of the night was when a hot mic picked up someone on the sideline admitting they never had their butt fingered.
“I’ve never had my butt fingered.” - the NFL season is off to a HOT start pic.twitter.com/BctP2PxGM5— Barstool Sports (@BarstoolsTweets) September 6, 2019
Which, for intents and purposes, is a good thing to know. It’s refreshing to learn that professional athletes are just like us common folk who aren’t into weird butt stuff.
I’ve always wondered what dumb trend would send me over into the land of “the olds.” Now I know it’s butt stuff.
Games to watch this week
Tennessee at Cleveland
The Browns are giving people a reason to care about Cleveland for reasons other than LeBron James and Drew Carey.
The potential home run duo of QB Baker Mayfield and WR Odell Beckham Jr. will certainly have the most focus during the game not only from fans but from Tennessee’s defense.
But Mayfield has plenty of other options, too. According to Move the Sticks, the Browns have five receivers who recorded more than 500 receiving yards last year.
RB Derrick Henry met with former Titans’ great Eddie George before the 2018 season for a come to Jesus moment. Henry then turned in his first 1,000-yard season and showed everyone he is the running back we’ve been waiting on.
Cincinnati at Seattle
The Bengals have a new skipper in Zac Taylor and his zero playoff losses as a head coach is already a good sign that things could change in Cincinnati.
Taylor, who was the Rams’ quarterbacks coach last season, returns to Cincinnati and now oversees offense with some powerful weapons in QB Andy Dalton, WR A.J. Green and RB Joe Mixon.
But he also oversees a defense that ranked in the bottom five against the run and the pass.
This game will also give us a glimpse of how OLB Jadeveon Clowney, at the very least, looks in a 4-3 defense. Seahawks DC Ken Norton Jr. is probably not going to use Clowney aggressively yet. Clowney hasn’t played in the 4-3 in a long time.
Indianapolis at LA Chargers
It’s the Colts’ first game of the new era post-Andrew Luck. During the final week of the preseason, Luck announced his retirement, which shed light on just how much he’s been through and how dumb some Colts’ fans really are.
They booed a man who literally gave them everything, which is basically the third act of The Dark Knight.
Now, the Colts go with QB Jacoby Brissett, who is more than capable of taking over as the starter. Brissett took over for an injured Luck back in 2017 and was sacked league-most 56 times, due in large part to his to inability to get rid of the ball quickly. Still, he managed a solid season of 3,098 passing yards with 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He completed 58% of his passes that season.
The Chargers also begin another season of pretending they are a football team Los Angeles likes or cares about. PACK THE STUB HUB CENTER!!!!
Denver at Oakland
If John Gruden and Mike Mayock decide to cut WR Antonio Brown they will have rid the most interesting facet of the Raiders. Thankfully, due to the organization being a complete dumpster fire, there are still plenty more reasons to watch.
Brown and Mayock reportedly got involved in a heated exchange and according to Jason La Canfora’s weird, text-dense heap of a tweet, Brown apparently used some potty language.
Not going to repeat what I've heard AB calledbMike Mayock out on the field Wednesday. don't have enough corroborating sources yet. But if what I was told is even in the ballpark of what was said then I can't see this player being there much longer— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) September 5, 2019
The Raiders listed Brown on the injury report citing conduct.
The Raiders are so good at being the car accident that you can’t look away from, that we don’t even care that QB Joe Flacco is now the starting quarterback for the Broncos.
Kansas City at Jacksonville
QB Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are must-watch TV.
At first glance, this game doesn’t look like much but a key battle to watch is Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill and Jaguars CB Jalen Ramsey.
The last time these two met, Ramsey allowed two catches of more than 10 and 30 yards, respectively. Hill could have had more if he got the looks from Mahomes in time. Hill is so fast out of the gate that on most of the routes, Ramsey was playing catch up. This time around, I expect Hill to have a better showing against Ramsey.
Former Rams quarterback Nick Foles is the starter for the Jags. While he has a minor oblique injury, he’s still expected to play. Go, Nick!
If former Rams don’t give you enough reason to root against the Chiefs, how about guys looking to bounce back? RB Leonard Fournette is adamant in proving that 2018 was a fluke and Sunday’s game against Kansas City will be the first leg of his return.
The former LSU product rushed for just 439 yards in 2018, which was a 58% drop in production from his 2017 campaign (1,040 yards).
Injury Report Highlights
New York Jets — Former Rams CB Trumaine Johnson is expected to play despite missing most of the preseason with a hamstring injury.
Cincinnati — Starting LT Cordy Glenn is dealing with concussion-like issues. If he can’t go, guess who his replacement will be? Former first-round pick (2009) Andre Smith.
Kansas City — While S Tyrann Mathieu is expected to play on Sunday, it’s worth noting he is dealing with a shoulder injury he suffered in the preseason.
LA Chargers — S Derwin James was placed on the IR after he had surgery for a stress fracture he suffered in his right foot. Adrian Phillips will serve as his replacement.
Oakland — OL Gabe Jackson is out for two months after injuring his MCL during the scuffle with DT Aaron Donald. The Raiders are having Denzelle Good replace him. Good was expected to miss two months as well after having back surgery but oh well, I guess.
Dallas — WR Amari Cooper expects to play against New York after missing time with a heel injury in early August.
Washington — TE Jordan Reed remains in concussion protocol.
Detroit — The Lions have three players in question for Sunday: LB Jarrad Davis (ankle), DE Da’Shawn Hall (elbow) and CB Rashaan Melvin (knee).
Minnesota — The Vikings have a few guys coming back in the fold, like CB Mike Hughes who taken off the PUP list. However, WR Stefon Diggs missed Wednesday’s practice with a hamstring injury.
Carolina — OLB Bruce Irvin missed the last week of practice with a hamstring injury, although it’s unclear if he will be able to play.
Arizona — LB Haason Reddick is “slowly returning” to practice after having arthroscopic knee surgery in July. He could see limited time on Sunday.
San Francisco — DE Nick Bosa is back at practice after missing a month with an ankle sprain.
Seattle — It’s unclear if WR DJ Metcalf will play Sunday after having “minimal” surgery on his knee nearly a month ago.