NFL Sunday wrapup: The one game worth watching during Packers' bye

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Tim Seeman
October 19, 2015

Forgive me if you don't want to hear about the landscape of the AFC East again, but as the Packers take the week off, there's only one game between teams with winning records in Week 7: New York at New England.

One of my observations from the above column after the first week of games was that Rex Ryan's Buffalo Bills team might've assumed the role as the team most likely to topple the Patriots in that division, mostly because of their defense and running game.

As is the case every once in a while, that observation was a little off.

It's more clear now that Buffalo, which beat an underachieving Indianapolis team in Week 1, isn't really near the level of the Patriots. The Bills' only wins since Week 1 were against Miami and Tennessee, both losing teams.

It turns out the biggest challenger for New England might be Ryan's former team.

Todd Bowles has his Jets playing stout defense (they're allowing an NFL-best 13.8 points per game), and running back Chris Ivory is on pace to have the best season of his career.

The only problem for New York is that its success hasn't come against any upper-echelon teams. A 20-7 decision over Indianapolis in Week 2 might be the Jets' best win, and the Colts are just 3-3.

Still, an old NFL adage says you are what your record is, and New York's 4-1 record indicates it is one of the AFC's top teams. That hypothesis will be put to a grueling test at Gillette Stadium against the undefeated defending Super Bowl champions, who haven't really been threatened since the Bills tried to mount a big comeback in the second half of their Week 2 loss.

I wouldn't be surprised if the Jets came out and landed a couple haymakers, but I expect the Patriots will be ready to absorb them and strike back with just as much force.


While Jets-Patriots will be the only good NFL game to watch next week, the worst game might be taking place in London. That game between Buffalo and Jacksonville will be far overshadowed in the United Kingdom (and the rest of Europe) when third-place Manchester United hosts league-leading Manchester City at Old Trafford in an English Premier League game.

If you take one thing away from this column this week, take this: Watch City and United play at 9 a.m. instead of watching the Bills and Jaguars, who kick off at 9:30. I promise it won't kill you.

Because there will be goals in Manchester. There will be emotion. There will be drama. And most importantly, there will be no Blake Bortles.


The hits keep coming for the Baltimore Ravens. Another trip out West ended in another loss, this one in a reprise of Super Bowl XLVII against the San Francisco 49ers, who now employ former Ravens wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith, who caught a long touchdown pass from Colin Kaepernick on Sunday.

Their chances of rallying to make the playoffs have completely vanished, but I wouldn't expect many drastic shakeups. The general manager (Ozzie Newsome), head coach (John Harbaugh) and quarterback (Joe Flacco) have had enough success in the league to write 2015 off as a dreadful anomaly.

Perhaps with the high pick it appears they will have in the first round of the 2016 draft, they'll be able to find an impactful defensive player to start the necessary remodel they need on that side of the ball.


The Chargers were narrow 3½-point favorites to beat the Steelers at home, and I took Pittsburgh to cover that spread. When Mike Tomlin eschewed a field goal attempt from the 1-yard line that would've forced overtime in favor of Le'Veon Bell off left tackle, the winning touchdown gave the Steelers the outright win. My correct pick gets my season record back to .500 after I lost three in a row to start the season.

Divisional rivals take the field this Monday night when the Philadelphia Eagles host the New York Giants.

The visitors are on a three-game winning streak after losing their first two, but Eli Manning and the Giants could be without Odell Beckham Jr. as the second-year wideout nurses a hamstring injury he sustained while scoring a touchdown last week against the 49ers.

Philadelphia also won last week, putting a 39-17 beatdown on the New Orleans Saints. It was the first time everything came together for the Eagles' offense with Sam Bradford throwing for 333 yards and DeMarco Murray rushing for 83 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.

The Eagles are five-point favorites on their home field, but the Giants are on a roll, have a slightly better roster and definitely have the better quarterback. New York will cover the spread regardless, and it could win outright if Beckham can play the entire game. 30-24 New York


Tim Seeman spends his Sundays combing through the day's NFL action and stressing over the print headline for the Packers game story. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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