It’s bye-week time for the Redskins, which provides a chance for some Redskins to lick their wounds, get caught up to speed, or grab a burrito. Of course, many on the team find the timing unfortunate, considering that it comes on the heels of the squad’s first win. But hey, maybe they can just look at themselves as being in solidarity with the thousands of other D.C.-area residents who are being told to stay away from their jobs.
So, got any big plans for Sunday? You know, this is a golden opportunity to knock off some items on that ol’ to-do (or is it a honey-do?) list. Maybe clean out the garage, slap a fresh coat of paint in the dining room, go through all those credit-card offers, or even … oh, who are we kidding, you’re gonna watch NFL football, right?
Fortunately for this week’s slate, the Redskins aren’t the only underachieving team on a bye. In fact, the four squads sitting this one out — Washington, Minnesota, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay — are a combined 2-14. So while the bad news is that you won’t get to see the Burgundy and Gold, you will get an unusually large number of intriguing matchups.
Here is how I rank Sunday’s games. I’ll leave out the Monday night contest, partly because it’s not especially relevant for this exercise, and partly because it’s one of the lamer matchups but of particular interest to Jets fans like myself (hey, it beats being a Giants fan these days):
1. Broncos (4-0) at Cowboys (2-2): A guaranteed points-fest, and near-guaranteed Cowboys loss — what’s not to like? Denver is making more offensive history with each passing week, and Dallas doesn’t figure to stand in its way so much as attempt to run alongside. In fairness, the game is at Dallas, so the Cowboys do have a punchers’ chance. After all, they’re 2-0 at home, having beaten the Rams and Gian … well, they’re 2-0 at home, let’s just leave it at that.
2. Saints (4-0) at Bears (3-1): New Orleans is always fun to watch, and this year’s Bears defense is more likely to score a touchdown or two on its own than to prevent the Saints from getting into the end zone.
3. Lions (3-1) at Packers (1-2): What can I say, I’m a fantasy football geek, i.e., a sucker for offense. The Lions have looked very potent this season, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they win this outright and stake their claim atop the NFC North. (As a corollary, I’m not a gambling geek but I LUV the seven points Detroit is getting here.)
4. Patriots (4-0) at Bengals (2-2): New England doesn’t seem quite as strong as its undefeated record might indicate, and I think the Pats go down here. Meanwhile, Cincinnati’s loss last week at Cleveland looks increasingly forgivable.
5. Seahawks (4-0) at Colts (3-1): This looks like another good spot for an unbeaten team to take an L, especially in light of how Indianapolis pushed the 49ers around in San Francisco a coupe of weeks ago. The Colts are going to need to summon up that physicality again, and something resembling an explosive play by Trent Richardson would be a refreshing change of pace.
6. Eagles (1-3) at Giants (0-4): Yup, a total I-95 corridor call here, but I suspect most Redskins fans also have an interest in this one. Philadelphia at least can be relied on to provide some fireworks, and I’ll be very interested to see if New York truly has given up on the season (and its coach) or if it has a little fight left.
7. Texans (2-2) at 49ers (2-2): I should be more excited about this showdown between two squads with legitimate Super Bowl aspirations, but I just can’t help feeling like the Texans are utterly fraudulent. Prove me wrong, Houston!
8. Chiefs (4-0) at Titans (3-1): Before the season, no one was circling this affair, but a combined record of 7-1 has a way of piquing interest. Too bad Tennessee will be without Jake Locker, as he would have provided even more intrigue.
9. Ravens (2-2) at Dolphins (3-1): It speaks to the quality of this week’s matchups that I have this one ranked so low. It certainly shouldn’t lack for intensity.
10. Chargers (2-2) at Raiders (1-3): San Diego has been surprisingly good, the Raiders get Terrelle Pryor back, the franchises and fan bases hate each other, and how about that crazy 11:35 p.m. EST start time? That alone — well, that, plus the fact that I’m a bit of a night owl — makes this a game I’ll definitely be watching.
11. Panthers (1-2) at Cardinals (2-2): Two teams that might be better than you think, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
12. Jaguars (0-4) at Rams (1-3): Ick. But if you, like me, find intrigue in Eagles-Giants, then this is the only real dog Sunday has in store for us. And even this one features the return of Justin Blackmon. Justin Blackmon, people!
So, yeah, lots of NFL goodness is on tap. Which game intrigues you the most, and why? Did I rank one egregiously low?
Des Bieler is a page designer, artist and writer who contributes his NFL insights to Opening Kick on Fridays and the print edition’s game-day page on Sundays. Follow him on Twitter at @DezBeeWP.
Around the Web:
● Regarding the former Buccaneers quarterback, Sports on Earth’s Dan Pompei asks, “Can Freeman be salvaged?” You know, if the Redskins wind up trading Kirk Cousins …
● Kiko Alonso channels Superfly Snuka, and everything else you need to know about last night’s Bills-Browns game, courtesy of nfl.com.
● If you can’t beat them, have them join you? That’s what the Giants have in mind, reportedly nearing a trade for Carolina linebacker Jon Beason, just a couple of weeks after getting mauled by the Panthers.
From The Post:
● The Redskins are off until Mon. Oct. 7. The next game is 8:30 p.m. Sun. Oct. 13 at Dallas.