The New King in Town

By David McDonnell

There is a new King upon the throne in the NFL.

Josh Allen went into the heart of Chiefs Kingdom and came out with a dramatic win from his match-up with Patrick Mahomes.

Since their roller-coaster shootout in the AFC play-offs in January, this was long marked in the calendar. The two best players in the NFL went head-to-head once again and it didn’t disappoint. This game had the feel and energy of a January contest throughout. Every play seemed to matter and in the end, Josh Allen and his team emerged victorious. 

They say you can’t be the best until you beat the best. Well, Allen won the day and to the victor, go the spoils. For now, he deserves the mantle of being recognised as the best quarterback in football.

Long live the King!

So let’s get to the action. 

Bills v Chiefs

Surprisingly, to everyone but Tony Romo, who somehow called a 24-20 win at the start of his broadcast, there was no score in the first quarter as both teams got red zone stops. First Allen tossed a lateral to Isaiah McKenzie who wasn’t expecting it and it was recovered by the team in red and Mahomes’ impressive first drive finished up in the hands of Bills first-round pick, Kaiir Elam who got his second interception in two weeks.  

In the second quarter, Mahomes had struck up a good partnership with Juju Smith-Schuster and on third and long, the QB used his natural instincts to buy time in the pocket and found his slot receiver, who bounced off a tackle and ran in his first touchdown for Kansas.

The Chiefs defence managed to keep Allen out when he went for it on fourth and goal and soon had him backed up outside his own end zone. On third down, he found Gabe Davis for a big play and later in the drive, when he saw Davis matched-up with rookie corner Joshua Williams, Allen took the shot for a touchdown.  

On the cusp of half time and with 12 seconds remaining in the half, Mahomes managed two quick plays and Harrison Butker kicked the sides level with an effort from 62 yards to tie the scores 10-10 at the break.

In the third quarter, Allen saw Stefon Diggs matched-up one-on-one with the rookie fourth-round pick Williams and he repeated his trick by picking on the rookie and finding Diggs with an almost identical play for another TD. 

By the end of the third quarter, the sides were level as Mahomes again found time in the pocket on third down to find Mecole Hardman in traffic. It set up a grandstand finish which had the feel and excitement of a play-off game. Mahomes started to find his favourite target Travis Kelce as he led his side up the field for Butker to kick them 17-20 ahead with 10 minutes remaining.

Five minutes later, a second sack of the game by future Hall-of-Famer Von Miller got the ball back for the Bills. When Devin Singletary was stopped inches short on third down, Allen used all of his six foot five inch frame on a QB sneak to extend the drive on fourth down.  Allen then found Diggs on a couple of big plays to get up to the 27 yard line. Then came the play of the game, as Allen brought the action to 12 yards out. Shout out to @sean___connor for adding the accompanying track.

Phew!!! Let’s see that again from another angle.

He then finished the drive with a rocket to Dawson Knox on the left sideline for the winning score. Mahomes had 64 seconds left to recuse the day but under pressure his throw was intercepted by Taron Johnson to secure a Bills victory. 

Already, this feels massive for Buffalo and could be decisive in securing home advantage in the play-offs as it gives them a one-game lead over their nearest rivals in the AFC rankings. Already, the biggest challenge may be keeping a lid on the excitement and fervor for one of the longest-suffering fan bases as they go in search of their first Superbowl victory. They are the favourites in the bookies and with good reason.

And fingers crossed we get to do this again in January. 

Eagles go 6-0

Cowboys v Eagles

In the late kick-off, the Philadelphia Eagles extended their winning run to 6-0 with a morale boosting win over their NFC East rival Dallas Cowboys. By almost half-time, they threatened to run away with the contest by taking a 20-0 lead as their impressive offensive line dominated up front with second quarter touchdowns by Miles Sanders and AJ Brown. What was most interesting was how Jalen Hurts kept running the run-pass option at Micah Parsons, to keep the pass-rusher from affecting the game.

The Eagles defensive backs were just as impressive on a night where James Bradberry, Darius Slay and CJ Gardner-Johnson all had picks on the night. With Cooper Rush struggling, the Cowboys put the ball in the hands of Ezekiel Elliot to great effect and he ran well and finished with a 14-yard TD. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Rush found Jake Ferguson for another TD with only three points now separating the sides. 

The Eagles got back to what they do extremely well and ran it behind their line for the pivotal drive of the game and a play-action pass to Devonta Smith from seven yards saw them into a 17-26 lead that they never relinquished. The Eagles can now rest up as they take their 6-0 unbeaten record into their bye-week. 

Super Sunday

There were two outstanding games in the early Sunday matches. 

Bengals v Saints 

Another team I believe will also contend for the AFC Championship are the Cincinnati Bengals, who won their match-up of the fans who shout ‘Who Dey’ against the fans who shout ‘Who Dat.’

The Bengals are a team with a strong defence and, once their new offensive line beds in, have the weapons and the quarterback to go toe-to-toe with any side across the league. It was Burrow’s first return to the Superdome and to the state of Louisiana since winning the National Championship with LSU in 2020. He entered the stadium pre-game wearing an LSU game jersey of his then and current teammate Ja’Marr Chase. 

Joe Burrow showed that he can run as well as he can pass when he found a hole in the Saints defence for a touchdown as the Saints took a 14-20 point midway lead. 

In the third quarter Burrow found a well-covered Chase with a great throw for a touchdown. They pair were at it again late in the fourth quarter when they linked up for a 60-yard TD as Cincinnati took their first lead in the contest with two minutes remaining. 

Jaguars v Colts 

Matt Ryan once again lived up to his ‘Matty Ice’ nickname of old in a fantastic late win over the Jags.

It ended up being a roller-coaster and Jacksonville’s great hope at QB, Trevor Laurence played very well throughout. He must be wondering what he must do to get his first divisional road win, as the Jags succumbed to their 14th consecutive AFC South loss away from Jacksonville.  

Ryan found Paris Campbell for the first Indianapolis TD in over 110 minutes of football to see the score 14-13 at half time as the Colts continued their 2022 tradition of never having led at half-time yet this season. 

The sides exchanged rushing TDs in the third quarter when Dion Jackson replied for the home side after Laurence had rushed for his second TD of the day. The Colts took the lead for the first time in the contest when Ryan found rookie tight-end Jelani Woods and this was responded to by an impressive 18-play drive by Laurence which resulted in him finding Christian Kirk in the endzone to retake the lead 27-26. 

With 17 seconds left, Ryan had his side within field-goal range but on third down, he threw to rookie receiver Alec Pierce for another late win before a rapturous home support. The game was significant to Ryan in that he passed the great Dan Marino to now have the seventh most passing yards by a QB in NFL history.

New York, New York 

What a time to be a fan in NYC as both sides of the football fraternity continue to surprise with unexpected wins. I keep waiting for the wheels to come off both karts but so far, they keep winning. 

The Giants handed Lamar Jackson his third ever October loss in another terrific early contest on Sunday. The Ravens took a fourth quarter 20-10 lead when Jackson found Mark Andrews with a precise throw that came over the tight-end’s shoulder.

Daniel Jones then found his own tight-end Danny Bellinger for a TD before the first Giants interception of the season set the G-men up with a short field late in the game. Star-man Sequon Barkley jumped like a human torpedo into endzone for the winning score. 

Sequon could have had another touchdown late in the game but chose to slide down at the one-yard line to make the Ravens burn their remaining timeouts, as time ran out at the MetLife Stadium.

It was the second week in a row that Aaron Rodgers came unstuck against teams from the Big Apple, where the Jets rookie class were again to the fore during a famous 24-10 in Lambeau Field win. 

Running-back Breece Hall showed why he was the first running back off the board in this year’s draft on a day where he had 116 rushing yards and the game sealing TD in the fourth quarter. 

Afterwards rookie corner Ahmed ‘Sauce’ Gardner wore a Green Bay Cheese-head hat coming off the field, which seemed to rub Allen Lezard the wrong way and he flipped it off his head. I’m sure Scott Hanson must have been bellowing ‘Cheese-sauce’ in the Redzone studio. I’d be disappointed if he wasn’t. 


One of the most interesting stories of the weekend came during Steve Wilks first game as caretaker in Carolina, after his predecessor Matt Rhule became the first head-coach shown the exit door this season after the Panthers lost last Sunday. 

Interesting, it was not on the field but on the sideline where the action was most intense. 

In the third quarter, receiver Robbie Anderson had a heated exchange and squared-up to his receiving coach Joe Dailey. A few plays later word had got to Wilks and he sent Anderson to the locker room. Afterwards he was keen to pour cold water on the incident and kept any drama in-house for now.  

This was a good game for Rams’ Allen Robinson who began to build up a rapport with Matt Stafford with five catches for 63 yards and a TD. The player who most impressed was Carolina running-back Christian McCaffery. Maybe he was auditioning for a move after hearing, like everyone else, the rumours of a potential trade to Superbowl-favourite Buffalo Bills. If that is the case, he nailed his audition clocking up 168-yards from scrimmage. After that sideline altercation, maybe he won’t be the only Panther leaving in the near future. 

Tom Brady suffered his third loss in six games as Mitch Trubisky came off the bench when Kenny Pickett never returned from a head-injury assessment to lead the Steelers to a late come from behind fourth quarter victory. He found Chase Claypool in the endzone for a 20-12 lead. Brady had a chance to tie the game when Leonard Fournette scored, but he failed with a two-point conversion.

The Patriots had the home crowd booing in Cleveland, as the Pats third-string rookie QB Bailey Zappe looked the part in a dominant 38-15 win. Rhamondre Stevenson was the bell cow running-back going for 91 yards from scrimmage and two TDs. It was a notable game in the career of one Bill Belichick who tied the famed Chicago Bears coach George Halas for the most wins by a head coach in the NFL. 

The Atlanta Falcons are becoming one of my favourite teams to watch and their all-action offence led by a rejuvenated Marcus Mariota did the business by taking out the 49ers in convincing fashion. 

Two Brandon Aiyuk touchdowns had the visiting side level 14-14 in the second quarter when Mariota ran right on an option play and beat the linebacker to the endzone. He then linked up with the exciting tight-end Kyle Pitts for his first TD of the season to extend the lead to 14, which was never threatened.

Jimmy G reminds me of an apple crumble every time he comes under pressure. Will he get the chance to serve me a slice of humble pie? I’ll keep my fork, knife and spoon in the top press for now. 

The Vikings secured their fourth win in a row with a 24-16 road win against the Dolphins. Touchdown passes by Cousins to Irv Smith and Adam Thielen had the Vikes in front but Dalvin Cook’s second-half touchdown run made the difference on a day when Mike Gesicki caught two scores for Miami. 

Seattle overcame Arizona to win 9-19 and the kick-fest was interrupted by two interesting moments.

When your punter is making headlines, its usually not for the right reasons. Seattle punter Michael Dickson ends up in this column for the second week in a row when he seemed to freeze like a rabbit in the headlights inside his own endzone as the Arizona pass-rush ran at him. They knocked the ball out of his hands and recovered for a TD. It left the Cards trailing by three points entering the fourth quarter. 

The best player on show all day delivered the telling score when running-back Kenneth Murray gave a little dip and juke as he ran in his second TD in a fortnight. His rookie teammate Tariq Woolen was also prominent grabbing his fourth interception in four weeks. 

Six weeks in and across the league, this already looks to be one of the deepest rookie classes to come out in many a year with the youngsters of the Seahawks and the Jets routinely catching the eye.

Watch out for our AFC West Monday Night Football Broncos versus Chargers preview later today!!!

The Sunday Showdown: Allen v Mahomes

By David McDonnell

It’s Week 6 and the match-up we’ve all been waiting for. 

Patrick Mahomes versus Josh Allen. 

Bills @ Chiefs

This game has been marked in the calendar since the season fixtures were released. The two best quarterbacks in the NFL, scratch that, the two best players in the NFL will go head-to-head on Sunday. So have your hot-dogs ready, because I can’t see how this game can disappoint.

When these two went toe-to-toe last January, we had a play-off game for the ages. With the match finished in a whirlwind tie, the toss of a coin gave Mahomes the ball first in overtime and that was all she wrote. Shots of a distraught Josh Allen not getting an opportunity to answer back resulted in a change of post-season rules.

There are differing opinions about which of the two is the best. I am on record for having Mahommes at the top of my list and I haven’t seen anything to change my mind so far this season. I’m sure Josh Allen reckons that if he can take down his opponent in front of a packed out Arrowhead Stadium, then figuratively the mantle will surely pass to him.

What makes this contest especially  mouth-watering is the protagonists are both in a rich vein of form and have a record of 3-1. With both teams very likely to make the post-season, this is also an early battle for post-season home advantage later in the season. 

Mahomes’ best performance of the season came two weeks ago when he dismantled a very talented and experienced Bucs defence in Tampa Bay. What most impressed me about his game that night was that he managed to share the ball between all his receiving options. He was at his lethal best both inside and outside the pocket and pulled out spectacular plays on the fly. He was figuratively on fire that night. 

Last Monday, he led the Chiefs to victory after trailing the Las Vegas Raiders by 17 points. It turned into a shoot-out and four red-zone touchdowns passes to Travis Kelce made the difference. Kelce’s record-breaking Monday Night Football performance came with only 25 yards accounted for on the night, which shows that Mahommes is finding another way of getting his team down the field. Kansas don’t have a strong running attack but Clyde Edwards-Helaire is at his most dangerous when available for quick passes out the back field and running outside the hashes. 

Kansas had their struggles against the Raiders, who were on top for most of the game and Las Vegas had success running the ball and particularly with deep balls over the top against the Chiefs defence, with Derek Carr finding Devante Adams for two touchdowns.  

It is the latter than Buffalo will more likely try to exploit. Last Sunday Josh Allen had two bombs caught by Gabe Davis as he put the Pittsburgh Steelers to the sword. The first was a 98-yard play on his first drive of the game. I expect he will also try to put the Chiefs defensive-backs under pressure from the off. 

The previous week against the Ravens saw Allen play in my opinion his best half of football of the season, when he took the game by the scruff of the neck and pulled his team from behind to a valiant win on the road. In that second half, he was majestic using his feet to get out of trouble and to pick up first downs. He also used his cannon of an arm to find his receivers outside the numbers in the second half.

The Bills don’t haven’t shown much in their running game so far but the rookie running-back James Cook did get his first TD of his career against the Steelers last week and we have seen enough of Devin Singletary to know what a good player he can be on his day. There are rumours that Buffalo are considering a trade with the Carolina Panthers for Christian McCaffery to push all their chips in the middle of the table to win the Superbowl this year. The more I think about that scenario, the more sense it makes for both teams and the player himself. 

So who is going to win this game and why?

I can’t see either quarterback being stopped from moving the chains on a regular basis and I expect both teams to clock up a few touchdowns. 

It may come down to the defence that can get the opposing quarterback off the field on even a couple of third downs that could make the difference. Right now, Buffalo has the better defence and with Tre’Davious White almost ready to return to the fold, he will be a great addition to the Buffalo secondary. I have been impressed with the form of Chris Jones on the Kansas D-line and also with the consistent performances of Nick Bolton at line-backer.  

Ultimately, it will come down to two men and in my heart of hearts, I believe that Patrick Mahomes is the better quarterback and will win the day for the men in red.  

Cowboys v Eagles 

The late match on Sunday night is a contest between the Great Pretenders so far this season with an NFC East match-up that always has a bit of bite. The Eagles fans don’t really like anyone but they save their deepest bile for when the Cowboys come to town and it is safe to say the feeling is mutual.

At the moment, both of these teams are looking like serious contenders for the NFC. 

I haven’t been overly surprised with how Philadelphia has fared this season. I was impressed with their rushing attack last season and even there, they managed to add more depth in the draft. For me, it is the best O-Line in football at this moment in time. 

Their defence is the area of the team that has most improved since last year. The moves made by Howie Roseman in the off-season are paying dividends, especially with the signings of pass-rusher Hassan Reddick and corner-back James Bradbury. They also added first round pick Jordan Davis, who was one of my favourite players coming out this year from the National Champions Georgia Bulldog defence and they re-signed Fletcher Cox for another season. 

The offence also improved two with the acquisition of  AJ Brown to form a formidable double-team with Devonta Smith on the outside. All this has allowed Jalen Hurts to step up his game and I believe he has. He is a dual-threat quarterback, who is very dangerous outside the pocket with his legs and throwing on the run. He has been great to watch this year and has the gait of a man who he is comfortable with what he has been asked to do and in his position as leader. He does take more contact than you would like your quarterback to take, especially this early in the season. 

All-in-all, it makes this Eagles team very balanced side that can beat you a number of ways. The only time they have struggled was containing Kyler Murray in the second half last week. I think it will take a good team to beat this side in Philly. 

The surprise package for me so far this season are the Dallas Cowboys. They were a play-off team last January but I thought they lost key players in the off-season in Amari Cooper, Randy Gregory and Cedric Wilson and I expected some regression. If anything they look stronger. 

Losing their starting QB, Dak Prescott,  to injury in the first game of the season has been a blessing in disguise. They have had to find a way of winning and they have, as their defence has stepped up even more so than they did last season. Micah Parsons has been the best defensive player in the league and Dan Quinn has schemed-up ways of getting to every quarterback they have faced

With Dak missing, it has also forced them to run the ball more with Zeke and Tony Pollard forming an effective running-back committee, while Cooper Rush has managed games effectively and not turned over the ball. With Dak on the mend, he might start this game but the Cowboys will more likely stick with a winning formula for another week.

Whichever quarterback starts, I still believe the home team Eagles will get the job done late on Sunday night. I like how they are using Hurts in run option plays and using play action. They also have the run game to negate the Cowboys pass rush. For me they are the best team in the division and all their victories so far have looked routine. I expect the Eagles to win a roughly-fought contest. 

Ravens @ Giants

The New York Giants have also been a surprise so far and they are getting a significant bounce from their new head coach Bran Daboll. Daniel Jones is coming off the best win of his career against the Packers in London and Sequon Barkley is in the prime of his career. However, I feel this fairy-tale can’t go on much longer as they are lacking the talent throughout their roster to win consistently in the NFL and I believe they will soon be found out.

Their offensive line is better but still not an elite unit and their receiving core has been awful so far despite their wins. I expect the wheels to come off this weekend when they host the Ravens. The Baltimore franchise has looked better than their 3-2 record suggests and they sit atop of a very competitive AFC North.

I was impressed once again with Lamar in last Sunday’s win against the Bengals and once again he delivered, finding Mark Andrews and Devin Duvernay when he most needed a first down. I think the less physical punishment Lamar takes in the regular season, the more likely he will be better conditioned to be at his most electric and dangerous best in the post-season. I expect a Ravens win here and the Giants to start heading towards the middle of the pack. 

Commanders win in Soldier Field

By David McDonnell

It all came down to the final play of the game.

For a contest that was 3-0 at half time, this was decent fare between two of the poorer NFL sides so far this season.

It was competitive throughout, with Justin Fields showing flashes of his talent as did the Commanders D-line still without Chase Young, which did well to put the young QB under pressure, getting sacks and an important first quarter redzone turnover when Jonathon Allen caught the ball after it had deflected into the air from the helmet of his teammate Efe Obada. 

In the third quarter, Chicago started to get their run game going and Fields threw one of the best touchdowns for his career so far finding Dante Pettis in the corner of the end zone while under pressure at midfield. 

Heading into the final quarter a second Joey Slye kick had the scores 6-7. 

Velus Jones Jr made a significant mistake when he failed to catch a punt and it gave the Commanders possession inside 10 yards. Two runs later and Brian Robinson Jr got the first touchdown of his career, less than two months since he was shot twice in a car-jacking. A missed two-point attempt saw five points separating the sides. 

Fields got possession with just under two minutes remaining. By the time, he got to midfield he took off left on a scramble and with no options available,  he took off on a run to bring the Bears down to five yards out with a first and goal. 

The Commanders defence did well to keep them out and on fourth down, Fields threw to Darnell Mooney who came down with the ball, but only after he had been pushed out of the endzone by corner-back Benjamin St-Juste for a Washington win.

A tough loss for the Bears but on a good note, Fields looked the best player on Soldier Field last night.  

TNF: Commanders @ Bears

By Conor Perrett

After the field goal contest last week on Thursday Night Footballs, it’s back this week with two disappointing teams looking to get their season back on track. 

Chicago Bears

Power Rankings – 27th : 

Defense-adjusted Value Over Average take into account the quality of offensive opponents. 

The Bears offence has been nothing short of terrible this season. They could potentially have their franchise quarterback in place, but with no support around him there have been struggles.

The running game isn’t all that bad with Khalil Herbert having 328 rushing yards on the year at 5.9 yards per carry, but the passing game is what has been a tough watch. Fields is by far the most sacked quarterback in the league with a poor offensive line protecting him. Combined with receivers, most of whom would struggle to make another roster in the league, has led to the fewest total passing yards and passing yards per game in the league.

But despites these internal issues, the Bears are coming off their best offensive performance to date when they scored 22 points against the Vikings. Now, granted they lost the game, but from an offensive perspective it was a big improvement on what we had seeing of late. 

Bears Injury Report

Washington Commanders

Power Rankings – 31st: 

DVOA Rankings

Washignton is having an underwhelming season to say the least. With expectations of pushing for playoffs after their Week 1 win when Jahan Dotson hit the scene, the wheels have started to fall off with a four-game losing streak. 

Carson Wentz was traded to the Commanders this past off-season and hasn’t met the heights of what Ron Rivera and the fans would have wanted. In classic Wentz fashion he has the talent to make spectacular plays, but his lack of consistency means every good play is followed soon after vwith a horrific play.

On a positive note Washington has got rookie Brain Robinson back, with a three-headed rushing attack monster in the works. Last week Robinson, Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic all split snaps across the game as Washington tried to put them in positions to take advantage of what the opposing defence showed. They seem to have a few weapons to turn this ship back around towards the playoffs, but does something need to change?

Head coach Ron Rivera was asked that question last week, his response. “It’s something that we have to address if it gets to that point, and we’re getting close,” the coach told NBC Sports Washington. 

That question was asked prior to their matchup against the Titans which they went on to loss. So if they fall to the Bears and drop to 1-5 on the season, could that be the final straw for Rivera to start making changes?

Commanders Injury Report


Now it’s looking like this game could be another sluggish offence affair, much to the same as last Thursday Night Football. In similar fashion both teams have struggled to get things working on offence whilst being average on defence. 

On paper I like this Bears team better. In my opinion, they have the better out-and-out quarterback and have starting corner Jaylon Johnson back, with N’keal Harry expected to make his debut in Chicago. Not to mention Washington are beaten up and missing some starters.

But when it comes to match-ups I like the chances of this Washington side. Both teams are going to want to rely heavily on the run and Washington looks in better shape to stop that. With this new look rushing attack, Tennessee did a good job in stopping it last week, but the Bears are far weaker allowing 170 rushing yards per game for 31st in the league.

Wentz up to date has fared well on Thursday Night Football and if their defences can keep heading in the right direction they should be able to get an away win on prime time.  

Bears 13, Commanders 20