Lindy’s Sports’ UK editor Simon Milham reflects on the first 16 weeks of the 2019/20 NFL season and offers insight into each of the 32 teams.
32 – Cincinnati Bengals (↔️)
Do we think the Bengals (1-13) are the worst team in the NFL? Their record suggests so, but at least they topped the troll poll last weekend, playing Rockwell’s “Somebody’s Watching Me” over the stadium speakers after TE Cethan Carter scored a game-tying touchdown in the first quarter of a 34-13 home loss to the New England Patriots, who could be in hot water after a TV crew tied to the organisation videotaped the Bengals’ sideline in Cleveland two weeks ago. While RB Joe Mixon asked for Tom Brady’s jersey (a wish granted) after Sunday’s game, it is doubtful Dolphins’ QB Ryan Fitzpatrick will be accorded the same starstruck request this weekend, as the 2020 NFL Draft’s No.1 pick plays the No.4 pick in Miami. The Bengals can win and still take the top pick. Hold your noses.
31 – New York Giants (↔️)
The Giants (3-11) could afford to beat the Dolphins and still claim second spot in the Draft, thanks to the strength of schedule, which is the first tiebreaker in the draft order, if any team finished with the same record.
The Redskins and Dolphins have a similar record, but either the Giants or Redskins will finish with a 4-12 record as they face each other this weekend (unless they tie). Trend: The Giants have alternated wins and losses at Washington in their last five visits, winning 40-16 last season.
Big Blue’s defense held the Dolphins to 3 of 13 on third downs and 384 yards in a 36-20 home win on Sunday, with a garbage-time TD conceded not reflecting how well the defense played. Best part of the game was the classy ovation the fans gave QB Eli Manning, who has been the model of consistency for 16 years.
30 – Miami Dolphins (↔️)
Not a good week for head coach Brian Flores. He was fined $25k for a vociferous argument against the late pass interference review in a loss to the New York Jets – a call that looked dubious to many – and then saw his secondary shredded by Eli Manning and the Giants.
It looked like they were finally mailing in their season. The offensive line is possibly the most offensive in the league and we’re struggling to find creative ways to tell readers how poorly the front four have played. How does a team that intercepts Manning three times and hold Big Blue to seven first-half points, lose 36-20? The good news, they can beat Cincinnati, but whether they will want to, given they may lose the No.3 Draft pick if they do, remains open to argument. Good news? They also have the No.21 and No.26 picks as it stands. Roll on April.
29 – Washington Redskins (↔️)
Despite a last-gasp loss to the Eagles (who lost to the Dolphins, remember), rookie QB Dwayne Haskins showed why he is the future of the franchise.
The offensive line is porous, he has lost both TEs, has three rookie starting receivers and the play-calling from an interim head coach has been a little too conservative. Washington entered Sunday’s clash with the Eagles last in the NFL in points per game (14.5), yards per game (262) and third-down percentage (27.3)