Aaron Donald, leading the Rams defense, shut down Cam Newton on Thursday night.

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It's time for a Week 13 Vibe Check (2-2):

The Tennessee Titans season has felt like a roller coaster. A steady climb of wins to start the season, some shakier than others, but still they went up, up, and up, even through a COVID outbreak. Then the first drop to the Steelers, a game in which they looked lost until the fourth quarter, and further down after the Bengals handled them easily.


Things looked up against the Bears before a Thursday smackdown by the Colts that sent the Titans uncontrollably spiraling. Yet they pulled out of the tailspin to deliver two victories over quality opponents, including a payback game in Indy.

Up, and up they went, again, lulling us into the false sense of security that all the most thrilling of rides do before throwing you down at a 90 degree angle, turning your stomach to mush. That's exactly what the Titans did. Their D looked abysmal, the run game was a non-starter (Henry mustered a measly 60 yards), and Tannenhill could only get them so close, mostly in garbage time. Taking the favored Titans and Henry over 100.5 yards feels ridiculous now. It's how you start 0-2 in one fell swoop.

Luckily, our weekend would rebound during the Monday night doubleheader. As for the Washington Football Team, I only wish I bet them on the moneyline. All the signs were there, and that D did not disappoint.

Then in the next game, Deebo Samuel got us the props equivalent of a backdoor cover. The man didn't catch a ball in the first half but went berserk in the second, totaling all six of his catches and 73 yards, which hit our over. Never a doubt!

Deebo Samuel clutches the ball after securing a catch, leaving would be tacklers behind him. Deebo Samuel bowls through the Bills defense to secure us a cover.John Medina

Colts -3 over Raiders

It took a Gregg Williams job-costing Cover Zero play call for the Raiders to escape New Jersey with a win. Right now, they still have Trent Brown and Josh Jacobs, two of their most important offensive players listed as questionable, which hurts against a Colts D that's been generating pressure, while blitzing at the second lowest rate in the league, and stopping the run at the seventh best rate.

Meanwhile, the offense has been stable under Rivers behind one of the best lines in the league. He's managed to spread the ball around to his array of weapons, including rookies Michael Pittman Jr. and Jonathan Taylor.

Steelers +2 over Bills

This is a short term memory line. Everyone remembers seeing the Steelers getting beat by the Football Team and the BIlls picking apart the Niners D on Monday night. After back to back games getting moved and playing on short rest, the Steelers will actually get to enjoy some semblance of normalcy by playing on Sunday.

Alex Smith might've just made that Steelers D look human, but for most of the year, they've been the class of the league. I would bet on a return to form and, generally, a close game between the two division leaders — in which case, I'll take the team getting the points, especially coming off their first loss of the season.

Saints -7.5 over Eagles

The Saints have been HOT with Taysom Hill, filling in admirably for Drew Brees, while the Eagles have been NOT with Carsen Wentz earning a spot on the bench. New Orleans started shaky, but has surged behind a healthy and effective pass defense, holding teams to under 212.8 yards a game. Impressive, even if it's skewed by facing a Denver team, who had a college-QB-turned-practice-squad-WR as starter.

Meanwhile, Jalen Hurts is about to face a top five D, in his first ever start, which historically doesn't line up in his favor. Sure, there's not much tape on him, so little that every snap came from the shotgun against second string Green Bay defenders, but don't let the uncertainty scare you. The Eagles are undermanned at every level, and the Saints offense has proven viable against anyone anywhere any time.

Justin Herbert over 281.5 yards

The rookie phenom might be coming off his worst start as a pro, but that's just some Belichek dark magic at work. Herbert has been statistically tremendous this season, eclipsing 300 yards regularly. This is the perfect spot for a strong rebound, as the Falcons are currently 30th in pass defense, allowing 285.2 yards per game.

The Falcons have been able to generate more pressure after Raheem Morris took over as interim head coach, yet that hasn't bothered Herbert at all thus far. Take the kid to go off.

Paul George grabbing a rebound in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals

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In a must win game for the Los Angeles Clippers, Paul George was finally able to look like the best player on the floor in a playoff game.

After a slow start, George poured it on in the second half on his way to a game high 41 points in Game 5. The performance elevated the Clippers over strong outings from the likes of Devin Booker and Chris Paul as L.A. outlasted Phoenix 116-102.

The Clippers don't have much time to bask in their win however as they have to turn around and play two more elimination games just to make it out of the West. The Suns jumped out to a 3-1 series lead as Los Angeles struggled to find their identity without Kawhi Leonard. If the Clippers are to stave off elimination any longer, George has to continue this level of play.

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Ben Simmons disappointed in the playoffs this season

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Following a Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the Philadelphia 76ers and coach, Doc Rivers, are questioning if Ben Simmons is the right guy to be running their offense through moving forward.

Offense being the key word here.

Simmons is an all-world defender possessing the ability to guard virtually any opponent on the court from the perimeter to the rim. But it was his lack of offensive help throughout this playoff season that stood out beyond any accomplishments this year. Simmons joined Rudy Gobert as unanimous selections for the NBA's All-Defensive First Team this year and also finished fifth in the NBA in assists per game with 8.8 per contest.

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The Lakers looked lost in the Valley

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The Phoenix Suns are just a win away from sending LeBron James home in the first round of the playoffs for the first time in the King's illustrious career.

After stating that "These shoulders were built for a reason," James referring to facing the challenge of taking on added responsibilities after Anthony Davis was ruled out for Game 5, the Lakers and LeBron disappointed in a big way Tuesday night. L.A. started off hot jumping out to a 10-5 lead behind a couple shots from James and a three from Davis' replacement Markieff Morris. But it didn't take long for the wheels to completely fall off for the defending champion Lakers as they spent most of the first half trying to remember how basketball works.

LeBron James LeBron looking on during Game 5Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Two numbers stick out in the Game 5 loss for the Lakers and those are 34.5 and 12. Los Angeles shot 34.5% from the field on Tuesday night and were minus 12 in turnover ratio. No matter who's on your team, if you can't shoot and you can't protect the ball, the outcome is already determined.

The Suns weren't simply beneficiaries of a poor performance however as the Suns put it on the Lakers early and often and they never let their foot off the pedal for 48 minutes. Phoenix ended with 15 more assists, had seven more combined steals and blocks, and outscored L.A. in the paint by 12 points. Devin Booker and Cameron Payne were spectacular and they seemed to hit big shots every time the Lakers appeared to threaten a comeback. Mikal Bridges was effective on both sides of the ball adding three steals and two blocks to help electrify his team with the defensive effort.


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