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One Thing Week 6


Nobody knows anything. That’s the only takeaway so far this season that everyone can agree on. Parity has descended upon the league and at this point in the season it’s still too early to call any team a true super bowl contender. The various injuries to star player haven’t helped either and we seem to be in the midst of a year where almost any team can make the playoffs.

AFC

North

Steelers– After a dismal showing last week against Jacksonville, the Steelers came up big, spoiling the last undefeated team in the league. Running the offense through Le’Veon Bell is what really got this O back in gear.

Ravens– This might have been the worst loss of the week. There isn’t one thing you point to as a problem for them. The offense is struggling, as is Joe Flacco, and the defense couldn’t stop a rookie quarterback.

Bengals– The Bengals will have a big test next week going up against a resurgent Steelers squad after coming off their bye week. With the division mostly wide open even after their horrendous offensive start, a win against Pittsburgh could go a long way to a potential playoff push.

Browns– Not sure what Hue Jackson was thinking when he decided to put in Kevin Hogan last week and start him this week. The Browns have too many issues to list them all, but deciding what to do at QB the rest of the season should be the first one addressed.

South

Texans– Deshaun Watson continues to shine. Even though it was against the winless Browns, the rookie showed great arm strength and ability to fling the ball all over the field. Watson will need to cut down on rookie mistakes like his pick-six, as the Texans offense looks to pick up some of the slack from a defense weakened by injuries.

Jaguars– After Leonard Fournette ripped off a 75-yard touchdown run on his first carry, it looked to be a game that the rookie running back would dominate. However, he posted just 55 yards on his next 20 carries before leaving with a scary non-contact injury. It remains to be seen whether the Jags are just a bad team that has overachieved in some games or a good team that has underachieved in others

Colts– Jacoby Brissett played well, but his playmakers let him down. Jack Doyle fumbled and couldn’t seem to hang onto a pass, Donte Moncrief dropped a would-be touchdown and TY Hilton was invisible the entire game. Dropping to last in the division won’t help, but the hope that Andrew Luck returns in time to make meaningful contributions this season will continue to keep Colts fans interested.

Titans– In a game where Marcus Mariota played without the ability to run or scramble, the Titans defense came up big in the second half, holding the Colts to 9 points. Mariota was also awesome in the fourth quarter, going 6 for 6 with 103 passing yards. They’ll have an easy go of it next week when they visit the 0-6 Browns.

West

Chiefs– For all the trickery and finesse the Chiefs had used to attain their 5-0 record, they found out quickly it’s wouldn’t be working against the Steelers. Only time will tell if the Steelers have on tape the blueprint to beat them.

Broncos– Vance Joseph’s squad was embarrassed on Sunday night when the 0-5 Giants came into Denver and left with a dominant win. A run defense that been a strength for this team all year and had kept the likes of Melvin Gordon, Ezekiel Elliot, LeSean McCoy, and Marshawn Lynch to 95 total rushing yards gave up 117 to Orleans Darkwa. Despite that, the worst part of the night for the Broncos might have been when Emmanuel Sanders left the game with an ankle injury. Even when the defense returns to its dominant form the offense will still every playmaker possible to help whoever is under center.

Raiders– The Raiders use of Marshawn Lynch is questionable at best. It’s hard to understand why they brought him out of retirement if they were only going to hand him the ball 13 times. With his offensive line struggling, Derek Carr has too as he’s not used to facing pressure – he’d been sacked only 4 times last season. Giving Lynch more carries should help alleviate some of that pressure and maybe translate into wins.

Chargers– Win number two for the (at the moment) number two LA team. Once again the great pass rushing duo of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram put pressure on the opposing offense. Melvin Gordon, for the second game in a row, put the team on his back with 150 total yards and 2 touchdowns. They will have a big test next week taking on the Broncos.

East

Patriots– It wasn’t pretty, but they did it. There was a stretch during this game where they looked like the Patriots we expected at the beginning of the season, scoring 21 unanswered points to dig themselves out of a 14 point hole. This team still has flaws, however, and will be tested again facing an underperforming Falcons team next week.

Bills– Now sitting in second place in the division after their bye week the Bills will take on a severely underperforming Buccaneers team that may or may not feature Jameis Winston. A win here would keep the Bills relevant for first in the division.

Jets– There’s a lot of things to say about the Jets this season. One thing you cant say is that they’ve given up. The upstart Jets were a worthy opponent for the defending champions but ultimately came up short. Of course, we have to mention the call that ultimately took points off the board for the Jets and gave the ball to the Pats. According to the NFL rules, the play was called as it should have been. Austin Seferian-Jenkins lost control of the ball and was unable to reestablish control before the ball crossed the plane and went out of the end zone. For the referee’s explanation, click here courtesy of ESPN’s Mike Reiss.

Dolphins– The Dolphins are another team where I’m not quite sure where they stand. After getting shut out in London, this team has put up two straight wins with this one coming against the defending NFC champions after being down 17 points. It won’t be any easier to tell next week when they take on the Jets.

NFC

North

Packers– There’s not much to say about the Packers at this point. There’s no telling what kind of team the Packers will be when Aaron Rodgers returns- if he returns. It’s a detriment to the game when a player of Rodgers’ caliber gets injured for any extended amount of time, but he might join a long list of stars who’ve been shelved for this season. Green Bay will now find out for sure what it has in Brett Hundley unless they bring in someone else.

Vikings– The Vikings have certainly faced their own injury struggles with Sam Bradford, Dalvin Cook, and Stefon Diggs. The good news is the defense is still good, but the offense is constantly a mixed bag depending on who is playing. The Vikings could take the next step to becoming contenders by beating the Ravens next week.

Lions– For whatever reason, no matter the score, every Lions game seems to come down to the fourth quarter. It’s hard to know what to make of the Lions at this point in the season, but seeing how the wins they’ve had have come against struggling teams it might be fair to say the Lions aren’t a good team.

Bears– Mitch Trubisky’s first win, hopefully, the first of many if you’re a Bears fan. The duo of Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen has worked wonders for the Bears, combining for 222 total yards this game. The Bears might not have much to play for this season, but if Mitch Trubisky continues to develop they could be setting themselves up for the future.

South

Panthers– Cam Newton continues to baffle me. One moment he’s confidently leading his team, seemingly making every play, the next he’s losing his composure and turning the football over on cringe-worthy plays. The bright side is Christian McCaffrey making plays all over the field and the defense living up to its billing as one of the top units in the league, plus they’re leading the division.

Falcons– Another home loss for Dan Quinn’s crew. Is it time to push the panic button? Not yet, although their upcoming schedule isn’t the easy with matchups against the Patriots, Panthers, and Cowboys comprising three of their next four games. This is still a team with a boatload of offensive playmakers and anything can happen.

Saints– Trading Adrian Peterson might be the best thing the Saints have done this season. Without the future Hall of Famer, Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara combined for 237 total yards and 2 touchdowns. The Saints defense came to play too, scoring 3 touchdowns and providing splash plays throughout the day. With the Saints above .500 for the first time since 2013 and playing in a tight division, there’s hope for a return to the playoffs this season.

Buccaneers– It’s never a good sign when your franchise quarterback gets injured, but even when Jameis Winston has been healthy this Tampa Bay team has severely underperformed. Winston has yet to get on the same page as Desean Jackson and still seems to make the same mistakes he made as a rookie. This team still has a lot of work to do if it hopes to have a chance at the postseason.

West

Rams– If you asked, not many people would have thought the Rams would be leading the division at any point this season, much less after six weeks. But they’ve done it through Sean McVay’s innovative play calls, Wade Phillips’ opportunistic defense and John Fassel’s excellent special teams unit. The only thing that remains to be seen is can they keep it up?

Seahawks– Coming off their bye, a Seahawks team that seems to always be up and down this part of the season will take on a Giants team that appears to have possibly figured it out and has nothing to lose.

Cardinals– It’s the old guy show on the Cardinals offense with the triplets of Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald and Adrian Peterson running the show. The Cardinals will have to get Peterson involved with the passing game before they become too predictable, but after the start they’ve had, sitting a game out of first in the division is pretty good.

49ers– After Brian Hoyer got injured, it was time to see what they have in the first QB picked of the John Lynch era. C.J. Beathard finished with 245 yards on 19 of 36 passing with one touchdown and one interception. Still without a win, the best you can say about this team at the moment is that they don’t quit, bringing the game down to the last second against the Redskins.

East

Eagles– With this being such a wild NFL season, there are two things we know for sure about this year’s Eagles: Carson Wentz will keep making plays and people will keep questioning whether he is actually good. Carson Wentz has been great so far this year and always seems to make one jaw-dropping play each week. Jim Schwartz has the Eagles D-Line on fire and if they keep it up they can mask the deficiencies at corner until Ronald Darby returns. If the Eagles can keep this up, they could be looking at a trip to the postseason.

Redskins– After Chris Thompson lit the League on fire the first few weeks with explosive plays there were calls for him to get more early touches. It didn’t quite work out with Thompson not gaining substantial yardage. It’s still too early to tell if the Redskins are contenders or pretenders, but next week’s game against the Eagles would go a long way toward figuring that out.

Cowboys– The Cowboys had their bye week this week and they needed it. After losing to Aaron Rodgers in what might be his last game this season, the ‘boys have a lot of questions to answer and holes to plug. Ezekiel Elliot hasn’t quite played up to his level from last year and his struggles have bled into Dak Prescott. With Zeke’s suspension looming, it’s important for the Cowboys to retool their offense and find something that works. They’ll have a good chance to experiment and impress when they take on the 0-6 49ers.

Giants– In a game without their top 3 receivers and sporting an 0-5 record, the New York football Giants went into Mile High stadium to face a top defense and came out with an arguably dominant win. The difference? McAdoo handing over play calling to Mike Sullivan, a reshuffled offensive line that actually worked and the mindset of a team with nothing to lose. Despite this positive win, no team beginning the season with an 0-5 record has ever made the playoffs.

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