The Cleveland Browns are continuing their carousel of quarterbacks. After benching DeShone Kizer last week, the team is turning back to the rookie QB. The San Francisco 49ers are 0-6 after their fifth straight loss of three points or fewer — an NFL record. Their future may be brighter now C.J. Beathard is under center for the foreseeable future.
How about the New York Giants? With their backs against the wall after losing wide receivers Odell Beckham, Brandon Marshall, and Dwayne Harris to season-ending injuries, they shocked everyone with an upset win over the Denver Broncos Sunday. Without those weapons not sure they can repeat the wins much the remainder of the season.
The Oakland Raiders got their quarterback Derek Carr back from a back injury after he miss just one game. They got the same result, a loss. Hard to believe this team once held the No. 1 spot in these power rankings. It’s up to Jack Del Rio and his staff to correct their mishaps. The Los Angeles Chargers are on a two-game win streak. Their wins have come against the Giants and Raiders. Need more evidence.
The Indianapolis Colts missed a wonderful opportunity to get in front of the AFC South divisional race when it lost to the Tennessee Titans. Now comes the news Andrew Luck has suffered another setback with his injured shoulder. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have more issues than a kicker missing kicks. Jamies Winston is missing throws. Defense is missing tackles in large due to starters missing from the lineup. What was supposed to be a turning point of a season for the team has quickly turned into a mess of a situation.
The Cincinnati Bengals are riding a two-game win streak into a pivotal matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers coming off a bye. You never know which Baltimore Ravens team is going to show up from week-to-week. After beating the Raiders in Week 5, the Ravens stumbled at home against the Chicago Bears. In a wide opened AFC, every loss matters.
Speaking of the Bears, whenever they can lean on their rushing attack much like they did in Sunday’s win over the Ravens (231 yards) they are a dangerous team.
Down 17-0 and their season essentially being on the line, the Miami Dolphins leaned on its defense and run game. Ultimately that allowed Jay Cutler some comfort and they completed the comeback win over the Atlanta Falcons by scoring 20 unanswered points. Strangely, the Dolphins currently hold the No. 6 seed in the AFC playoff standings. A change of scenery appears to be what Adrian Peterson needed. Now playing in an Arizona Cardinals uniform, the 32-year old running back rushed for 134 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Cardinals to victory over the Buccaneers. Can we trust this to be the norm for Arizona?
The Tennessee Titans with Marcus Mariota are a different football team. Monday night’s win over the Colts proved that. He energized the entire team with his precise passing — 23-of-32 for 306 yards and a touchdown. The win rocketed them into first place of the AFC South via tiebreakers. We will have to see if they can maintain the momentum moving forward.
The Dallas Cowboys’ season has been a rollercoaster to say the least. One hour Ezekiel Elliott is suspended. One hour later he is not. Then there is the Jerry Jones controversy over the NFL players anthem protests. There is enough in Dallas to prevent them from playing their best. They must beware of the pesky 49ers next week or else the season could go way south in a heap.
Speaking of seasons going south. The Green Bay Packers‘ season was uprooted when franchise quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered a season-ending broken collarbone after a hit from Vikings’ linebacker Anthony Barr. Now Brett Hundley is thrust into the starter’s role and the Packers defense will no longer have a crutch they once had in Rodgers. As a result, it’s wise to jump off their wagon.
Back-to-back losses would normally doom the Detroit Lions especially after giving up 52 points — in large due to offensive turnovers. But, with the Rodgers’ injury, not all is lost for the Lions. But they still must look up at the Minnesota Vikings. The New Orleans Saints have now won three games in a row. The Adrian Peterson subplot is behind them and it appears remaining running backs Mark Ingram and Alvin Karma benefited from it the most. The two combined for 237 all-purpose yards in their win over the Lions.
The New York Jets looked like they belonged even in defeat against the New England Patriots. They don’t have the most talent as clear looking at the quarterback and wide receiver positions. However, they may be one of the better coached up teams in the league. That will keep them competitive on most weeks.
The Houston Texans have a star. Deshaun Watson is what the franchise needed at quarterback and he reminded Cleveland why they may have made a mistake passing up on him (twice) in last spring’s draft. With the AFC South close in standings, Watson gives the Texans a serious chance at repeating as division champions even without J.J. Watt. The Seattle Seahawks enjoyed a much-needed bye in Week 6. Their first game back is against the M.A.S.H. unit of the Giants. As we seen with Denver, the Giants are capable of upsetting the Seahawks.
The Atlanta Falcons‘ offense has been sputtering as of late and quarterback Matt Ryan has six interceptions in his last three games. The Falcons must fix this if they want to keep up with the Carolina Panthers in the NFC South and the rest of the NFC for a wild card spot. The Minnesota Vikings seem to settle with Case Keenum at quarterback in the meantime while it gets Teddy Bridgewater back as he is set to come off the PUP list. With Rodgers, out in Green Bay and the Lions struggling, the Vikings are now the team to beat in the NFC North.
The Denver Broncos suffered a major setback losing to the Giants. It appeared they were just not ready to play a football game last Sunday. As great as the defense is, Trevor Siemian must be better than 29-of-50 with two interceptions. If not, the Broncos may fall back into the pack. The Buffalo Bills had a bye week and get to host the Buccaneers this week. Tyrod Taylor has been precise all season with a solid running game to aide. But he may have to go without his safety net in tight end Charles Clay who is still nursing a knee injury.
The Pittsburgh Steelers may have saved their season with the upset win over the Kansas City Chiefs. The Steelers appear to be a bad matchup for the Chiefs. Le’Veon Bell is the main culprit, as he had his best game of the season with 179 yards rushing and a touchdown. Him being back to normal will open so much for the Steelers’ passing game and alleviate some pressure off Ben Roethlisberger.
The Jacksonville Jaguars lost in Week 6, but their defensive presence makes them a formidable team. Losing to the Rams is not a terrible thing. However, Blake Bortles will shave four wins off their win total this season. The Los Angeles Rams got a big road win over a very good Jaguars’ team. Although they lost to the Seahawks in Week 5, it’s becoming apparent the Rams are the strongest team in the NFC West.
The Washington Redskins may not be in the top-5 for much longer. Already nicked with injuries, including their best defensive player, cornerback Josh Norman (rib), the Redskins just lost its kicker Dustin Hopkins and more importantly their first-round pick, defensive end Jonathan Allen (foot), to season-ending injuries. The one good thing on their side is the fact this team unlike other years has depth across the roster. The New England Patriots escaped East Rutherford with a win over the Jets. As bad as they’ve played they are 4-2 and their two losses came against the No. 1 and No. 3 teams in this week’s rankings.
The Carolina Panthers remain at No. 3 for the second consecutive week despite losing to the Philadelphia Eagles 28-23. Their most important loss may be losing Mike linebacker Luke Kuechly with yet another concussion. Injuries derailed their season a year ago, they will hope to avoid a repeat.
The Philadelphia Eagles just keep winning. They have beaten the Redskins and Panthers and positioning as the best team in the NFC. Carson Wentz is the best MVP candidate not a member of the league’s best team the Kansas City Chiefs. The defense, especially its front-seven, has been dominant all season negating any deficiencies along the secondary. A win in Monday night’s clash with Washington could really separate them from the rest of the NFC.
All you should do to figure out why the Chiefs are still the best team in the NFL is look at who they’ve beat. The Chiefs have wins over the Eagles, Patriots, and Redskins — each team is in this week’s top-5 rankings. Its only loss is to the one team its struggled against the most the past couple of seasons. With the rest of the AFC West nurturing question marks, the Chiefs look set to remain at or near the top of the rankings the remainder of the season. Which to this guy, I’ll admit I didn’t see coming.