Eight crazy takeaways from Week 6 in the NFL
Week 6 in the NFL had some crazy twists and turns. Here's what we saw in this weekend's action.
Just like every other weekend, Week 6 in the NFL had its twists and turns. This article will highlight the eight craziest takeaways from this weekend's action.
From the fallout of Ben Roethlisberger's injury to Seattle's continued dominance. These are the storylines that are sure to come to the forefront in the lead-up to next weekend's game.
Read on to learn more about the eight takeaways worth talking about this week.
1. The Steelers are in serious trouble
Never mind the fact the Pittsburgh Steelers lost by two touchdowns to one of the NFL’s worst teams in the Miami Dolphins in Week 6. The bigger problem is that they also lost starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on Sunday.
Roethlisberger underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, and there is no timetable for his return. The Steelers will start Landry Jones in his place, starting this weekend against the 5-1 New England Patriots. Jones started the first two games of his career last season, completed less than 60 percent of his passes, averaged only 5.5 yards per attempt and threw more interceptions (4) than touchdowns (3).
Jones, a former fourth-round draft pick out of Oklahoma, doesn’t instill much optimism in the future for the Steelers.
A bye in Week 8 will come at the perfect time, but the Steelers still have five of their six divisional games ahead. A few weeks ago, it looked like they would run away with this division. Roethlisberger’s injury levels the competition.
Pittsburgh’s first game after the bye is against the Baltimore Ravens, who are on a three-game skid and dealing with injuries of their own. The Ravens have a chance to get back on track against a New York Jets team in disarray in Week 7, followed by a chance to get healthy during a Week 8 bye.
The Week 9 matchup between the Steelers and the Ravens could mark a turning point in this AFC North race.
2. The Cowboys defense is surprisingly strong
The Cowboys are one of three NFL teams with five wins (the Patriots and Vikings are the other two). They have the efforts of their two star rookies, quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott, to thank for that.
The biggest surprise, however, might be the strength of their defense. Although they’re in the middle of the pack when it comes to yards allowed per game (358.3, 16th in NFL), the Cowboys are one of seven teams that have averaged fewer than 18.0 points against per game.
The Cowboys defense has played OBJ, AJ Green, & Jordy Nelson among others, and has still not given up 100 yards to an opposing WR or RB.— Pat Doney (@PatDoneyNBC5) October 17, 2016
Dallas’ defense has held each of their past four opponents to 17 points or fewer, allowing the team’s margin of victory to expand by the week. When the Cowboys start rolling, they have proved themselves to be one of the toughest teams to beat due in large part to that defense.
The Cowboys have familiar names, such as linebacker Sean Lee and safety Barry Church, who make this defense tough. But there are also unexpected stars, such as defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford and cornerback Morris Claiborne, stepping up to make it a sneaky-good unit.
It’s time to start recognizing the Cowboys as one of the best all-around teams in the NFL.
3. OK, Bills, I see you
It was easy to dismiss the Buffalo Bills as another of head coach Rex Ryan’s hot messes after their 0-2 start. They were the laughing stock of the league when they decided to fire their offensive coordinator after putting up 31 points in a shootout loss to the New York Jets.
Since then, however, the Bills have ripped off four straight wins. They scored 30 or more wins in three of those four games The other win was a 16-0, shutout victory over the New England Patriots.
After watching the Bills dismantle the San Francisco 49ers in a 45-16 decision this weekend, it’s impossible to ignore their stretch of success. They are now 4-2, one game behind the AFC East-leading Patriots.
The Bills have back-to-back matchups versus division opponents coming up. They can’t afford to lose any momentum on the road against the Miami Dolphins in Week 7. If they win that game, they will take a five-game winning streak into a Week 8 rematch with the Patriots.
If the Bills beat the Patriots (with Tom Brady) for the second time this season, they could make a run for the AFC East title since 1995, when the Indianapolis Colts were still in the division.
4. The Eagles are going to get Carson Wentz killed
The Philadelphia Eagles have a promising rookie quarterback in Carson Wentz, but they weren’t able to protect him in Week 6. With Lane Johnson suspended, fifth-round rookie Halapoulivaati Vaitai got the start at right tackle.
The Washington Redskins took advantage of Philadelphia’s compromised pass-protection and sacked Wentz five times. Went has now been sacked eight times in the past two weeks, after absorbing just four during the team’s three-game winning streak to start the season.
Wentz struggled to throw the ball while running for his life. Against the Redskins, he only completed 11 of his 22 pass attempts (50 percent) and failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time all season. He was lucky not to turn the ball over once.
In Week 7, Wentz may not be as lucky. Vaitai is expected to start again, and the Minnesota Vikings are coming to town. Minnesota’s defense is the NFL’s most ferocious with 19 sacks (3rd in NFL) and 12 takeaways (tied-2nd in NFL).
Next Sunday could be a very long day for Wentz, Vaitai and the rest of the Eagles.
5. There’s only one Giants player worth watching
The New York Giants are a mediocre team that is only worth watching because they have the NFL’s most electric player/personality in wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. He alone makes the Giants must-watch television because no one knows what he’s going to do next.
Against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 6, Beckham lifted the Giants to victory all on his own. After a first half that included just two catches, a fumble and a hip injury that briefly forced him out of the action, the polarizing wideout exploded in the second half to finish the game with a career-high 222 yards.
Most of Beckham’s yardage came on touchdown receptions of 75 and 66 yards. His 66-yarder came with less than two minutes to play and ultimately sealed a 27-23 win for the Giants. After the catch he ripped off his helmet (unsportsmanlike conduct penalty) and “proposed" to the kicking net that infamously struck him in the head during a sideline meltdown a few weeks earlier.
Beckham’s off-the-field antics are just as interesting as his on-the-field accomplishments, if not more interesting. The Giants are a 3-3 team that would be lucky to finish the season above .500. But who cares? Be sure to tune in next week to the OBJ show!
6. See ya later, Panthers…
It’s already over for the Carolina Panthers, who picked up their fifth loss of the season in a 41-28 decision versus the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. With three consecutive losses against NFC South opponents, it’s time to officially count them out of the division race.
This, of course, is difficult to fathom because the Panthers were the NFL’s best regular-season team last year with a 15-1 record and appeared in Super Bowl 50, but this is nothing new for Carolina.
This year’s Panthers team is off to the worst start by a defending conference champion since the 2004 Panthers started the season 1-7. That team won six of its last eight games, but the run came too late and Carolina missed the playoffs.
The Panthers have been extremely volatile under head coach Ron Rivera. They went 12-4 in 2013, then sunk all the way to 7-8-1 the next year. Last season they only lost one game, and so far this year they’ve only won one.
Despite their volatility, the Panthers won the NFC South and made the playoffs each of the past three seasons. That streak looks like it will come to an end in 2016.
7. Can Tom Brady play forever?
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady just continues to make his case for greatest player of all time. His four-game suspension to start the season had absolutely no affect on his performance, as he has led his team to back-to-back wins and obliterated the stat book each of the past two weeks.
After completing 70 percent of his passes for 406 yards and three touchdowns against the Cleveland Browns in Week 5, Brady completed 83 percent of his passes for 376 yards and three more touchdowns against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 6. He did not throw an interception in either outing.
Brady is 39 years old and still the best quarterback in the league, leading some to wonder whether he can play forever. He said last October that he’d like to play “maybe 10 more years.” It seemed crazy at the time, but he really hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down since then.
If Brady plays just five more seasons, he will completely rewrite the NFL record book. A lot of fans are sick of seeing the Patriots win so much, but how can you not cherish every week that this ageless wonder takes the field?
8. The Seahawks are ruining the surprise
There will be no surprise in the NFC, if the Seattle Seahawks continue to have their way.
The Atlanta Falcons have looked like an up-and-coming contender in the conference, but the Seahawks promptly put them in their place during their Week 6 visit to CenturyLink Field. With supreme confidence, Seattle claimed a 26-24 victory and stamped out Atlanta’s optimism.
The Seahawks are now 4-1, on top of the NFC West again. And guess what, they also have the NFL’s No. 1 defense with an average of 283.6 yards allowed per game.
The only thing that’s surprising about this Seahawks team is its lack of a dominant running game (88.8 rushing yards per game, 25th in NFL). Quarterback Russell Wilson is doing enough with his arm to keep Seattle on top, despite injuries that would have set a lesser athlete way back.
Other than that, it’s the same old Seahawks. If you’re still hoping for another team to take over as the team to beat in the NFC, it’s only a matter of time before this squad squashes that hope.
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