Welcome to the Week 6 grades!
The NFL has gone off the rails this week and that's mostly thanks to the Cleveland Browns, who pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the season with a 19-17 win over the 49ers, who were favored by 9.5 points. The fact that the Browns won was extra shocking and that's because they NEVER beat undefeated teams.
Since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, the Browns had gone 0-12 against undefeated teams that were 5-0 or better, but that streak is now over following their win over San Francisco. For the 49ers, the loss ended a 15-game regular-season winning streak, which had been tied for the longest in franchise history.
Not to be outdone, the Jets also pulled off a massive upset in the late window when they shocked Philadelphia. The win over the previously undefeated Eagles marks the first time in franchise history that the Jets have beaten Philly. Like, ever. Going into this year, the Jets were 0-12 all time against the Eagles.
The Eagles loss opened the door for the Cowboys to move one game closer in the NFC East and Dallas took advantage of that by beating the Chargers on Monday night. With that in mind, let's get to the grades, starting with the Monday game.
Dallas 20-17 L.A. Chargers (Monday)
|Dak is back. After struggling last week against the 49ers, Prescott rebounded with a huge night against the Chargers. Not only did he throw for 272 yards and a TD, but he also converted a fourth-and-1 with a 22-yard scoring run in the first half. The Cowboys offense wasn't perfect, but it was able to produce multiple big plays, including three third-down conversions that came on third-and-9 or longer. (Two of those came on the drive that led to Brandon Aubrey's game-winning field goal.) CeeDee Lamb likely won't be complaining about the team's offensive identity this week after catching seven passes for 117 yards. On the defensive side of the ball, the Cowboys slowed down Justin Herbert and kept Austin Ekeler in check. This was a strong win against a good opponent, and it should wipe some of the bad taste out of the Cowboys' mouth following their 42-10 loss to the 49ers in Week 5.
|The Chargers had a chance to win this game, but they couldn't come up with any big plays when they were need the most. Offensively, they got inside of the Cowboys' 10-yard line a total of three times in the second half, but they were only able to get one touchdown out of it. Justin Herbert also struggled some with his accuracy. Not only did he overthrow multiple receivers, including a pass that would have gone for a huge gain to a wide open Keenan Allen, but he also threw an interception with 90 seconds left that iced the win for Dallas. The Chargers defense looked good at times, but the unit also got burnt badly on a few key plays. It gave up a 18-yard TD run on fourth-and-1 in the first half and then followed that up by surrendering a 60-yard pass on a Dallas third-and-11 in the second half. The Chargers won't have any time to wallow in this loss because they have to turn around and play on the road against the Chiefs next week.
Cowboys-Chargers grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Cleveland 19-17 over San Francisco
|The 49ers ran into a lot of problems on Sunday and that led to their first loss. They lost two key players to injury (Christian McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel) and their rookie kicker cracked under pressure. With no McCaffrey and on Samuel for a chunk of the second half, the 49ers struggled to move the ball. Brock Purdy was indecisive and mostly inaccurate against a Browns defense that had him under constant pressure. As for Jake Moody, he missed his first two field goals of the season, including a 41-yard attempt that came with six seconds left in the game. The 49ers are still one of the best teams in the NFL, but the offense could struggle some going forward if McCaffrey and/or Samuel miss any substantial time.
|When you beat the 49ers with your backup QB, you get an "A." That's how things work around here. The Browns defense has been one of the best in the NFL this year and it showed the 49ers why. This unit punched San Francisco in the mouth and the 49ers never really recovered. They had Brock Purdy running for his life (he got sacked three times and completed just 44.4% of his passes) and they shut down San Francisco's vaunted rushing attack. Offensively, the Browns were carried by Amari Cooper (108 yards receiving) and Jerome Ford (4.9 yards per carry). Although PJ Walker wasn't perfect, he did lead a drive that led to Dustin Hopkins' eventual game-winning field goal. If the Browns proved one thing in this game, it's that their defense is so good that they can compete with anyone no matter who's under center for them.
49ers-Browns grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Baltimore 24-16 over Tennessee in London
|The Ravens did everything right in this game, well, except for their red zone offense. Thanks to a huge day from Lamar Jackson, who had 223 passing yards and 62 rushing yards, the Ravens were able to move up and down the field on Tennessee's defense. However, every time they hit the red zone, their play-calling seemed to fall apart and that was a big reason why they had to settle for six Justin Tucker field goals (The Ravens scored one TD on six trips to the red zone). Defensively, the Ravens racked up six sacks while essentially shutting down the Titans except for two big plays. This was a solid all-around performance for the Ravens and if they get that red zone thing figured out, there's no reason they can't win the AFC North title this year.
|It's hard to win when your offense can't move the ball and that's what the Titans were dealing with in London. The offense totaled just 233 yards with almost half of that coming from Derrick Henry, who totaled 113 yards. It didn't help that Ryan Tannehill had to leave the game with an ankle injury, but even when he was in, the offense struggled to move the ball, going 1 of 9 on third down. The only thing worse than Tennessee's offense was a Titans special teams that made two huge gaffes that led to six points for the Ravens. This game would have been a blowout if not for a spirited performance from a Titans defense that only surrendered one touchdown. If the Titans don't get their offensive problems figured out soon, their season is going to go south quickly.
Ravens-Titans grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Cincinnati 17-13 over Seattle
|While their defense played winning football, Seattle's offense was unable to make a critical play in the second half when it needed it most. An example of that was Geno Smith's first pick to Mike Hilton after Tre Brown picked off Joe Burrow on the Bengals' ensuing possession. Seattle was only able to come away with a field goal after a 23-yard punt return by DeeJay Dallas gave the Seahawks the ball on the Bengals' 43-yard line late in the third quarter.
|Cincinnati's defense came up with several big stops that included Cam Taylor-Britt's pick of Geno Smith, B.J. Hill's pressure on Smith on Seattle's final offensive play and Sam Hubbard's sack of Smith on fourth-and-goal on the Seahawks' second-to-last drive. Logan Wilson was a constant thorn in Seattle's side with 11 tackles and a key sack that forced a Seahawks punt in the second half. Wilson and Co. helped limit Kenneth Walker III to just 16 yards on nine carries in the second half. The Bengals offense struggled in the second half, however. Specifically, the Bengals should spend a good amount of their upcoming bye week fixing a running game that gained just 46 yards on 15 carries.
Seahawks-Bengals grades by Bryan DeArdo (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Jacksonville 37-20 over Indianapolis
|Whenever Gardner Minshew has to come off the bench, he looks like a Hall of Famer, but when he has to start a game, the Minshew Magic seems to disappear and that was the case in Jacksonville. The Colts got a Minshew Meltdown from their QB, who turned the ball over four times with three interceptions and a lost fumble. The Jags ended up getting 17 points from those turnovers, which obviously ended up having a huge impact on the game. Despite what the scoreboard says, the Colts defense wasn't horrible. The unit only surrendered 233 of offense, which makes Indy just the second NFL team since 2015 to give up more than 35 points in a game while surrendering less than 235 yards. Minshew is going to need to get things figured out, because there's a chance he could end up being the starter for the rest of the season due to Anthony Richardson's injury.
|On a day where the Jags mostly sputtered on offense, it was the defense that came up with the big plays. The Jags forced four turnovers, including a second-quarter fumble recovery that set up a 22-yard TD drive. Although the offense struggled, the unit did come up with some big plays including a 22-yard TD run by Travis Etienne and a 29-yard scoring catch by Christian Kirk. The Jaguars have already proven how good they can be on offense and If the Jags defense keeps playing like this, Jacksonville is going to be a scary team going forward.
Colts-Jaguars grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Washington 24-16 over Atlanta
|After getting lit up for 40 points by the BEARS in Week 5, the Commanders defense bounced back with a huge game against the Falcons. The defense came up with three interceptions in the second half and all of them were huge. Kendall Fuller caught the first one and it set up a 27-yard TD drive in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, Jamin Davis iced the game with a pick. The Commanders offense is still struggling with some big issues, like protecting the QB -- Sam Howell got sacked five times -- but those problems are a lot easier to deal with when you're coming off a win like Washington is this week.
|It's become pretty clear this season that the Falcons are only going to go as far as Desmond Ridder takes them, and on Sunday, he led them to nowhere. The Falcons QB had a total meltdown in the second half with three interceptions, including two that came in the final six minutes of the game. The Falcons defense only gave up one drive of more than 27 yards over the final three quarters -- while only surrendering 193 total yards in the game -- but that wasn't enough to overcome Ridder's turnovers. With the loss, the Falcons became the first team in two years to hold a team under 200 yards of offense and still lose. Arthur Smith might want to give some serious thought to starting Taylor Heinicke.
Commanders-Falcons grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Minnesota 19-13 over Chicago
|If you want to know how much Justin Jefferson means to the Vikings offense, just rewatch this game. With their star receiver out, the Vikings only managed to total 220 yards of offense. Minnesota still came away with a win though, thanks to an impressive defensive performance that saw the Vikings record five sacks. They also forced three turnovers, including a fumble return for a TD by Jordan Hicks that ended up being the deciding points in the game. Without Jefferson, the Vikings have to find new ways to win and that's exactly what they did here.
|After two weeks of looking nearly unstoppable, the Bears offense came crashing back to earth in this game. The Bears were especially bad during a first half where they only totaled 134 yards and things only got worse after they lost Justin Fields to injury following their opening possession of the second half. Fields' replacement, rookie Tyson Bagent, lost a fumble that the Vikings returned for a TD and he also threw a pick with under two minutes left to play that sealed the win for Minnesota. The Bears defense actually played a pretty strong game, but when you're getting no help from the offense, it's difficult to win in the NFL.
Vikings-Bears grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Miami 42-21 over Carolina
|For the first five minutes of this game, it looked like the Panthers were going to run the Dolphins off the field as they shot out to a 14-0 lead, but then everything fell apart after that. The Panthers went into this game with an 0-5 record for a reason and that reason is that they simply make way too many mistakes, which was clear in this game. They went 0-for-4 on fourth down, including a failed fake punt, they missed a short field goal and they had some trouble protecting Bryce Young, who was sacked four times. If they ever figure out how to clean all of that up, they might eventually be able to win a game.
|With De'Von Achane out, this game turned into the Raheem Mostert show. The Dolphins running back totaled 132 yards and two touchdowns in a game where Miami had to roar back from an early 14-0 deficit. The only player more impressive than Mostert was Tyreek Hiill, who finished with 163 yards and one score. Although the defense got off to an ugly start, they essentially shut the Panthers down over the final three quarters. The fact that the Dolphins had to face some adversity to get this win is probably a good thing for them going forward.
Panthers-Dolphins grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Houston 20-13 over New Orleans
|When it comes to their red zone offense, the Saints might want to go back to the drawing board this week. The Saints got inside of Houston's 15-yard line twice in the final six minutes, but they came away with zero points due to a missed field goal and a Derek Carr interception. Since Drew Brees' retirement, the Saints have turned to multiple different quarterbacks, and through six weeks, Carr isn't looking much better than the previous guys to hold the job. The Saints defense played well, except for one huge mistake by Zack Baun, who fumbled the ball back to the Texans after picking off C.J. Stroud. Of course, it doesn't matter how well the defense plays if the offense continues to look shaky.
|The Texans jumped out to a 17-7 lead in this game and then they let their defense do the rest. A big reason Houston led early was thanks to C.J. Stroud, who threw for 141 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. In the second half, the Texans defense came up big. On New Orleans' final four offensive possessions of the game, the Saints drove inside of Houston's 27-yard line all four times, but they only came away with only three points. In the final five minutes alone, the Texans came up with a fourth down stop and a Steven Nelson interception that iced the game. The Texans are one of the surprise teams of the young season and based on how they're playing, it won't be surprising if we're still talking about them in December.
Saints-Texans grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Detroit 20-6 over Tampa Bay
|Despite Detroit being down both of its top two running backs in David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs, quarterback Jared Goff was mostly unfazed, throwing for 353 yards and two passing touchdowns on 30 of 44 passing. He was precise on his short and intermediate throws, and his 45-yard deep shot touchdown strike to Jameson Williams was exactly what the Lions needed to put the game away. Defensively, they held the Buccaneers to 2-for-12 on third down despite Baker Mayfield entering Week 6 as the NFL's most efficient third-down passer. It felt like Detroit could have had more than 20 points, but that's nit-picking. The Lions look strong as they're off to a 5-1 start, tying their best six-game opening to a season in the Super Bowl era.
|The Buccaneers had chances to make this game much more competitive. Baker Mayfield had two open deep balls to rookie Trey Palmer, but he just overthrew him on both attempts. Neither of their Pro Bowl wide receivers, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, could create much separation. Their defense played well for the most part with the exception of the 45-yard touchdown they allowed to Jameson Williams. They could only do so much after the Lions possessed the football by nearly an entire quarter longer (36:30-23:30) than their offense. Despite not being able to beat one of the NFC's contenders, they put up a good enough showing to give plenty of reasons to believe they can win the NFC South once again.
Lions-Buccaneers grades by Garrett Podell (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
N.Y. Jets 20-14 over Philadelphia
|Four turnovers is not the standard the Eagles preach, especially when Philadelphia didn't score on its final seven possessions. The Eagles still had an opportunity to win the game prior to Jalen Hurts' final interception, which was a very poor throw and decision to go to Dallas Goedert. Not having Lane Johnson significantly hurt the offense, but the turnovers could still have been avoided. The defense didn't have any takeaways, but held its own in spite of all the injuries on its side of the ball. This was a bad day for the Eagles on a day where they couldn't get away with having one.
|The Jets really didn't do anything offensively to beat the Eagles (the only touchdown they scored was because the Eagles let them take the lead to get the ball back). Regardless, New York didn't turn the ball over and withstood five sacks on Zach Wilson to pull off the win. How did the Jets pull it off? Holding the Eagles to a season-low 14 points and having four takeaways, three of them interceptions off of Jalen Hurts. They only scored 10 points off takeaways, but that was enough as they frustrated the Eagles offense all afternoon. This was a huge comeback win for a Jets team that needed this one against a top team.
Eagles-Jets grades by Jeff Kerr (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Las Vegas 21-17 over New England
|The Patriots have had offensive problems all season and those problems continued in this game. Mac Jones and the offense stumbled out of the gate with two three-and-outs and things just didn't get much better from there during a first half where New England totaled just 107 yards. The Patriots just don't have any playmakers on offense and that continues to be their biggest issue. As bad as the Pats were, they did have a chance to win in the final minutes, but Mac Jones took a safety after getting sacked in the end zone. The Patriots defense was OK, but it's nowhere good enough to prop up the offense. With this loss, it feels like the Patriots are officially in the Caleb Williams sweepstakes.
|With a roster made up of former Patriots, this win had to feel good for the Raiders, especially Josh McDaniels. The Raiders coach was on the hot seat, but that has now cooled down immensely over the past six days thanks to two straight wins. Defensively, Las Vegas was so good that New England didn't run a single snap inside the Raiders' 20-yard line until the second half. Maxx Crosby had another huge day with a team-high seven tackles, which included a safety of Mac Jones that iced the win. The Raiders offense didn't put eye-popping numbers, but Jakobi Meyers probably feels pretty good after going for 61 yards and a touchdown against his old team. At 3-3, the Raiders are now in a position where they could move above .500 with a win over the Bears in Week 7.
Patriots-Raiders grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
L.A. Rams 26-9 over Arizona
|The Cardinals continue to be the NFL's best team at putting a scare into someone, but not actually beating them. The Cardinals actually led this game at halftime, but then they imploded in the second half, getting outscored 20-0. The Cards defense got steamrolled by Kyren Williams, who rushed for 154 yards in the second half alone. Not to be outdone, Arizona's offense was just as bad in the second half with two turnovers that both led to Rams touchdowns. If the Cardinals keep losing, it will be interesting to see how long first-year coach Jonathan Gannon can keep his team motivated.
|This was a close game at halftime with Arizona leading 9-6, but the Rams put things away in the second half thanks to running back Kyren Williams and a strong performance from their defense. Williams totaled 158 rushing yards in the game with 154 of those coming in the second half. When the Rams weren't running the ball, they were throwing to Cooper Kupp, who finished with 148 yards. If the Rams can consistently get this kind of 1-2 punch from their rushing attack and passing game, they're going to be tough to beat.
Cardinals-Rams grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Buffalo 14-9 over N.Y. Giants
|With a patchwork offensive line and a backup quarterback, the Giants impressively managed to stay in this game, but they made too many bad mistakes to pull off the upset. The most glaring error came just before halftime when the Giants botched a chance to at least get a field goal after calling a run play at the 1-yard line when they had no timeouts. The Giants also had the ball at the 1 at the end of the game, but were unable to punch it in, which was a theme for the night. They got inside of Buffalo's 20-yard line a total of five times in the game and they came away with zero touchdowns, which probably shouldn't be that surprising considering how difficult it's been for this team to score touchdowns. Considering the circumstances, it's impressive that the Giants almost won, but unfortunately for New York, moral victories don't count in the NFL standings.
|The Bills survived by the skin of their teeth and they have their defense to thank for that. The defense came up with two improbable goal-line stands with one coming at the end of each half. Although the Giants had the ball at the 1-yard line each time, the Bills held them to zero points. The impressive goal-line stands by the defense helped the Bills overcome a mistake-filled day that included a lost fumble, an interception by Josh Allen and two missed field goals by Tyler Bass. There are no style points in the NFL. You either win or you don't and on Sunday night, the Bills came away with a win.
Giants-Bills grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Kansas City 19-8 over Denver (Thursday)
|The Broncos looked totally lost on offense and a big reason for that is because Russell Wilson continues to struggle. Although it's easy to blame the offensive struggles on Wilson -- he threw for just 95 yards -- Sean Payton's play-calling didn't help much. The Broncos averaged 5 yards per carry on the ground, but Payton seemed to give up on the run way before he should have. The Broncos defense kept Denver in the game, but the offense wasn't able to capitalize. Through six weeks, it's starting to look like the Broncos might actually be worse than they were last year.
|With Taylor Swift in attendance, Travis Kelce put on a show with nine catches for 124 yards. Although Kelce had a big day, the same can't be said for the rest of the Chiefs offense. The unit was plagued by uncharacteristic mistakes: The Chiefs couldn't convert on third down (4 of 13) and they couldn't score in the red zone (they got just one touchdown on five trips). The offense was far from perfect, but Harrison Butker and the defense more than made up for it. Chris Jones led a Chiefs pass rush that sacked Russell Wilson four times. Not to mention, the defense also forced three turnovers. As for Butker, he drilled four field goals, including a 60-yarder just before halftime. Yes, the offense struggled at times, but the Chiefs still won by double-digits, so for now, you probably don't need to worry about Kansas City. The defense is playing at a high level and the offense will almost certainly catch up to it eventually.
Chiefs-Broncos grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)