There are no more undefeated teams in the NFL after the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles fell in Week 6, leaving the league with five teams at 5-1 a third of the way through the regular season. The Detroit Lions have a case for being the best team in their conference; same with the Miami Dolphins.
The NFL is truly a week-to-week league. Instead of overanalyzing a performance based on a win or loss each week, it's often better to look at the trends that led to the result.
With that in mind -- and with Week 6 in the books -- here's one thing we learned about each team this week.
The running game may be alright without James Conner: Having Conner on injured reserve is a major blow for an offense that needs playmakers, but the group of Keaontay Ingram, Damien Williams, and Emari Demercado may fill the void. The three running backs combined for 20 carries for 87 yards -- and 4.35 yards per carry. Williams had eight carries for 36 yards (4.5) and Ingram had 10 for 40 (4.0). This group will also get Tony Jones more acclimated with the offense, and could see him next week. The running back-by-committee approach could get the job done, after all.
Sacks finally caught up to pressure rate: Atlanta had just five sacks through the first five games, revisiting the Falcons' poor sack totals from the last few years (68 from 2020-2022). Thanks to Washington's offensive line, Atlanta was able to get five sacks -- matching the team total through five games. The Falcons are just 24th in the NFL in pressure rate (31.5%), but have notched over a 35% pressure rate in three of six games. The defense is finally starting to reap the benefits of getting to the quarterback when they have good pass rushing performances.
The offense has fizzled: Whatever happened to the progress of the Ravens' offense from the first few weeks has stalled. The Ravens just have one touchdown in the past seven quarters and were 1 of 6 in the red zone. Lamar Jackson's numbers were certainly affected by the lack of efficiency in the red zone, going 2 of 3 for 13 yards. He's 16 of 23 in the red zone this year with five touchdowns and two interceptions (76.6 rating). The Ravens have to get more creative in the red zone in order to get touchdowns on the board, especially with a stagnating offense.
Pick Six Newsletter
Crafted By The Best NFL Experts
Get the day's big stories + fun stuff you love like mock drafts, picks and power rankings.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox.
There was an error processing your subscription.
Stefon Diggs helped the offense out of its funk: The Bills were held scoreless through three quarters. They couldn't get anything going offensively, which is why Josh Allen targeted Diggs often to get something going on that side of the ball. Diggs finished with 10 catches for 100 yards (his fourth straight 100-yard receiving game), and was targeted on 53.3% of his routes -- the highest target rate in a game this season (per Next Gen Stats). Diggs was targeted 16 times and Allen had just an 80.7 rating targeting him, yet it was necessary to force-feed Diggs with the offense failing to move the ball. Without Diggs, the Bills lose to the Giants.
The defense is a major issue: Easy to say this after getting a blitzkrieg by the Dolphins, but Carolina's defense did not have a good performance in Sunday's loss. While the Panthers allowed 424 yards, Miami put up 42 points after trailing 14-0 -- scoring 35 unanswered. Over the last two games, Carolina has allowed 84 points, 801 yards, and 321 rushing yards. The Panthers have allowed 42-plus points in consecutive games for the first time in franchise history. The Panthers are 31st in points per game allowed (31.0) and also have allowed the most rushing touchdowns in the league (12). Their 144.3 rushing yards per game allowed is 30th in the NFL. Carolina won't be winning many games with this defense, no matter how much better Bryce Young is looking as of late.
Pressure finally got to Justin Fields: The Bears starting quarterback had to exit Sunday's game with a thumb injury, no thanks to an offensive line that allowed 10 pressures in the loss to the Vikings (although it felt like much more than that). Fields was 3 of 6 for 10 yards and an interception facing pressure, being sacked four times while compiling a 16.7 passer rating. He's been sacked 23 times facing pressure while having a 71.2 passer rating. The Bears have done a poor job protecting Fields, significantly affecting his development. At the rate Chicago is going, it may not matter.
The offense isn't fully back yet: Joe Burrow looks to be 100% recovered rom his calf injury -- based on his movement in the pocket -- while Ja'Marr Chase has 40 catches for 486 yards in his last four games (12.1 yards per catch). The Bengals' best two offensive players look in sync, yet something is off with this offense. Cincinnati had just 77 yards on its final eight drives of the game and won, punting six times and turning the ball over once. This after scoring touchdowns on the first two possessions and having 138 yards. Throwing 35 passes to just 15 runs isn't helping, but the Bengals' run game hasn't been good all year. The players are getting healthy, but the offense has to get in sync.
This defense is as historic as the Dolphins offense: The Dolphins have been talked about at length because of all the points and yards they're scoring, but the same thing is happening on the other side of the ball in Cleveland.The Browns have allowed just 1,002 yards through five games -- the lowest total output for any team in that span since the 1970 Vikings. They are allowing just 3.82 yards per play, best since the 2008 Steelers (who won the Super Bowl). The defense is allowing the fewest plays, yards, points, and time of possession per drive. The Browns defense might not only be the best in the NFL, but one of the best ever.
Dak Prescott overcomes offensive line woes: Prescott finished 7 of 9 for 105 yards when facing pressure, this despite getting sacked five times and pressured 14 times. Prescott needed a performance like this (21 of 30 for 272 yards and a 109.3 passer rating), making sure the Cowboys didn't fall back to .500. The Cowboys quarterback has been poor under pressure this year (61.5% completion rate, two touchdowns, two interceptions, 80.4 rating), making this one of his best games of the year. Dallas is back in the NFC East race thanks to Prescott overcoming problems up front.
Javonte Williams had his best game since his knee injury: Williams hasn't been able to provide much of that broken tackle ability the Broncos saw in his first two years before tearing his ACL, LCL, and PCL last year. He finally showed some resemblance to that form, finishing with 10 carries for 52 yards on Thursday (5.2 yards per carry). Williams hasn't rushed for over 4.0 yards per carry in the four games since he's been back, averaging 3.83 yards per carry before Thursday night. He still has a ways to go, but this was a positive sign.
Jameson Williams is the deep-ball threat the offense needs: Williams caught a 45-yard touchdown in Sunday's win over the Buccaneers, making an impact for this offense in just his second game back. Williams has five career catches, two of which are 40-plus yards scores. Williams has more 40-yard receiving touchdowns (2) than all other Lions wide receivers combined (1) since the start of last season. He's only played eight career games, yet this is the first-round pick the Lions thought they were getting with his ability to stretch the field. Williams will significantly free up Amon-Ra St. Brown in the slot going forward.
Run offense needs some work: The Texans should be celebrated for winning three games this year (matching their total from last year), yet they need to get their run offense going to help out C.J. Stroud. Running for 120 yards against the Saints defense is a good start, but Dameon Pierce had 13 carries for only 34 yards (2.6 yards per carry). Pierce hasn't gotten going all year, averaging just 2.9 yards per carry, not averaging over 3.5 yards per carry in any game. The Texans have rushed for under 100 yards in four of six games, part of that is the slow start from Pierce. Sunday was a positive, but Houston needs to build off this.
Third-down defense is really good: Looking at the final score of their loss to the Jaguars doesn't tell the whole story for the Colts. Jacksonville finished with just 233 total yards in the win, and the Jaguars were just 4 of 14 on third downs and as the Colts forced six three-and-outs. The Colts defense is just 11th in opponents third-down conversion rate (37.5%), better than the 38% from last year (which was top-10 in the league). Gus Bradley is getting his defense off the field, regardless of the short fields his defense faced Sunday as a result of the giveaways on offense.
Most opportunistic defense in the league: Jacksonville is dominating the takeaway department, which has become the identity of their defense. They have 15 turnovers to lead the NFL and have scored 41 points off those takeaways. During the three-game win streak, the Jaguars have nine takeaways which is contributing to their 20.3% turnover rate (second in NFL). The Jaguars are just 15th in the NFL in points per game allowed and 21st in yards per game allowed, but are eighth in points allowed per possession because of the takeaways. They have three-plus turnovers in four of six games, a huge reason why they are taking control of the division and establishing themselves as Super Bowl contenders.
Patrick Mahomes is right about the defense: Mahomes said after Thursday's win that the Chiefs defense has been playing great so the offense can grow. The Chiefs defense allowed just eight points and 197 yards against the Broncos. Entering Sunday's games, Kansas City ranks second in points allowed per game (14.7) and fifth in yards allowed per game (284.0). Kansas City has never had a top-five defense in points or yards allowed under Mahomes and Andy Reid, a unique twist for a team that's been carried by its offense over the last several years. The Chiefs defense will be tested over the next few weeks, but they are a Super Bowl contender because of this defense.
They finally got Josh Jacobs going: Jacobs has struggled for weeks, not even close to resembling the league's rushing champ from last year. He still doesn't have a 100-yard rushing game, but finished with 25 carries for 77 yards (a season-high). While the yards are up (146 over the last two games), Jacobs still hasn't had a game where he averages over 3.6 yards per carry. His 2.9 yards per carry is actually 42nd out of 44 qualified running backs in the league. The Raiders are at least trying to get Jacobs going, especially with all the injuries Jimmy Garoppolo has sustained this year.
The offensive line had an abysmal performance: The Chargers offensive line had six penalties -- three for holding -- in Monday's loss to the Cowboys (part of the team's nine penalties overall). Not only were the penalties poor, but the offensive line allowed eight quarterback hits and 17 pressures in the loss. Justin Herbert was under duress all night, going 8 of 18 for 90 yards and an interception under pressure, contributing to another one-score loss. Easy to blame Herbert, but his offensive line was bad on Monday.
Puka Nacua is certainly not as productive with Cooper Kupp back: This isn't a knock on Nacua or his play, but his targets were going to take a hit once Kupp returned to the lineup. Nacua has 48.5 receiving yards per game in the two games since Kupp came off injured reserve (125.3 before Kupp). Kupp has 266 receiving yards in two games since his return (fourth in NFL). While Nacua has 598 receiving yards on the year (third most after first in six career games in NFL history), the production has dipped when Kupp returned -- as was expected.
Is Tyreek Hill the MVP?: Hill had another incredible game in Sunday's win, finishing with six catches for 165 yards and a touchdown. He has four touchdown catches of 30-plus yards this year (tied for the most through six games over the last 15 seasons). Hill and Tua Tagovailoa have combined for nine touchdowns of 20-plus air yards as a duo -- the most of any duo since start of last season. Through six games, Hill has 42 catches for 814 yards and six touchdowns, currently on pace for 119 catches, 2,306 yards, and 15 touchdowns -- which would be the greatest season for a wideout in NFL history. With Hill's numbers and the pace he's on, he might just be the MVP.
The offense fails first test without Justin Jefferson: Minnesota's offense fell flat on its face without Jefferson in the lineup, managing just 220 total yards and finishing 2 of 13 on third down. They scored juts one touchdown on 11 drives and went scoreless in the second half. The passing game averaged just 5.3 yards per attempt while the running game averaged just 2.1 yards per carry. The abysmal running game forced Kirk Cousins to be conservative throwing the ball without his best playmaker. Drops also didn't help as the Vikings put up a season low in yards. This offense could have some tough days without Jefferson, based on the first test.
There's no hope for this offense: The Patriots somehow get worse on offense every week, which is incredible since they already have one of the worst offenses in the NFL. New England averages just 12 points per game (worst in NFL) and has a turnover ratio of -8 (tied for the worst in NFL). The Patriots have been outscored by 73 points in their last three games, their worst three-game scoring margin in the last 50 seasons. They have yet to score over 20 points in a game and have just 20 points over the last three games. The Patriots have a struggling Mac Jones (zero touchdowns and five interceptions in the last three games) with no sense of direction. This offense needs significant changes in 2024.
This team lacks situational football: Looking at the Saints' struggles on offense through six games, its fair to point out the poor third-down conversion and red zone rate. The Saints were just 6 of 15 on third down (which was actually good for them) and 0 for 3 in the red zone, mustering just 13 points in Sunday's loss to the Texans. The Saints are converting only 37.8% of third downs on the year (20th in NFL) and only hit on 36.8% of touchdown opportunities in the red zone (28th in NFL). The Saints' mediocrity on offense can be traced to poor situational football, as this team should be better than their record indicates.
They can't score points with out Daniel Jones: In fairness, the Giants can't score points with Jones. The offense is actually worse without their $40 million quarterback, putting up just nine points -- no touchdowns -- in Sunday's loss to the Bills. In the past nine games Jones has missed, the Giants have only put up 20-plus points once and scored 10-or-fewer points seven times. They have averaged just 9.8 points in the past nine games doesn't start. They haven't scored an offensive touchdown in three consecutive games to boot. Jones doesn't make this team better, but the offense -- abysmal as it is -- is actually better with Jones at quarterback.
Robert Saleh is right about embarrassing QBs: The Jets defense has faced Jalen Hurts, Patrick Mahomes, and Josh Allen this season -- and walked away 2-1. Allen, Mahomes, and Hurts have completed 65% of their passes against the Jets defense -- and 70% against everyone else. They average 6.2 yards per attempt against the Jets and 7.7 against everyone else, along with 26 touchdowns to just nine interceptions in games they don't play the Jets. Allen, Mahomes, and Hurts are 75 of 116 (64.7%) for 719 yards with three touchdowns and eight interceptions combined against the Jets (61.7 rating). Hurts' three interceptions Sunday were not just a bad game, but a product of the Jets defense.
They might need some RB help: The Eagles running backs have not performed up to par over the last three games, which is something, considering the team averages 150 rushing yards per game (second in NFL). While this is a team that can seemingly run on anybody, the running backs are averaging 3.39 yards per carry over the last three games. That's 56 carries for 190 yards between D'Andre Swift, Kenneth Gainwell, and Boston Scott. The pass-run balance in Sunday's loss was 47 to 22 (too high), but the running backs haven't done much to balance it out either. Maybe an upgrade behind D'Andre Swift is needed.
Jim Schwartz just has Kyle Shanahan's number: The 49ers head coach just can't figure out a Schwartz defense, as the 49ers were held to a season-low 17 points against the Browns -- and suffered their first loss of the year. Whether Schwartz is a head coach or a defensive coordinator against Shanahan, he's 8-1 against the offensive mastermind and his defenses has allowed only 15.8 points per game. Brock Purdy was just 12 of 27 for 125 yards and a touchdown and interception (55.3 rating in the loss). The 49ers averaged 33.4 points and 402.6 yards per game coming into Sunday's game, having just 17 points and 215 yards against the Browns. Chalk one up to Schwartz for being Shanahan's kryptonite.
Red zone woes led to loss: The Seahawks outplayed the Bengals from the second quarter on, yet came away with the loss because of their red zone woes. Seattle finished 1 of 5 in the red zone and 1 of 4 in goal to go situations. They ran 19 red zone plays for 21 yards as Geno Smith was 2 of 9 for 22 yards with an interception and two sacks (0.0 rating). Smith has a 74.9 rating in the red zone on the year while Seattle ranks 20th in red zone offense. If the Seahawks convert twice on downs inside the Cincinnati 10-yard line for Seattle for field goals, the red zone woes wouldn't be as magnified.
Third down defense is significantly poor: The Buccaneers allowed the Lions to convert 9 of 16 on third down (56.3%), adding to the struggles of the third-down defense in recent weeks. Tampa Bay has allowed its opponents to convert 52.17% of third downs over the last three weeks, the highest in the NFL. Opponents have converted 49.3% of third downs against the Buccaneers this season, 31st in the NFL. The Buccaneers have a top-10 defense on paper (eighth in points per game allowed), but can't get off the field.
Bye couldn't have come at a better time: Tennessee's No. 2 quarterback has been a point of discussion all year, yet the problem reared its ugly head when Tannehill left the game in the second half with an ankle injury. Malik Willis finished the game and went 4 of 5 for 74 yards, but will the Titans use the bye week to get Will Levis ready to start if Tannehill can't go when they return against the Falcons on October 29? Hopefully, Tannehill is ready to go by then.
The Commanders can run the ball: One week after the Commanders finished a football game with 55 consecutive pass plays, Washington ran the ball 22 times in a win over the Falcons. This is significant considering Washington had Sam Howell drop back 28 times in Week 6, a pass-run ratio of 56% to 44%. Washington has run the football just 33.33% of the offensive lays this year, 30th in the NFL. A balanced attack did help Sam Howell, has he threw for three touchdowns and had a 119.7 rating. Less is more for Howell, as a better balanced offense clearly makes him more efficient.