It's early yet, but maybe Madden 17 was onto something after all, because the Falcons look capable of winning a Super Bowl five weeks into the season. Those sort of October proclamations are stereotypical of NFL analysis and unfairly lethargic, but after beating the two teams who were in last year's Super Bowl in back-to-back weeks and surging out to 4-1, Atlanta has to be taken seriously.

Their lone loss was in the opening week against the Buccaneers. It looks more like an aberration now than it does reality. Atlanta just went on the road and beat the defending champion Broncos at their own game, pounding the football and putting tons of pressure on the Denver offense.

Atlanta didn't necessarily dominate in the running game, per se, but it was the two-headed monster of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman that once again stole the show, piling up yards in multiple ways. Freeman accounted for 123 yards from scrimmage (88 rushing, 35 receiving on three catches), while Coleman stole his thunder again with 163 total yards (31 rushing, 132 receiving on four catches with one touchdown).

Having running backs capable of producing in the passing game can't be overstated, particularly against a defense like Denver's. Their pass rush might be the best in the NFL and their secondary is second to none. Wade Phillips decided to double team Julio Jones all day -- you can't blame him after Julio went off for 300 yards last week against the Panthers -- and the Falcons were forced to adjust.

What resulted was the Falcons heavily targeting the running backs, as 20 percent of passes Ryan threw were either HB/WR screens or HB non-screen passes, according to preliminary Pro Football Focus data. Ryan wasn't playing well under pressure from the Denver defense (most people don't), so Kyle Shanahan adjusted the game plan and got the ball out quickly and let him distribute in short yardage. Freeman and Coleman are playmakers and they made plays.

It helped that we finally saw Dan Quinn's vision for his defense come to life. 2015 first-round pick Vic Beasley had his best game as a pro, piling up 3.5 sacks and a pair of forced fumbles. The defense locked down C.J. Anderson (11 carries, 41 yards) and never let Paxton Lynch really get comfortable.

We saw the Falcons get out to a hot start last year and then stumble down the stretch. But this feels like a more complete team, at least through five weeks, and certainly more comfortable on both sides of the ball. Quinn's defense is taking shape and Ryan is comfortable in Year 2 with Shanahan, especially with multiple feature backs.

Maybe Madden wasn't so crazy after all.

1. Brady's return key, but something else is more important

The Patriots' thumping of the Browns was very much about one thing: Tom Brady's return. But Brady being back and throwing for 406 yards obfuscates a key piece of information from Sunday's 33-13 thumping.

Namely that he might have his most dangerous group of weapons since 2007. Martellus Bennett and Rob Gronkowski are two towers of terror, 13 feet of red-zone dominance that will make the Patriots difficult to stop.

This wasn't a touchdown play for Bennett, who finished with three on the day, but it certainly shows how dangerous the two of them can be when Josh McDaniels puts them both on the outside.

via NFL Game Rewind

Brady went to Julian Edelman in the flat here, but could've just as easily thrown a jump ball to either side. Good luck covering those guys with a single cornerback. Double them up, and you're opening up other options for Brady.

On the second Bennett touchdown, they lined him up offset inside with Gronk split out. Bennett ran a crossing route and Brady made an incredible throw for a touchdown.

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The third touchdown is a perfect example of what a nightmare the Pats will be for opposing teams moving forward, too. After running the ball on consecutive plays to pick up a first down, the Pats lined up Bennett and Gronk on the right side of the offensive line, with James White in as a singleback.

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Brady got the team lined up quickly, snapped the ball almost immediately, and as he ran a play-action fake to White, Gronk and Bennett pretended to run block before streaking down the field together.

Please try and stop that. No, really, go for it.

The Pats used two-tight-end sets more than any team in the NFL last year, and the heavy combo of Bennett and Gronk is something you should expect moving forward.

According to preliminary Pro Football Focus data, the Pats were in two- or three-tight-end sets 58 percent of the time on Sunday. Of their 80 offensive plays, 46 featured multiple tight ends.

The difference for New England is both of their tight ends are tremendous pass catchers and run blockers. They can move all over the field and there's no need to slow things down and substitute in the red zone. At that point, Bennett and Gronk, who are basically basketball players, become even more dangerous.

The Tom Brady Bleep You Revenge Tour is in full swing, but it's going to dominate in large part because of the highly dangerous tight-end duo assembled in New England.

2. Ravens victimized by the dumbest rule in football

The dumbest rule in football is the play where a fumble out of the end zone goes to the other team. And boy, did it cost the Ravens big time on Sunday. Trailing 13-10 and with Kirk Cousins passing on the second play of a drive that began on the Redskins' 1-yard line, C.J. Mosley picked off Cousins and was heading toward the end zone for a touchdown when he decided to test his mettle as a professional bowler.

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Unfortunately you can't just break out a bowling game in the middle of a football game, and Mosley was penalized with a turnover on a turnover. Sure, having possession of the ball on the 1-yard line and losing it forward into the end zone should mean you get the ball back on the 1, but the NFL is silly sometimes.

Instead, the Redskins got the ball and they picked up 17 free yards because of Cousins' dumb decision. Yup -- the Redskins advanced the ball from the 3-yard line to the 20 as a result of the interception turned fumble turned touchback.

It doesn't pass the common sense test, but it also doesn't have a prayer of being changed any time soon. So instead, the Ravens suddenly find themselves coming off a second successive loss instead of tied with the Steelers at the top of the standings.

3. It's clear what the Dolphins are doing wrong

The Miami Dolphins fell to 1-4 on Sunday after the Tennessee Titans waltzed into town and danced all over the Fins defense, with three different players topping 50 yards rushing. DeMarco Murray annihilated the Dolphins rush defense with 121 rushing yards on 27 carries.

Marcus Mariota went over 60 yards and rookie back Derrick Henry had 54 yards, most of which came early, as well.

As a result, Miami's rush defense is firmly entrenched at the bottom of the league, with the Dolphins allowing 150.8 rushing yards per game five weeks into the season, as well as a whopping 36 rush attempts per week. Both numbers are easily the worst in the league, and only the 49ers are within 20 yards allowed per game of Miami.

The result of being run over by every team in the league is a stunning one: Miami has allowed its opponents to run over 100 more plays this season than they have. Additionally, their opponents have possessed the ball for nearly a full hour of football time than the Dolphins have.

Week (Opp) MIA Plays Opp Plays MIA TOP OPP TOP
Week 1 (SEA) 54 78 25:28 34:32
Week 2 (NE) 61 76 23:14 36:46
Week 3 (CLE) 65 74 26:22 33:38
Week 4 (CIN) 43 69 21:58 38:02
Week 5 (TEN) 41 70 23:16 36:44
TOTAL 264 367 120:18 179:42

Reading too much into time of possession is silly, because it doesn't directly correlate directly with winning or losing. (Sometimes teams score quickly -- the Atlanta Falcons are tops in points per game and 19th in time of possession.) But if you're allowing your opponents to get nearly a full additional game worth of playing offense through five weeks, that's a bad thing.

The fact they've allowed 103 extra plays is incredible, too. The Dolphins have fewer plays from scrimmage than four different teams (the Bucs, the Panthers, the Saints and Chiefs) that have only played four games. Only Seattle, Jacksonville, Philadelphia and Green Bay -- four other teams that have played only four games -- have run fewer plays than Miami.

The Dolphins are mustering 14.6 first downs per game, by far and away the lowest total in the league. They can't stop anyone from running the ball and they can't produce any semblance of a consistent offensive attack. The 1-4 start is not a mirage.

4. The Zeke is on

Everyone in Cowboys land is obsessed with the question of whether Tony Romo will get his job back when he returns, assuming Dak Prescott keeps winning. Who cares? I mean, we care, but the focus on the Cowboys should be the other rookie, Ezekiel Elliott, who is starting to come alive.

"Starting" isn't even accurate because Elliott led the league in rushing before the Cowboys dispatched the Bengals. Afterward, Elliott leads the league in attempts, attempts per game and rushing yards per game, a cool 80 yards clear of the next-closest person (DeMarco Murray).

It didn't hurt that Elliott went video game on the Bengals' defense for a 60-yard scamper.

Elliott is on pace for 1,747 rushing yards this season and could flirt with Eric Dickerson's rookie record of 1,808 yards. It helps to have the Cowboys offensive line, which lets you run a little downhill, especially when you've got a 21-point lead.

The hole Elliott ran through for that score was silly.

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There's not one dude flowing in Elliott's direction, or capable of slowing Elliott down, who doesn't have a body on him or a body coming toward him.

It's one cut and BANG. But it's not all on the offensive line. Elliott is that good. He's capable in pass protection, he has got the explosion needed to rip off huge runs and he's a better receiver than people give him credit for.

If Romo comes back and is able to play, great. Prescott has also been fantastic, but he's still a rookie quarterback heading into the unknown of November and December. Because Elliott is only getting better:

This team is going to go as far as the offense takes it, and the offense is going to go deep if Elliott is running like this for the next few months.

The Cowboys, by the way, are the first team in NFL history with a rookie quarterback to top 1,000 yards and a rookie running back to top 500 yards in its first five games of the season.

5. Giving Vikings credit where credit's due

The Vikings are the lone unbeaten team in the NFL now, sitting at 5-0 and in a very good position to return to the postseason. Their defense is stifling, dangerous and yet to be conquered, despite playing against the Packers and the Panthers, two of the highest-scoring teams in the NFL last year.

The Texans stood no chance on Sunday. Seriously, no chance. Brock Osweiler looked like a 10-year lease on a $500-per-month conversion van. It wouldn't have been hard to imagine Bill O'Brien sitting in his office muttering something about a "huge, tiny mistake" after Sunday's game.

What really puts the Osweiler signing -- a $72 million whopper -- into perspective is the way Sam Bradford has played since coming to Minnesota. The Vikings gave up a future first-round pick for Bradford, but it looks like a good gamble now and for the future, based on his performance.

Bradford and the Vikings are only the second team in NFL history, along with the 1969 Los Angeles Rams, to start 5-0 and not have an interception on the books.

Once again Sunday, the former No. 1 overall pick was mistake-free, completing 22 of 30 passes for 271 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions.

Bradford isn't lighting the world on fire with his statistical accumulation, but he doesn't have to on this roster. This defense is stacked, the running game is better than expected without Adrian Peterson (and awkwardly maybe better with him gone) and Bradford needs to serve as a game-manager type who makes plays down the field when he needs to. He fits into the role perfectly, with the best personnel around him of his career.

The result has been a hyper-efficient, turnover-free quarterback who's finally breaking out six years into a highly heralded career. However the Vikings end up this season, Rick Spielman should sleep well knowing he made a good gamble on going after Bradford when Teddy Bridgewater went down.