Dallas Cowboys – No Game. No Recap
New York Giants – It’s not often that a defense can generate four turnovers and not turn it into a single point, but that’s exactly what Eli Manning and the New York Giants offense did on Monday. Overall, the defense played well, but in a must-win division game, the offense fell flat. It could be a one game fluke for New York, but it could also be a sign of trouble down the road.
Philadelphia Eagles – The Eagles escaped Monday Night with a win, in one of the ugliest games we have seen this year. A total of 7 turnovers between the teams and luckily the Eagles were able to turn it into points, because the offense didn’t do much until well into the second half. Just when you think you can sleep on the Eagles, they come out and win two straight.
Washington Redskins – After putting up a solid fight against the Falcons in Week 5, most of us thought that they would have a great showing against the Jets. We were sadly mistaken. Washington looked outmatched in most aspects of the game. The bright spot was that they were able to force three turnovers – just never could get the momentum to swing their way.
Atlanta Falcons – When the week began, there were six undefeated teams. After the Falcons laid an absolute egg at the Super Dome, there are now 5 teams remaining with unblemished records. Atlanta is still a very good football team, they just had some costly turnovers at some inopportune times and the Saints took full advantage.
Carolina Panthers – The Panthers had a bye week to prepare for the defending NFC Champion Seahawks. Even so, it was going to be a tall order to go into the C-Link and pull out a victory, which makes Cam Newton’s fourth quarter comeback drives all the more impressive. With Luke Kuechly back after missing 3 games with a concussion, this defense is cementing themselves as one of the best in the NFL.
New Orleans Saints – For the Saints, there’s no place like home; and to take it one step further, there’s no place like home against a division rival. The Saints have always played well against Atlanta at the Super Dome, and last Thursday was no different. Forcing huge turnovers and a blocked punt with Steve Gleason in the house electrified the crowd. The Saints likely have no shot at the division, but that game was just what the Saints needed this season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – No Game. No Recap
Chicago Bears – As bad as the Bears have been this year, they actually had a chance to put together a three game winning streak and get back to .500. Jay Cutler did a fine job leading a game-tying drive with less than a minute remaining, but in overtime, the offense couldn’t muster much. There we definitely some positives to be taken from this game, but giving up 400 passing yards isn’t one of them.
Detroit Lions – There will be no 0-16 this year, thanks to the heroics of Calvin Johnson and Matt Stafford. With Stafford airing it out seemingly every single play, it was only a matter of time before he connected with Johnson in overtime. Nothing feels better than getting rid of the pressure of win #1. I would expect this team to play much better in the coming weeks.
Green Bay Packers – The Packers are probably the most complete team in the NFL right now – following their win in which Aaron Rodgers had a fairly pedestrian 255/2/0 game. The defense played just well enough to get the win, thanks to a huge play from Damarious Randall at the goal line, and James Starks is somehow making a case to be the featured back.
Minnesota Vikings – It’s tough to give too much credit to the Vikings defense, since they went up against a Chiefs team without Jamaal Charles, but they played well enough regardless. You’d probably want to see a bit more than 16 points from the offense, but Bridgewater seems to be building up a rapport with rookie wideout Stefon Diggs (7 catches on 9 targets for 129 yards).
Arizona Cardinals – This literally should have been the easiest game on the schedule for the Cardinals defense. Facing a second-string QB (and eventually a third-string), this ball hawking secondary just couldn’t make enough plays, or really tackle anyone. Carson Palmer played well, but just missed on a couple of endzone throws that could have swung the momentum of the game. A win could have really cemented their position atop the NFC West, but with the loss, the division remains wide open.
San Francisco 49ers – In a rematch of Super Bowl XLVII, it was the Niners getting the upper hand this time. Colin Kaepernick played another great game, and the defense was able to hold up, albeit against a very sub-par Ravens offense. Still, a win is a win and it appears that things might finally be headed in the right direction for San Francisco.
Seattle Seahawks – It must feel like Groundhog’s Day for this Seattle defense, blowing yet another fourth quarter lead. The Legion of Boom apparently got two sets of defensive signals, leading to confusion in the secondary and a Gregg Olson game winning touchdown. The Seahawks will likely turn things around, but it had better be quick before they fall too far behind in the division.
St. Louis Rams – No Game. No Recap
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Buffalo Bills – The story of this game will undoubtedly be the injury to Sammy Watkins. The Bills were likely over-matched heading into their game against the undefeated Bengals, but injuries and penalties pushed it even further out of reach. On a positive note, EJ Manuel didn’t play terribly. On a negative note, this team is built around its defense and they haven’t been able to slow down a high powered offense yet this year.
Miami Dolphins – The stage was set for the Dolphins: a new head coach, a bye week to prepare, facing a rookie QB… and the Dolphins actually delivered. Joe Philbin was likely watching from his couch, wondering why he couldn’t get his defense to play like they did for interim coach Dan Campbell. They recorded more sacks in this game than they had all year, and the offense looked like it was playing with a sense of urgency.
New England Patriots – Before the game, when asked if this matchup against the Colts meant anything extra, Tom Brady said “I’m human.” While many New England fans were hoping for the “Revenge Tour” to destroy Indianapolis, the game was surprisingly close. Injuries are starting to pile up for New England, particularly on the offensive line. Julian Edelman, a favorite target of Brady’s had what looked like a dislocated finger that obviously affected his play. If any team can play well with starters injured, it’s the Patriots, but this team definitely looks “Human” now.
New York Jets – Did anyone notice that the Jets are 4-1? This defense is playing at a very high level, and Ryan Fitzpatrick is more than just a game manager – he made plays with his arm and his legs against the Redskins, as they completely outplayed Washington in the second half. A win next week gives them the division lead over the Patriots – let that sink in for a second.
Houston Texans – The AFC South is by far the weakest division in the league right now – and it seems like the only wins these teams will get is against each other. Houston played very well against the Jaguars, and DeAndre Hopkins had another amazing game. Honestly, if the Texans could just get some continuity at the QB position, they might actually be dangerous.
Indianapolis Colts – I don’t think that a regular season play will ever be talked about more than the Colts decision on fourth down inside their own territory. The Colts were not out of the game at that point, but any hopes they had of pulling out a win, died with that play. Chuck Pagano is giving the front office some excellent reasons to fire him this season. Andrew Luck had his best game of the year, but it wasn’t enough to overcome penalties and defensive miscues.
Jacksonville Jaguars – This team took a pretty big step backwards last week against Houston. The defense looked lost for most of the game and Blake Bortles made decisions that you wouldn’t even expect out of a rookie. This team is still a work in progress, but they just can’t stop beating themselves.
Tennessee Titans – Marcus Mariota’s knee is scheduled to have an MRI, following a dirty hit on Sunday. Despite taking the hit, Mariota stayed in the game, giving Titan’s fans visions of RG3 in the 2013 playoffs. You really have to question Ken Whisenhunt’s decision to let the future of the franchise out on the field when he clearly couldn’t navigate the pocket.
Baltimore Ravens – This team played a terrible game on both sides of the football. Defensive breakdowns let to two big touchdowns, and Joe Flacco just doesn’t have the weapons to keep the offense moving forward. Steve Smith balled out even with his injured back, but this team is just bad.
Cincinnati Bengals – On paper, this was supposed to be a tough two-game stretch for Andy Dalton, facing the Seattle and Buffalo defenses; but Dalton has navigated it perfectly, leading the Bengals to two solid victories. He had a great game, finding three different targets for touchdowns, and avoiding costly turnovers that has doomed this team in the past. The defense looks decent enough, despite injuries at key positions.
Cleveland Browns – With a chance to knock off the undefeated Broncos, the Browns just got the yips. With the game tied and less than a minute left, McCown threw just a dumb interception. In overtime, following a Peyton Manning interception, McCown took two costly sacks that put them out of field goal range. This team let a victory slip away and everyone in that locker room knows it.
Pittsburgh Steelers – Down to their third string quarterback, facing one of the top defenses in the league should have been a recipe for disaster. Instead, Landry Jones found Martavis Bryant for two scores and the Steelers came away with a much needed win. This team has kept pace with Cincinnati since Big Ben went down with injury – and once he comes back it will make this division interesting.
Denver Broncos – The Broncos are legit, don’t get me wrong; but they should have lost that game last week. Peyton Manning is not helping his team win and while the defense looks good, they haven’t played what anyone would call a good offense so far this year. Still, you can’t argue with 6-0.
Kansas City Chiefs – In case anyone was doubting how much of an impact the Charles injury would have on this team, this week’s game should make it very clear. The Chiefs were only able to muster 57 rushing yards, and 10 of those came from Alex Smith. The defense played well, holding the Vikings to only 16 first downs all game long, but if the offense can’t put up more than 10 points, it’s going to be a long year.
Oakland Raiders – No Game. No Recap.
San Diego Chargers – In what will likely be their toughest non-divisional game of the season, the Chargers went into Lambeau and played great – almost matching the Green Bay offense score for score. Philip Rivers aired it out 65 times, which is just insane, but San Diego couldn’t get anything going on the ground. Melvin Gordon’s ball security issues continued, as he fumbled twice, losing one. Back to back heartbreaking losses for the Chargers, put them pretty much out of the division race.