1. Shootout Success for the Saints
The New Orleans Saints almost let the high-powered Lions come all the way back from a 10-45 deficit. Almost. In the end, the Saints prevailed 52-38 to improve to 3-2 and climb back into the NFC South picture. The Saints have seemed like a one trick pony for years now, with Drew Brees expected to lead the charge week in and week out. While Brees did provide two touchdowns this week, he also threw two interceptions. Mark Ingram scored twice and the Saints defense somehow scored three times. New Orleans could end up much more of a contender than we expected if this level of defense can remain consistent. The Lions, however, fall to 3-3 after this loss, but remain very much in the race for the NFC North following a certain injury which we will address later.
2. Win-less No Longer
The Giants finally did it. They managed to pick up their first win by shocking a superior Broncos team. The game itself was a fiasco. Trevor Siemian threw two interceptions while also having to leave the game briefly due to a shoulder injury. The Giants managed to throw one TD and score on a pick six, on top of three field goals, in order to win 23-10 and get that first win without any of their major receiving weapons. Does this mean the Giants have a chance this year or that the Broncos are about to slide off the face of the Earth? No, neither. The Broncos will be just fine, because their offense and defense have shown they have the balance to compete with anyone. Meanwhile, the Giants may just be jeopardizing a first-overall pick by picking up a very small number of wins.
3. Patriots Barely Win… Again
A new week and the mighty Patriots have somehow found a way to survive again. This time was against the New York Jets, a team assumed to be leagues below New England’s caliber. But in reality, the Jets should have won and have claimed the top of the AFC East. The Jets led 14-0 at one point, until Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski led a comeback to take control of the game. However in the fourth quarter, a TD caught by Jets TE Seferian-Jenkins was ruled as a Patriots touchback after a controversial replay showed that the tight end had fumbled the ball out of bounds in the end-zone. This finish is just the latest example of how the Patriots manage to escape defeat every week. In the end, the result stays the same: Patriots Win Again.
4. Rams Special Teams Seals the Deal
A kick return TD, a blocked-punt scored, and another 100-yard outing for Todd Gurley equals a win for the Rams against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags defense delivered five interceptions last week, but this time around it was their own turnovers that proved to be fatal. The Rams improve to a 4-2 record and stand atop the NFC West, powered by a young gun in Jared Goff, the workhorse Gurley, and an explosive unit on special teams and defense that always seem to overachieve. Doubters beware.
5. The Eagles Stand Out
It’s week six and the NFC has a clear top dog, and it’s…the Eagles? Not the Panthers, who the Eagles beat 28-23, not the Falcons, who dropped to 3-2 after losing to the Dolphins, and not the Packers, who lost against the Vikings and also something much more valuable (more on that later). The Eagles may be a surprise to some, but Philadelphia remains the only NFC team with one loss after week six. This season statistically, they have a top-five passer in Carson Wentz, the eighth-best rusher in LeGarrette Blount, the most productive tight end in football with Zach Ertz, and the best defense against the rush in the whole league. Like it or not, the Eagles aren’t a fluke. They are a championship front-runner.
6. Adrian Peterson Finds Greener Pastures
— FlurrySports (@FlurrySports) October 16, 2017
When the New Orleans Saints signed Adrian Peterson this off-season, many thought the new location could be a resurgence for Peterson. While a change of scenery was needed, it ended up being Arizona that would use Peterson the way he should be. After being moved to the Cardinals, AP finally found his stride, rushing for 134 yards and two TD’s. The Cardinals beat the Buccaneers after AP had his big day and put serious hope in the hearts of fans that AP is pushing the Cardinals forward to success. As Peterson said after the game, “The sky is the limit.”
7. Would the Real Pittsburgh Steelers Please Stand Up?
The Steelers knocked off the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs one week after Ben Rothlisberger threw five interceptions. This week, he threw for over 250 yards with a touchdown to Antonio Brown. The Steelers have proven they can beat anyone, including the best team in football so far in Kansas City. The only issue is they have also proven they can lose to anyone, including a confusing Jaguars team and a Mike Glennon-led Bears team. Which Pittsburgh team will we see as we head closer to the postseason? That’s the million dollar question.
8. Trubisky Leads Bears to Wild Win
In Mitch Trubisky’s second game starting for the Bears, he lead Chicago to a 27-24 overtime victory. Both teams traded special teams scores and turnovers, until Chicago finally got over the hump. Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen also continued to play big for the Bears, as Cohen threw for a tricky touchdown, while Howard lead the team in rushing with 167 yards, including a huge run in OT to set up the winning field goal. Bear fans rejoice, the future is now.
9. Falcons Stunned by Smokin’ Jay
Yes, you read that right. Many people’s favorite to win the NFC lost to… Jay Cutler. The game started the way you would expect, with the Dolphins falling behind 17-0. Then, not so much. Cutler threw two consecutive touchdowns to bring the game back into contention, and then two field goals late gave the Dolphins the stunning victory. A shocking upset goes to show that no team is safe in the NFL, even when you’re staring across the field at smokin’ Jay Cutler.
10. When You Thought it Couldn’t Get Worse…
The biggest name yet joins the injury list. Aaron Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone against the Minnesota Vikings and will undergo surgery that is likely season-ending. Rodgers joins names such as J.J. Watt and Odell Beckham Jr. to miss the rest of the season, and he is one of many, many Packers with an injury. The Packers had to turn to Brett Hundley and unexpectedly lost against Minnesota without the saving arm of Aaron Rodgers. While this is disastrous news in Green Bay, the Packers have stated that they trust in Hundley and expect to still compete. Meanwhile, Minnesota now seems primed to make a run to steal the NFC North, powered by a talented defense, two stellar wide-outs, and the possible return of Teddy Bridgewater.