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Peter Aiken/Getty Images
If there’s one thing that’s certain in the NFL, it’s that nothing is certain.
There were plenty of games that stuck to the script in Week 5. Just about everyone thought the New England Patriots would drill the Washington Redskins. They did—putting the final nail in Jay Gruden’s coffin in the process. The Philadelphia Eagles made short work of a short-handed New York Jets team.
But per usual, there were major surprises. The Oakland Raiders stunned the Chicago Bears in London. The Denver Broncos got their first win of the season Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers. And in Kansas City, the Indianapolis Colts pulled off quite possibly the upset of the season, pushing around the undefeated Chiefs en route to a six-point win.
In other words, it was a fairly typical week—in that it wasn’t typical at all.
Another wild and wacky week of NFL action has shaken up the league’s pecking order yet again, and Bleacher Report NFL analysts Brad “Brady” Gagnon, Brent “Sobo” Sobleski and Gary “Worst ATS Picker in History” Davenport have gathered to slot all 32 teams worst-to-first.
The bottom five didn’t change much.
The top five is another story.
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Lynne Sladky/Associated Press
Last Week: 32
Week 5 Result: Bye
Week 5 may well have been the high point of the 2019 season for the Miami Dolphins.
That it was the team’s bye week tells you all you need to know about Miami this season.
The Dolphins aren’t just in the early stages of a ground-up rebuild—Miami decided to kick said rebuild off by burning the franchise to the ground, and then running the ashes through a chipper-shredder.
Entering Week 5, the Dolphins ranked 31st in total offense, managing just 225 yards per game. The last-ranked defense, on the other hand, is surrendering a staggering 472 yards per contest.
That’s right—the Dolphins are being outgained by opponents at a ratio of better than 2-to-1.
By virtue of the Laremy Tunsil and Minkah Fitzpatrick trades, the Dolphins will have three first-round picks in the 2020 NFL draft.
The way they’ve played to date, they need 23.
2 of 32
Nick Wass/Associated Press
Last Week: 29
Week 5 Result: Lost vs. New England 33-7
At this point, the universe is just trolling Jay Gruden.
Washington’s embattled head coach had already dealt with reports this week that he was in imminent danger of being fired and that he’s quit on the team. A video was also released that appears to show Gruden smoking marijuana.
Sunday, Gruden’s winless Washington team had to face the unbeaten defending Super Bowl champions. When Steve Sims Jr. took his first (and only) carry of the game 65 yards for a touchdown to give Washington a 7-0 lead, Gruden may have felt a momentary bit of relief. Maybe even happiness.
Then the Pats peeled off 33 unanswered points and pounded Washington into an 0-5 pile of goo.
As John Keim reported for ESPN, Gruden tried to play off questions about his job security after the loss.
“Nobody’s told me anything,” Gruden said. “I don’t have a concern; I’ll just wait and see — if my key works on Monday, keep working, go attack the Miami Dolphins and plan on getting our first win next week.”
His key worked…just long enough for the team to fire him…at five in the morning.
Dude needs a hug.
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Bryan Woolston/Getty Images
Last Week: 30
Week 5 Result: Lost vs. Arizona 26-23
In 2018, the Cincinnati Bengals fielded the worst defense in the NFL, allowing a staggering 413.6 yards per game.
That defense has “improved” in 2019—by 1.8 yards per contest.
For the second time at home this year, the Bengals coughed up over 500 yards of total offense in a loss. In Week 5, it was against a winless Arizona Cardinals team that had scored over 20 points one time in four games.
This was a game where Andy Dalton actually played pretty well. Where Joe Mixon had easily his best game of the season with 109 total yards. Where Tyler Boyd caught 10 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown.
But none of that mattered because Cincy’s defense was terrible—again.
With trips to Baltimore and Los Angeles and a home date with the Jacksonville Jaguars next up, it’s entirely possible the Bengals will be staring at an 0-8 record when they hit the bye week.
At this rate, the honeymoon period for first-year head coach Zac Taylor isn’t going to last much longer.
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Michael Perez/Associated Press
Last Week: 31
Week 5 Result: Lost at Philadelphia 31-6
In fairness to the New York Jets, the team has been functioning with their third-string quarterback since Week 2.
And by “functioning,” we mean stinking so badly that the vapors could knock a wildebeest unconscious from 50 yards away.
The Jets found a new offensive nadir Sunday against the Eagles. New York had 128 yards of offense in the game—total. The Jets had all of nine first downs. Luke Falk was once again a mess, throwing for 120 yards and two picks. Not only did the Jets turn it over three times, but two of those turnovers were returned for touchdowns.
That’s right—the Eagles defense scored twice as many points as the Jets offense.
At least the Jets don’t have to play a seething Dallas Cowboys team next week, followed by the second meeting of the season with the Patriots. That would just be mean.
0-7, here they come.
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Michael Wyke/Associated Press
Last Week: 26
Week 5 Result: Lost at Houston 53-32
Well, after allowing almost 600 yards of offense and 53 points in Houston, it’s official: The Falcons are in full-on Tom Perry mode.
However, despite a miserable 1-4 start to the season, Falcons owner Arthur Blank expressed confidence in head coach Dan Quinn, according to ESPN’s Vaughn McClure.
“Obviously, the coaching is not where it needs to be,” Blank said. “They’re challenging themselves, questioning themselves, examining everything they know how to examine. That’s all they can do is work really hard at it, take this as seriously as they can, and feel the pain.”
Nothing says success in the NFL quite like “feel the pain.”
Quinn may be safe at the moment, but if the losses continue to mount, he wouldn’t be the first coach to lose his job a few weeks after getting a vote of confidence from ownership.
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Last Week: 23
Week 5 Result: Lost vs. Minnesota 28-10
It was going to happen sooner or later. For all the “Danny Dimes” hoopla that had accompanied New York’s two-game winning streak, the time was going to come when rookie quarterback Daniel Jones was going to struggle.
Those struggles came in Week 5.
Jones wasn’t terrible in a lopsided loss to the Vikings. But he wasn’t good, either, throwing 21-of-38 for 182 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Partly, it was a function of playing a very good Vikings defense. Partly, it was a function of New York losing yet another tailback when Wayne Gallman suffered a concussion.
But mostly, it was just the fact that Jones is a rookie quarterback on a flawed team. The Giants may have a better chance of winning games with Jones at the helm than Eli Manning, but with a so-so (at best) offensive line and a bad defense, the Giants are going to lose more than they win no matter who lines up under center.
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Don Wright/Associated Press
Last Week: 24
Week 5 Result: Lost vs. Baltimore 26-23 (OT)
This just isn’t going to be Pittsburgh’s year.
After blasting a terrible Bengals team in Week 4, there was optimism around the Steelers. The team seemed to have found an offensive identity of sorts with young quarterback Mason Rudolph. Despite an 0-3 start, the Steelers were just one game out of first place.
That lasted not quite a week.
With Rudolph on the sideline after taking a brutal shot to the head, Pittsburgh’s offense bogged down even more than it already had. And while the Steelers put up a good fight and took the Ravens to extra time, Pittsburgh’s sitting at 1-4 now and may have to start an undrafted rookie in Week 6 against the Los Angeles Chargers.
“Mike Tomlin‘s never had a losing record as head coach in Pittsburgh,” Davenport said, “but that streak is toast in 2019. The question at the end of the year will be whether the franchise decides it’s time for major changes after missing the playoffs in consecutive campaigns.”
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Alex Gallardo/Associated Press
Last Week: 28
Week 5 Result: Won at Los Angeles Chargers 20-13
Over the first four weeks of the 2019 season, the Denver Broncos were all about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Twice in four games the Broncos lost on a field goal as time expired—both at home, no less.
The Broncos made Sunday’s win over the Chargers more interesting than it possibly should have been after jumping out to a 17-0 lead, but this time the Broncos held on for a win.
In doing so, Denver demonstrated it’s a better team than its record. The Broncos absolutely gashed the Chargers on the ground, amassing 191 rushing yards on 32 carries. The defense played how we expect a Vic Fangio-run unit to play, holding the Chargers offense out of the end zone and limiting the Bolts to just 246 total yards.
This is legitimately a team that’s a few plays and a break or two away from being 3-2—at least.
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Gary Landers/Associated Press
Last Week: 27
Week 5 Result: Won at Cincinnati 26-23
The good news for the Arizona Cardinals is that the team notched its first win of the Kyler Murray/Kliff Kingsbury era Sunday in Cincinnati.
The not-so-good news is that the supposedly high-octane offense continues to have issues getting into the end zone.
Murray threw for 253 yards Sunday and picked up 93 more on 10 carries, but his only touchdown of the game came on a run. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 draft now hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass in back-to-back games and has just four for the season.
“The Cardinals piled up over 500 yards of total offense against the Bengals,” Davenport said, ” and most importantly won the game. But the Redbirds were in the red zone half a dozen times Sunday and came away with one touchdown against one of the worst defenses in football. To say that isn’t going to cut it is an understatement. Add in 12 penalties, and it was a sloppy win.”
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Mark Zaleski/Associated Press
Last Week: 21
Week 5 Result: Lost vs. Buffalo 14-7
The Tennessee Titans just flatly refuse to string together two good games in a row—or two bad games in a row. They bounce back and forth like a ping-pong ball.
In Week 3, the Titans were waxed on Thursday night by the Jacksonville Jaguars. The following Sunday, the Titans handled the Atlanta Falcons with relative ease. Sunday in Nashville, it was back to looking bad in a seven-point loss that wasn’t as close as the score.
Once again, the defense played relatively well, but the offense was completely stagnant. The Titans managed just 252 total yards, 150 passing yards, 14 first downs and four third-down conversions in 14 attempts.
In two of Tennessee’s last three games, the team has scored just seven points. And Davenport’s seen all he has to where Marcus Mariota is concerned.
“This was a do-or-die season for the future of Marcus Mariota in Nashville,” he said. “It’s becoming painfully clear that he’s not the long-term answer for the Titans under center. At some point, the team might as well figure out if Ryan Tannehill has anything to offer. It’s not like this is any kind of playoff contender.”
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Bill Feig/Associated Press
Last Week: 21
Week 5 Result: Lost at New Orleans 31-24
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had an opportunity to send a message in Week 5. Down the Saints in New Orleans, and the Buccaneers could tie the Saints at 3-2 and claim a share of first place in the NFC South.
That did not happen.
The Buccaneers not only lost the game by seven points, but they were outperformed on the field by a much larger margin. The run defense did a decent job of limiting Alvin Kamara, but the pass defense was torched by Teddy Bridgewater to the tune of 300-plus yards and four scores. Jameis Winston, on the other hand, managed just 204 passing yards in a game where the Buccaneers were outgained by over 200 yards.
To be fair, the Buccaneers have shown signs of real improvement under new head coach Bruce Arians. But this still looks like the third-best team in a four-team division.
That’s not great.
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Tim Ireland/Associated Press
Last Week: 25
Week 5 Result: Won vs. Chicago 24-21 (London)
Five weeks into the 2019 season, the Oakland Raiders are not in last place in the AFC West—that “honor” belongs to the 1-4 Denver Broncos.
The Raiders aren’t in third place, either—that would be the Los Angeles Chargers, who handed Denver their first win of 2019 on Sunday.
No, the Oakland Raiders are sitting at 3-2, just a game behind the Kansas City Chiefs after stunning the Chicago Bears 24-21 in London.
The Raiders still have problems—as evidenced by the fact that Oakland had to rally in the fourth quarter after squandering a 17-0 lead.
But the Raiders did rally. The defense isn’t great, but it’s getting better. Josh Jacobs was a force against Chicago, piling up 143 total yards and two scores on 29 touches. And the Raiders have gone from punchline to tough out.
“You have to give Jon Gruden and Co. credit,” Gagnon wrote. “More than 5,000 miles from home, the Raiders just dominated the Chicago freakin’ Bears in the trenches. It was completely unexpected, but Oakland is quietly 3-2 entering its bye. Derek Carr isn’t a superstar, but he’s usually reliable, and with Josh Jacobs, Darren Waller and Trent Brown surrounding him and the defense playing better, that’s often enough to compete.”
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Brian Blanco/Associated Press
Last Week: 20
Week 5 Result: Lost at Carolina 34-27
From looking at the stats, you’d think the Jacksonville Jaguars won in Week 5.
Quarterback Gardner Minshew II continued his unlikely run, throwing for 374 yards and two scores with a passer rating of 101.9.
Bruising tailback Leonard Fournette had another big game, rolling for 108 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries.
Rookie wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. once again looked the part of a star in the making, catching eight passes for 164 yards and two scores.
Unfortunately, the Jaguars were also gashed for well over 200 total yards and three touchdowns by tailback Christian McCaffrey, and the end result was a seven-point loss that dropped the Jaguars below .500.
Still, the Jags are only a game out in the AFC South heading into a home tilt with the Saints that now looms large on the schedule.
Can Minshew Mania strike again? Or will the Jaguars fade away as so many expected when Nick Foles went down back in Week 1?
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Alex Gallardo/Associated Press
Last Week: 13
Week 5 Result: Lost vs. Denver 20-13
Remember when people thought the Los Angeles Chargers might actually be a Super Bowl contender after going 12-4 and winning a playoff game last year?
Pepperidge Farm remembers.
Unfortunately, they’re just about the only people who do after a flat performance against the Denver Broncos dropped the Chargers to 2-3 and behind the Oakland Raiders in the AFC West.
Five weeks into the season, the Bolts have all of one win over a decent team. And as Gagnon pointed out, it took overtime to notch that one.
“Here we are entering Week 6 and the Chargers have yet to beat an NFL-caliber team in regulation,” he said. “The Dolphins, of course, are hardly even FCS-caliber. We really have to stop believing they’ll turn a corner. This is a talented team that is never healthy, never has a reliable kicker and has seen too many black cats cross its path.”
It’s becoming nearly impossible to take the Chargers seriously as more than an also-ran in the AFC, although with a pair of winnable games on tap, Los Angeles still has time to right the ship and at least challenge for a wild-card spot.
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Gail Burton/Associated Press
Last Week: 12
Week 5 Result: Lost at San Francisco 31-3
The Cleveland Browns have been exposed. It’s an odd statement about a team that lost more games than it won in 2018, and even we were guilty of buying in to the offseason hype.
No more. Not after Cleveland was destroyed in San Francisco.
This supposed playoff contender is an error-prone mess that hasn’t seen a miscue or penalty it didn’t like. The Browns committed four more turnovers and who knows how many other mistakes, and they made the team that beat the Baltimore Ravens last week look like a mirage.
The reality is far harsher.
The offensive line is terrible. The supposedly sure-fire superstar at quarterback is on pace to throw 25 interceptions. Superstar wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has been a non-factor more weeks than not.
The Browns just aren’t very good.
“Cleveland’s next two games are against the 4-1 Seattle Seahawks and at the undefeated Patriots,” Davenport said. “It’s hard to imagine a scenario, given how porous the offensive line is and how badly Mayfield has regressed in Year 2, where this team hits the halfway point at better than 3-5. The more things change in Cleveland, the more they stay the same.”
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Brian Blanco/Associated Press
Last Week: 19
Week 5 Result: Won vs. Jacksonville 34-27
Much of the talk during the Carolina Panthers’ three-game winning streak has centered on quarterback Kyle Allen. The unheralded young signal-caller has earned those accolades with generally solid play.
But let’s make one thing clear—the Panthers would be dead in the water were it not for tailback Christian McCaffrey.
After exploding for 237 scrimmage yards and three touchdowns against the Jacksonville Jaguars, McCaffrey is the NFL’s leading rusher by a substantial margin. The third-year pro is averaging over 117 yards per game on the ground and a jaw-dropping 5.6 yards per carry.
The Panthers aren’t just McCaffrey—Carolina has some young weapons in the passing game, one of the better pass rushes in the game and a former DPOY winner in middle linebacker Luke Kuechly.
But this team is going as far in 2019 as their immensely talented young running back takes them.
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Emilee Chinn/Getty Images
Last Week: 17
Week 5 Result: Won at New York Giants 28-10
On Sunday, that was all put to rest. Cousins had easily his best game of the season in New York, lighting up the Giants for 306 yards and two scores—both to Thielen.
Per Chris Tomasson of the Twin Cities Pioneer-Press, Cousins downplayed all the distraction after the game.
“You want everybody there and you also understand that this is a business and people have decisions they need to make, and this is not my first rodeo,” Cousins said. “I think some of these questions are being asked like I’m a rookie and have never experienced this before. This is year eight for me. … I’m not surprised by what this league can throw at you.”
However, before we declare Minnesota’s up-and-down passing attack A-OK, it’s worth noting that the Giants rank 28th in the NFL in pass defense.
This week’s home date with the Philadelphia Eagles (and the trip to Detroit that comes after) should provide a truer test for the team. And with the Packers rolling, Minnesota can’t afford to stumble.
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Paul Sancya/Associated Press
Last Week: 16
Week 5 Result: Bye Week
The Detroit Lions have been one of the more surprising teams in the NFL over the season’s first month.
It didn’t look they would be in Week 1. The team squandered a big fourth-quarter lead in Arizona and was forced to settle for a tie. It was a very Detroit start to the season.
Since then, though, the Lions have taken on three straight teams that made the postseason last year in the Chiefs, Chargers and Eagles, and Detroit was seconds away from beating all three of them.
The Lions haven’t been especially explosive on either side of the ball. But the team’s been efficient on offense and disciplined on defense. No matter the opponent, the Lions are staying in games—their four games on the season have been decided by a total of 10 points.
Things don’t get any easier from here, though—out of the bye, the Lions travel to Lambeau Field for a Monday-nighter against the Packers.
If September was any indication, it will be a close one.
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Ed Zurga/Associated Press
Last Week: 18
Week 5 Result: Won at Kansas City 19-13
Good luck figuring out the Indianapolis Colts.
In Week 4, the Colts came out flatter than a pancake against the Oakland Raiders, fell behind 21-7 at home in the first half and lost, 31-24.
One week later, the Colts traveled to arguably the hardest place in the NFL to play and physically dominated the Kansas City Chiefs. The Colts battered the Chiefs on the ground and held the league’s most dangerous offense in check—without their starting safeties and best linebacker.
Sobleski is officially confused.
“The Colts are the NFL’s most confounding squad,” he wrote. “A week after losing to the Raiders, Indianapolis posted the year’s most impressive win against the previously unbeaten Chiefs. The Colts defense held Patrick Mahomes and Co. in check. If Frank Reich’s squad doesn’t shoot itself in the foot, as it did against the Raiders, it’s the team to beat in the AFC South.”
After a week off, the Colts play host to the 3-2 Texans in Indianapolis.
The winner of that game will take control of an AFC South that may be the league’s most competitive division in 2019.
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Justin Berl/Getty Images
Last Week: 11
Week 5 Result: Won at Pittsburgh 26-23 (OT)
After getting pasted in successive games by the Chiefs and Browns, the Ravens came to Pittsburgh in Week 5 desperately in need of both a win and a good defensive performance.
They got the former. The latter’s something of another story.
The Ravens did allow just 269 yards of total offense to the Steelers. But that number also comes with a major asterisk—after Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph was knocked unconscious by a vicious hit from safety Earl Thomas, Pittsburgh spent the rest of the game with an undrafted rookie third-string quarterback in the game.
And it still went to overtime.
That’s cause for a measure of concern. The play of Lamar Jackson is a much bigger one. After opening the season with three turnover-free games, the second-year quarterback has now thrown five interceptions over the last two weeks.
Baltimore stopped the bleeding—but the patient isn’t out of the woods just yet, especially with a trip to Seattle and a home game with the Patriots on the slate in the next few weeks.
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Jack Thomas/Getty Images
Last Week: 7
Week 5 Result: Lost vs. Oakland 24-21 (London)
The Chicago Bears have a lot to think about during their bye week after falling to the Raiders in London.
The Bears need to think about an offense that managed just 236 total yards against a mediocre Oakland defense.
The Bears need to think about a ground game that had 42 yards total on 17 carries—an average of 2.5 yards a pop.
The Bears need to think about an offensive line that gave up four sacks in one game to a team that had 13 all of last season.
The Bears need to think about a supposedly stout defense that was gashed for over 140 total yards by rookie running back Josh Jacobs.
The Bears need to think about allowing a 90-plus yard fourth-quarter touchdown drive after the team had erased a 17-0 halftime deficit with 21 unanswered points in the third quarter.
And the Bears need to think about the three straight games against 2018 playoff teams that are next on the schedule after the bye.
Because if they play in those games the way they did in London, the Bears are going to get drilled—again.
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Mark Zaleski/Associated Press
Last Week: 14
Week 5 Result: Won at Tennessee 14-7
The Buffalo Bills have a better record than the Los Angeles Rams. And the Chicago Bears. And the Los Angeles Chargers. And the Dallas Cowboys.
Five weeks into the season, that may be the biggest surprise of the 2019 campaign.
The Bills aren’t piling up style points—or points at all, for that matter. Sunday’s win over the Titans was the third time this year that Buffalo failed to score 20 points, and the second game in a row in which it scored fewer than 15.
But thanks to a defense that ranks second in the NFL in both total defense and pass defense and sixth in points allowed, Josh Allen and the Bills don’t have to score a lot to win games.
The Bills have plenty to be happy about as the team heads into its bye week, and they may have even more coming out of it.
In Week 7, the Bills get the winless Dolphins.
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Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press
Last Week: 15
Week 5 Result: Won vs. Atlanta 53-32
Apparently, the only thing that was wrong with the Houston Texans offense is that the team hadn’t played the Atlanta Falcons yet.
Deshaun Watson and the Texans passing game had an absolute field day in Week 5. Watson became the third player in the Super Bowl era to throw for over 400 yards, toss five touchdown passes and post a perfect passer rating of 158.3. On a day when DeAndre Hopkins was relatively quiet, Will Fuller V most assuredly was not—he hauled in 14 passes for 217 yards and three scores.
Those weren’t the only gaudy numbers the Texans put up. All told, Houston piled up a ridiculous 592 yards of total offense. Watson averaged almost 13 yards a pass.
It was quite the explosion.
Perhaps most importantly, Watson wasn’t sacked. It was a stunning example of just how potent the Houston offense can be if the team protects its star quarterback.
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Ron Jenkins/Associated Press
Last Week: 4
Week 5 Result: Lost vs. Green Bay 34-24
After dropping its second game in a row, at least one analyst here at Bleacher Report expressed quite a bit of skepticism over whether Dallas is a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
“For some reason,” Sobleski wrote, “the Cowboys are being treated like a top-10 team when recent play indicates otherwise. Dallas dominated against inferior competition to start the season. Its 3-0 start came against opponents with a 2-12 combined record. Whereas, the Cowboys lost back-to-back contests against the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers, who own a combined 8-2 record. Maybe the Cowboys are just mediocre.”
That skepticism isn’t unfounded. The Cowboys didn’t just lose at home. They were down 31-3 in this game and allowed tailback Aaron Jones to gash them with impunity.
We’re not going to find out much about the Cowboys in this week’s “get right” matchup with the winless Jets, but a Week 7 matchup with the similarly 3-2 Eagles has now become a true Sunday night showdown.
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Matt Rourke/Associated Press
Last Week: 10
Week 5 Result: Won vs. New York Jets 31-6
There are no gimme games in the NFL—unless you’re playing the New York Jets with Luke Falk at quarterback.
The Eagles pulverized a pitiful Jets team in Week 5 without really trying. This was a game where the Eagles racked up 31 points despite having fewer than 300 yards of total offense. Carson Wentz had just 17 completions. The Eagles had just 84 rushing yards and averaged fewer than three yards a carry.
As efforts go, it certainly wasn’t Philly’s best—but it was more than enough against the Jets.
“Given how uneven the Eagles were to start the season,” Davenport said, “the team should probably feel pretty good about 3-2 and right in the mix in the NFC East. However, Philly’s gonna have to pick that effort level up—the team starts a brutal stretch next week of six games in a row against teams with winning records. We’ll know soon enough just how good these Eagles are.”
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Elaine Thompson/Associated Press
Last Week: 8
Week 5 Result: Lost at Seattle 30-29
The Los Angeles Rams have a problem.
It’s not necessarily that the Rams have lost two in a row. There’s no shame in losing in Seattle—especially when you consider that Los Angeles was a missed Greg Zuerlein field goal as time expired from pulling out the win on the road.
But despite the team’s protestations to the contrary, it’s becoming plainly evident to anyone with eyes that something’s not right with tailback Todd Gurley.
Sure, Gurley has scored two touchdowns in each of the last two games. But in those gamesGurley carried the ball 20 times total—for 67 yards. Meanwhile, quarterback Jared Goff has attempted a jaw-dropping 117 passes, including 49 against the Seahawks.
“The Rams have as much receiving talent as any team in the NFL,” Davenport said, “but their one-dimensional offense of late is cause for legitimate concern. The Rams have no balance, which puts a ton of pressure on Goff to throw the ball 50-plus times a game. We’ve seen how well that’s worked out the past two weeks.”
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Stephen Brashear/Associated Press
Last Week: 6
Week 5 Result: Won vs. Los Angeles Rams 30-29
We have a news flash for you: Russell Wilson of the Seahawks is pretty good at the whole being an NFL quarterback thing.
As has been the case far too often in recent years, Wilson’s offensive line has been fairly offensive in 2019. But Wilson used his scrambling ability to buy time repeatedly against the Rams on Thursday night, roasting L.A. for four touchdowns in a one-point win that moved the Seahawks past their division rivals in the NFC West.
Wilson didn’t do it completely alone—tailback Chris Carson had arguably his best game of the season, piling up 118 yards on 27 carries and catching a touchdown pass.
The Seahawks aren’t a team without flaws—in addition to their offensive line woes, the defense gave up 477 yards to the Rams.
But having a superstar under center is pretty nice compensation.
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Tony Avelar/Associated Press
Last Week: 9
Week 5 Result: Won vs. Cleveland 31-3
The NFC West is loaded.
And the San Francisco 49ers may well be the best team in the division.
If there was any question whether the Niners were the real deal, they answered in emphatic fashion by blowing out the overmatched Browns.
For the second time this season, the 49ers piled up well over 200 rushing yards against an AFC North team. As a matter of fact, the 49ers had more rushing yards through three quarters (244) than the Browns had total yards.
The 49ers are more than just that punishing ground game, though. The defense features five first-round picks on the line that harassed Baker Mayfield all night. The secondary picked off Mayfield twice.
It’s a talented, physical squad without a glaring weakness.
However, there are a couple of potential issues ahead of Sunday’s huge game in L.A. against the Rams. The kicking game was atrocious against Cleveland, missing two field goals and allowing a third to be blocked.
And most worryingly, fullback Kyle Juszczyk was carted off the field in the second half—an injury that could be a huge blow to the rushing attack.
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Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press
Last Week: 5
Week 5 Result: Won at Dallas 34-24
There may not be a team in the NFL that posted a more impressive victory in Week 5 than the Green Bay Packers. Certainly not on the NFC side.
It’s not just that the Packers notched a 10-point win on the road in Dallas—the game wasn’t nearly as close as the final score, with the Pack racing out to a 31-3 lead. It’s that Green Bay trounced Dallas with a key offensive cog on the shelf.
With Davante Adams out, the Packers leaned on the run game and tailback Aaron Jones. And wow, did Jones respond—182 total yards and a franchise record-tying four rushing scores.
“The Packers dropped a piano on the Cowboys in a game where Aaron Rodgers threw for 238 yards and no touchdowns,” Davenport said. “That should terrify the rest of the NFC. This team isn’t just Rodgers standing on his head a la Packers teams of the past. Green Bay can run the ball and the defense is stout. A pretty strong argument can be made that this is the best team in the conference.”
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Reed Hoffmann/Associated Press
Last Week: 2
Week 5 Result: Lost vs. Indianapolis 19-13
The Kansas City Chiefs are a very good football team and a real contender to represent the AFC in Super Bowl LIV.
It’s important not to read too much into Sunday night’s loss to the Indianapolis Colts, especially with star quarterback Patrick Mahomes playing most of the game on a bad ankle.
However, as Davenport pointed out, there was at least one concern exposed in the game that isn’t a new one for the team.
“I’ve been saying since the season began that the Chiefs defense remains a problem area, and it was clear Sunday night that remains the case,” he said. “The Colts chewed up both yardage and time by running the ball 45 times for 180 yards against Kansas City, and Indy wound up possessing the ball for over 37 minutes in the game. Even when Mahomes is healthy, he can’t score if he doesn’t have the ball, and it won’t be even a little surprising to see future opponents attempt to copy Indy’s blueprint for success in Week 5.”
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Butch Dill/Associated Press
Last Week: 3
Week 5 Result: Won vs. Tampa Bay 31-24
Teddy B. heard you. He heard all of you. He heard you call him a game-manager.
And on Sunday in New Orleans, he answered.
Teddy Bridgewater had one of the best games of his career Sunday against the Buccaneers—314 yards, four touchdowns and a passer rating of over 130. And just like Drew Brees, Bridgewater looked Michael Thomas’ way early and often—13 targets, 11 catches, 182 yards and two scores.
“Just as videos emerged of Drew Brees chucking the (Nerf) rock around as he rehabs his bum thumb, Bridgewater sent a clear message that the Saints don’t have to worry about rushing Brees back,” Davenport said. “Better yet, Sunday’s big game against the Buccaneers showed Sean Payton that he doesn’t have to completely rein in the offense with Bridgewater under center. He’s not going to get MVP run, and as soon as Brees is healthy, it’s back to clipboard detail. But if the Saints make a deep playoff run in 2019, they’ll have Bridgewater to thank for saving the season.”
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Mark Tenally/Associated Press
Last Week: 1
Week 5 Result: Won at Washington 33-7
For 30 minutes on Sunday, the New England Patriots looked listless. Out of sorts. Rather un-Patriots like. The defending Super Bowl champions actually trailed the winless Redskins 7-0 and managed just 12 points in the first half.
However, NFL games have two halves—and by the time the final gun sounded, the Pats had blown out another overmatched opponent.
There’s really not much that can be gleaned from New England picking up twice as many total yards as the Redskins. Or Tom Brady throwing for 348 yards and three scores against an awful Washington secondary. There’s a reason the point spread on this game was north of two touchdowns.
Still, the Patriots (as they usually do) took care of business in Week 5. And looking at the team’s schedule, it’s hard to point out a real challenge until road trips to Baltimore and Philly in Weeks 9 and 11.
By then, the Pats will more likely than not be 8-0…and still sitting atop these rankings.