Another insane week is finally behind us in the NFL season. This week was WILD, with many top teams falling, meanwhile other teams are starting to get some momentum under them in hopes of making the playoffs. At this point, no team in the NFL looks unbeatable…
Charger and Steelers Bless Us on SNF
WHAT. A. GAME. When you think of roller coaster finishes, this game was that and then some. In what was a Charger home game, the Steelers fan base came THROUGH, making SoFi feel like Heinz Field. It started off as an average game, but a dominant Steelers defense helped Pittsburgh score 24 in the 4th, giving them the edge with multiple stops and a blocked punt. The game was ultimately decided on a Mike Williams 53-yard TD catch with 2 minutes to play, pushing LA to a 6-4 record after a 41-37 win. The biggest takeaways here are the Steelers defense, and the EXCEPTIONAL game by Justin Herbert, again.
I know what you’re thinking, how in the world is a defense that allowed 41 points considered a bright spot for a team? Well, the fact that they put on a phenomenal 4th quarter without their 2 star players speaks for itself. This defense is really good, and they were the reason the team even had a chance to win. They finished with a pick, 2 sacks, and a blocked punt, applying the most pressure in the 4th quarter when their backs were up against the wall. When healthy, they have the potential to be one of the top defenses in the entire league. The Steelers offense has been very hit-or-miss this season, with most of their production coming from dink-and-dunk type passes. If that offense could’ve matched the defensive output, this team would be legit.
Now for Justin Herbert, what a game. He finished with 382 pass yards and 3 TDs to one pick, going 30/41 on completions. He also finished with a team high 90 rushing yards on just 9 carries. He continues to prove how good he is and with the tough losses this year, this is one that just boosts confidence. I can’t imagine the Chargers winning many games without Herbert at QB. He just has so much poise and guts for his age and is definitely a future MVP.
New England is Back?
Man oh man, this has got to have the AFC East SICK to their stomachs. Against all odds and predictions casted for them at the beginning, New England sits atop the AFC East with a 7-4 record. A mix of solid QB play from rookie Mac Jones and elite defense is to thank for the shocking turnaround for the Patriots. Mac Jones isn’t an elite QB by far, but he can definitely become one. Right now, to do what he’s doing with the “weapons” he has is insane. He has thrown for over 2500 yards with 14 TDs and 8 INTs, but what is most impressive is his 70% completion rate. His backfield has been injured all year, his top WRs are all slot WRs nowhere near WR1, and his TEs are very good but not very involved, aside Hunter Henry (7 TDs). The defense is among the best in the league, having 4 picks, 4 sacks, a TD, and shutting out the Falcons in their last game. On the year thus far, they have 18 INTs, 3 fumble recoveries, 27 sacks, and 3 defensive touchdowns. As of right now, they look like one of the toughest teams to beat. Their next 4 games should be a great test, as they face the Titans, Bills (twice), and Colts.
Top Teams Fall
Like I said, it was a WILD week this time around. Teams that have been highly praised by the media collapsed in their games, proving yet again that you should never get too comfortable. The Titans, Bills, Packers, and Cowboys all had a combined record of 29-9 heading into this week, with all of them comfortably leading their respective divisions. The Titans fell apart to the Texans, behind an embarrassing 4-pick game by Ryan Tannehill. The Bills got destroyed by the hands of Jonathan Taylor, who ran for 185 yards and 4 TDs, and also hauled in 19 receiving yards and a TD. Green Bay played a phenomenal early game against the Vikings, responding with a one play TD with 2 minutes left. For them, the last team with the ball was going to win and that was the Vikings. Dallas suffered a similar loss to the one they had against the Broncos, a snooze fest on offense. Missing key players like both of their starting defensive ends, their left tackle, and eventually both of their top WRs, Dallas had a lot missing. Yet, their defense kept them in the game all day, with Micah Parsons having 2 sacks and the D generating a turnover. Dak just struggled all game and the pass game as well as the run just was nonexistent. For these 4 teams, they look to rebound in the coming week.
Teams on the Rise?
At this point, we see what teams are the pretenders. The Jets, Giants, and Jags of the world won’t get much love from here on out, but other teams will. Teams that, like the ones named earlier, looked to be without hope of making a playoff run. Yet, recent games quickly changed the outlook for them and now they look a lot more primed to make a push. These teams are the Colts, Vikings, and the Eagles. For Indy, I’ve said time and time again that they looked like one of the best under .500 teams. So much talent up and down the roster, they just needed a couple games to go their way. Late 4th quarter woes and OT losses changed their projections early, but 3 straight wins and a huge upset over Buffalo looks to be what they needed. They sit at 6-5 now. The Vikings share similar woes with the Colts. An OT loss and some other close losses saw the Vikings go from potential playoff spot takers, to overrated. Kirk Cousins has thrown for over 2700 yards with 21 TDs and 2 picks, if he wasn’t on a losing team he would be an MVP candidate. After 2 straight wins, they now sit at .500 (5-5), and can potentially sneak into a playoff spot. The Eagles are finally getting it together. A close battle versus the Bucs weeks ago saw potential in them, and 3 wins out of the last 4 has them just a game back of a .500 record. Their next 5 opponents are the Giants twice, the Jets, and the WFT twice. They can easily win out these games and go from 5-6, to 10-6.