30 Things We Learned After Week 6 in the NFL

1. Dak Prescott should be the Cowboys starting QB. Period. I’ve been saying it for weeks. The latest evidence is none other than a dominant win in Lambeau this past weekend. Prescott has led Dallas to the best rushing attack in the NFC and the third best offense in the NFL. Seems like a no-brainer to stick with what they having going.

2. I’m not sure why everyone thought Carolina was some force of nature, and that Cam Newton was the greatest QB in the league. The 2015 season was outstanding for the Panthers, but this is a team that’s gone through ebbs and flows for years now — ever since Newton became a pro. Since 2011, look at what Carolina’s done: 6-10, 7-9, 12-4, 7-8-1, and 15-1. Last year was an “up” year, this one’s a “down” year.

3. Seattle proved a little rest on the bye week might be just what they needed. An impressive win against the league’s hottest offense could set this team right moving forward. They’re in as good a shape as any team in that division. And they’ve got the veteran leadership who’ve been through it.

4. Andy Reid is now 16-2 following a bye week after his Chiefs dismantled the Oakland Raiders. KC now has Jamaal Charles back and healthy, which should help to make Alex Smith even more efficient.

5. Rob Gronkowski looks to be back after a week 6 performance that saw the flu-ridden tight end grab 7 balls for a career-best 162 yards.

6. If anyone can figure out the Pittsburgh Steelers, please feel free to explain. An embarrassing, flat, uninspired performance in Miami has the Steelers reeling a bit, heading into their week 7 battle against the Patriots.

7. I had the Buffalo Bills winning 5 games this year, I think; and after an 0-2 start and firing Greg Roman as the team’s OC, I thought my prediction was maybe a bit too generous. Then, unexpectedly, the Bills go ahead and beat down the Cardinals, shut out the Pats in Foxboro, win in L.A. and destroy the 49ers. When you’re wrong, you’re wrong. Looks like I was wrong. And a big reason — aside from the defense — is LeSean McCoy. Shady’s gone for 7 TDs through 6 games this year after totaling a measly 5 all of 2015.

8. Washington has won four in a row and it should be no surprise that the win streak coincides with the Skins’ renewed commitment to the run. Washington ranks 12th in the NFL in rushing yards after a very slow start the first 2 weeks of the season.

9. Colin Kaepernick may not be the answer after all in SF. It’s definitely not a good sign when head coach Chip Kelly refuses to support Kap as the starter for week 7. At this point, it’d be hard to argue that Kelly shouldn’t just play for the number 1 pick in the draft so he can draft a QB he wants. The 49ers do have the 4th best ground game in the NFL at 123 yards per game. The problem is they have no defense so running the ball doesn’t work too well when you’re always playing from behind.

10. Odell Beckham, Jr. might be a little nuts, a little eccentric. But his 2016 season really doesn’t look much different than his 2015 year. With the slow start behind him, OBJ will be putting up video game numbers in the weeks ahead — week 6 was just the beginning.

11. Colts fans want blood. General manager Ryan Grigson should be in the crosshairs — this is not a good football team that surrounds Andrew Luck (even Luck, himself, may have received too much praise so far in his young career). If fans expect a coaching change, though, I wouldn’t expect much to happen with head man Chuck Pagano. If he can avoid being fired after this head-scratching play-call last year, my man is untouchable:

 

12. After the first 3 weeks against the Bills (before their offense was scoring at all), the Browns (who are the Browns), and the Jaguars, Baltimore’s defense looked very good. In fact, it’s still a top-10 defense and number two in the NFL in total yards. But the last three games — against offenses that have a pulse — the Ravens have gone 0-3. Until the Ravens offense can operate more efficiently, they can’t keep relying on their D for too much.

13. The Raiders may be the best team in the AFC West — but they are going to need to start playing defense at some point.

14. Finally, Jay Ajayi had a game that many expected from him coming into the 2016 season. What we didn’t expect was that his first career 200-yard game would come against the Steelers.

15. Lions fans will tell you their team should be 5-1. Maybe they’re right. The last 2 weeks, though, Detroit has won games they need to win at home despite injuries piling up on both sides of the ball.

16. The schedule makers didn’t do Atlanta any favors by sending them across the country to Denver and then Seattle in consecutive weeks. To come out of that 1-1 isn’t too bad. In fact, the Falcons may have learned quite a bit about themselves thanks to the scheduling. Plus, no harm no foul — no one in the division seems capable of applying any pressure to Atlanta’s hopes of an NFC South crown.

17. The Bears should be thankful that the Cubs are still playing and hogging all the attention in the Windy City.

18. Case Keenum and Kenny Britt have quite the chemistry. After hooking up 7 times on 8 targets on Sunday for 136 yards and 2 scores, the Rams offense doesn’t look half bad. The problem is the defense — a defense, led by Aaron Donald, that is supposed to be one of the league’s nastiest — has failed to show up in weeks. At 3-3 now, you wonder if the “King of 7-9”, Jeff Fisher, is headed that way once again.

19. Something is wrong in Green Bay with their aerial attack. I now, it’s not breaking news or anything, but something just isn’t right. Perennial MVP candidate Aaron Rodgers has watched his efficiency numbers and his completion percentage go down over the past year and a half. Sunday’s loss at home to the Cowboys was a microcosm of Rodgers’ play as of late — decent numbers in the end (294 yards), but when it mattered and the game was still close, the quarterback was throwing for a sickly 5.7 yards per toss.

20. Houston had no business beating Indy on SNF — the Colts had no business winning, though, either. Think the Texans are regretting handing Brock Osweiler that enormous, unearned contract? He’s the 29th rated passer (counting QBs who’ve thrown 100-plus attempts). I guess somebody’s gotta win that division.

21. Back-to-back losses and off comes some of the shine we all waxed on Carson Wentz after the rookie’s 3-0 start. It’s not all on Wentz, though. The defense hasn’t been as sharp since the bye week. Philly is going to have to figure out what’s wrong or else they’re going to get left behind in a division that is starting to look pretty good.

22. The Denver defense can carry that team a long way. The more C.J. Anderson touches the ball, the better for the Broncos offense.

23. There was talk after last Thursday’s win in San Diego about the Chargers being a legit playoff contender. I know win-loss records don’t always tell the whole story, but when you’re losing more than you’re winning and you don’t pass the eye test, hmmmm. Not to mention, the AFC West isn’t exactly full of a bunch of pushovers.

24. David Johnson looks like he’s adjusting nicely to being Arizona’s full-time RB. People doubted his inside-the-tackles running ability and his ability to withstand the hits and the punishment of being the lead dog. Through 6 weeks, he looks just fine: third in the league with 94.7 yards a game and an NFL-best 8 rushing TDs.

25. Everyone who watched the Saints win the Super Bowl in ’09 will never forget head coach Sean Payton’s onside kick call. The coach is aggressive and will pull out all the tricks when he needs to. Drew Brees racked up his 15th career 400-yard passing game Sunday — an NFL-record. Tight end Coby Fleener rushed for a TD on a designed call. The best thing about the Saints struggling this season might be that Payton will coach with even less caution than normal, which should mean viewers and fans will at least be treated to some excitement when watching New Orleans play.

26. It’s a minor miracle that Cody Kessler is well enough to keep trotting out to lead the Browns as their QB. The rookie signal-caller was sacked by 6 six different Titans on Sunday; and we should probably expect to see much of the same with the Browns offensive line in shambles.

27. While A.J. Green leads the league in receptions (42) and is second, only to Julio Jones, in yards receiving (606), the rest of the Bengal offense is wavering. The unit has managed only 10 touchdowns thru 6 weeks — ahead of only the Seahawks and Texans.

28. The Jets schedule has been difficult — no question. But the Big Green Machine needs someone other than Brandon Marshall to step up as a playmaker or else it won’t matter who’s on the schedule.

29. Blake Bortles put together the comeback game of his young career on Sunday versus the Bears. Down 16-0 in the 4th, Bortles led the Jags to 17 unanswered points, including a 51-yard touchdown in the end to put Jacksonville up for good. Two straight wins and Gus Bradley’s troops are right back in the thick of the divisional race.

30. Thanks to DeMarco Murray, Titan wide receivers are enjoying a lot of one-one coverage on the outside. Kendall Wright and Richard Matthews are quickly becoming fantasy must-haves. Don’t look now, but Tennessee is 3-3 and Marcus Mariota has the offense rolling.

 

Feedback is always welcome through the website in the comments box or on my Twitter feed — @brian22goodwin.

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Author: Brian Goodwin

An educator for 15 years. I have a passion for sports and a passion for writing about sports. I'm very excited to run this blog and have conversations with people about relevant topics, mostly pertaining to sports but also in all aspects of life.

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