We’re now a third of the way through the 2015 NFL season and things are heating up. While the MLB closes its season down, the NFL is just getting started. Division leads are being established and MVP cases are being founded. Though we can all agree that this season’s play has been a little more sloppy and undisciplined than we’re used to, it’s just as exciting as ever. Five unbeatens still remain as the Panthers and Broncos continue to surprise – for different reasons. Let’s get to it.
New Orleans Saints 31, Atlanta Falcons 21
The Falcons fell from the ranks of the undefeated this past Thursday and it wasn’t pretty. This game wasn’t nearly as close as the score indicates – Atlanta trailed from the get go and beat themselves all night with miscues and penalties. It was clear that New Orleans was ready to play on short rest and Atlanta wasn’t. Plain and simple.
Cincinnati Bengals 34, Buffalo Bills 21
Another matchup that wasn’t particularly close as the Bengals rolled the Bills in Buffalo. E.J. Manuel made the start for Buffalo in place of the injured Tyrod Taylor, and though he was decent, the Bills just didn’t stand a chance. Cincy controlled both sides of the ball en route to their 6th straight win to open the year.
Denver Broncos 26, Cleveland Browns 23
Is it possible for a 6-0 team to inspire less confidence? Denver’s defense looks like one for the ages but their offense is the exact opposite. Peyton Manning’s age is showing and while he is getting it done when absolutely necessary, many of his passes leave you wanting something more. Cleveland fought hard and nearly had the upset here, but the Denver D was just too tough as Denver prevailed in overtime.
Detroit Lions 37, Chicago Bears 34
This one went to overtime too, but was a bit more of a shootout. Alshon Jeffrey returned to the lineup for Chicago and made his presence felt as he reeled in 8 catches for 147 yards and a score. Not to be outdone, Calvin Johnson had his best performance of the season so far with 166 yards and a score. Matt Stafford was able to outduel Smokin’ Jay Cutler in this one to ensure the Lions don’t go 0-16. Again.
Houston Texans 31, Jacksonville Jaguars 20
Brian Hoyer was able to pick up where he left off last week and gashed the Jaguar secondary for nearly 300 yards and 3 touchdowns. DeAndre “Nuk” Hopkins continues to dominate the NFL and Jacksonville did little to contest that. Hopkins scored twice on 10 catches and 148 yards – can ANYONE stop this guy? Unlikely. Imagine what he’d do with a decent quarterback! Sorry, Brian. Houston exploded for 21 points in the 4th quarter to seal this one against their division rival.
Minnesota Vikings 16, Kansas City Chiefs 10
This was perhaps the least exciting game of the week. Minnesota grabbed an early lead and simply sat on it the rest of the game while the Chiefs struggled in all facets of football. The only thing they did well on Sunday was contain Adrian Peterson – but not until Minnesota had the game in hand. It’s going to be long year in KC.
New York Jets 34, Washington Redskins 20
Move over Jim Brown, Chris Ivory is here. Ivory is taking the league by storm after racking up another 146 yards on the ground this week. He’s finally healthy for an extended period of time and making opponents pay. The Jets rolled pretty easily in this one as Washington just did not have any answer on defense – or offense for that matter.
Pittsburgh Steelers 25, Arizona Cardinals 13
If I told you one of these teams had to rely on their 3rd string QB this weekend, you’d assume it was Arizona, right? Wrong. Michael Vick went down with an injury but Landry Jones stepped in for the Steeler and their offense didn’t miss a beat. Coming into the year the Steelers’ defense looked like it would hold them back, but it has actually kept them alive while Roethlisberger has been on the sidelines. The league might be in trouble when they get Big Ben back.
Miami Dolphins 38, Tennessee Titans 10
What a difference a week (or two) makes. Miami went from looking like they’d get beat by Miami-Ohio, to resembling a competitive NFL team with a daunting defense. I guess that’s what a little bit of fire and emotion will do for you. The Dolphins finally looked like we expected them to, disrupting the Titan offense all day long while sacking Marcus Mariota 6 times. If the Dolphins play like this, they could actually compete with New England for the division title — they’ve got a lot of ground to make up though after digging themselves an early hole.
Carolina Panthers 27, Seattle Seahawks 23
This was the most impressive win of week 6. Going into Seattle and conquering the 12th Man is no small task – especially when you trail by double digits in the 4th quarter. Cam Newton drove the Panthers down the field for touchdowns on back to back possessions to steal this one from Seattle. Greg Olsen hauled in a 26-yard pass from Newton for a touchdown with 30 seconds to go in the game. Seattle had yet another 4th quarter collapse as they fall to 2-4 on the season. Can the Legion rebound from this?
Green Bay Packers 27, San Diego Chargers 20
Back to back weeks, the Chargers lose on the final play of the game. This one was slightly lower scoring than expected, but Phil Rivers set San Diego single-game records for pass attempts, completions and yards. Just not points. While the Chargers seem to do just about everything except win, Green Bay continues to find ways to win. Despite Eddie Lacy and Randle Cobb not showing up in this one, Rodgers and company didn’t miss a beat. The Packers seem to be able to play any style of game their opponent wants – and then beats them at it.
San Francisco 49ers 25, Baltimore Ravens 20
How the mighty have fallen. Just a couple years ago, we were watching these two teams battle it out in February for the Lombardi Trophy. This weekend, these teams were just trying to keep their seasons alive. Once again, neither of these teams looked impressive, San Francisco was just less bad. Not much to see here, folks, move along.
New England Patriots 34, Indianapolis Colts 27
The Revenge Game. Give me a break. Both teams were “seeking revenge” here – so they both wanted to win really badly? Cool story. Anyways, this one went back and forth most of the game and was great to watch until Chuck Pagano decided he was going to try and outsmart Belichick. Brilliant. If you haven’t seen it yet, you need to google it – it’s good for a laugh or three. After the fake punt debacle, the Patriots essentially had this one in hand – but it set the stage for an intriguing rematch should these two meet in the playoffs again.
Philadelphia Eagles 27, New York Giants 7
Just when you think you’ve got these teams figured out, you’re wrong. The NFC is an absolute mess right now and this game showcased that well. The Giants came out strong and looked like they’d handle the Eagles in primetime. But they imploded on themselves after their opening score, allowing 27 straight points to Philly. In the Eagles’ defense, this is what we expected out of them all along, but I guess it took them 5 weeks to get warmed up. After all the talk of how terrible the Eagles have been in 2015, they sit atop the NFC East (tied with the Giants) at 3-3.
Another week of football is in the books as we all look forward to Thursday. With Denver and Green Bay on a bye in week 7, we’re guaranteed to go into week 8 with at least 2 undefeated teams. That’s halfway through the season! See you back here next week as we run down the week in the NFL.