NFL 2020 Week 6 Recap: Are Tampa the Favourites in the NFC?

The Packers were rolling. The Browns were rolling. The 49ers looked like a shell of themselves. The Falcons were going to lose every game this season. And then Week 6 started. And then everything you thought you knew, went out of the window. Or at least, everything I thought I knew. They say defense wins championships… and on Sunday, defense was king. Let’s take a look back on a wild Week 6 in the 2020 NFL with our recap.

Brady and the Buccaneers demolish the Packers

NFL Week 6 Recap 2020
Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Jamel Dean (35, right) heads for the endzone after intercepting a pass by Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and returning it for a score during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)

Losing Vita Vea to a broken leg last week was supposed to derail the Buccaneers defense. Not so fast. Not only did they take back only Aaron Rodgers’ THIRD career pick six (a truly remarkable stat in and of itself), but they roundly humiliated the previous undefeated Green Bay Packers and put the Saints (and the rest of the NFC) on notice. 

The great Brady vs. Rodgers duel we all wanted… never really transpired. It was more ground and pound from Tampa Bay, as their defense found a way to stifle Aaron Jones and Davante Adams for the first time this season. Long term, this win means more for TB12 and the Buccaneers than it does for Rodgers and the Packers. Green Bay appears to have a fight on its hand for the NFC North in the form of (unlikely challenger and still potentially fraudulent) Chicago… but Chicago beat this Buccaneers team… so who knows. Tampa Bay will begin to tentatively look ahead to a Week 9 rematch with the Saints and hope they’re going into it 6-2, with the Raiders and Giants to come in the next two weeks.

Steelers shutdown the Browns fairytale.

In Pittsburgh, another defense stomped their opponents and stamped their name all over the Week 6 headlines. 

Chase Claypool scored AGAIN. James Conner looked a bit more like his old self. Ben Roethlisberger actually had a pretty down game, but he didn’t need to make any of the big plays he so often does. His defense was carrying the load. 

38-7 is a battering, and it hurts even more when you consider how high the Browns’ hopes were this week. Pittsburgh has its eyes set on the AFC North crown. 

Losing Devin Bush will hurt this team, but Bud Dupree, TJ Watt, and Minkah Fitzpatrick will more than continue to dominate. The Ravens vs. Steelers games cannot come soon enough. 

However, don’t discount the Browns completely just yet. The Browns O-Line picked the worst week possible to play their worst game of the season. Mayfield was not good – far from it – but he wasn’t given adequate protection either. The Browns really are a curious case. They’ve beaten every team not named the Steelers or Ravens that they’ve faced, including a good Colts team, but if they can’t deal with the big boys in their own division, they surely can’t be looked at to challenge for the AFC crown, right? They’ll need Nick Chubb back healthy, and they’ll need Mayfield to re-find his swagger… and his accuracy, but I’m not disregarding the Browns yet. However, a loss to Cincinnati next week, and we’d be back to panic stations in the Dawg Pound. This really is such an over-reactive league….

Texans and Titans play the game of the Week

Ryan Tannehill going toe to toe in a duel with Deshaun Watson? Who would have ever believed that in 2018? Not me. I (mostly) loved Tannehill as a part of my Dolphins, but he had his erratic moments and often looked more likely to sack himself than get a first down. 

But maybe it was all Adam Gase’s fault that it didn’t work out in Miami? Mike Vrabel – a front runner for coach of the year this season – has managed to mould Tannehill into a very good quarterback. He’s also figured out new ways to create timeouts; he sent a 12th player onto the field to deliberately give away a penalty, but crucially stop the clock too. It ended up giving Tennessee just enough time to drive down and take the game to overtime, before winning it themselves. Genius. 

What more can we say about Derrick Henry? Someone that big should not be able to move that fast. 90-plus yard TD runs are so electric to watch. He’s had a great couple of weeks, after stiff-arming Josh Norman back to the 1990s last week… 212 yards rushing, 52 yards receiving and two Touchdowns? Ridiculous. 

Again, spare a thought for Deshaun Watson who definitely does not deserve to be on a 1-5 team. Brandin Cooks and Will Fuller look to be finding their rhythm as a wide receiver tandem. There are brighter days to come for Houston, but they may not be in this season. As for Tannehill and the Titans, they’re one of three remaining undefeated teams. Just keep rolling.

MNF - Double Header

(Season record: 6-2)

I know it’s COVID forced and that shouldn’t be celebrated… but can I just say, on behalf of everyone from the United Kingdom… can we have a Monday Night Game that kicks off at 10pm every week please?! 

Two great games tonight, and an early enough start that you can focus on each game individually, as they so deserve.

Firstly, Mahomes and the Chiefs head to Buffalo to take on Josh Allen and the Bills. The two biggest arms in the NFL? Probably. Two of the best teams in the AFC? Definitely. I’m very excited. Both teams attempting to bounce back after surprising losses, but my tip has to go to the Chiefs again here. I really like the Bills but I just flat out refuse to bet against Mahomes. Even in the loss to the Raiders, he was unreal. I’m running out of words to say about him. Give me Mahomes.

And then the late game… and it could be a doozie. Two great offenses, two banged up defenses… sounds like a recipe for points to me! Andy “not as bad as everyone thinks” Dalton faces Kyler “even faster than everyone thinks” Murray in JerryWorld. I don’t understand why the Cardinals are the underdogs here, and I’m picking them as a result. The Cowboys don’t have anyone who can cover DeAndre Hopkins, so I expect them to lean on Ezekiel Elliott and try and control the clock. That said, both teams have big play potential and I’m hoping we get a real shootout. Give me Kyler and the Cards in this one though (I’m picking you next week Andy!!).

Official Picks: Chiefs & Cardinals (and lots of points in both games!!)

Quick Hits

  • The Broncos D shut down Cam. The Patriots are… in a bit of trouble.
  • The Dolphins D shutout Adam Gase and his HYPERDRIVE NEW YORK JETS. The Dolphins are… 2nd in the AFC East…
  • Shoutout Tua. The future is yours.
  • As previously established, The Buccaneers D shut down Rodgers BUT the Key and Peele celebration??? True GOAT stuff.
  • Justin Jefferson – a star in the making. I really hope he gets a good quarterback sometime soon…
  • Welcome to the win column Giants and Falcons!
  • Atlanta scores 40 the week after Dan Quinn gets fired… convenient.
  • I cannot understand how the Bears are 5-1 and I don’t think they’re good and I will not apologise for this take.
  • George Kittle is a very cool dude.
  • I still don’t think Jimmy G is good enough to lead a franchise.

Looking Ahead

Thursday night’s Eagles vs Giants game might be one to miss… similar to next Monday’s Bears vs. Rams game which could just be defense and middling to bad quarterback play. However, the 5-0 Steelers vs the 5-0 Titans, especially when you add in the “COVID cancellation” storyline… is must-see tv. Similarly the undefeated Seahawks facing the second best team in the NFC West (yeah, I said it and I meant it) – The Arizona Cardinals – will go along way to telling us just how legit the Seahawks SuperBowl aspirations are.

Callum Squires

NFL Analyst