NFL Review: Week 5
Week 5 Sunday gave us a LOT of kicking woes, a couple of games that felt like they’d never end, and a punt for negative two yards. We’re focussing on the AFC this week, with a rematch of last year’s Championship game, and a look at two teams who have been picked by many to contend for those spots this time around. Two big games, lots to discuss… Let’s go!
Josh Allen Dominates The Chiefs
I mean… Josh Allen for MVP!? Maybe. Just maybe. I still have Kyler Murray out in front so far, and Josh was fairly brutal in Weeks 1 & 2, but over the last three the Bills have found their rhythm AND SOME. This wasn’t just a victory, on the road, against the back-to-back SuperBowl appearance makers: this was a destruction of Kansas City in front of their own fans. They didn’t blitz Mahomes, they played sound defensive coverages to limit Kelce and Hill and allowed MeCole Hardman to be the Chiefs’ leading receiver on the night.
Bills Mafia was going nuts back in Buffalo. This put down a marker to the rest of the league that the Bills are serious and coming for it all. Emmanuel Sanders was a very smart pick up in the off season, and whilst Stefon Diggs drew most of the attention, Sanders was free to snag two TDs on Sunday Night. Also, which Tight End went over 100 receiving yards last night? It wasn’t Travis Kelce… It was Dawson freakin’ Knox. This man has been a breakout star over the last few weeks, making big play after big play and making a mockery of Daniel Sorensen’s coverage attempts last night.
Sean McDermott said after the AFC Title game defeat last year that the Bills had to do everything in the off-season to build towards beating KC. Check. They’ve achieved that. Josh Allen was out there HURDLING defenders. The Bills wanted this one badly and it showed from start to finish. Allen was decisive with his running, and precise with his passing, a combination that the Chiefs couldn’t live with. Buffalo’s opening day defeat to the Steelers now very much seems like a blip in the rearview mirror. The Bills are 4-1. Could… for the first time in forever… the road to the SuperBowl flow through… Buffalo!?
But on the other side of this coin… Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are in trouble. Now before you jump on me… OBVIOUSLY they’re still the Chiefs… but 3 defeats in 5 games to start the season has led to their cloak of invincibility losing a bit of it’s shine. Including the SuperBowl, Kansas City is 2-4 in it’s last 6… now the calibre of opposition in that stretch is VERY high, but still… it’s not been a great run. The Chiefs’ have only two wins and find themselves languishing in last place in the AFC West. They still have to fact the Titans, Cowboys, Packers & Chargers again… who thought the Chiefs might lose 6/7 games this season? Not me and not you, you filthy liars.
The Chiefs obviously have more than enough talent, good coaching, and most importantly TIME to turn this around, but with their Week 7 bye looming, are you really not concerned that this team is going to be 3-3 assuming they get past Washington next week? I am. Their schedule isn’t straightforward, and even the overrated Broncos and extremely weird Raiders will raise their games against Kansas City because they are the team to beat in the AFC.
Unfortunately for Andy Reid’s guys, whereas last year teams could only ever land glancing blows against them, this season they appear to be feeling the full force of a barrage of haymakers from their opposition: Fury against Wilder style. The Chiefs have time on their side, but can’t afford many more slips if they want to win another AFC West title… and that’s because…
Herbert Triumphs In The Shootout In LA
The Chargers are very much legit.
Before the aforementioned matchup where last season’s AFC Title Game Contenders reignited their rivalry, we had an absolute barnstormer of a game between two pretenders to their crown. The Browns and the Chargers went bananas, combining for 89 points. This was an all-out WAR with both teams throwing haymakers throughout. For House Staley, I give you Herbert, Ekeler & Williams. For House Stefanski, I present Mayfield, Chubb & Hunt. There is offensive talent stacked on these two rosters.
Justin Herbert continues to improve on a weekly basis and show just why the Chargers were so excited to select him even when they missed out on Tua Tagovailoa. With every week that passes by… that looks like a better and better decision… Herbert showed poise and precision as always, and hung tough when the Browns broke out into a lead in the second half to drag his team back into this one.
Speaking of dragging… how about the Browns defense DRAGGING Austin Ekeler into their own endzone to give Baker one last chance to score and try and win the game? One of the more surreal plays you’ll see all year, and also gave Ekeler a hat trick of touchdowns on the day. He’s been unbelievable these last few weeks, and is becoming – as his celebration shows – an absolute rockstar in this league.
However, we can’t talk about running backs without talking about the Browns pairing. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt are simply unstoppable as a backfield duo. They are Yin and Yang. They are thunder and lightning. They are left and right. A Big Mac and a Coke. Wings and Ranch. Mac and Cheese. They are the perfect combo. Just the 33 carries for 222 yards and 3 TDs combined. Absolute nonsense. And the Browns were close. This is the second heartbreaker they’ve lost this year on the road, with the other being Week 1 to the Chiefs. Sidenote – can you imagine where KC would be right now if the Browns had won that game!? Wild to imagine.
Anyway, Baker showed guts, ignoring the pain of his harnessed shoulder and slinging it to a variety of receivers. You still want to see OBJ get more involved, but David Njoku had a big game (7-149-1TD), and both Donovan Peoples-Jones and Rashard Higgins gave the Browns life when they needed it. ALSO, it’s hard to argue this when they’ve just give up 47 points, but the Browns defense is good good too. They will be a key factor in the Browns successes this year.
All in all, the only downside to this game was that we didn’t get Overtime and the Hail Mary at the end wasn’t caught. Beyond that, what an exhibition of football. Special word to Mike Williams (8-165-2TDs) who continues to be the biggest steal of EVERY fantasy football draft this summer. The Chargers mean war. The Browns lost this one. Both teams, surely, will be deep into the postseason drama.
- I’ve covered the London game in another article on the site, so all I’ll say here is Kyle Pitts very good, Zach Wilson very bad. Uh oh for the Jets, hope for the Falcons.
- You HAVE to feel bad for Dan Campbell and the Detroit Lions. You just have to. You make THE call, to go for 2 and try to win the game on the road… and you get the 2… and you don’t win the game. Minnesota escape with a victory to keep their season alive. The Lions are absolutely cursed. They’re inventing even more heartbreaking ways to lost every week.
- Not a great day for kickers… with missed extra points all over the shop… AND the chaos that was the final 5 minutes and overtime in Cincinnati. Mason Crosby – a hero for the Packers as recently as Week 3 – tried his best to give the Bengals the win, but eventually made a game-winner at the third time of asking. Green Bay move to 4-1, and the Rodgers to Davante Adams connection is simply ridiculous.
- Taxi for Evan McPherson. TAXI. If you know, you know. Hard scene to watch a kicker celebrate a missed game winning field goal attempt as if it went through. Yikes. Not good For The Brand.
- So it seems as though Tom Brady was fed up with hearing that the Dolphins are the team he’s lost to the most in his career. 5 TDs and 411 yards passing might dull that narrative a bit. Anybody else leave Antonio Brown on multiple fantasy team benches like me? Yup. Pain.
- The Dolphins can’t get Tua back fast enough. Fingers crossed he’s healthy enough to put in an appearance in London next week. That said, nice to see Myles Gaskin putting a performance together. He’s got talent and can definitely be a future contributor for the Fins.
- Not a good week for the Jaguars all round. Will it be better “across the pond” next week? Gotta make sure they keep Urban Meyer out of the Weatherspoons…
- Derrick Henry. Machine. Send tweet. The Titans will go as far as he can carry them.
- Thank you Sean Payton for remembering who Alvin Kamara is. Also Jameis Winston should be legally required to throw at least one Hail Mary every week. Fantastic fun.
- Antonio Gibson continues to defy logic and be a very-talented pound for pound running back. Washington’s offensive future is so bright with him and McLaurin… even if Heinecke doesn’t prove to be the long-term answer at QB.
- What a comeback from Jalen Hurts and Nick Siriani’s Eagles. Not sure how Carolina managed to lose that game. No Sam Darnold rushing touchdown is perhaps the answer! The Panthers need CMC back ASAP.
- Damien Harris is a really talented running back and I really hope Belichick doesn’t “doghouse” him for that fumble at the goal line on Sunday. Credit to Mac Jones for bringing them back. Good to see Hunter Henry make a big play for the second straight week.
- Credit ALSO to Davis Mills! Welcome to the League, Rook. A great performance from the Stanford product who showed he has enough to be a contributor for the Texans in the (presumptive) post-Watson era.
- I feel bad for the Texans’ punter. Poor Cameron Johnston.
- Remember when the Broncos were 3-0 and I said it wouldn’t last? Yep.
- Remember when the Raiders were 3-0 and I said it wouldn’t last? Yep.
- Broncos vs Raiders next week will be intriguing in trying to work out which of the two inexplicably 3-0 teams is better. I will be cheering against John Gruden.
- Nice to see the Steelers show some character on Sunday.
- Credit to the Bears for winning on the road… but it honestly looks like Justin Fields is going to DIE on 2 out of 3 dropbacks. Protect him PLEASE Matt Nagy.
- Kadarius Toney – big time playmaker. Also hothead. The football gods giveth to New York, and the gift gets-eth ejected. Sad. Crossing everything that Saquon Barkley’s injury is a minor one, and that SOME of the Giants wide receivers can stay healthy. PLEASE.
- This Cowboys team y’all… They’re for real. The Giants are not the measuring stick to “judge” (Get it?) title credentials by, but they have absolutely everything you could want… except maybe an elite Head Coach. BUT – if McCarthy can stay out of his own way – they can really make some noise. Special shoutout to Trevon Diggs; He’s absolutely insane right now. 6 picks in 5 games to start the season, with at least one in each. So much for that “awful” Cowboys defense…
- And, lastly, there’s only one undefeated team left in the league, and they’ve won 5 games in a row. Your friends and mine – the Arizona Cardinals. Now they’ve got the Browns next week, so they could well be 5-1 seven days from now, but with the start they’ve had you’d have to say that barring injuries or implosion they’re a shoo-in for the playoffs and still in the driving seat for the NFC West crown. Yeah, I love this team. They’re electric on both sides of the ball. Let’s go Cards.
MNF Prediction: (Season Record: 3-1)
So this is a risky one tonight, as without the Baltimore Ravens inexplicably throwing away their Week 1 matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders I would be 4-0 in my predictions this year. So I’ve been burned once. Will I learn my lesson!?
Short answer: no. The Ravens host the Indianapolis Colts, who themselves just came off a season-kickstarting win against the hapless Miami Dolphins last week. Carson Wentz, Jonathan Taylor & Michael Pittman Jr. will bring their often fierce defense (led by the maniac Darius Leonard) back to Baltimore, where the Colts franchise was birthed.
I’m not gonna pick Carson Wentz over Lamar Jackson. I just can’t, and I won’t. Apologies, Indy fans. I like what the Colts are building, but they’re still a few pieces away. The Ravens are 7 point favourites at home and, whilst I do think the Colts keep it close, I can’t see any way they don’t win here. Baltimore will roll to 4-1 and, in a similar vein to the Bills, their Week 1 loss in Las Vegas will be disappearing from most people’s memory banks.
Week 6 Preview
We start Week 6 with the Eagles and the Buccaneers in what is an intriguing Thursday night matchup, especially if Tom Brady is favouring his hand that he allegedly minorly injured against Miami. Jalen Hurts has a chance to make a BIG splash in primetime. Then, we get the intriguingly bad London Game as the Dolphins with or without Tua, take on the Jaguars with or without Urban Meyer depending on if he’s been fired by then or not. We’ll see.
Sunday’s early slate is highlighted by a tasty Ravens vs Chargers matchup which is sure to get pulses racing, but Justin Fields’ first crack at Aaron Rodgers in Bears vs Packers will also be of interest to many. The late slate has two crackers, as the Browns attempt to defeat the Cardinals and end their perfect start, and the Patriots face Dak and the Boyz. Dallas vs New England is a great matchup – always and forever.
Sunday Night Football will be headlined by the Seattle Seahawks and… Geno Smith… up against Broken… I mean, Big Ben and the Steelers. Chaos will surely ensue one way or another there. Titans vs Bills on Monday Night will be a fun way to cap off Week 6. There you have it. As always, thanks for spending a little of your week reading my thoughts. I’m @CallumJDSquires on Twitter and Instagram. Come say hey. Have a great week everyone.
CALLUM IS FROM LONDON, BUT PLAYED COLLEGE SOCCER AT TRINITY UNIVERSITY IN SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS, WHERE HE LEARNED NEVER TO CHEER FOR THE COWBOYS. CALLUM IS A LONG-SUFFERING DOLPHINS FAN WHO BELIEVES THE TUA HYPE