NFL Week 5: Over & Under Reactions
By Steve Moyse
Just in case you’d forgotten, Week 5 reminded us all what happens when a Quarterback and his star Wide Receiver are on the same page.
Justin Fields and DJ Moore dominated the Commanders, Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase pulled the Bengals back on track and Tua Tagovailoa and Tyreek Hill did what they do best.
But, before these guys can ball-out again in Week 6, it’s time to look at what we’re overreacting to, and a couple of QB’s that we aren’t giving enough credit to, from Week 5.
Overreaction: Bill Belichick Needs To Go
2023 has gone from bad to worse for the New England Patriots, with heavy losses in Week 4 and 5 solidifying their place at the bottom of the AFC.
With the second worst point differential in the entire league, Bill Belichick has twice made a change at the QB position. But that’s not the only change that fans are calling for, with many now pointing the finger at the HC.
Over the last 2 seasons, Belichick has led the Patriots to a 9-13 record, despite playing with one of the least talented rosters in the NFL. As one AFC executive recently said: “Quite simply, they have no talent…”
Without Belichick’s historic ability as a Head Coach, this team would have collapsed at the beginning of last season and never recovered – instead, they were only 1 game away from a Playoff push.
While Belichick’s role as General Manager does mean that he is largely responsible for the lack of talent on this team, his ability as a HC makes getting rid of him this season a very bad idea.
Overreaction: The Eagles Are Going Back To The Super Bowl
Heading into week 6, the Eagles are one of only two undefeated teams left in the NFL. Therefore it’s basically a foregone conclusion that they’re gonna get back to the Super Bowl this season, right?
Well not quite.
Despite their insanely talented roster, the Eagles still have a lot to prove before they can claim to be as good as they were last season, or even good enough to overpower teams like the 49ers.
So far, the NFC East has been rather underwhelming to say the least, resulting in considerably less competition for the division title than expected. Pair that with a relatively easy schedule through 5 weeks and the Eagles have had very easy ride – one which they’ve still only managed to limp through…
With the Bills, Dolphins, 49ers and Chiefs still to play in the regular season, the Eagles will need to step their game up massively if they hope to make a trip to Vegas come February.
Overreaction: AVT's Injury Ends The Jets' Playoff Hopes
Coming into 2023, no one could have predicted that the 5th snap of the season for the New York Jets would be to Aaron Rodgers’ Achilles. Then, just to rub salt into the wound, star Offensive Lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker suffers exactly the same season-ending injury in Week 5.
With QB1 and OT1 both out for the season, many Jets’ fans are already turning their attention to 2024. But before anyone overreacts, let’s take another look at this Jets O-Line…
After AVT went down:
- Max Mitchell had a pretty solid performance at RT – finishing with a run-blocking grade of 78.7.
- LT Mekhi Becton had one of his best performances to date – finishing as one of only 3 OT’s to earn a PFF grade above 80.0 for both pass and run blocking.
- And the rest of the unit allowed the Jets to rush for over 230 total yards.
All told, this O-Line are becoming a dominate group in the run game. As Breece Hall continues to prove why he’s one of the best backs in the league, opposing Defenses will have no choice but to stack the box. This should then open up the short to intermediate pass-game for Zach Wilson as he continues to develop – giving the Jets a least a glimmer of hope in 2023.
Under-reaction: Bryce Young's Improvement
When Bryce Young was selected first overall in this year’s draft, I don’t think a winless start to the season and an average passer-rating below 78, were top of his ‘to-do list’. That said, if you look past the record and the passer-rating, Bryce Young is showing a lot more promise than he’s given credit for.
In Week 5, during the Panthers 42-24 loss to the Lions, Young quietly had one of his best game to date – showing poise in the pocket and an ability to efficiently work through his reads, as he put up near 250 passing yards for 3 TD’s.
Going forward, this Panthers Offense needs to tidy up the turnovers and Bryce Young is no exception to that, with 4 Interceptions on the year. However, when your QB leads you on 4 scoring drives and you still lose by 18 points, it’s clear that the issues don’t exclusively lie on the Offensive side of the ball.
While there is still a lot of work to be done, his undeniable weekly improvement, alongside a developing relationship with Veteran WR Adam Thielen, shows that Bryce Young and the Panthers do have a lot to look forward to.
Under-reaction: Kenny Pickett's Progression
Every year, under HC Mike Tomlin, it’s practically a guarantee that the Steelers will finish with a winning record. As of right now, this season is no different, with the Steelers atop the AFC North at 3-2.
However, it has by no means been plain sailing – particularly for the Offense, who have continually struggled to move the ball. As a result, the performance of 2nd year QB Kenny Pickett is going somewhat under the radar in 2023.
After putting up 224 passing yards for a TD, in a tough Week 5 match-up against the Ravens, Pickett now sits on just over 1000 total passing yards for 5 TD’s. Even more impressive when you consider how much he’s needed to overcome, with OC Matt Canada calling the plays.
Interestingly enough, Pickett told the media after Sundays win that he changed not only the protection but George Pickens’ route, after recognising Cover-0, on the 41 yard game-winning touchdown pass.
Granted, this was something Canada had worked on with Pickett during the week. But, even so, the one time the Steelers have looked dominant on Offense over the last 2 weeks, was when Pickett took charge.
Now imagine what he could do with a decent Offensive Coordinator.
Feature Image Credit: AP Photo/Erik Verduzco