Updated: Jan 10, 2019
A weekly feature on the site; I'll pick the six games I thought were the most entertaining from each week and go over some of the highlights, lowlights, and the biggest questions going forward.
Car 33, NYG 31
Odell throws TD to Barkley
Highlight: On a day where field goals and extra points around the league seemed to look anything but guaranteed, Graham Gano, stealing a win, booting one from 63 yards with no time left on the clock was the win all kickers needed, but didn't know.
Lowlight: Look at Odell Beckham Jr. out there throwing touchdowns to Saquon Barkley. That's right, throwing, not catching. Though the play itself may be considered a highlight to some, has an alarm not gone off in New York with the quarterback situation? Eli Manning has all the offensive weapons you could ask for, yet they can't find any consistency in games.
Biggest Question: Is the clock ticking for Eli Manning? For years, Giants faithful have stuck by their quarterback even in his apparent decline. With some of the brightest young stars in the league at his disposal, it seems the offence can never quite get on the same page for the entirety of a game. Their sub-par ranked total offence is abysmal and their record shows for it (1-4). One might question, is it finally time to look for his successor?
CLE 12, BAL 9 (OT)
Cleveland wins on a Sunday
Baltimore offence can’t break the line
Highlight: The Browns defence looks ready to play and should be noticed. Former first overall pick Myles Garrett continues to show his ability to rush the quarterback. That was complimented nicely by the defensive back’s hunger for the ball, and ability to get hands on balls. This defence held what looked to be a revitalized Ravens offence to no touchdowns, and made key plays at key moments to give their own offence the opportunity to win the game.
Lowlight: This game could've easily been filled with Joe Flacco continuing to show off his new found connections with explosive receivers. John Brown was held to his lowest receiving game since they played Buffalo in week one, and not for lack of attempts. Flacco threw the ball 56 times over the game and could muster a barely above 50% completion rate. He also threw a goal line pick that definitely didn't do himself any favours.
Biggest Question: Will both teams offences be able to bounce back? In what was hopefully just a matter of defence stealing the show of the game, both teams’ offences will look to drive the ball into the end zone more consistently. Baltimore sees an inconsistent yet dangerous Tennessee team, while the Browns host the Chargers and try to slow down a proven offence lead by Philip Rivers.
DET 31 GB 23
Lions finally finding balance in scoring
Crosby can’t find his scoring touch
Highlight: It’s fair to say that the Lions answered some questions in the offseason, or have really tried to. They used to struggle with producing on the ground, forcing the pressure to be on Matt Stafford and his arm. Kerryon Johnson's speed out of the back has been a great find, complimented nicely by the veteran goal-line presence of LeGarrette Blount. New head coach, Matt Patricia, found ways to successfully showcase their skills and revive the offence in order to get a win over elite quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Lowlight: I’m not too sure that Mason Crosby could've hit water if he fell out of a boat last night. It seemed to be that bad of a night; everything that could go wrong, did. Missing field goals from 41, 42, 38, and 56 yards was all the icing the cake needed, but the cherry on top was the extra point missed in the fourth. Crosby, who is usually Rodgers’ left hand man when his right arm fails him. Crosby seemed to be missing his usual calm yet confident swagger.
Biggest Question: Is this another lost Green Bay season? With a record of 2-2-1, the Green Bay Packers seem to have a lot of fingers being pointed in a lot of different directions when it comes to their recent struggles. Aaron Rodgers health has held him back from being the league’s best quarterback we’re all used to seeing. Clay Matthews is struggling, holding back his aggression, with the recent attention to quarterback safety. There also seems to be no more love between coach and quarterback. Whatever the problem may be, they need to solve it to stay competitive.
MIN 23 PHI 21
Vikings avenge NFC Championship blowout with win
Eagles slowly losing ground in NFC
Highlight: Watching Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen making cuts and catches, must be one of the best sights Kirk Cousins has seen as a quarterback. Sure Cousins has had some talented receivers, but never before has he had such a consistent, hardworking one two punch. Personally, I think they're the best wide out duo; add in Cousins ability to make smart throws and it’s easy to understand why they have a top tier offence.
Lowlight: The defending champs appear to be running in place when it comes to the NFC race and it’s only getting harder from here. The Eagles are now 2-3 with one of the biggest questions coming in their running game. Jay Ajayi hasn't been the same since last year, as he's been battling to even play week to week due to injuries. Corey Clement and Wendell Smallwood just haven't proven they can help enough out of the backfield to open up throwing lanes for Carson Wentz to find success.
Biggest Question: Will these teams’ stories stay the same, or will something give? Could Cousins and the dynamic duo continue their upwards climb and challenge for the NFC title better than they did last year, or will it all come crashing down in a competitive conference? Perhaps the more important half to the big question is focused on the Eagles. Will Philadelphia continue to struggle generating offence? Could that eventually lead to them missing out on the opportunity to defend their championship? Either way this plays out, we're in for one exciting remainder of the season.
KC 30 JAX 14
Mahomes shows he's human, Chiefs still easily win
Blake Bortles is consistently inconsistent
Highlight: Patrick Mahomes is human, and it finally showed. On a bit of dart throw down field, the ball floating a little high went right over his receiver’s head and into the Jaguars safeties arms. And there you have it, the first of two picks on the night for the young star. Where’s the highlight in this? The Kansas City Chiefs still manage to put 23 points on the board against a top tier defence without Mahomes throwing for a touchdown and his first two picks of the season. Accompany that with a stout defence who came up with a pick six and kicker Harrison Butker going 3-3 on field goals, and there was no concern for them losing for the first time this season (now 5-0).
Lowlight: Well at least Blake Bortles is consistent at one thing, and that’s being inconsistent behind centre. Some games it looks as though the Jaguars are using a third string, inexperienced quarterback, and this was one of those games. His decision making was so terrible during moments, it made me question if had bet the Chiefs would win. The pick six could be one of the easiest touchdowns scored all year in the entire league.
Biggest Question: Does this prove who the top team in the AFC is? While the Patriot fans will argue they're still atop the throne of the AFC castle (certainly myself included), there can’t be any debate that Kansas City is trying to overthrow the long lived kings. Fans from all over the league should pay attention to the potential shift in power. As for Jacksonville being the best? Well, you’re only as strong as your weakest link, and Bortles is showing to be one weak link.
LA 33 SEA 31
Rams stay perfect, with no end in sight
Seattle’s defence is in shambles, but that’s nothing new
Highlight: The Los Angeles Rams have found tons of success this year with their offence and all the weapons on it. Showcasing everyone’s abilities on their side of the ball and beating Seattle was the same old song and dance. Todd Gurley II was tonight’s major favourite, especially from the red zone where he found the house three times to help secure the win.
Lowlight: I could sit here and talk about Seattle’s problems until my fingers bled, but we know the state of the team. With Earl Thomas putting the exclamation point on the end of his apparent farewell to the team, and Mychal Kendrick suspended indefinitely, it’s amazing Seattle hasn't imploded completely both on the field and in the locker room. They hung in a game against the Super Bowl favourites the way Russell Wilson always has. A depleted Rams team no doubt, but Seattle deserves some credit for making this a close shootout and no apparent lowlight for me, besides losing a thriller of a game.
Biggest Question: Could LA go all the way? When looking at the future schedule it's scary to believe that LA may not lose a game the rest of the way. Sure, they still have to play teams like Kansas City, Philadelphia, New Orleans and you could argue Chicago, but the Rams are favoured in all of those games (playing 3 of 4 at home, vs Saints only game on road). The entire organization from top to bottom has bought in and has committed to one common goal, and it really shows. With Jared Geoff making even more progression from last year, Todd Gurley II still proving time and time again how elite he is as at running and catching the ball, the ludicrous speed of the wide receivers and a whole defensive side that doesn't make many mistakes, but make you regret all of yours. For those who remember the 72' Dolphins, theres reason to prepare the history books.