It was a fun weekend for NFL fans, as there were a plethora of really good games for us to watch. While there were a handful of blowouts, over half of the league's matchups were decided by three or fewer points, which made for several thrilling finishes. I'm going to discuss the most compelling outcomes of the week, whether that be down to the wire finishes, unbelievable performances, or shocking defeats. I won't be covering every game this time, but I'll definitely touch on the biggest storylines from a fantastic football weekend.
1. And One Remains
Going into the week, I said the matchup of the undefeateds between the Steelers and Titans would be the most exciting game of the week. And, overall, it did not disappoint. Pittsburgh got out to a huge 27-7 lead early in the third quarter before a 73-yard slant route to the house from A.J. Brown sparked a late Tennessee comeback effort. Unfortunately, we were robbed of an overtime affair after Stephen Gostowski missed a 45-yarder with 14 seconds to play. Still, the fact that the Titans managed to only lose 27-24 after the Steelers dominated the first 35 minutes of the ballgame demonstrates that both of these teams are for real.
I would argue that the Steelers are the best team in football right now based solely off of their performances this season. Most of their games have been close (with the exception of a 38-7 drubbing of the Browns), but I've been a believer that they are deliberately taking it easy on offense to rest an aging Ben Roethlisberger and save some of their playbook for later into the season. It's going to be tough to come out of the AFC every year now while Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson are helming an offense, but Pittsburgh's defense can pose a serious threat to both of those elite quarterbacks. We'll get to see them take on Jackson and the Ravens this Sunday to see if the Steelers can remain the lone undefeated team in the league.
It's been three weeks since my last top-to-bottom rankings, which means it's time for a new one. While some teams have stayed consistent from the first three weeks to now, some have surged and others have taken turns for the worse. As before, I'll be ranking each team based on their overall performances, not based on their potential or how I think they will play going forward. Among other things, my rankings take into account opponent strengths, head-to-head matchups, flukes, and competitiveness throughout games for each team rather than a basis centered solely around win-loss records.
1. Seattle Seahawks (5-0) - UP 2
Week 6 Result: Bye
Seattle hasn't been blowing their opponents out, but they seem like they know how to step up in the clutch and win games. Russell Wilson is a front-runner for MVP and has numerous weapons, including D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and Chris Carson. The defense is inconsistent at times, but has also missed star safety Jamal Adams for the past two contests. He will likely return in week 7 against the Cardinals, for whom the Seahawks have been able to rest up and prepare for two weeks.
Next Up: at Cardinals
Like nearly every week in the NFL, week 5 was filled with upsets, blowouts, comebacks, and more. In case you weren't able to catch every game, I'll give you a brief recap of each of them as well as an outlook for every team. Here we go.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 19, Chicago Bears - 20
Somehow, despite questionable quarterback play for the majority of each of their games, Chicago keeps winning. Bears coach Matt Nagy has insisted Nick Foles will be their guy going forward, and he played just well enough for his team to win on Thursday night. Bears fans should be thrilled to be 4-1 on the season with the inconsistency at the quarterback position, which demonstrates that Chicago's defense could lead them to a multitude of wins as long as the offense continues to limit mistakes.
On the other hand, the Buccaneers continue to look discombobulated, as evidenced by Tom Brady's shocking game management error in crunch time after thinking a fourth down play was only third down. Apart from a really good 35 minutes last week to complete a comeback against the Chargers, I haven't really been impressed at all with Tampa's offense. Granted, they've been missing key players basically all season, as Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, and Leonard Fournette, to name a few, have been battling injuries. I, personally, have always felt that Brady's success was derived primarily from Bill Belichick's scheme and personnel, and that may be proved true this season if Brady continues to struggle even when his supporting cast gets healthy. I'll hold my judgement for now, but the Bucs have another test next week against the undefeated Packers.
We're now a quarter of the way through the NFL season, and while some teams have performed as expected, others have varied significantly from how everyone thought they would. After every three weeks during the season, I am providing full league rankings for every team based on how each team has performed up to that point. If you missed that last week, you can read it here:
Prior to the start of the season, I predicted the final standings for each division, highlighting the teams that would make it into the playoffs when the season is all said and done. I still stand by some of my original predictions, but there are certainly teams that have surprised me, both positively and negatively, through the first quarter of the NFL season. After every four weeks, starting now, I will update my previous division standings and playoff outlook to reflect what I think will occur for the remainder of the season and how the final standings will shake out. Keep reading if you want to know where your team will finish in the playoff picture this year.
Expert Nick Swatson discusses all the news, predictions, and outcomes surrounding the NFL.