Can the Rams or Chiefs finish 16-0?
We’re officially into October, and we’re starting to see who is living up to the hype, and who can’t handle the pressure. As it turns out, kickers all around the league can’t handle the pressure. I already spent some time talking about this back in Week 2, but it seems like every week a new kicker is missing everything. This week, it was Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby who fell victim to the curse.
If Crosby had connected on all of his attempts on Sunday, those 13 points would have been enough to get the Packers a win. Instead, they fell to the Lions 31-23.
Much of the talk heading into this season was about the strength of the NFC. The Eagles were supposed to be even better than last year, the Vikings finally had the quarterback they needed to bring the team to the next level, a healthy Aaron Rodgers would make the Packers a contender again. Yet after five weeks, Philadelphia is 2-3, while Minnesota and Green Bay are both 2-2-1. The Rams are pretty much already a lock to win the NFC West, but the rest of the conference is wide open. But even Los Angeles doesn’t seem like they’re unbeatable anymore after narrowly beating the Seahawks by two points, 33-31. The last team to have an undefeated regular season was the New England Patriots back in 2007, or I guess the Cleveland Browns last season if you consider 0-16 perfect in its own disappointing way. Either way, it’s very unlikely that the Chiefs and Rams both finish this year with a perfect record, especially since they play each other later on this season.
Meanwhile, things in the AFC seem to have gotten back to normal, with the Patriots and Steelers both winning last week. The Patriots were host to the Colts on Thursday night, marking the first time that Indianapolis was in New England since the 2014 AFC Championship game that the Patriots won 45-7. This was also the alleged “Deflategate” game, but I will defend Tom Brady’s innocence for the rest of my life so as far as I’m concerned this was all an elaborate scheme by Roger Goodell and the NFL. Speaking of Brady, he made some history on Thursday night. He became just the third quarterback to reach the 500 touchdown milestone and the 71 different players he has thrown a touchdown pass to is also an NFL record.
This touchdown to make the score 31-17 ended up being the game-winner, as the Patriots went on to a 38-24 win. New England’s win, along with a Miami Dolphins loss means that the Patriots are back on top of the AFC East.
For the Steelers, their entire season has been surrounded by drama. Between Le’Veon Bell’s contract holdout, and Antonio Brown tweeting about being traded, the things going on off the field have overshadowed what’s been happening on it. Although with the way that their season has been going, maybe it’s better that way. But with a win in Week 5 against the Atlanta Falcons, maybe there’s still some hope in Pittsburgh. The game was close in the first half, with the Steelers holding on to a 13-10 lead going into the break, but they blew the game wide open in the second half, outscoring the Falcons 28-7. Roethlisberger threw for 250 yards and three touchdowns while James Conner ran for 110 and two touchdowns. The win moved the Steelers to 2-2-1 to keep pace with the Browns at the bottom of the AFC North, while the Falcons dropped to 1-4 and already have a steep hill to climb the rest of the season.
I know you’re still stuck on that “Steelers tied with the Browns” thing, but it’s true, thanks in large part to Baker Mayfield. The Browns have more wins through five weeks this season than they’ve had in the last two years combined. But he isn’t the only rookie quarterback helping his team surpass expectations this year.
With the exception of Lamar Jackson, the other four rookie quarterbacks taken in the first round have all taken over starting jobs and all helped their teams to wins in Week 5. Mayfield looks like he’ll be the future of the Browns for a long time to come, while Darnold and Allen are trying to outlast Tom Brady in the AFC East. Meanwhile, Josh Rosen took over the starting job in Arizona from Sam Bradford and helped the team to their first win of the season with a 28-18 win over the 49ers.
Week 6 of the NFL season kicks off on Thursday with an NFC East matchup between the Eagles and Giants.
In case you missed it, check out the Week 4 recap here.