What We Learned: NFL Week 6

NFL Oct 17, 2021

The Arizona Cardinals still top our power rankings as NFL's only undefeated team – while the Rams, Bills, Bucs, Cowboys, and Ravens round out our top of the list

It's 6th and 20.  Buckle up!

Following NFL Week 6, here are 20 takeaways from the NFL's most recent slate of regular season games.  Let's call this is the ugly, the bad, the good, and the great.

The Ugly:

(1)  That's it.  We've seen enough.  Fire Vic Fangio.  The Denver Broncos' head coach had a perfect opportunity to reboot his team to a 4-2 record and all the parts were in place versus the floundering Las Vegas Raiders.  Instead, the Broncos came into Sunday's game totally ill-prepared and were outplayed in every facet on the field, and off the field.  The play calling was horrendous.  The defence was out-coached and outmanned  And, clueless Fangio wasted a challenge and a time-out on a play that had utterly zero chance of being overturned.  Fangio has no business as an NFL head coach.  He needs to go.

(2)  While we're picking on the Denver Broncos following three straight losses, it's probably time to bench hanger-on Teddy Bridgewater.  This indecisive, flat-footed, inept, gutless quarterback is at best suited as an NFL backup.  His effort today, a three-touchdown humiliating loss at home to the Raiders should be a career ender.  Horrible effort, and yes, we had the Broncos -3 so we're pissed as hell!

(3)  Pull the plug on Justin Fields as a starting NFL QB.  Looking totally lost most of the game, he repeatedy took sacks when he could have thrown the ball away to avoid loss of yardage.  At the end of the first half, the Bears were in FG range and Fields at the turf for a 15 yard loss, costing his team 3 points.  The game is simply too fast for him.  He's toast.  The Chicago Bears' history of quarterbacks is dismal, and Fields only adds to a legacy of failures.  Pull.  The.  Plug.

(4)  The Cleveland Browns' defense is an embarrassment.  Eye popping awful. This unit is killing this team.  Allowing 79 points in the last two games should expose this team as a fraud.  The Browns aren't going anywhere except to a likely 8-9 record and third-place finish because the offense simply isn't good enough to overcome such bad play on the defensive side of the ball.

(5)  What's wrong with the Miami Dolphins?  Remember – this was a 10-win team in 2020, and was expected to push the Buffalo Bills for the AFC East title. Instead, Miami is an ugly 1-5 and has played poorly in several games.  Sunday's loss in London to the lowly previously winless Jacksonville Jaguars marked a low point.  There was no excuse for this.  It's hard to identify what the problem is with the Dolphins, but this is undoubtedly the NFL's biggest disappointment over the course of the first third of the regular season.  Oh, and Tua is a bust.  

The Bad:

(6) The woeful Detroit Lions at 0-6 isn't a huge surprise, but the problem with is they're getting worse with every game.  After starting the season off with a few strong efforts, the Lions have completely disintegrated.  Jared Goff looked like he might post some big numbers, but Detroit has been held to 17 points or less in five straight games.  Looking at the remainder of their schedule, the Lions probably will be underdogs in every game.  Time to ask – could Detroit break their all-time worst record and go 0-17 this season?  It's possible.

(7)  It's hard to figure out what went wrong with the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, who were expected to feature in the NFL's premier game.  Instead, the Chargers never showed up.  Baltimore was coming off a huge come-from-behind victory on a short week and was thought to be in a bad spot hosting the high-flying Chargers.  However, Baltimore dominated the game from start to finish.  Yank the Chargers out of the running as a serious contender in the AFC this season.  Like the Browns, they showed they still lack some key pieces to be considered among the NFL's best teams.  Also, QB Justin Herbert's MVP chances probably hit the rocks on Sunday, and now he's a big dog.

(8)  Who is the NFL's worst team?  Maybe the Lions.  Perhaps the NY Jets.  But probably the Houston Texans, who were bitch-slapped silly in Indianapolis.  The Colts aren't exactly a confidence-inspiring team, especially at 10-point favourites.  But they thoroughly dominated the miserable Texans on Sunday in a game that wasn't as close as the 28-point blowout indicated.

(9)  Are the New England Patriots really 0-4 at home?  Yes, they are.  It's hard to grade the Pats after a valiant effort on Sunday, taking Dallas into overtime before losing and failing to cover.  But since this is the Patriots, we have to include a 2-4 team winless at home among the "bad" teams, so far.  Next week, New England plays the NY Jets.  That game will tell us a lot about the direction both teams are headed.

(10)  The strength of the Washington Football Team was supposed to be their defense.  However, they've allowed 186 points in six games – averaging 31 PPG, which is the NFL's worst.  

The Good:

(11)  Green Bay keeps rolling along.  Now, 5-1 let's just wrap up the NFC Central and give the title to the Packers.  Sounds like a broken record, but Green Bay always doesn't just enough to win.  And despite the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears being mathematically alive in the race at 3-3, unless something bad and serious happens to QB Aaron Rodgers, both of those teams are done.

(12)  The gutsy team of the week award clearly goes to the Las Vegas Raiders.  They shook off all the distractions of former head coach Jon Gruden getting fired and played a fabulous game against their rivals in Denver.  No one saw Las Vegas, now 4-2 and back tied for first, shaking off two dismal defeats the past two weeks plus the Gruden scandal and expected the Raiders to play so well.  Credit new (interim) coach Rich Bissacia for rallying his team when they needed new leadership the most.

(13)  The Cincinnati Bengals are 4-2.  Wow, nobody saw that coming.  We can probably agree, the Bengals have found their QB.  Joe Burrow is the real deal.

(14)  The Minnesota Vikings host Dallas next week.  It's hard to say there's a must-win game in October, but this is a must-win for the Vikes if they are to be taken seriously as a playoff contender.  They have played several close games this season and now must start playing the league's best teams tough, especially at home.  Falling to 3-4 and possibly 3 games behind Green Bay basically eliminated the Vikings from the NFC North race.

(15)  The NFC's real wild card looks to be New Orleans, which is now 3-2 and is coming off the bye week.  The Saints need to beat Seattle in Week 7 so as to be prepared for the showdown in Week 8 versus Tampa Bay.  The next two week for New Orleans are huge.

The Great:

(16)  If there was any doubt the 6-0 Arizona Cardinals deserve the #1 ranking in the weekly Power Rankings, they obliterated the skeptics on Sunday by demolishing the Browns in Cleveland.  Let's also make QB Kyler Murray the frontrunner for MVP, though the Bill' Josh Allen will likely be in the conversation as the season goes along.

(17)  The LA Rams also look like the total package.  So do the Buffalo Bills.  But we can't quite list either them above the defending Super Bowl champions at the moment.  Tampa Bay would probably be favoured over any NFL team on a neutral field at the moment, which arguably makes them deserving of the #1 ranking.  Nonetheless, we're ranking the NFL's only undefeated team as the top choice, until they lose a game.

(18)  It's tough to figure out where Baltimore and Dallas factor in the rankings. Both teams are 5-1 and looks unstoppable, at times.  We will see how the Ravens fare as they begin division play next week (all three opponents in the AFC North will be formidable – they have six game combined versus the Bengals, Steelers, and Browns).  In fact, the Baltimore-Cincinnati winner in Week 7 takes over first place in the division.  Dallas has a much easier path ahead.  The rest of their schedule includes only three teams with winning records.

(19)  Monday Night Football features Buffalo playing at Tennessee.  Oddly enough, neither team really needs the win.  The Bills and Titans are overwhelming favouries to win their divisions.  What could be at stake is  the AFC home field advantage.  The Bills would love to play host to playoff games and beating the Titans secures them at the favourites to be the gauntlet for the AFC.  In other words, the route to the Super Bowl leads through Buffalo, likely in January.  Brrrrr.

(20)  Our Power Rankings:  Finally, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (now 9-1) win again.  Note to CFL fans:  Lock it up – Winnipeg Blue Bombers, 2021 Grey Cup champions!

POINTSPREADS.CA POWER TOP 10

  1. Arizona
  2. Tampa Bay
  3. Buffalo *pending MNF result
  4. LA Rams
  5. Dallas
  6. Baltimore
  7. Green Bay
  8. Tennessee *pending MNF result
  9. New Orleans
  10. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (just for fun)

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