What We Learned: NFL Week 5

NFL Oct 10, 2021

Arizona Cardinals still tops our power rankings, but barely after lackluster win versus San Francisco

It's 5th and 10.

Following NFL Week 5, here are ten takeaways from the NFL's most recent slate of regular season games:

(1)  Just for kicks: The biggest story of the week were five missed field goals which each could have been game winners in the Green Bay-Cincinnati game.  Mason Crosby missed three kicks and an extra point, but connected late in overtime to give the Packers a stunning victory.  The Bengals' rookie kicker Evan McPherson missed his chances, too – including an embarrassing potential game winner.  McPherson thought he made the kick, began celebrating, then had to walk back the jubilation when the referee signaled the kick was no good.  What a wildly entertaining game, despite some terrible kicking.

(2)  Eagles and Bears, oh my!  Gutsy never-quit awards this week go to the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles.  Both big underdogs pulled off incredible upsets on the road versus 3-1 opponents.  The Bears whipped the outclassed Raiders in Las Vegas, in a game that was never competitive.  And the Eagles rolled into Carolina and beat the Panthers.

(3)  Close, but no cigar: The Lions and Texans lost, but won the respect of the day.  Most fans (and bettors) likely viewed these dismal teams as hopeless.  However, Detroit nearly upset Minnesota.  And Houston, after looking horrible a week ago, came within a minute of upsetting New England.  Credit the Texans and Lions for both covering big spreads.  Their backers never had to sweat.

(4)  What's that awful smell? Stinker awards of the week go Las Vegas, Carolina, and Miami.  There was no excuse for the Raiders dismal performance at home hosting the Bears.  Same with the Panthers, who were expected to rebound after getting thumped in Dallas last week.  We're seeing the Panther's 3-0 start was a mirage. Miami might not deserve the same criticism, but they really stunk it up in Tampa Bay.  The Bucs can make many teams look bad, but it appeared the Dolphins gaver up in this game.  At 1-4, we can probably say the Miami season is over and done.

(5)  Russell Wilson gets the finger: Tough guy of the week goes to Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, who in Thursday night's game tried to toss off the obvious pain of a dislocated finger midway into Seattle's loss to the LA Rams.  The sight of seeing Wilson still trying to grip a ball with a finger shaped like a hook was freaky.  No doubt, Wilson's a beast and earned his paycheck even in defeat.

(6)  How 'bout them Cowboys? The Cowboys might be the NFL's best team at the moment.  That doesn't mean they'd be favoured versus the Bucs, Chiefs, Bills, or even the Rams.  However, after seeing Dallas hang another 44 points on an opponent (the Giants), there's some evidence this is one of the game's best offenses.  Dallas looks unstoppable, at least in the NFC East.  Look for the Cowboys to improve down the stretch and end up at 14-3 or 13-4.

(7)  Arizona Number 1?  The cardiac Cardinals are the NFL's only undefeated team.  But they didn't look good against San Francisco on Sunday.  Credit the defense for a solid game when it counted most (versus a rookie QB making his first start).  The same can't be said for the Arizona offense which really looked lost at times in the Cardinals 17-10 sleepwalk against the 49ers.  Even good teams play marginal games, and it's okay for Arizona to get an overdue clunker out of their system.  But that inefficiency on offense won't cut it down the stretch.  I'd rank Arizona neck a neck with the LA Rams, right now.

(8)  I Love L.A.! Speaking of Los Angeles, two of the NFL's best teams now play in the same stadium.  No doubt, both the Rams and Chargers are among the top five on the league at the moment.  On the other side of the country, two of the worst teams also play in the same stadium.  The Giants and Jets are a combined 2-8 and have looked terrible in most of their games.

(9)  There is no "D" in Browns: Cleveland is a fun team to watch, but that defense is going to cost them any chance of a serious run.  The Browns really have difficulty stopping good offenses.  The Chargers have a good offense and pasted Cleveland like paper mache on a wire hanger with 34 points in the second half on Sunday.  Even a great offense can't overcome holes in a defense.  Just ask Tennessee.

(9)  Raven Haven: Monday Night Football up next with Baltimore hosting Indianapolis.  The Ravens have a shot to take a decisive lead in a tough division, since their rivals (Cincinnati and Cleveland) both lost on Sunday.  Don't count out Pittsburgh just yet – which is back in the race at 2-3 after beating Denver at home.  As for the Colts, who knows what to expect from this team that looks in disarray.  

(10)  Our Power Rankings:  Finally, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (now 8-1) win again.  Note to CFL fans:  Lock it up – Winnipeg Blue Bombers, 2021 Grey Cup Champions!


  1. Arizona
  2. LA Rams
  3. Tampa Bay
  4. Dallas
  5. LA Chargers
  6. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (just for fun)

*note that Buffalo-Kansas City game is being played at the time of this post.  If they Bills upset the Chiefs, they likely move up to 4th in the rankings.