The middle weekend of October saw many surprise teams continue their unexpectedly good or bad seasons as early battles for divisional leads took centerstage. The talk of offensive scoring being down seemed to be replaced by the simple true that all any team needs to do is outscore their opponent regardless of the total points scored. Now, with a third of the 2022 regular season in the book, we recap week six in the NFL.

Washington 12 (2-4), Chicago 7 (2-4): The Thursday Night primetime game once against laid an egg for Amazon as both the Commanders and Bears struggled to find points. In fact, if this game had been played twice to the same final score, they still would have fallen a half-point short of the over/under. Heading into the game, Washington head coach Ron Rivera called out his team’s quarterback play as the main reason why they had only won a single game. During Thursday’s game, Carson Wentz fractured the ring finger on his throwing hand, likely leaving him out of action for several weeks and elevating Taylor Heinicke to starter. As for the Bears, it is becoming clear that Chicago QB Justin Fields is unable to produce points at the NFL level on a regular basis. Only time will tell if that’s because of his lack of skills, or the team’s roster.

Atlanta 28 (3-3), San Francisco 14 (3-3): The 49ers’ defense must have been delayed at the airport for this game since, after allowing no first half touchdowns all season, Marcus Mariota and the Falcons hung three scores on the scoreboard in the first thirty minutes. The San Francisco offense likely had an early flight back to the west coast as they failed to score in the second half, causing the team to fall back to .500 on the season. The loss did not knock the ‘Niners out of first place in the NFC West, but only highlights how the division is 2022, a far cry from last season.

New England 38 (3-3), Cleveland 15 (2-4): Early on in this game, both New England and Cleveland fans has reason to unite as chats of “Yankees Suck” echoed throughout FirstEnergy Stadium. The Dawg Pound’s mood quickly changed in the second half when, after trailing 10-6 heading into the third quarter, the Browns allowed Patriots’ backup QB Bailey Zappe go on a rampage, ending the game with 306 passing yards and two TDs as New England scored a pair of touchdowns in each of the final two quarters. Fans booed the Browns off the field as the team’s season has not been the same without Deshawn Watson on the field, but with the entire AFC North at either 3-3 or 2-4, Cleveland’s playoff chances will likely come down to if they can win the division. As for New England, getting back to 3-3 still sees them in tied for third place, but behind the Dolphins, who they have lost to already this season.

NY Jets 27 (4-2), Green Bay 10 (3-3): Last week the Packers couldn’t find points in London against the Giants, and this week, they lost the backend of their New York, New York schedule as the Jets ran the ball up and down Lambeau Field at will, especially in the second half. The game was tied at 3-3 at the half before Gang Green’s took off with an offensive TD drive and they a blocked punt that was returned for another score. Green Bay’s only TD came late in the third quarter to make the score 17-10 before the Jets added ten more points in the fourth quarter for their third win in a row, and in the process, dropped the Packers down to .500, two games back of the divisional leaders in the NFC North.

Indianapolis 34 (3-3), Jacksonville 27 (3-3): The resurrection of Matt Ryan continues in Indianapolis as the former Falcons QB orchestrated a last-minute scoring drive that ended with a 32-yard TD pass to Alec Pierce. Jacksonville QB Trevor Lawrence did his best to win the game when he led a TD drive of his own, leaving the field with 2:48 left on the clock and a one-point lead. His efforts were not enough to overcome Ryan’s two fourth quarter scoring passes and knocked the Jaguars out of the top spot in the AFC South while thrusting the Colts into the playoff picture after six weeks as another division has airtight standings.

Minnesota 24 (5-1), Miami 16 (3-3): Kirk Cousins had two TD passes for the Vikings down on South Beach, but it was a 53-yard scoring run by Dalvin Cook that gave the Vikings an insurmountable lead over the Dolphins in the fourth quarter. Miami went back to QB Teddy Bridgewater after Skyler Thompson suffered a thumb injury in this game, with Bridgewater tossing for 329 yards and two scores. His efforts were not enough to give Miami a lead at any point during the game after falling behind 7-3 but does give the team hope going forward that their season may not be a total loss with Tua Tagovailoa on the bench with his well-documented injures. The Vikings flew home with a two-game advantage in the NFC North and an early two-game lead for the second spot in the playoff seeding.

Cincinnati 30 (3-3), New Orleans 26 (2-4): Bengals’ QB Joe Burrow returned to the place where he won a national championship at LSU this weekend and put on a show for his former college fans by tossing three TD passes and running for a fourth in a Bayou win. Burrow won a knockout win over Andy Dalton, who started at QB for the Saints and did his best to keep up with the former Tiger. New Orleans yielded the game’s final nine points after taking a 26-21 lead with 11:11 left on the clock allowing Cincinnati to return to .500 on the season in what has proven to be a difficult year as the reigning AFC Champions. All that while the Saints are still looking to move on from the Sean Payton/Drew Brees era and finding it difficult to do so both on and off the field.

NY Giants 24 (5-1), Baltimore 20 (3-3): This intra-conference matchup was a microcosm of how the season has gone for both of these franchises. New York wowed the home fans at MetLife Stadium for the third time his season by coming from behind to win this game by scoring the final 14 points of the contest; that while the Ravens continue to struggle on defense to hold lead and keep teams out of the end zone when the game is on the line. Baltimore’s falls to .500 on the season, matching their 1-1 record at MetLife Stadium while the Giants are now 3-1 at home with another victory in London, that does mean, however, that their second half schedule will be more difficult since it will hold more road games, a true test of one of 2022’s surprise teams.

Pittsburgh 20 (2-4), Tampa Bay 18 (3-3): The news of Tom Brady’s attendance at the wedding of Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft Saturday night broke a few hours before the Buccaneers took the field in Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers. With the future Hall of Fame quarterback losing to Mitchell Trubisky and publicly scolding his own offensive line during the game, it appears that the return of Brady has gone as well on the field as his life is going off it. Trubisky came into this game after starting QB Kenny Pickett suffered a concussion and tossed a six-yard touchdown pass to Chase Claypool to give the Steelers a 20-12 lead. From there it was the Steelers’ defense that used all the rope they were given to hold on to their advantage, even giving up a touchdown to Brady with 4:45 left in the game; but stopped a game-tying two-point conversation to secure the win. The streak of Pittsburgh’s head coach Mike Tomlin never having a sub .500 season is going to be severely tested this year, but this is the kind of win that a poorly coached team would lose. As for Tampa Bay, it should not be too long before stories of the doubled standards being granted to their quarterback come to light.

LA Rams 24 (3-3), Carolina 10 (1-5): The Panthers will likely make more headlines off the field for the next two weeks now that word has come out that their all-purpose running back Christian McCaffery is on the trading block between now and November 1st. This news comes days after the team fired their head coach Matt Rhule in his third season with four more still left on his contract. Carolina confirmed they are fielding calls with other teams claiming their asking price of “multiple first-round picks” is too high. Nevertheless, the Panthers appear poised to be high on the NFL Draft picking list as the search for their next franchise QB is already underway. As for the game, the Rams did what they needed to do, win a home game over a bad team to get back to .500 and move back into a tie with the ‘Niners for first place in the NFC West. LA QB Matt Stafford overcame throwing a pick-six late in the first half to give Carolina a 10-7 lead to score the games final 17 points to lock up a win in a game that only two cities were hopefully forced to see.

Seattle 19 (3-3), Arizona 9 (2-4): In this crazy NFL season where everything seems to be turned upside down, it was Geno Smith and the Seahawks outplaying Kyler Murray and the Cardinals in this NFC West water pistol duel. Smith seems to have found a home in Seattle and brought his NFL quarterbacking career back to life while Murray’s new contract is not paying dividends for Arizona. It is difficult to imagine how oddsmakers set the over/under for this game at 50.5 points, just as it is difficult to imagine either of these teams playing more than 17 games this season as they sit at the bottom of the division looking up at the 49ers and Rams.

Buffalo 24 (5-1), Kansas City 20 (4-2): In the Tiebreaker Bowl, the Bills went to KC and took control of the AFC with a signature road win. MVP front runner Josh Allen led a game-winning drive that ended with 69 second on the clock when the QB found Dawson Knox for a 14-yard TD to seal the win. On the stat sheet, Josh Allen fought to a draw with KC QB Patrick Mahomes with Allen going 27/40 for 329 yards and three TDs and Mahomes going 25/40 for 338 yards and two scores. Buffalo is the only one-loss AFC team now while Kansas City joins the Jets, (J-E-T-S, JETS, JETS, JETS) as the only 4-2 AFC teams. It is easy to see how these two teams will be the last two standings in the AFC Playoffs with a Championship Game rematch for a trip to the Super Bowl three month away.

Philadelphia 26 (6-0), Dallas 17 (4-2): This primetime battle for first place in the NFC East could have been called at halftime after the hometown Eagles posted two touchdowns and two field goals as part of a 20-0 run that only ended with a Dallas FG right before halftime. Dallas QB Cooper Rush suffered his first career loss after throwing three interceptions but did manage to pull the Cowboys to within 20-17 early in the fourth quarter. Eagles’ QB and MVP front-runner Jalen Hurts posted a TD as the game’s final score midway into the final period, putting the game out of reach and keeping his team undefeated on the season. The loss dropped Dallas to third in the division while the win kept the Eagles one game ahead of the Vikings in the NFC. 

 


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