Week 6 was a strange week. Brock Osweiler started and won a game for the Dolphins against the Bears vaunted defense and the Cowboys dropped 40 points on the Jags. (more on both of these soon) It goes to show that anything can happen in football, but it affects teams differently. Let’s look at the teams affected the most by the games this weekend by taking a look at the winners and losers from week 6.
Winner: Baltimore Ravens (Won 21-0 at TEN)
Coming off a disappointing loss to the Browns in overtime, the Ravens traveled to Tennesee to take on the Titans in a game that was supposed to be extremely close between two AFC contenders. Instead, Baltimore destroyed them in all facets. The offense scored on their first two drives, and even though they didn’t do much after that, they set the tone early. Joe Flacco and Michael Crabtree finally seemed to click, as Crabtree had 6 receptions for 93 receiving yards and a touchdown. On the other side of the ball, the Ravens defense played a flawless game and look like the best defense in the NFL. They limited Marcus Mariota to 117 passing yards, sacked him ELEVEN times, and held Titans running backs to 12 carries for 30 yards. On top of that, they shut out the Titans and never let Tennesee have a chance to put points on the board. This was a dominant performance by the Ravens, one that shows that they belong among the elite teams in the AFC. Back at home next week, they’ll look to move to 5-2 against the Saints.
Loser: Jacksonville Jaguars (Lost 40-7)
After a rough blowout loss to the Chiefs last week, Jacksonville looked to get back on track as road favorites in Dallas. The opposite ended up happening. The Jaguars looked overmatched in all facets of the game and never stood a chance. The once vaunted Jags defense was torched for the second week in a row. While they can be expected against the explosive Chiefs offense, the same can’t be said against a Cowboys offense that was averaging just 16.6 points per game coming in. The front seven allowed Ezekial Elliot to run all over them (106 yards, 4.4 yards per carry) and even let Dak Prescott scrambled for 82 yards and a touchdown. Cole Beasley had done close to nothing all year, but Jacksonville still allowed him to have 9 catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns. It gets worse on offense, as Blake Bortles threw for just 149 yards and threw an interception while the running game was quickly abandoned early. Jacksonville sure doesn’t look like a contender at the moment, and a big divisional matchup at home against the Texans next week will shed some light on their playoff chances in what is a must win game now.
Winner: Pittsburgh Steelers (Won 28-21 at CIN)
The Pittsburgh Steelers aren’t perfect, but they seem to be improving as the season goes on. In a game that Pittsburgh desperately needed to win, the Steelers fought until the end and came out victorious. It wasn’t easy – the Bengals took the lead late and the Steelers were making zero progress on a game-winning drive until about 30 seconds left in the game – but a big play down the field to Juju Smith Schuster and a touchdown pass to Antonio Brown was all they ended up needing at the end. Ben Roethlisberger was outstanding, throwing for 369 yards and a touchdown, while James Conners had his second straight game with 100 yards rushing and added two touchdowns. Brown and Smith Schuster both had over 100 yards receiving, and Vance McDonald had another outstanding game as the premier tight end. On defense, Pittsburgh gave up three big touchdowns, including that go-ahead touchdown late, but they held the Bengals to just 275 total yards and had constant pressure on Andy Dalton. It wasn’t perfect, but it was terrific progress for a team that looked lost just two weeks ago. They now got their bye while they continue this fun game of chicken with Le’Veon Bell before taking on the Browns in Week 8.
Loser: Oakland Raiders (Lost 27-3 vs SEA)
The Raiders were never expected to contend in 2018. After trading their best player in Khalil Mack, the team was clearly heading for a rebuild under Jon Gruden. However, Oakland was supposed to be somewhat competitive under quarterback Derek Carr this season, and the opposite has happened. What happened Sunday was embarrassing for the Raiders and they clearly looked like the worst team in football. In this horrific loss, Oakland was outgained 369 yards to 185 yards. That’s right; the offense totaled just 185 yards the WHOLE game. Carr was harassed all day long and the running game was awful as well. The defense looked bored and tired, as they let Russell Wilson have his best game of the season and let Seattle run the ball efficiently the whole game. It’s sad for Raiders fans to think that just two years ago they looked like the future of the AFC. Now, they get to look forward to Jon Gruden bring in players past their prime and ignoring defense for NINE more years while they endure the chaos that will come with the move to Las Vegas. Sounds look a whole lot of fun.
Winner: Los Angeles Chargers (Won 38-14 at CLE)
We generally try to avoid having a team be a winner in two straight weeks, but the Chargers’ performance Sunday was just too impressive for them not to make a consecutive appearance as a winner. Faced with a tough challenge playing on the east coast against a young Browns team with a lot of momentum, Los Angeles answered it and then some. They ran for 246 yards, as Melvin Gordon average an astonishing 7.3 yards per carry for 132 yards and THREE touchdowns. That helped them take control of this game while shutting down Cleveland’s offense helped significantly. The Browns were forced to forget about the running game, the Chargers picked off Baker Mayfield twice, and held him to a 48% completion percentage. This was an “A+” performance and the Chargers look like the most complete team in the AFC in my eyes, especially once they get star pass rusher Joey Bosa back. They’ll travel to London to face the Titans in what has the makeup of a trap game, so they’ll hope that this high level of play carries over to another country.
Loser: Chicago Bears (Lost 31-28 OT at MIA)
Had you said before the game that Mitch Trubisky would throw for 316 yards and three touchdowns and that Brock Osweiler would be starting for the Dolphins, the assumption would have easily been made that the Bears would come out victorious. Instead, the defense collapsed and now puts Chicago’s playoff chances in jeopardy. Osweiler threw for 380 yards and three touchdowns against the Bears supposedly dominant defense and Miami also ran the ball for 163 yards. The defense recorded zero sacks despite having arguably the league’s most talented pass rush and the outcome would have been a lot worse if not for two Kyle Fuller fumbles. While Chicago’s offense 467 yards, they made several mistakes (fumbles by Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen, Trubisky interception) that proved costly in this game. But overall, when you want to contend in a division with Aaron Rodgers, Kirk Cousins, and Matt Stafford, giving up 541 total yards to a Brock Osweiler led offense isn’t a good sign. The Bears still have the talent for a postseason push, but with a tough matchup at home against the Patriots next week, they could be stuck at .500 on the outside looking in if they can’t pull it together quickly.