The Texans kept the ball rolling in the sixth week of the NFL season with a decisive home win over the Cleveland Browns. Rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson continued to show why he is the future of the franchise and improved him team to 3-3 to start the season.
Houston’s defense didn’t miss a beat against a weak Cleveland offense. Unfortunately, it’s only a matter of time before the unit begins to breaks down without star players Whitney Mercilus and J.J. Watt. Once the Texans start facing more capable offenses, they’ll need every point Watson can muster to stay alive in this division.
The biggest story of the day came in Minnesota. The Packers were rolling after a comeback victory in Dallas led by quarterback Aaron Rodgers and seemed to have control of the NFC North through the first half of the season. For the second time of his impressive career, Rodgers broke his collarbone when Viking defender Anthony Barr fell on top of him.
This was pretty much the worst news imaginable for Green Bay fans and stings a lot more than their 23-10 loss. In 2013, Rodgers was able to come back from this very injury and defeat the Chicago Bears on the last game of the season to qualify for the playoffs with an average record of 8-7-1. Look for things to be different this year as the NFC North is a much more capable division with tough Minnesota and Detroit teams. If Rodgers does indeed miss the remainder of the regular season, or most of it, the Packers are all but finished.
The Lions showcased their own problems on Sunday, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. Their matchup with the Saints reminded me of a high school game. Neither defense could keep either team off of the scoreboard and New Orleans prevailed 52-38. With Rodgers down, time will tell if the Lions or Vikings can find a rhythm and emerge as the new team to beat in the North.
The Pittsburgh Steelers righted the ship after a couple of shaky losses and took down the Kansas City Chiefs on the road. The Chiefs are now 5-1 and there are no more undefeated teams left in the NFL.
The Chiefs looked dominant to start the season, but are finally in a tough position after their first loss. They have tough divisional matchups with the Raiders and the Broncos coming up and both teams will be desperate for wins.
Oakland and Denver each dropped week 6 contests to inferior teams. The Raiders lost by just 1 point to the Los Angeles Chargers, who are now just 2-4. Oakland had their start signal caller Derek Carr back in the lineup, but he was just not ready to rebound from his back injury. Suddenly, the Raiders are now 2-4 after spending the offseason as a hot Super Bowl pick.
The Broncos hosted the winless Giants on Sunday Night Football and simply didn’t seem prepared for the game or thought it would be easy. New York was without star receiver Odell Beckham, but ran the ball effectively and ran away with the game early.
It’s still unclear to me who the team to beat in the AFC West is. Sure, the Chiefs are still 5-1 despite the loss, but I don’t look at their roster and notice much superiority over Denver or Oakland. Both teams have proven how dominant they can be at their best and how ineffective at their worst. At this point, it’s all about keeping as many players healthy as possible as teams try and stay within shouting distance of the postseason. There are still plenty of surprises that will come our way in the last 11 weeks.