Oct 13 2016

NFL 2016 Week 6 Gameplan

It’s official – every team has played at least four games, so I’m comfortable saying that one quarter of the 2016 NFL season is in the books. I’ve consistently stayed over .500 each of the first five weeks of the season, going 10-4 in Week 5. Here’s a look at the games I missed:

– For the first time since 1955, Washington won in Baltimore, defeating the Ravens 16-10. Baltimore insisted on dropping back to pass 50 times (3.8 yards per play) versus running more than 19 times (6.2 yards per play), despite the fact that neither team was up by more than 7 points. Washington’s strong pass defense earned them a third straight win, and Baltimore replaced offensive coordinator Marc Trestman with QB coach Marty Mornhinweg the next day.

– The Titans went to Miami and beat the Dolphins 30-17 behind 3 TD passes from QB Marcus Mariota – one each to TE Delanie Walker and WRs Rishard Matthews and Andre Johnson. Mariota also added a rushing TD.

– Huge 23-16 win for the Falcons at Denver, handing the Broncos their first loss since December 20 of last year. The Falcons did a great job against the run, holding the Broncos to 84 yards on 24 attempts (3.5 avg). OLB Vic Beasley had 3.5 of Atlanta’s 6 sacks; the Falcons had only four sacks in the first four games of the season combined.

– The Buccaneers finally solved Carolina QB Derek Anderson, winning a mistake-filled primetime game 17-14. Tampa Bay rookie K Roberto Aguayo made a game-winning 38-yard FG after missing from 33 and 46 yards earlier in the game. Anderson had three of Carolina’s four turnovers, with the other Carolina turnover coming on a punt return error. Carolina K Graham Gano also missed a 43-yard field goal just before halftime.

Two teams are on a bye this week:

  • Look at the Vikings! The last undefeated team left at 5-0! Hopefully now folks won’t get hung up on who isn’t there and focus on who is. The last time the Vikings were 5-0 was in 2009, and they got a new QB that season too in Brett Favre. QB Sam Bradford is the only QB who has started at least four games this season without a turnover, and the defense has 19 sacks, tied with Denver for the most in the league. DEs Everson Griffen, Brian Robison, and Danielle Hunter have four sacks each.
  • The Buccaneers are on a bye with a 2-3 record for the second season in a row. Tampa Bay is 28th in points allowed, and they have given up 6 rushing scores already this season, so that is a targeted area for improvement.

The Patriots, as you know, have QB Tom Brady back. New England is “On to Cincinnati” again this week while they host the Bengals. Cincinnati hasn’t won in New England since 1986. Good luck with that this year in Brady’s first home game of the season!

Denver at San Diego: Both teams are coming off of losses, but the Broncos are going on the road, a place that has seen them win an NFL record 15 straight games in the division. On the flipside, the Chargers have lost 10 straight games in the division, their longest stretch in franchise history. The Broncos struggled to run the ball or protect rookie QB Paxton Lynch in Week 5, and head coach Gary Kubiak is out on medical leave, 1 but they’ll welcome back QB Trevor Siemian, TE Virgil Green, and RT Donald Stephenson. The Chargers still have a positive point differential in spite of their 1-4 record, but make no mistake, this San Diego team is bad and head coach Mike McCoy may be relieved of his duties if he can’t get an upset win. Special teams is going to be key for the Chargers, as rookie P Drew Kaser is 32nd in the league in punts inside the 20 and is the only punter in the league averaging less than 40 yards per punt (39.1 avg).

Atlanta at Seattle: I had to go with the Falcons on the road in Seattle over Dallas at Green Bay for the Game of the Week. The Falcons already won back-to-back games against last season’s Conference Champions, and now they take their 4-1 record to Seattle, home of the only 2-time NFC championship winner this decade. Last year, the 4-0 Carolina Panthers came off a Week 5 bye to go to Seattle and they beat the Seahawks to establish themselves as an NFC force, and now it’s Atlanta’s turn to do the same in head coach Dan Quinn’s return to Seattle. 2 But logistics are on Seattle’s side this time around, as they come off a bye week that saw QB Russell Wilson get healthy. Atlanta QB Matt Ryan can tie Hall of Fame QB Dan Fouts with a 45th consecutive game with at least 200 pass yards, but he’ll have to do it against the Legion of Boom – not only did none of Ryan’s previous 44 games come against Seattle, but his original streak started after being held under 200 pass yards in 2013 by the Seahawks.

Indianapolis at Houston: The Texans 0-5 in primetime versus the Colts. But that was the past, and in the present, Indianapolis has done a poor job of protecting QB Andrew Luck. The Colts have allowed a league-high 20 sacks this season, and they go on the road to face a Houston defense that is still capable of getting pressure on the passer without DE J.J. Watt; Houston OLB Whitney Mercilus had 5 QB hits in Week 5 alone. Indianapolis still hasn’t had a 100-yard rusher since Luck’s rookie season in 2012, while the Texans have allowed only one 100-yard rusher at home 3 since head coach Bill O’Brien took over in 2014. The key to this game will be what kind of passer Houston QB Brock Osweiler will be – he’s been brutal on the road (58.3 passer rating), but even at home, he’s been slightly unsatisfactory (80.3 passer rating).

New York Jets at Arizona: The Todd Bowles reunion! The Jets have been terrible this season, and Arizona native Ryan Fitzpatrick is back to playing turnover-prone football, throwing twice as many INTs (10) as TDs (5) through New York’s 1-4 start this season. No team has a worse passer rating than New York’s 64.7 – and no team has allowed a worse passer rating than the Jets either (118.6)! That’s right, Bowles’ defense has been as burnable as ever in New York, exposing CB Darrelle Revis when he plays and getting torched when he doesn’t. If all of that isn’t enough for you, then consider the logistical advantage – the Jets are playing on the road and outside of the division for the second week in a row, while the Cardinals get QB Carson Palmer back and are home after a win on Thursday night in Week 5.

It's been five years since the Falcons visited Seattle, and they played keepaway to beat the Seahawks 30-28 in October 2011. (Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images North America)

It’s been five years since the Falcons visited Seattle, and they played keepaway to beat the Seahawks 30-28 in October 2011. (Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images North America)

Show 3 footnotes

  1. Special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis will fill in as head coach.
  2. Quinn was Seattle’s defensive coordinator from 2013-2014.
  3. Philadelphia RB LeSean McCoy ran for 117 yards in Week 9, 2014.

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