Believe it or not, we are a quarter of the way through the NFL Season. Things are starting to round into form as we separate contenders from pretenders. Some statements were made out west and we had a dramatic finish in Tom Brady’s return to Foxboro. If your team lost this past weekend, it could be worse…you could be Mark Zuckerberg or Urban Meyer right now.
Panthers vs Cowboys: Things started off well for the Carolina Panthers, as they jumped to a 14-13 lead late in the 1st half. The 3rd quarter is where things changed – in hurry. Sam Darnold was under duress, as he was sacked 5 times and threw 2 interceptions that allowed the Cowboys to jump out to a 36-14 lead. Carolina fought back, despite some questionable calls that went in the Cowboys favor, but ultimately came up short. On the Cowboys’ side, they were able to establish their run game – rushing the ball 34 times for a total of 245 yards. Dallas is at their best when they control the line of scrimmage, and they certainly did Sunday. Despite the loss, the Panthers have a favorable schedule to bounce back as their next five opponents have a combined record of 5-15 (Eagles, Vikings, Giants, Falcons, and Patriots).
Buccaneers vs Patriots: A game where many thought Tom Brady would run up the score on his former coach, turned out to be a nail biter. Bill Belichick’s defense had Brady confused, at times, holding the Bucs to only 19 points. Brady barely completed above 50% of his passes. The problem for the Pats was that they needed 20. Brady was able to drive his team down the field to take a 19-17 lead with a little over 2 minutes left – leaving the ball in the rookie Mac Jones hands. Jones was able to drive the Patriots into field goal position, but Nick Folk’s 56-yard field goal would bounce off the goal post. Tampa Bay has looked vulnerable early in the season. The Bucs’ secondary is decimated with injuries and they are asking Tom to throw the ball a lot this early in the season. Tampa could easily be 1-3 right now instead of 3-1, if Nick Folk doesn’t hit the goal post on his 56-yard field goal and Cowboys’ kicker Greg Zuerlein doesn’t miss a field goal and extra point in week 1.
Cardinals vs Rams: Arizona is the last undefeated team standing after smacking the Rams in Los Angeles, Sunday. Kyler Murray could arguably be the NFL’s MVP after four weeks, as he outplayed Matthew Stafford Sunday. Murray threw for 268 and 2 touchdowns, and ran for another 39 yards as Arizona’s offense couldn’t be stopped Sunday. Arizona’s defense forced two turnovers early in the game. The Cardinals are plus-5 in turnover differential so far this season. The Rams, coming off a win vs Tampa Bay, were sloppy and couldn’t climb themselves out of the hole they buried themselves in during the first half. The Cardinals did a good job taking away Cooper Kupp, as he only caught five passes despite being targeted 13 times.
Raiders vs Chargers: Another candidate for NFL MVP right now is Justin Herbert. Herbert was solid, throwing for three touchdowns Monday night vs the Raiders and has seven touchdowns and zero interceptions in his last two games against division rivals. Assisting Herbert was Austin Ekeler, who ran for 117 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. The Chargers jumped out to a 21-0 lead, even though they were playing a road game in their home stadium (LA supports the Raiders more than the Rams or Chargers). Derwin James had a strong performance on the defensive side of the ball with 6 tackles and an interception of Derek Carr.
- Another week and another bad showing for the Steelers’ offense as they fall to 1-3.
- Terrible loss by New Orleans, who was up 21-10 midway through the 4th quarter and losing in overtime to the Giants.
- Denver started off 3-0, but didn’t face stiff competition and received a reality check from the Ravens.
- An absolute abysmal loss by the Titans – losing to the Jets in overtime.
Week 5 Games to Watch:
- LA Rams vs Seahawks
- Cleveland Browns vs LA Chargers
- San Francisco 49ers vs Arizona Cardinals
- Buffalo Bills vs Kansas City