NFL Week 5 takeaways – What we realized, massive questions for each recreation and future staff outlooks

Week 5 of the 2021 NFL season featured a number of wild endings Sunday, together with an exciting time beyond regulation recreation between the Packers and Bengals. After 5 missed subject targets between the 2 groups, Inexperienced Bay kicker Mason Crosby lastly hit a recreation winner. And after the Lions had thought they pulled off an unbelievable victory towards Minnesota, the Vikings’ Greg Joseph hit a 54-yard subject purpose to get the win.

Elsewhere, the Buccaneers’ and Saints’ offenses had been on full show, the Steelers’ protection confirmed up in an enormous manner towards the Broncos, the Eagles engineered a comeback in Carolina, the Patriots held on for a closer-than-expected win towards the Texans and the Jaguars’ tough begin to the season continued. Falcons tight finish Kyle Pitts had an enormous day in London, and the Rams slid previous the Seahawks on Thursday evening — after Seattle misplaced quarterback Russell Wilson to an damage.

Within the late video games, the Giants misplaced QB Daniel Jones, operating again Saquon Barkley and extensive receiver Kenny Golladay in a loss to the Cowboys. The Chargers beat the Browns in a shootout, the Bears beat the Raiders, the Cardinals stayed undefeated and the Payments knocked off the Chiefs.

Our NFL Nation reporters react with the key takeaways and lingering questions from this week’s motion. Plus, they every take a look at the larger image with their present staff confidence ranking — a 0-10 grade of how they really feel in regards to the staff’s outlook popping out of the week. Let’s get to it.

Leap to a matchup:


What to know: This was the all-around assertion win that the Payments wanted — with an exclamation level. The Payments bested the Chiefs in all three phases. The offense had success downfield, with quarterback Josh Allen finishing 5 of 6 passes for 213 yards and two touchdowns on throws of 15 yards or extra. The Payments have scored 35 factors in 4 straight video games for the second time in staff historical past (2004).

After coming into the sport by no means having intercepted Patrick Mahomes, the protection picked him off twice in a half, together with a pick-six by security Micah Hyde. The particular groups even recovered a fumble on a kickoff within the first half.

It wasn’t all the time fairly — the offense struggled at instances and there have been loads of errors (10 penalties) — however getting previous the Chiefs was a hurdle the Payments must clear in some unspecified time in the future. Within the staff’s first main take a look at of the season, Buffalo dominated, placing the remainder of the NFL on discover. — Alaina Getzenberg

Is the inconsistency of the Payments’ dashing assault a long-term concern? Sure, to an extent. The Payments had been all the time going to stay a pass-first staff — that is a part of the way in which this unit was constructed. However the incapability to get issues going constantly on the bottom has been a recurring theme, extending to final season.

Zack Moss has performed higher than Devin Singletary as of late, however each struggled towards Kansas Metropolis. The Chiefs got here into the sport permitting the second-most dashing yards per recreation within the NFL (146.Zero yards per recreation). Buffalo completed with 121, together with 59 by Allen, who completed because the staff’s main rusher, whereas Moss and Singletary mixed for 62 yards on 17 carries. The offensive line has been adjusted considerably with rookie Spencer Brown beginning the previous two video games at proper sort out, however troubles stay.

Towards a mediocre Chiefs protection, it was much less of a priority. The massive passing performs had been there. However the offense has been extra profitable when the Payments are nearer to balanced. — Getzenberg

Getzenberg’s confidence ranking (0-10): 7.9, up from 7.7. The Payments visited the location of the staff’s AFC Championship loss and got here away as arguably the largest risk within the convention, changing into the ninth staff to have a +100 rating differential by 5 video games previously 50 seasons (+108), with half of the earlier eight successful the Tremendous Bowl that yr.

Subsequent recreation: at Titans (Monday, Oct. 18, 8:15 p.m. ET)


What to know: If it wasn’t evident already, merely making the playoffs shall be a wrestle for the Chiefs. They bumped into the most effective defensive groups within the NFL within the Payments and located they will not all the time rating on virtually each possession as they did the week earlier than towards the Eagles. And with out scoring on virtually each possession, the Chiefs will not usually have the ability to overcome their dismal protection. — Adam Teicher

Why are the Chiefs struggling a lot on protection? Lots performs into it. For starters, they are not overly gifted, with simply two former first-round picks on protection. So they should get manufacturing from their higher-priced gamers akin to Frank Clark, Chris Jones and Jarran Reed, and that hasn’t occurred. The Chiefs have additionally missed on some defensive gamers they’ve drafted in recent times with early- and middle-round picks. — Teicher

Teicher’s confidence ranking (0-10): 4, down from 6.7. A fourth straight look within the AFC Championship Recreation is unrealistic. Even a wild-card playoff spot appears far-fetched.

Subsequent recreation: at Washington (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)


What to know: With their 24-point win towards the New York Giants, the Cowboys preserve elevating the chances of what they are often in 2021. Sure, the Giants had been decimated by accidents to Saquon Barkley, Daniel Jones and Kenny Golladay, however the Cowboys had been capable of put away their NFC East rivals thanks to 3 Dak Prescott landing passes, a 3rd straight recreation of not less than 95 yards dashing from Ezekiel Elliott and a fifth straight recreation with a choose by Trevon Diggs. It is their fourth straight win. The Cowboys didn’t attain their fourth win a yr in the past till Week 14. What does a four-game win streak imply? Since Jerry Jones turned proprietor in 1989, they’ve had 15 seasons during which they’ve had win streaks of 4 or extra video games. Solely twice did they not make the postseason — 1990 and 2011. — Todd Archer

Do the Cowboys have a problem with middle Tyler Biadasz? He has hassle with greater defensive tackles, and on Sunday he had points along with his shotgun snaps. He additionally was late with a snap that led to a false begin credited to all people else on the offensive line however him. Prescott dropped one shotgun snap, nevertheless it was not that unhealthy a supply from Biadasz; nevertheless, earlier Prescott was capable of corral an off-kilter snap. The difficulty the Cowboys have is their backups — Connor Williams, Connor McGovern and Matt Farniok — don’t have any recreation expertise. Williams took snaps within the preseason, however he had difficulties with shotgun snaps. McGovern performed middle for a yr at Penn State however has labored on the place solely for the reason that common season began. — Archer

Archer’s confidence ranking (0-10): 8.9, no change from 8.9. There are simply too some ways the Cowboys can beat a staff offensively and the protection continues to be opportunistic. They’ve discovered their method for achievement.

Subsequent recreation: at Patriots (4:25 p.m. ET, Sunday)


What to know: Who’s left standing? The Giants misplaced quarterback Daniel Jones (concussion), operating again Saquon Barkley (ankle) and extensive receiver Kenny Golladay (knee). Add in that beginning left sort out Andrew Thomas (foot) was energetic however did not play, and the Giants had been down seven of their 11 Week 1 offensive starters by the second half of Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys. That is wild. The Giants completed the sport with Mike Glennon at quarterback handing off to Devontae Booker and throwing to John Ross. Not how the entrance workplace drew it up in the summertime. — Jordan Raanan

How unhealthy are the accidents to Barkley, Jones and Golladay? The Giants cannot survive with out their most necessary offensive gamers. They’ve the Los Angeles Rams, Carolina Panthers, Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers on deck. The Chiefs and Bucs are Monday evening contests on the street. They in all probability want two of the three again to have any probability in any of these video games. — Raanan

Raanan’s confidence ranking (0-10): 2.6, down from 4.4. This staff is in hassle. The Giants are three video games again of Dallas within the NFC East with a head-to-head loss and no one is wholesome. Sound the alarm!

Subsequent recreation: vs. Rams (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)


What to know: Chargers coach Brandon Staley says he isn’t a playing man. That he simply bets on the odds, which have handled him effectively. Thrice within the second half on Sunday towards the Browns, he went for it on fourth down and made it — together with at his personal 24 when the Chargers had been down 27-13 within the third quarter — and he is 7-of-Eight on the season. His daring decision-making together with the play of Justin Herbert (398 passing yards, 5 touchdowns mixed) and Mike Williams (eight catches, 165 yards, two touchdowns) led the Chargers to a shootout win and a 4-1 begin. The gamers say they admire the belief Staley exhibits in them to transform. It actually confirmed Sunday. — Shelley Smith

How massive of an issue is the Chargers’ run protection? Whereas the Browns have the highest dashing offense within the NFL, permitting them 230 yards on the bottom is unacceptable and magnifies a bigger downside, because the Chargers have had issues this yr stopping the run. And what in regards to the continued kicker woes? How lengthy will they cling on to Tristan Vizcaino, who missed two PATs that might have made for a far much less hectic ending? — Smith

Smith’s confidence ranking (0-10): 6.2, down from 6.9. The Chargers should be stronger within the rush protection and discover a dependable kicker.

Subsequent recreation: at Ravens (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)


What to know: Cleveland saved exchanging haymakers with the Chargers. However in a wild fourth quarter, the Browns could not provide you with a game-clinching play, offensively or defensively. Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert was otherworldly. However the Browns had alternatives on each side of the ball to place the sport away late. They usually simply could not do it. — Jake Trotter

What did quarterback Baker Mayfield show? After taking warmth all week for his poor exhibiting in Minnesota, Mayfield responded with a crisp efficiency towards the Chargers, finishing 23 of 32 passes for 305 yards and two landing passes. He merely bought outdueled by Herbert, then ran out of time on a possible game-winning drive. Regardless of the prolific operating recreation, Cleveland wants Mayfield to play at a excessive degree to be a legit contender within the AFC. Sunday’s efficiency was undoubtedly encouraging. — Trotter

Trotter’s confidence ranking (0-10): 8.3, up from 8.1. The Chargers are a superb staff, and regardless of so many key accidents, Cleveland might’ve gained.

Subsequent recreation: vs. Cardinals (4:05 p.m. ET, Sunday)


What to know: David Montgomery, who? The Bears desperately need their operating again to return from a knee damage, however veteran Damien Williams and rookie Khalil Herbert greater than stuffed the void in Vegas. Each had been excellent because the Bears dominated the Raiders on the bottom. Williams and Herbert mixed to hurry for effectively over 125 yards and one landing, and every picked up necessary first downs at varied factors within the recreation. What’s one of the simplest ways to assist your sturdy protection? Run the ball and take time without work the clock. That is precisely what the Bears did in Week 5. — Jeff Dickerson

Has the Bears’ offense lastly turned the nook with coordinator Invoice Lazor calling performs? It might need. The Bears’ offense has been rather more environment friendly the previous two weeks with Lazor in cost. The weekly recreation plan nonetheless runs by head coach Matt Nagy, however the offense was extra balanced in Chicago’s wins over Detroit and Las Vegas. Lazor requested quarterback Justin Fields to handle the sport on Sunday, extra so than to exit and win it, and the method labored. Fields is just not placing up gaudy statistics, however he is taking part in with good tempo and confidence. No matter Lazor is doing, it’s clearly working. — Dickerson

Dickerson’s confidence ranking (0-10): 6, up from 5. The subsequent couple of weeks (vs. Inexperienced Bay and at Tampa Bay) might be bumpy, however the Bears deserve credit score for knocking off a superb staff on the street.

Subsequent recreation: vs. Packers (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)


What to know: E mail controversy or not, the Raiders’ offense has been an absolute mess the previous two weeks — or earlier than coach Jon Gruden turned the point of interest on Friday afternoon. Actually, after the way in which Las Vegas’ offense was piling up yards in a 3-Zero begin, that’s the greatest query within the Raiders’ locker room, as they dropped their second straight recreation Sunday to the Bears. Contemplate: Coming into the fourth quarter, the Raiders had compiled 410 yards of offense over their previous seven quarters. They averaged 471 yards of offense per recreation of their first three video games. Uncharacteristic drops ( you, Bryan Edwards and Darren Waller), premature penalties (Yannick Ngakoue‘s early roughing penalty ignited the Bears) and one other unproductive reshuffling of the offensive line doomed Las Vegas. — Paul Gutierrez

Has Jon Gruden misplaced the locker room? Robust to inform, although this felt uncannily just like Week Four of the 2017 season at Washington, when, after a high-flying 3-Zero begin, the wheels merely fell off following a nationwide anthem controversy within the nation’s capital. Gruden’s leaked 10-year-old emails, which included a racial trope about NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith and a vulgar description of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, can both bond or fracture a staff. Keep tuned. — Gutierrez

Gutierrez’s confidence ranking (0-10): 5.5, down from 7.5. With self-discipline attainable for Gruden and questions remaining within the locker room, issues don’t look good. The offense is a large number (Las Vegas moved first-rounder Alex Leatherwood from proper sort out to proper guard, to no avail), the protection is attempting however tiring and the locker room is a large query. Yikes.

Subsequent recreation: at Broncos (4:25 p.m. ET, Sunday)


What to know: There have been so many — too many — causes the Cardinals might’ve misplaced to the 49ers: the emotional letdown after final week’s massive win over the Rams, the problem of taking part in one other NFC West opponent, accidents. However the Cardinals did not let any of that influence the underside line, within the course of exhibiting that they are actually a distinct staff from previous years — with their protection main the way in which — whereas enhancing to 5-0. They’ve the psychological fortitude to face up to a bevy of outdoor influences and nonetheless win. That might be the distinction between sitting at residence through the playoffs and taking part in in them. — Josh Weinfuss

How will all of the Cardinals’ accidents influence them within the subsequent few weeks? Arizona misplaced some key gamers Sunday in middle Rodney Hudson and tight finish Maxx Williams, along with not having two of its beginning cornerbacks in Byron Murphy Jr. and Marco Wilson. Williams was having a profession season, however Hudson is likely to be the largest loss contemplating he has been the glue for the offense since he arrived this offseason. The Cardinals cannot afford any extra accidents to starters in the event that they wish to preserve contemplating the playoffs. QB Kyler Murray might be the distinction within the accidents curbing a hopeful season and them simply being a pace bump. — Weinfuss

Weinfuss’ confidence ranking (0-10): 8.8, down from 9.2. They’re 5-Zero and a win is a win is a win, however accidents are regarding for the upcoming couple of weeks.

Subsequent recreation: at Browns (4:05 p.m. ET, Sunday)


What to know: Irrespective of who’s at quarterback, the supporting offensive solid should be higher if the 49ers are going to finish this three-game dropping streak and get their season again on observe. Rookie quarterback Trey Lance (15-of-29 passing for 192 yards with 89 dashing yards) had his share of bumps throughout his first begin, specifically a nasty interception, a handful of tipped passes and holding the ball too lengthy. He additionally did some good issues, particularly on off-schedule performs during which he might create along with his legs. However Lance was the least of the Niners’ offensive considerations. The 49ers had not less than three drops from their receivers, they usually had been flagged for 5 offensive holding penalties (all within the second half). And whereas they had been aggressive, a few of the playcalling was puzzling, as they had been 1-of-5 on fourth down. San Francisco’s protection was as much as the duty towards Arizona, however the offense did not ship. — Nick Wagoner

Can the 49ers protection preserve this up? Issues did not begin effectively for the Niners’ protection, however to restrict Kyler Murray & Co. to 17 factors ought to be sufficient to tug off an upset for a staff with as a lot offensive expertise because the Niners have. Given the 49ers’ offensive struggles, it would require related efforts from the protection each week to proper the ship. The expertise is generally in place to do that each week, however that is a tall order given the staff’s cornerback points and first-year coordinator. — Wagoner

Wagoner’s confidence ranking (0-10): 5.8, no change from 5.8. There are not any ethical victories, however the Niners went toe-to-toe with the NFL’s lone undefeated staff, and lots of of their errors appear fixable, which leaves us holding regular this week.

Subsequent recreation: vs. Colts (8:20 p.m. ET, Sunday, Oct. 24)


What to know: They all the time say, do not give Mason Crosby 4 probabilities at a game-winning subject purpose. Truly, nobody’s ever stated that as a result of Crosby has by no means had 4 probabilities to win a recreation within the last minutes of regulation and time beyond regulation. Till Sunday. And the fourth time was the allure — good from 49 yards with 1:55 left in time beyond regulation. Crosby had probabilities to present the Packers the lead or win it three earlier instances within the last 2:12 of regulation plus OT. He missed a go-ahead 36-yard subject purpose try with 2:12 left in regulation. That ended a streak of 27 straight made subject targets within the common season, relationship again to Week 17 of 2019. He missed once more from 51 yards on the final play of regulation and once more from 40 on the Packers’ first possession of time beyond regulation. He had not missed a number of subject targets in a recreation for the reason that 2018 catastrophe in Detroit, when he missed 4 subject targets and an additional level. Crosby turned the primary kicker to overlook three subject targets within the fourth quarter and/or time beyond regulation for the reason that Giants’ Jay Feely in Week 12 of the 2005 season towards the Seahawks. — Rob Demovsky

What number of groups can win on the street with out three of their 5 offensive line starters — one an All-Professional and one other a Professional Bowler — and with out their two greatest defensive gamers? The Packers confirmed they’re deep sufficient to do it Sunday towards an upstart Bengals staff in Cincinnati. Or maybe it wasn’t depth, however relatively simply Aaron Rodgers (27-of-39, 344 yards, two TDs), Davante Adams (11 receptions for a career-high 206 yards and a TD) and Aaron Jones (14 rushes for 103 yards) doing what they usually do. Both manner, the Packers are actually 4-1. Elgton Jenkins (ankle) was a game-time scratch for the third week in a row. The Professional Bowl left guard had been filling in for All-Professional left sort out David Bakhtiari (who stays on the PUP record). Take away rookie middle Josh Myers, who missed his first recreation of the season due to a hand damage, and solely two common starters had been left up entrance. The day earlier than the sport, the Packers put All-Professional cornerback Jaire Alexander (shoulder) on injured reserve, the place he joined Professional Bowl pass-rusher Za’Darius Smith. — Demovsky

Demovsky’s confidence ranking (0-10): 7.5, no change from final week. It is nonetheless too early to inform precisely how good the Packers are or may be. A lot of that may depend upon the protection, and if that unit can work out a option to keep away from the big-play meltdowns (like Joe Burrow‘s 70-yard landing to Ja’Marr Chase late within the first half), the staff is likely to be on to one thing particular.

Subsequent recreation: at Bears (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)


What to know: The Cincinnati Bengals realized simply how troublesome making the playoffs shall be. Towards their hardest opponent up to now this season, the Bengals could not pull off the comeback in a 25-22 time beyond regulation loss to the Green Bay Packers. Cincinnati erased an eight-point deficit and was in place to attain the successful subject purpose. However rookie kicker Evan McPherson, who has hit two winners already this season, had his 57-yard try clank off the fitting upright. Finally, the Bengals wanted to be extra constant offensively and have a greater defensive exhibiting to win. And Sunday’s recreation would be the sort Cincinnati should win if it needs to finish a postseason drought that dates again to 2015. — Ben Child

Is Ja’Marr Chase changing into Cincinnati’s true No. 1 receiver? It is actually trying that manner. When the Bengals wanted an enormous play, Burrow turned to the rookie extensive receiver. Chase had six catches for a career-high 159 yards and a landing. Chase’s sturdy begin to the season continued when the Bengals wanted it most. — Child

Child’s confidence ranking (0-10): 6.5, down from 7. Cincinnati is taking part in too inconsistently to beat high quality groups and should enhance its consistency.

Subsequent recreation: at Lions (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)


What to know: The protection and particular groups might need saved the season. Cornerback Darius Slay had his greatest day in an Eagles uniform, intercepting Carolina quarterback Sam Darnold twice whereas shadowing the most effective receivers within the league, DJ Moore. T.J. Edwards‘ fourth-quarter punt block arrange quarterback Jalen Hurts‘ second dashing landing of the day, serving to the Eagles (2-3) to a win that retains them related in entrance of Thursday evening’s residence tilt towards Tom Brady and the Bucs. Philadelphia’s protection was underneath fireplace after yielding greater than 850 yards and 76 factors over the earlier two weeks towards the Cowboys and Chiefs, nevertheless it rebounded in an enormous manner. — Tim McManus

What’s with the Eagles’ unbalanced assault? Coach Nick Sirianni’s playcalling continues to be off-kilter. In a defensive battle that was tight a lot of the manner, he dialed up 37 passes to 21 runs — eight of which had been by Hurts. The operating backs acquired 13 carries complete. Their lack of utilization is a pattern that spans three weeks. Hurts is just not constant sufficient at this level of his profession to hold that a lot of the offensive weight. — McManus

McManus’ confidence ranking (0-10): 4.5, up from 3.7. There have been some encouraging indicators, significantly on protection, however with the Bucs and Raiders up subsequent, it is slightly early to get excited.

Subsequent recreation: vs. Buccaneers (8:20 p.m. ET, Thursday)


What to know: Quarterback Sam Darnold is just nearly as good as these round him. These round him had been unhealthy in Sunday’s loss, which made Darnold look unhealthy. He had three picks, as many as he had within the first 4 video games. Dropped passes additionally damage on a day when he was off beam solely 4 instances, however stress damage him worse. As in 18 pressures on 37 dropbacks (49%). The excellent news is operating again Christian McCaffrey seemingly shall be again subsequent week. — David Newton

What can the Panthers do to shore up the offensive line that is been horrible in move safety the previous two video games? Carolina tried to cowl the lack of left sort out Cam Erving (neck) by shifting proper sort out Taylor Moton to the left facet and beginning rookie Brady Christensen on the fitting. That group gave up stress on 43% of Darnold’s dropbacks within the first half, second solely to 50% towards Dallas final week. It continued within the second half, and Darnold’s completion share was 56.8%, considerably lower than his 67.8% for the season. The Panthers haven’t got many different choices. — Newton

Newton’s confidence ranking (0-10): 5.8, down from 6.2. Until the offensive line may be fastened, these struggles will proceed, however the protection will get higher after Week 7, when Professional Bowl nook Stephon Gilmore is eligible to play.

Subsequent recreation: vs. Vikings (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)


What to know: Let’s be sincere: A win over the Lions wasn’t going to affirm the Vikings as a superb soccer staff, however the way in which Minnesota allowed its NFC North rival to remain within the recreation right down to the ultimate minute was atrocious. It ought to by no means have taken a 54-yard subject purpose as time expired for the Vikings to beat Detroit, however that is what occurred. Minnesota’s offense has regarded horrible since discovering its manner round Arizona’s stout move rush and whipping a horrible Seattle protection. Because the Vikings’ offense developments downward, the protection confirmed indicators of enchancment by holding the Lions to 3-of-11 on third down and 288 complete web yards. However once more, it is the Lions. Take that progress with a grain of salt. — Courtney Cronin

What occurred to the Vikings’ offense? Minnesota’s method is commonly too conservative and predictable, however the playcalling towards Detroit was inexcusable and the explanation this recreation was so shut. Justin Jefferson had 104 yards receiving on 5 catches within the first half, but on the finish of the second quarter with 41 seconds remaining and two timeouts, the Vikings referred to as back-to-back runs as a substitute of taking a shot to Jefferson to not less than get themselves in subject purpose vary to increase their lead. One other instance of this rotten method occurred with 12:53 left within the fourth quarter, when the Vikings opted to run the ball on third-and-Three as a substitute of taking a shot down the sphere. — Cronin

Cronin’s confidence ranking (0-10): 5, down from 6. The Vikings aren’t making anybody believers after the way in which Week 5 performed out.

Subsequent recreation: at Panthers (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)



Greg Joseph drains a 54-yard subject purpose with no time left because the Vikings beat the Lions 19-17.


What to know: Turnovers proceed to hang-out the Lions, who dramatically dropped to 0-5 for the primary time since 2015. Fumbling has been an issue for quarterback Jared Goff, whose first-half fumble was his sixth this season, tops within the NFL. He has additionally misplaced 4 of these six fumbles. Then he threw an interception within the third quarter for his seventh turnover of the season. Since coming into the league in 2016, Goff now has 81 turnovers, third most of any participant over that span, in response to ESPN Stats & Data analysis. He helped the Lions mount one other late rally Sunday, however he might want to play cleaner video games going ahead. — Eric Woodyard

Ought to the Lions be involved with rookie Penei Sewell giving up two early sacks? Detroit needed to change its assault after offensive sort out Penei Sewell gave up two early sacks to Vikings defensive finish Everson Griffen on back-to-back performs within the first quarter, with the second leading to a Goff fumble. Sewell was initially listed as questionable to play after lacking two practices this week due to an ankle damage, however he was capable of swimsuit up. The rookie goes by the standard first-year rising pains, however the Lions aren’t going to surrender on him. Total, the Lions’ offensive line allowed Goff to be sacked 4 instances. — Woodyard

Woodyard’s confidence ranking (0-10): 3, down from 3.5. This recreation wasn’t all that encouraging, truthfully. Including to that, Detroit suffered yet one more damage to a key participant with extensive receiver Quintez Cephus (shoulder) being dominated out after the primary half.

Subsequent recreation: vs. Bengals (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)


What to know: Sunday’s efficiency is strictly what the Steelers envisioned after they drafted operating again Najee Harris within the first spherical. He had 100 dashing yards by early within the third quarter and completed with 122 yards on 23 carries, plus his second profession dashing landing. Practically a complete season had handed for the reason that Steelers final had a 100-yard rusher (James Conner had 101 yards towards the Cleveland Browns in Week 6 of 2020). Harris, although, handled cramps late within the fourth quarter and was on the sideline when the Steelers wanted to chew up clock clinging to a five-point lead. Exterior of some penalties, the offensive line regarded higher, and it paved the way in which for runs like Harris’ 20-yard achieve within the opening minutes of the second quarter. After the Steelers’ loss to the Green Bay Packers, QB Ben Roethlisberger stated he needed Harris to play like Jerome Bettis. Harris channeled that power Sunday, and the Steelers’ offense was significantly better for it. — Brooke Pryor

Did Roethlisberger repair the mechanics that led to his inconsistencies towards the Packers? If the outcomes are any indication, it actually regarded prefer it Sunday. Enjoying with a extra balanced offense, Roethlisberger tried simply 25 passes towards the Broncos — the fewest he has tried all season — and had completions that included two landing passes that traveled not less than 15 air yards. He had one within the first 4 video games of the season, in response to analysis by ESPN Stats & Data. Roethlisberger accomplished 15 of 25 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns — together with one on the opening drive that regarded an identical to the one he and Diontae Johnson had towards the Packers. Although improved, Roethlisberger wasn’t excellent. He was sacked as soon as — when proper sort out Chukwuma Okorafor let Malik Reed by — and Roethlisberger fumbled the ball as he was hit. He additionally had not less than two close to interceptions that had been both dropped or damaged up by Steelers gamers. However even when Roethlisberger nonetheless makes some errors, Sunday’s model of the quarterback can win video games, and that is a very powerful factor. — Pryor

Pryor’s confidence ranking (0-10): 4.9, up from 3. The Broncos’ document is inflated due to their simpler power of schedule, however the emergence of the Steelers’ run recreation and balanced offense infuses hope in a season that bought off to a really rocky begin.

Subsequent recreation: vs. Seahawks (8:20 p.m. ET, Sunday)


What to know: The narrative of the Broncos’ 3-Zero begin being attributed extra to the opposition’s mixed 1-11 document relatively than Denver’s playoff-type enchancment bought slightly louder with the Broncos’ second consecutive loss — this time to a Steelers staff that appeared to wrestle extra offensively than the Broncos did. However the Broncos’ offense, regardless of a late push from QB Teddy Bridgewater, has too usually been a jumbled, disjointed operation when video games are within the steadiness (they had been simply 1-of-10 on third down halfway by the fourth quarter Sunday). The unit hasn’t protected the quarterback effectively sufficient and it deserted the run recreation early in every of the previous two losses. That has cranked up opposing move rushes. And with the Raiders, Browns, Washington and Cowboys coming over the subsequent 4 video games, if the Broncos cannot defend the quarterback any higher, they’ll proceed to punt, kick subject targets and surprise why the quarterback retains taking so many hits as a substitute of scoring touchdowns. — Jeff Legwold

What’s up with the Broncos’ secondary? The Broncos spent massive within the offseason on the secondary and have had moments after they have been probably the most dominant unit within the league. However per week after surrendering a 300-yard passing day to Lamar Jackson, the Broncos allowed Ben Roethlisberger — who had averaged fewer than 6 yards an try in three of 4 video games — to constantly discover simply sufficient room to work on third downs and within the pink zone, beginning with a 50-yard landing move on a third-and-7 early within the recreation. Roethlisberger labored the check-down a lot of the day (he had 13 completions deep into the fourth quarter), however the Steelers had two move performs of not less than 50 yards within the first half after having one within the earlier 4 video games mixed. Pittsburgh focused Kyle Fuller when it wanted a play and others will observe swimsuit if Ronald Darby misses extra time. Darby hasn’t performed since injuring a hamstring within the opener, however he practiced this previous week, and his return will assist. However the rush-cover mixture has not labored over the previous two weeks, as two confirmed quarterbacks have constantly discovered the delicate spots. — Legwold

Legwold’s confidence ranking (0-10): 6, down from 6.5. The offense clearly misses WR Jerry Jeudy. Late heroics on Sunday apart, Denver’s incapability to constantly threaten the opponent’s facet of the 50, not to mention rating a landing or two earlier than they’re in desperation mode, has pulled the Broncos again to 3-2 after a 3-Zero begin. It should drag them down much more if they do not discover a resolution.

Subsequent recreation: vs. Raiders (4:25 p.m. ET, Sunday)


What to know: The Saints lastly opened up their passing offense after rating final within the NFL in move makes an attempt by 4 weeks. They usually bought the total Jameis Winston expertise consequently. He threw 4 landing passes, together with a career-long 72-yarder within the first quarter, a 49-yard Hail Mary earlier than halftime and a game-clinching 19-yarder to Alvin Kamara within the last 5 minutes. The Saints needed to overcome Winston’s interception on the opening drive, his misplaced fumble within the first quarter and only a 50% completion price (15 of 30 for 279 yards). However the massive performs made up for the miscues. — Mike Triplett

Will this offense lastly discover its identification after the Week 6 bye? This is likely to be a piece in progress all season as coach Sean Payton continues to develop belief in Winston and a depleted solid of pass-catchers. Nevertheless, the Saints’ offense ought to be rather more polished as soon as it will get prime extensive receivers Michael Thomas and Tre’Quan Smith, prime offensive linemen Terron Armstead and Erik McCoy and kicker Wil Lutz again from accidents. All are potentialities as quickly as Week 7. — Triplett

Triplett’s confidence ranking (0-10): 7, up from 6.8. Only a slight bump from final week since this recreation was nearer than the ultimate rating indicated. However 3-2 is a fairly good document for a Saints staff that wanted to remain afloat with eight projected starters lacking most of this season.

Subsequent recreation: at Seahawks (8:15 p.m. ET, Monday, Oct. 25)



Jameis Winston lets an extended move fly, and Marquez Callaway snags the ball for the landing seize to finish the primary half.


What to know: Washington’s protection has gone from underachieving to unhealthy. The again seven proceed to make protection errors — if security Landon Collins was certainly accountable on the 72-yard landing, it is curious why a protection would have a man who is nice within the field again deep. Regardless, it was blown. This occurs each week and each week they speak about being attentive to particulars. Teaching? Security Bobby McCain has missed too many tackles. No person was even near breaking apart a Hail Mary move on the finish of the half. With Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes up subsequent, it is solely going to worsen. If the identical errors preserve getting made, then teaching should be questioned. It is an all-around unhealthy job. — John Keim

What has quarterback Taylor Heinicke proven? That he isn’t the long-term resolution. He is a terrific story and teammates reply to him. He is able to wonderful moments. However his arm power, or lack thereof, was a problem on a number of throws Sunday and it is an issue for some tight-window passes. It did not assist having key gamers lacking with accidents. But when Heinicke would not throw with anticipation, it turns into a much bigger downside. He forces throws that good defenses (Buffalo, New Orleans) choose. He can get the job executed, however he is restricted. If he is a superb backup, that is OK and greater than anybody anticipated from him a yr in the past. Nevertheless it’s why Washington shall be out there for quarterback within the offseason. — Keim

Keim’s confidence ranking (0-10): 4, down from 5. Washington makes too many errors every week, whether or not it is protection or an enormous penalty, to beat anybody good, particularly with gamers akin to Logan Thomas and Curtis Samuel injured. It has not but taken the step the group, or its followers, hoped for coming into the season.

Subsequent recreation: vs. Chiefs (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)


What to know: This was by no means about fashion factors for the Patriots. They wanted a win badly, and whereas they performed poorly for lengthy stretches Sunday, they hung robust mentally to remain within the recreation and finally pulled it out. Can they play, and coach, so much higher? Completely. However coming away with a win to enhance to 2-Three trumps the whole lot … for now. — Mike Reiss

Did we simply watch Mac Jones develop up? The rookie quarterback confirmed he was as much as the stress second in serving to direct a game-winning fourth-quarter drive that started on the Patriots’ 13-yard line, chewed up seven minutes and arrange a 21-yard subject purpose with 15 seconds left. That was the primary time they held a lead within the recreation. A roughing the passer penalty on third-and-18 helped preserve the drive alive, however when Jones wanted to make the important throws, he got here by. His general poise to direct the offense in that scenario bodes effectively for the long run. — Reiss

Reiss’ confidence ranking (0-10): 3.5, down from 5.2. The Patriots are doing issues that the worst groups within the NFL usually do — dropping fumbles on the purpose line, protection busts on third-and-long and an absence of aggressive protection towards slant patterns on got-to-have-it fourth-down conditions. They deserve credit score for hanging robust mentally into the fourth quarter and making the performs when it counted, however they had been lucky they weren’t taking part in a greater staff.

Subsequent recreation: vs. Cowboys (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)


What to know: Rookie quarterback Davis Mills had by far his greatest recreation, however he hasn’t proven sufficient but to maintain the beginning job when Tyrod Taylor, who’s eligible to return from injured reserve in Week 6, is wholesome. Within the loss to the Patriots, Mills accomplished 21 of 29 passes for 313 yards and three touchdowns, becoming a member of Russell Wilson as the one quarterbacks to throw for 3 touchdowns towards the Patriots as a rookie within the Invoice Belichick period. However his second landing — a 67-yard move to Chris Moore — had a completion likelihood of 39.7%, the bottom mark of any Texans passing landing this season. His third landing was a flea-flicker. Mills actually has proven enchancment over his first two begins, however the offense couldn’t preserve the tempo up within the last quarter to carry on to the victory. — Sarah Barshop

Is Ka’imi Fairbairn the Texans’ kicker in Week 6? Fairbairn, who was on injured reserve for the primary three video games of the season and didn’t try a kick in Week 4, missed two additional factors and a 56-yard subject purpose within the loss. The Texans misplaced by three factors. It was the second time in Texans historical past that Houston missed two additional factors. Whereas Fairbairn was on IR, the Texans signed kicker Joey Slye, however Slye is not out there after signing with the 49ers earlier within the week. — Barshop

Barshop’s confidence ranking (0-10): 1.8, up from 1.5. For 3 quarters, the Texans regarded like that they had turned a nook after a 40-Zero loss to the Payments in Week 5. However they could not end it off, they usually now sit at 1-4, with their solely victory coming towards the 0-5 Jaguars.

Subsequent recreation: at Colts (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)


What to know: Titans offensive coordinator Todd Downing had maybe his greatest show of play design on Sunday. He put collectively a collection of performs with bunch formation and different instances stacked extensive receivers on the line. Downing additionally used layered route mixtures to simply get varied extensive receivers open, particularly on third downs. The Titans transformed on just below half of their third-down alternatives towards Jacksonville. Downing additionally did a superb job attacking reserve CB Chris Claybrooks. Downing dug deep into the playbook, even using some Wildcat. The Titans nonetheless managed to get Derrick Henry 29 carries to the tune of 130 yards and three touchdowns. — Turron Davenport

What is going on on with the run protection? At instances, the Jaguars gashed the Titans’ protection with the dashing assault. James Robinson broke off a 58-yard run when Rashaan Evans was caught within the mistaken hole and created a crease. The Titans’ protection was suffering from missed tackles as effectively. Robinson completed with 18 carries for 149 yards and a landing. The Titans will catch a break subsequent week after they face the Payments, who do not run the soccer as effectively. The run protection nonetheless leaves room for concern. — Davenport

Davenport’s confidence ranking (0-10): 6.5, up from 5.5. The Titans gained a recreation they need to have however did not put the sport away early. Kevin Byard‘s landing return of an Elijah Molden pressured fumble opened up the scoring, however the protection returned to the sphere and allowed the Jaguars to reply by driving down the sphere for a landing. There have been alternatives to finish the sport early, however the Titans allowed Jacksonville to stay round. The protection allowed a 58-yard completion from Trevor Lawrence to Laviska Shenault Jr., making it the sixth time they’ve given up a move play of 40 yards or extra. The great factor is, Downing had the offense going within the passing recreation and on the bottom.

Subsequent recreation: vs. Payments (8:15 p.m. ET, Monday, Oct. 18)



Derrick Henry scores three touchdowns to assist the Titans defeat the Jaguars.


What to know: The Jaguars now stand alone in second place in NFL historical past with 20 consecutive losses. They’re solely six losses shy of tying the 1976-77 Buccaneers’ document of 26 losses in a row. The Jaguars play the Dolphins in London subsequent Sunday earlier than a bye week after which have a visit to Seattle, so there’s a actual probability the staff can come near tying the document. — Mike DiRocco

What do the Jaguars do at kicker? Matthew Wright got here up quick on a 53-yard subject purpose try (after arising quick and proper on a 50-yarder in pregame) and likewise bounced a PAT off the fitting upright. The Jaguars are 0-for-Four on subject purpose makes an attempt this season, and with Josh Lambo struggling and Wright not dependable, the Jaguars have to convey a number of different choices in — and shortly, as a result of they go away for London on Thursday. — DiRocco

DiRocco’s confidence ranking (0-10): 2.5, down from 3. That is partly due to the kicker scenario and accidents to some key gamers (C Brandon Linder and LBs Myles Jack and Dakota Allen) but in addition as a result of the protection simply cannot drive turnovers or get sufficient stops in key conditions.

Subsequent recreation: vs. Dolphins (9:30 a.m. ET, Sunday)


What to know: The Bucs regained their scoring firepower after changing simply as soon as in 4 journeys to the pink zone final week on the street towards New England. Receivers Antonio Brown and Mike Evans every had two touchdowns and topped 100 yards, operating again Giovani Bernard caught a first-quarter TD move, and operating again Leonard Fournette added a sixth TD on the bottom. However accidents proceed to mount, with inside linebacker Lavonte David leaving the sport within the second quarter with an ankle damage. A supply informed ESPN that X-rays revealed no fractures. As for the remainder of the protection — it bought to Dolphins quarterback Jacoby Brissett however struggled to convey him down, permitting a Dolphins staff averaging simply 13.Eight factors per recreation and taking part in with a backup quarterback to attain 17 earlier than clamping down within the fourth quarter. — Jenna Laine

Can the Bucs survive this rash of accidents to their move protection? As if lacking three beginning defensive backs wasn’t sufficient of a problem, the Bucs misplaced David, their greatest linebacker in protection, to an ankle damage. If there is a silver lining to this taking place now versus afterward within the season, it is that the Bucs’ subsequent three opponents — the Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints — are all within the backside half of the league in scoring. The unhealthy information is that the Bears and Saints additionally boast top-10 defenses and the Bucs face the Saints on the street. However this affords Tampa Bay a while to get cornerback Richard Sherman extra snug within the Bucs’ scheme and security Antoine Winfield Jr. healed up from his concussion. The massive query shall be David’s standing. — Laine

Laine’s confidence ranking (0-10): 7.5, up from 6. They improved to 4-1 regardless of lacking three beginning defensive backs, however they let the Dolphins, one other 1-Three squad (though the Patriots had been a distinct caliber staff), cling round manner too lengthy.

Subsequent recreation: at Eagles (8:20 p.m. ET, Thursday)


What to know: Cease the presses — the Dolphins confirmed life on offense! And earlier than the fourth quarter this time! In all seriousness, Miami was aggressive from the beginning, scoring on every of its first two possessions as Brissett accomplished eight of his first 10 passes for 119 yards and a landing to operating again Myles Gaskin. And talking of Gaskin, after being relegated to an afterthought the previous two weeks, he was the point of interest of the Dolphins’ recreation plan with receiver DeVante Parker out, catching all 10 of his targets for 74 yards and two scores. Brissett powered by an early hamstring damage and appeared to be extra in sync along with his receivers. It will not look good on paper contemplating the 45-17 last rating, however the Dolphins’ offense was noticeably higher than it had been over the previous few weeks. Their protection, then again, was torn aside by a virtually flawless Tom Brady, permitting 558 complete yards and 45 factors. — Marcel Louis-Jacques

How shortly can Tua Tagovailoa proper the ship? The second-year QB reportedly will make his return in Week 6 after a three-game absence with fractured ribs. It is likely to be unreasonable to ask him to single-handedly resuscitate the Dolphins’ season after they misplaced all three video games with out him, however he confirmed indicators of enchancment as a downfield passer through the preseason and the season-opening win at New England. He can have back-to-back alternatives to shine with video games towards the Jaguars (0-5) and Falcons (2-3) up subsequent. — Louis-Jacques

Louis-Jacques’ confidence ranking (0-10): 4, up from 3. Miami’s offense regarded higher regardless of the ultimate rating, however this protection was torn to shreds. It is simple to chalk it up as an outlier towards the most effective offenses within the NFL, however this efficiency was worse than anticipated.

Subsequent recreation: vs. Jaguars (9:30 a.m. ET, Sunday)


What to know: Down their prime two extensive receivers and prime two slot corners, the Atlanta Falcons regarded doubtlessly outmanned and bereft of playmakers. As an alternative, the franchise put collectively its greatest recreation of the season. Behind one other 300-yard day from Matt Ryan (342 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions), the Falcons discovered a groove utilizing tight finish Kyle Pitts (9 catches, 119 yards, one TD) and receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (114 offensive yards) as their most important playmakers. Even with out Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage, that is the kind of offense coach Arthur Smith needed: versatile, troublesome to defend, unpredictable in the place they’ll line up and what they’ll do on a selected play. Sunday towards the Jets, they confirmed precisely what the Falcons’ offense might appear like. And the protection took one other step, registering its first interception of the season and holding the Jets underneath 200 yards coming into the ultimate drive. — Michael Rothstein

Is Pitts’ breakout recreation sustainable? It might be, as a result of Pitts had been constructing as much as one thing like this. As soon as Ridley was out, Pitts turned the plain point of interest of the offense. He thrived within the function in each side. His 10 targets spanned from quick to deep routes and he was efficient in every spot, from a 2-yard landing catch during which he simply beat the defender to the nook to a 39-yard downfield submit route during which he made the seize in entrance of two defenders. There nonetheless is likely to be some tough days forward for Pitts — that is life for rookie tight ends — however Sunday confirmed what he might evolve into as a participant. — Rothstein

Rothstein’s confidence ranking (0-10): 5, up from 4.7. Sure, the Falcons beat the lowly Jets, however to take action, as injured as Atlanta was, confirmed yet one more signal of progress for a staff figuring itself out.

Subsequent recreation: at Dolphins (1 p.m. ET, Sunday, Oct. 24)



The Falcons take a 27-17 lead as Mike Davis pushes forward and forces his option to a landing.


What to know: Zach Wilson went from NFL Rookie of the Week candidate to Typical Rookie Quarterback in a span of seven days. He by no means discovered a rhythm within the loss to the Falcons, offering no spark for an offense that has managed solely 13 first-half factors in 5 video games. Wilson completed with 192 yards and an interception, however he had 65 yards with 9:30 left within the recreation. The Falcons saved him within the pocket, negating his very best quality — his skill to make off-script performs. To be a successful quarterback, Wilson should be taught to play in a cellphone sales space. One other concern: He missed too many gimme throws. This was a step again for the gifted however nonetheless uncooked quarterback. — Wealthy Cimini

What occurred to their ascending protection? The Jets had been schooled by Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and coach Arthur Smith, each of whom had been one step forward of the protection and the Jets’ coaches. They’d no solutions for tight finish Kyle Pitts (9 catches for 119 yards, one TD) and their third-down protection was horrible (9-for-14). What occurred? The protection regarded gassed after 92 performs final week and a cross-Atlantic journey. The move rush, which generated seven sacks final week, was invisible. — Cimini

Cimini’s confidence ranking (0-10): 3, down from 4. The Jets’ offense stunk towards the 32nd-ranked scoring protection — an enormous step backward.

Subsequent recreation: at Patriots (1 p.m. ET, Sunday, Oct. 24)


What to know: Just like a Week 2 win at Indianapolis, Thursday evening wasn’t fairly, however the Rams discovered a option to grind out a victory on the street inside a hostile surroundings at Lumen Area. Quarterback Matthew Stafford overcame an uneven begin — and an damage to his proper index finger — to guide 4 second-half scoring drives to present the Rams the win as they improved to 4-1 and rebounded from a disappointing division loss to the Cardinals solely 4 days earlier. The win retains them firmly in second within the NFC West race and sends them right into a weekend off with an opportunity to recharge earlier than an extended Week 6 journey to New York to play the Giants. — Lindsey Thiry

What has prompted consecutive gradual begins on offense? Stafford was 13-of-19 for 131 yards with an interception within the first half. He overthrew receivers and was intercepted on a move that he supposed to throw away out of the again of the top zone. Nevertheless, within the second half, Stafford discovered extensive receiver DeSean Jackson for a 68-yard reception that arrange a landing and completed 25-of-37 for 365 yards and a landing, along with his passer ranking enhancing from 65.9 to 97.2. — Thiry

Thiry’s confidence ranking (0-10): 8, no change from final week. The Rams gained on the street towards a division rival and in a difficult ambiance, however the confidence ranking stays regular due to inconsistencies in all three phases: offense, protection and particular groups.

Subsequent recreation: at Giants (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)


What to know: The Seahawks are bracing for the likelihood that quarterback Russell Wilson will miss not less than a month and as much as eight weeks, in response to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, after having surgical procedure on the center finger of his proper hand. He injured the finger through the loss to the Rams. With Wilson sidelined for the primary time in his profession, Seattle should depend on backup Geno Smith to maintain their playoff hopes alive whereas Wilson recovers. However the Seahawks can neglect in regards to the postseason except they’ll repair a protection that is as soon as once more giving up yards at a historic price. The turnaround final yr began with their move rush coming alive. They’ve simply as a lot pass-rushing firepower now, which is one cause to suppose they’ll pull out of their terrible begin. — Brady Henderson

What’s up with Jamal Adams? Adams has but to document a sack in 5 video games and is not having the kind of influence you’d count on of a man who simply bought a $70 million extension. It isn’t all his fault. Per ESPN Stats & Data analysis, Adams has rushed the passer 17 instances after averaging 8.25 per recreation final season. Coach Pete Carroll says that is a perform of the fashion of offenses they’ve confronted. Both manner, Adams would not assist the Seahawks as a lot in protection as he does as a blitzer, particularly with their move rush needing a spark. — Henderson

Henderson’s confidence ranking (0-10): 6.2, down from 7.3. Being with out Wilson is a serious concern, however Smith is an effective sufficient backup to present the Seahawks an actual probability to beat a broken-down Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger subsequent week.

Subsequent recreation: at Steelers (8:20 p.m. ET, Sunday)

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