Don’t be too quick to declare a youth movement in the NFL, the
established big guns aren’t going anywhere.
Sure it’s great seeing guys like Patrick Mahomes, Jimmy Garropolo and
Lamar Jackson running wild but they still have to find a way past teams like
the Patriots and Seahawks.
It was a big weekend of action across the league and our 5 Lessons
Learned are back to look at some of the big storylines from the weekend that
1 – No Need to Panic Pats Fans
Whatever is a step above a first world problem is what is going on with
New England right now.
Yes, they’ve had moments where they haven’t looked great but it takes a
special kind of fan to be upset with a 21 point victory, like they put up
against the Giants.
Not only are the defending champions 6-0, they’re also 4-2 against the
spread, dealing with some pretty heavy lines.
Through six games, the spreads in their games have been: 5.5, 19, 22.5,
6.5, 15 & 16.5 for a total of 85 points and their overall points difference
is +142, so they’re beating the teams they’re expected to beat by some
Yes there are some reasons to be a bit concerned when they face some
better teams, especially if the only healthy receivers are Jakobi Meyers and Gunner
Olszewski going forward and Marshall Newhouse is protecting Brady’s blindside.
They might even be in for a decent test with Sam Darnold back under
centre for the Jets this coming weekend it only gets a lot more interesting
from there with the Browns and Ravens coming up before the bye.
2 – The Chief Concern?
That’s not a misprint, the Chiefs really did lose two in a row for the
first time since December.
Of course it’s one thing to lose back to back games to the playoff bound
Chargers and Seahawks but they really should have found a way to beat at least
one of the Colts and Texans.
The question here is what is the major cause for concern, is it Patrick
Mahomes or the defence?
Mahomes definitely isn’t 100% and with limited mobility he isn’t quite
the dynamic video game character we’re used to, but it’s still good enough.
Add in the fact that pretty much every quarterback’s post-breakout
season sees some sort of correction as coordinators get used to their
respective strengths and weaknesses.
What is the main cause for concern though is a defence that was supposed
to be improved, really is not any better than the one that got shredded last
Instead of asking Mahomes to be Superman every week, if this side wants
to go anywhere in January, they need to get that defence sorted out one way or
On the plus side, it does mean that backing the over in Chiefs games
continues to be a decent option.
3 – Russel Wilson’s Middle Name is
Wilson might not be the best quarterback from a statistical perspective
but he is having the best season by a country mile and should be the leading
contender for MVP this season.
After bringing Seattle back from a 20-6 deficit in Cleveland today (with
a bit of help from his ground game, defence and… let’s be honest, the Browns
themselves), we got to see exactly why he is so vital to what the Seahawks do
with the ball.
He’s not running as much as he used to, but he is passing better than
before, even with some receivers who are at best still establishing themselves
in the league.
In fact, he is off to one of the best starts in NFL history, with 17
touchdowns and no interceptions and topping 100 for his quarterback rating in
every game this season, the only other two guys to have done that are Tom Brady
in 2007 and Aaron Rodgers in 2011, both won MVP that season.
When he is running things, Seattle is not out of any game and if you
want a good futures bet to hop on, check out Wilson for MVP.
If he keeps up this pace he’ll be hard to ignore.
4 – Titan… Up?
It’s been speculated on for a while now, and if you had Week 6 as “when
Ryan Tannehill replaces Marcus Mariota as the Titans QB” you’d have picked up a
Of course, it’s still up for debate whether or not the former Top 10
Pick of the Dolphins is a tangible upgrade over Mariota.
Based on the brief evidence put forward in Denver, he’s really not.
Don’t expect the Titans to suddenly turn into the 1999 Rams here,
Tannehill has a lot of the same issues as Mariota.
For what it’s worth, that beatdown of Cleveland in Week 1 is looking
less and less impressive for both teams the longer this season goes on.
5 – Phillip Rivers Might Be Next
Nobody can question the toughness of Phillip Rivers, the guy played in
an AFC Championship with a torn ACL and played pretty well.
He’s one of the true ironmen of the league, playing through plenty of
hits but it sure looks like they are starting to take their toll on him so far
His struggles to stay off the ground have coincided with the Chargers
struggles leading into their bye.
It was never more obvious on the primetime stage, at home (nominally
anyway) against a Steelers defence that has been ok, but hardly the Steel
Curtain of the 70’s.
The Chargers have a long way to go and it may be worth backing against
them post bye week, especially if these hits lead to Rivers joining the likes
of Newton, Roethlisberger and Brees on the sideline, even just temporarily.