Week 6 of the NFL season brought us plenty of stories, stats and stunning upsets to follow as the early season offensive explosion began to slow down.
The Steelers and Titans set up a tantalising Week 7 clash by extending their perfect starts while the Packers were stunned in Tampa.
San Francisco looked like a completely different team stunning the Rams and the Cowboys lost a whole lot of leverage in their contract negotiations with Dak Prescott.
Read on to see our five biggest takeaways from the weekend that was in the NFL.
1 – Brutal Backdoor Covers Help Underdogs Win the Week
Just when you thought you had the NFL all figured out in 2020, Week 6 comes along and turns it all on its head.
It was a rough weekend for backing the favourites with their worst performance of the season against the spread.
Across the 14 games, the favourites won 10 of the 14 games but only managed to cover on five occasions thanks to a few upsets and a pair of brutal backdoor covers.
Both Washington (+3.5) and Philadelphia (+7.5) went down in their games but covered their lines with very late touchdowns.
Indianapolis (-8) also had a chance for at least a push or possibly even a cover of their own before their clock killing drive stalled and forced them to settle for a field goal.
You have to give Washington some credit for bringing out Riverboat Ron, eschewing an almost certain overtime and going for the win with a two-point conversion that eventually failed.
2 – Bad Teams Make the Most of Good Spots
There’s the old saying that “you can’t lose them all, no matter how hard you try” and for a pair of teams that was true this week for a pair of usually automatic “back against at all cost” sides.
The Giants ended their winless start to the season thanks to a favourable spot, hosting a Washington side who has endured a similarly rough beginning to their 2020 campaign.
Atlanta capitalised on their “just fired the old coach” bounce and a healthy Julio Jones to get up over the Minnesota Vikings in fairly convincing fashion.
Of course some teams (the Jets), just can’t be helped and should continue to be backed against at all costs.
But for the struggling sides that have shown some fight, you can still back against them most weeks as a fairly safe play but when they take on a subpar opponent they might be worth a second look.
3 – Derrick Henry is Ridiculous
After being held out of the end zone in his first two games of the season, Titans running back/behemoth/man mountain Derrick Henry is picking up steam as he tries to defend his rushing title.
For the third straight game he scored a pair of touchdowns, including the game winner, which explains why his price in the anytime touchdown scorer market continues to plummet every week.
That’s on top of gaining 212 yards on the ground and another 52 as a receiver in the Titans shootout win over Houston this week.
94 of those rushing yards came on one play, the longest rush of any player since… Derrick Henry’s 99-yard bulldozing run in 2018.
It’s 2020 and the workhorse, downhill, power back might be going the way of the fullback, run stuffing linebacker and the pocket passing statue of a quarterback, but Henry’s success finding the end zone will probably tie into the Titans overall success this season.
This coming week presents the biggest test of the season for Henry and the Titans when they take on possibly the best defence in the NFL in the Pittsburgh Steelers.
It won’t come through every week but there are worse safety bets to have than Henry to score, get at least 80 yards rushing and the Titans to win.
4 – Packers Come Crashing Back to Earth
Green Bay was one of the form teams in the opening quarter of the NFL season, storming out to a 4-0 record and seeing their Super Bowl odds go from $21 to $10 heading into their blockbuster showdown with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
It looked like we were in for another Aaron Rodgers performance, dissecting the Buccaneers and taking an early 10-0 lead in the first quarter, then it was all downhill from there.
There’s no better example of just how quickly a game can turn on its head than with this pick-six early in the second quarter from Rodgers.
After passing their first test of the season picking up a big win in New Orleans in Week 3, you can only call this a failure.
If you are not the type to overreact to a single bad performance, there’s every reason to expect them to bounce back next week and Houston, as well as expect the Super Bowl odds to move back out a little bit.
5 – The Scoring Correction has Come
Over the first four weeks of the season all that we heard about was how scoring was up and there would be nothing but points for the rest of the season.
Weeks 5 and 6 have seen the scores start to trend downwards and unders really taking over.
In the last two weeks, the average total points market has been 50.5 points per game and in Week 5, only six games went over with eight unders.
This week saw the lowest average score of the season with just 47.35 points per game over the 14 contests.
Just four games went over their total points number as even the usually safe teams failed to deliver for punters.
Take Dallas for example, offensive struggles were somewhat inevitable with change in quarterback, but the total (55.5) still anticipated plenty of points.
Their defence continued to struggle, giving up over 30 points for the fifth straight week but with Andy Dalton running the show, their offence didn’t do enough to keep the game competitive.
Of course, it didn’t help that Las Vegas and Seattle (both teams with four overs from four games) were on a bye, but the Buffalo Bills had their first under of the season against the usually high flying Chiefs.
As the weather begins to turn in the USA, especially in the northern states expect a few more games to be a bit lower scoring as teams face are handed another element to deal with.
One game that should still feature plenty of points next weekend is the Raiders-Buccaneers game in Las Vegas.
Both games in the new Allegiant Stadium have gone over their total points number and the Buccaneers might just be getting it all together.
Plus there’s the whole Jon Gruden gets traded to Tampa in 2002, wins the Super Bowl against the Raiders and now faces his former team thing, plus the Raiders history against Tom Brady.