Another eventful weekend in the National Football League has just wrapped up and fans were treated to plenty of drama across the board.
Monday’s marathon day of games brought plenty of highlights, a few upsets and a whole lot of talking points over the 15 hours of play.
We’ve gone through the box scores, game tape and storylines to come up with our top five takeaways from the 16 games right here!
1 – It’s Time To Start Crossing Off Teams
Under the previous 16-game schedule, you could start to write off certain contending teams after four games but with the extra week you had to hold fire… until now.
We’re not talking about crossing off the perennial under-achievers like the Jets whose playoff hopes ended in Week 2 of the preseason, moreso the teams who had some potential to make some noise.
Seattle was one of those teams that could have gone either way this season and after this play it seems like their 2021 season is over and done with.
Russell Wilson is going to miss at least a month per reports and with Seattle stuck at 2-3, they may be too far gone by the time he is cleared to play.
The good news (for some) is that Wilson will have more time for super inspirational posts on his social media like this one.
Wilson can do his best to get Geno Smith ready in his absence along with the Seahawks coaching staff but you cannot forget just how heavily they relied on Wilson pulling something out of his backside to keep Seattle in games.
Geno Smith is not capable of doing that.
2 – London Games Work As A Novelty
After a long absence the NFL returned to London with the first of two games at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
While the Falcons and Jets are not the biggest drawcards, they produced an entertaining game that went down to the wire.
Kyle Pitts stole the show with a huge performance to get the Falcons over the line.
As the NFL seeks to expand its reach in Europe the talk of a game in Germany is starting to heat up and by all accounts, it’s going to be a big hit.
There is always the risk of the NFL overreaching and doing something stupid like playing a Super Bowl in Europe but if they keep these overseas games as a novelty that pops up a few times per season, it will continue to be a big hit.
Especially when you can sell out 60000 seat stadiums every time.
They are back for more next week with the Jaguars and Dolphins taking their Floridian rivalry to north London.
3 – Detroit Really Is Cursed
At some point it stopped being funny.
How many heartbreaking defeats can one team suffer in the space of five weeks.
Detroit added another one to its tally this week, taking the lead over Minnesota with 37 seconds to play… only to lose on a long range field goal
That was the second time this season the Lions thought they had the job done only to lose on a kicker coming through in the clutch.
You almost have to feel sorry for Dan Campbell.
At 0-5 the Lions are really testing their fan base and with the Bengals up next, it’s all setting up for another kick in the gut.
4 – Kickers Matter
On a very rough weekend for kickers, we’ll open this point up with a quote from Andrew Brandt, former NFL Executive.
Green Bay could have won their game against the Bengals in regulation but Mason Crosby’s radar was off.
Then the Bengals thought they had won it when their kick hit the flag… on the wrong side of the upright.
Which gave Crosby a chance to steal it.
It was not just in Cincinnati where the guys with the boot were pivotal to the outcome.
The kickers in Houston struggled early but Nick Folk held his nerve when it mattered.
While they may be the subject of a lot of jokes, they have a very straightforward way to be the most popular guy in the locker room.
5 – Kansas City Has Lost The Benefit Of The Doubt
Let’s not overreact and call the Chiefs washed up and finished as an elite team.
But something is not right on their roster at the moment, that much was evident as the Bills came to town and stamped themselves as the big dogs in the AFC.
Their defence struggling to contain Josh Allen was not too much of a surprise but how easily the Bills were able to move the ball is a major worry going forward.
No receiver should get that wide open.
But what was most alarming were the struggles of Patrick Mahomes.
There was this interception that admittedly wasn’t entirely his fault but it did showcase some of the issues that are popping up in the one time unstoppable steamtrain.
Mahomes was caught off guard by the Bills front and threw another ugly interception to Gregory Rousseau.
Perhaps there is an injury that is yet to be disclosed, or maybe teams are finally starting to figure them out, but the Chiefs are no longer the automatic “back them at all costs” team.
They are still more likely to run the table and finish 14-3 than miss the playoffs, but will need a bit more thought week in, week out while the line is still treating them like their former selves.