5 Lessons Learned – NFL Week 6

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Six weeks into the 2021 NFL season and Week 6 delivered on the drama again.

We saw the continuation of the trend of late game drama with several games going right down to the final play.

Some teams might already be thinking about the 2022 offseason as their slow starts continued while others were able to scrap to keep their playoff hopes alive.

We’re breaking down all of the action below!

1 – Away Day Joy

You would have thought that with crowds returning to stadiums, the adage “there’s no place like home” would have rung true in 2021.

That has not been the case with road teams proving to be a profitable play through six weeks.

Week 1 saw away teams go 10-6 at the line, followed by 11-5 in Week 2 but things began to level out in the last three weeks with visitors going 8-8, 9-7 and 8-8 to Week 5.

Perhaps we should have seen road teams dominating Week 6 coming with nine visitors installed as favourites in the Ladbrokes markets and just five home teams tipped to win.

It has been a bloodbath with just five home teams covering giving the hosts an overall record of 34-55 against the spread.

Cleveland will have a chance to get one back for the home teams when they take on Denver, but with injuries starting to mount, the Browns could be in for a tough night.

2 – Philadelphia Is In Purgatory

Philadelphia was far from disgraced when they played the Buccaneers in the opening game of Week 6, but they were outclassed by a more talented team.

Jalen Hurts has been impressive in spurts as he adjusts to life as a starter and the supporting cast can cause headaches as well.

Down 28-7, late in the third quarter, he kick started the Eagles rally that came close but ultimately fell short with this run.

Special thanks to the person who stuck their hand up and almost ruined the camera shot.

Philadelphia piled on two more touchdowns to reduce the deficit to six but could not get the ball back for one final possession as Tom Brady did his thing.

Unfortunately for the Eagles, they have all the makings of a middle of the road team that is good enough to be in contention into December, and never bad enough to trigger a full on rebuild.

They have at least five more games on their schedule that should be winnable, which will put them at a 7-10 record and should they manage an upset or two, they will be the definition of a middle of the road team.

It’s a tough spot to be in but this is a roster that is in need of a talent upgrade at several positions.

Something they may consider addressing with the trade deadline looming perhaps?

3 – Miami’s Rebuild Has Not Worked

One team that went for the full blown tank (and still almost messed that up) is the Miami Dolphins, but based on the season and a bit of evidence, it really has not worked.

Tua Tagovailoa returned from a stint on injured reserve and despite throwing for 329 yards, he just does not seem to be up to being an NFL quarterback.

The fact he’s getting swapped out for Jacoby Brissett on certain plays does not suggest the coaching staff are overly confident in his ability.

Miami travelled to London and were favoured over the previously winless Jacksonville Jaguars, but they gave up two late field goal drives to fall 23-20.

It was a wake up call for the Dolphins who were hoping to build on their 10-6 campaign from 2020 but they seem destined instead for another season in the scrap heap at 1-5.

Week 7 sees them fly back across the Atlantic to take on the Falcons, who have had a bye after their own trip to London.

4 – Chicago Will Be Relieved

Not that they lost another game to Green Bay, but it will probably be the last time Rodgers comes to town as the Packers starting quarterback.

Very few quarterbacks have tormented a division rival in the same way that he has the Bears.

Heading into this weekend, he had won 20 of his 25 regular season starts (plus an NFC Championship game) against the Bears throwing for 55 touchdowns against just 10 interceptions.

While he was not as statistically dominant as he has been in the past, his line of 17/23 for 195 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions was efficient and he avoided the struggles of his counterpart Justin Fields

Rodgers also had plenty to say to the hostile Chicago crowd after his fourth quarter rushing touchdown.

It was a perfectly timed run and gave the Packers insurance with just under five minutes to play.

Now both sides will just hope that Rodgers does not pull a Brett Favre and go to the Minnesota Vikings.

Things won’t get any easier for the Bears going forward with a visit to Tampa Bay next on the schedule.

5 – Dallas Will Stop Itself From Winning The Super Bowl

One of the games of the season played out in New England with the Cowboys picking up their first win over the Patriots since 1996 in a 35-29 overtime thriller.

It was the Cowboys fifth straight win and their sixth cover of the season, and they have proven to be a punter’s friend thus far.

They produced plenty of highlights in this win, including this massive hit by Randy Gregory to end a New England possession.

Not to mention this game winning throw from Dak Prescott to CeeDee Lamb.

Three years ago. defeating the Patriots at Gillette Stadium would have warranted a parade down the main street in Dallas.

But now, being in a dogfight with the shell of what New England used to be because of your own mistakes is a big concern.

Dallas had 12 accepted penalties (and at least three more that were declined), losing 115 yards in total.

Discipline aside, Dallas also had a pair of very costly turnovers as they were in the red zone trying to punch the ball in.

Prescott threw this interception that cost them at least a field goal and given how they were moving the ball, probably a touchdown.

Later in the second quarter Prescott tried to leap over the pile for a touchdown and had the ball punched out of his hands before he could break the plane.

Then there is the world famous clock mismanagement of Mike McCarthy which has already come to the fore this season.

On the plus side they have the talent to overcome a lot of these issues in the regular season, but in the pressure cooker of the playoffs, can you really feel good about their ability to avoid mistakes against really good teams and win four consecutive games to take out the Super Bowl?