The New England Patriots are 5-1, and just knocked off undefeated New Orleans, so you can’t exactly say they’re struggling, but their numbers belie analysis. Their offense is still top 10 ranked, but not in scoring. They’re bottom third when you go by points.
Conversely, their defense is a top 10 scoring unit, but not if you go by yards allowed. Then they’re bottom third.
How the heck is this team 5-1?
Perennial MVP candidate QB Tom Brady is also having that same kind of difficult year. He’s middle of the pack in passing yards, and a woeful 23rd in the NFL in passer rating, just .1 ahead of the Bills’ EJ Manuel.
Despite all the skewed stats, New England keeps winning, sits in first place in the AFC East and remains one of the toughest teams in the league to beat. Old habits die hard.
NFL Random Thoughts from Week 6
No matter what team you’re a fan of, your thoughts and prayers should be with Vikings RB Adrian Peterson, whose son passed away on Friday. Despite the loss, Peterson took the field with his team on Sunday so as not to let his teammates down.
This Week’s Sucked And Won: Le’Veon Bell, RB (PIT). The Steelers’ search for a running game continues. Bell gained 34 yards on 16 carries Sunday, an average of just 2.1 yards per carry. Not that any other of the Pittsburgh running backs were much better: the only decent ball carrier was QB Ben Roethlisberger, who at least managed 5.5 yards per carry on two attempts.
Conventional wisdom says that of the two remaining undefeated teams, Denver is far better than Kansas City. Yeah, probably, but don’t tell that to the Chiefs’ defense. This unit is playing out of their minds. They recorded 10 sacks on Sunday, forced three turnovers and even scored a touchdown.
Shocking realization of the week: The Houston Texans have given up a pick-six in every game this season.
If you want to know if Chip Kelly’s Oregon-style offense is working in the NFL, try asking his skill players. LeSean McCoy leads the NFL in rushing by 100 yards. DeSean Jackson is second in the NFL receiving and just put together a great day against premiere CB Darrelle Revis, burning him for two touchdowns.
This Week’s Great But Lost: Joe Flacco, QB (BAL). I don’t know how the Ravens only managed 17 points this week, because Flacco was 20 for 34 for 342 yards, 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. He put up a passer rating nearly 30 points higher than the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers, yet Baltimore still lost to Green Bay.
So how ironic is this: Tony Romo posted his lowest yardage total and lowest passer rating of the season on Sunday, yet his team won easily over the Redskins. As Romo goes, so don’t go the Cowboys apparently.
Thursday Pick: Seattle (-7) @Arizona (5Dimes)
Bleh – ask someone else. I have developed pattern of reacting one week late to teams and situations, so I’m going to buck that trend here. The Cardinals burned me failing to cover a big spread against San Francisco. But I’m sticking with them here. Seattle on the road is not a blowout machine, and the Cardinals really do have a good defense, despite giving up points galore last week. I like Arizona to stay within a touchdown at home.
Seattle Seahawks 24 Arizona Cardinals 19
“He was great. He saved us a safety, was being mobile in the pocket, shedding defenders like he always does. He was being Ben.” – Steelers WR Antonio Brown, on QB Ben Roethlisberger.
“What more can you ask out of your leader? He put the team on his back and went out there and made the plays we needed to make?” – Patriots RB Stevan Ridley, on QB Tom Brady. Is it just me, or do you immediately flash to that YouTube video of the guy narrating his Madden replay anytime you hear the phrase “He put the team on his back”?
“Yeah, on the hit, it’s part of the rules. We try to play within the rules of football. That’s on Roger Goodell. He want us to hit low, we’ll hit low, and guys will keep getting injured.” – Ravens S James Ihedigbo, on a low but legal hit on Packers WR Randall Cobb that drew complaints from Aaron Rodgers.
“There is resistance out there. It’s called the other team. At the end of the day, we’re very very very pleased with the victory.” – Broncos coach John Fox, who appeared to be very very very exasperated with questions about what was “wrong” with his team after a 16 point win.
“They said the X-rays looked good so I guess that’s a positive, not a negative.” – Bills QB Thad Lewis, looking for a silver lining after Sunday’s loss to the Bengals.
“We were just trying to draw them offsides and it worked. We were going to kick a field goal in that situation, you want to make it a two-score game, but if you can extend the clock a bit. . .” Eagles coach Chip Kelly, on a defensive offsides against the Bucs on fourth down late in Sunday’s game.