Whew, we had some real doozies in Week 6 of the 2018 NFL season. The Sunday Night and Monday Night games both featured exciting conclusions, and Falcons’ fans got to see a win (albeit a narrow one) for the first time in nearly a month. Outside of those games, however, we saw a whole lot happen in the NFL this week. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with this Week 6 Edition of The Baker’s Dozen. Read on for all the biggest takeaways from this week’s games.
Eagles get back on track
After going into a bit of a slump over the past month, the Eagles (3-3) have begun to right the ship on the back of a two-game winning streak. Carson Wentz was sharp against the Giants (1-5), throwing for nearly 300 yards and 3 TDs in the victory. While the running game isn’t quite up to par and Philadelphia is starting to suffer from some attrition on the offensive line, the defense is still good enough to keep them in games. They aren’t quite the juggernaut they were through parts of 2017, but Philly still looks like the best team in the NFC East.
The Jets appear to have found their franchise QB in Sam Darnold
While the Jets (3-3) have been one of the most inconsistent teams in the NFL through six games, one thing is certain: Sam Darnold, through all his ups and downs, looks like a franchise QB. That’s got to be encouraging for Jets fans, who have had to suffer through a lot of sub-par QB play over the past decade. Who knows if Darnold will ever be a top-10 QB, but he’s certainly the best they’ve had in some time.
Seattle is heating up
After starting out the 2018 season as a punching bag, the Seahawks (3-3) have rebounded over the past few games. They just finished making a mockery of the Raiders (1-5), and have managed to get back to .500. While they’re nowhere near the caliber of team of the division-rival Rams (6-0), they could still possibly compete for a Wild Card in what is shaping up to be a competitive but vulnerable NFC.
The Raiders are officially the worst team in the NFL
Speaking of the Raiders, they’re an absolute embarrassment. Jon Gruden took this team and made it completely unwatchable in the span of a single offseason. He shipped off their best player in Khalil Mack and is now threatening to trade WR Amari Cooper and probably anyone else the fans actually like. Even QB Derek Carr—who has been bad in 2018—may not be safe if Oakland is in position to pick another franchise QB in the 2019 draft. That’s looking more likely by the day, as even the Bills appear to be better than the Raiders at this point.
Carolina’s inconsistency finally caught up with them
The Panthers (3-2) had no business beating the Giants in Week 5, but Graham Gano nailed a nearly impossible kick. They’ve been skirting by on those types of games all season, and it finally caught up with them against Washington (3-2). Carolina isn’t a bad team, but they also weren’t really as good as their 3-1 record. In a reality where football game outcomes truly reflect the quality of the team, both Atlanta and Carolina would probably be at .500 heading into Week 7.
Josh Allen may be out for awhile, but the Bills’ D is legit
While the Bills’ (2-4) offense isn’t good even with rookie QB Josh Allen at the helm, it’s catastrophically bad with Nathan Peterman. This team is pretty bad overall, but there is one redeeming quality that Buffalo fans can hang their hats on: the defense. The Bills defense has caused struggles for just about every team they’ve faced outside of the first two weeks. Buffalo isn’t going to win many games in 2018, but they can continue to build around a quality defensive unit. Also, they really should play Derek Anderson at QB.
The Bears lost to Brock Osweiler
In one of the most puzzling outcomes of Week 6, the Bears (3-2) lost to the Brock Osweiler-led Dolphins (4-2) in overtime. I turned off the game after Chicago had closed into FG range, but Cody Parkey missed the kick and gave Miami an opportunity to win. The Bears still have a very talented defense, but are they consistent enough to really make a case for a playoff spot in the NFC? They still have to get past the Vikings (3-2-1) and Packers (3-2-1) in the NFC North, which will be no easy task.
Rams eke out another close win
The Broncos (2-4) did a great job of keeping Jared Goff and the Rams’ (6-0) passing game in check, but couldn’t do a thing to stop RB Todd Gurley—who piled up 208 rushing yards and 2 TDs. On another day where the offense wasn’t quite unstoppable, Los Angeles did just enough to get the win. Even though they’re suffering from some injuries, the Rams have clearly taken on the mantle of the NFL’s best team.
Baltimore may have the best defense in the NFL
While the Ravens’ (4-2) offense is still trying to find some consistency, the defense is making its case for best in the NFL. Baltimore absolutely shut down the Titans’ (3-3), holding Mariota to only 117 yards passing and 0 TDs. While Tennessee may have one of the worst offenses in the NFL, the Ravens’ defense is no joke. They can hang with anyone, and it seems like they’ve finally figured out that Alex Collins is their best option at RB.
How can the Jaguars be this bad?
We have to give the Cowboys (3-3) some props for the absolute shellacking they gave the Jaguars (3-3), but...what? How can the Jaguars—who had the NFL’s best defense in 2017—give up a 40-burger to the Cowboys? Cole Beasley looks like Dallas’ only functional receiver, and yet Jacksonville gave up over 100 yards and 2 TDs to him on the day. This team is an enigma, and is facing a situation where they may not even be able to make the playoffs in a weak AFC.
Chiefs/Patriots looked like an AFC Championship preview
Switching gears to some good games, the Chiefs (5-1) vs. Patriots (4-2) SNF match-up was a real treat. Mahomes, as you might expect, struggled early against New England but rallied back in the second half, tying the game and giving Kansas City a chance to win. Unfortunately, they were up against Tom Brady and Bill Belicheck in Foxborough, and that is not a situation that usually results in success. The Chiefs’ defense is a big problem, but their offense is good enough to hang with anyone. We’ll likely see this matchup again in the AFC playoffs, and the outcome might be different if the game is held at Arrowhead.
Aaron Rodgers is a magician
The 49ers (1-5), led by a surprisingly game C.J. Beathard, were actually holding onto a 1-score lead against the Packers (3-2-1) in Lambeau heading into the 4th quarter. As everyone expected, however, that lead was not safe: Aaron Rodgers led Green Bay on two scoring drives to first tie and then take the lead late in the game, and the rest is history. The Packers’ defense is still a big liability, but anything is possible when they have Aaron Rodgers under center.
Baker’s Bonus Take: James Conner is #good
There was a lot of speculation about whether or not Le’Veon Bell would report to the Steelers this week, but I don’t think it really matters that much. Why, you ask? Because RB James Conner is good! He’s been putting up very impressive production in Bell’s absence—so much that it stands to reason if Pittsburgh even really needs Bell to come back in 2018. Of course you’d love to have Bell’s receiving ability and veteran experience, but Conner has proven that he’s a very capable starter. He’s also probably made Bell expendable in 2019 and beyond.
What were some of the biggest takeaways that you had from the Week 6 games? Who do you think the worst team in the NFL is? Do you think the Falcons still have a shot at a playoff spot in 2018?