Bills remain at the top of NFL power rankings | Week 6

Sports 12 October, 2021 - 12:41pm

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5 reasons Chiefs fans should panic

Arrowhead Addict 13 October, 2021 - 12:13am

NFL Week 6 Power Rankings: Streaking Cowboys are moving up as Super Bowl contenders, Chiefs keep falling

CBS Sports 13 October, 2021 - 12:13am

The Dallas Cowboys, after a tough opening-night loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, have ripped off four consecutive victories to get to 4-1 and take a firm hold of the NFC East after five weeks.

They've done so with an explosive offense led by Dak Prescott that we expected to see before the season. It's dynamic, includes a lot of big plays, and they can run the ball with Ezekiel Elliott. But it's the defense that's the biggest story and the reason there are real Super Bowl hopes.

New defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has taken a unit that was bad last season and has them taking the ball away and improving week by week. Even without top pass rusher DeMarcus Lawrence, who is out with a broken foot, the Cowboys continue to be an opportunistic defense. They have 10 interceptions, six by Defensive Player of the Year front-runner Trevon Diggs, after having 10 all of last season.

The Cowboys have a plus-7 in the takeaway/giveaway category, second best in the league, after being minus-3 last season. That shows how their new-look defense is impacting this team. The defense is also almost six points per game better than a year ago.

That's not to say they are flawless. They still have issues, such as having only nine sacks for the season and ranking 25th in the league in yards allowed. But they are making progress, which is why they are up to No. 7 in the Power Rankings this week. 

The defense doesn't have to be dominant, not with the offense leading the league in yards and and scoring. With Prescott playing at an MVP level, the Cowboys are tough to stop. So the defensive progress really does make them a contender. 

When they get healthy on that side of the ball, look out. Quinn is a good coordinator who has this group of younger players growing each and every week. The Cowboys are legit again, and it's the defense that has them in the position of leading the NFC East and being a real Super Bowl threat. 

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‘Cut it out’: $613m QB cops reality check; awkward delusion deepens NFL nightmare: Talking Points

Fox Sports 11 October, 2021 - 06:52pm

While a team with Mahomes under centre should be worried about the Super Bowl, and only the Super Bowl, right now, things need to turn around quickly before their place in the playoffs get a little dicey.

While Kansas City found it quite easy to get the points flowing against Philadelphia the week prior, they faced a far sterner test against Buffalo.

Add in the Chiefs’ own woes on the defensive end and it was a third defeat for the season, this one by 38-20. They’re planted bottom of the AFC West with a record of 2-3, and quickly losing pace with the Los Angeles Chargers, who are top.

Mahomes was sacked once and hit five times while on the other side of the field, Josh Allen was hit just once and never sacked.

“It’s just we’re seeing different defences that we’ve seen in the past,” Mahomes said after the loss.

“We have a lot of stuff, we read coverages and run routes to different spots and we’re just not on that same page.”

Mahomes was uncharacteristically inaccurate, throwing two interceptions and insisted post-game the team’s struggles started with him.

“I have to look at it now, I have to go back and evaluate what I’ve been doing,” he said.

“I have to cut it out at the end of the day. If you cut out those turnovers, it’s a different ballgame.”

For the first time in his professional career, Mahomes is struggling.

It is an unfamiliar position for the league’s $450-million man ($A613m) to find himself in but former NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky is not putting the blame on Mahomes.

“It looks like a quarterback that is trying to score 21 points every play because he knows his defence is really bad,” he said on NFL Live.

“You can see the pressure he feels.”

Pressure from playing on a team in last for points and yards per play conceded per game.

Without much defensive talent on the roster, the likes of Frank Clark and Chris Jones will need to carry the load.

Orlovsky had another solution though to help get the offence going when playing an elite defensive unit like Buffalo.

Because after all, if the Chiefs are legitimate contenders they will need to find something.

“When you’re playing teams that are legit on defence, you’ve got to run them out of it,” he said.

“I would love to see the Chiefs put both their tight ends on the field, put Patrick in the centre.

“The Bills changed the way they have played but it feels like the Chiefs haven’t done that yet.”

Urban Meyer’s Jacksonville Jaguars are just the second team in NFL history to lose 20 games in a row.

But Meyer has a plan to save the franchise - even if it is completely unrealistic and exposes the exact reason why people think he is out of his depth.

You see, after Jacksonville’s 37-19 loss to the Tennessee Titans, Meyer boldly declared he wanted the Jaguars to reach 250 rushing yards and 250 passing yards in a game.

That is his goal, “always”, for every game.

The problem? Not only has that feat not been achieved this season in the league, but it has only been done 33 times since the NFL merged 52 years ago.

It was realistic and something Meyer expected of his teams at Ohio State but there was a key difference and one that speaks to why he is under so much pressure already.

Meyer could recruit anyone he wanted and had at his disposal one of the best college programs in the country.

The NFL is far from college football though and that is something Meyer seemingly has still not learned.

Put simply, it is completely unrealistic to expect that of Jacksonville, a franchise that finished with a 1-15 record last season.

Sure, now the Jaguars have Trevor Lawrence, a generational quarterback to build around but even he is not completely on the same page as Meyer.

With Jacksonville trailing by 12 and facing a fourth-and-goal from inside the Tennessee 1, Meyer opted to hand the ball off to Carlos Hyde instead of a sneak by Lawrence.

The play failed to payoff, ending in a three-yard loss while Lawrence was left to question the decision post-game.

Meyer went on to tell reporters he felt Lawrence was “not quite comfortable” with the quarterback sneak, a claim the quarterback later dismissed.

“No, I feel comfortable,” he said.

“Obviously I haven’t run it in a game, but I feel comfortable.”

Meyer is feeling anything but comfortable in his position at the moment.

The Bills are the best team in the AFC right now. A 38-20 win over the Kansas City Chiefs — their AFC Championship rivals last January — was the kind of statement victory that makes people sit up and take notice.

Buffalo is now 4-1 after losing on the opening day of the season to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

On their four-game win streak, they’ve averaged 39 points, and twice kept their opposition scoreless.

Until beating the Chiefs, though, we weren’t 100 percent sure it was all for real. But the verdict’s in, and right now, the Bills might be the team to beat in the conference.

Josh Allen is heating up, the passing game doesn’t feel as reliant on Stefon Diggs as it did last year, and that defence is causing mayhem.

We’re not used to seeing the Chargers win close games. In recent years, they’ve found any number of ways to lose tight battles – often in head-shakingly embarrassing fashion. Now, something is different. The Chargers aren’t Charger-ing.

They’re 4-1, leading the AFC West, with wins over Washington (four points), the Chiefs (six points) and most recently the Browns (five points). Herbert threw 26-of-43 for four touchdowns (two in the fourth quarter) and a career-high 398 yards in that 47-42 win as they fought back from a deficit that was as high as 14 points in the third. Oh, and he added a rushing TD for good measure.

It was Herbert’s 11th career 300-yard performance, the most by any player in NFL history in their first two seasons – and with 12 games still to play in the regular season. And in his last three starts, he’s thrown 12 touchdowns with no turnovers. He’s already beaten 2018 MVP Patrick Mahomes on the road, and his impressive conversion rate on late downs (3/3 against the Browns on crucial fourth downs) is more proof of his incredible work under pressure. Head coach Brandon Staley said: “And then four-and-two isn’t a big deal for us…Our guys are executing well in those ‘got-to-have-it’ situations.” That’s the most un-Charger-like quote we’ve heard in years.

Herbert is only in his second year of a $26.6 million four-year rookie deal, which means he’s the biggest bargain in the NFL right now.

Staley said: “To win a game like this, one that turns into a track meet, you have to have a superstar quarterback to win it. That’s what he is, he was fantastic in the game... You can’t win a game like that if you don’t have a player like Justin Herbert.”

Herbert is already a superstar. The only question is just how high his immense ceiling could be.

Odell Beckham Jr. just isn’t that guy in Cleveland.

There’s a chance he’s just not that guy at all anymore.

Either way, it seems like the superstar wide receiver’s time with the Browns is almost up. Or at least, should be.

Beckham Jr. is bit-part player in the Browns offence, who comes with all the hype and salary of a No. 1 option.

Since returning from injury this season, Beckham Jr. has had nine receptions for 124 yards and no touchdowns.

The chemistry just isn’t there with quarterback Baker Mayfield – despite their frequent protestations otherwise.

After Beckham’s 2020 season ended with a knee injury, Mayfield led the Browns to a 6-3 record.

In short, Beckham isn’t who he was in New York. He’s still just 28, despite his chequered injury history. With no guaranteed money on his contract after this season, another team will take a gamble on the man who was once one of the best receivers in the game.

OBJ isn’t worth a motza anymore – certainly not compared to the two starters, first-round pick and third-round pick the Browns coughed up in 2019 for Beckham and edge defender Olivier Vernon.

Still, a trade is making more and more sense with every game that Beckham fails to have an impact. It could be a matter of time.

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