Week 5 Recap: Chiefs, Broncos, Raiders Fall Flat

Seven groups will signify the AFC within the playoffs this yr. Maybe 4 of them will even have an opportunity of doing one thing as soon as they get there.

The Payments are prohibitive AFC Tremendous Bowl favorites after Sunday’s win over the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs. That is one worthy playoff group. The Ravens, who face the Colts on Monday night time, make two. Then issues get cloudy.

We’ll break the Chargers, Chiefs, and Browns down in a second. For now, the Chargers’ 47-42 win over the Browns means that each groups might do some harm within the playoffs, and the Chiefs nonetheless have just a little advantage of the doubt left of their checking account even after Sunday’s (and really early Monday’s) midnight insanity. That will get us to 5 worthy contenders, with the definition of “worthy contender” able to snap.

Derrick Henry and his 21 dependents will get an automated playoff bid from the Southern Tradition on the Skids division. They’re fairly horrible, however not as horrible as whomever earns the seventh playoff berth, the one that did not exist till final yr.

There’s nothing uncommon about some unimpressive groups squeaking into the playoffs, and it is too early to fully write off most of the convention also-rans. However a spate of Week 5 losses illustrated simply how weak the AFC subject has grow to be now {that a} trio of perennial powerhouses has fallen on arduous occasions and a pair of fluky 3-0 groups are beginning to crash again to earth.

This is a breakdown of the again half of the AFC playoff race because it stands after Week 5:

Los Angeles Chargers (4-1): Lookin’ Nice
The Chargers’ lone true weak point seems to be theirs run protection. Every part else, just like the group’s early-season pink zone woes, seems to be working itself out. A group can reside with a weak run protection within the fashionable NFL, particularly when its quarterback is working his approach into the MVP dialogue and so they have already racked up a number of tiebreaker-important victories by means of the primary 5 weeks.

Cleveland Browns (3-2): No Worries … But
The Browns are the anti-Chargers. The groups proved almost evenly matched in Week 5, however the Browns rely closely on their operating recreation, which is much less prone to be helpful to them in essential matchups than their passing recreation can be to the Chargers. And the Browns preserve dropping video games with convention tiebreaker implications whereas racking up wins in opposition to weaklings from the NFC and the Jap Texas Parochial Prep College Convention.

In a extra aggressive AFC, the Browns may be in a little bit of bother. However they will be effective, particularly since they management their very own destiny: after subsequent week’s go to from the Cardinals, the Browns face the Broncos, Steelers, Bengals, and Patriots in Weeks 7 by means of 10.

Kansas Metropolis Chiefs (2-3): In Severe Hassle
The protection, taking part in with out Chris Jones and Charvarius Ward on Sunday, began the season horrible and appears just a little worse every week. Stories of the offensive line’s huge enchancment had been extremely exaggerated; the Payments proved that stronger cross rushes are going to provide the Chiefs suits. Common sloppiness (penalties, particular groups gaffes, protection meltdowns) stay a weekly drawback. Clyde Edwards-Helaire could also be misplaced for the yr. Worst of all, Patrick Mahomes was inaccurate on Sunday night time, and never in his ordinary “attempting to sidearm the ball between three defenders” approach. Mahomes was simply misfiring badly to open receivers.

Walkthrough nonetheless thinks the Chiefs usually tend to attain the playoffs than the Broncos or Raiders. They’re simply at risk of getting bounced out early as soon as they get there.

Denver Broncos (3-2): Fading Quick
Teddy Bridgewater appeared like Teddy Tapwater by means of three quarters, throwing in entrance of the sticks on third-and-long as if he hopes to win the 2021 failed completions title. Teddy Ballgame confirmed up within the fourth quarter of Denver’s 27-19 loss to the Steelers, changing a number of fourth-down conversions, making performs on the run, and launching a pair of bombs to Courtland Sutton up the left sideline.

Late-game heroics apart, accidents have turned the 2021 Broncos again into the 2017-2020 Broncos. Their 3-0 begin was the results of a creamy schedule and the a lot stronger lineup the group fielded in early September. The one factor that may preserve them within the wild-card race within the brutal AFC West is the weak point of the remainder of the playoff subject.

Las Vegas Raiders (3-2): Fading Sooner
The Raiders’ offense was belly-up within the fishbowl for many of Sunday’s 20-9 loss to the Bears. Derek Carr was briefly knocked out of the sport, and whereas he returned to complete a brief landing drive, he did not seem all that comfy within the fourth quarter.

The Raiders’ tight early wins in opposition to the Steelers and Dolphins do not look so spectacular now that we’ve got had an extended have a look at the Steelers and Dolphins. Some issues that went proper for the Raiders in September are regressing towards the imply, together with their excessive short-yardage conversion price (and defensive cease price) and subject place benefits. The Raiders might nonetheless construct a playoff portfolio out of a bunch of wins over mediocre-to-terrible opponents—the purpose of this section is that somebody goes to do it—however that is a heckuva factor to rely upon in 12 months 4 of a rebuilding cycle.

Additionally, whereas the Raiders locker room has lengthy been conscious that Jon Gruden is an a**gap, they just lately realized that he is the very particular sort of a**gap that gamers are prone to tune fully out the second the group’s luck runs out.

New England Patriots (2-3): Clinging to Hope
Patriots homers (sure, Walkthrough sees you in our mentions) could boast that the Patriots can be 4-1, with an upset over the Buccaneers, if not for a Week 1 fumble and a Week 4 doinked subject purpose. Sure, Seamus from Kenmore Sq., and so they additionally can be 1-4, with a pair of losses to pathetic groups, if not for some fourth-down tomfoolery on Sunday by their former triple-A affiliate.

The Patriots’ offensive line is riddled with accidents, their talent place “playmakers” are shockingly sluggish, and their protection is about 80% nearly as good as marketed. However Mac Jones confirmed large poise when drawing roughing-the-passer penalties for third-and-forever conversions and crusing would-be interceptions by means of defenders’ arms within the game-winning drive of Sunday’s 25-22 nail-biter over the Texans.

The Patriots’ path to the playoff entails stomping on a lot of Jets and Falcons, protecting each recreation shut, and hoping a number of opponents contract a case of imposter syndrome as soon as they mount a lead in opposition to the mighty everlasting champions. That is a greater technique than what the Raiders or Steelers are relying upon. Talking of whom:

Pittsburgh Steelers (2-3): Useless, however Misinformed
Ben Roethlisberger absorbed a number of would-be knockout blows in opposition to the Broncos however one way or the other saved wobbling knuckleballs with some success. Juju Smith-Schuster suffered what seems like a severe shoulder damage. Additionally, linebacker Devin Bush suffered a groin damage, whereas Najeh Harris battled cramps. The Steelers are simply staggering round ready for a knockout blow. They won’t get it for some time—they face the Seattle Seahawks Geno Smith Expertise subsequent week—so they’re simply as prone to dangle across the backside of the playoff chase for a number of months because the Patriots.

Indianapolis Colts (1-3): About to Fall Out of the Race
Even when they lose on Monday, the Colts might climb over a heap of Texans and Jaguars to remain within the playoff image. Do not rely on it.

Miami Dolphins (1-4): Out of the Race
It is time to cease pondering of the Dolphins as a wild-card hopeful and begin pondering of them as an terrible group that will have made absolutely the least of a golden rebuilding alternative during the last two years.

Did we neglect anybody? Oh yeah: the easy-to-forget-about Bengals. Let’s get to them within the subsequent section!

Bananapants Early Recreation of the Week: Inexperienced Bay Packers 25, Cincinnati Bengals 22 (Additional time)

What Occurred: On the danger of writing a whole oral historical past of this recreation, here is the condensed model impressed by a chapter within the David Foster Wallace traditional The Pale King:

Aaron Rodgers to Davante Adams, intercepted. Rodgers to Adams, huge play. Rodgers to Adams, huge play. Joe Burrow injured on a scramble! By no means thoughts. Burrow to Ja’Marr Chase, huge play. Burrow intercepted. Rodgers to Adams, huge play. Burrow to Chase, huge play. Aaron Jones, huge run! Missed subject purpose. Missed subject purpose. Additional time. Burrow on to linebacker, interception. Missed subject purpose. Missed subject purpose Mason Crosby 49-yard recreation winner. The tip.

What it Means for the Packers: With Jaire Alexander and Za’Darius Smith each out indefinitely and their offensive line battered by accidents, the Packers should work out what they’ll rely upon shifting ahead apart from Rodgers, Adams, and Jones. Sunday’s win supplied few solutions

Preston Smith and what’s left of the Packers’ cross rush supplied stress early within the recreation however light within the second half. Adrian Amos undercut a deep route for an interception, however the secondary would not look Bucs-Rams seaworthy after permitting Chase to go 5-159-1. Randall Cobb and AJ Dillon add just a little variety to the offense, and many guys like Royce Newman and Yosuah Nijman are protecting the lights on alongside the road, however the Packers seem like a notch under the Buccaneers, Rams, and, um, Cardinals proper now. That is not the place they wish to stay because the season wears on.

What it Means for the Bengals: Joe Burrow could have an incredible profession if he can survive Zac Taylor’s play calling; Taylor insisted on calling fourth-down quarterback attracts after Burrow narrowly escaped a severe damage. (Burrow was additionally poked within the throat sooner or later through the recreation; he was taken to the hospital on Sunday night as a precaution.) Burrow sidesteps rushers and finds downfield targets like a Professional Bowl-caliber quarterback when he is buzzing. Burrow-to-Chase may very well be Rodgers-to-Adams in a number of years.

The Bengals are no less than one yr, one other offensive lineman, one other stable pass-rusher, and maybe some higher game-planners away from being severe contenders. However they’re ok proper now to bob alongside close to the highest the AFC wild-card race merely by staying comparatively wholesome and letting Burrow and Chase cook dinner.

What’s Subsequent: The Packers go to the Bears and host Washington, a pair of opponents unlikely to provide them a lot bother. The Bengals embark on a three-game Lions-Ravens-Jets highway journey; they will be in good condition if they arrive out of it with a pair of wins.

Necessary Nationwide Viewing Recreation Highlight: Dallas Cowboys 33, Giants 13

What Occurred: The sport a lot of the nation was compelled to look at as a result of Texas and the I-95 hall cares a lot in regards to the rivalry (can we although?) checked all of the anticipated packing containers:

  • The Cowboys dominated the sport. Examine.
  • The Giants hung in for some time due to some chunk passing performs. Examine.
  • The reliably sloppy Cowboys additionally fumbled close to the purpose line and punted once they should not should preserve issues tight. Examine.
  • Saquon Barkley obtained injured. It was destined to occur someday earlier than Halloween, so Examine.
  • Daniel Jones suffered a concussion. This was surprising, however Jones’ try and plunge into the top zone on a zone learn falls beneath the broad class of “the Giants making a essential goal-line mistake,” so Examine.
  • As soon as he entered the sport, Mike Glennon was terrible, however he moved the Giants offense nicely sufficient to idiot his subsequent employer. Examine, and repeat till the yr 2030.

What it Means: Whereas the Soccer Outsiders Playoff Odds had been nonetheless within the oven when Walkthrough went to press, Aaron Schatz says that the Cowboys’ possibilities of making the playoffs at the moment are roughly 90%. Their leaky protection leaves them a notch under the same old suspects (and the Cardinals) atop the NFC race, however they’re positioning themselves to glide by means of a tender schedule and land close to the highest of the playoff seedings.

There’s not a lot else to say in regards to the Cowboys: they’re what you suppose they’re.

We’re not linking to a picture, however Barkley’s ankle was pure physique horror when he left the sphere; it appeared like a xenomorph was able to come out of it and eat a coach. Jones will spend the week in concussion protocol. Cue Dave Gettleman and Joe Decide penning this season off on account of accidents and claiming they had been this near turning the nook when Saquon went down. Oh, and rookie Kadarius Toney marred a powerful recreation by taking a swing at a Cowboys defender, however one thing one thing profitable tradition one thing one thing.

Lastly, let’s petition the NFL to place all these Cowboys-Giants video games on Sunday, Monday, and Thursday nights so the networks can benefit from the boffo scores and the remainder of us can get pleasure from higher regional video games.

What’s Subsequent: The Cowboys will go to and smoke the Patriots earlier than their bye. The Giants host the Rams (LOL.)

Fast-Hitters

Information from the weekend that does not belong anyplace else.

Russell Wilson to Miss A number of Weeks After Surgical procedure on his Throwing Hand
Geno Smith will substitute him. The Seahawks are morphing into the mid-2010s Jets earlier than our eyes. The one factor lacking is Bilal Powell.

Tom Brady’s Proper Hand was Wrapped Throughout his Postgame Press Convention on Sunday
Brady was jealous of all the eye Wilson and Matthew Stafford obtained from their Thursday night time hand accidents, and likewise plans to increase the TB12 product line to incorporate saintly relics with therapeutic powers.

Kirk Cousins and Mike Zimmer Rejoice Final-Second Vikings Victory over the Lions by Nearly Beating the Crap out of Each Other
If the Vikings ever beat a good group, somebody would possibly find yourself within the hospital.

Two Washington Soccer Crew Trainers have been Positioned on Administrative Go away Amid DEA Investigation
At occasions it looks as if the one distinction between the WFT and an organized crime syndicate is that the majority organized crime syndicates are profitable and considerably attention-grabbing.

Jon Gruden Used Racist Imagery when Describing NFLPA Chief DeMaurice Smith in a 2011 Electronic mail
Chucky’s gonna have a tough time blaming this one on Mike Mayock.

Per ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, Gruden’s Emails Additionally Embody Vulgar Criticism of Roger Goodell
It is too late to attempt to worm your approach again into our good graces, Chucky.

Talking of DeMaurice Smith, the NFLPA Voted to Retain him as Govt Director for a Remaining Time period
Doubtless eventual successors to Smith embrace a lot of rugged individualist-type former gamers who not-so-secretly hate unions, some strikehawks prone to lead the gamers straight into an ambush on the first signal of battle, and Eric Winston. Walkthrough actually hopes will probably be Winston.

Taysom Hill Leaves Saints Victory over Washington after Brutal Helmet-to-Helmet Hit
Don’t fret; Sean Payton simply paid $50,000 for a postgame-worn Therapeutic Shroud of Brady.

Week 5 Awards

Time as soon as once more handy out the one awards that anybody who loves soccer ought to actually care about.

Defender of the Week
Darius Slay turned the proud papa of a fifth little one on Wednesday! Slay celebrated on Sunday with a pair of interceptions within the 21-18 Eagles’ victory over the Panthers, cradling the second interception like a new child in celebration.

Slay’s interceptions had been nearly the one causes the Eagles stayed within the recreation by means of three quarters. Additionally, on the price the Slay household is rising: be careful, Philip Rivers! (Do not groan. It is solely acceptable that the dad will get a dad joke.)

Particular Teamer of the Week
Let’s keep on with the Eagles, who could not do something offensively in opposition to the Panthers till T.J. Edwards’ blocked punt and Shaun Bradley’s restoration gave them the ball on the Panthers’ 27-yard line. Jalen Hurts ran for a landing a number of performs later, DeVonta Smith added a two-point conversion, and the Eagles all of a sudden discovered themselves on the highway to an upset.

Offensive Line of the Week
The makeshift Browns offensive line of Blake Hance (filling in for Jed Wills), Joel Bitonio, JC Tretter, Wyatt Teller, Jack Conklin, and James Hudson (who changed the injured Conklin mid-game) helped the Browns rack up 230 speeding yards and held the Chargers to only one sack. The Chargers received, however it’s not the offensive line’s fault when the opponent scores 47 factors.

Burn This Play
That is what a group calls on fourth-and-2 main 22-9 when it has completely no religion in itself: the Texans’ unfake-fake punt:

The logic right here was clearly to both get the Patriots to leap offsides or, if that failed, to stop them from correctly establishing a return. However after all it mixed the worst components of punting (it was a punt) and operating a low-percentage play (all of the movement and chicanery unnecessarily tempted destiny.) It additionally signaled to the Patriots: we’re cowed by your very presence and do not feel really worthy to defeat you. Please come again to beat us and restore order to the cosmos.

As a bonus, the Texans tried a 56-yard subject purpose on fourth-and-4 a number of drives later. The miss arrange a brief Patriots landing drive, hastening the comeback.

Greatest Supporting Actor in Somebody Else’s Spotlight
It is arduous to single out which Washington defender deserves the award for his or her roles in Jameis Winston’s “Hail Marquez” landing earlier than halftime. Landon Collins seems to trace the ball within the air however then falls backwards as a substitute of leaping for it in the long run zone. Kendall Fuller stands proper subsequent to Marquez Callaway and simply watches the ball fall into the receiver’s fingers as if Fuller ran all the way in which down the sphere merely to get the very best view of the Saints’ landing. However one thing about William Jackson’s dejected, slump-shouldered look towards the officers after the catch simply tickles me. Jackson’s again could also be to the digicam, however I can nearly think about his heavy-lidded facial features. “Nicely, that was a craptastophe. Are the refs gonna bail us out? Guess not.”

Honorable point out goes to the Chiefs for his or her newest goal-line puppet present:

Once I was in school, we used to carry expertise nights in varied scholar facilities. There was at all times a small troupe of drama youngsters who would make an elaborate pantomime of pretending to do not know what they had been doing on the stage earlier than breaking into an a cappella model of California Dreamin’ or some such. I wandered by one in every of their dorm rooms three days earlier than one of many expertise exhibits and noticed them meticulously planning their pre-song pantomime: You shrug your shoulders, you go searching in confusion, I will rely us down with my foot. I’d have discovered it obnoxiously contrived if I did not wish to date each single one of many ladies within the troupe. And I’d discover the Chiefs’ little improv routines ridiculous if in addition they weren’t so darn compelling to look at.

Walkthrough Sportsbook

Reside, chuckle, and wager together with Walkthrough for one more Similar-Recreation Parlay and Prop-a-Palooza!

Atlanta Falcons Moneyline AND Complete Factors Over 45.5 at +222
Rationale: Crippling self-loathing.

End result: The Jets kicked a subject purpose with 17 seconds left to chop the Falcons result in 27-20? What a silly technique. What are the chances that the Falcons would make a hilarious mistake on an onside ki … eh, come to think about it, the tactic made excellent sense, and Walkthrough will take an over-clearing subject purpose any approach we are able to get it. Additionally, that is it for betting on the Falcons once more till no less than 2022. Watching that Sunday morning glorified preseason recreation made my soul unhappy. WIN.

Dak Prescott and Daniels Jones Over 549.5 yards at +125
Rationale: The Cowboys can’t be counted on to win video games they’re imagined to win. The Giants can’t be counted on to win video games. However each groups can normally be counted on to rack up a bunch of passing yards.

End result: We had been buzzing alongside at a fairly effective clip earlier than Daniel Jones obtained knocked out. LOSS.

Jalen Hurts Over 249.5 Passing Yards and 1+ Passing Touchdowns at +130
Rationale: The Panthers entered Week 5 ranked thirty second in cross protection on throws to the offensive proper. Hurts does little else apart from throw screens and bombs to his proper. Hurts can also be already a fifth-degree black belt in martial artwork of the meaningless late scoring drive.

End result: Hurts was 3-of-6 for -6 yards at one level. Apparently, opponents have discovered that the Eagles run nearly nothing however display and swing passes. Due to a bomb, a blocked kick, and three interceptions by his protection, Hurts completed with 198 passing yards, two touchdowns, and an Eagles victory which harm this wager greater than it helped it: the Eagles spent the late fourth quarter handing off as a substitute of throwing. LOSS.

Davis Mills Interceptions Over 0.5 at -230
Rationale: From 2001 by means of Saturday, 32 first-year quarterbacks threw no less than 10 passes in a recreation in opposition to the Patriots. They mixed for 50 interceptions.

End result: Drat. Ought to have as a substitute guess on poised Mac Jones, who’s poised. LOSS.

New England Patriots Moneyline AND Complete Factors Over 39.5 vs. Houston Texans at +135
Rationale: Walkthrough noticed two paths to victory right here: a Patriots romp within the 37-10 vary or a decent turnover-and-short-drive fest between a pair of rookie quarterbacks.

End result: We weren’t anticipating the Texans to just about upset the Patriots, however the Moneyline guess did show to be shrewd different to a diffusion guess. Generally, while you give your self two paths to victory, a 3rd one will divulge heart’s contents to you. So speaketh the Zen Gambler. WIN.

Pittsburgh Steelers +1.5 AND Complete Factors Over 39.5 at +245
Rationale: We preferred the Steelers as undervalued dwelling canine in opposition to the battered Broncos. We actually like going over something under 40 factors when the pick-six and blocked-kick chances are excessive. And we simply liked the payout.

End result: Steelers-Broncos performed out nearly precisely the way in which we thought it could. WIN.

Washington Soccer Crew Underneath 20.5 Complete Factors at -110
Rationale: With so many offensive starters injured, we could not picture Washington scoring many factors in opposition to the Saints protection.

End result: We should always have imagined an early Jameis Winston interception to arrange a brief subject purpose drive and a complete of 12 Washington possessions when the Saints saved settling for punts with a semi-comfortable lead. LOSS.

Remaining Tally: Seven items wagered for a 9.02 payout. Not dangerous total, thanks to a few same-game parlays. Be prudent together with your parlays, and your wins will greater than offset your losses. So speaketh the Zen Gambler.

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