Some surprise upsets, some defensive dominance and a hoard of one-score wins highlight Week 6 of the 2023/24 NFL season.
Broncos 8 - 19 Chiefs
The Chiefs may have banked their 16th straight win over the Broncos, but this Monday night matchup was anything but smooth sailing for KC.
Despite heading into the game with the worst-ranked secondary in the league, Denver held Mahomes to just one touchdown, forcing 4 field goals, 3 punts and even grabbing an INT.
Justin Simmons tied for the league lead in INTs last season.— NFL (@NFL) October 13, 2023
He just got his first of this season. 🙌 @jsimms1119#DENvsKC on Prime Video
Also available on #NFLPlus https://t.co/U9rA3YdBnZ pic.twitter.com/eKpKw630f0
Andy Reid’s offense isn’t looking as explosive as usual - and that’s mostly down to a depleted receiving corps - but that will never stop Travis Kelce from taking over a game. The all-pro tight end hauled in 9 targets for 124 yards, while Rashee Rice trailed him with 4 for 72.
But besides these two playmakers, Mahomes is having serious trouble moving the chains. It’s a slow offense this year, and that may not hold up against better secondaries.
Meanwhile, ‘Russ the Bust’ continues to live up to his nickname, with two interceptions and just 95 passing yards. This was largely thanks to Chris Jones - who dominated the line all night - but you can’t blame anyone other than Wilson for throwing picks like this.
The Broncos aren’t going anywhere, and I still need to see more from Mahomes & Co. before I bet on KC.
Ravens 24 - 16 Titans
After an embarrassing loss to Pittsburgh, John Harbaugh will be glad to be back in the win column, but a one-score victory over the Titans isn’t something to brag about.
Tennessee might have the least consistent offense in the NFL and they still managed to keep things close. If not for the muffed punt on their own 10 yard line, they could have walked away with a win.
Then again, Tannehill was sacked 6 times and threw just 8 completions on 16 targets, along with an INT. Direct snaps to Derrick Henry might be the way forward…
Rashod Batemen couldn’t catch a cold last week, so it’s no surprise to see Mark Andrews and Zay Flowers leading the box score in London. We also got a healthy dose of scrambles from Lamar, who racked up 62 rushing yards on the day.
It wasn’t the worst performance, but the Ravens need to work on their redzone efficiency if they want to keep winning… 6 field-goal drives is not what we expect from this offense.
Panthers 21 - 42 Dolphins
I’m sure we all started panicking when Miami were down 13-0 heading into the second quarter, but it didn’t take long for the Fins to find their rhythm. Three offensive drives later, they were up by 8 and never lost the lead.
As usual, Tua put the ball in the hands of his speedsters. Hill and Waddle combined for 214 yards and 2 touchdowns, while Mostert took over the backfield, tacking on another 132 yards and 3 scores.
NFL Films highlights Raheem Mostert and his amazing hurdle— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) October 16, 2023
So far, Buffalo have been the only ones to truly slow down McDaniel’s offense., we'll see if Philly can join them next week.
As for the Panthers, Bryce Young certainly took a step in the right direction with zero turnovers, and the run-game was considerably better, with 4.6 yards per carry. But they’re now the only winless team in the league, and that’s with Adam Thielen averaging 100 yards and (nearly) a touchdown every game.
Adam Thielen has been cookin' this season 😤pic.twitter.com/wHXahPIffP— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) October 15, 2023
Give Young more weapons and Carolina could actually have a competitive team on their hands.
Saints 13 - 20 Texans
Speaking of rookie quarterbacks, C.J Stroud is continuing to put in solid performances, but he can thank his defense for this win.
The Texans QB threw both of his touchdowns in the first half, then the defense dominated after the break - forcing 2 punts, a 4th down stop, 2 field goal attempts and even grabbed an interception to seal the win. And Stroud wasn’t just getting saved by his secondary…
Wild turn of events 🤯— betway (@betwayusa) October 15, 2023
CJ Stroud throws the first INT of his career and Zach Baun then fumbles it right back to the Texans pic.twitter.com/6QwdAJLEIL
As for the Saints, they had plenty of opportunities to put points on the board, but with two missed field goals, the late INT and some seriously wild throws, the loss was deserved. This is a pick 9 times out of 10.
“F it. Rashid Shaheed is down there somewhere” - Derek Carr probably— PFF (@PFF) October 15, 2023
Commanders 24 - 16 Falcons
Sam Howell might be the shock player of the season. Forgetting his 0 touchdown & 4 interception game vs the Bills, Howell has thrown 9 TDs with just 1 pick, and even forced the Eagles to OT.
This week, he threw 3 touchdowns with no turnovers against the league’s 4th ranked pass defense. The Commanders are now 3-3, and might just have a shot at second place in the NFC East.
Meanwhile, the Falcons dual-headed backfield failed to get into their usual flow. Bijan Robinson was held to just 2.8 yards a carry, while Allgeier didn’t do much more. But Arthur Smith stuck with his game plan, running the ball 26 times.
Then again, can you really blame him when Desmond Ridder makes throws like this?
Desmond Ridder finds Benjamin St-Juste in the end zone— PFF (@PFF) October 15, 2023
So long as their QB is racking up 3 picks a game, there’s not much hope for Atlanta.
Colts 20 - 37 Jaguars
The Jags continue their win streak from across the pond and move to 4-2 with a comfortable victory back at home.
Trevor Lawrence had a rough couple of games against KC and Houston, but he’s back to his old self, with a 70% completion rate and 4 touchdowns in the last 3 games. Plus, Etienne is back to finding the end zone.
Not to mention, Jacksonville have been extremely solid on the other side of the ball. They allowed only 40 rushing yards between Zack Moss and Jonathon Taylor, and the secondary may be even better…
Last week, I touted Gardner Minshew as the best back-up QB in the league, but the Jags just had to go and prove me wrong. Minshew turned the ball over 4 times on Sunday, with 3 interceptions and a fumble.
No way the announcer jinxed Gardner Minshew like this 😂— JPAFootball (@jasrifootball) October 15, 2023
He really threw a pick 5 seconds later 😂pic.twitter.com/Hb12NZmBJp
Now that Anthony Richardson is considering season-ending surgery, the Colts projections have fallen off a cliff.
Seahawks 13 - 17 Bengals
The Bengals and Hawks bring us yet another game with very average QB play.
This matchup delivered 3 touchdowns in the first 4 drives, and a 'punt-off' for the next three quarters. Neither Burrow or Smith played well enough to deserve a highlight clip, but Cincy’s defense certainly makes the cut with two redzone stops to close out the game and an interception not long before. Sure, Geno was missing his favourite target, DK Metcalf, for a few drives, but that’s no excuse for scoring 3 points in 30 minutes of football.
And the Bengals were just as bad, finding a singular field goal in the whole of the second half. I doubt I'll ever be sold on Cincy this year.
Vikings 19 - 13 Bears
The Vikings should be thanking Justin Fields for his reckless running - his injury just saved them from a 1-5 start.
Fields went out midway through the third and Tyson Bagent took over. He may have run in for a score to keep things close, but he followed it up with an INT on 1st & 10 just outside the redzone…
Sure, Fields already had a pick, and they were already 6pts down, but with the way Kirk Cousins was playing, he was lucky to walk away with a win.
In fairness, Justin Jefferson was out for the matchup with a hamstring injury, but his absence exposed the lack of other playmakers in this offense. The 6-point difference maker ended up being the on the other side of the ball for Minnesota.
With Jefferson expected to miss 4-6 weeks, it could be all over for the Vikings.
49ers 17 - 19 Browns
Cleveland's defense is no joke. Brock Purdy went 12-of-27 for just 125 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception, and honestly, that stat line is generous.
The 49ers offense was a disaster as Purdy faced constant pressure and had very limited options. But we can’t ignore the fact that McCaffrey left just after the half with an oblique injury, and was later joined in the locker room by Deebo Samuel. It’ll be tough sledding for this offense if either player misses significant time.
Christian McCaffrey now has 15 straight games with a touchdown!— Sunday Night Football on NBC (@SNFonNBC) October 15, 2023
(Via: NFL, FOX)pic.twitter.com/s8MJuqxWGV
Regardless, the Browns deserve some credit for getting the job done against a stellar defense with their back-up QB at the helm.
PJ Walker may have gone 18-of-34 with 2 picks, but Kevin Stefanski got the ball in the hands of his playmakers and relied on the boot of Dustin Hopkins to put 4 kicks through the uprights. Sadly, the ‘9ers couldn’t do the same when it came down to the wire...
Patriots 17 - 21 Raiders
Bill Belichick’s trust in Mac Jones is finally fading.
The Pats QB failed to find the endzone for the third straight week and now has 5 interceptions in that time. As a result, Bellichick kept the ball on the ground in the redzone, and Jones wasn’t even allowed to take the snap.
Ezekiel Elliott showing some JUICE for the Patspic.twitter.com/kvk2DvnMfi— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) October 15, 2023
The Raiders weren’t very impressive either, but at least they put up points on 5 out of 8 drives. They move to 3-3 and grab second place in the AFC West, but the Chargers are hot on their tails.
Lions 20 - 6 Buccaneers
Detroit have quietly gone 5-1 and are yet to finish a game with less than 20 points. Goff is playing mistake-free football and the run-game is as solid as it gets…
Well, that was until David Montgomery went down. The star running back is expected to miss some time with a rib injury, so if the Lions want to keep playoff hopes alive, Craig Reynolds will have to keep this up…
Meanwhile, the defense held Tampa to just 2 field goals as they struggled to get anything going. Baker Mayfield has been playing some of his best football in the past few weeks, but today he couldn’t quite finish out drives. With the Falcons, Bills and 49ers in the next month, it won’t be getting any easier.
Cardinals 9 - 26 Rams
The triple-crown king is back to his old ways!
Stafford was making do without his favourite target on the field, but now that Cooper Kupp has returned to the turf, the Rams have a real shot at a winning record. Not to mention, Puka Nacua is a already a top-tier talent despite being 6 games into his career.
As for Arizona, it’s simple - the backfield is a mess without James Conner. Josh Dobbs did his best to pick up the slack, and ended up leading the ground game with 47 yards. But I think we can call it now… The week 3 win over Dallas was a fluke and it's all downhill from here.
Eagles 14 - 20 Jets
The Jets faced an undefeated team without their best offensive linemen, without Sauce Gardner and without DJ Reed - plus Garrett Wilson was hobbling on a bad ankle all game - but somehow, they still pulled off the upset of the week. And it was all thanks to bad decisions from Jalen Hurts and great defense from New York.
We can certainly blame some of the loss on errant throws and misreads, but there’s no denying DeVonta Smith should have had a touchdown here for a two score lead.
HOW DID DeVonta Smith DROP THIS!!!??? pic.twitter.com/Nq2R3vZrwY— DIE-HARD 🦅 Fans (@Eaglesfans9) October 15, 2023
I've got no idea what to think of the Jets now, but one thing I am sure of is that Philly will bounce back.
Giants 9 - 14 Bills
Given how poor the Giants have been, Buffalo have no cause for celebration. New York are now 1-5 and allowed an average of 31 points through the first five matchups, and the Bills managed just 14.
Brian Daboll’s side even came inches away from winning and without his starting quarterback at that. Tyrod Taylor went 24-of–36 for 200 yards, and almost found Waller in the endzone for what would have been a walk-off game-winning touchdown, but the officials failed to call a clear pass interference…
Should the Bills have been called for holding on the last play (a pass in the end zone to Giants TE Darren Waller)?— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) October 16, 2023
NBC #SNF rules analyst Terry McAulay talks it over with Mike Tirico and Cris Collinsworth. 🏈🦓📺🎙️ pic.twitter.com/gDq0cFH8tg
It may be a loss, but this is a good sign for Big Blue moving forward. Let’s hope Dan Jones can find his rhythm when he returns.
As for Buffalo, they’re seriously lucky to be 4-2 right now. Sure, Stefon Diggs had another 100-yard game and they backed it up with 128 yards on the ground, but they put up 0 points in the first half and got away with a few very questionable plays. Something needs to change if the Bills want to go the distance.
Cowboys 20 - 17 Chargers
And we finished the week with yet another game that had high expectations, but delivered very few trips to the endzone.
One upside for the Cowboys offense is that Dak Prescott reduced the interceptions to zero after throwing 3 last week. But it’s really the other side of the ball that sealed the win for Dallas. They constantly pressured Herbert, and shut down the run, holding Austin Ekeler to just 28 yards.
Meanwhile, Herbert may have been forced out of the pocket for most of the night, but even with time, he kept overthrowing Keenan Allen, who could have had 150+ yards and multiple touchdowns.
Mike McCarthy’s side moves to 4-2, while the Chargers fall to 2-3 and third place in a competitive NFC West.
So there you have it! Week 6 of the 2023/24 season in the books and zero undefeated teams remaining.
What could this week mean for the Jets? Will the 49ers get back in the win column without McCaffrey? How will the Bears fare with Fields on the sideline?
(Header Image Credit: Sam Navarro - USA TODAY Sports)