By Ryan Bukowiecki (@ryanbski)
Yet another thrilling week of NFL action is almost past us and this week could be considered a winning week for the stress levels of Chicago Bears fans, given that their team didn’t play.
After blowing the London game to the Raiders, having a week off from the Bears troubles was a nice break to have. That said, it was easy to find various Bears angles in an often-surprising NFL Week 6.
Parity might be the most accurate single word to describe the league right now. Many teams have traits and talent to become great by the time the playoffs role around, but aside from maybe the 49ers and Patriots, there are no world beaters right now in either conference.
What a delight the NFL is, a week like this past Sunday that concludes with a prime NFC North match-up on Monday Night Football shows how fun the NFL can be. There were wow plays, amazing endings, crazy upsets and a whole lot of conversation points. Then again its hard to say that it was much different from the norm which shows why the NFL is king in the sports world.
Lets take a quick look at all the games from this weekend and point out what matters to Bears fans.
Patriots 35, Giants 14:
Patriots have shown some vulnerability of late as quarterback Tom Brady continues to get beaten up. Giants fought hard to stay in it but they are a ways away.
Panthers 37, Buccaneers 26:
Fun to see how the Brits have grown into obsessing over football as we do, at least thats how it looks on TV. Ugly game for quarterback Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers with five interceptions.
This is a “prove-it-or-lose-it” year for Winston and its been a lot of the same inconsistent play. As for the Panthers quarterback situation, which looked so bad after Cam Newton went down are back in the NFC playoff picture with Kyle Allen’s play. Allen isn’t reinventing the wheel or turning the NFL upside down but he is taking care of the ball as well as making some big plays from the pocket. For the time being, head coach Ron Rivera has got good quarterbacking which makes his team threatening.
Washington 17, Dolphins 16:
Ravens 23, Bengals 17:
Surprisingly the Ravens weren’t able to win this game a little easier but then again with all the upsets on the day maybe it isn’t a surprise. Raven’s quarterback Lamar Jackson had a solid game but especially dynamic as a runner with 152 yards on 19 carries. Overall, the Ravens haven’t played great lately but wins are wins and they are getting those more often than not.
Seahawks 32, Browns 28:
Not enough is being said about the great Russell Wilson. That dude is flat out special and putting together an MVP type campaign for the Seahawks.
The defense is solid as well as the rest of the Seahawks squad, but it starts and stops with linebacker Bobby Wagner and Wilson who are too of the best players in the league. This is one of the best teams in the NFC. Not the same can be said about the Browns in their hype year, something is missing big time.
They have talent but often they look unprepared, make too many mistakes and perform poorly at important times of the game. Some relief is coming for the Browns since they have an easier second half of the season, can they stay afloat and what overall team adjustments can they make are their big question marks.
Saints 13, Jaguars 6:
Those Saints just continue to chug along even without their quarterback Drew Brees. Smart coaching and solid play on offense compliments a stellar defense are apparently the secret to enduring fine without your star player.
This week the Bears host the Saints in a much bigger game for the home team. The Saints will be prepared and ready in what looks to be a defensive slugfest. This Bears offense needs to be significantly better than how that Jags offense fared on Sunday.
Texans 31, Chiefs 24:
In a somewhat surprising result, another AFC South team came into Arrowhead and beat the Chiefs. Beaten in consecutive weeks on top of it!
The Chiefs offense sort of looked like the Bears version instead of their normal brilliance. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes doesn’t seem quite healthy, which is making him not play quite as well. Right now this Chiefs team is a little vulnerable, they need better offensive line play and the defense can’t be this much of a turn style.
As for the Texans, they look a lot like the Seahawks of the AFC. Offensive line is okay, running backs are okay, good receivers and a defense that is overall solid. Like the Seahawks, if the Texans didn’t have their quarterback then it all would come crashing down.
A few questions still remain about this Texans team but they are a threat as long as they have quarterback Deshaun Watson. Those games against the Colts could be a lot of fun.
Vikings 38, Eagles 20:
It was not surprising that the Vikings won this game but what was surprising was how complete and easy it was. Quarterback Kirk Cousins showed up again this week as they crushed the Eagles.
The Eagles didn’t play terrible but they just lost at so many phases of the game that it didn’t matter. Most important take away from this game is the Vikings are going to be competitive this year all the way to the end of the regular season. Bad news for Bears fans hoping they might implode to make this division a little easier.
Cardinals 34, Falcons 33:
Arizona definitely has themselves a much better football team than many thought so kudos to them. Boy is it the opposite for the Falcons, they like the Browns continue to make horrible mistakes and look unprepared. A reckoning is coming very soon for the Falcons.
Broncos 16, Titans 0:
Perhaps an upset of sorts that the Broncos shut out the Titans and sort of dominated them. This Titans team is so back and forth it would make a politician throw up. Quarterback Marcus Mariota looks to be joining his draft mate Jameis Winston on the free agent block next year.
Jets 24, Cowboys 22:
Easily in the running for shocker of the entire weekend. Quarterback Sam Darnold returned from mono to the Jets and the entire team improved greatly. Yet with all the positivity that should surround and be given to the Jets for at least this week, the main story is “how bout those Cowboys?”
What a terrible game from the Cowboys even if Darnold had himself a surprise great game. Dallas had plenty of chances to win that game and the score makes it seem like it was close but until the fourth quarter it felt like a blowout.
All the talk in the off-season that the Cowboys were a Super Bowl threat when in reality they are a .500 team that can play to their potential sometimes and be 10-6 or 11-5. But everything would have to work out and the entire franchise is way too inconsistent to go on extended winning streaks or win any game of consequence.
49ers 20, Rams 7:
A show-me game indeed for the 49ers as they showed everyone that their undefeated record is no joke. They may be playing a tad over their norm but the results have been great and they will be a tough match-up all year long.
The Rams didn’t play great and they have some serious problems brewing. Right now the decision to extend quarterback Jared Goff is looking risky at best and head coach Sean McVay has to come up with answers quick.
Remember that the Rams had a week and a half to prepare for this game while the 49ers had a short week, head coach Kyle Shanahan beat McVay this time.
Steelers 24, Chargers 17:
What in the world is going on with the Chargers? They look bad right now, its about to strike midnight for their playoff hopes and turn back into pumpkins, just in time for Halloween! The Steelers have at least regained their competitiveness.
Packers vs. Lions (MNF Preview)
This game will tell us a lot about how the North division stands, but all odds are that the Bears have to get the message tonight and play with urgency right damn now cause its likely neither of these teams or the Vikings are going anywhere any time soon.
Ryan Bukowiecki covers the Chicago Bears and professional football for WARR