Another big week saw the demise of yet another undefeated team: the Green Bay Packers – they were manhandled by the Denver Broncos, but more on that later.
The Patriots, Panthers, Bengals and Broncos all kept their perfect records in tact, which has put us in rare air – this is the first time in NFL history that there has been four 7-0 teams through week weight. Crazy.
At the other end of the league, the Tennessee Titans fired head coach Ken Whisenhunt after a 1-6 start to the season, and the Detroit Lions continued to stink it up, this time across the pond in London against a ruthless Kansas City Chiefs outfit.
But about that game at Mile High…
The Denver Broncos did bad things to that bad man Aaron Rodgers
This was not the game I, or many others, expected it to be. DeMarcus Ware and his Denver wrecking crew had Aaron Rodgers, Eddie Lacy, Randall Cobb and the Packers O-line tearing their hair out throughout. Rodgers wasn’t given an inch all game, and turned in one of the worst performances of his career in the 29-10 loss.
Look, it’s easy to put this one entirely on the offense, and they shouldn’t go without blame – Rodgers had just 77 passing yards – but losing CB’s Sam Shields and Quinten Rollins clearly hurt the Packers D’s ability to stop Manning leading his team down the field repeatedly.
In this case, the numbers tell a lot of the story; in terms of offense the Broncos outgained the Packers in total yards 500 – 140, resulting in 10 more first downs.
This was, in no uncertain terms, a butt whooping of the highest order. It’s time to consider the Denver Broncos a legitimate challenger to the Patriots’ throne.
Fantasy watch: If you gladly used an early pick on Aaron Rodgers, like me, look away now: 77 passing yards and 31 rushing yards for 6.1 fantasy points. This is clearly an aberration, so owners shouldn’t panic, but it does emphasise the need to have a back-up worthy of starting in your team should poor form or injury strike.
The Pittsburgh Steelers can’t catch a break
A fairy-tale comeback, it was not. The Steelers welcomed back Super Bowl winning QB Ben Roethlisberger for their must-win clash with the Cincinnati Bengals after missing four games with a knee injury, and the early signs were promising. Heinz Field erupted as Roethlisberger found WR Antonio Brown for a TD on their first drive of the game, but it was all down hill from there.
Star RB, and fantasy stud, Le’Veon Bell suffered a season-ending MCL injury, and the Steelers crumbled late as Andy Dalton overcame two interceptions to hit A.J. Green for what would be the game-winning TD with just under three-minutes to play.
At 4-4, the Steelers are by no means out of playoff contention, but the AFC North crown is placed firmly on the head of Andy Dalton at this stage. This likely means that the Steelers will tussle for an AFC wild-card spot with the New York Jets, Oakland Raiders or even the Kansas City Chiefs. Not ideal, but if anyone can get them there, it’s Big Ben.
Fantasy watch: A.J. Green was the only bright spot in a game filled with below average fantasy scores. He had 118 receiving yards and one TD for 17.80 fantasy points, so of course my week eight opponent had him on the field…sigh.
Forget Peyton and Aaron, Eli and Drew was the QB duel of the week
I guess in hindsight it should be no surprise, as neither the Giants nor the Saints have had dominant defences this season, but both Eli Manning and Drew Brees put in otherworldly performances. The two veteran QB’s were marching down the field with ease, and combined for 13 passing TD’s, over 850 passing yards and over 1,000 yards of total offense. Those were not typos.
There aren’t too many more things I can say about just how good this game was to watch, so here are the highlights. Enjoy.
Fantasy watch: Almost everyone in this game. Eli Manning’s six TD outing earned him 38 fantasy points, while Drew Brees’ seven TD’s were good for 46.54 fantasy points. In terms of WR’s, Odell Beckham Jr. hauled in three TD’s for a massive 31 fantasy points, and four Saints topped 17 fantasy points – Snead 17.6, Cooks 20.5, Colston 17.4 and Watson 20.7.
Don’t look now, but the Oakland Raiders are over .500
It’s been a while, but patient Raiders fans are now being rewarded with a saviour at QB– and his name is Derek Carr. I’ve written previously about how Carr and Jacksonville QB Blake Bortles have made strides this year, but the last few weeks have shown just how Carr is setting himself apart.
In the month of football since that article was written Bortles has thrown nine TD’s and five interceptions, and Carr has thrown eight TD’s and just one interception. Wow. His improvement on last year is also evident in his ability to make adjustments against the blitz.
Derek Carr vs Blitz 2014: 50% comp pct, 8 TD, 22.5 Total QBR 2015: 60% comp pct, 6 TD, 76.6 QBR (AP Photo) pic.twitter.com/dHalttxOY1
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 5, 2015
The Raiders are in a great position to make a playoff run this season, but they face a season defining few weeks ahead. A win in this weeks’ clash against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field will put some distance between the two for a wild-card spot; a loss for the Raiders would have fans feeling a little less comfortable. Following that the Raiders face the Minnesota Vikings, the Detroit Lions and the Tennessee Titans – three games that could almost seal a playoff berth for Jack Del Rio’s side.
Fantasy watch: Derek Carr was on fire in the Raiders’ 34-20 victory over the Jets, totalling 333 passing yards, four TD’s and 29.12 fantasy points.
Questions? Insults? Let us know in the comments section.