Who's Hot, Who's Not After NFL Week 6?
Another great weekend of NFL action is almost in the books (better step it up, Colts-Chargers), and we saw some fantastic performances and some which weren't so fantastic.
Of course, with only 10 slides, we'll miss some of both. Justin Blackmon had a great game (14 catches for 190 yards), Joseph Fauria (who?) had a trio of touchdowns and Josh Gordon caught seven balls for 126.
See who did make my list on the following pages, and add your own selections down in the comments.
HOT: Brandon Jacobs
Maybe Brandon Jacobs isn't done yet—though it's unlikely his team isn't.
Jacobs looked much better than he had in years, running for 106 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Bears, often the only consistent offensive player on the field. In fact, you can make a case that the Giants could or should have run the ball with Jacobs even more than the 22 times he carried it.
There's not much future relying on a 31-year-old back who already looked broken down until this past week. That said, the Giants will take the positive where they can find it, and in another interception-filled game with too many mistakes on both sides of the ball, Jacobs was the one bright spot.
NOT: Matt Cassel
If Josh Freeman can run even one-quarter of the plays in the Vikings' playbook, the team will probably toss him out there, as Matt Cassel looked much more like the guy fans have come to know and loathe than the player he was in London against the Steelers.
Of course, if you watch the Steelers-Vikings tape, you can see the game was far from good for him. Cassel got lucky on two passes which should have been intercepted but were dropped by safety Ike Taylor.
Once again, when the pressure came, Cassel folded, and this time he wasn't helped by any drops by the safeties. Both of his interceptions were to Carolina safety Mike Mitchell and both of them were wildly off-target.
Cassel just isn't good. We knew that before, and I was unimpressed with his two games this season.
If he isn't benched next week for the Giants game, he will be shortly thereafter.
HOT: Arian Foster
If you can get past the absolute curb-stomping that the Houston Texans received at the hands of the St. Louis Rams, you'll notice that Arian Foster had an outstanding game.
Not only did Foster have a huge pile of yards (141 yards on 20 carries for 7.1 yards per carry), but he also added another 57 yards on four catches.
He didn't find the end zone (that was Ben Tate), but he was nearly unstoppable when he had the ball in his hands and continues to perform even when the rest of the offense sputters and fails.
NOT: Le'Veon Bell
We're two games into the Le'Veon Bell era in the Pittsburgh Steelers backfield and things look a lot like they did before it started.
That's not all on the rookie running back. Yes, his yards-per-carry average was worse this time (2.1 ypc) than last time out (3.6 ypc versus the Minnesota Vikings), but the New York Jets' front line is far tougher than the Vikings' is.
And as we know, that the offensive line is fairly awful and not helping him much.
On the other hand, he's struggling on several fronts, including getting to the hole quickly and shaking tackles. He's a rookie, though, so that is to be expected.
Still, right now he's struggling to get going.
HOT: Vincent Jackson
Maybe the wheels have come off in Tampa Bay, but at least one thing went right in the loss to Philadelphia—Vincent Jackson appears to be back.
After three disappointing weeks, Jackson had his second 100-yard game of the season, as he caught nine balls for 114 yards and two touchdowns.
Jackson looked much more himself, and it appeared as if rookie quarterback Mike Glennon had a lot more chemistry with his best receiver.
For the sake of a franchise which has seen quarterback chaos, coaching issues and now disease, one hopes they keep it up next week against the Atlanta Falcons.
NOT: Anquan Boldin
Two weeks in a row, we've watched defenses decide to take Anquan Boldin out of the equation and end up losing the game.
We'll get to why that is in a second, but for now, let's talk about Boldin and how he's been contained two straight weeks.
Boldin has been targeted 12 times in the last two games (six each game), but the coverage has been tight and Colin Kaepernick hasn't always been all that accurate of late, so Boldin's numbers have plummeted.
HOT: Vernon Davis
While Anquan Boldin has been shut down, the attention shifted his way is leaving plenty of room for tight end Vernon Davis to dominate.
Davis' eight catches for 180 yards and two touchdowns was an amazing feat and gives him a total of 11 catches for 268 yards and three touchdowns over two games.
While Colin Kaepernick has largely struggled throwing the ball, he has been able to hook up with Davis on a regular basis.
He'll have another chance for big numbers against the Tennessee Titans next week.
NOT: Darren McFadden
Darren McFadden appears to still be a little hampered by the hamstring injury which kept him out of last week's game.
It makes you wonder if perhaps the team should have been less quick to throw him back into the fray.
Especially considering that the holes which were opened for him in the first two weeks seem to have evaporated.
It may take some more time for McFadden to get back up to speed—hopefully by the time he has, the offensive line has started opening some more holes.
HOT: Nick Foles
Nick Foles made like Mike Vick against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, running for a four-yard touchdown to kick things off for the Eagles.
His 296 passing yards and three touchdowns weren't half-bad.
That gives him a total of 493 yards and five touchdowns over the course of the last two games. It looks as though Michael Vick is healing well, but if Foles keeps up his play, the Eagles might not rush him back.
They may ride Foles until they are totally sure that Vick is 100 percent.
NOT: Geno Smith
After a superlative performance to defeat the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football, New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith took a few steps backward against the winless Pittsburgh Steelers.
Or at least they were winless before Sunday afternoon.
While the Steelers failed to convert on either interception Smith threw, both turnovers happened on Pittsburgh's side of the field—the first at their 23 and the second when the Jets were at the Steelers' 12-yard line.
In the case of the second interception, Smith was hit as he threw. The offensive line allowed three sacks and six quarterback hits (according to ESPN.com), but Smith is often still holding onto the ball too long.
The Jets just hope he has more games like the Atlanta game than the Pittsburgh game.
Andrew Garda is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association. He is also a member of the fantasy football staff at FootballGuys.com and the NFL writer at CheeseheadTV.com. You can follow him at @andrew_garda on Twitter.