Week Five saw all of the unbeaten teams remain that way (including New Orleans, who had a bye), but it also saw one of the worst played games I've ever witnessed between the Buffalo Bills and the Cleveland Browns.
Cleveland (1-4) def. Buffalo (1-4), 6-3: This game should be considered torture. This game has absolutely no redeeming qualities. Derek Anderson went 2-for-17 for 23 yards—and his team won. Both teams should be embarrassed. As far as the Bills go, I wouldn't be surprised if Dick Jauron is gone by Thanksgiving.
Pittsburgh (3-2) def. Detroit (1-4), 28-20: This game was a lot closer than many thought it would be. Every time it looked like the Steelers were getting ready to pull away, Detroit stayed with them. The Lions actually outgained and held onto the ball longer the Pittsburgh.
The Steelers have to win these types of games more convincingly. They get another chance against the awful Browns before a huge game against the Vikings.
Dallas (3-2) def. Kansas City (0-5), 26-20 (OT): This is another game that was far more competitive than the winning team wanted it to be. Dallas came very close to blowing this with sloppy play in the first half then letting the Chiefs tie the game on fourth down just before the end of regulation.
The question after games like this is which team should feel better. In my eyes, both should feel good. The 'Boys had Miles Austin go crazy with ten catches for over 200 yards and two TDs while the Chiefs played pretty well, which is more than all of the other winless teams can say.
Minnesota (5-0) def. St. Louis (0-5), 38-10: Speaking of winless teams, the Rams looked horrible once again. This team has now lost fifteen straight games. Yes, fifteen straight games. This was never close at all as the Vikes dominated throughout.
New York Giants (5-0) def. Oakland (1-4), 44-7: I don't know if Oakland would have beaten Buffalo or Cleveland on Sunday. Every aspect of the Raiders' performance was pathetic. The Giants jumped on them quickly and just never let up.
To add insult to injury, Oakland was down by four touchdowns right out of the gate and they only threw the ball thirteen times. Everything about this organization is pathetic and an embarrassment to the league as a whole.
Philadelphia (3-1) def. Tampa Bay (0-5), 33-14: The NFL has a lot of bad teams this year. Tampa's one of them and they got destroyed. Philly had Donovan McNabb come back and play well as well as Jeremy Maclin having a breakout game.
Carolina (1-3) def. Washington (2-3), 20-17: Washington has yet to face a team that has had a victory prior to facing them. They have two wins to show for it. Carolina's margin of victory wasn't as big as I expected it to be, but they did have to come from behind, which is a pretty good way to get your first victory.
Cincinnati (4-1) def. Baltimore (3-2), 17-14: I didn't agree with the pass interference call on Cincy's last drive, but mental mistakes and defensive lapses cost Baltimore. They played pretty well up until that point, but they unraveled on the last drive.
On the winning side, Cincy is now 4-1 and sitting in the driver's seat in the AFC North with a 3-0 record in the division. They held the Ravens offense to seven points and are looking good right now.
Atlanta (3-1) def. San Francisco (3-2), 45-10: This may have been the most surprising game of the week. San Fran looked pretty bad and Atlanta looked very good. The Falcons' offense was clicking all game and the Niners just could not stop them. This was compounded by Dre Bly's ridiculous turnover that I'm sure he'll hear about for a while. However, he did aplologize and sounded genuine in doing so.
Denver (5-0) def. New England (3-2), 20-17 (OT): Denver shouldn't have to prove to anyone else that they are a really good team. I love the defense, but was skeptical of the offense coming into this week. Then Kyle Orton and the offense orchestrated 90- and 98-yard touchdown drives then went right down the field in overtime to win it without letting Tom Brady touch the ball in the extra period.
Speaking of Brady, he looked off all game. He missed a few passes that he usually hits with ease. Whether or not that had a lot to do with Denver's defense can be debated all day, but it's definitely worth mentioning.
One final note from this game: Denver should burn those jerseys right along with the ones Seattle wore a few weeks ago. Atrocious.
Arizona (2-2) def. Houston (2-3), 28-21: This was looking like a blowout at 21-0 until Houston decided to start playing and tied it up at 21. Arizona then got a pick-six and then stuffed Houston on the goal line to secure the win.
Arizona should definitely be happy as the victory was much needed, but they gave up a huge lead, and then nearly gave it up again when Matt Schaub simply overthrew a wide open man in the back of the end zone in the last seconds of the game.
Seattle (2-3) def. Jacksonville (2-3), 41-0: I have no idea how this happened. The Jags looked decent since their 0-2 start, but they got blasted in Seattle. Matt Hasselbeck, like McNabb, played pretty well in his return, as did everybody else wearing a Seahawk uniform.
Indianapolis (5-0) def. Tennessee (0-5), 31-9: The Colts took over from the beginning and made the Titans look pretty helpless. Even though the Titans were only down by a point after the first, there was never a sense that the Titans were going to really compete. That proved true as the Colts outscored Tennessee 24-3 for the remainder of the game.
Miami (2-3) def. New York Jets (3-2), 31-27: This game really got started in the fourth quarter. The Jets' defense really let the team down as they didn't play anywhere near the level that they've played in the first four games.
The "Wildcat" really seemed to confuse them. Both offenses played really well, although the refs mad a horrible pass interference call midway through the fourth in favor of the Jets when Braylon Edwards just dropped the ball. Outside of that, Edwards played pretty well.
One more note from this game: I think that people forget just how good Ricky Williams was before his retirement and how good he still is. He was a big part of Miami's victory.
Top 12 Teams (last week's ranking in parenthesis)
- New York Giants (1): They finally get their first competitive game of the year against the Saints next week. Next week: at New Orleans (4-0)
- Indianapolis Colts (2): They continue to impress by playing almost flawless football. Next week: BYE
- New Orleans Saints (3): They had a bye this week and now they get ready for a huge game with the G-Men. Next week: vs. New York Giants (5-0)
- Minnesota Vikings (5): They did what they are supposed to do to a bad team. They have a very tough stretch coming up. Next week: vs. Baltimore (3-2)
- Denver Broncos (12): They had a statement win on Sunday and now they can really take control of the division with a victory next week. Next week: at San Diego (2-2)
- Philadelphia Eagles (7): Their offense is very, very good. Like always, they'll be around in January. Next week: at Oakland (1-4)
- Pittsburgh Steelers (8): This is where ranking the teams became very difficult this week. In the end, I gave Pittsburgh this spot, but they still have problems shutting the door. Next week: vs. Cleveland (1-4)
- New England Patriots (6): You just can't give up long drives like the Pats did on Sunday. They still, however, had a chance to win the game. Next week: vs. Tennessee (0-5)
- Baltimore Ravens (4): They've dropped two in a row now, are tied with the Steelers for second in the division, and are getting ready to go to Minnesota. The next week is huge for the Ravens. Next week: at Minnesota (5-0)
- Atlanta Falcons (10): Very quietly, this team is getting better and better. I don't think people realize how good they are. Next week: vs. Chicago (3-1)
- New York Jets (9): Ironically, it was the defense that let this team down in the loss to the Dolphins, not the offense. Next week: vs. Buffalo (1-4)
- Cincinnati Bengals (NR): I'm still not totally sold on them, but they are 4-1 and playing very well late in games. Next week: vs. Houston (2-3)
Team to Drop Out of the Top 12
San Francisco 49ers: The Falcons just came in and embarrassed the Niners. For whatever reason, San Fran didn't play seem to play with the passion and desire that they have played with over the past season or so.
I hope you enjoyed reading this recap. As always, picks for Week Six will be in on Friday.