by Justin Rasile
Dallas (5-1)- Who saw this one coming? I can tell you I certainly did not. Obviously the biggest surprise is DeMarco Murray and Dallas’s unselfish way of actually running the ball. That is still the way to win games because not only does your offense improve when you have a good ground game but your defense does too. With an efficient running game, it keeps the opposing defense on the field and wears them down for later in the game, in addition to dominating time of possesion. This defense went from allowing 418 yards per game last year to 342 yards this year. Let us also not forget that this team let go of probably their best player in DeMarcus Ware. What a transformation this team has made and they could easily win out up until their bye week. So you go DeMarco Murray, run that ball down opposing defenses throats.
Denver (4-1)- Another win for Denver. Even with Rex Ryan’s best efforts at mastering up a very good game plan to try and stop one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, it was all for naught. Rex was forcing Manning to run the ball but when every single receiver needs to be covered because they are all threats, it is a very tough task at hand. Especially considering any running back can find a way to gain 5 yards every down when facing so few men in the box. Julius Thomas is quite possibly the hardest weapon to cover on the planet. He is on pace for roughly 26 touchdowns if he keeps up the pace he is on and with 18 throwing the ball, anything is possible. The Broncos now begin a tough stretch of three games starting at home against the 49ers, then onto the Chargers, and last but not least at the Patriots. These games will help prepare this team for the playoffs and show us how tough they really are.
San Diego (5-1)- Philip Rivers and the bolts are cruising through and in the process are looking like a potential Super Bowl contender. Antonio Gates, despite being written off each year, is playing big with the limited amount of targets he is receiving. He has 6 touchdowns through the teams first 6 games despite only 24 grabs. The next game for the Chargers is the Chiefs. This is an obvious trap game because the Chargers will be looking forward a week to thatnight game against the Broncos on . Mike McCoy needs to make sure this team comes out firing on all cylinders and takes each game one game at a time. This could be a tough task for the second year head coach.
Jacksonville (0-6)- Being a fan of consistently one of the worst teams in the league is hard; writing about why they suck so badly is even harder. The offensive line is atrocious and that completely impedes the running game. Toby Gerhart may not be all that bad but it is nearly impossible to gain an inch when you are getting hit in the backfield every time. Storm Johnson took over this week with Gerhart dealing with his nagging ankle injury and still could not get anything going. Bortles ended up with the most rushing yards. The lone bright spot on this team has been the emergence and quick development of Blake Bortles. He has been amazing on third down conversions and is standing tall in the pocket despite always having somebody in his face (a big step up from Blaine Gabbert). The big quarterback is going to have to find a way to rally this team to scratch and crawl for a victory. Draft process, engage.
Oakland (0-5)- The Raiders actually looked pretty impressive this past weekend. Despite losing the game they came out and played a tough game against a damn tough opponent. The better team obviously won but if these Raiders play teams tough like this down the road, they will come away with more wins than most expect. It may even be enough to get Tony Sparano the head job, unless current owner Mark Davis decides to completely overhaul the front office and fire Reggie McKenzie. Derek Carr played pretty decent and may have already found a new favorite target in Andre Holmes, adding to other threats such as James Jones. The schedule only gets tougher for this team when they face their next consecutive playoff team in the Arizona Cardinals.
Tampa Bay (1-5)- Lovie Smith has to start getting this team together. No team has ever given up more touchdowns in the first 16 minutes of a game…ever. And to none other than Joe Flacco. Seriously Tampa Bay? 5 touchdowns to Average Joe? But I digress. The Buccaneers luckily have a bye week to prepare themselves for another pretty bad team in the Minnesota Vikings. This could actually be a good week to get the team healthy and fully prepared for a game for once. Hopefully Lovie uses his team’s time wisely. Gerald McCoy and big free agent signing Michael Johnson have to recover and get their bodies right. It will be interesting to see when this team really begins to give up and tries to tank for the number one overall pick. Only time will tell.