From House Enterprise, and inspired by Rich Eisen, I’m introducing “Overreaction Tuesday.” Every Tuesday throughout the NFL season, I will overreact to what I deem the biggest storyline to come from the prior weekend’s games across the league, that includes Thursday, Sunday, and Monday.
In the NFL, the stories and narratives change every single week. The bottom line is that it’s a long season (five months from Week 1 to the Super Bowl to be exact) and we don’t know how it’s going to end. All we can do is overreact to the most recent data, so let’s do that.
Week 6 - October 12-October 16, 2023
Denver Broncos 8 (1-5) @ Kansas City Chiefs 19 (5-1)
Overreaction: If the Chiefs win the Super Bowl, it’ll be because of the best defense Patrick Mahomes has ever had. In Mahomes’ first year as the starter in 2018, the Chiefs defense ranked 27th in the league and KC lost in overtime in the AFC Championship game. Since then, the unit has improved seemingly every season under Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, culminating with what the group has done through the opening six weeks of this year. Through the first six games, the Chiefs rank 6th in total defense and have allowed the 2nd fewest points of any team in the league (14.7 points per game). The offense has struggled so far, for Chiefs standards, but has put up the 4th most yards in the NFL this year and is 9th in points per game (24.5). If KC has both a top 10 offense and defense, they’ll continue to be the most dangerous team in the AFC.
Baltimore Ravens 24 (4-2) @ Tennessee Titans 16 (2-4) - London
Overreaction: The Ravens are good, but need to prove it in a big game. Baltimore’s defense ranks 2nd in the league overall in yards allowed, but their opponents have been as follows: CJ Stroud in his first career game, Joe Burrow, Gardner Minshew, Dorian Thompson-Robinson, Kenny Pickett, and Ryan Tannehill, with the losses coming against Minshew and Pickett. The Ravens realistically should be 6-0; they have played a QB in his first career start, followed by the 18th, 31st, 38th, 28th, and 23rd ranked QB’s in the NFL. The defense is performing admirably and QB Lamar Jackson is firmly in the MVP conversation, but I’m still in ‘wait and see’ mode with Baltimore. This week, they get the Lions, so we should have a much better measure of this team by the next Overreaction Tuesday.
Washington Commanders 24 (3-3) @ Atlanta Falcons 16 (3-3)
Overreaction: It’s not an ‘if’, but a ‘when’ for Taylor Heinicke replacing Desmond Ridder as the Falcons starting quarterback. The inconsistent Falcons have the #4 defense in the league and a myriad of offensive weapons. Where they are limited is at quarterback. Desmond Ridder has been inaccurate with the football, has taken 19 sacks (4th most in the league), and STILL has as many touchdowns as interceptions (6). This past Sunday, Ridder and the offense had the ball three times in the 4th quarter in a one possession game. Those drives finished with an interception, turnover on downs, and another interception. Meanwhile, the Atlanta defense did not allow a single first down in the entire 4th quarter. If Ridder can’t find more consistency soon, Atlanta will have to see what they have in Heinicke at QB before it costs them even more games.
Minnesota Vikings 19 (2-4) @ Chicago Bears 13 (1-5)
Overreaction: The NFC North is the NFL’s worst division. In the opening six weeks of the NFL season, we’ve seen some bad football from the teams in the NFC North, with the exception of the Detroit Lions. The Packers blew a lead in Atlanta, got smacked by Detroit, and lost the the Raiders. Minnesota has fumbled more than any team in the NFL, while the Bears have played well one time and horribly five times. Sunday, we saw a Vikings and Bears game that featured a single offensive touchdown from each side, two field goals from each team and a horrible fumble recovery for a touchdown that ultimately was the difference in the game. Minnesota doesn’t have its best player in Justin Jefferson, who is on IR with a hamstring injury, while Chicago may have lost Justin Fields for a few weeks due to a dislocated thumb suffered against the Vikings. Ultimately, the Bears will likely be the winners for losing this game, ending up with a better draft pick come April.
Seattle Seahawks 13 (3-2) @ Cincinnati Bengals 17 (3-3)
Overreaction: The Cincinnati Bengals are back...for now. A 1-3 start for Joe Burrow and company has led to back-to-back crucial wins for Cincy going into a stretch that includes @ San Francisco, vs. Buffalo, vs. Houston, @ Baltimore, vs. Pittsburgh, and @ Jacksonville. If the Bengals had not won its last two, this section would say they were done. However, defeating the Cardinals on the road and Seattle at home is not the same as what the Bengals face the next two weeks. If, somehow, they are 4-4 in a few weeks, they will sit firmly in the race for the AFC wildcard and potentially the AFC North title. First, though, a much-needed bye for Burrow to rest his strained calf and get the team ready for its toughest stretch of the season.
San Francisco 49ers 17 (5-1) @ Cleveland Browns 19 (3-2)
Overreaction: The 49ers are the best team in the NFL, but kicker problems will bring them down. San Francisco’s rookie kicker, Jake Moody, missed two field goals in Sunday’s loss to Cleveland, including what would have been the game winner from 41 yards away. 49ers fans would add that the team had lost star RB Christian McCaffery, receiver Deebo Samuel and left tackle Trent Williams during the game, which is a big reason why the team lost. I would counter with the fact that every team goes through injuries and that San Francisco was playing a team without its starting quarterback and its starting running back and arguably their best player, Nick Chubb, out for the season. Through six weeks, it still appears that the 49ers have the best top-to-bottom roster in the NFL, but if they have inconsistency at the kicker position, that will surely level the playing field.
Carolina Panthers 21 (0-6) @ Miami Dolphins 42 (5-1)
Overreaction: Tyreek Hill is a runaway for Offensive Player of the Year. Through the opening six weeks, Hil has 814 receiving yards, an average of 135.7 per game and has 132 more yards than the next best (A.J. Brown). He leads the league in touchdowns (6), and has had 157 yards or more in four of Miami’s first six games. As if that wasn’t enough, Hill also has the most yards after the catch (YAC) in the league at 326, which is 45 more than anyone else. The stud receiver has caught a touchdown in all but one game this year and is on his way to becoming the first 2,000 yard receiver in NFL history. At this rate, he’d finish with just over 2,300. Even if the Dolphins are resting players for their Week 18 game, he’d still reach the mark at this rate.
Indianapolis Colts 20 (3-3) @ Jacksonville Jaguars 37 (4-2)
Overreaction: The Jaguars hype train is building, but I’m not buying it just yet. Through six weeks, Jacksonville has beaten the Colts twice, lost at home to Houston and Kansas City, took down Atlanta, and beat the jetlagged Bills in London. The Jags have now won three in a row and have scored at least 23 in each of those games while never allowing more than 20. In Sunday’s game against Indy, Jacksonville put up 37 points despite just 233 yards of offense. Indy had two first half turnovers that were quickly turned into touchdowns and by halftime it was 21-6. The 17 points off turnovers in the game ultimately was the difference in what turned out to be a lopsided victory for Jacksonville. In the coming weeks, the Jags have road trips to New Orleans and Pittsburgh before a home game against San Francisco. If they win the next two, I’ll cool off on questioning their legitimacy. If they win their next three, we’ll start talking about them as a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
New Orleans Saints 13 (3-3) @ Houston Texans 20 (3-3)
Overreaction: Sign me up now for DeMeco Ryans winning Coach of the Year. Here we are, heading to Week 7, and the Texans have matched their 2022 win total. Houston sits 3-3 at the bye with wins over Jacksonville, Pittsburgh, and New Orleans, and are very much in the mix for a playoff spot and even the AFC South title. The Texans had the 3rd worst defense in the NFL last season and the 31st ranked offense. This season, the offense is 9th and the defense is 23rd. They’re the most-improved team in the NFL and it doesn’t appear to be close. Rookie QB CJ Stroud is 4th in the league in passing yards, two spots ahead of Patrick Mahomes, and has thrown 9 touchdowns and only 1 interception. Wide Receiver Nico Collins is having a breakout season, already hauling in 29 catches for 547 yards, which is 8th in the league. Collins only trails Tyreek Hill in explosive plays, averaging nearly 19 yards per reception. DeMeco Ryans, in his first season since coming over from his defensive coordinator post in San Francisco, has made an immediate impact in the team he used to play for. The Texans have a light schedule and a hungry team. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they end up in a playoff spot in 11 weeks.
New England Patriots 17 (1-5) @ Las Vegas Raiders 21 (3-3)
Overreaction: The New England Patriots are going to end up the #1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. For the first time in three weeks, New England scored a touchdown in the loss to Las Vegas on Sunday. Over the past three games, since the lone win over the Jets, the Patriots have been outscored 93-20. The offense can’t move the ball and can’t score, and while the defense remains the strength of the team, they can’t stay on the field the entire game. At this point, it’s hard to see any wins at all on the Patriots schedule. Bill Belichick’s team still has to play Buffalo twice, @ Miami, Kansas City, and @ Pittsburgh, just to name a few. With the Panthers winless, and the Bears, Broncos, Giants, and Cardinals also with one win each, it feels like the Patriots have the bleakest outlook, especially offensively. You can’t win if you can’t score and this team cannot score. Caleb Williams to the Patriots? Please no.
Arizona Cardinals 9 (1-5) @ Los Angeles Rams 26 (3-3)
Overreaction: The Rams offense is as electric as ever. There are only two teams in the NFL right now who have a top 5 passer, top 5 rusher, and top 5 receiver. The Miami Dolphins, and the Los Angeles Rams. LA has a 35 year old quarterback in Matthew Stafford who has thrown for 1,677 yards (3rd), a second-year running back in Kyren Williams who has rushed for 456 yards (4th), and a rookie wide receiver in Puka Nacua who has 598 yards (4th), trailing just Tyreek Hill, AJ Brown, and Stefon Diggs. Nacua also is tied for the league lead with 50 receptions (Ja’Marr Chase). On Sunday, Nacua put up his lowest output of the season with just 26 yards, but was supplemented by a 148 yard performance by star receiver Cooper Kupp in his second game back from injury. Williams poured in 158 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground as well. LA was a popular pick to be the worst team in the league this year, and have instead taken a massive step forward, looking more like the team that won the Super Bowl two years ago and less like the team that was plagued by injuries and won just five games last year.
Philadelphia Eagles 14 (5-1) @ New York Jets 20 (3-3)
Overreaction: The Jets defense is going to be enough to propel them to the playoffs just in time for the return of Aaron Rodgers. Just hours after the previously undefeated 49ers lost to the Browns, the previously undefeated Eagles lost to the Jets, leaving zero undefeated teams remaining after just six weeks. After surrendering touchdowns on two of the Eagles first three drives, the Jets defense clamped down, going the final 35+ minutes without allowing a single point. The Jets forced 4 turnovers on the day, doing so without their top Cornerback Sauce Gardner, and several other key pieces down on defense. New York is tied for the 2nd most forced turnovers (13), tied with Buffalo and only trailing Jacksonville in the category. Quarterback Zach Wilson, who replaced the injured Aaron Rodgers on the fifth play of the opening game, has thrown just one interception in his last four games. If the Jets defense keeps performing like it should and Wilson and the offense take care of the ball, there’s no reason why they can’t end up in the postseason, perhaps just in time for the injured Aaron Rodgers to return.
Detroit Lions 20 (5-1) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6 (3-2)
Overreaction: The Lions are on their way to stealing the 1 seed in the NFC. For the second time in the last four games, Detroit’s defense did not allow a touchdown for the entire game. In fact, over the past four games, Detroit has allowed just one first half touchdown, while they’ve led at the half in each of the past five. The Lions are starting hot and coasting across the finish line. The good news for Detroit is that their schedule is favorable. The NFC North is weak and they already have a three game lead over their rivals. In the weeks ahead, they have games against Las Vegas, the Chargers, Chicago, and Green Bay. This weekend, however, awaits their toughest test since the Week 1 win over Kansas City. On Sunday, Detroit heads to Baltimore to take on the Ravens in what is surely to be a phenomenal game. If the Lions pull off the win (currently 3 point underdogs), they’ll be the favorites in every game they have left this season except for the Week 17 game @ Dallas. With a favorable schedule comes easier games, with easier games comes more wins, and with more wins comes the #1 seed in the NFC.
New York Giants 9 (1-5) @ Buffalo Bills 14 (4-2)
Overreaction: The Bills trip to London destroyed their rhythm. I don’t know why the Bills thought it’d be a good idea to fly to London on a Friday for their game on Sunday, leaving the team less than 48 hours to acclimate to the time difference and shake off the jetlag. Before the trip, the Bills had won their prior three games by scoring 38, 37, and 48, respectively. Since, they’ve scored 34 total. On Sunday night, with Buffalo’s former offensive coordinator, Brian Daboll, on the opposing sideline as the head coach of the Giants, Buffalo looked as bad as they’ve ever looked with Josh Allen at quarterback. The Bills were shutout in the first half, trailing 6-0 and it should have been more. In the second half, the Bills didn’t score until the opening play of the 4th quarter, on a touchdown pass from Allen to Deonte Harty. With under four minutes to play, Allen found Quintin Morris in the endzone to take the lead. It was Morris’ first catch of his NFL career. On the final play of the game, the Bills got away with what seemed to be a defensive penalty, ending the game in controversy. This is a long way of saying, the Bills have lost their mojo and it’s all thanks to a trip to London. Up next, it’s Bill Belichick’s inept Patriot’s offense to play host to Buffalo. The Bills can’t afford another lackluster performance this weekend.
Dallas Cowboys 20 (4-2) @ Los Angeles Chargers 17 (2-3)
Overreaction: It seems pretty clear that Dallas is not as good as we had originally thought. Against Daniel Jones, Zach Wilson, and Mac Jones, the Cowboys defense has given up an average of 6.5 PPG. Against Josh Dobbs, Brock Purdy, and Justin Herbert, they’ve given up an average of 29 PPG. I’m not saying the Dallas defense isn’t good, they clearly are a force to be reckoned with. However, it’s pretty clear that they are not at the elite level we might have thought after they allowed just 10 points in the first two weeks. Where Dallas thrives is defending the pass (3rd in the NFL), and turnover ratio, which is +6 (3rd in the NFL). The loss of star corner Trevon Diggs is perhaps hurting them more than we give credit. Regardless, the Cowboys clearly have a good team, but it’s not entirely clear if they are a legitimate Super Bowl contender just yet.
Week 6 Teams on Bye:
Green Bay Packers (2-3)
Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2)