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 5 - October 5-October 9, 2023
Chicago Bears 40 (1-4) @ Washington Commanders 20 (2-3)
Overreaction: I’ll never use Stubhub again. My pals and I had planned to go to the Commanders Bears TNF game over a month ago. We bought tickets through StubHub, third row upper deck, $54 per person, about as cheap as you’ll find for NFL tickets these days, especially for a game in prime time. StubHub, however, dropped the ball. I had used the third party ticketing service on several occasions, only this time I never actually got the tickets. There was no way to scan a barcode on my phone and Stubhub management would not help me with my problem. There we were, in the shadow of FedEx Field ready to take in our first in-person NFL game of the season, but we walked away shutout. Luckily, we didn’t miss an instant classic and DJ Moore and the Bears rolled the inconsistent Commanders.
Jacksonville Jaguars 25 (3-2) @ Buffalo Bills 20 (3-2) - London
Overreaction: The Buffalo Bills are completely fine when they don’t commit 4 turnovers and aren’t jetlagged. In Week 1, Buffalo lost to the Jets after Josh Allen’s fatal 4 turnover night. Then, Buffalo won three straight games by 28+ points. Back on track right? The Bills decided to carry this momentum to London and play the Jaguars after arriving in the UK just two days before the game. The Jaguars, meanwhile, played in London in Week 4 and had been there for well over a week at the time of kickoff against Buffalo. The Bills offense looked jetlagged, sputtering for just 7 first half points and didn’t score again until midway through the 4th quarter. Buffalo, just take care of the ball and get some sleep. Do that, and you’re fine.
Houston Texans 19 (2-3) @ Atlanta Falcons 21 (3-2)
Overreaction: The Falcons defense is legitimate enough to compensate for the inconsistent offense. This past offseason, Atlanta completely restructured its defense, adding defensive end Calais Campbell, safety Jessie Bates, linebacker Bud Dupree, cornerback Mike Hughes, and others. The return, through five weeks, is the 7th best defense in the NFL in total yards allowed while allowing just 16 points per game. In the Falcons two losses, the offense combined for just 13 points., averaging 6.5 PPG. In the wins, Atlanta scored 24, 25, and 21, respectively. If the offense can get in a groove, the defense is good enough to get control of games and lead the team to wins. If the offense can’t score, there’s only so much the newly-tooled defensive unit can do.
Carolina Panthers 24 (0-5) @ Detroit Lions 42 (4-1)
Overreaction: The Lions are one of the best teams in the NFL. Against the league’s only winless team, Detroit led 28-10 at halftime and cruised to an 18 point victory on Sunday. In the game, the Lions had five unique touchdown scorers, David Montgomery, Josh Reynolds, Sam LaPorta, Jared Goff, and Craig Reynolds. They did this without their best wide receiver, Amon-Ra St. Brown, and stud rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs. On defense, Detroit forced 3 turnovers of the struggling Carolina defense. It’s hard to say how the Lions currently stack up against the other powers of the NFC such as Dallas, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. They only play Dallas of those three and that’s not until Week 17. For now, a friendly Detroit schedule could see them continue to win games and climb up the standings in the NFC while taking control of the NFC North.
Tennessee Titans 16 (2-3) @ Indianapolis Colts 23 (3-2)
Overreaction: The Colts rushing attack is the real deal. The Tennessee Titans have a top ten rushing defense in the NFL and that’s after the Colts put up 193 yards on them. Coming into Sunday’s game in Indy, the Titans hadn’t allowed more than 78 rushing yards in a game this season. With running back Jonathan Taylor signing an extension to return to play, Tennessee was geared up for perhaps its biggest challenge yet. Fortunately for the Titans, they held Taylor in check, finishing with just 18 yards on 6 carries. Unfortunately for the Titans, they did not hold Zack Moss in check. The new Colts back played like a man trying to keep his RB1 job, going for 165 yards on 23 carries and 2 touchdowns. If the Colts end up having a two-headed monster at running back with Moss and Taylor, they could quickly turn into one of the more dangerous teams in the AFC.
New York Giants 16 (1-4) @ Miami Dolphins 31 (4-1)
Overreaction: The Giants without Saquon are maybe the worst offense in the league. On Sunday, for the third time this year, the Giants offense failed to score a touchdown. The only score came on a 102 yard pick six to make the end result look more respectable than it actually was. New York was nearly outgained 2x by Miami and lost by 15 despite generating 3 turnovers and never turning it over themselves. The Divisional Round playoff team from a year ago is off to the biggest flop start of any playoff team from last year. The good news is that the Giants might get Saquon back this week. The bad news? They’re @ Buffalo with the Bills coming off a loss.
New Orleans Saints 34 (3-2) @ New England Patriots 0 (1-4)
Overreaction: This is the worst New England has ever looked under Bill Belichick. The Patriots are a one win team (Jets) and haven’t scored a touchdown, offense or defense, in their last ten quarters of play. To follow up last week’s demoralizing 38-3 loss @ Dallas, the Patriots came home and didn’t score at all against a Saints team that, let’s face it, is not Dallas. New England has scored just 55 points this year, which is 7 less than anyone else. That’s an average of 11 points per game. If the team keeps losing by 30+ every week, they’ll have no choice but to replace quarterback Mac Jones. If that doesn’t work, could 6x Super Bowl champion Bill Belichick really be on the chopping block himself?
Baltimore Ravens 10 (3-2) @ Pittsburgh Steelers 17 (3-2)
Overreaction: The Ravens should be 5-0, but can’t stop shooting themselves in the foot. Just two weeks after blowing a late lead and losing at home to Indianapolis in OT, the Ravens went to Pittsburgh, controlled the game for 58 minutes, and blew it at the very end. With 1:17 to go, Steelers QB Kenny Pickett found George Pickens for a 41 yard touchdown to take the lead and win the game. This came as a part of 14 unanswered 4th quarter points, including the touchdown, two field goals, and a safety. The Ravens offense did not score a point over the final 42+ minutes of the 60 minute game, out-gaining Pittsburgh in both passing and rushing, but committing three crucial turnovers, including an interception by Lamar Jackson at the Pittsburgh 5 yard line. Had Baltimore won, they would have owned road victories over all three divisional opponents. Instead, the AFC North very much hangs in the balance due to the inconsistency and mistakes from the Ravens on offense.
Philadelphia Eagles 23 (5-0) @ Los Angeles Rams 14 (2-3)
Overreaction: The Eagles quietly have the best offense in the NFC. I know, I know, San Francisco has a terrific offense, but Philly is 2nd in the league in total yards per game, only trailing Miami. They’re also 2nd in rushing yards per game, again only trailing Miami. They put up 28.2 points per game, have the games most unstoppable short yardage play, and take care of the football. In the win over LA, the Eagles put up 454 yards of offense compared to the Rams 249. They probably should have put the game out of reach, but went just 2-6 in the red zone, keeping the Rams in the game. If Philadelphia can get better at finishing drives, these ‘close games’ will look more like they should on the scoreboard.
Cincinnati Bengals 34 (2-3) @ Arizona Cardinals 20 (1-4)
Overreaction: When you throw to Ja’Marr, good things happen. Coming into the game against Arizona, receiver Ja’Marr Chase had 284 yards on 29 catches and no touchdowns through four games. After last week’s abysmal 27-3 loss @ Tennessee, Chase was asked if he’s having trouble getting open, responding “I am open. I’m always f***ing open.” Well, turns out, he was right. In the win on Sunday, QB Joe Burrow targeted Chase a season-high 19 times, with Chase catching 15 for 192 yards and 3 touchdowns, including a 63 yard bomb from Burrow early in the second half. The Bengals should spend some more time throwing the ball to their best player, because even if it doesn’t look like it, he’s open.
Kansas City Chiefs 27 (4-1) @ Minnesota Vikings 20 (1-4)
Overreaction: Off to a 1-4 start, it is officially time for the Vikings to start looking toward the future. Even for me, I would say this is too early to give up, but the Vikings put star receiver Justin Jefferson on Injured Reserve on Tuesday, meaning he’ll miss at least the next four games due to a hamstring injury suffered on Sunday. Without the league’s best receiver running routes, while you’re already 1-4, where will the offense come from? The Vikings are 29th in the league in rushing, but 2nd in the league in passing. Their 281.6 yards per game is largely due to Jefferson’s 114.2 yards per game. Without him over the next month against Chicago, San Francisco, Green Bay, and Atlanta, what is this offense going to look like? Oh and only one of those games is at home…and it’s San Fran.
New York Jets 31 (2-3) @ Denver Broncos 21 (1-4)
Overreaction: I can’t believe I’m saying it, but the Jets aren’t done just yet. Following a close loss to the defending Super Bowl champs, the Jets went on the road and took down the lowly Broncos for a much-needed victory. The Jets put up 31 points despite going 0-5 in the red zone, and thanks to five field goals from Greg Zuerlein. The Jets are finally unleashing running back Breece Hall as well, who tore his ACL against Denver to end his rookie season a year ago. For the first time this season, Jets Head Coach Robert Saleh said Hall was not on a snap count, delivering 177 yards on 22 rushes and a touchdown, including the only offensive score, a 72 yard touchdown run on the opening drive of the second half. If Hall continues to thrive and if the Jets can just convert at a reasonable clip in the red zone, paired of course with one of the league’s best defenses, they may just end up sneaking into the postseason in a few months.
Dallas Cowboys 10 (3-2) @ San Francisco 49ers 42 (5-0)
Overreaction: It doesn’t seem like anyone in the league is going to beat the 49ers. Through the opening five weeks, there are just two QB’s who have not thrown an interception. One is Houston’s CJ Stroud, the other is San Francisco’s Brock Purdy. The 49ers have the best turnover differential in the NFL (+7) and have the #3 offense and #3 defense. If they maintain those numbers, or close to it, for the rest of the year, it’s not exactly clear how they might lose a game. Of the five games, four have been San Francisco wins by three possessions or more. With the parody of the NFL, they are bound to drop a game sooner or later, but for now, it’s hard to imagine what game that might be.
Green Bay Packers 13 (2-3) @ Las Vegas Raiders 17 (2-3)
Overreaction: The Packers offense is a serious problem. Four weeks ago, Green Bay had the ball with the lead or a chance to take the lead on three straight drives, failing to get a single first down on any of them. A week later, the offense failed to score for the first 49 minutes of the game, before pulling off a miraculous 18 point comeback in the final 11 minutes to win by 1. Last week, the Packers fell behind 24-3 before converting a first down. And finally, on Monday against Las Vegas, the Packers offense failed to drive to win the game despite three separate 4th quarter drives with an opportunity to do so, with two of those drives resulting in Jordan Love interceptions. Green Bay put up just 13 points, turned it over 3 times and went 1-3 in the red zone, while putting up 285 yards of offense. They have a potential ‘get right’ opponent in Denver following their bye this week. But if the offense remains this poor against the league’s worst defense while coming off a bye, they’re in real trouble.
Week 5 Bye Week Teams:
Cleveland Browns (2-2)
Los Angeles Chargers (2-2)
Seattle Seahawks (3-1)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1)