Week 6 brought about plenty of controversy and upsets. The Dallas Cowboys were supposed to have an easy bounce back win over the 0-4 New York Jets, but ignited by the return of Sam Darnold, the Jets stunned the Cowboys 24-22. Also, both the San Francisco 49ers and Houston Texans were underdogs at Los Angeles and Kansas City, but both came out with huge victories. Lastly, the referees once again became the center of attention as two phantom illegal hands to the face on Detroit Lions’ defensive end Trey Flowers contributed to a fourth quarter Packers’ comeback and helped them win 23-22. Here are my thoughts after Week 6’s action.
- The Steelers’ defense looks nasty with the addition of Minkah Fitzpatrick. In the four games they have played since they traded next year’s first round pick for him, they have had 13 takeaways. They have also neutralized the 49ers, Chargers and Ravens’ offenses. As the young defense continues to gel and gain experience, they could end up becoming nasty down the road.
- Kirk Cousins is having a better season than most people are giving him credit for. Among quarterbacks that have started at least four games, Cousins has the third highest passer rating behind MVP candidates Russell Wilson and Patrick Mahomes. Cousins does struggle against elite defenses such as the Packers and Bears but takes advantage of weaker defenses. With a great running back in Dalvin Cook and two terrific wide receivers in Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, the Vikings should continue to take advantage of inferior and banged up defenses. But the problem is that is not going to cut it come playoff time.
- The Panthers need to trade Cam Newton. When he was the starter this season, the Panthers were 0-2. Without him, they are 4-0. Kyle Allen has stepped in and performed marvelously with seven touchdowns and zero interceptions. Allen needs to be given the keys to the offense for the foreseeable future, which means moving on from their former MVP and franchise quarterback. The buy week allows him to get healthier, and the Tennessee Titans need to scoop him up. They were just shut out by the 1-4 Denver Broncos and only scored seven points against the Buffalo Bills. Ryan Tannehill is not the long-term solution over the now benched Marcus Mariota. If Newton can stay healthy, he will thrive in a Titans’ system that matches his style of play.
- While everyone is calling for Jason Garrett’s head in Dallas, the real problem with this team and why they are on a three-game losing streak is the soft defensive play calling. I have no idea why the defense is playing so soft on opposing wide receivers as Teddy Bridgewater converted third down after third down against them, and the last two weeks, they were torched by Aaron Rodgers without his best receiver and Sam Darnold who hadn’t played since Week 1. Rod Marinelli needs to start being more aggressive and using the talent he has at his disposal or he’s just going to continue to hang Dak and Zeke out to dry.
- San Francisco is continuing to look more and more impressive, but they have played some of the worst offensive lines in the NFL such as the Bengals, Browns and Rams. After this week’s matchup at Washington, they will take on the 4-2 Carolina Panthers. That game will determine just how good this team is.
- The Detroit Lions continue to have the worst luck. They should have beaten the Kansas City Chiefs but loss due to questionable replay rulings. Monday Night, they lost with some horrible phantom calls that should not have been called. It is sad a very good team is losing games they should win but let’s not just blame the referees. The Lions settled for five field goals and against a very good Green Bay Packers team on the road, that’s not good enough. Yes, the Lions were screwed over royally by officiating, but as usual, the referees are never the sole reason for a team losing.
- There is a simple solution to fixing the heinous referee issues: a sky judge. There should be a non-partial NFL employee at each game that watches replays of every play and if there is an egregious call like the two phantom hands-to-the-face on Trey Flowers or no-call like in last year’s NFC Championship Game, then he should buzz down and let the officials know so they can fix the error. It’s like a copy editor editing a quick news article.