Week Six of the NFL season awaits Monday Night Football and it has seen a plethora of eye-popping moments. Eight takeaways from this week -
The Patriots are not the fading dynasty - One of the Buffalo papers did a pregame piece suggesting the Patriots were a fading dynasty. The Patriots instead showcased they're in a transition period where they keep winning. Despite having to put struggling rookie Jordan Devey into the offensive line's lineup, the Patriots once again handled the Bills' much-hyped defensive line, while Tom Brady's deep bomb returned. The first bomb was a touchdown for Brian Tyms, who'd been Jimmy Garoppolo's go-to guy in preseason and had shown more than enough to take him seriously - as well as indicate the offense is being built with Garoppolo down the road in mind as well as with Brady in mind.
The Steelers are becoming irrelevant in the AFC North - They're not the same old Browns, and the Steelers once again prove they're not the same Steelers, which means the AFC North is now a three-way race and the Steelers have fallen out of it. The Browns are now making legitimate noise, the Ravens continue to showcase an explosiveness on offense not seen since Anthony Wright's late-2003 points eruption (scoring 31 or more points in four of Baltimore's last six games that year), and the Bengals get the tie to stop the bleeding of the massacre in Foxboro, though Mike Nugent's clutchness comes into question after his awful shank-job of a kick.
The Cowboys - for now - look like the real deal - Beating the Seahawks in Seattle is the eye-opener of the weekend and DeMarco Murray is making a case for league MVP. We shouldn't be fooled by this, though, given Tony Romo's inevitable display of ineptitude. It's all made the NFC East a two-way fight between the Eagles and Cowboys, though the Giants may still get something going.
The Broncos are showing they can't seal the deal - The Broncos loafed on a lead against the NY Jets and needed a dumb throw by Geno Smith - turned into a pick six by Aqib Talib - to win 31-17, this after racing to a lead but not putting the Jets away. It was the exact same pattern shown against the Colts and Chiefs, and it's cropped up again. It bodes ill going forward with San Diego and New England - both surging - looming in a few weeks.
The Colts are still tops in the AFC South - They did, however, get a scare from a Houston team clawing its way back to competitive legitimacy. Any threat from the Titans or Jaguars appears gone as the Jaguars still try to get a win while the Titans struggle through quarterback issues.
The NFC North stays mediocre - The Packers pulled off the win at Miami and had a fight on their hands to get it - even to using a fake spike throw in the final seconds. The Lions meanwhile manhandled the slumping Vikings and the Bears got the win over a Falcons team that's not what we thought they were. Nowhere do any of these teams exhibit the kind of muscle needed to take the next step.
The Panthers begin pulling away in the NFC South - The Bucs were ripped to shreds so fast the audience at Raymond James Stadium left by halftime and didn't come back. The Falcons have begun to falter again, and the Saints go through their bye week wondering what happened to their season. The Panthers got the ultimate head-scratcher of a tie game at Cincinnati, but a tie is better than a loss and it's helping them inch away in the division.
The Jets need to clean house - yet again - Rex Ryan has proven he should not have been hired to begin with as the Jets prove themselves dysfunctional and incapable of getting it right. The attempt in some quarters to shift blame to John Idzik is pathetic because the collapse of the Jets was visible to all even when the Jets made the playoffs in Ryan's first two seasons - the lack of discipline, the fact the offense had to be dumbed down for Mark Sanchez, and the inability to take any next step. It's the same old Jets, and that there is talk of drafting Jameis Winston because of the need for a Name shows people STILL won't get it. The Jets need to build a program, they need to stop falling in love with Names, and they need to stop caring about what the back page says.
So it goes as we await Monday Night's mayhem involving the NFC West.