Through six weeks, this NFL season is beginning to take its shape. It’s starting to become clear which teams are the teams to beat in each conference as well as which ones will be fighting for playoff and wild card positions all year long. So far, it seems the AFC North is set to be the league’s best and most competitive division with the Bengals, Ravens and Steelers all in prime position to be playoff contenders. Additionally, the Patriots and Chiefs seem to be the class of the AFC up to this point in the season, and their matchup this past weekend in Foxborough showed why (more on that later).
As for the NFC, the 6-0 Rams appear to be the class of the NFC, and the league as a whole. At 4-1, the Saints are also looking like one of the NFC’s best thanks to their high-powered offense. An upcoming road matchup this week in Baltimore will be their first big test. The NFC North is shaping up to be the most contentious NFC division with three playoff contenders, albeit highly flawed ones, in the Vikings, Packers and Bears. On the flip side, the NFC East may wind up being one of the most competitive divisions in football, but only because none of the four teams are very good. With all that said, here’s a recap of everything that happened in week six.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Entering the game at 4-1, this was a bit of a “prove it” game for the Bengals with the division rival Steelers coming into town. On the other side, the Steelers knew stealing a game from the first place Bengals on the road would pay huge dividends in getting back into the division race. This game was tightly contested throughout and it came down to the game’s final seconds. With 1:18 remaining, Joe Mixon capped off a great drive by the Bengals with a four-yard touchdown run to take a 21-20 lead. That, however, left too much time on the clock for Ben Roethlisberger and Pittsburgh. Big Ben and company marched right down the field and got into field goal range with a little under 20 seconds remaining in the game. They decided to run one last play and ran a quick slant to Antonio Brown that he took all the way into the end zone for the game winning touchdown with just 10 seconds remaining to give the Steelers a massive 28-21 road victory. After digging themselves into a big hole to start the season, the Steelers have won two in a row and are now just a half a game out of first place in the AFC North at 3-2-1.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Dallas Cowboys
In one of the most surprising results of last weekend, the Cowboys absolutely manhandled the Jaguars 40-7 in Dallas. After getting out to a 3-1 start, including a convincing 31-20 victory over New England, the Jags seemed poised to be one of the AFC’s top contenders yet again. Since then, they’ve been dominated the past two weeks by the Chiefs and Cowboys. Over the two weeks, Jacksonville has been outscored 70-21 and Blake Bortles has thrown five interceptions in that time period. In Dallas last Sunday, the Cowboys offense was firing on all cylinders. Ezekiel Elliott was dominant as usual, rushing for 106 yards and a touchdown. Dak Prescott also had his best game of the season throwing for an efficient 183 yards and two touchdowns to go along with 82 rushing yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. At a surprising 3-3, the Cowboys are right in the thick of things in the weak NFC East.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. New England Patriots
This Sunday Night Football game in Foxboro was the offensive showdown of the year up to this point. In a 43-40 win by the Patriots that ended with a last-second game-winning field goal by Stephen Gostkowski, there was a total of just one punt the entire game. The first half was all Patriots, as they stifled the vaunted Chiefs offense and forced two Patrick Mahomes interceptions to jump out to a 24-9 halftime lead. The second half, however, was a different story as Mahomes and company came out firing, scoring 17 points in the third. After the Patriots made a long field goal with just over three minutes remaining, the Chiefs scored on their first play of the drive on an amazing 75-yard touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill where he outran the entire Pats defense. They scored too quickly though, and left Tom Brady with too much time to march down the field and kick a last second 28-yard field goal. This was the most exciting game of the year thus far, and a playoff rematch between these two wouldn’t surprise anyone.