There was a lot to take in from the NFL action during week five. Some teams looked good, others looked bad. One thing is clear. There are plenty of story lines to watch. Which ones stood out?
Sean Payton and Drew Brees have one more good crack at a title
There is no question the best team in the league at present is the 5-0 New Orleans Saints. They have Sean Payton back and Drew Brees still under center but now a top ten defense under Rob Ryan. It is the most balanced team the duo has had since 2009, which means they have as good a shot at a second championship as they’ll probably have ever again what with Brees turning 35 in January.
Russell Wilson may be the Seattle Seahawks Achilles heel
His rookie year was a marvel to behold and he’s still very dangerous when he runs but it’s clear Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson struggles with inconsistency. He takes too many sacks and is careless with the football at times, having a fumble in every games this season. His latest effort against Indianapolis showed how inefficient a passer he is, completing just 48%. If the Seahawks have grand plans to win the Super Bowl, they better hope Wilson improves otherwise will just load the box to stop Marshawn Lynch and wait for him to make a mistake.
Alshon Jeffery is becoming a monster for the Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears offense is still trying to find itself through the first third of the season but it’s clear they’re making progress. A huge sign is the exploding production of second-year receiver Alshon Jeffery. After a quiet first three games to the season, he collected 107 yards in Detroit and torched the Saints #5 pass defense for 218 a week later. If Chicago can get him and Brandon Marshall going at the same time, which hasn’t happened yet, the Bears could become a serious problem for NFL defenses to handle the rest of the season.
Matthew Stafford is useless without Calvin Johnson
Does the quarterback make the receiver or does the receiver make the quarterback? The simplest answer is it can go both ways. Detroit Lions fans got their answer on Matthew Stafford in week five. Playing without stud receiver Calvin Johnson who nursed a knee injury, Stafford looked lost at time and though his numbers say he had an okay game, the reality is the Lions offense was terrible. Stafford was sacked five times by Green Bay, this after going down just three times in the first four games. Losing Nate Burleson was one thing, but it’s clear the quarterback can’t function without Johnson.
Tony Romo keeps failing Dallas Cowboys when it matters
Jerry Jones continues to passionately defend Tony Romo despite the growing pile of evidence stating that he is a big reason why the Dallas Cowboys can’t win. The latest loss to the Denver Broncos was the whole story in a nutshell. Romo goes crazy on the stat line for over 500 yards passing and five touchdown passes. Yet when the game was tied with plenty of time left and Dallas needed a drive, Romo throws a bad interception on a forced pass despite having an easy check down wide open. Such passes have become the cornerstone of the Romo biography, the Cowboys will never stop seeing it until he’s gone.
Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning could meet in the playoffs
The Denver Broncos are the obvious favorite in the AFC thanks to Peyton Manning and his record-setting pace but they may have a serious contender rising to the challenge. How perfect that it’s the Indianapolis Colts and Andrew Luck, the young quarterback who replaced Manning when he left Indy two years ago. The Colts are riding a winning streak that culminated in a huge win over the Seattle Seahawks. They are strong on offense and defense. If any team can challenge Denver in the playoffs, it seems like it’s them. Start writing those story lines.