Week 6 of the 2015 National Football League season was highly entertaining, to say the least. We saw two games go into overtime, multiple upsets, arguably the worst fake punt attempt in league history, several big-time individual performances, and one team’s bid for a perfect season come to an end — all with four teams resting on bye weeks. With that being said, here is a look at the five biggest takeaways from Week 6 of the 2015 NFL season.
1. The New York Jets look like a team that is going to win 10 or more games in 2015.
The Jets are on track to be the biggest turnaround team in the league in 2015. We knew coming into the season that Todd Bowles’ team would have a strong defense given the personnel that they have on that side of the ball, and they haven’t disappointed, leading the league in points allowed per game. What we didn’t envision was them being as strong as they have been offensively.
Behind a great start to the season by Chris Ivory (pictured above), the Jets have the No. 1 ranked rushing offense in the league, and are scoring just under 26 points per game, which is the seventh-highest total in the NFL this season. The Jets are currently owners of a 4-1 record, meaning that they will need to be slightly better than a .500 football team for the remainder of the season to finish with 10 wins in 2015.
2. The Pittsburgh Steelers are a legitimate contender in the AFC.
Many people were ready to write the Steelers off after they lost quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to a sprained knee in their Week 3 win over the St. Louis Rams. Well, as we’ve learned over the past three weeks, that would clearly be a mistake. The Steelers have gone 2-1 in Roethlisberger’s absence, which has been good enough to keep them in contention in the AFC North.
Furthermore, their talent on the offensive side of the ball in unmistakable, as they have averaged 24 points per game without their franchise quarterback on the field. When Roethlisberger does return to their lineup, the Steelers could have the NFL’s top overall offense to go with their surprisingly stout defense. Needless to say, this is not a team that the New England Patriots, Cincinnati Bengals, or Denver Broncos will want to run into when the AFC Playoffs come around.
3. It’s time to start taking the Carolina Panthers seriously.
We are just as guilty as anyone else of underestimating and underappreciating the Panthers in 2015, and it’s time to give credit where credit is due. With their 27-23 road win over the defending NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks in Week 6, the Panthers proved to the rest of the league that they can play with, and beat, any team on their schedule in any venue in the country.
On top of that, their quarterback, Cam Newton, has emerged as a bona fide NFL MVP candidate this year. Don’t be surprised if this team challenges the Green Bay Packers for the right to have home field advantage throughout the NFC Playoffs.
4. The New England Patriots may be beatable after all.
Through their first four games of the season it looked as though the Patriots would simply breeze through their entire 2015 schedule and enter the postseason with a 16-0 record. They still may do just that, but their 34-27 Week 6 win over the Indianapolis Colts showed that we shouldn’t crown them the AFC champions just yet. Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck had a lot of success throwing the ball and the Colts’ rushing attack averaged 5.5 yards per carry against New England’s defense.
More importantly, for the first time in over a year, an opposing defense made New England quarterback Tom Brady look uncomfortable — something that may have been a direct result of them losing left tackle Nate Solder for the year with a torn biceps. All said, the Patriots are still our favorites to be the team representing the AFC in Super Bowl 50, but the thought of them losing a game or two along the way doesn’t seem that farfetched.
5. The Baltimore Ravens appear destined to have a top-five pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Leading up to the 2015 season, many experts were choosing the Ravens to win the AFC championship, and some even had them winning the Super Bowl this year. After six weeks of the season, it looks like the Ravens have a better chance at landing the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft than they do at winning a conference or Super Bowl title.
The Ravens are now 1-5 after losing to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 6, and they look like a team that is regressing as the year goes on. Most of their disappointing season can be attributed to them being depleted by injuries, but at the same time, their top players, including quarterback Joe Flacco, have pretty much all had lackluster seasons thus far. After a closer look at the remaining games on their schedule, we would be shocked if this team doesn’t finish the season with 10 or more losses.
All statistics courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.