Zeke ran wild, Buffalo is 4-0 since the firing of Greg Roman, a questionable no call dooms the Falcons, and more analysis
Zeke Runs Wild in Green Bay
Ever since becoming the fourth pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the expectations for the crop top wearing Ezekiel Elliot have been sky high. Elliot brought with him a pedigree of success and excellence at every level he has played at, a large reason as to why Jerry Jones and the Cowboys defied conventional wisdom and chose a RB so early in the draft. Through a few weeks however, it appears that Jones and the first place Dallas Cowboys are having the last laugh. Through 6 weeks, Elliot leads the NFL in rushing by a rather wide margin with 703 yards, 157 of them coming in their Week 6 romp in Green Bay against the Packers and their league leading rush defense, who had given up the fewest total yards and yards per game rushing going into this game. Dallas dominated the trenches from the first possession, as Dallas defeated Green Bay in emphatic fashion by a score of 30-16.
Elliot was fed the ball early and often, rushing for 28 times in all, in addition to catching two passes for 17 yards, bringing his total to a whopping 30 touches. Although Elliot did dominate the game, the game would not have been won without the strong play of QB Dak Prescott, who turned in another excellent effort to bolster his already strong rookie year. Despite throwing his first NFL INT, Prescott 67% of his passes for 247 yards and 3 TDs, captaining the Cowboys to their fifth win in six tires. Terrance Williams, who has filled in admirably during Dez Bryant’s absence, led the ‘Boys with 4 catches for 75 yards and 1 TD.
The recent of success of Prescott has caused for a great deal of controversy throughout the NFL because of the man that Prescott replaced – Tony Romo. Romo, known for his gutsy play and propensity to getting injured, fractured a vertebra in his back in the preseason. Many wrote the Cowboys off for the year, not expecting Prescott to play well in during his time under center. However, Prescott has captained the Cowboys to their best record in five years, with the team eyeing a NFC East title and subsequent playoff birth. The decision will be difficult, as almost either way; the decision will be criticized, especially if the Cowboys begin to play poorly after the decision is ultimately made.
As for Green Bay, questions are piling up for a third consecutive week. Aaron Rodgers (31/42, 294, 1/1) has posted career low completion percentages and yardage totals this season, and his INT totals are up in relation to this point of the year. Jordy Nelson (5/68) has played well at times, but often struggles to create separation from certain defensive backs. Randall Cobb (7/53) has played inconsistently all year. Eddie Lacy (17/65) has been on and off, and is currently dealing with a balky ankle. Lacy’s replacement, James Starks, tore his meniscus and is out for at least a month, leading to a trade for the perennially underwhelming Charcandrick West. The offensive line is one of the lone bright spots, where Rodgers has only been sacked 6 times this season. Otherwise, the secondary is a mess, the run defense is solid, and a home game against the equally underwhelming Chicago Bears looms, where Green Bay will have a chance to right the ship.
Next week, the 5-1 Dallas Cowboys will go on bye, heading back to Dallas to take on Philadelphia after the bye. The 3-2 Green Bay Packers will take on the 1-5 Chicago Bears on Thursday Night Football in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Bills Trounce Hapless 49ers
Although many media and news outlets were only covering Colin Kaepernick and his national anthem protests, many forget that Kaepernick was the starting QB for the San Francisco 49ers this week for the first time all season. His outing, however, was less than stellar. With an abysmal final line of 13/29 with 187/1 plus 8/66 rushing, Kaepernick routinely looked out of sync with his receivers. Despite rocking an excellent Afro, Kaepernick struggled in nearly every facet of the game, piloting the 49ers already struggling offense to a 45-16 drubbing to the Buffalo Bills. Carlos Hyde had a line of 14/52, with Torrey Smith chipping in 3/76/1, but this game was over as soon as the third quarter began.
Despite being only ahead by a score of 17-13 at halftime, Rex Ryan and his halftime adjustments changed the whole landscape of the game once the third quarter began. LeSean McCoy, the second leading rusher in the league, had a fantastic line of 19/140/3, while the Bills combined for 312 yards in total on the ground. Totals such as these make it no surprise that the Bills are the number one rushing team yardage wise in the NFL, but perhaps what is more important is that the Bills, even if you were to take out their yards taken after contact, would still be fourth overall in overall rushing yards. With the likes of Tyrod Taylor, McCoy, Reggie Bush, and Mike Gillislee, the Bills are simply trampling teams on the ground. This change in philosophy comes after the firing of Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman, who believed in airing the ball out early and often. This offense, although feasible with certain personnel, was not applicable for QB Tyrod Taylor, a more mobile and run first type of QB. However, the change to dedicate the offense to the running game has paid dividends, as the Bills are 4-0 since the firing of Roman.
Next week, the rejuvenated Buffalo Bills (4-2) head to Miami to take on the Dolphins, while the San Francisco 49ers (1-5) head back home to take on Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Seahawks Ground the Falcons in Seattle
Richard Sherman is known for many things. Although he is one of the great shutdown cornerbacks the league has seen, he is perhaps known for his trash talk first and foremost. Despite having a propensity to talk smack, Sherman was noticeably silent after a very questionable final play that saw Sherman use some questionable defensive tactics to break up a pass with Julio Jones to seal the Seattle Seahawks win over the Atlanta Falcons by a score of 26-24.
The Falcons played well, with their top ranked offense playing well despite the Seahawks top ranked defense in terms of yards allowed. Matt Ryan, the leading passer in the league, had a line of 27/45 with 335 yards and 3/1. Julio Jones, despite being held on the final play, had a line of 7/139/1, becoming the yardage leader for receivers in the process. Their ground game was halted as a whole, with Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman combining for 17 carries for 50 yards. The front seven of Seattle was able to bottle up Freeman and Coleman, limiting their big play ability and holding on for a win.
Seattle saw a gutsy performance from QB Russell Wilson, who registered a line of 25/37 for 270 yards, to lead the Seahawks to the win. Although the stat line was not stellar, Wilson continued moving the chains when needed, leading the Seahawks down the field with less than two minutes left for a Steven Hauschka game winning field goal.
The Falcons were given the ball with about a minute and a half left, but with the missed holding call on fourth down, the Falcons were forced to leave Seattle the losers in the contest, falling to 4-2, while the Seahawks defended CenturyLink Field yet again, improving to 4-1 on the year. Next week, the Seahawks head to Arizona to take on the Cardinals on Monday Night Football, while the Atlanta Falcons head back home to take on the San Diego Chargers.
San Diego 21, Denver 13
Trevor Siemian struggles in his return to the lineup; Von Miller is still a beast; Chargers hold onto a fourth quarter lead
Washington 27, Philadelphia 20
Miami 30, Pittsburgh 15
Tennessee 28, Cleveland 26
Despite the AP being less than impressed with the Titans, they move past the lowly Browns
New England 35, Cincinnati 17
NY Giants 27, Baltimore 23
Detroit 31, Los Angeles 28
Jim Caldwell used all his emotion last week, yet the Lions defeat the stingy D of the Rams
Kansas City 26, Oakland 10
Houston 26, Indianapolis 23
The Colts choke (or puke all over the carpet) away a 14 point lead in the last 8 minutes
Arizona 28, NY Jets 3
David Johnson had 3 TDs as Cardinals crush the hapless Jets
Week 7 Picks
Home team in CAPS (Lines as of 10/18)
Chicago (+8.5) over GREEN BAY
NY Giants (-3.5) over LOS ANGELES (Played in London)
Minnesota (-2) over PHILADELPHIA
KANSAS CITY (-7) over New Orleans
Washington (+2) over DETROIT
CINCINNATI (-9.5) over Cleveland
Buffalo (-2.5) over MIAMI
Oakland (Even) over JACKSONVILLE
Indianapolis (-2.5) over TENNESSEE
Baltimore (Even) over NY Jets
ATLANTA (-5.5) over San Diego
Tampa Bay (-1) over SAN FRANCISCO
New England (-7.5) over PITTSBURGH
Seattle (+1) over ARIZONA
DENVER (-6.5) over Houston
Byes: Carolina, Dallas
Last Week: 7-6-1
All Time: 45-28-2
Week 5 NFL Recap: http://wiux.org/2016/10/11/10617/
Luke Hallett is a sophomore at Indiana University, and his radio show Gerky Gerk and The Funky Bunch, is on WIUX 99.1 FM on Fridays from 6-7PM EST.