SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports NFL insider Jarrett Bell explains why the New Orleans Saints have impressed him probably the most of any 7-2 group.
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Buffalo Bills working again LeSean McCoy (25) runs the ball in the course of the first half in opposition to the New Orleans Saints at New Era Field.(Photo: Timothy T. Ludwig, USA TODAY Sports)
With the second half of the NFL season in full swing, some groups are beginning to separate from the pack, whereas others fall behind. Yet with so many video games remaining, drawing conclusions concerning the postseason image at this level could be a idiot’s errand.
Here are 4 overreactions from Week 10 that we’re pushing again on:
The Bills are not playoff contenders after dropping two straight
As unhealthy because the defeats have been — and it doesn’t get a lot worse than the 47-10 thrashing the Saints placed on Buffalo — the Bills (5-Four) are nonetheless holding down the sixth and last playoff spot within the AFC.
The guide on Buffalo is fairly easy. The Bills keep aggressive by successful the turnover battle, working successfully and stopping opponents’ dashing recreation.
Quarterback Tyrod Taylor can successfully handle a recreation, however provided that that menace of a constant dashing badault is there. Without it, Taylor is vulnerable to the form of dud efficiency (9 for 18, 56 yards, one interception) that he posted in opposition to New Orleans.
Buffalo nonetheless leads the NFL in turnover differential at +11. In victories, the quantity is +12. In losses, it’s -1.
The Bills have taken important steps in what initially gave the impression to be an extended rebuild. But they’ve additionally confirmed they’re not proficient sufficient to grind out video games if their components falls aside.
The saving grace is a top-heavy AFC. Despite its shortcomings, Buffalo nonetheless has a path to sneak in as a wild card and snap a 17-year playoff drought.
More: ‘GQ’ journal names Colin Kaepernick its Citizen of the Year
The Cowboys are completed with out Ezekiel Elliott
Dallas suffered a 20-point loss whereas its star working again served the primary of his six-game suspension.
Elliott’s absence wasn’t the first subject. It was that of all-pro left sort out Tyron Smith, who missed the sport due to again and groin accidents. Falcons defensive finish Adrian Clayborn victimized backup Chaz Green and set a single-game franchise file with six sacks.
In NFL historical past, just one participant – late Chiefs Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Thomas – had extra in a single recreation with seven.
Atlanta sacked Dak Prescott eight occasions and hit him 10 occasions.
The offesnive couldn’t create creases within the dashing recreation, both, as he Falcons collected 9 tackles behind the road of scrimmage. More and extra, not re-signing left guard Ronald Leary this offseason and changing him with the inconsistent Jonathan Cooper is wanting like a vital mistake.
Still, the Cowboys mixed for a good 107 dashing yards, on 21 carries for a mean of simply greater than 5 yards per try.
The Cowboys’ offense is clearly higher with Elliott in it. But at 5-Four and nonetheless within the thick of a wide-open NFC playoff subject, they will keep afloat with out him, as long as the road returns to setting the tone.
More: Dallas Cowboys look absent, too, in first recreation with out Ezekiel Elliott
More: NFL’s woes highlighted by frosty silence between Jerry Jones, Arthur Blank
The 49ers gained, so Jimmy Garoppolo ought to proceed to sit down
Rookie coach Kyle Shanahan claimed his first victory with San Francisco in a 31-21 win in opposition to a reeling Giants group.
Rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard turned in his finest efficiency of the season, accounting for 3 whole touchdowns and finishing 19 of 25 pbades for 288 yards. He had completions of 83 and 47 yards, each of which went for scores.
So does that imply the Niners can hold Jimmy Garoppolo on the shelf?
Not fairly. San Francisco traded for Garoppolo on Oct. 30, and he has served as Beathard’s backup the previous two video games. With the 49ers set to enter their bye in Week 11, that is the right alternative for the previous Patriots backup to immerse himself within the playbook, soak up the language and ideas Shanahan needs to run and emerge in Week 12 because the group’s starter in opposition to the Seahawks.
The 49ers have mentioned they want Garoppolo to ultimately turn into their franchise quarterback. The second half of the season affords the right likelihood to see if that’s possible.
Holding the No. 1 seed, the Steelers are the highest group within the AFC
Pittsburgh has a foul behavior of taking part in right down to its stage of competitors at occasions, and that tendency resurfaced in opposition to the Colts.
The Steelers wanted a last-second subject objective from Chris Boswell to notch a 20-17 win. Indianapolis is a group in shambles, and Pittsburgh has far superior expertise on its roster.
And this was a Steelers group coming off its bye.
The chief concern is an offense that has underwhelmed after getting into the yr as one of many league’s most touted items. Pittsburgh (7-2) has but to crack 30 factors in a recreation. Against the Colts, the Steelers gained a season-low 92 yards within the first half and confronted a 10-Three deficit.
A group that boasts Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell shouldn’t rank 18th in scoring (20.eight factors a recreation). Turnovers have been one of many main issues, as Pittsburgh has given the ball away 13 occasions.
The Steelers’ schedule units up favorably, except for their Week 15 showdown in opposition to Tom Brady and the Patriots. Even although it presently sits behind Pittsburgh due to tiebreakers, New England appears way more balanced, and way more harmful.
Follow Lorenzo Reyes on Twitter @LorenzoGReyes.
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