Just when you thought you could count on a few things during this NFL season, it was another week of teams making some subtle moves within their divisions.
It was another wild week in the NFL but not a great deal of changes in terms of the standings. One notable exception may be the Houston Texans, who opened the season 0-3 and are now in three-way tie with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans. Here’s a look at all eight divisions entering the San Francisco 49ers’ Monday night appearance at Lambeau Field.
AFC East: Just when it looked like the Miami Dolphins were on their way to third straight loss, the team rallied to knock off the visiting Chicago Bears in overtime. But Adam Gase’s team is looking up tie-breaker wise at the New England Patriots, who handed the Kansas City Chiefs their first loss of 2018 with a last-second 43-40 win. The New York Jets are back at .500 thanks to two straight wins, while the Buffalo Bills are the lone team in the division with a losing record.
AFC North: The Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens picked up key road wins on Sunday, while the Cincinnati Bengals (losers to Mike Tomlin’s team, 28-21) and Cleveland Browns (38-14 loss to Chargers) took it on the chin in their own building. The latter is now on the only team in the AFC North below .500, while the Steelers (3-2-1) are now just one-half game behind the 4-2 Bengals and Ravens.
AFC South: It sounds like a broke record. Bill O’Brien’s Texans owned a 0-3 record. While the team rallied to beat the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, the Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts all lost for the second consecutive week. Tennessee is technically leading the AFC South with a 3-3 record. But suddenly there’s quite the divisional logjam and it’s anyone’s guess who’s playing the best football these days.
AFC West: For the second consecutive year, the Kansas City Chiefs opened with five straight wins and failed to get to 6-0. The team fell just short at New England, 43-40, and suddenly is just one game ahead of the rejuvenated Los Angeles Chargers, who have won three straight games after a 1-2 start. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the Denver Broncos lost their fourth consecutive game after a 2-0 start and the Raiders dropped to 1-5 with a 27-3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks at London’s Wembley Stadium.
NFC East: Six days after Jay Gruden’s Washington Redskins were humbled at New Orleans, the team rebounded with a 23-17 victory over the Carolina Panthers and are all alone atop the NFC East once again with a 3-2 record. Both the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys came up with decisive wins this week, while the disappointing New York Giants have dropped three straight games.
NFC North: Although the team remains in first place, the vaunted Chicago Bears’ defense couldn’t protect a double-digit lead at Miami and the team’s three-game winning streak came to an end in overtime. The Minnesota Vikings have won two straight games for the first time this season. The Lions were off in Week 6 while the Packers host the 49ers on Monday night.
NFC South: The defending NFC South champion New Orleans Saints (4-1) have now won four straight but have a stiff task ahead of them this weekend as they travel to Baltimore. The Carolina Panthers are only one game behind but have yet to figure out how to win on the road this season. The battered Falcons snapped a three-game losing streak on Sunday but still sit in the basement at 2-4. And the Buccaneers’ 2-0 start has turned into a 2-3 reality.
NFC West: Sean McVay’s club is 6-0 and the lone unbeaten team in the NFL. The Rams have eeked out back-to-back wins at Seattle (33-31) and at Denver (23-20). The team heads to San Francisco for a third consecutive road game on Sunday. Don’t look now but the Seattle Seahawks have won three of their last four games after a 0-2 start. The Niners head to Green Bay Monday night while the 1-5 Cardinals have scored a combined 82 points in six games.