The NFL enters Week 6 after a thrilling weekend of action. In Week 5, 10 of the 14 games (71.4 percent) were decided by six points or fewer – tied for the highest percentage of such games in a single week over the past 25 seasons. The average margin of victory in Week 5 was 7.93 points, the fifth-lowest mark in a single week over the past five seasons.
While the competition on the field remains close, so do the standings. There are currently 20 teams with a .500 or better record. Leading the pack is the league’s only remaining unbeaten club, the 5-0 Kansas City Chiefs. Since 1990, when the current 12-team playoff format was adopted, 44 of the previous 50 teams (88 percent) to start 5-0 made the playoffs.
There are three teams – all in the NFC – with four victories this season: Carolina (4-1), Green Bay (4-1) and Philadelphia (4-1). Two other clubs – Atlanta (3-1) and Denver (3-1) – also have only one loss through Week 5. Since 1990, 111 of the previous 145 teams (76.6 percent) to start 4-1 have made the playoffs.
Heading into Week 6, there are four teams which have currently won at least three consecutive games: Kansas City (five), Green Bay (three), the New York Jets (three) and Philadelphia (three). And while not every team is on a hot streak, there are plenty of games remaining in the season for teams to turn it around. Since 1990, 57 teams have advanced to the postseason after starting the season 2-3 or worse. There were three such teams last season – Miami (1-4), Detroit (2-3) and the New York Giants (2-3).
So don’t count anyone out. The only thing predictable about the NFL is the unpredictability.
Week 6 begins on Thursday night with a matchup between two 4-1 clubs as the Eagles visit the Panthers (8:25 PM ET, CBS/NFL Network/Amazon Prime). The week concludes with a pair of primetime match-ups as the Denver Broncos host the New York Giants on Sunday night (8:30 PM ET, NBC) and the Indianapolis Colts travel to Tennessee to meet the Titans on Monday night (8:30 PM ET, ESPN). Some of the key games in Week 6:
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (4-1) at CAROLINA PANTHERS (4-1) (Thursday, CBS/NFLN/Amazon Prime, 8:25 PM ET)
- The Eagles have won three consecutive games, including last week’s 34-7 victory over Arizona. Phildelphia leads the NFC in total offense (397.8 yards per game) and ties for second in the conference with 137 points scored.
- Philadelphia quarterback CARSON WENTZ completed 21 of 30 passes (70 percent) for 304 yards with four touchdowns and one interception for a 128.3 passer rating in the win over Arizona. Wentz, who completed seven of nine passes (77.8 percent) for 121 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 158.3 passer rating in the first quarter, is the only quarterback in franchise history to throw three touchdown passes in the first quarter of a game.
- Carolina leads the NFC South with a 4-1 record and won its second consecutive game with last week’s 27-24 victory at Detroit. The Panthers rank first in the NFC in total defense, allowing an average of 274 yards per game.
- Last week against the Lions, Carolina tight end ED DICKSON had five catches for 175 yards. He is the second tight end in NFL history to have at least 175 receiving yards on five or fewer catches in a single game (DAVE KOCOUREK, December 10, 1961). Panthers quarterback CAM NEWTON recorded his second consecutive game with at least 300 passing yards and three touchdowns and has completed 48 of 62 passes (77.4 percent) for 671 yards with six touchdowns and one interception for a 137.2 passer rating in his past two games.
GREEN BAY PACKERS (4-1) at MINNESOTA VIKINGS (3-2) (Sunday, FOX, 1:00 PM ET)
- The Packers have won three games in a row, including last week’s 35-31 come-from-behind victory at Dallas. Green Bay ties for second in the NFC with 137 points scored and aims for the team’s third consecutive game with at least 35 points.
- Green Bay quarterback AARON RODGERS threw three touchdown passes in the win at Dallas, including the game-winning 12-yard strike to wide receiver DAVANTE ADAMS with 11 seconds remaining in the contest. Adams had two touchdown catches in the game and wide receiver JORDY NELSON added one. Rookie running back AARON JONES, who was drafted in the fifth round (No. 182 overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft, rushed for 125 yards and a touchdown in his first career start.
- The Vikings improved to 3-2 with last week’s 20-17 win at Chicago on Monday night. Minnesota safety HARRISON SMITH set up KAI FORBATH’s game-winning 26-yard field goal with an interception in Chicago territory with just over two minutes remaining in the contest. Vikings running back JERICK MC KINNON totaled 146 scrimmage yards (95 rushing, 51 receiving) and added a touchdown run.
- Entering Week 6, the Vikings have the NFC’s top two leaders in receiving yards – STEFON DIGGS (395 yards) and ADAM THIELEN (392).
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (3-2) at NEW YORK JETS (3-2) (Sunday, CBS, 1:00 PM ET)
- The Patriots enter Week 6 with the NFL’s top offense (419.4 yards per game) and passing offense (320.4). New England defeated Tampa Bay 19-14 in Week 5. The Patriots have won 11 of the past 13 regular-season meetings against the Jets.
- New England quarterback TOM BRADY won his 186th career regular-season start last week, tying Pro Football Hall of Famer BRETT FAVRE and PEYTON MANNING for the most in NFL history. Brady can move into sole possession of first place this weekend. His 211 career wins (including the postseason) are the most by a quarterback in NFL history. Entering Week 6, Brady leads the NFL with 1,702 passing yards and ranks second with a 112 passer rating.
- The Jets have won three consecutive games and enter Week 6 tied for first place in the AFC East with Buffalo and New England. New York is 2-0 at home this season, outscoring opponents 43-26 in those games.
- Last week, the Jets defeated the Browns 17-14 in Cleveland. New York quarterback JOSH MC COWN threw touchdown passes to tight end AUSTIN SEFERIAN-JENKINS (two yards) and wide receiver JERMAINE KEARSE (24) in the victory. In the team’s last home game (Week 4 against Jacksonville), running backs BILAL POWELL (75 yards) and rookie ELIJAH MC GUIRE (69) became the first pair of teammates in franchise history to each record a touchdown run of at least 65 yards in the same game.
LOS ANGELES RAMS (3-2) at JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (3-2) (Sunday, FOX, 4:05 PM ET)
- The Rams are 2-0 on the road and aim to start a season with three consecutive road victories for the first time since 2001 when the team advanced to Super Bowl XXXVI. Los Angeles leads the NFC with 152 points scored and have recorded at least 35 points three times this season.
- Rams running back TODD GURLEY leads the NFL with seven touchdowns, ranks second with 646 scrimmage yards and is third with 405 rushing yards. Gurley is the only player in the league this season with at least 400 rushing yards (405) and 200 receiving yards (241).
- The Jaguars lead the AFC South with a 3-2 record, including last week’s 30-9 victory at Pittsburgh. Jacksonville’s defense recorded five interceptions against the Steelers, including interception-return touchdowns by linebacker TELVIN SMITH (28 yards) and safety BARRY CHURCH(51).
- Jaguars rookie running back LEONARD FOURNETTE rushed for 181 yards and two touchdowns, including a 90-yard TD run against Pittsburgh. Fournette (22 years, 263 days old) is the youngest player in NFL history with a 90+ yard touchdown run and only the fifth rookie in league annals to rush for a touchdown of at least 90 yards. Fournette, who ties for the NFL lead with five rushing touchdowns, is the fifth rookie to score at least one touchdown in each of his team’s first five games of a season.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS (3-2) at KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (5-0) (Sunday, CBS, 4:25 PM ET)
- The Steelers enter Week 6 tied with Baltimore for first place in the AFC North. Pittsburgh won both meetings against Kansas City last year – a 43-14 victory in Week 4 and an 18-16 win at Arrowhead Stadium in the AFC Divisional Playoffs.
- Pittsburgh running back LE’VEON BELL has 435 rushing yards (145 per game) in his past three games against the Chiefs, including a 170-yard performance in the Divisional Playoff contest. Steelers wide receiver ANTONIO BROWN, who leads the NFL this season with 40 catches and 545 receiving yards, aims for his fifth consecutive game (including the playoffs) against the Chiefs with at least 100 receiving yards or a touchdown catch.
- The Chiefs remained the league’s only unbeaten team with a 42-34 win at Houston on Sunday night. Kansas City has scored an NFL-high 164 points, including two games with at least 40 points.
- Chiefs quarterback ALEX SMITH, who leads the league with a 125.8 passer rating, threw three touchdown passes without an interception against the Texans. Smith, who has 11 touchdown passes and no interceptions, is the third QB in NFL history to have at least 11 touchdown passes without an interception in his team’s first five games of a season. Kansas City rookie running back KAREEM HUNT, who leads the NFL in rushing (609 yards) and scrimmage yards (775), rushed for 107 yards and finished with 116 scrimmage yards versus Houston. Hunt joined ADRIAN PETERSON (2007) as the only rookies in NFL history to record at least 100 scrimmage yards in each of his team’s first five games. Hunt’s 775 scrimmage yards are the third-most in NFL history by a rookie in his team’s first five games, trailing only Pro Football Hall of Famer ERIC DICKERSON (787 in 1983) and Peterson (782 in 2007).