Week 6 NFL thoughts
A few quick observations on the sixth week of the season.
• I'm not falling all over myself to declare the Giants the definitive team to beat in the NFL the way many are, but that's about as impressive as a win gets. Part of the reason New York was able to beat the 49ers 26-3 on the road was that it happened to be in position to take advantage of what I felt was an inevitable Alex Smith stinker. But Smith's struggles had nothing to do with Giants RBs Ahmad Bradshaw and David Wilson combining on 151 rushing yards on 34 carries against the imposing 49ers defense. The Giants' upcoming Washington-Dallas-Pittsburgh-Cincinnati strech doesn't look as imposing as it once might have. They're not necessarily the team to beat, but I think they might be in a position where they won't have to back into the playoffs for a change.
• On the other end of the impressiveness spectrum were the Chargers. I doubt that the blowing of a 24-0 halftime lead has ever been less surprising and borderline predictable than San Diego's in last night's 35-24 loss to the Broncos. If you got suckered in by Norv Turner and Phillip Rivers again when they started 2-0 and then 3-1 this season, shame on you. San Diego might well make the playoffs, if only because the AFC is as watered down as I can ever remember it. But there won't be a less scary team in the field than the Chargers if they're there, not with the Turner regime somehow still in place.
• No, it probably wasn't worth beating the Cowboys (and exposing Dallas coach Jason Garrett, again, for questionable late-game management) for the Ravens if it mean losing LB Ray Lewis, CB Lardarius Webb and possibly DL Haloti Ngata. With those three, and given the way the Texans looked in their 42-24 loss to the Packers, the Ravens would be viewed as the prohibitive favorite in the AFC. I'm not sure you can make their case now. I will say this. The conference is still wide-open, and if Joe Flacco wants to prove he's the elite QB he and some pundits think he is, now is the chance to prove it. Carry what might be an average-at-best defense to the Super Bowl, Joe, and I may bow to your eliteness.
• How can the Chiefs be this bad? That Brady Quinn was their starting quarterback ican only partially explain them losing 38-10 to a Buccaneers team that shouldn't beat anyone, ever, by 28 points. I figured this was going to be a pretty good to very good defense. All the familiar names (Tamba Hali, Eric Berry, Derrick Johnson) were there in Sunday's box score, and the Chiefs still allowed Josh Freeman to throw for 328 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions and Tampa Bay to rush for 6 yards a carry. That's pathetic. With a loss coming out of next week's bye, Kansas City will be in the pole position to finish last in a division many expected it to win.