Well, that didn’t go quite to plan. The New England Patriots defense failed to perform to its usual standard and Cleveland continues to struggle against pretty much anyone.
Not trying to take any shine off of the performance of Brandon Allen and his Mile High mates but Cleveland’s playoff push just crept further into the improbable.
There were also big wins for the Mahomes-less Chiefs, the Texans and who could forget the Dolphins moving back to second behind the Bengals in the race for Tua Tagovailoa.
Here are 5 things we noticed in a confusing Week 9.
Russell Wilson is making it hard to see anyone else in the MVP race
The Seahawks brass must be absolutely delighted with that contract that they signed Russell Wilson to before the season start.
Hard to imagine he could outperform the biggest contract the NFL has ever seen, but that’s exactly what he is doing.
Another five touchdowns in an unexpected shootout with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers further increased his lead in the MVP stakes as we cross halfway through the season.
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Following Patrick Mahomes injury, Wilson will now likely duke it out with Deshaun Watson for a shot at the most coveted individual award in the NFL.
His rapport with both Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf is already proving wildly productive at this early stage and should only get better as we approach playoff deciding games.
The Cleveland Browns really are a 2-6 team
Up until now, you could have been forgiven for thinking that Cleveland’s struggles, while very real, were the result of playing good teams in an early-season spell where this Frankenstein of a team was not up to speed.
But their Sunday night loss to the Denver Broncos, who had a debutant QB and an inferior offensive core, was nothing short of disappointing.
There’s a real concern for the Browns going forward.
They was incapable of picking up important first downs on offense and stopping them on defense.
Twice on Sunday, the Browns failed to deliver on fourth down, one of which was from the Denver 5-yard line.
With all those impressive weapons on the outside, Baker’s failure to deliver to his star-power receivers has cost this team big already.
The New England Patriots linebackers might be the weak spot
Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower have been nothing short of superb so far this year.
The pair are dominant in run-support, able to handle coverage and both as football savvy as any linebacker that the league has to offer.
Before Sunday night’s meeting with the Ravens they had been almost infallible at the heart of this record-setting defence.
Lamar Jackson and co.’s victory shouldn’t be surprising. They took advantage of an excellent ground attack and a game-plan that took advantage of one of the Patriots few weaknesses.
Collins and Hightower can’t move laterally as well as Myles Jack or Jaylon Smith.
The Ravens ability to break contain and get ball-carriers to the outside quickly caused many issues for the Patriots. Check out Jackson’s first touchdown for proof of concept.
No team is built like Baltimore so this flaw may rarely be exposed but, either way, the blueprint for how to rush against the Super Bowl champions has been demonstrated.
Father time waits for no man – not even Adam Vinatieri
Adam Vinatieri, during his time as arguably the greatest kicker in NFL history, has also become part of the folklore of the sport.
However, now aged 47 and into his 24th NFL season, the Colts and Patriots hero has suddenly found himself staring father time straight in the face.
Fantasy owners and Colts fans alike are probably going to find it difficult to say that he’s lost his magical touch, but the numbers don’t lie.
Twelve of 17 field goals and 14 of 19 extra points just won’t cut the mustard for most, if not all, NFL teams.
And with his latest miss coming in the form of a potential game-winner at Pittsburgh, the calls for him to hang up his very established boots could be set for an increase.
It’s not time for the Jets to move on from Adam Gase, yet
As calls to fire Adam Gase rang out through the tunnel yesterday following the New York Jets disappointing loss to division rivals Miami, it seems as though more New York turmoil is afoot.
But despite the embarrassment of being beaten by a team who is seemingly looking at the future, this is not the time for Gase to go.
Before the season had even started, media was rife with rumours that the signing of free agents Le’Veon Bell and C.J. Mosley and how much they would be paid hadn’t been entirely agreed upon within the organisation.
What this team needs now is some stability, even if that means losing some games along the way.
With the team already out of playoff contention, there is not much to be gained from changing things around again.
This might just have to be something the Jets fans ride out till the end of the year.