FOX Sports Betting Analyst
There are no more unbeaten teams left in the NFL following losses by the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles, leaving the Detroit Lions — yes the Lions! — tied for first place in the NFC.
Diving into that and more in my stock up and down report for Week 6.
The Lions are 5-1, sitting tied atop the NFC with the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers. The Lions have a +55 point differential, good for second in the conference. They are winning because they know who they are and play to it. The Lions offense is led by their mauling O-line, while offensive coordinator Ben Johnson dials up the right throws for quarterback Jared Goff. The Lions have built up their skill position weapons over the years and each game it’s paying off. Goff is spreading the ball around and keeping defenses off balance. The Lions defense needed some fresh players after a weak showing last season and the additions via the draft, like rookie defensive back Brian Branch, in addition to free-agent signings have paid off. Detroit also has an improving pass rush anchored by second-year star in the making, Aiden Hutchinson. He has 4.5 sacks but his impact is far more than his sack numbers. The Lions go on the road to face the Baltimore Ravens next weekend followed by hosting the Las Vegas Raiders before their bye week. A 6-2 start with two games apiece against the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings left on the schedule could see the Lions into double-digits win territory.
‘Our defense is playing their tails off’ – Lions QB Jared Goff on dominant win vs. Buccaneers
The Houston Texans rookie quarterback is now 3-3 through his first six NFL starts and appears to be the best QB in his class by a wide margin. Stroud was a tough evaluation coming out of Ohio State because of his final game in college football. He was fabulous against Georgia in the Buckeyes’ CFP semifinal game, putting together a performance that we had not seen from him in his Ohio State career while totaling five touchdowns. He used his mobility to extend plays. He showed off his arm while on the move. In nearly every other start during his time in Columbus, he would not move out of the pocket as often. He wasn’t dancing in the pocket to buy more time. So if you were a team drafting Stroud, which guy would you get? It’s clear the Texans got the confidence Georgia version of Stroud
Stroud has pinpoint accuracy and a quick release that allows him to find open receivers in rhythm. He’s only completing 60 percent of passes, but he’s not turning the ball over. He’s got nine touchdowns to one interception. With each passing start, you see the confidence in what he can do on an NFL field. He’s only going to get better with more reps. I’ve been impressed with him.
C.J. Stroud shines with two passing touchdowns as Texans overpower Saints
Cleveland Browns defense
The Browns defense is fantastic and just paved the way for the team to beat the previously unbeaten 49ers on Sunday. The Browns harassed the 49ers offensive line and in extension Brock Purdy for 60 minutes. The 49ers offense had scored 30 points in eight straight regular season games but only scored 17 against the Browns. One of those touchdowns was on a short field after a P.J. Walker interception. Purdy was just 12 of 27 for just 125 yards and an interception. The 49ers only gained 15 third downs, converting just 25 percent of those attempts/
The Browns defense has allowed the fewest yards after five games in NFL history since 1971. They have four of the top five defensive performances of this 2023 season. The Browns switched defensive coordinators in the offseason to Jim Schwartz and he has supercharged this unit. Everything starts with a defensive line that is anchored by Myles Garrett but has a two-deep chart that is one of the best in the league. The Browns secondary is full of high draft picks who always had the talent but are playing much faster in a simplified scheme under Schwartz.
Myles Garrett, Browns SHUT DOWN Brock Purdy, 49ers
They stink, and I would imagine after six games they did not expect to be the final winless team in the NFL. The Panthers traded up from No. 9 to No. 1 in the 2023 draft in order to select Bryce Young. He might eventually be good with more experience, better weapons around him and a more competent offensive line. But it’s worth asking why the Panthers did not surround him with better weapons? The Panthers offensive line has talent and should be much better but isn’t. The lack of development on offense through six weeks is alarming. The Panthers defense hasn’t been awful but hasn’t played as well the last two weeks. They allowed 42 points in back-to-back weeks with talent on that side of the ball that should not allow that many points.
There’s no way the Panthers envisioned when they traded away their 2024 first-round pick for the right to draft Young that they’d be sitting in the pole position for the next draft. Their draft pick now belongs to the Bears, so the Panthers have one less pick to help the team get better. Carolina is the worst team in the NFL.
Dave Helman brings on Daryl Johnston and Chris Meyers as the trio break down the Lions’ dominating victory over the Panthers
Pop those champagne corks. The 1972 Dolphins will remain the only undefeated team in NFL history for another year. Both the 5-0 49ers and Eagles were upset on the road Sunday. The 49ers lost 19-17 to the Browns and the Eagles were taken down by the New York Jets, 20-14. The Niners were bound to play this game after receiving all the hype following their domination of the Dallas Cowboys last week. While they played sloppy and it cost them against the Browns, I do not change my opinion of them because every NFL team can have a clunker.
The Eagles had been itching to take a loss after playing their first five games not up to the standard of last season. It’s clear the Eagles offense is not as high-powered this year with new offensive coordinator Brian Johnson calling the plays. The Eagles lost right tackle Lane Johnson to injury Sunday and his backup had a rough outing. There’s just a crack starting to show in the Eagles and it might be time to reevaluate how we feel about them moving forward. If the Niners are playing to their potential, are the Eagles winning that game? What about the Eagles and Lions? I want to see more from the Eagles offense after they raised their bar last season.
Jets defense forces four turnover in stunning 20-14 win over Eagles
There’s a 100 percent injury rate in the NFL, and Week 6 spared no one. Bears quarterback Justin Fields dislocated the thumb on his throwing hand. The 49ers star duo of Christian McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel left the game early for MRIs, which hopefully turn out to just be precautionary scans. Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was seen leaving the stadium for the hospital after a neck injury. Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill was on crutches. Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson appeared to have sprained his ankle. The list continues from a physical Week 6. The more you play, the more susceptible your body is to injury because of wear and tear. You’re not as strong, mobile and powerful when some bangs and bruises slow you down. This is why offseason training is important. Building your body to withstand the physical nature of the NFL. It’s why nutrition is paramount as certain foods can help reduce inflammation. From there its possible to use certain devices to help prepare to play each and every week. The grind to prevent and rehab injuries never stops.
Jay Glazer reports Bears QB Justin Fields dislocated his finger, and more NFL injuries updates
Geoff Schwartz is an NFL analyst for FOX Sports. He played eight seasons in the NFL for five different teams. He started at right tackle for the University of Oregon for three seasons and was a second-team All-Pac-12 selection his senior year. Follow him on Twitter @GeoffSchwartz.
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