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Six from Sunday: With four teams still winless, 0-16 is a possibility

  • By Pat Kirwan NFL.com
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Week 5 was a great example of the lack of balance in the current NFL.

Webster's Dictionary defines parity as "the state of being equal or equivalent." Six of the 13 games on Sunday were decided by 19 points or more. It has gotten to the point where a handful of teams threaten to equal the 2008 Lions' mark for futility.

Here are six things from Sunday that caught my attention:

Weekend recap
The Falcons showed a power running game against the 49ers early Sunday, and that helped them open things up for a passing attack that exploded, as Matt Ryan passed for a career-high 329 yards.  More ...

1. Will history repeat itself?

There are nine teams with one or no wins. As a group, they have a combined record of 5-39, and they already look like the season is tumbling away in a tailspin that's impossible to stop.

The Cleveland-Buffalo game was really hard to watch. When the Browns won after completing two passes for 23 yards, NFL offense hit a new low. The league played a 16-game schedule for 31 years before it produced its first 0-16 team, last year's Detroit Lions. There are four winless teams through Week 5 -- same as this time last season -- and there's a good chance one team will go 0-16. There's an even better chance four or five teams are going to finish up with one or two wins.

2. Two good plans for long haul

The Eagles and Vikings are experiencing success and should continue to do so based on what I witnessed this weekend.

Minnesota demonstrated that they have a good long-term plan to keep their best offensive players fresh for the season. Brett Favre threw 77 passes over the previous two weeks. While it was necessary, that pace could burn Favre out late in the year. It was great to see the coaches limit him to 24 attempts in St. Louis. The same holds true for Adrian Peterson, who only touched the ball 17 times. The Ravens and Steelers are next on the schedule and the work reduction will pay dividends.

The Eagles had all three quarterbacks active on the 45-man roster Sunday. That's rare, but a very good idea. Last year, there were 256 regular-season games, which meant 512 times a team could have activated three QBs; it only happened six times. Donovan McNabb played great in the win over Tampa Bay, but he was back after missing two weeks with the rib injury and had to wear a flack jacket. That meant having Kevin Kolb ready to go was important. It also spoke volumes about the role of Michael Vick. In his specialty role, Vick attempted three passes (completing one, for three yards) and ran four times for 10 yards. But as one Eagle said, "We haven't even scratched the surface of what we are going to do with Mike."

I really like the Eagles' QB plan.

3. Revenge of the fired coordinators

Three teams -- Bills, Bucs and Chiefs -- fired their offensive coordinators days before the start of the season. One team said it needed more in the offense, another said it needed less in the offense and the third just thought it was time for a change.

Sunday was another brutal reminder that the terminations did not do one thing to solve their offensive woes. The Bills, Bucs and Chiefs all lost this week and scored a combined 37 points! Four teams scored more than 37 by themselves. The three teams that made coordinator changes are now 1-14 combined. After Sunday, Buffalo ranks 25th in total offense, Tampa Bay 26th and Kansas City 30th.

It wasn't the coaches' fault and it's a shame they were released before the real games started. Could these three offenses be any worse with the men who installed the schemes?

4. How long can this go on?

The NFL wants to protect the defenseless quarterbacks and I support all the rules to keep them upright. Even so, some of the signal callers took a real beating this weekend.

David Garrard didn't finish the game against the Seahawks, but he was sacked or hit 18 times. Seattle didn't even have its best pass rusher, Patrick Kerney, in the game. Matt Cassel stood in the pocket and delivered in an effort that almost gave his Chiefs their first win, but he was sacked or hit 15 times by Dallas. Daunte Culpepper of the Detroit Lions took over for the injured Matt Stafford and Pittsburgh defenders connected with him 14 times between sacks and hits. Poor JaMarcus Russell looked like he had a bull's-eye on him as the Oakland QB was hit or dropped 11 times by the Giants.

It doesn't look like things are getting much better around the league and many teams are going to have to leave more blockers in protection, throw quicker and, in some cases, pass less.

On NFL Replay
NFL Replay will re-air the Dallas Cowboys' 26-20 overtime win over the Kansas City  Chiefs on Tuesday, Oct. 13 at 9:30 p.m. ET.

» NFL Network schedule

5. Things I didn't like

When the visiting Patriots lost the coin toss in overtime and the Broncos drove the field and kicked a winning field goal, it left me wanting more than that to decide a winner. Wouldn't it have been great if, after Denver's field goal, Tom Brady had one drive to score a touchdown?

Another troubling issue was Dre' Bly's decision to showboat as he was returning a great interception he made against the Falcons. The 49ers cornerback had the ball stripped during the return and, as a result, gave the ball back to Atlanta. Mike Singletary didn't put up with the antics and Bly apologized.

6. Rookie receivers starting to shine

Take a close look at Hakeem Nicks (Giants), Percy Harvin (Vikings), Mike Wallace (Steelers), and Jeremy Maclin (Eagles). All four youngsters are on good teams headed for the playoffs and there's little doubt in my mind after watching them this weekend that they will be impact players when January rolls around.

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