Every Wednesday, Dan Hanzus combs through the expert findings of the NFL Media Research Department to share nuggets (also known as "nugs") that interest, fascinate, frighten or change him on a fundamental level. This is the Week 5 edition of High-Flying Adventures In The Research Notes.
IS TOM BRADY ACTUALLY UNDER-APPRECIATED NOW? WHAT WORLD IS THIS?
Consider this the first time in recorded history that Tom Brady is not getting enough credit for being Tom Brady. The Patriots are off to a shaky start and much of the focus has been on the struggles of their defense, a unit that has been historically bad. We get it, of course: Any narrative that hits on the possibility of the Patriots being toppled from their "Throne of Ease" is more compelling than continued dissection of the unstoppable greatness of the Brady and Belichick era.
That said, Tom Brady is not getting enough credit for how outrageously productive he has continued to be this season. I know his age has mostly become a baseline for jokes at this point, but the dude is literally 40 years old now. He should not -- anatomically speaking -- be a better athlete than he was 15 years ago. And yet, here we are.
THE LIONS ARE MORE THAN MATTHEW STAFFORD SIDEARM FLINGS THIS SEASON
On the most recent Around The NFL Podcast, I had the Lions ranked 18th in our quarter-season power poll. I realize now that ranking was unfair. After all, Detroit is one NFL rulebook snafu away from being undefeated. The biggest difference for the Lions this season -- besides that opportunistic defense -- is an offense that actually possesses some balance. The Lions ranked 28th, 32nd and 28th in rushing yards per game over the past three seasons. They still haven't had a 100-yard rusher in their past 56 games, though Ameer Abdullah came painfully close on Sunday against the Vikings.
AND NOW, YOUR WEEKLY REMINDER KAREEM HUNT IS A BAD FOOTBALL MAN
Some nugs speak for themselves. The Chiefs imported a player who has taken their entire offense to the next level. I feel like this is a good use of draft resources.
CARSON WENTZ SHOULD BE ON THE CLEVELAND BROWNS RIGHT NOW
While we're on the subject of periodic reminders, let me remind you that the Cleveland Browns chose to trade their No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft to the Philadelphia Eagles, who selected Carson Wentz. These are the same Browns who traded the No. 12 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft to the Houston Texans, who selected Deshaun Watson. The good ship Moneyball has sprung some leaks.
ATTENTION FANTASY OWNERS NERVOUS ABOUT BEN ROETHLISBERGER
The season is just four weeks old, but Ben Roethlisberger has looked nothing like the mad bomber who's been one of the most fun quarterbacks to watch for the past decade. Feel free to chalk the slow start up to a faulty connection with Martavis Bryant, the team's top speedster who missed all of last season on a drug suspension. But that's just one explanation. This could be an issue of a) rust b) a statistical anomaly based on small sample size or c) Big Ben got old. TRACKING.
THE BILLS ARE THISCLOSE TO BEING THE FEEL-GOOD STORY OF THE SEASON
The AFC needs fresh blood in January. At this point there would be nothing more fresh than a postseason bracket that included the Buffalo Bills, whose last playoff appearance came when Bill Clinton was still in office. The Rams have been probably the NFL's most pleasant surprise of the new season, but there was logic to their sudden turnaround. That was a team with talent ... it just needed better people at the controls. The Bills? After a flurry of trades in August, they were thrown into the same category as the Jets, an organization tanking for a brighter tomorrow. But what if that brighter tomorrow somehow became today?
THIS SHOULDN'T BE SO HARD, GUYS
This makes sense. I watch a lot of football, and the two-point conversion has turned into something of strategic suicide mission. Why is it so hard to score from that close? Of course, the Patriots got two two-point conversions in the fourth quarter of their Super Bowl win in February, so maybe the headline here should be: Two-Point Conversions Are Really Hard When Tom Brady Isn't Your Quarterback.
Until next week ...