The Week 5 Wrap

I'd like to pretend that this delayed edition of 'The Wrap' is down to a designed plan to let the dust settle on the weekend's action. But the reality is that I needed to get the second London Gameday Programme off to the printers first.

But the dust has indeed settled on a wild Week 5 and I can now reflect on what I thought was a truly historic day and a very special night at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

First off, what a truly stunning venue. I stated this on Twitter and I back it up here... the stadium had such an authentic feel about it that it felt like we could have been anywhere in North America. The NFL's new home in London is as good as any venue currently in the league and is deserving of being shown off on a global stage.

On the field, what a thrilling game and an impressive performance from the Oakland Raiders as they squeezed out a 24-21 victory over the Chicago Bears.

Rookie running back Josh Jacobs will get a lot of the plaudits and rightly so because he is a very special-looking young player. But two things stood out for me on Sunday evening - the physicality of Oakland's offensive line and the mental resiliency of the Raiders.

This was billed as the Khalil Mack revenge game, and rightly so. But the Raiders had a plan for the All-World defender and shoved him around. There was a picture I have used in this Sunday's game programme which sums up the day perfectly, with giant-sized tackle Trent Brown rag-dolling Mack when it is normally the defender giving offensive linemen the rough stuff.

And what about that mental toughness shown by the Raiders? This was a roller coaster of a game and riding out those moments of adversity was key from a Silver and Black point of view. Up 17-0, down 21-17, about to go up before a fumble at the Chicago goal-line and then backed up near their own end with the game on the line. The Raiders and their fans certainly went through the mill at Tottenham.

Through all that emotion, the Raiders - led by Derek Carr and Jacobs - marched 97 yards in 13 plays to secure the win. The rebuild is only just beginning in Oakland and perfection is a long way off, but the fact this team has three wins out of five (compared to four all of last season) should be applauded.

Who's Hot...

Deshaun Watson...I've said this before and I'll say it again - Deshaun Watson is a genuine superstar of the NFL and somebody I would pay to watch each and every weekend. He enjoyed a career day on Sunday while leading Houston to a 53-32 demolition of the Atlanta Falcons. Seeing more protection than he is used to - the Texans gave up zero sacks and just a single quarterback hit - Watson threw for 426 yards and five touchdowns. Watching him go head to head with Patrick Mahomes on Sky Sports this Sunday is going to be a lot of fun.

Christian McCaffrey...Is Run CMC now the best running back in the NFL? Few would argue against that claim - McCaffrey can simply do it all. He runs well between the tackles, hurdles defenders, dives over them or sprints away from would-be tacklers. And he is so tough to bring down. In the past two games, McCaffrey has forced an NFL-high 25 missed tackles and he embarrassed Jacksonville defenders time and again on Sunday during Carolina's 34-27 win. McCaffrey rushed for 176 yards and two scores and reminded us all that he is also a receiving threat out of the backfield with six catches for 61 yards and another touchdown. Through five games, McCaffrey has 866 yards from scrimmage - second-most in league history behind none other than legendary Hall of Famer Jim Brown.

The San Francisco 49ers...The last time the 49ers were 4-0 Joe Montana was at quarterback, Gazza had been having a little cry in Italy and Tim Berners-Lee began working on a little project known as the World Wide Web. In matching that 1990 vintage, Kyle Shanahan's men are one of just two undefeated teams left on the season, with the other being the New England Patriots. Again, that is good company to be keeping. The defense is looking dominant and Shanahan's offensive vision is coming into focus. Jimmy Garoppolo is firing strikes and the running game looks even better now Tevin Coleman is getting on track alongside Matt Breida.

Who's Not...

Tennessee's offensive line...It was supposed to get better once Taylor Lewan returned from suspension to take up his position at left tackle. But the Titans gave up five sacks in a 14-7 home loss to the Buffalo Bills and Marcus Mariota continues to take a beating on a weekly basis. Lewan himself was subject to much ridicule from Buffalo's defenders after this game and his attempts to fire back on social media seem petty and a case of too little, too late. Mariota has now been sacked 22 times in five games and the Titans remain one of the more frustrating teams due to their inability to find any kind of consistency.

The New York Jets...What a mess in the Big Apple. The Jets gained just 128 yards of total offense in Sunday's 31-6 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. And I'm not sure how Sam Darnold riding to the rescue and replacing the out-of-his-depth Luke Falk is going to make that much difference. The offense is a real worry and has to be heaping pressure on Adam Gase. The head coach with a speciality in offensive football has seen his unit score just two touchdowns in four games. Needless to say, that is a shocking and damning return.

The Atlanta Falcons...Dan Quinn's seat has to be warming because the Falcons cannot get their season on track and his area of expertise - the defense - is coming up short time and again. They could not have come up any shorter if they tried on Sunday, shipping 592 total yards and 53 points to Houston. Quinn's team has now given up 20+ points in six straight games. It feels like the Falcons are playing catch-up every single week and Matt Ryan's weekly 300-yard outings are good for nothing except fantasy football. This team has never been the same since it went up 28-3 in Super Bowl 51.

The Fast Five...

Jay Gruden is gone and few can argue with the decision to can the head coach given Washington's dismal start to the season. But how much is on Gruden and how much is on the general dysfunction surrounding the Redskins? That is not an easy place to work.

It seems a long while ago now, but let's not forget the Russell Wilson magic from the start of Week 5. His touchdown pass to Tyler Lockett in Thursday's 30-29 win over the Los Angeles Rams was an absolute thing of beauty.

I refuse to believe the sky is falling in on the Dallas Cowboys despite back to back losses to New Orleans and Green Bay. This team remains too talented to fall out of the playoff race and the NFC East is very much up for grabs. I expect the Cowboys to right their ship.

New Orleans are an impressive 3-0 without Drew Brees and while the first two victories were total team efforts, stand-in quarterback Teddy Bridgewater stepped to the fore on Sunday as he threw for 314 yards and four touchdowns in a 31-24 win over Tampa. The Saints remind us week in and week out that they are genuine Super Bowl contenders.

The Green Bay Packers won on Sunday so all is good at Lambeau Field, for now. But I genuinely don't like the body language of Aaron Rodgers or the open rebellion put forward by the quarterback to his new head coach Matt LaFleur. Their relationship remains something to be monitored closely in the coming weeks.

Fact of the Week

A total of 42 games have been decided by seven points or fewer in 2019 - tied for the most through five weeks of any season in NFL history, alongside 2006.

Finish That Sentence

Each week in this spot I ask readers - via Twitter - to randomly send me the start of a sentence and, as we do on our NFL UK Live stage show tours, I will finish the sentence with the first thought that comes into my head. Here we go...

From Dan Woodward (@DanWoodward1985)... The Houston Texans aren't quite the full article yet because... Deshaun Watson still has it in him to blow hot and cold. And while the pass protection has been much better in recent weeks, is anyone yet in a position to fully trust his offensive line? The secondary could also be better, reminding us that this is not yet a complete team. That said, I'm a huge Watson fan and feel this team is going to contend the rest of the way.

From Gerard Cosker (@OscarCosker)... The New York Jets are the worst team since...the Miami Dolphins! And the worst part of it all is that the Jets are actually trying to be good, whereas the Dolphins are tanking in 2019. New York's problems are exacerbated by the fact that they had high hopes coming into the year and the season has turned to total dust. Sam Darnold is sidelined through illness, Le'Veon Bell is missing in action and the offensive line - which shipped 10 sacks on Sunday - is truly terrible. This team will be rendered utterly pointless long before the Christmas lights go up in Manhattan.

From Allan Worthy (@DocTchock)... Nick Bosa didn't go first overall because...he entered a league obsessed with quarterbacks and the Arizona Cardinals had the top pick. The Cardinals never really fell in love with Josh Rosen and they bought into the Kyler Murray hype. That pick could, of course, still pan out but just how good Bosa has looked out of the gate cannot be ignored. He was unstoppable against Cleveland on Monday Night Football and watching him wreak havoc in the coming years is going to be fun to watch.

Baker Mayfield should...learn to duck behind that offensive line, which is fast becoming a liability for the Cleveland Browns. Greg Robinson is a real weakness on the edge and he got exposed on Monday night. The pressure got so bad at one point that Baker actually had time to throw and ran back into the pass rush. That is always a bad sign. Oh, and before I forget, yes... Baker needs to grow up. Not shaking Richard Sherman's hand before the game was childish and pointless. I can understand why a lot of players around the league do not like Baker.

Final Thought...

And we go again! This weekend sees the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Carolina Panthers at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and it is going to be another very special day and part of an American football extravaganza on Sky Sports. We will be on air for more than 11 hours of live studio chat around the Bucs-Panthers, Texans-Chiefs and 49ers-Rams games before handing you off to Sunday Night Football for the Steelers-Chargers. In terms of games, we will offer 15 straight hours of coverage. Joining me will be a rotating "Magnificent Seve" of Takeo Spikes, Will Blackmon, Shaun Gayle; and Around the NFL podcast heroes Dan Hanzus, Gregg Rosenthal, Chris Wesseling and Marc Sessler. There will be lots of coffee, but also lots of football chat and laughs. If you're not going to the game at Spurs, make sure you join us from 1.30pm.

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