The most unpredictable league on earth threw up mostly predictable results in week nine – unless you’re a Bucs fan.
Aside from a real scare to the champion Chiefs and Buccaneers, the favoured teams took care of business in most of the match-ups.
But, as always, there were storylines all across the NFL. Here is week nine’s Pick Six;
J.J. JOINS ELITE CLUB
Justin James Watt has been a generationally great player. He’s a three-time defensive player of the year and in week nine he joined an elite club which has just 35 members. Even more impressively, he was the fifth fastest to achieve the milestone.
In typical Watt fashion, he notched his 100th career sack by forcing Jags quarterback Jake Luton to lose the ball on the ground.
Watt has been banged up for a few seasons but no one can dispute his all-time greatness and every now and then we see what the old JJW used to do on a weekly basis.
Watt achieved his 100 sacks in 120 career games.
SPEAKING OF RECORDS
Tight End Travis Kelce said it best when speaking of his QB Patrick Mahomes.
”Another record. Put it in the shelf.”
In the Chiefs 33-31 win over Carolina, Mahomes became the fastest ever to throw for 100 touchdowns, passing Dan Marino.
Mahomes is second in the NFL for passing touchdowns (behind Russell Wilson) and is on track to challenge for another league MVP and trip to play for the Lombardi Trophy.
They lost but Carolina are a dangerous team with superstar do-it-all running back Christian McCaffrey in the line-up.
After missing six games with an ankle sprain, CMC returned on fire as he posted 69 rush yards, 1 TD plus 10 catches for 82 yards and another TD.
Last season McCaffrey became just the third player ever to record 1,000 yards rushing and receiving and he again showed why he’s the highest paid back in the NFL.
HE’S COOKING… AGAIN
Dalvin Cook has been here before.
This season, he already has games of 130, 163 and 181 yards rushing but this week he topped the lot with a monster game against Detroit.
He amassed 22 carries for 204 yards on the ground with two scores and added 46 yards through the air.
The man was cooking.
He’s yet to have a touchdown-less game this season.
Aside from the quarterbacks, it’s hard to identify a more valuable player to their team than Cook.
SUNDAY NIGHT SAINTS STUNNER
Week 1 produced a comfy Saints win. This time was supposed to be different with Brady and the Buccaneers one of the in-form teams across the league.
But, someone forgot to tell the Saints.
Drew Brees, Taysom Hill, the returning Mike Thomas, Alvin Kamara and the nasty New Orleans defence gave the Bucs a 38-3 hammering.
Stunningly, it was 31-0 at halftime and Tampa Bay never gave a yelp.
Brady went 22/38 with three ugly picks whilst they had eight rushing yards as a team.
Brees was 26/32, 222 yards, 4 TD whilst the Swiss army knife known as Taysom Hill was 2/2 passing, had a 21-yard catch and led the team with 54 yards on the ground.
Every team is entitled to the occasional shocker so we’ll reserve judgement on Tampa Bay for a few more weeks but that was a crucial loss in the scheme of the playoffs and seedings.
Russell Wilson – 2,500 pass yards (4th in NFL), a league-leading 28 touchdowns, 71% completion rate and a nifty 6-2 record.
Patrick Mahomes – almost 2,700 yards (2nd), 25 touchdowns (2nd), only one interception (best among regular starters) and an 8-1 record.
Aaron Rodgers – 24 scores (3rd), 2,253 yards, just two picks and a league-leading QBR of 87.7, plus a 6-1 record.
Three incredible quarterbacks putting on weekly displays of brilliance. Wilson is the bookies favourite and at one point the runaway leader but Mahomes is closing the gap and Rodgers is going about his business in a somewhat underrated fashion.