10 things to know from NFL Week 6
Cam Newton silenced doubters, DeAndre Hopkins put on a show, and Denver's defense bailed them out—again. Here's what you need to know about Week 6.
10 things to know from NFL Week 6
Didn’t catch every moment of NFL Week 6? PFF has you covered with the top 10 things you need to know based on our grades and data.
1. Jimmy Graham and Russell Wilson finally clicked.
The Seahawks may have lost to the Panthers in Week 6, but they unleashed the beast that is Jimmy Graham. Graham earned his best grade of the season, gaining 140 yards in the air. He received the most targets in a game since his arrival in Seattle (10), and averaged 17.5 yards per reception.
The performance was enough to earn Graham a spot on Khaled Elsayed’s Team of the Week, which features the best players at every position. The former Saint is now the fourth-ranked tight end, behind only Rob Gronkowski, Tyler Eifert, and Delanie Walker, respectively.
Earlier this season, PFF dove into Graham’s significant drop in targets with Seattle compared to his time in New Orleans. For now, it seems that trend has come to a halt—and that’s something all Seahawks fans can be excited about.
2. Carson Palmer holds on to the top QB grade for the season.
Another bright spot in a losing effort, the Cardinals’ Carson Palmer earned the sixth-best-grade among NFL quarterbacks in Week 6.
This may come as a surprise to anyone that watched the fourth quarter of the Cardinals’ game in Pittsburgh, when Palmer threw an end zone interception to Steelers safety Mike Mitchell at a crucial moment. Palmer’s solid play throughout the day was enough, though, to keep him atop our season rankings, with 421 yards on 29 completions.
For the season, Palmer remains Pro Football Focus’ top-graded quarterback, with a 93.5 overall grade. Tom Brady is next on the list, with Andy Dalton in the No. 3 spot.
3. Chris Ivory earned the top Week 6 running back grade—again.
For the second time this season, the Jets’ Chris Ivory earned the best grade among all NFL running backs. His 146 rushing yards and one touchdown were impressive, but it was his 64 yards after contact that truly stood out. In addition to the ground attack, Ivory also hauled in five passes from Ryan Fitzpatrick for 50 yards.
This season, Ivory has forced 20 missed tackles, giving him the second-best elusive rating in the league—73.1, behind only 49ers RB Carlos Hyde.
Ivory also earned the highest grade among RBs in Week 4, when the Jets topped the Dolphins in London. For the season, he is our third-ranked running back, behind Le’Veon Bell and Doug Martin, respectively.
4. Kirk Cousins was the worst quarterback in Week 6.
On the opposite side of the ball (and on a less positive note), Redskins fans suffered through Kirk Cousins’ worst performance of the year. In fact, the former Michigan State QB earned one of the lowest grades of the season at the position.
Cousins posted an NFL QB rating of 57.9 against the Jets, better only than Michael Vick (who left the game injured after 30 snaps) and Peyton Manning (53.3, more on that later). He had the least passing yards of any QB, minus the Vick-Landry Jones combination for Pittsburgh.
For the season, Cousins is PFF’s 28th ranked quarterback.
5. DeAndre Hopkins put on a show against the Jaguars.
As Sam Monson wrote in detail on Monday, Houston’s DeAndre Hopkins is tied with Baltimore’s Steve Smith as our No. 4 ranked wide receiver this season.
Hopkins solidified his spot among the league’s best, with a season-high grade against the Jags in Week 6, posting a 148-yard, two-touchdown performance.
With the departure of Andre Johnson in the offseason, the role of the Texans’ top receiver fell upon his shoulders. He has embraced the challenge, becoming the most-targeted weapon in the league through six weeks; he now leads the NFL in receiving yards, with 727.
No other wide receiver is within 15 targets of Hopkins this season, a good indication of how important he is to Houston’s game plan. While few teams can survive with a one-man offense, the threat of Hopkins should have opposing defenses nervous.
6. Denver’s defense, once again, cleaned up the mess of the offense.
Here we are again—the reoccurring “Peyton Manning isn’t what he used to be” section of this article. While the narrative may already be getting old through six weeks, the decline of a future Hall of Famer in such a drastic fashion cannot avoid comment.
Manning threw one touchdown against the Browns, and three picks. As mentioned above, his NFL QB rating was among the worst in the league, better only than Michael Vick’s 30 snaps.
Forgetting about Vick, Manning’s completion percentage was second lowest (54.2 percent) only to Josh McCown—thanks, in large part, to the Broncos’ defense.
Denver’s defense, which owns our top-ranked D-line and secondary, was once again able to squeeze out a win for the Broncos. How long Denver will be able to win on just one side of the ball, however, is questionable—especially when the offense goes from a non-factor to a liability.
7. Cam Newton and the Panthers answered doubters.
With a big win in Seattle, the Carolina Panthers remain undefeated this season.
Incredibly, this was an upset, as the now 2-4 Seahawks were 6.5-point favorites entering the matchup, with the Panthers’ weak early-season schedule causing many to doubt their legitimacy. Even the team at PFF unanimously picked the Seahawks to move to .500 at home in our Week 6 pick ‘em.
As Sam Monson explained earlier this week, Newton answered those critics on Sunday, carrying the offense on his back and tying Philip Rivers for the top Week 6 quarterback grade. He posted 269 yards and a touchdown in the air, and tacked on 50 yards and a rushing touchdown on the ground. Were it not for his two interceptions, Newton likely would be in sole possession of the top QB spot for Week 6.
This season, Newton is our ninth-ranked quarterback, with a 77.6 overall grade.
8. Miami’s Cameron Wake earned the best grade for 4-3 DE this season.
No team needed positive news from Week 6 more than the Miami Dolphins, who played their first game under interim head coach Dan Campbell.
No player delivered more for Miami than Cameron Wake, who earned the highest game grade of any 4-3 DE this season. Wake caused havoc among Tennessee’s right tackles (both Jeremiah Poutasi and Jamon Meredith), racking up four sacks.
Wake’s performance was so dominant that, on his first 13 pass-blocking snaps, he recorded three sacks against Poutasi. Poutasi was then pulled in favor of Meredith, who couldn’t do much more to contain Wake.
Wake’s performance is yet another reminder this season of the importance of the RT position, often overlooked for highly-valued left tackles. Wake, Justin Houston, and Von Miller, are three of the most feared pass-rushers in the league—all attacking primarily from the right side.
9. Despite a loss, the Chargers had bright spots on offense.
While San Diego did fall to Green Bay at Lambeau Field, there were some major positives for Chargers fans to take away from the game.
First, Keenan Allen was the highest-graded receiver in Week 6, by a significant margin. Allen was targeted 14 times, and he hauled in each pass attempt for a reception. The former Cal star posted 157 yards on the day, with 33 yards coming after the catch.
Throwing him the ball was Week 6’s other top-graded quarterback, Philip Rivers (tied with Cam Newton). On 94 snaps, he threw for 43 completions and 503 yards (all league-highs).
The Chargers are now 2-4, but if their offensive weapons can continue to click as Rivers and Allen did on Sunday, the favorable five-game stretch ahead of them could bring San Diego back into AFC West contention.
10. The Eagles’ safeties rank among the league’s best.
Monday Night football featured a battle for the NFC East, with the Eagles topping the Giants. A key factor in the game, as it has been all season, was the outstanding play of Philadelphia’s safeties.
Both Walter Thurmond and Malcolm Jenkins graded positively in the outing (between the two, only Jenkins has had a negatively-graded game this season, and that was only slightly.)
Jenkins is our second-ranked safety this season at 93.5, behind only Minnesota’s Harrison Smith. Jenkins does, however, own the league’s top coverage grade, at 91.3.
Not far behind Jenkins, Thurmond holds the No. 5 spot with a 88.2 overall grade.
The Eagles now sit at 3-3, even with the Giants atop the division.
For Week 5’s 10 things to know, click here.
Chase Howell | General Editor
Chase is a General Editor at PFF, focusing on the site’s NFL content strategy. His work has been featured in ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Insider, and The Cincinnati Enquirer.