With Week 9 of the NFL season all but in the books, every team in the league is at least halfway through its regular-season games. Let’s take a look at what made headlines this weekend.
And Then There Was One
With New England’s Sunday night loss in Baltimore, there is just one undefeated team left in the NFL, and it’s the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers survived a late comeback effort from the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday to get to 8-0 on the season.
However, San Francisco will play the Seahawks next Monday and still has games against the Packers, Ravens, Saints, and Rams left on its schedule. On the bright side, the 49ers only have three more road games this season, but remaining undefeated through 16 games will still be a tough challenge.
Getting to One
On the other end of the spectrum, the Dolphins managed to win their first game of the season on Sunday, knocking off the Jets 26-18. The win is a nice consolation prize for a young team that many expected to go winless this season.
Meanwhile, it’s panic time for the Jets, who have gone downhill since their only win of the season against Dallas a few weeks ago. The fanbase is up in arms over the job status of head coach Adam Gase, who is on the hot seat eight games into his tenure.
With Miami’s win, the Bengals are the only team in the NFL without a win this year. They were off this week and will return in Week 10 with rookie Ryan Finley replacing Andy Dalton at quarterback.
Out of Magic?
The magic appears to have run out for Jacksonville rookie Gardner Minshew, who turned in his worst performance of the season against the Texans in London on Sunday. Minshew, despite throwing for over 300 yards, tossed two picks and led the Jaguars to just three points.
Jacksonville has a bye next week, although it wouldn’t be surprising to see Nick Foles starting after the bye. While Minshew has helped the Jaguars stay afloat, Foles is almost ready to return, and the argument for keeping Minshew as the starter is less strong after Sunday’s game.
Elsewhere in quarterback land, the Panthers will be sticking with Kyle Allen for the foreseeable future. According to reports, Cam Newton saw a foot specialist last week because his rehab was not progressing at a rate that is allowing him to get back on the field.
The good news is that surgery is not being recommended for Newton’s foot injury. However, there is no timetable for his return, although the Panthers have no plans to put him on injured reserve.
On the bright side, Carolina is 5-1 with Allen starting, including this week’s 30-20 win over the Titans behind another MVP-caliber performance from Christian McCaffrey.
Don’t look now, but the Steelers are back to .500. Pittsburgh benefited from an injury to Jacoby Brissett and a missed field goal by Indianapolis’ Adam Vinatieri inside the last two minutes. The Steelers squeaked out a 26-24 win over the Colts on Sunday to win their third straight game, putting them at 4-4.
Pittsburgh’s schedule down the stretch is rather favorable, putting Mike Tomlin in a position to take his team to the playoffs without Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and Le’Veon Bell.