The 2023 - 2024 regular season is well underway with week 6 about to kick off as of the writing of this article. Who has been dominant in the early season, who is at the bottom of the pack and are there any notable injuries? This article will attempt to answer those questions concisely while giving as broad a strokes of the league as possible.
You might ask yourself what value is there in spending time so early in the season, if you call week 6 early, to stop and review what has happened but for fans of live betting on matches, any and all information about which teams are doing well, or poorly, can be very valuable. Without further ado, let's get underway.
Early season dominance
The big dominators are two teams who are playing into week 6 with a 5 - 0 clean slate. Both the 49ers and the Eagles are undefeated and looking powerful at the moment and while there is a lot of season left to go, both sides would have to fumble pretty badly to not maintain at least a strong position going forward. The sides are scheduled to face each other in week 13 when they meet in Philly, which is sure to be an interesting contest, but can they both maintain an unblemished win record until then?
The 49ers currently lead the league in both turnover differential, at + 7, and points allowed per game, at 13.6. Meanwhile, the Eagles are playing some absolutely sick football, taking chances and making some mistakes on the way but looking super dangerous when things are working for them, which they are more often than not so far this season.
In the hole
Sadly not everyone can be on top, and there are a couple of teams that are having a very rough time of it this season. Looking set on claiming the wooden spoon this year are the Carolina Panthers, with a distressing 0 - 5 heading into week 6. While they have played decently to start in 4 of those losses, leading their first four games before throwing them, that isn't much consolation when it comes time to view the scoreboard and the ladder.
The Panthers are relying heavily on their new quarterback and it seems that the youngster is folding under the pressure somewhat. While the team could come back and win some games and finish the regular season on a high note, the chances seem vanishingly small that they could make playoffs, as no 0 - 5 team has before them, and they haven't shown anything that would make anyone think that they can accomplish the impossible.
There are a number of teams that are playing into week 6 at 1 - 4, but the most notable of those is almost certainly the New England Patriots. The Pats have fallen far from glory and even if you aren't a fan, it's probably sad to see what was such a stable and powerful franchise sink so low. For the first time since their very first season in the NFL, the Patriots have suffered back-to-back 30-point losses, which is also the second and third time that coach Bill Belichick has lost by 30 points, all in the span of two weeks.
The Pats themselves have bottomed out the league with only 55 points this season, meanwhile, opponents have scored that much on them off of their turnovers. While it's true that the side has some injuries, there are other injury-riddled sides that are performing much better despite their issues.
By far the biggest injury story this year so far has been the disappointingly swift injury that superstar Aaron Rodgers suffered. A mere four plays into his first match with the New York Jets saw Rodgers on the ground with a torn Achilles. The Jets have kept their season alive and Rodgers claims that he expects to be back on the field this season.
While not as headline-grabbing as the story with Rodgers, there are plenty of other teams with key players out due to injury, such is the nature of a physical game. One notable out is the Minnesota Vikings wideout Justin Jefferson, who received a hamstring injury and is missing games for the first time in his career. With a fairly impressive 36 catches and 571 yards in 2023, tied sixth and solo third respectively, Jefferson is a big piece of the Vikings offensive puzzle that is going to missing for several weeks.
Sadly for Anthony Richardson and the Colts, even rookies can get injured and miss games. The rookie quarterback currently has no timetable for a return, which sounds worrying, but Colts fans should take solace that they seem intent on making sure that he's as fit as he can be when he returns to play. The Colts also have Gardner Minshew as a backup, so they aren't quite up the creek without a paddle. Minshew isn't considered a top-tier quarterback, but so far this season he's been playing well and doing just about enough to keep the Colts alive.
Sometimes lady luck really turns her face from a team hard, and that's what seems to be happening to the Buffalo Bills. While doing okay in terms of their season placement so far, and playing pretty well overall across the season, the Bills have a bit of a problem with injury at the moment. Week 4 saw them lose their star cornerback Tre'Davious White for what seems like the entire season, and week 5 has seen them lose another two important players. Defensive end DaQuan Jones and linebacker Matt Milano, with Milano's injury also looking likely to be a season ender. The Bills still have a talented side, but some important players are out, and they have stiff opposition ahead of them.
Another notable injury is the Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner. This is a shame as Conner is currently the strongest running back the Cardinals were fielding, with 364 rushing yards over 68 carries. This might be a devastating blow to Cardinals fans, as none of their other running backs have anywhere near the same mileage yet this season, with the next closest having under 50 yards rushing. Tony Jones Jr. has been claimed from the New Orleans Saints to try and help the Cardinals get competitive, but only time will tell if he'll be what they need.