1. Are the Chiefs the best team in the AFC West?
JAMES CARR: Look, you can throw in whatever factors you want. I will never be caught taking Alex Smith over Peyton Manning. Point blank, period. Respect to the Chiefs for turning it around, but you have to take the crown. It has yet to be earned.
DJ DUNSON: The Broncos defense is a problem. Only the Redskins, Eagles, Vikings and Cowboys allow more yards per game. We’ve seen offenses like this stumble against the right scheme. It’s not so much Alex Smith vs. Manning than it is picking between Manning vs. Justin Houston/Eric Berry & Co. or Smith vs. the Broncos Von Miller-less defense. Smith took the San Francisco 49ers to the brink of a Super Bowl in 2012. Something special may be brewing in Kansas City. Even offenses that are normally in lockdown mode get yard time on the field with Denver. We’ve seen this before. I’m buying the Chiefs as the temps start dropping.
KHALID SALAAM: Here’s the issue, the teams are polar opposites and that gives this question life more than anything else. The reflex position is to plant your flag on the side with Denver. Their offense has been otherworldly and is putting up historical level numbers. On the flip side, Kansas City’s defense has reached its potential with the quickness. Defensive Coordinator Bob Sutton has pushed the right buttons and installed the right schemes. As long as the offense is solid, defense generally wins in the playoffs – especially against Peyton Manning-led offenses. So the battle comes down to KC’s offense versus Denver’s defense. Once the Bronco’s get Von Miller back, that will help the pash rush, and thus the secondary, tremendously (that’s assuming he comes back full power). The Chiefs offense has some playmakers on it, so it’s certainly feasible that they could win the division. Coaching is about even, so where is the differential? The Bronco’s have the best player in the division in Manning, so, you still got to go with them. However, it’s a lot closer than people think.
2. Can Houston's season be saved, or is it "there's always next year" time for the Texans?
CARR: What's going on with the people of Houston? Are they that football thirsty that they're really booing and harassing Matt Schaub? Is it because Texas isn't doing much this year? I can't figure it out. Either way, if the TJ Yates era continues for any time period at all, they should just start getting ready for the Dwight Howard takeover.
DUNSON: There’s a certain place in football hell for soulless fans who emote joy when their starting quarterback get injured. It’s called Houston, Texas and it’s always warm. I hope they’re happy with their replacement. T.J. Yates. Schaub is stuck in a rut, but they got what they asked for when Yates came in. Case Keenum is the future, but they’ll have to wait until next year for him to be ready.
SALAAM: Things are unraveling quick, fast and in a hurry down in H-Town. Too bad, because this team was right on the cusp of something good. They don’t have many holes, but right now, they have a big one at the signal-caller position. There’s a good chance the Matt Schaub era ended on Sunday, so from here on out, who knows. They still have to play the Colts twice, so that gives them a chance in the AFC South division chase, so it’s not all lost. However, they can’t take another whooping like the one the Rams just gave them, too damaging for their record and their self-esteem. If I had to bet money, I’d say its over for the Texans. Also, anyway we can identify the people who ventured over to Schaub’s house? They need to be identified and then made into an example. We need to grab their photos and plaster them across billboard in the Houston metro area. Someone can find their info right? Where’s Julian Assange at right now?
3. Give me your MVP for Week 6?
CARR: Speaker John Boehner. This guy has really stepped up his game in the last two years and has developed into one of the game's best punters. Boehner can literally punt out of any situation...without fail. I'd be surprised if he didn't make the list next week, too, as he's gonna punt the hell out of this shutdown until after the 2014 elections. Guaranteed.
DUNSON: Nick Foles stepped in for Michael Vick and the Eagles rediscovered their stride after a few weeks of mistake-ball with Vick. He deserves extra kudos for remaining turnover-free with Darrelle Revis roaming the secondary. After Sunday, Foles is in the same company as Peyton Manning. His 127.9 QB rating this season is second in the NFL among quarterbacks with 50 plus pass attempts. Take a stab at who's No. 1. Foles even threw in a rushing touchdown and to help his cause.
SALAAM: At this point, Tom Brady isn’t battling Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers. He’s battling the ghosts of Joe Montana and Dan Marino for that “Best QB Ever” title and he’s putting in a lot of strong stats to prove his case. Sunday eve’s win over the Saints isn’t some all-time NFL moment. Comebacks like that happen every year in this league, but it is another notch on his belt. He’s not only the MVP for Week 6, he’s arguably the MVP for the season so far. With Vince Wilfork out for the season, Brady’s margin for error is deli meat thin. That offense, even when/if Gronkowski returns, isn’t great. If this team wins 12 games, they might as well put up a Brady statue in front of Gillette Stadium now and save the suspense.