The fifth week of the 2017 NFL season is in the books. Following the New England Patriots' 19-14 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday night, 13 more games followed over the remainder of the weekend. Let's take one final look back at them to find some things we learned about the NFL.
1. The Raiders' can't escape their downward spiral: After living up to the preseason hype early in the season, Oakland has struggled mightily the last three weeks and now stands at 2-3. Sunday's game against the Ravens was the latest in a series of disappointments, as the team's offense – without an injured Derek Carr – yet again failed to produce enough to keep the Raiders in the game.
2. Shane Vereen better get ready for a big role in the Giants' passing offense: Sunday was a disastrous day for the Giants. Not only did the team lose its fifth straight game, it also lost almost its entire wide receiver corps to injury: Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard were all unable to finish the game – Beckham and Marshall will not be able to finish the season. As a result, former Patriot Shane Vereen might see an increased role as one of the few above-average players remaining.
3. The Texans defense lost two of its best players: The Texans have been able to survive without J.J. Watt in the past. Now, however, they have lost him and linebacker Whitney Mercilus for the season due to injury. And while Houston's defense still features a lot of talent, the unit undoubtably has gotten noticeably worse when compared to 72 hours ago.
4. Two of the most entertaining contests featured three 0-4 teams: A team's record does not say a lot about its entertainment record, as Sunday's contests showed: Two of the most-fun-to-watch games were the 1-3 Colts hosting the 0-4 49ers and the 0-4 Giants hosting the 0-4 Chargers. Both contests came down to the wire and despite not a lot of quality football being on display were fun to watch.
5. The Eagles look like one of the NFC's best teams: Sure, beating the Cardinals is not exactly a tall task but Philadelphia did what good teams do: dominate the opponent. Quarterback Carson Wentz played one of the best games of his career, while the defense – despite missing its best defensive lineman (Fletcher Cox) – shut down Arizona both on the ground and through the air. If the Eagles can continue playing like this, they should be considered the favorite to win the NFC East.
6. Cleveland still has a quarterback problem: On opening day, DeShone Kizer showed his potential as the Browns' starting quarterback. Five games and a 1:3 touchdown interception ratio as well as a 50.9% completion percentage later, the rookie has been benched in favor of Kevin Hogan. Hogan was better but still only a marginal improvement.
7. The Jaguars are the AFC South favorites: While Houston has played stretches of very good football this season, Jacksonville appears to be the early favorite to win the AFC South. The team, which leads the NFL in scoring differential (+56), proved this in spectacular fashion on Sunday. Jacksonville blew out the Steelers in Pittsburgh 30-9 behind a stingy and opportunistic defense and a run-first offense that gained 231 yards.
8. Seattle registered a huge division victory: The NFC West, the NFL's best division just a few years ago, is headed towards a two-team race for the title – a race that now appears to have a favorite thanks to the Seahawks' 16-10 victory on the road against the Rams. Both teams are 3-2 now but Seattle holding the tiebreaker gives the team a clear-cut advantage when it comes winning the division.
9. There was a lot of bad kicking: On Thursday, the Buccaneers Nick Folk spectacularly opened a bad week of NFL kicking when he went 0 for 3 on field goal attempts. Folk was not the only kicker to struggle this weekend: The Browns' Zane Gonzalez missed both of his field goal attempts, while field goals or extra points also sailed wide in five other games.
10. If the past is any indication, three teams are eliminated from the playoffs: Never before has team with a five-win deficit made the playoffs. Judged by history, therefore, three teams are already out of the postseason race: The Cleveland Browns, the New York Giants and the San Francisco 49ers will likely all spend their January at home.