Welcome to the Fifth Quarter, the only NFL recap column you’ll ever need. It’s the only one to provide a full day’s supply of Vitamin C, after all. Here’s what was going on around the rest of the league while you were selfishly focused on your home team and your fantasy players.
Here's what we know about the National Football League after Week 6:
All right, that's not quite true. We know that Peyton Manning is having a season for the ages, and that Seattle, New England and New Orleans are legit. Beyond that? Well, let's run down some of the What The Freak storylines so far:
• The Texans have been abysmal, and the Falcons only marginally better. Both of these teams had decent odds to make the Super Bowl this year, and both are looking like the plane-crash scene at the start of Lost, just bodies and screaming and wreckage everywhere. (2014 season ticket renewals due soon!)
• The Colts and 49ers are quality teams but maddeningly inconsistent. Both should make the playoffs, but may not have as much wiggle room as we'd expected.
• There are half a dozen teams, including Cincinnati, Baltimore, Miami, Chicago and Green Bay, who could be really good or really awful. We've got plenty of evidence for both sides already.
• The Vikings and Redskins, playoff teams from last year, look like they couldn't find January with a map. Between the two teams, they have half of a good quarterback.
• Speaking of Washington, the NFC East is just historically awful. There are signs of life from Dallas and Philadelphia, but 7-9 could still win this division. And the less said about the Giants, the better.
• The Chiefs are 6-0 and the Lions are 4-2. WHAT IS THIS WORLD?
There are 12 teams above .500, nine teams at .500, and 11 teams below .500. This is parity, friends, even if the Bucs and Jaguars don't quite see it that way. We've got a handful of superstar teams and a handful of trash fires, and everybody else is still in the game. Mark this week: some team currently below .500, maybe Houston or Atlanta, is going to reel off a late-season streak and leap into the playoffs as the door is slamming. It's gonna be great.
In which we recap every game in seven words. Ready ... go!
San Francisco 32, Arizona 20. Kaepernick deserves Oscar for Mighty Wings acting.
Cincinnati 27, Buffalo 24. Don't sleep on Cincinnati. It'd be uncomfortable.
Denver 35, Jacksonville 19. If you bet the spread, you're stupid.
Detroit 31, Cleveland 17. "Weeden" is definitely an unfortunate quarterback name.
Philadelphia 31, Tampa Bay 20. Buccaneers fever! It's infectious! And maybe treatable!
Kansas City 24, Oakland 7. Chiefs fattening up on weak-sister teams.
Dallas 31, Washington 16. RG3 still looking to achieve 2013 liftoff.
Pittsburgh 19, New York Jets 6. Last week: Geno rules! Now: Geno sucks!
New England 30, New Orleans 27. Second-best game of the season. Rematch!
Green Bay 19, Baltimore 17. Aaron Rodgers demands you pay him attention.
Seattle 20, Tennessee 13. Kansas City took your noise crown, Seattle!
St. Louis 38, Houston 13. The Texans are in absolute freefall now.
Carolina 35, Minnesota 10. You sure you want this, Josh Freeman?
San Diego 19, Indianapolis 9. All is forgiven with Denver win, Indy.
Chicago 27, New York Giants 21. Eli VI: The Intercepting. Worst Movie Ever.
Teams on bye: Dolphins, Falcons
Champ: Tom Brady. I know, I know, I know ... I don't want to give Brady this week's award any more than you want to see him get it. But look: the guy was facing a very good 5-0 team with a receiving corps made up of season ticketholders, and he managed to cap off a thrilling game with the drive of the season (so far). We want him to fail, he keeps succeeding, and that makes us loathe him even more. We are prisoners to our hate.
Chump: Certain Houston Texans fans. Look, we know that most Houston fans are probably like most fans of any team: normal, decent, centered, hardworking folk who just want the local football organization to perform to the level of its expected abilities. But there are the idiots out there who lack perspective and common sense, and the clowns who booed an injured Matt Schaub deserve to have their team go in the toilet.
And that was the day young Joey became a man. Also, check the dude in the top left of the frame, snapping away. Yes, photos of fans around cheerleaders = never not creepy. Also, gold. Oh, and ma'am in the back there? A little more pep in your step, if you please.
Got your own quality tailgate/party/fan photos? Hit us at firstname.lastname@example.org and share.
There's plenty of good writing every day on the NFL. Here are a few choice reads to keep you busy while there's no football. Because the other alternatives are talking to your family or doing chores, and nobody wants that. (Send us your favorite words of the week.)
• Robert Griffin III is just not getting it done this year, Yahoo's Eric Adelson writes. (Yahoo Sports)
• How are Andrew Luck and the Colts holding up post-Peyton? Monday night excepted, just fine, thanks, says Yahoo's Dan Wetzel. (Yahoo Sports)
• Some Patriots "fans" left before Tom Brady worked his magic against the Saints. Get out and stay out, ya fair-weather bums! (Yahoo Sports)
• How on earth are the Chiefs undefeated? A combination of sharp personnel moves, savvy coaching, and good ol'-fashioned fun. (The MMQB)
• The Bills' quarterback situation is atrocious. But how does it rank among the all-time worst QB catastrophes? (Sports on Earth)
• Midseason QB trades aren't always a salvation, meaning the Vikings shouldn't expect Josh Freeman to change the world immediately. (Sports Illustrated)
Each week, we’ll make a random Super Bowl pick based on trends, stats or general nonquantifiable gut feelings. One of these weeks, we’ll be right. Probably right after both conference championships.
Saints vs. Patriots. Come on, you know you want a sequel. Sunday night's Patriots-Saints game was one of the best of the season, second only to the Denver-Dallas all-timer from last week. Two teams with absolutely masterful quarterbacks, Bond-villain head coaches and insufferable fanbases? What's not to love? Denver gets bumped from the top spot only for failing to close out Jacksonville by three figures.
Super Bowl picks, full season: Denver 3x, New Orleans 3x, Seattle 2x, New England 2x, San Francisco, Indianapolis.
And that's a wrap for this week's edition of Fifth Quarter. Got a question? Comment? Concern? Rant? Hit me up at email@example.com or on Twitter at @jaybusbee. We’ll run your words here or in Thursday’s weekly letters column. For now, enjoy the week. It's not long 'til more football!