Each week, theScore looks at the teams, players, and units trending upward and those taking a step back.
? Sam Bradford
Ol’ Sleeves Bradford is 4-0 and his Minnesota Vikings are the only undefeated team in the league at 5-0. It’s been thoroughly discussed how Bradford has had to learn a new offense on such short notice, what with his Sept. 3 trade, but he’s been asked to lead Minnesota to victory without many of its key players.
On Sunday, without star running back Adrian Peterson, left tackle Matt Kalil, and leading receiver Stefon Diggs, Bradford went 22-of-30 for two TD passes and a passer rating of 123.1. Long-sleeved jerseys for everyone!
? Michael Floyd
Michael Floyd was thrown the ball three times on Thursday night. He ended the game catchless. One play in particular was an egregious dropped pass.
Through five games, the Cardinals receiver has just 12 catches despite seeing 34 targets. He’s on pace to set career lows across the board, in a contract season no less. If the fifth-year pro out of Notre Dame hopes to earn a big new deal and a role as a No. 1 or No. 2 receiver, he’ll have to pick it up in a big way.
? Dallas Cowboys
When the Cowboys lost both Tony Romo and Dez Bryant to injury, did anyone envision them going 4-1 and leading their division?
That’s exactly where we’re at thanks to the mature play of rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, its offensive line (the team’s anchor), and the surprisingly strong play of its defence – which has surrendered just 18 points per game to this point. When you’re doling out your praise, don’t forget defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.
? New York Jets
Sunday’s loss dropped the Jets to 1-4, putting them three games behind the 4-1 Patriots in just a blink of an eye. Ryan Fitzpatrick leads the league in interceptions and the team is in the bottom-third of the league in points per game. Luckily for the Jets, they’re almost through the tough portion of their schedule after piling up losses to the Bengals, Chiefs, Seahawks, and Steelers with the Cardinals up next.
It was probably foolish to expect a better record from the Jets by this point. They’ll have to just about run the table to end the season in a playoff position, but it’s not an impossible mission. They have the Ravens, Browns, Dolphins, and Rams coming up and a week off to prepare for their first battle with the Patriots.
? Rex Ryan
Who would have thought? After two embarrassing losses to start the year, Ryan controversially fired his offensive coordinator, but it seems to have done the trick. Since the move, the Bills have authored victories over the Cardinals, Patriots, and Rams, and new OC Anthony Lynn seems to have unlocked circa-2013 LeSean McCoy as the former rushing leader looks rejuvenated.
The Bills are back in the picture in the AFC East.
? Dolphins’ RBs
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been awful, but he hasn’t been given much to work with. He’d benefit from a reliable running game to fall back on, but the Dolphins own the fifth-worst rushing offense in the league.
Arian Foster made it through one game before succumbing to injury, Jay Ajayi has yet to top 50 yards rushing in a game, and Kenyan Drake is being kept in the garage. Is it really a wonder the Dolphins are fourth-worst in total offense?