Canning Ryan Mallett appears to have been addition by subtraction.
One absolute positive that came out of Mallett getting the boot: Brian Hoyer no longer needs to be looking over his shoulder. Look, I'm a life-long fan of the University of Pittsburgh, but Tom Savage isn't going to steal the starting job away. At this point, the only one who is going to take the job away from Hoyer is...well...Hoyer. Sure, beating Tennessee isn't exactly a difficult thing -- and beating the Titans while they are missing quarterback Marcus Mariota is like clubbing baby seals -- but a win is a win. Doing so, and looking pretty good at the same time? That's important for a team that desperately needs a rebound.
This one was a costly win, though: Baltimore was already perilously thin at wide receiver, and then lost their best guy for the season. For Steve Smith, this was supposed to be his farewell tour. Either he changes his mind and comes back for one more shot in 2016, or he is going to say farewell about eight games sooner than he expected. For anyone wondering, this is what the Baltimore depth chart looks like at receiver right now: Kamar Aiken, Marlon Brown, Breshad Perriman, Chris Givens, Jeremy Ross, Darren Waller, Jeremy Butler. Not one of them has even 100 career receptions, and two have not yet played a down in the NFL.
The Packers now have just a one-game lead over the Vikings with both head-to-head games still to be played.
What looked like a sure thing for the Packers earlier this year is anything but. Now, I'm not saying Minnesota will win the division, or even win one of the head-to-head games. But Minnesota is looking a lot like the Carolina Panthers right now: they may not be winning pretty, but they are scrappy. Sure, they lost to the 49ers -- but that was in week one, and they only lost to the Broncos by three points a few weeks ago. The next six weeks will tell us if this is a good team or not: they play the Rams, at the Raiders, the Packers, at the Falcons, the Seahawks and at the Cardinals. Yikes.
It's not that Atlanta lost by three that should be cause for concern.
It's that they were down, at one point, by seventeen points to the Buccaneers. Tampa was about a step and a half above awful on Sunday -- Winston barely completed more than half his passes, no receiver had more than three catches and they only managed to sack Matt Ryan once. Tampa had no reason to be in this game, let alone up by 17 points -- eeeeeeexcept that the Falcons turned the ball over four times to the Bucs' zero. I don't care who you are playing against: