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Around the NFL: What we learned in Week 5

It's now simply too easy to pick on the Texans -- but that isn't going to stop me. They were far from the worst team in Week 5, though -- that distinction goes to the Cowboys and, specifically, to Brandon Weeden. Here's what else we learned.

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The Chiefs are up a creek with nary a paddle in sight.

Some teams can weather losing their best player. The Steelers are currently 1-1 without Ben Roethlisberger, for example. But the Chiefs were already teetering on the razor's edge when they were succeeding despite their mediocre-at-best passing game. Now, without Jamaal Charles, this team is going to resemble an average Pop Warner team.

The Chiefs won't be lonely on the river, thanks to the Detroit Lions.

Hey, Golden Tate: stop accusing fans of turning their backs on the team. The fans are better than the players at this point -- at least they show up on Sundays.

The NFC East is a punchline, but the joke isn’t funny.

Wow. That a division of the NFL can be this collectively bad is spectacular. Yeah, the Eagles just whipped the Saints, but that’s like saying Robitussin tastes better than Ny-Quil: it’s completely true, but taking either one means you are already in a bad spot. The Eagles won because the Saints couldn’t get out of their own way. The Cowboys went 18 game minutes without a first down on Sunday, and it felt like a lot longer than that. The Redskins played fairly well this week but lost in overtime on a pick-six. And the Giants needed 59 minutes and 39 seconds to find the winning points against a San Francisco team that is questioning whether their backup is better than their starter. And their backup is Blaine Gabbert.

If the Texans started a flaming bag of excrement at quarterback, it wouldn’t help.

But it couldn’t possibly make things any worse, either. Why? Because when you lose to a 40-year-old backup quarterback who threw 56 passes in the previous two seasons combined, and you can’t sack him despite his nearly needing a cane to move around the backfield, then you've got bigger issues than your revolving door at the QB position.

Peyton Manning ought to buy his entire defense new Buicks as a gift.

Because Manning is no longer the reason the Broncos are succeeding. In fact, he may very well be the primary reason they have had several close games against lesser opponents. His arm is weak, his accuracy is questionable and after 17 seasons in the NFL, it seems that most of the league is finally hip to his constant pre-snap fakery and spasming.

College Football Bonus! Two colleges with the initials "USC" fired coaches named Steve S. on the same day.

Southern Cal fires Steve Sarkisian Monday morning, and South Carolina fires Steve Spurrier Monday evening. If I'm the coach for the University of South Calawacky, and my name is Steve Sommers, I'm already starting to work on my resume. These things come in threes, ya know.

UPDATE: Contrary to early reports, Spurrier was not, in fact, fired. He retired. Still, it's a little eerie.

And finally...the Steelers are a tough team that won't quit, even without Ben Roethlisberger.

Mike Vick is deserving of his backup status, but he played admirably against the Ravens with only two days to prepare. It looked like nothing had changed for 57 minutes against the Chargers, but then the Steelers let Vick be Vick: they called a deep pass to Markus Wheaton, which is exactly the throw Vick does best. he hit Wheaton in stride, away from the sideline, and let his receiver do the rest. Sure, he doesn't seem to have a good connection with Antonio Brown, but is it really a bad thing to get other receivers some opportunities while Roethlisberger is out? The bottom line is he's good enough to lead this team to wins. If the defense can keep it close against Arizona, Vick has enough talent left to surprise everyone. If nothing else, the game is at home.