Adrian Peterson rushed for two touchdowns and 134 yards in an impressive Arizona debut and the Cardinals held off a furious second-half Tampa Bay rally to beat the Buccaneers 38-33 on Sunday.
The Rams won their fourth game of the season in Jacksonville, already matching last year’s total through the first six weeks. Their offense has proved to be significantly improved under coach Sean McVay, and their defense — led by legendary defensive coordinator Wade Phillips — has seemingly rounded into form over these past three weeks. But the Rams know they still have some cleaning up to do on that side of the ball. And they still have some maturing to do on offense, especially with regard to quarterback Jared Goff, who’s playing a lot better but is still developing. — Alden Gonzalez
The Bills are either here or under No. 1, depending on the perspective. In terms of the big picture for first-year coach Sean McDermott, his team is exceeding its preseason expectation of six wins. McDermott’s rebuild seems ahead of schedule, especially on defense. The Bills are 3-2 but have major question marks on offense as they return from their bye week.
Good because at 4-2, the Panthers are atop the NFC South and 3-0 on the road. Uneasy because they’re 0-1 in the conference, 2-2 in the NFC and 1-2 at home, where you have to win in this league. Also uneasy because the running game is struggling outside of quarterback Cam Newton. — David Newton
Brees does this or something like this every season, so we’ve grown accustomed to how consistently excellent he is. He has never been the best quarterback in football, so there’s no peak season for us to point to. Even during 2009, when Brees led the league in passer rating and quarterbacked a 13-3 Saints team to the top of the NFC and then the Super Bowl, he mustered only 7.5 MVP votes to the 39.5 of Peyton Manning.