—The only two unbeaten teams – San Francisco and Philadelphia – boosted their records to 5-0, but they did it in different ways. The 49ers, who knocked the Cowboys out of the playoffs the last two years, crushed them, 42-10, while the Eagles beat the Rams, 23-14. The two teams are heading to a Dec. 3 matchup in Philadelphia. The 49ers have the better chance of going unbeaten into that game because their next six foes are the Browns, Vikings, Bengals, Jaguars, Tampa and Seattle. By contrast, the Eagles have games against the Dolphins, Cowboys, Chiefs and Bills plus Jets and Washington.
–The only team likely to prevent a 49ers-Eagles playoff matchup is Detroit, which boosted its record to 4-1 with a 42-24 rout of the Panthers, the only winless team in the league. The Lions figure to play either the 49ers or Eagles in the divisional round. The Panthers, by contrast, have the inside track on the first pick, but they traded it to Chicago to move up and draft Bryce Young over C.J. Stroud. The Panthers are going nowhere past.
–The Bills fell to 3-2 with a loss in London to the Jaguars and sent a message to the rest of the league. If a team is matched up against a team playing its second consecutive game in London, it is best to fly over several days in advance. The Bills were obviously jet-lagged and didn’t appear to have much energy. But then maybe the Bills don’t match up well against the Jaguars. They lost to them 9-6 two years ago. In the last three years, the Bills are 0-2 against the Jaguars and 27-9 in the rest of their regular season games.
–The wheels have fallen off for Bill Belichick in New England. The Patriots lost 38-3 a week ago to Dallas, the worst loss of his career and then almost matched it with a 34-0 loss to the Saints. Has a Hall of Fame coach ever lost back-to-back games by a 72-3 margin? Belichick said he is starting over. But will owner Bob Kraft decides he needs a new coach next year to start a rebuilding program? Even if he keeps Belichick, he needs a general manager because Belichick has made too many bad personnel decisions.
–The Bengals got back on track with a 34-20 win over the Cardinals. They are now only a game behind the 3-2 Steelers and Ravens in the AFC North. There are no unbeaten teams in the AFC and only two 4-1 teams, the Chiefs and Dolphins. The Broncos are 1-4 and the rest of the teams have two or three losses. The Chiefs, though, aren’t playing like a team headed for a repeat. They beat the Vikings only by a 27-20 score. And Taylor Swift didn’t show up in Minnesota to cheer on Travis Kelce, who came back from an ankle injury to catch a touchdown pass.
–The Jets posted probably the sweetest win of the year with a victory over the Broncos after new Denver coach Sean Payton said in the offseason that the previous head coach did one of the worst coaching jobs last year. He was probably right that Nathaniel Hackett was miscast as a head coach, but it is poor form to publicly knock a member of the coaching fraternity. And Hackett is now the Jets offensive coordinator and was presented with a game ball after the victory.