Released at 7:00 am ET on October 18, 2020
SportsPulse: Lorenzo is on a roll, like a Derrick Henry stiff arm type. He provides his three best bets for week 6 in the NFL.
The NFL’s unblemished group of teams is reduced to an elite quartet.
After five weeks, the Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Tennessee Titans are the last remaining outfits that have not yet suffered a defeat this season. But the road for everyone is about to become much more difficult, with the Steelers facing the Cleveland Browns 4-1 on Sunday and the Packers against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While all groups remain perfect for this week (the Seahawks are on the way), it’s guaranteed that only one undefeated AFC team will remain standing after week 7, when the Titans host the Steelers.
With that in mind, we asked USA TODAY Sports reporters and NFL reporters: Who will be the last undefeated NFL team in the regular season?
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) throws a mug for a camera after throwing a touchdown pass for tight end Robert Tonyan during the second quarter of their game against the Atlanta Falcons on Monday, October 5, 2020 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. (Photo: Mark Hoffman, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / USA TODAY Sports)
Green Bay. I like the possibilities for a team that has scored at least 30 points in every game. If the Packers leave Tampa with a win on Sunday, their next four opponents – Houston, Minnesota, San Francisco and Jacksonville – will have a combined record of 5-15. Not only could this team break a 9-0 record in a late November game in Indianapolis, but along the way they can get symbolic revenge by proving they can actually beat the 49ers in Santa Clara as they spin the 2019 playoff squad landscape. who suffer in difficult times. Balance is the ticket. Sure, Aaron Rodgers is on fire, setting the clock back to his 2011 NFL MVP season. Yet the supporting cast was also perfect. This includes Za’Darius Smith, the rusher every team needs. And the Packers haven’t made a turnover yet. How about a bonus question: if not the package? Seahawks mojo. Seattle is the only team to have won five games, despite nearly losing to the Patriots, Cowboys and Vikings, and being scared of the Dolphins. The defense keeps them in the games and Russell Wilson wins them. This is a risky combination. But so far it has worked. Then again, maybe the Seahawks are doing well.
No particularly strong feeling here … so since I have Packers perched at the top of USA TODAY Sports’ NFL power charts, we might as well stick with them. Sunday’s game in Tampa Bay is certainly not a given, but I think Aaron Rodgers and his teammates will make it after a week. After that? They are Texans, Vikings, Niners and Jags for the Pack – a stretch that looks quite favorable for a 9-0 start. And when you consider that the Titans and Steelers – neither have played a particularly impressive program to date – meet in week 7, while the beak-skinned Seahawks are about to meet the Cardinals (twice), Bills and Rams? #GoPackGo seems like the bunch most likely to run an extended run to perfection.
To state the obvious: the Seahawks, in a goodbye week this week, are statistically more likely to be the last undefeated team on Monday. But I expect the Titans will beat a Texan team 1-4, the Steelers will lower Cleveland to 17 straight losses in Pittsburgh, and Aaron Rodgers will win the uncleaned battle with Tom Brady in Tampa Bay. This brings us to week seven, when the Steelers and Titans face off and aren’t both coming out with a win. Seattle is traveling to Arizona, which I predict will benefit from winning JerryWorld on national television. Kyler’s mojo from a return to town will be just enough to help a Seattle team get back to their rhythm after 14 days of rest. Meanwhile, Green Bay will host a Texan squad that will flash but won’t keep up with Rodgers’ explosiveness. This is all an indirect way of saying: Give me Green Bay.
I really think it’s the Packers. When you watch their schedule, the upcoming list features the Bucs (3-2), Texans (1-4), Vikings (1-4) and 49ers (2-3). They definitely have a chance of winning the next three, and possibly the fourth. Depending on San Francisco’s health, that could end up being their most challenging bout of the four because Niners coaches have a good understanding of Green Bay’s patterns. The Seahawks have some division games coming up and they will be challenging. The Titans and the Steelers play each other in a couple of weeks, so one of them will fall from the ranks. But Green Bay’s level of play, as well as the way the schedule shakes up, seems to suit them better for a long unbeaten period.
I’m going with the Packers. For some reason, they seem to be underrated this season. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned about Aaron Rodgers, just like with many of the more competitive athletes out there, a little motivation to silence haters goes a long way. As Front Adams returns to health, the offense will be even better. The defense has some concerns, but this is more about the remaining program. The toughest opponents left are the Buccaneers (this weekend) and the Titans (week 16). As long as the Packers take care of Tampa Bay on Sunday, they should be able to sail right up to their fight against Tennessee. And even though the Bears are 4-1 and Green Bay faces them twice, I don’t have the same confidence that Chicago is a legitimate threat at the conference.