Week 5 takeaways: D.K. Metcalf moving into an elite tier

Dak Prescott was on the wrong side of a brutal and unforgiving part of the NFL. Amid one of the best statistical starts of his career, the Cowboys QB suffered a terrible ankle injury on Sunday that will knock Prescott off for the remainder of the season.
While this certainly puts a limit on the cowboys cap, the team should be fine in the short term. The organization prepared carefully for this scenario and added long-time Bengals starter Andy Dalton as an insurance policy in the off-season. With a fourth-quarter comeback led by Dalton against the New York Giants, dividends were paid to them immediately.
Dalton won't match Prescott's passing metrics on this offensive going forward, but the veteran QB should be stable enough to keep Dallas in the games. In the past, Dalton has performed well when surrounded by high profile talent at Wide Receiver, such as in the 2015 season when the Bengals teamed up with A.J. were one of the best offenses in the NFL. Green, Marvin Jones and Mohammed Sanu are way out there. That season, Dalton was a frontier MVP candidate. Dallas has a similar set of weapons (and probably better receivers) with CeeDee Lamb, Amari Cooper, and Michael Gallup, so Mike McCarthy should be able to adjust the pace of the offense and use game actions to put Dalton in more favorable overtaking situations.
Dalton looked comfortable from the bench on his first dose, walked 9-of-11 for 111 yards, and showed good chemistry for Gallup on the field. If the pass protection gets better, Dalton will be on the most talented offensive he has ever played as he has Ezekiel Elliott running back. Dalton's stability should keep Dallas in playoff talk - mostly because the NFC East is so bad.
Rivers That Cost the Colts: The Colts have the best defense in the NFL. They have one of the top rated offensive lines and great special forces, but they are only 3-2 because of the unsettling game by Philip Rivers who cost the Colts against Cleveland with a brutal performance that included two interceptions and one security. Rivers didn't throw a touchdown pass into defeat and the team continued their seasonal battles in the red zone. They only implemented eight out of 19 chances, which is one of the lowest marks in the NFL and a clear indication of the lack of command and production at Rivers. Rivers hasn't had a game with more than one touchdown pass this season and has more interceptions (5) than touchdown passes (4) overall, which are extremely alarming numbers in the pass-heavy NFL. Rivers should be the force of stability to get the Colts back into the playoffs as the roster is strong everywhere else, but the Colts would be 5-0 now with a better quarterback game.
D.K. Metcalf joins an elite: Seahawks WR D.K. Metcalf had all the makings of an NFL bust. The athletic dynamo had poor college production, a history of injuries, a 40 yard shot that didn't necessarily match its game speed, and fell into draft as a result (by the end of round two last year). These reviews have proven ridiculous. Metcalf is already one of the best receivers in the NFL in his second professional season. He finished the fifth game in a row over 90 yards and sealed the victory for Seattle with the touchdown in the last minute of the fourth quarter to beat the Minnesota Vikings. Metcalf not only has the speed and strength of the elite, but also wins consistently with technique and shows a well-rounded route tree, which impressed him very much at Ole Miss. He still has a fair share of flaws, but with his size and speed, Metcalf is reminiscent of a younger version of Julio Jones, and in just 22 receptions so far, Metcalf ranks second in the NFL in receiving yards and has five touchdowns Catches. He's a big reason Seattle are 5-0.
Panthers were a pleasant surprise: when the Panthers got rid of Cam Newton, Greg Olsen and had an unexpected resignation from All Pro LB Luke Kuechly, no one really gave the Panthers a chance this season. Especially with a new head coach (Matt Rhule) who has never trained with the pros. Those chances got even smaller when the Panthers started 2-0 and lost their franchise player Christian McCaffrey to an ankle sprain. Despite all the odds, the Panthers won three straight competitions in Week 5 and controlled the game against the Atlanta Falcons. Rhule has done this before, making his name in college, turning problematic programs like Temple and Baylor into competitive teams. His offseason moves to attract Teddy Bridgewater, Mike Davis, and Robby Anderson - a player he coached at Temple - helped kickstart the new program in Carolina, and the team plays the tough and smart football in its teams are defined by the university.
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