NFL Week 6 awards: Bailey Zappe, Matt Ryan, Jets defense shine


Offensive players of the week

Bailey Zappe, quarterback, New England. Another start, another win (38-15 at Cleveland) for the fourth-round rookie from Western Kentucky. In his three appearances for the Patriots, Zappe’s passer ratings: 107.4 at Green Bay, 100.0 against the Lions at home, and 118.4 at Cleveland. On Sunday, Zappe recorded his first 300-yard passing game, going 24-of-34 for 309 yards. The 23-year-old from Victoria, Texas, just might be threatening Mac Jones’ hold on the starting job.

Matt Ryan, quarterback, Indianapolis. Matt Ryan is buying his offensive line a drink today. In the Colts’ 34-27 win over the Jaguars, Ryan dropped back 58 times and wasn’t sacked once. That’s a first for Ryan and Indianapolis this season (the QB was sacked six times in Denver last week alone). The time allowed Ryan to throw for 389 yards, with three touchdowns and zero picks. Quietly, Ryan just passed Dan Marino for seventh place on the all-time passing-yardage list.

Joe Burrow, quarterback, and Ja’Marr Chase, wide receiver, Cincinnati. LSU’s dynamic duo did not disappoint in their return to Louisiana. In their first game at the Superdome since winning the 2019 National Championship game as Tigers, Burrow and Chase combined for two touchdowns in the Bengals’ win over the Saints, including the game-winner with just over two minutes remaining. Burrow threw for 300 yards and three TDs, while Chase had seven receptions for 132 yards. Burrow arrived before the game wearing Chase’s LSU jersey and said post-game: “I wanted to pay tribute to people in Louisiana. What better way than wear a Ja’Marr championship jersey?”


Defensive players of the week

Two top-five rookies, playing just miles apart in New Jersey, share the award this week with a seasoned veteran.

Sauce Gardner, cornerback, N.Y. Jets. What a win for the entire Jets organization, and what a statement game for the rookie cornerback. Even with his game-opening pick six of Aaron Rodgers reversed, his elite ballhawk capabilities were on full display. Gardner tallied two pass breakups, including interrupting a Rodgers deep throw intended for Allen Lazard.

Kayvon Thibodeaux, edge rusher, N.Y. Giants. After missing the start of his rookie season with a knee injury, it took until week six for Kayvon Thibodeaux to get the breakout moment fitting for his status as the number five overall pick. With the Giants holding a slim four-point lead and the Ravens driving late in the fourth, Thibodeaux strip-sacked Lamar Jackson, and Leonard Williams recovered to seal the win for the G-Men. The moment clearly meant a lot to Thibodeaux, whose Giants are now 5-1 and keeping pace in a red-hot NFC East.

Von Miller, linebacker, Buffalo. Through six games, the 33-year-old has shown himself to be one of the smartest offseason acquisitions of 2022. He has six sacks on the season, including two of Patrick Mahomes in Buffalo’s 24-20 win over the Chiefs on Sunday. The linebacker put pressure on Mahomes all afternoon, perhaps most impactfully on Kansas City’s final series of the game, with the Chiefs down four and looking for the go-ahead score. Miller split through the Chiefs’ O-Line on the first play of the drive, forcing Mahomes out of the pocket and into a game-sealing pick caught by Taron Johnson. The interception won’t show on Miller’s stat line, but he was the powerhouse behind it, and he’s the powerhouse of a Bills defense laser-focused on the Super Bowl.


Special teams players of the week

Will Parks, safety, N.Y. Jets. Toward the end of the third quarter, the Jets held a 10-3 lead when a Quinnen Williams sack ended a Packers drive. Rookie Micheal Clemons powered through the Green Bay line to block Pat O’Donnell’s punt and Will Parks snagged it at the 20-, taking it in for the score to make it 17-3. Even though the Packers would get within seven again, that score went a long way to making the game feel out of reach. It was the first touchdown of Parks’ career and the Jets’ second block of the day.

Ryan Wright, punter, Minnesota. The Minnesota Vikings are 5-1 and Wright was a huge factor in the fifth win. Wright boomed a 73-yard punt in the first quarter (net 75 after Tyreek Hill went back two yards on the return), and Wright’s 10 punts went for a combined 441 yards, with six downed inside the 20.

Quinnen Williams, defensive lineman, N.Y. Jets. On a rainy day in Green Bay, when an early three points would be especially golden, he blocked Mason Crosby’s 47-yard field goal attempt, keeping the game tied at zero and notching the first of what would be two blocked kicks for the Jets. In addition to the block, Sunday’s stat line for Williams included two sacks, three QB hits and a forced fumble. Jets coach Robert Saleh described Williams as “playing at a different level. If he keeps doing this, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be Pro Bowl, All-Pro, all the different accolades you can get.”


Coaches of the week

Arthur Smith, head coach, Atlanta. After starting 0-2, the Falcons have now won three of their last four, including a 28-14 win over the 49ers this week. The Falcons held the 49ers scoreless in the second half and Marcus Mariota, Smith’s prize QB pupil, was the picture of efficiency, going 13-of-14 for 129 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. With $77 million in dead cap money, Smith is finding creative ways to win games.

Robert Saleh, head coach, N.Y. Jets. So much of New York’s 4-2 start comes back to the top. In his second season with the big job, Saleh has found a way to build a strong defense and to empower the offense to play his style, which will always include a strong run game. After the game, Saleh shared some of his halftime speech: “Just keep giving ‘em blow after body blow after body blow.” That’s what the Jets have been doing for six weeks now. Saleh has the receipts to prove it. 


Goat of the week

Lamar Jackson, quarterback, Ravens. Lamar Jackson has shown himself to be more than capable of making magic this season. But in week six he showed himself capable of making truly terrible decisions. Up 20-17 in the fourth with a chance to put the game out of reach, Jackson bobbled the snap on third-and-five but retrieved it, launching a pass on the run intended for Patrick Ricard. It went right into the hands of Giants safety Julian Love, and Saquon Barkley leapt into the end zone on the ensuing drive to put the Giants up 24-20. The Ravens got the ball back for their final drive of the game and Jackson was strip-sacked on second-and-ten, sealing the win for the Giants. A show of force from New York defensive coordinator Wink Martindale against his former team, and a costly error from Jackson that the Ravens can’t afford, even in a middling AFC North.


Hidden person of the week

Justin Reid, safety, Kansas City. The quarterbacks are bound to get the vast majority of attention in a KC-Buffalo game. Rightfully so. But Reid saved the home team four points—very likely—with a play early in the second quarter in the red zone. Buffalo had third-and-nine at the KC 21-, and Josh Allen found Isaiah McKenzie with a sliver of space just past the first-down sticks. A completion and first down here, and Allen, who moved up and down the field with ease in the first 16 minutes, would have brought Buffalo to the doorstep of a 7-0 lead. CRUNCH! Reid drove through McKenzie with a legal hit that made the ball pop out. Incomplete. Field goal. Buffalo led 3-0, but it was a win for the KC defense because of Reid.

The Jason Jenkins Award

Antonio Hamilton, cornerback, Arizona. Hamilton had earned a starting job in training camp with the Cards when, the morning after the last preseason game, he suffered severe burns on his feet in a cooking accident at home. After being treated at the Arizona Burn Center in Phoenix, Hamilton returned to play in week five against the Eagles. Then he brought four teammates with him and visited children at the Burn Center last Tuesday, per Howard Balzer of Hamilton spent time with 10 burn victims and their families, taking his socks off to show them his burns and how he’s recovered. He wanted to remove the stigma of being a burn victim. “It’s just a blessing to able to come here and be with you all because we all share the same type of scars,” Hamilton told them, per Balzer. “Be proud of our scars. You are no different than anybody else. We just have a different story to tell.”

Read more in Peter King’s full Football Morning in America column

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft WR Rankings: Zay Flowers, Jaxon Smith-Njigba top list


The 2023 NFL Draft is just around the corner, and across all positions, fans are eagerly tracking the names to know to see what prospects can bolster their team in the upcoming season. A top-quality pass-catcher is on the wish list for more than a few franchises, and ahead of the draft on April 27th, Chris Simms broke down his picks for the top five wide receivers in this year’s draft class, starting with Boston College’s Zay Flowers, who’s been rumored to be of interest for both the Saints and the Patriots. Stay tuned to the Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast for the next month as Simms breaks down his rankings for every position group, and read on for the rest of his wide receiver rankings.

RELATED: Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft QB Rankings: C.J. Stroud leads the way, and a tie at No. 5

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft Wide Receiver Rankings

Tier One

1. Zay Flowers, Boston College

2. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State

Tier Two

3. Quentin Johnston, TCU

4. Michael Wilson, Stanford

Tier Three

5. Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee

Chris Simms Top 5 2023 NFL Draft Wide Receivers

RELATED: When is the 2023 NFL Draft? Date, start time, location, Round 1 order

Simms Breaks Down 2023 Draft WR Rankings

The following are highlights from Simms’ WR draft rankings. For Simms’ in-depth analysis, read below for a breakdown on each prospect and be sure to subscribe to Chris Simms Unbuttoned for an unfiltered look at the NFL, featuring player access, unabashed opinion, X&O film breakdown, and stories from a life in and around football.

No. 1 Zay Flowers (Boston College)

What Simms Said: “The position versatility – he can play inside or outside. Some of the best releases in the draft are from Zay Flowers. He is pedal to the metal every play, every cut, everything he does. The build, the style of running…I think he looks like Antonio Brown. He is an unbelievable route runner, along with the explosive athlete. You’re really getting a three-in-one here with speed burner on the outside, speed burner on the inside, and slot receiver inside. I wrote Jaylen Waddle, that’s a guy he reminds me of…(He) plays bigger than his measurables say. To me, he’s a top-20 pick.”

No. 2 Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State

What Simms Said: “The speed is not blazing…but what’s off the charts good is the guy’s quickness and route running. His ability to come off the ball and be going 70% and almost jump in the air at the six-yard mark…it’s like Allen Iverson with an unbelievable crossover dribble. He’s got this unbelievable ability to change direction and then accelerate in a hurry. His ability after the catch…the first guy never tackles him…He reminds me of Jarvis Landry, to a greater version. This guy is about as high level of a route runner as you’re going to see in college.”

No. 3 Quentin Johnson, TCU

What Simms Said: “Tee Higgins-ish with more explosive ability than Higgins had coming out. He can catch the six-yard shallow cross and run 80 yards for a touchdown. His ability to jump – it’s a 40.5 inch vertical – plus he’s 6’3” and his arms look like they’re ridiculously long. He’s Drake London-ish from last year, except he doesn’t have the route running but has more of the straight speed…He’s one of the most physically impressive wide receivers in recent memory. You don’t see a lot of the route variety…but he shows the ability to change direction with the ball in his hands. He has better feet, quickness, and suddenness than most people with his size.”

No. 4 Michael Wilson, Stanford

What Simms Said: “This is where we’re going to go a little unconventional…But if you watch the film, you go, ‘There’s no doubt this is one of the best three or four receivers in this draft.’ There’s nothing he doesn’t do that’s top-notch…He ran a 4.58 at the Combine in the 40, (but) he plays way faster than that…The physical specimen is real, let alone the refined things you like to see in a receiver are real too. He can be another guy who could be inside or outside because he’s got the pure size and strength and speed to beat you outside but has the route running and it looks like the smarts to be that slot guy that catches your eye as well.”

No. 5 Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee 

What Simms Said: “If you like speed, then you like Jaylin Hyatt…This is a track start, straight-liner, DeSean Jackson-, Will Fuller-ish type of receiver. So, there’s going to be things about him that you love, there’s going to be some things about him that I’m not crazy about. He’s not a great route runner…I truly question whether he can do it, unlike the other guys where I try to piece things together. You can watch a bunch of catches and he never makes anybody miss, that’s not his game…If there’s a seam straight away, watch out…If he gets a free release or gets off the line of scrimmage the right way and you have a safety that doesn’t get back instantly, see ya. It’s going to be a 60-yard post for a touchdown. That’s where he’s special.”

For more preview content of the 2023 NFL Draft, stay tuned to Chris Simms UnbuttonedProFootballTalk and NBC Sports EDGE for all the latest updates, player analysis and mock drafts.

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft Position Rankings: The top QBs, WRs, RBs, and more ahead of draft weekend


The 2023 NFL Draft takes place on Thursday, April 27 through Saturday, April 29 in Kansas City, Missouri. Click here for the full first-round draft order to find out when your team is picking.

Ahead of this year’s draft, Chris Simms has already started analyzing the top prospects by position on the Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast. So far, Simms has revealed his highly anticipated list of the top 5 quarterback prospects and wide receivers. See below to find out who made the top 5 names for each position and be sure to check back for updates!

Be sure to subscribe to Chris Simms Unbuttoned for more on the 2023 NFL Draft as well as an unfiltered look at the NFL, featuring player access, unabashed opinion, X&O film breakdown, and stories from a life in and around football.

RELATED: When is the 2023 NFL Draft? Date, start time, location, Round 1 order

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft Position Rankings:

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft QB Rankings:

  1. C.J. Stroud, Ohio State
  2. Bryce Young, Alabama
  3. Hendon Hooker, Tennessee
  4. Anthony Richardson, Florida
  5. Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA and Will Levis, Kentucky

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft WR Rankings:

  1. Zay Flowers, Boston College
  2. Jaxon Smith-Njibga, Ohio State
  3. Quentin Jonston, TCU
  4. Michael Wilson, Stanford
  5. Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee

How can I watch the 2023 NFL Draft live?

ESPN, ABC, and NFL Network will air all seven rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft.

What time does the NFL Draft start?

The first round of the 2023 NFL Draft will get underway on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET. Rounds two and three will commence Friday at 7 p.m. ET, with Saturday’s final rounds at 12 p.m.

Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2023 NFL Season and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!