At the time of me writing this, 11 games in Week 7 have finished. This week’s games were exciting and well-played, unlike last week’s games, which reeked.
Jets 25, Patriots 27
The Jets played their best game of the season so far against division rival New England, and what had seemed like a blowout between one of the NFL’s worst teams and the 5-1 Patriots became a close, exciting game. The Jets drove down and lined up to kick a long field goal, but it was blocked by the special teams of the Patriots. The absences of Jared Mayo and Stevan Ridley were felt, and it raises some serious questions about New England. With games coming up against the Lions, Colts, Broncos, Chargers and Green Bay, New England will have to play good, mistake-free football, or they could be out of the front seat in the AFC East for the first time since 2008.
Vikings 16, Bills 17
The Bills barely squeaked by the Vikings, as it took all 4 quarters to overcome Teddy Bridgewater’s team. Kyle Orton threw a touchdown pass to Sammy Watkins with 5 seconds left. The Vikings played well today…actually, they didn’t, but compared to the rest of their season, they look very good indeed. They managed to shut down the Bills for the most part, but allowing Kyle Orton to convert on 4th and 20 in the game’s final drive is unforgivable. The Bills, on the other hand, played very poorly. Especially considering they were playing at home, in front of some of the most rabid fans in the league. Will Buffalo be able to secure a playoff spot for the first time in 1999? Or will they take a backseat to the Dolphins and Patriots?
Buffalo’s win not only keeps their hopes alive for a winning season, but it further muddles the division.
Falcons 7, Ravens 29
The Ravens ran roughshod over the hapless Falcons, who have fallen off a cliff in recent weeks. The defense was terrible, and the offense was non-existent, giving up a safety and not scoring until halfway into the 4th quarter. Mike Smith’s job is in serious jeopardy, providing the Atlanta fans with nothing but frustration in the last few years. The Ravens sit at a comfortable 5-2, with an equally comfortable 2 game lead in the AFC North above the Bengals. The Falcons are 2-5 with a worryingly shallow 1 game lead over the hopeless Buccaneers.
Browns 6, Jaguars 24
The Jaguars have finally found their first win of the season! And it couldn’t have happened to a more classically snake-bitten franchise, the Cleveland Browns. The Browns, with a 6-0 lead before halftime, decided to go for it on 4th down deep in Jacksonville territory instead of making it a two-possession game.
If you could point to one of the games this week and say it was decided by one play, it would be this one.
Brian Hoyer threw a bad pass to TE Jordan Cameron, in which he bobbled it at the sideline before dropping it. The Jaguars promptly drove down the field and scored, ending halftime 7-6. Jacksonville then scored 17 unanswered points, proving that Cleveland doesn’t know how to handle success. The Jaguars can finally walk off the field with their head high, securing a win in a season where such games will be rare. The Jaguars are a team with young talent, and even though they suffer now, it will be rewarding later on. Blake Bortles looks like the most pro-ready quarterback selected in last year’s draft, and even though he threw 3 interceptions today, he has the necessary tools to succeed.
Cleveland will be stamped with the dubious distinction of putting one of the only teams to put a notch in Jacksonville’s win column this season.
Panthers 17, Packers 38
Wow, is Aaron Rodgers hot. And wow, is Cam Newton not. The Packers dominated the game, and Aaron Rodgers has continued his assault on the NFL, and at the moment Rodgers seems absolutely unstoppable. Jordy Nelson is on pace to set a franchise record for touchdown passes in a season. The game was thoroughly dominated by Green Bay, who led 28-3 at halftime.
Dolphins 27, Bears 14
The Dolphins entered Week 7 after a gutting loss to Green Bay, a game that was universally recognized as a game that Miami should have won. After this, they earned some respect for nearly beating a Green Bay team that is currently on fire. So off the ‘Fins traveled to Chicago, where they entered Soldier Field with a chip on their shoulder. Ryan Tannehill had a Week 4 – esque game, and was razor-sharp throughout. Lamar Miller had a very nice game, and the defense did a good job of forcing turnovers and shutting Jay Cutler down. Overall, the Dolphins played a good game, while the Bears played mistake-filled football, and that’s why they lost. The Dolphins travel to Jacksonville to take on the 1-6 Jaguars, while the Bears will try to get to .500 against the red-hot Patriots.
Bengals 0, Colts 27
I’ve never seen a team more stricken by a loss than the Bengals after their Week 4 crushing at the hands of the Patriots. The 3-0 Bengals are now 3-2-1, tying against the below-average Panthers. The Cincinnati machine that was present in the first three weeks is now gone, and the team has lost all its confidence, suffering its first shutout loss in 4 years. The Colts, meanwhile, have continued to roll, and have now won 5 straight. Andrew Luck is on pace to throw for over 5,000 yards, and the Colts look destined to win the depressingly weak AFC South once again.
The Bungles play an important divisional game against the 5-2 Ravens, and it’s time to turn the alarm bells on Cincinnati’s season if they fall again.
Saints 23, Lions 24
It’s official. The Saints are done. It’s time to give up on them. You don’t blow a 23-10 lead in the fourth quarter against Matthew Stafford and the Lions, you just don’t. The Saints are a bad team this year, and will most likely lose 9 games at minimum. The Lions, however, continue their surprising winning stretch with the NFL’s No.1 ranked defense. New Orleans have too many leaks and not enough tape to cover all of them. The Lions have some problems, but none that can’t be fixed. Both teams are going completely different directions.
The Saints are going to fall to 2-5 next week, as they play the Packers. The Lions will likely rise to 6-2 with a win over the lowly Falcons.
Seahawks 26, Rams 28
A wild game, this one. I originally thought that a matchup between the 1-4 Rams and the defending Super Bowl champions would be a “laugher”, but it was an exciting game. The Rams jumped to a very surprising 21-3 lead at halftime, including a touchdown on an unbelievable punt return fake-out. The Rams almost blew the game, however, as the Seahawks stormed back to come within two points. After a critical drive failed in the fourth quarter, Jeff Fisher decided to fake a punt on his own 15. The play worked (luckily), and the Rams ran down the clock. However, they nearly gave the ball back to the Seahawks on a fumble.
The Rams played a very good game, and the Seahawks for a while looked horrible, digging themselves into a hole they never climbed out of. That’s not what a defending champion is supposed to look like.
Titans 17, Redskins 19
The 1-5 Redskins and 2-4 Titans met in “The Toilet Bowl”, in a game that will probably be more important to top 10 draft pick order than playoff spots, and it definitely lived up to the low expectations. An extremely sloppy game, in which the Redskins and Titans basically played catch with the opposing defenses, the Redskins pulled out the win on a last second chip-shot field goal. The Titans are going down in flames, and the Redskins are likely to finish with 5 to 6 wins. Both teams played bad games, so it’s impossible to pick a statistical winner, but the Redskins did pull out the victory over an admittedly bad team.
Chiefs 23, Chargers 20
The Chiefs managed to eek out a win over division rival San Diego, who had the best record in the AFC. Kansas City is looking upward, after an 0-2 start. San Diego will easily recover, and will be fired up for their game against Denver.
The Chiefs played a very good game, and San Diego just didn’t have enough to pull out a win.
Giants 21, Cowboys 31
The Cowboys are an elite team, plain and simple. Right now, they stand at the top of the NFL with a 6-1 record. They’ve finally silenced the remaining doubters with an important win over a game division rival in the revived Giants. Big D is looking to go 7-1 when they play the lowly Redskins at home. The Giants, meanwhile, are looking upwards, and might be a contender for a wild card spot, but they face a tough challenge next week against the seemingly unstoppable Colts.
Cardinals 24, Raiders 13
A typical game for the Raiders, they get thwacked by the Cardinals at home. The Cardinals don’t get any credit for this win, as it’s against the worst team in the league, or at least the AFC. Oakland is on pace to suffer their worst season since 1962, while Arizona is showing playoff flashes here and there. I might not giving them enough credit, as they are at 5-1, but a win over the totally backwards Raiders isn’t deserving up much credit.
49ers 17, Broncos 42
A special game for a special man, Peyton Manning, as he passed Brett Favre on the all-time touchdown pass list. Otherwise, it was an utter and complete blowout on what’s supposedly an NFC Super Bowl contender. The 49ers and Seahawks are both down right now, with Arizona with a lead in the NFC East. Where are the 49ers going to finish in the NFL? They seem like a wildcard team, but certainly not a group of guys who are going to make a run at a deep playoff run. Denver, meanwhile, is still a very good team, but they’re nowhere near as electrifying as last year. Then again, how could you be?