Hello football fans!
As we enter Week 7, 37.5% of the NFL season has been complete.
There was a lot of movement in the rankings for this week, as we saw some statement wins from legitimate teams, while some other teams previously though highly of by yours truly were humbled in defeat.
Off the field, we’ve seen COVID cases reach the Raiders and Bills, but as of this time there are no plans to postpone those games (the Raider game was moved from Sunday night to 4:05 PM ET). As has become custom this season, we’ll know for certain a few hours before game time.
The biggest news of the week is Antonio Brown coming back to the NFL and signing with Tampa Bay. Brown had been rumored to be going to Seattle, but last night news began to bring of the possibility of him re-joining former teammate Tom Brady. Brown is in the middle of serving an 8-week suspension due to burglary and battery charges, and has had a plethora of disturbing off-the-field problems the past few years. He’s eligible to return Week 9.
Now for some rankings…
Biggest rise: Denver Broncos (up 9 spots)
Biggest fall: Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings (down 6 spots)
1. Kansas City Chiefs (PR: 2)
Record: 5-1 | Week 7 opponent: Denver Broncos (away)
Kansas City moves back up to the top spot with their win in Buffalo and Green Bay losing in Tampa. The Chiefs had their way with Josh Allen, a good sign for the defense moving forward. Adding Le’Veon Bell will certainly help the rest of the way.
2. Seattle Seahawks (PR: 4)
Record: 5-0 | Week 7 opponent: Arizona Cardinals (away)
I’ll continue to say I fear Seattle’s pass defense hurting them down the line, but they cause enough turnovers that if they can find their way by the end of the season and just be average, Seattle should walk to the Super Bowl. Russell Wilson being otherworldly gives the unit time to figure it out.
3. Baltimore Ravens (PR: 3)
Record: 5-1 | Week 7 opponent: BYE WEEK
Outside of the KC game Baltimore has done their job all season. They played well against playoff teams last regular season, and they’ll need to do the same over the next month as Pittsburgh (twice), Indy, New England and Tennessee loom ahead.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (PR: 5)
Record: 5-0 | Week 7 opponent: Tennessee Titans (away)
Pittsburgh completely dominated a Browns team that was 4-1 heading into last week. With each week they are building a case that they are a Super Bowl contender. Their game against the undefeated Titans will be their biggest test of the young season.
5. Tennessee Titans (PR: 6)
Record: 5-0 | Week 7 opponent: Pittsburgh Steelers (home)
After a huge win against Buffalo on the Tuesday before last, Tennessee came a bit down to Earth last Sunday. Regardless, they pulled out a victory in a close game against Houston, and Mike Vrabel made headlines for his superb clock management.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (PR: 11)
Record: 4-2 | Week 7 opponent: Las Vegas Raiders (away)
I’m really starting to buy into Tampa after their win against Green Bay. When this team is disciplined, that’s the type of performance they can have. I was getting ready to call them the most complete team in the NFC even before they added Antonio Brown yesterday. I won’t yet, but it’s closer than you think.
7. Green Bay Packers (PR: 1)
Record: 4-1 | Week 7 opponent: Houston Texans (away)
Maybe I was too high on Green Bay after their first 4 games, because last week was a performance I did not expect. After starting with a 10-0 lead, the Packers just collapsed. On paper the Packers might not have another game that difficult all season, but they’ll need to learn from it to get where they want to go.
8. Buffalo Bills (PR: 7)
Record: 4-2 | Week 7 opponent: New York Jets (away)
Buffalo has proved the past two weeks they aren’t in the top echelon of teams in the AFC. They should still make the playoffs, but Josh Allen isn’t ready to perform against the best in the conference, and the Bills defense does not seem to be the fearsome unit they were the past 2 seasons.
9. New Orleans Saints (PR: 10)
Record: 3-2 | Week 7 opponent: Carolina Panthers (home)
The Saints have been a victim of a lack of consistency, largely due to Michael Thomas continually missing games for one reason or another. We haven’t seen the team at full strength. I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt until then, but I still worry about Brees.
10. Chicago Bears (PR: 15)
Record: 5-1 | Week 7 opponent: Los Angeles Rams (away), Monday
That win against Tampa Bay during Week 5 is looking a lot more impressive. The defense continues to be the foundation of the team, as Nick Foles has been average at best. If he can improve this team could reach another level. It’s not all bad, they’re in first place and should make the playoffs!
11. Los Angeles Rams (PR: 9)
Record: 4-2 | Week 7 opponent: Chicago Bears (home), Monday
I said last week all of the Rams wins this season had been the NFC East, and in their second game outside that division LA lost. To their defense they faced a 49ers team looking to respond after an embarrassing loss the previous week, but this team did not look good (not as close as the final score indicates).
12. New England Patriots (PR: 8)
Record: 2-3 | Week 7 opponent: San Francisco 49ers (home)
Another team I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt (read why here), but last week was bad. It looked like the makings of a double digit loss, but New England did make it close at the end. It’s a credit to the defense that it was even possible to win. If they lose tomorrow then there could be some major problems.
13. Las Vegas Raiders (PR: 12)
Record: 3-2 | Week 7 opponent: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (home)
Just when things started to turn, the Raiders had their own bout of COVID hit the offensive line. Only Trent Brown tested positive but the majority of the unit was put on the COVID reserve list due to close contact. Combine that with the game being moved up 4 hours, it’ll be a miracle they win tomorrow.
14. San Francisco 49ers (PR: 16)
Record: 3-3 | Week 7 opponent: New England Patriots (away)
The 49ers responded after their pathetic loss to Miami during Week 5. This is still a team that made the Super Bowl just a season ago, but they’re showing the Super Bowl hangover is real. Can they put it together again tomorrow in New England against a Patriots team desperate for a win?
15. Arizona Cardinals (PR: 18)
Record: 4-2 | Week 7 opponent: Seattle Seahawks (home)
Arizona won yet again in convincing fashion, this time in Dallas against the Cowboys in Andy Dalton’s first start. When things are clicking this remains one of the most entertaining offenses in the league. Tomorrow’s game against Seattle has huge implications for the playoff hopes of this team.
16. Cleveland Browns (PR: 13)
Record: 4-2 | Week 7 opponent: Cincinnati Bengals (away)
After slowly building some credibility during their 4-game winning streak, the Browns were humiliated in Pittsburgh last week. They’ll need to beat Pittsburgh and Baltimore if they want a chance to win the division, but that seems highly unlikely. The playoffs are still possible, but they can’t come out like they did against the Steelers in big moments moving forward.
17. Indianapolis Colts (PR: 14)
Record: 4-2 | Week 7 opponent: BYE WEEK
The Colts beat the Bengals last week, but it was just ugly. Philip Rivers looked much better, but this should have been a definitive win. Their schedule after the bye week gets much harder, so they’ll need to be firing on all cylinders if they want to make the playoffs.
18. Miami Dolphins (PR: 19)
Record: 3-3 | Week 7 opponent: BYE WEEK
After an easy win against the Jets, Miami is at .500 going into their bye week. Surprisingly, the team has decided it’s Tua Time, and will start the rookie QB the rest of the way. That was likely the plan all along, but it hurts if you’re Ryan Fitzpatrick, who had been playing really well this season.
19. Carolina Panthers (PR: 17)
Record: 3-3 | Week 7 opponent: New Orleans Saints (away)
I just read today that Teddy Bridgewater is 9th in Panthers history in passing yards. Makes you remember how young this franchise is. Anyway, they lost a close game to the Bears in what was Bridgewater’s worst game of 2020. Can they respond against his old team tomorrow?
20. Denver Broncos (PR: 29)
Record: 2-3 | Week 7 opponent: Kansas City Chiefs (home)
Clearly I was too pessimistic about Denver. What a huge win. They almost gave it up at the end, but however you slice it, you need to give props to a team that goes to Gillette Stadium (with fans or not) and dominates a game against a Bill Belichick-coached team like this group did. This was Drew Lock’s first win of 2020, and he moves to 5-3 as a starter in his career.
21. Detroit Lions (PR: 26)
Record: 2-3 | Week 7 opponent: Atlanta Falcons (away)
The Lions came out of their bye week with an easy win against the Jags. They’ve now won two of their last 3 games. They could easily be 4-1 this season, but that doesn’t matter. They need to close out games the rest of the season, especially if Matt Patricia wants to keep his job.
22. Los Angeles Chargers (PR: 23)
Record: 1-4 | Week 7 opponent: Jacksonville Jaguars (home)
I detailed last week the Chargers tendency to start strong and give away games at the end due to a lack of adjustments. That’s a big issue. The rest of the Chargers season will be defined by their ability to play complete games.
23. Dallas Cowboys (PR: 20)
Record: 2-4 | Week 7 opponent: Washington (away)
Things are going south fast. It was just one game for Andy Dalton, but it was one atrocious performance. With reports that players on the team think the coaching staff has them unprepared for games, it could get real ugly in Dallas.
24. Houston Texans (PR: 24)
Record: 5-1 | Week 7 opponent: Green Bay Packers (home)
Houston played a really good Tennessee team competitive, but could not finish it off as the Titans won in OT. Yet again you have to feel for this team, with 4 of their 5 losses against KC, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Tennessee (combined record of 20-2). Tomorrow won’t be any better.
25. Cincinnati Bengals (PR: 25)
Record: 1-4-1 | Week 7 opponent: Cleveland Browns (home)
The Bengals got off to an early lead but the Colts were able to climb back behind the performance of Philip Rivers. It’s a reminder this is still a team that has won two of their last 22 games.
26. Philadelphia Eagles (PR: 21)
Record: 2-4-1 | Week 7 opponent: New York Giants (home), Thursday; won
Philly looked awful against the Giants, trailing 21-10 deep in the 4th quarter. Luckily the Giants are even worse, as the Eagles scored two touchdowns on their final two possessions and pulled out a win. On a side note, their comeback screwed me in fantasy, as I’m facing Wentz and Boston Scott.
27. Atlanta Falcons (PR: 31)
Record: 1-5 | Week 7 opponent: Detroit Lions (home)
Atlanta finally won in the first game of the post-Dan Quinn Era. Knowing this team they’ll probably rattle off 4 straight and suddenly look legitimate, which makes it even more infuriating that they can’t play this well for a full season.
28. Minnesota Vikings (PR: 22)
I know they didn’t have Dalvin Cook, but big picture, what happened here. This was a really good team last season and they just look like a shell of themselves. Maybe the roster peaked.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars (PR: 27)
Record: 1-5 | Week 7 opponent: Los Angeles Chargers (away)
The Jags are bad, and each week it gets a bit worse. Reset time is looming.
30. New York Giants (PR: 30)
Record: 1-6 | Week 7 opponent: Philadelphia Eagles (away), Thursday; lost
The Giants S-T-I-N-K! Long way to go for this team to be relevant, but they got a win on Sunday.
31. Washington (PR: 28)
Record: 1-5 | Week 7 opponent: Dallas Cowboys (home)
Washington also stinks.
32. New York Jets (PR: 32)
Record: 0-5 | Week 7 opponent: Buffalo Bills (home)
The Jets are now the last time in the NFL yet to have won a game. Odds are they do at some point, but they might not want to if it means drafting Trevor Lawrence… imagine he pulls an Eli Manning.
Photo above via KZK 101
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