We’re almost at the half-way point in the season and man, things are getting weird in the NFL. Seattle loses to the Rams. Last minute thriller in Detroit. Six games decided by 3 points or less. Some teams proving they’re better than we thought (Cowboys). Some teams proving they’re worse (Falcons, Panthers, actually the whole NFC South).
Speaking of the NFC South, here’s your fun fact courtesy of NFL.com’s Kevin Patra: “The Carolina Panthers, […] lead the division with a 3-3-1 record and have a minus-37 point differential. The preseason favorite New Orleans Saints are 2-4 and have a division-best minus-10 point differential. The entire division is 2-12-1 on the road.”
The league must be salivating over how close many of the divisions still are because it keeps us coming back for more.
Val did pretty much all of the game summaries this week and she absolutely killed it.
This is what we thought about week 7 in the NFL…
New England (27), New York Jets (25) – This game down to the very last play, which was a field goal attempt by the Jets that would have given them the victory, but was blocked by the Patriots. There were no turnovers in this game. This was probably the best Geno Smith (Jets QB) has played this season, but the Jets now sit at 1-6 and have lost some close games. The Jets did win the time of possession battle, holding the ball for over 40 minutes. They had too much trouble putting up points once they reached the red zone. The Jets also rushed for 218 yards against the Pats defense, which wasn’t a good sign playing the first game without Jerod Mayo, linebacker, who was lost for the season.
Baltimore (29), Atlanta (7) – I just can’t help but feel bad for the Falcons. My fantasy team mourns their troubles because I’m not getting enough points from Matt Ryan (Falcons QB) and Julio Jones (Falcons WR). Matt Ryan took five sacks (five!) as the Falcons offensive line issues continue. Their back-up center was carted off the field with a knee injury, so they had to bring in another back-up. Matt Ryan was running for his life. The Falcons don’t play well away from home and the Ravens defense took advantage.
Buffalo (17), Minnesota (16) – This was a game of turnovers – the Vikings had two and the Bills had five. Teddy Bridgewater (Vikings QB) makes great plays if he has protection, but five sacks (five!) and eight quarterback hits didn’t help him get the job done. Buffalo QB Kyle Orton threw a touchdown pass to rookie WR Sammy Watkins with only seconds on the clock to win the game. While Watkins had a monster day (122 yards and two touchdowns), the bigger story for Buffalo is the loss of its two leading running backs – Fred Jackson was carted off the field with an apparently serious groin injury (although if you ask me, all injuries to that area sound terrible), and CJ Spiller was also carted off the field with a broken collarbone that will require season-ending surgery. This left the Bills with one active running back for the duration of the game as their other running back was inactive. Not saying we called it, but our Bills team profile did call out that either Spiller or Jackson would be injured at some point during the season. Tough position to play.
Miami (27), Chicago (14) – This was a game where “good Ryan Tannehill” (Dolphins QB) played. Chicago’s defense was no match for him, and this was more like the offense everyone expected to see under new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. Miami had eight different receivers with at least two catches. “Bad Jay Cutler” showed up as QB for Chicago, and the Bears are now 0-3 at home as a result of another game with multiple turnovers. The Bears defense was constantly being put in bad field position and they did not use Matt Forte (Bears RB) enough – he only had two touches in the first half. Rumor has it the Bears locker-room was very emotional after the game, and not in a good way – lots of yelling and screaming, players being pulled apart and taken out of the locker-room.
Detroit (24), New Orleans (23) – The Saints were coming off their bye week and looked great for 56 minutes of this game, putting up 400 yards of offense. Then the Lions scored 14 points in the last four minutes to win the game. Golden Tate, wide receiver, was a superstar for the Lions, which was needed with Calvin Johnson (Megatron, WR) out due to injury. The Lions pass rush got to Drew Brees (Saints QB), and his interception at the end of the game set up the Lions for their winning touchdown.
Green Bay (38), Carolina (17) – The first quarter of this game looked like the Panthers were just letting the Packers practice and get warmed up. The Packers had 172 first quarter yards compared to 5 (five!) for the Panthers. Aaron Rodgers is in the middle of the longest streak without an interception of his career (hopefully we didn’t just jinx him), and is 24/28 in his first quarter passes over the last four games. The most exciting thing for Carolina in this game was the ejection of Luke Kuechly, linebacker, for making contact with an official for swinging his arm trying to get loose after a pig-pile – most agreed this was an unfair call.
Indianapolis (27), Cincinnati (0) – After dominant performances in their last three games, the Bengals are winless in their last three – and boy, have the last three been ugly. Andy Dalton, the Bengals QB, looked visibly frustrated on Sunday. He was caught rolling his eyes and was probably missing his play-maker AJ Green, wide receiver, who is still out with a toe injury. The Bengals didn’t even get into Colts territory on the field until four minutes into the fourth quarter. The Colts have now won five games in a row and are putting the league on notice.
Jacksonville (24), Cleveland (6) – The Jaguars won their first game of the season! How things change in the NFL – last week the Browns delivered a spanking to the Steelers, this week they were the recipients of a spanking! Blake Bortles, Jax QB, did throw three interceptions, but the Jax defense played lights out. Dennard Robinson (Jax WR and former Michigan QB) showed the holes in Cleveland’s defensive line and ran for 127 yards. The Browns offensive line was noticeably not as effective for the run game without Alex Mack, their center who was lost last week for the season to injury.
St. Louis (28), Seattle (26) – Surprisingly, the reigning champion Seahawks have lost two games in a row. The Rams special teams played a huge part in this victory – watch this fake punt and trickery happening on another punt return. Russell Wilson, (Seattle QB) hard a rough start but picked up his game in the second half – he became the first player in NFL history to throw for 300 yards and rush for 100 yards in the same game. Seattle did not look like they were missing Percy Harvin (WR, whom they traded to the Jets on Friday for a conditional draft pick – he did not fit in with the culture of the team, so even though the Seahawks gave up a ransom in draft picks, they decided to cut their losses). You will hear complaints from Seattle about one of the last plays of the game. A Rams running back fumbled the ball and the officials ruled the Rams also recovered it, however it was a giant pile-up of bodies and the Seahawks claimed they were the ones who actually recovered the ball.
Washington (19), Tennessee (17) – Washington QB Kirk Cousins (still filling in for the injured RG3) had two turnovers in the first half of the game, which both led to points for the Titans. This earned him a seat on the bench for the rest of the game and third stringer Colt McCoy was brought in to play. His stats were great and he led the team on a go-ahead drive to win it with a field goal – it is likely he will start next week, as Cousins currently owns the highest career interception percentage among active QBs. Charlie Whitehurst, the Titans back-up QB who was playing for an injured Jack Locker, wasn’t that great either.
Kansas City (23), San Diego (20) – The Chiefs gave the Chargers a dose of their own medicine and played keep away, winning the time of possession battle. This kept Philip Rivers (Chargers QB) on the sideline. The Chiefs are lucky to have Jamaal Charles (RB) because their wide receivers aren’t pulling their weight. This was a big division game to bring the Chiefs back to .500. The Chargers now have to prepare for a Thursday night game against the division leading Broncos – a win would put them back in first place in the AFC West.
Dallas (31), New York Giants (21) – Anyone who claims they predicted a 6-1 start for the Cowboys is a liar – most experts wrote off their season with all the injuries to their defense, in fact, predicting that it had the potential to be the worst in NFL history. That is most definitely not the case – Tony Romo (Cowboys QB) is playing great football, in large part because the Cowboys offensive line is so successful, which also allows them to have a power run game led by DeMarco Murray (Cowboys RB). Speaking of which, Murray became the first player in NFL history to begin the season with seven consecutive 100 yard games. Good for him and everyone who has him on their fantasy team! A bright spot for the Giants was their rookie wide receiver, Odell Beckham, who has been an immediate boost after missing the first few games with a hamstring injury. The Giants definitely need him after losing Victor Cruz for the year.
Arizona (24), Oakland (13) – The Cardinals are now 5-1, while the Raiders are 0-6 and the last team in the league without a win. More amazingly, the Cardinals now lead the NFC West ahead of the 49ers and Seahawks, while they have had three different quarterbacks play and have had an unreal number of injuries on their defense. Derek Carr, Raiders QB, is a rookie and still has a long way to go. All the penalties accrued by the Raiders didn’t help him.
Denver (42), San Francisco (17) – Peyton Manning (Broncos QB) makes it look ridiculously easy. He threw for four touchdowns, breaking Brett Favre’s record for career touchdown passes (508 was the record, Peyton now has 510). His passer rating was 157.2, which is 1.1 points short of a perfect game. The 42 points allowed by the 49ers were the most since Jim Harbaugh became coach. The 49ers were coming into this game on a short week after playing last Monday night, and were missing a lot of players with injuries. Their bye week is next, and they need it to get healthy.
Pittsburgh (30), Houston (23) – For the life of me, I can’t figure out this Pittsburgh team. The Steelers didn’t show up for the first 25 minutes of the game and then they dominated. The Steelers called some tricky plays and Le’Veon Bell (Steelers RB) had a good game. Texans probably could have held on for a win if they didn’t have three turnovers. In this week’s edition of What J.J. Watt Did, he recovered a fumble and had a quarterback sack. Actually seems pretty uneventful for him.
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– Val and Michelle