Greetings, readers. Week 7 has come and gone and it feels like not much of interest happened. Sure, there was a bit of controversy in Tampa (due to an odd rule about going out-of-bounds and coming back in) and some OT drama, but the matchups really were not prime time stuff. Let's get to the stories, though.
As usual, we're starting with the Thursday night game. As usual, it wasn't terribly memorable. This week, it was more due to the playing style of the two teams involved. It angers me to watch a game where running the ball and defense is prioritized over throwing the ball. The NFL is a passing league. Take advantage of the rules that Goodell has put in! The commissioner and the rules committee has made it so that throwing the ball is very easy. And yet you have teams like Seattle and San Francisco either running the ball all day or dinking-and-dunking; either way, it translates to boring football. And the game on Thursday was a defensive struggle where the offenses looked mostly inept. That is boring to me. Oh, and by the way, the 49ers won.
Most disappointing game of the week? Baltimore at Houston, no contest. The Ravens didn't show up until the second half, and even then they weren't all that impressive. When the safety happened in the 1st quarter, I had a bad feeling, but I thought Flacco could maybe get a breather at halftime and come out ready for a comeback. Oops! So, once again, we have a guy who thinks he's elite and isn't. I remain unconvinced about the Texans, though, because they didn't show up the week before against Green Bay (also at home, it should be noted). But it is Baltimore that has really slipped in my estimation.
Minnesota and the NY Giants both won their games and now they're 5-2. Given Christian Ponder's recent play, it's hard to say that the Vikings are for real; they're another team that relies on the run for the most part. However, where they get an exemption from most people (and I suppose I'm included in that group) is that they have an All-World guy at RB. Adrian Peterson is a beast. The Giants pulled out a close one against Washington. I was impressed by the play that won the game for the Giants; Eli Manning lofted one to Victor Cruz and the salsa dancer did the rest, running it in for a TD. Much as I dislike the Giants (especially Eli), they played well and beat a pretty good Washington team. Well, Washington's offense is pretty good. Their defense is pretty stinky.
There were a couple OT games this week as well. New England went to OT against the Jets (at home, no less) while Oakland beat the Jaguars in OT. The Patriots blew a lead and looked bad down the stretch, but were able to rally in OT. Oakland turned a recovered fumble into the game-winning FG. Good to have a win, but neither game should have needed OT, really.
Finally we have the Chicago Bears. Despite getting knocked out for a play and then leaving the field before halftime, Jay Cutler seemingly willed the Bears to victory even while struggling offensively. He also looked pretty tough. That's not something I normally say about a guy I consider to be one of the biggest whiners in the NFL, but I try to be fair. Chicago is now 5-1 and look like the team to beat in the NFC North. I'm not entirely sold on them, though; while their defense is solid, I've never been a fan of Cutler and think that he's just a few INT's away from letting this season fall into the toilet. But right now, they're looking good.
Here are the Rankings for Week 7:
1.) Atlanta (6-0) [no change]
Well-rested and heading to Philly. 7-0.
2.) Houston (6-1) [+1]
They've been on both sides of a beatdown and now get a bye.
3.) Chicago (5-1) [+1]
Woeful Carolina comes to town. Bears shall feast.
4.) NY Giants (5-2) [+1]
Giants head to Dallas to attempt to beat the team that got them in Week 1.
5.) San Francisco (5-2) [+1]
A big Monday night game against Arizona could help determine the division winner.
6.) Minnesota (5-2) [+2]
The Vikings get their crack at a Thursday night game. Let's hope they fare better than Seattle.
7.) Baltimore (5-2) [-5]
A bye after a stunning beatdown. I guess that's a good thing, but too much stewing may hurt more than help.
8.) Green Bay (4-3) [+2]
An easy game with Jacksonville coming in. Three in a row for Rodgers &co.
9.) Arizona (4-3) [-2]
Falling off the pace dramatically, Arizona needs a win to "right the ship".
10.) Seattle (4-3) [-2]
Falling off the pace dramatically, but has a better chance of getting a win.
That's all for this week. See you next week.
Three Games to Watch (Week 8):
Washington @ Pittsburgh (Sunday, FOX)
NY Giants @ Dallas (Sunday, FOX)
San Francisco @ Arizona (Monday, ESPN)