Week 7 of the 2021 NFL season is officially in the books. The Titans smashed the Chiefs. The Colts routed the 49ers. The Giants upset the Panthers. And that was just a fraction of the action near the midway point of the first-ever 17-game season.
What did we learn about each of the 32 teams after another week of matchups? We're so glad you asked. As Week 8 draws near, we take a look below at one thing we took away from each team:
They were already one of the NFL's best, but trading for Zach Ertz was brilliant. He looked so comfortable in his Arizona debut, giving Kyler Murray yet another outlet in the game's deepest passing game.
He started the season on a quieter note, but Kyle Pitts is the real deal. Matt Ryan had a ball throwing his way against the Dolphins, including in crunch time to set up a last-second win.
They will still be in the hunt as long as Lamar Jackson is playing, but we probably underestimated the shakiness of their O-line, which recently lost Ronnie Stanley (again) and couldn't withstand Cincinnati's front in a key AFC North loss.
They're the AFC favorites. No disrespect to the Bengals, who are now officially the No. 1 seed (!) in the AFC, but with Baltimore and Kansas City going down Sunday, Buffalo looks like the surest bet to make a run in the conference.
Maybe it's premature, but it sure doesn't feel like it: Sam Darnold is done as their long-term QB. He's gotten only worse each week since a solid 3-0 start, and immediately after his benching Sunday, reports out of Carolina linked the team to Deshaun Watson.
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Justin Fields was bad on a bad offense against the Bucs, but that's nothing new for Matt Nagy's squad. Instead, let's go with the one positive: Khalil Herbert looks like a true playmaker at running back, where he was explosive every time he got the ball.
They are playoff contenders, or at least really look like it. That alone should be a huge win for Bengals fans. Between Joe Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase and an underrated defense, they didn't stumble onto a 5-2 record by accident.
Their playoff hopes are in trouble. There is plenty of time to change that, but with Baker Mayfield out indefinitely, countless others banged up and both the Bengals and Ravens looking like locks to make a run, where do they fit in?
This was already pretty apparent, but the NFC East is theirs to lose. Yes, the Giants upset Carolina, but they're still 2-5. Both the Eagles and Washington, meanwhile, also fell to 2-5 and have issues all across the board.
Vic Fangio is, in fact, on thin ice. Or at least you'd think he is. That 3-0 start was truly a mirage, and neither Fangio's offense nor defense looks very inspired right now. Things may get worse before they get better here.
We've said this before, but we'll say it again: Dan Campbell knows how to coach. An 0-7 record suggests otherwise, but he's coming out peppy and aggressive and creative every week, always getting his guys to fight, even though the roster is pretty barren.
Green Bay Packers
Even with all the injuries they've had on defense, their linebackers are stepping up in a big way, with Rashan Gary and De'Vondre Campbell both logging several big plays to help shut down Washington in a sixth straight win.
Outside of their lowly production on the field, they're desperate to trade Deshaun Watson. Why else has there been such a sudden increase in reports surrounding the QB's availability ahead of the Nov. 2 deadline? They're ready to move on.
We know this for sure after Sunday night's win in bad weather: They know how to win ugly. Carson Wentz overcame an off-target start to fight with both his arm and legs, and their defense got physical to force key takeaways late against San Francisco.
They've got a shot to get out of the AFC South cellar. If only because the Texans are just lifeless.
Kansas City Chiefs
Another day, another costly string of Patrick Mahomes mistakes. Not even Andy Reid seems to know how to fix this. It's not all on Mahomes, who's pressing for big plays to make up for a shoddy line and awful defense, but they need No. 15 to clean it up.
Las Vegas Raiders
We already know Derek Carr is playing great football from the pocket. But how about that front four? Their pass rush is underrated, with both Maxx Crosby and Yannick Ngakoue doing damage against the listless Eagles in a statement win.
Los Angeles Chargers
Their road to the playoffs looks clearer. Yes, the Raiders won on Sunday, but the Chiefs looked the worst they have in a long time, and the Broncos are dead. Whether it's a division title or wild card, they've got a nice path to contention.
Los Angeles Rams
We're taking Matthew Stafford for granted. Seriously, aside from his slip up against Arizona, he's operated dominantly and with ease for Sean McVay. On Sunday, he had no problem overcoming an early hole against his old friends in Detroit.
Now 1-6 through seven games, we can probably start questioning whether Brian Flores belongs as head coach. Not because QB remains a question mark, but because his defense continually fails to impress.
A Wild Card berth is their only shot at the playoffs. Once upon a time, the Packers seemed within reach, especially as Minnesota looked explosive on offense. Now, with Green Bay at 6-1, the bar must be adjusted.
New England Patriots
Mac Jones had a big hand in the Pats' shredding of the Jets, but they should run the ball more. Just look what happens when you feed the trio of Damien Harris, Brandon Bolden and J.J. Taylor, who rolled all over New York.
New Orleans Saints
All the focus is on Jameis Winston, who didn't get a ton of help from his receivers in a big Monday night win, but their defense is making plays when it needs to. Credit Demario Davis and Malcolm Jenkins for clutch stops in the fourth against Seattle.
New York Giants
Patrick Graham's defense still has life. Or maybe Sam Darnold and the Panthers are that bad. Either way, New York's "D" set the tone for their Week 7 upset, taking some of the burden off Daniel Jones and an injury-ravaged offense.
New York Jets
With Zach Wilson now banged up and set to miss up to a month with a knee injury, they're bound to get worse before they get better. Jets fans, at least you can look forward to the offseason, right?
Nick Sirianni and Jalen Hurts aren't the only core pieces failing to get the job done. Jonathan Gannon's defense is losing buy-in from veterans like Fletcher Cox, who are getting fed up with the passive approach that lets opponents dictate games.
Somehow, they're not out of the playoff hunt. With the Browns and Chiefs either banged up or struggling, they have a real shot at making noise in the Wild-Card race. But they'll likely need three straight wins against Cleveland, Chicago and Detroit to stay alive.
San Francisco 49ers
Whether it's Jimmy Garoppolo or Trey Lance at QB moving forward, Kyle Shanahan deserves all the heat for their struggles. He's now 31-39 running the show for his career, and his offense has had no steady rhythm for almost the entire year.
As if it weren't obvious already, they need Russell Wilson back. Chris Carson would help, too, but man, Geno Smith was limited by both play-calling and his own abilities in a close but critical loss to New Orleans in prime time.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Todd Bowles' defense is rounding into form. After beating up on the Eagles before garbage time in Week 6, they demolished Justin Fields and the Bears on Sunday, letting Tom Brady basically coast through the second half.
After smacking the Chiefs in what should've been a really tough matchup, it's time to take them seriously in the AFC. A.J. Brown was back in full force against K.C., and Ryan Tannehill looked as comfortable as he's been all year.
Washington Football Team
They need Ryan Fitzpatrick back. More realistically, they need the 2022 offseason, so they can reset the position. Taylor Heinicke stayed mobile and fought hard, but he made crucial mistakes on key downs, and the team wasted a good day from its D-line.
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