Week seven proved to be another eventful week in the football world. The outcome of Thursday’s game turned on the final play. Sunday’s schedule included seven divisional match-ups, five one-possession games, three shutouts and an overtime game. A perfect week for football fans. Like every other week during the NFL season, we saw some surprising outcomes. Quite a few teams gave their fans a big sigh of relief while other teams made it a Sunday to forget. Below are the NFL’s week 7 winners and losers.
Week 7 Winners
Oakland Raiders: 31-30 win vs Kansas City
Oakland really stepped up here in week 7 to get the win, and boy did they need it. A loss would have put the Raiders at 2-5 on the season and possibly out of the playoff race in the competitive AFC West division. Props to Derek Carr for an outstanding performance after last week’s dud. Carr threw for 417 yards, three touchdowns and no picks. Also, I can’t forget about Amari Cooper. It seemed like Cooper had been falling off. In his first six games he had three games of single-digit reception yards. On Thursday night he exploded for 11 catches, 210 yards and two touchdowns. These two clutch performances came against arguably the premiere team of the league through the first six weeks of the season. Next up for Oakland: @ Buffalo (4-2).
New England Patriots: 23-7 win vs Atlanta
Statement win here for the Pats. The defense has looked awful all year, allowing 30+ points in three of six games entering Sunday. Their pass defense ranked last in the NFL. Atlanta’s offense has not looked nearly as good as it did last year but certainly still a quality unit. The Pats defense held Atlanta to 233 passing yards, much of which came in garbage time when the game was already out of reach. More importantly, Matt Patricia’s unit surrendered just seven total points. Brady did his typical thing, throwing for 249 yards and two touchdowns. Dion Lewis had his best game of the year with 13 carries for 76 yards. That guy always seems to produce when called upon. Hopefully for New England fans, the Pats defense can build off of this effort. Next up: vs the Los Angeles Chargers who have won three straight (3-4).
Los Angeles Chargers: 21-0 win vs Denver
This may have been the biggest statement made by a team in the NFL in week 7. The Chargers suddenly look like they could be a top-12 team. After starting 0-4 in very frustrating fashion, the Chargers have suddenly won three straight. This win streak has them right back in contention in the AFC West or at least the wild card hunt. The wins during the streak were all tough games: W @ NYG, W @ OAK and W vs DEN. Rivers has stepped up in a big way for his team as he has thrown eight touchdowns and just one interception over the last four games. Real test for the Chargers next week as they are @ New England (5-2)
Bears, Rams, Steelers, Dolphins, Browns…?
Week 7 Losers
Carolina Panthers: 17-3 loss @ Chicago
I am putting the Panthers first on this not-so-prestigious list and deservedly so. Carolina was showing signs that they may still play like the 2015 team. Then, BOOM, week 7 smacked them right in the face. Prior to the loss, Cam and company rattled off wins at New England and Detroit and then played well in a five-point loss to the 5-1 Eagles. Week 7 was a different story for the Panthers. They managed only three points against the 17th ranked defense in the league. THREE. Yes, it was an away game and yes Chicago’s defense is actually pretty decent but still, what a lousy performance. Carolina can not seem to find consistency or an identity. Next up: @ Tampa Bay (2-4)
Indianapolis Colts: 27-0 loss vs Jacksonville:
Pathetic performance by the Colts this week. I will give credit where it is due. The Jaguars played excellently on both sides of the ball. Bortles threw for 330 yards, Yeldon ran for 122 and Hurns had 101 receiving. Nice to see production from guys other than Fournette for once. Anyways, a 27-0 loss at home is inexcusable even without your franchise QB. The Colts O-line was horrendous and they allowed Jacksonville (SACKsonville) to sack Brissett 10 times. Star receiver Hilton once again did nothing with two catches for 27 yards. It will not get easier for Indi in the near future. There next three games: @ CIN, @ HOU and VS PIT.
Tennessee Titans: 12-9 loss @ Cleveland
Some may think that putting a team that won in the losers section is odd but if you consider the opponent it makes a little more sense. The Browns are 0-7 and 4-35 since the start of 2015. They are probably undoubtedly the worst team in the four major sports. Cleveland is the only team in sports that is consistently blown out game after game. They have been the laughing stock of the league in recent years. With all that said the Titans only managed to beat them by three points and it required overtime to do it. If you ask me, the Titans are lucky to have won this game. The Browns had multiple chances to win and they probably would have if they weren’t well… the Browns. Tennessee has got to be concerned as they have not been playing well as of late. In week 4 they got blown out 57-14 at Houston, then lost to the Cutler-lead Dolphins, then barely escaped the Colts at home. Luckily for the Titans, they are still 4-3 and are tied with Jacksonville for the division lead. Next up: vs Baltimore.
*Follow me on twitter @MLBfromNH (Kevin Civiello)*