NFL Week 7 Recap: Heading into Week 8, Surprises in Each Division

As the NFL season continues, we are starting to see some teams filter back into their predicted tiers and others continue in their surprise success. To start off, the Thursday night game was a nail-biter as the Oakland Raiders came back in the fourth quarter to beat the Kansas City Chiefs 31-30. A key to the win was the Raiders’ ability to limit rookie sensation Kareem Hunt to only 87 yards rushing on 18 carries. Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith logged another stellar game as he went 25-36 with 342 yards and three touchdowns in the air. In an American Football Conference (AFC) East matchup, the Dolphins also pulled off a fourth quarter rally to defeat the New York Jets. The Jets fell back under .500 after back-to-back losses and seem to be regressing to their expected level of play after a surprising three game win streak. The Jacksonville Jaguars displayed a strong performance as they dominated the struggling Indianapolis Colts by shutting them out 27-0. The Jags’ defense held the Colts to only 232 total yards on offense and their offense was jumpstarting by a great showing from running back TJ Yeldon, who finished with 122 yards and one touchdown on only nine carries.

In the National Football Conference (NFC), the good got better and the bad got worse. The Seattle Seahawks, behind quarterback Russell Wilson and wide receiver Doug Baldwin’s stellar chemistry, stomped on the miserable New York Giants 24-7. In a similar vein, the Dallas Cowboys stabilized with a 40-10 destruction of the San Francisco 49ers, led by running back Ezekiel Elliott’s absurd 219 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns.

In the NFC North, the implications of the Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ collarbone injury became a reality. Green Bay fell to New Orleans 26-17, with backup quarterback Brett Hundley throwing for only 87 yards and getting sacked eight times.  Green Bay will really have to step it up on both sides of the ball if it is to contend with the Minnesota Vikings, who notched a “W” over the Ravens and moved to 5-2 on the season.

Week 7 also included a Super Bowl rematch. This match-up was hyped up, but the game disappointed. The New England Patriots shot down the Atlanta Falcons 24-7, with Atlanta’s only score coming in the fourth quarter.

In arguably the most thrilling game of the week, the Buffalo Bills defeated the Tampa Bay Bucs 30-27 with a field goal in the waning seconds of the contest. Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston’s aggressive passing attack and meticulous conservation of time could not make up for the team’s three turnovers. Bills running back LeSean McCoy returned to the robust form we’re all used to seeing, with a 91-yard, two-touchdown performance.

Elsewhere, the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles continued to defy preseason expectations with statement wins in Week 7. The Rams mauled the Cardinals 33-0. Rams running back Todd Gurley, quickly asserting himself as an MVP candidate after his abysmal 2016 campaign, had another 100-yard, one touchdown game. Gurley now leads the NFC in rushing yards with 627 through seven games, and the Rams sit atop its division with a surprising 5-2 record. Potentially contending with Gurley for the MVP award is quarterback  Carson Wentz, who has the Eagles flying high after a 34-24 win on Monday Night Football over the Washington Redskins. Wentz is fourth in the NFL in yards (1,852), fourth in passer rating (104.0), and, most notably, first in touchdowns with 17. For some perspective, Wentz threw 16 touchdowns all of last season. The most important stat about the Eagles’ 2017 dominance? Six wins, one loss – good for the best record in the NFL.

Imagine that … an Eagles-Rams NFC Championship. Weird? Yup, but when you consider the fact that the U.S. president is waging war on the NFL and the Jaguars have the best defense in all of football, anything is possible in 2017 … except for a Browns Super Bowl appearance.

Contact Theo Asher or Matt Gentile at [email protected] or [email protected]