2017 NFL: Week 7

Thursday
Raiders-Chiefs

Sunday
Ravens-Vikings
Saints-Packers
Jets-Dolphins
Panthers-Bears
Cardinals-Rams
Buccaneers-Bills
Jaguars-Colts
Titans-Browns
Cowboys-49ers
Bengals-Steelers
Seahawks-Giants
Broncos-Chargers
Falcons-Patriots

Monday
Eagles-Redskins

36 Responses to “2017 NFL: Week 7”


  1. Mitchell

    Who are the teams about whom we feel pretty comfortable saying, “These guys have no shot at the Super Bowl?”

  2. Reid

    I was thinking of making a list of that. Off the top of my head:

    Browns
    49ers
    Colts

    Bears might be in there, too.

    Edit

    Jets, too (but I haven’t really watched them).

  3. Mitchell

    Aren’t the Jets 3-3? They were tied for first in the AFC East last week, I think.

    I was going to say I don’t think the Niners are dead either, but they’d pretty much have to go 9-1 the rest of the way just to get a wildcard, so yeah.

    I can’t put the Bears on there since they’ve shown flashes of brilliance, and they’ve lost games they shoulda won. This division’s wide open.

    I’ll say Browns, Niners, and Colts, which is your original answer.

  4. Reid

    I don’t know what the Jets’ record is. I’m not really going by a team’s chances based on their record. I was just thinking about good they are.

    By the way, I would put the Bears in the next tier above–i.e., Teams that I’m not comfortable completely ruling out, but I’d be shocked if they made it. I’d put the Bears in that list. Probably the Chargers, Bengals, Ravens, Dolphins, Buccaneers, Jaguars, Texans….

  5. Mitchell

    Sounds like you’re handing the AFC South to Tennessee. 🙂

  6. Reid

    Yeah, I can see why you say that, but I sort of think the Texans have the best shot of winning the division. They seem balanced, whereas the Titans defense seems bad (or maybe I’m just disgusted by their defense). Jags also have a chance because their defense and running game is good. If Bortles wasn’t so limited, they might have a chance of going far.

    I would be surprised if the Texans get to the Super Bowl–that’s where I’m coming from. Same with the Jaguars. But given the parity in the NFL, I wouldn’t bet my life on this.

  7. Reid

    Chiefs-Raiders

    For some reason I was really angry at the miscues in this game. Maybe I’m in a bad mood, I don’t know. McGill’s tip really annoyed me. Crabtree OPI at the end of the game, too. Cook’s drop at the end of the game (although maybe he was held, but it looked like he still should have made the catch).

    Does KC have a lot of injuries on defense, because they didn’t look that good? Or is the Oakland offense that good?

    These added to the frustrating. Maybe that’s why I started swearing.

    Also, the two deep passes they gave up.

    This is pretty mean, but Mack didn’t seem like that big of a factor (although I think he got a key sack near the end of the game, on third down).

  8. Mitchell

    Holy crap; Mack took that guy down with one hand and very little leverage.

    That first clip of the Cooper drop doesn’t look that egregious. Tough play.

    I wish I coulda seen the game. Are those their usual road whites? They look tough. I love the white jersey with silver numbers and black outline, paired with the silver pants. Sharp.

  9. Reid

    I agree that first Coop drop isn’t that egregious, and if I didn’t think he dropped too many passes or if he wasn’t supposed to be elite, I wouldn’t complain. (I feel like Crab and Roberts drop too many balls as well. This is the opposite of Seahawk WRs, in my view. Seahawks have problems, but their WRs are generally sure-handed.)

    I don’t think these are the usual uniforms. I’m guessing these our the color rush uniforms, which I dislike. But I love the Raiders uniforms–might be the best in pro sports.

  10. Reid

    I like this:

    Now, why can’t they become a run-first team?! I don’t see why they couldn’t have an offense that was similar to the Cowboys. They may not have any equivalent to Zeke, but I still think that offense could work.

    Man, I really dislike the Raiders offense, and that sucks. Why do I think that? Not only are they pass-centric, but they seem predictable. In first down, Carr is often under center with one RB behind him. They run a lot on this down. After that, they don’t seem serious about running the ball. Formationally, and through play calling, they don’t really integrate the running and passing games in a complementary fashion. I almost want to say they’re one of the worst teams at doing this. (It kinda makes me think of the Gruden years in Oakland, which I hated, too.) I heard they’re the team that utilizes play-action passing the least(!) That really kills me.

    They should be one of the best running teams. Add the play action and they would be tough to stop. Also, if they control the clock, that would help their defense. If they were this type of team, I think they would have a good chance of winning it all. (They’d be similar to the Cowboys–strong run-based offense, with an OK defense.)

  11. Mitchell

    Whose offense do you like besides Dallas? Tennessee? Pittsburgh?

  12. Reid

    I really like Kyle Shanahan’s (although not so much last year), and his father’s. I like the Titans for the most part, but I have doubts about their coaching. I sort of like the Panthers as well, and Bills, although I’m not a big fan of Cam or Tyrod. Same with the Chiefs and Jags. (I think the Colts have been trying for a long time to run an offense that I would like but they have either not had a RB or the OL.)

    As for the Steelers, I don’t like their offense. Now, if they play the way they did last week, I might change my mind, but that felt like an anomaly.

  13. Reid

    Panthers-Bears

    The Bears win this game like the did in the old days–with defense, not just stopping the opposing offense, but also scoring points. The defense scored two TDs (by the same player). It was also reminiscent of the old Bears because of the offense, specifically a very conservative and ineffective one. Really, it seemed like the Bears offense went three-and-out for 90% of their possessions. The Bears defense was on the field a lot–and what’s remarkable is that they didn’t break. I don’t know if the Bears defense is just that good or the Panthers offense was off (probably a little of both).

    Here I was thinking the Panthers were one of the better teams, but this game makes me second guess that.

    Bengals-Steelers

    It does look like the Steelers are shifting to a more run-first approach, which has me excited. Against the Chiefs, I think the Steelers ran a lot from the shotgun, but I noticed more runs from the I-formation yesterday. The FB, Nix (#45), stood out. He had some nice blocks. (Good blocks from FBs might be one of my favorite things in football.) LeVeon is fun to watch. I can watch him all day.

    The game reaffirmed the impression that something isn’t right with Roethlisberger. I feel like he’s either hurt, or age is catching up to him. It reminds me a little of how Peyton Manning or Brees would seem to physically deteriorate as the season progressed. The accuracy and arm strength seem shaky at times, and even his judgment might be shaky as well.

    But if this causes the Steelers to become more run-centric, I think that could be a blessing in disguise (especially if they utilize play action).

    I’m still not sure if the defense is good enough, though.

    As for the game, this was a solid game, but at some point the Steelers just took charge. The Steelers defense seemed to turn it up in the second half at what point, and the Bengals offense sputtered.

    The Bengals are a solid team. They sort of remind me of the Lions. They’re balanced, but seem to be missing a few pieces (e.g., a good WR). (I don’t get why they don’t run more and run more effectively. Maybe they’re running backs are not as good as I think?)

    Seahawks-Giants

    I always worry about the Seahawk OL, but even more so for this game because they were playing without their second best linemen, Luke Joeckel. But the OL actually played a solid game. Unfortunately, the other players didn’t–at least in terms of miscues. Wilson missed on at least one deep pass. Graham missed one that was a TD and another really easy catch that would have put them in good scoring position. The defense had quite a bit of penalties (OL did too, though). It was a ugly game in terms of penalties and mistakes. If the Seahawks played a clean game, the score could have been something like 31-3.

    Titans-Browns

    Speaking of ugly games, this was ugly too. (This game went to OT.) Titans have to be one of the worst tackling teams, particularly after the catch. I still think LeBeau has to go.

    The Browns defense played well against the Titan offense.

    Broncos-Chargers

    The Broncos offense really, really struggled, particularly on 3rd down. They were almost as anemic as the Bears offense. Could Emmanuel Sanders really make that much difference?

    I suspect some of this has to do with playing a division rival.

    I mentioned having second thoughts about the Panthers. This games makes me have second thoughts about the Broncos chances.

    Falcons-Patriots

    I have no idea what was wrong with the Falcons, especially on offense. Ryan didn’t look as crisp, and maybe you could say that about the entire team.

    Quinn went for it 4th and 4 or 5 in the second half–and failed. I think that was a killer.

    I guess this is another team causing me to re-think a potential contender: namely, the Falcons.

    Cowboys-49ers

    I didn’t watch all of this game. Zeke had some big runs.

    Beathard doesn’t look very good. His feet seem slow and his arm looks really weak. Think of a Trevor Siemian with sluggish feet (maybe even a slightly weaker arm).

  14. Don

    Falcons, Pats:
    My mental notes on the Falcons: 1) I like the offensive play calling. This is one of the few teams that will run it on second and long. They also run it significantly on all downs. 2) They dominated the Pats on the ground last year in the Super Bowl, and did pretty well again in this game. 3) Ryan looked off in good portion of his throws. Ryan struggled in Shanahan’s first year as well. Maybe he doesn’t adapt well. 4) I heard one of Shanahan’s strengths is getting receivers open deep. I think watching Atlanta that seems to be the big difference between this year and last is the amount of long completions. Atlanta ran the ball pretty well overall, they completed their share of short passes, but got nothing over-the-top or deep (mostly because of bad passes, I thought).

    I want to say that Atlanta’s defense seems to match up well with the Patriot offense, especially their passing game. This is the worse I thought the Pats looked on offense this year. They weren’t bad, but they didn’t seem high powered as well. I think the only receptions they got over 15 yards were just unbelievable passes by Brady. He threw one to Gronk going outside while Gronk was double teamed that was ridiculous.

  15. Reid

    They dominated the Pats on the ground last year in the Super Bowl, and did pretty well again in this game.

    Did they really run the ball well against the Pats in the Super Bowl? If that were the case, I would think they would not have lost the game.

    As for yesterday, I sort of feel the running stats maybe distorted. My sense is that a lot of running yards occurred when the Patriots had a sizable lead. I actually liked that the Falcons ran at this time because I still thought there was time to do this and win the game. But they might ran well because the Patriots tried to prevent the pass.

    Also, for some reason, I’m not loving the play calling. I like the fact that they’re not as uptempo (as far as I can tell)–not as aggressive a passing team. But I’m not enthusiastic about their play calling, and I’m not sure I can explain why.

    I do think the Falcons defense matches up well with the Pats. I assume they’re modeled after Seattle, and that’s the best type of defense to face the Pats. The Patriots really seemed to miss Edelman.

  16. Reid

    Just heard that Trubisky completed four passes yesterday. (It’s not like the running game was great, either.)

  17. Mitchell

    Yeah. 4 of 7. That’s half a drive for the Chiefs.

    Because I was rooting for the Patriots yesterday and in the Super Bowl, I can confirm, at least subjectively, Don’s observation that the Falcons ran the ball very well against New England. Not only did they often find huge running spaces, but the Patriots responded slowly to runs that got past DL. In both games.

    Numbers-wise, I think the stats support Atlanta matching up well against the New England offense. Since I’m about to lose to Don in fantasy, I’m painfully aware of this. I really liked the way the Patriots spread the ball around, though, and I think they had four RBs who had runs of over seven yards. It should have been very encouraging to a Pats fan.

    That pass to Gronkowski outside was crazy, but I don’t think he was double-teamed. The guy deep closed in but didn’t get to the play until Gronk had his hands on it. But the primary defender was right on him and Gronk just jumped higher and held on. It was a great play on both ends.

    And quick TD toss to James White where Gronk was the lead blocker? That was super nice too.

  18. Mitchell

    I was curious, so I looked it up.

    New England rushing:

    Dion Lewis 13/76 (5.6 avg 25 long)
    Rex Burkhead 6/31 (5.2 avg 9 long)
    Mike Gilleslee 8/31 (3.9 avg 14 long)
    James White 4/19 (4.8 avg 8 long)

    The only other rusher was Brady (5/5). That’s 31 carries by RBs for 157 yards for an average of 5.1 yards.

    And since I have it open:

    Atlanta rushing
    Devonta Freeman 12/72 (6.0 avg 21 long)
    Tevin Coleman 6/16 (2.7 avg 16 long)
    Taylor Gabriel 1/-5 (-5.0 avg)

    And Matt Ryan 3/37 (12.3 avg, 16 long) but I would be shocked if any of those was a run by design. If you only count Coleman’s and Freeman’s numbers, you have a 18 carries for 88 yards and a 4.8 avg. Not exactly dominating, but certainly strong enough if they had run the ball more. They were behind from the 2nd quarter on, though.

  19. Reid

    Not only did they often find huge running spaces, but the Patriots responded slowly to runs that got past DL. In both games.

    Would you say the Falcons ran the ball well in the second half of the Super Bowl? I guess it depends on what we mean by “running well,” but my feeling is that if they really ran the ball well in the second half, they should have kept the chains moving and they would have ate up the enough of the clock to keep their defense fresh and prevent the Patriots from coming back. The exception to this might be if the Falcons ran a lot of no huddle.

  20. Don

    Reid makes a good point though, that if the Falcons could have continued to run the ball against New England they would probably have had no trouble winning the Super Bowl. They got away from it and also didn’t have great success late. It could have been a Pats’ adjustment, could have been part game flow, or probably bad coaching decisions by Atlanta to not continue to run or all three, but yes the Falcons did not run as well as the score got closer.

    Yesterday the Falcons offense did pretty well, especially early, despite the score. They got inside the Patriots 35 in their first three positions. I believe that’s what the announcers said and a lot of that was short passes to the running backs or rushes. Really the only trouble I saw in Atlanta’s offense is off-the-mark passes over 15 yards. They hit those like they did last year and this game would have probably a different outcome.

  21. Don

    Maybe my memory of last year’s Super Bowl is cloudy, but I remember Atlanta running that toss zone blocking to the outside play to perfection. And maybe those plays just stood out because they were so beautifully executed that it made me think that they dominated New England on the ground.

    Atlanta ran that play at least one time yesterday that I can remember and New England almost gave up a TD. I’m not sure why Atlanta doesn’t run that play more often.

  22. Reid

    My sense is that the Falcons fell into the death spiral, the way teams that are centered on high-scoring, pass-centric offenses often do, particularly ones that utilize an uptempo offense.

    For me, it’s important to play one way–in terms of style and mentality. I think this might be especially true if you go all in on an aggressive offensive approach. If at some point, you switch to a more cautious, conservative approach, I think that can cause panic, stress, and destroy confidence in your players. And I get the feeling Quinn followed that–which might explain why he was more aggressive in the 4th, when it seemed more logical to try to run more time off the clock and get a field goal.

    The thing is, you have to keep scoring–and not just field goals–to make this approach viable. This is harder if your defense is gassed and the opposing offense can chew up a lot of clock and score, too. These longer possessions can make it harder for your offense get in rhythm. And if you have a short possession, this creates a good chance for the opposing offense to have another successful offensive possession (and possibly a long one).

  23. Reid

    Redskins-Eagles

    Lots of injuries and penalties in this game. I believe the Eagles were playing without their two best LBs–Hicks and Kendricks. Still, their front seven looked good. If I had to guess, I’d say they have the best front seven. They also seem to have good depth on the DL.

    Wentz was unreal. Those handful of plays you need to make to win it–he does it every game. His scrambling/holding the ball–and the hits he’ll take–seem a little too reckless to me, and sometimes he’ll hurt his team, but the good outweigh the bad so far. (Still, he can’t take this kind of hits. He’ll have to cut back in my opinion. He’d be foolish not to.)

    The Eagles can win it all. They can control the clock. If Wentz and the offense can continue to be great on 3rd down (I think they’re best in the league), look out. Wentz has that spontaneous genius that can take them far. His ball security seems adequate, if not more than adequate, at this point.

    Redskins look like a solid team. I would lump them in a similar category of the Lions; maybe the Bengals and Bills.

  24. Don

    Redskins, Eagles:
    Man, Wentz seems to be the real deal. His throws, as well as his throwing motion is great. But based on what I’ve seen so far, in three years’ time, Reid will be criticizing this guy. He’s a gun-slinger, through and through, and I cannot see him changing. The TD to Clemente, he threw a no-look off balance pass. The second to last TD to Agholor, although it was a quick slant, Wentz threw it flat footed and all arms. The thing Cam gets criticized for all the time. I believe Fahey had Wentz as the guy with the second highest total in terms of interceptable passes last year. I can see why, and I don’t think it’s a rookie thing. I believe it’s just how he plays. It is certainly fun to watch though, and I like him as a QB. This about the fifth time I saw Wentz and I think he’s up there in terms being a game changer.

    Are the Eagles a contender? I’m not real sure, but they are close. They haven’t beaten anyone great, with the exception of Carolina, and that was a battle. I think in a playoff game, I would still take Carolina, but Cam seems a little off right now (even more than normal). In fact in a playoff game, I may even take the Redskins over the Eagles.

  25. Mitchell

    I don’t think it’s going to take many wins to win that division, so if they just win a few more, they could be mediocre the rest of the way and still make the playoffs. I wish I’d seen that game.

  26. Reid

    The thing that worries me, is his scrambling and the decisions/throws he makes. Now, here’s the thing: some of these plays look like he’s out-of-control and reckless, but many of the times, what he does is not. That is, he’s not throwing balls that are interceptable–not that I’ve noticed, anyway. It’s similar to Wilson, when he scrambles, although for whatever reason, Wilson appears way more in control when he’s improvising.

    The bigger issue, at this point, is the hits he takes in my view.

    If Wentz can continue to be a playmaker/improviser and protect the ball, the Eagles are contenders in my view. This is especially true if they continue to be great on third down and lead the league in TOP.

    I will mention some caveats, though. I think they need to run the ball better. Wentz seems to have some trouble on blitzes. They lost Jordan Hicks and Jason Peters for the season.

  27. Reid

    At first, I was going to disagree with this, but I think Cowherd’s main points–how owners will react to Cousins and that Cousins basically needs a strong supporting cast are valid. I like a lot of things about Cousins, but I do think he needs to play on a team with a strong run game or just terrific receiving weapons (and good pass pro). Give him those things, I feel like he could take you all the way (although I have doubts about his ball security).

    Here’s an interesting question, which Cowherd alludes to: Cousins or Dalton? Who would you guys take? I think they’re really similar players. Physically, they seem very similar. I like the intangibles with Cousins, though.

    One difference (and this is a guess): Dalton doesn’t seem to handle pressure so well, and that can lead to turnovers. Cousins can have bad turnovers, too, but it’s more due to a gunslinger attitude. Sometimes I feel like he can behave like a Brett Favre without the same arm.

  28. Don

    I had strong reservations about Cousins in the past, but now I’m sort of a fan. At this point I would put him top 10 to top 15 (too lazy to count). But other than the elite group, I would put him under Stafford, Carr, and Rivers just to give you an idea. I think I would take him over all the young guns (ie: Wentz, Mariota, Winston, and Dak) in a game right now. I would definitely put him over Dalton, who hasn’t been good for a season and a half at this point. Ditto to Flacco, who may not have been good for even longer. Cousins sort of struggled earlier this year with just about a whole new receiving corp, but he has been much better lately. And I don’t think his receiving corp is all that great at this point.

    I agree that Cousins’ can be prone to mistakes. However, I don’t really see him as a gunslinger as Reid does (not in the Favre way), but he’s definitely careless at times. He handles the pressure of pass rushers much better now, but I’m not convinced he can handle the pressures of the game. I feel like he’s even more prone to mistakes when the game is on the line.

  29. Reid

    I think I would take him over all the young guns (ie: Wentz, Mariota, Winston, and Dak)

    I’m more sympathetic with choosing him over Mariota and Winston, but Prescott or Wentz.

    Ditto to Flacco, who may not have been good for even longer.

    I agree. I’ve been a supporter of Flacco for a long time, but I’m having doubts. To me, though, he hasn’t had a running game, and I always felt like he was a QB that needed a good running game to be successful.

    However, I don’t really see him as a gunslinger as Reid does (not in the Favre way), but he’s definitely careless at times.

    In the past, I feel like he forced throws–not into double-coverage, but tight windows or out routes that require a strong arm. Fitzpatrick could be this way, too, in my view. It’s like they think they have a stronger, more accurate arm than they actually do. (I haven’t noticed this from Cousins that much this year, though.)

  30. don

    Reid,
    If you are Baltimore’s FO, would you cut Flacco? You probably cannot get anything better in the draft or in free agency, but it seems like it’s hard to move forward with him on their roster with all the money they are paying him. Ditto to the Giant’s FO with Eli.

    I’m guessing both teams still have hope that their QB can win another Super Bowl if supplied with the right supporting cast.

  31. Reid

    Don,

    I’m guessing both teams still have hope that their QB can win another Super Bowl if supplied with the right supporting cast.

    Right, and whether this is true or not is murky. How certain you about this has to be weighed with the alternative to those QBs, and how likely you’ll be to get a good QB. It’s hard to see how the Ravens would be better off with Ryan Mallet playing, even if they get some draft picks in return for Flacco.

    I’m not sure what I’d do. I haven’t watched Flacco enough to have a strong opinion.

    The move that comes to mind, for both teams, is to draft a QB.

  32. don

    I’m guessing both teams will lean to drafting a QB sooner rather than later based on how their QBs are currently playing. The thing is the new QB will need to play eventually so getting rid of their current QBs’ contract as soon as possible would be the smarter play. I’m not sure if loyalty to the QBs needs to be a factor, but I’m guessing it should. Romo’s contract will take two years more to come “off the books” and not affect their salary cap (I’m pretty sure.). I’m guessing that’s the case with Eli and Flacco as well. So the sooner you can get past their contract, the sooner you can move forward, would be part of my contention on why they should be cut. I’m not sure if they can be traded for much or at all.

    And I think how good a QB they can get to replace Eli and Flacco should be secondary to the question, “Can I win with this guy”. If the answer is “no”, then it almost doesn’t matter if you can replace him, because even if in the short term you are a worse team, it may speed up the process of becoming a contender again.

    I’ll just add one more thing. The impacts of these QBs’ salaries are shrinking as the cap continues to grow. But it still must have a huge impact being that just a few years ago, Flacco was the highest paid player in the league.

  33. Reid

    The thing is the new QB will need to play eventually so getting rid of their current QBs’ contract as soon as possible would be the smarter play.

    But if you draft QBs next year, with Flacco and Eli,
    you can see what you got. If you dump Flacco and Eli now,
    draft a QB next year, and that QB is not the future,
    this seems like a rougher position–unless you want to really suck at that point, so that you can get better draft picks.

    And I think how good a QB they can get to replace Eli and Flacco should be secondary to the question, “Can I win with this guy”

    Yes–and if you’re very confident he’s not the guy, then I agree with what you said. My feeling is that there is quite a bit of uncertainty with regard to this question. Certainly, that’s how I feel. Indeed, I still tend to think with a good running game, Flacco could get back on track. I feel similar about Eli, but a little less so.

    Which leads me to potential trade partner: What about Jags trading for Flacco, or maybe even Eli? If I’m right that both could be successful with a good running game, the Jaguars would be a great trade partner. The move could make them Super Bowl contenders (and not just for one year).

  34. don

    You said “unless you want to really suck at this point…”, but those two teams already pretty much suck. I’m not sure how much worse they will get. Also what if they could take that money they will save (again it may take a few years to save all their salary) and get a Zach Martin. I only use him because I know he’s going to be a free agent after next year if Dallas doesn’t sign him to an extension which is inevitable. That would be worth it to me.

    So if you were the Jags FO, you would trade for Flacco or Eli? That is sort of sacrificing your future for today with the amount of salary you would have to take on. I would say you will have to be pretty sure either of those two QBs will make you an instant contender. I’m not as confident as you are, but if you are that confident and the Ravens and Giants are that confident as well, I can see why you wouldn’t trade them or release them.

  35. Reid

    You said “unless you want to really suck at this point…”, but those two teams already pretty much suck. I’m not sure how much worse they will get.

    Yeah, good point. I guess I’m thinking that with Flacco and Eli there’s a chance of turning things around (although given the injuries with the Giants receiving corps, maybe not). My overall feeling is that if you give up on those guys, you could be headed for a black hole–and it may last for a while. It’s a scary prospect to be without a good QB for a long time.

    So if you were the Jags FO, you would trade for Flacco or Eli?

    It depends on what I’d have to give up. I’d be more interested in Flacco, too, at this point. Flacco’s not that old, too. Assuming he’s still good, I would say the team would be in solid shape for the next five years.

  36. Reid

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