NFL Week 7 Recap

Saints 34, Cardinals 42

As rare as sanity is in the world right now, we got a good Thursday night football game this week. Saints and Cardinals locked horns in a fight to save their respective seasons. Arizona, though starting slow, turned on their high-octane passing attack in the 2nd half to soar to victory, helped by two ill-timed pick-sixes by Andy Dalton. Arizona may have salvaged its campaign with this win. However, I must warn them; every win is an excuse for the Bidwills to keep Kliff Kingsbury around to bumble more games. Don’t fall for the bait.


Browns 20, Ravens 23

I’ve grown tired of all the ballyhooing Ravens fans have done since Sunday. They need to calm down and tone down their arrogance dramatically. They beat the Browns. It’s easy to beat a team that has no offense or competent quarterback, in addition to getting a lot of help from the refs. John Harbaugh and Greg Roman can survive for a day, as they barely escaped with a win against an opponent they should have ground to powder. The seats remain hot for those two, but for at least a day, they get a stay of execution. Cleveland, though, their season is unofficially over. They’ve lost 5 games and they still have to play the Bengals, Bills, and Dolphins. It’s going to be a long year until Watson comes back.


Buccaneers 3, Panthers 21

Yet another week where Tampa fails the basic tasks of running an offense and they bumble around for 60 minutes. Even worse, this wasn’t even against a quality opponent. Try the Carolina Panthers. They’re deep in freefall, just fired their coach, traded away their two best offensive weapons, and are starting PJ Walker. Even with all the odds stacked in their favor, Tampa still couldn’t pull off a win against one of the worst teams in the league. This game felt like the Bills-Jags game from last year. My jaw hit the floor. Let’s check in on the enthusiasm meter and- oh god, the readings are through the roof. Charlotte has something to distract them from the Hornets’ failure for a day. They aren’t even out of the division race, either. With a win and a Tampa Bay loss on Thursday, they will lead the NFC south, even after all that’s happened to them.

Hold up, it looks like we might be breaking out the wheel of discipline yet again this year. Ironically, it won’t be any player spinning it but the zebras themselves. Two refs were filmed after the game asking for and receiving autographs from Mike Evans of the Buccaneers. Not only is this completely unprofessional and calls into question the integrity of the game, but it also doesn’t help that getting an autograph from a player is explicitly prohibited in the Referee handbook. The Shield has begun to eat its children after running out of players to judge. What a time.


Falcons 17, Bengals 35

Did you see what happened in Charlotte, Falcons? It means you have a chance to claim the division lead. Unfortunately, they ran into a Bengals team that smoked them over a fire for 3 hours and sent their remains to be served at Skyline Chili. Cincy is back to being above .500, and they did it with a dominating win over an upstart Falcons team looking to turn some heads. They’re back to relevance and have a good shot at the division given how much Baltimore has been choking as of late. The sanity has been restored.


Lions 6, Cowboys 24

Dak is returning for the Cowboys this week, and what better training wheels to ease back in than the dumpster fire that is the Lions’ defense? Despite looking unsurprisingly off-sync, Dallas roared to life in the 2nd half to put the game away and keep pace with their division rivals. Despite the offensive prowess they showed, I still have some concerns. Detroit is built like a practice squad, which might explain why Prescott was much more in his element. These offensive flaws will catch up to them soon though. I reference last year as evidence.


Giants 23, Jaguars 17

A tale of two teams: a group trying to come to terms with their impressively surprising success, and a squad trying to reclaim such success after losing 3 straight. Both teams would trade blows throughout the game, but the Giants were able to surge in the 4th quarter to claim victory, despite having to deal with both refball and a stingy Jags defense. Even then, Jacksonville was only a yard short from victory and showed a lot more fight than their record suggests. They could play some serious spoiler for a playoff hopeful a few weeks down the road. I’m intrigued. The Giants, meanwhile, get their best start since the Coughlin era. Cherish it.


Packers 21, Commanders 23

This game taught me one thing: The Packers are absolute garbage this year. Who knew that having no offensive weapons and putting all your eggs in one Aaron Rodgers basket would come back to bite you? They lost to the Washington Commies, a team that is more injured and demoralized than George Orwell’s dystopia. A team starting Taylor Heinicke in his first action this year. A team with Ron Rivera as czar pulling all the strings. Green Bay may have bungled away their hopes at the division with this game, and they’ll get no favors as they face Buffalo next week. Their entire organization is being dragged kicking and screaming into a tank. At least Chicago and Detroit were expected to be horrible, the Packers are just mistake after mistake made over the last decade finally catching up with them. This season is vintage comedy for the rest of the NFC North.


Colts 10, Titans 19

Two horrible teams enter, and only one leaves with an undeserved division lead. Fortunately, the Titans managed to screw up a little less than Indy, and drunkenly stumbled to victory thanks to defense and high-end talent. They are now in sole ownership of the division lead, but a pretty weak one. The stars are aligning for yet another first-round playoff exposure, Nashville. The Colts, meanwhile, despite a .500 record, are nowhere near deserving of that stat in actuality. Matt Ryan was injured in the game, and Indy is now forced to dress Sam Ehlinger for next week’s heavyweight Ineptitude Bowl against Washington. Brace yourselves.


Texans 20, Raiders 38

With Las Vegas’s early screw-ups, things were looking up for Houston, but their utter lack of offensive talent chose to rear its head at the worst possible moment and the Raiders cruised to victory. The Patriots have always owned Houston, and that trait seemed to have rubbed off onto Josh McDaniels, who was made to look like a genius against the trainwreck the Texans call a defense. However, at 2-4, Vegas isn’t out of the woods yet. They have a tough schedule coming up, and it will be up to them to salvage their season before it completely goes to the dogs. Sadly, with McDaniels at the helm, I don’t see this happening.

Jets 16, Broncos 9

Jets fans, you are today’s recipient of a free win! That’s right, a FREE WIN! You get to go up against a team with no offense to speak of in the Denver Broncos. Even for a group with choking tendencies such as the Jets, Brett Rypien is easy prey for guys like Quinnen Williams. Unfortunately, this win was pyrrhic, as it cost Breece Hall his ACL. Man, the Jets can never get a break, can they?

Fortunately for the Jets, they weren’t destroyed by the Hall injury, as the stoves of the trade deadline were burning with impunity this week. The newest member of the buttfumble brigade is James Robinson, acquired from Jacksonville for a conditional 5th-round pick. Seriously, only a 5th? Baalke is an idiot for this. This is why the Jags can’t have nice things.


Chiefs 44, 49ers 23

Before recapping this game, I need to cover the major development in the Bay area over this past week. Remember how I said the trade stoves were extra hot this week? Santa Clara reached down and acquired a generational running back in Christian McCaffrey from the Carolina Panthers for a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th round pick. For a player that was rumored to be worth two firsts at minimum, this is an absolute steal for the Niners. Even better, Shanahan was able to work some simple plays into the book for McCaffrey to use in the game as well, meaning he could start. All around a great move by John Lynch and company.

So, now to the game in question, and oh yeah, the McCaffrey trade didn’t mean anything. My friends, what happened to the Niners on that fine Sunday afternoon was what happened to US soldiers facing an Apache resistance. Lulled out to a false sense of security with a 10-0 lead, San Fran grew overconfident and got destroyed by the Chiefs and their offense for the remaining 3 quarters. Their offense, even with their new acquisition, couldn’t get much going, and Jimmy G himself was benched for Brock Purdy, who did just as terribly as Niners fans thought he would. KC reaffirms itself among the league’s elite with this win, as they try to keep up with Buffalo for the #1 seed in the conference. San Fran, meanwhile, is 3-4. I wouldn’t worry too much, though. We all said they were done last year at 3-5 and they made it to the NFC championship game. Not saying that changes aren’t necessary, but Niners fans shouldn’t be too upset over this. They straight up ran into a machine. No shame in losing this one.


Seahawks 37, Chargers 23

Guys, I think Seattle’s offense might be legit. It helps that they’ve faced defenses that are terrible to begin with and/or decimated by injuries, but when an offensive unit accrues over 200 yards on the ground, that should be the reason to take notice. Pete Carroll has been preaching a next-man-up mentality all season, and with Rashaad Penny done for the year with a broken fibula, Kenneth Walker took the mantle. We may have just witnessed his breakout performance into the NFL’s elite. With a substandard line blocking for him, Walker rushed for over 160 yards and two touchdowns against a defense boasting Khalil Mack, but not much else these days. Oh yeah… the injuries. They might have to make a trade or two to bring in some outside talent. Most of their big pieces are now in the infirmary. JC Jackson is done for the year. Mike Williams went down with an ankle injury, and this is with Joey Bosa already out for the year with a groin injury. Let’s just say that LA has a lot of work to do this week in the managerial department. I would wish them good luck, but this is karma for giving the middle finger to San Diego all those years ago and moving to a city that does nothing but fill their stadium with opposing teams’ fans. Seattle, meanwhile, thanks to both the win and the Rams’ bye, is now perched atop the NFC West with a chance to make another statement against the Giants. That should be a good game.


Steelers 10, Dolphins 16

You thought you would get a break from terrible football this week, didn’t you? I did, too, until this game came stumbling along. Prepare yourselves for an ineptitude bowl!

This game had it all, both on the drama and incompetence fronts. Miami jumped out to an early lead in the 1st half, since the Steelers lack things such as offensive creativity and firepower. However, that wouldn’t stop them from piecing together a long drive to put the game back in reach. However, the 2nd half is when the magic would commence. Miami chose to revert to how they looked on offense these past few weeks without Tua under center, bumbling around and blowing golden opportunities with a combination of idiotic 4th down decision-making and some terrible passes downfield. Pittsburgh’s defense couldn’t capitalize either. Getting into the giving spirit, they dropped 4 separate passes that should have been intercepted. Cameron Sutton, in particular, gave Miami gifts at critical junctures two separate times. The team to win this game would be the one that failed less hard than the other, and that team was Miami. Kenny Pickett decided to imitate the guy he replaced by chucking the ball into a deep sea of teal on the final drive to seal the ugly dub for South Beach. Dolphins, you looked horrible, but here’s your free win.


Bears 33, Patriots 14

This game had a lot in store for football fans everywhere. We got to see the Patriots’ shiny new toy in Bailey Zappe. We even got to witness Jakobi Meyers score a touchdown, which happens about as often as Haley’s comet. And most importantly, we got to gleefully watch the entire state of Massachusetts eat a giant trough of manure hand-delivered by the Bears’ defense. They were stifling, they were unrelenting, and they made New England’s offense look mortal just like we all predicted. Even the Bears’ offense wasn’t an uninspired wreck today. Despite failing to dominate on the stat sheet, the Bears were able to run up the score considerably on a Patriots defense that has received almost a godlike reverence from the media over the past few weeks. The football world dances at its demise. We also got to see Mac Jones kick some dude in the balls before getting benched. That was honestly the highlight of this game.


I think now that we’re almost at the trade deadline, it’s time to take a look at how every team is doing so far, and what the early playoff pictures look like. In the AFC, Buffalo still sits on their laurels at 5-1 and controls the #1 seed, but the Jets are only a half-game back of the division lead at 5-2. The second seed and the AFC West is controlled by Kansas City, also at 5-2, with the Chargers falling to 4-3 with their loss to Seattle. In the third spot is Tennessee, who has surged back to a playoff position with 4 straight wins after an 0-2 start. The 4th seed is Baltimore, limping in at 4-3 and controlling the tiebreaker over Cincinnati. The wild cards, in order, are the Jets, Dolphins, and Chargers, the latter of which is not deserving of such a position.

The NFC gets a little less complicated. As the only undefeated team remaining, Philly not only controls the NFC East but the #1 seed with a 6-0 record, but the Giants are a half-game back at 6-1, and Dallas is at a less concerning 5-2 with a disadvantage at tiebreaker. The 2nd seed is Minnesota at 5-1, by virtue of easy opponents and the rest of their division falling into Lake Michigan. Coming out of the mosh pit of the NFC West is Seattle, at 4-3 and looking way better than we expected. Then, we go to the South. Oh god, it’s a mess. The NFL’s tank division is still controlled by Tampa, but that’s despite their measly 3-4 record. They have the tiebreaker over the 3-4 Falcons thanks to refball, but Carolina is 2-5 and will control the division with a win and a Tampa Bay loss. New Orleans still has a shot, but everyone has a tiebreaker on them except for the Falcons. The Wild Cards are a bit more straightforward. It’s the Giants at 6-1, the Cowboys at 5-2, and the Rams at 3-3.

It’s going to be an exciting two months before all the playoff spots are set in stone. Grab the popcorn and prepare to sit on the couch salivating as all 32 teams run the gauntlet of the playoff push. I’ll see you on the other side.


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