2011 NFL Week 7 Remix by Lloyd Vance

Chicago Bears RB Matt Forte brought some serious NFL talent to Europe as his team thumped the Tampa Bay Bucs in the return of American professional football to London’s Wembley Stadium for the 5th straight season

(Philadelphia, Pa) — This is one of my favorite times on the NFL calendar right before the midway part of the season.  Teams are starting to separate into “Contenders” and “Pretenders” and each week certain teams are getting closer to the playoffs while others get closer to preparing for the 2012 NFL Draft aka “The Suck for Andrew Luck Sweepstakes”.

In looking at the current NFL standings here’s the breakdown: The “Elite” – Packers (7-0), Patriots (5-1), Niners (5-1), and Saints (5-2); “Teams on the Cusp” — Lions (5-2),  Steelers (5-2), Ravens (4-2), Chargers (4-2), Giants (4-2), and Bills (4-2);  “Stuck in the Middle” glut of 11 inconsistent teams (records of 4-3 or 3-3), who are caught in the NFL’s parity-filled middle and either need to join the playoff hunt or fall back – Bucs (4-3), Raiders (4-3), NY Jets (4-3), Texans (4-3), Bears (4-3), Falcons (4-3), Cowboys (3-3), Browns (3-3), Chiefs (3-3), Titans (3-3), and Redskins (3-3);  The “Pretenders”, who are only a shade away from the league’s bottom rung – Seahawks (2-4), Eagles (2-4), Broncos (2-4), Panthers (2-5), and Jaguars (2-5); and lastly  the “Putrid” (i.e. These teams should just skip to the 2012 NFL Draft) – Cardinals (1-5), Vikings (1-6), Rams (0-6), Dolphins (0-6), and Colts (0-7)

The division leaders after 7 weeks features some unexpected leaders — NFC South: Saints (5-2), NFC East: NY Giants (4-2), NFC North: Green Bay Packers (7-0), NFC West: Niners (5-1), AFC South: Houston Texans (4-3), AFC East: New England Patriots (5-1), AFC North:  Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2), and AFC West: San Diego Chargers (4-2).

One quick note before we move on to our game notes and awards.  More than ever it is “Next Man Up” around the NFL.  This week was tough one, in terms of injuries, especially for the Washington Redskins who lost in an upset to Carolina and lost RB Tim Hightower for the season with an ACL injury.  Other notable injuries were:

Raiders RB Darren McFadden (right foot)
Redskins WR Santana Moss (broken hand)
Lions QB Matthew Stafford (ankle)
Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch (back)
Falcons QB Matt Ryan (ankle)
Saints rookie RB Mark Ingram (bruised heel)
Colts RB Joseph Addai (hamstring)
Broncos RB Willis McGahee (broken hand)
Cardinals RB Beanie Wells (knee)
Bucs RB Earnest Graham (Achilles – I/R)

Week 7 Games

Sun, Oct 23

NY Jets (4-3) over Chargers (4-2), … The NY Jets has rattled off two straight wins to get back in AFC East race… RB Shonn Greene has a big day… Plaxico Burress wakes-up and catches 3 TDs.. Philip Rivers does nothing in 2nd half… Sanchez’s numbers are not great, but throws 3 TDs…Ryan happy where team is now as they enter their bye week… SD snaps 3-gm winning streak

Bears (4-3) over Bucs (4-3)…. Cheerio, as the NFL returned to London’s Wembley Stadium for the 5th straight season… TB arrived earlier to country and forgot it was a business trip… Bears carried again by RB Matt Forte… CHI O-line does a better job protecting Cutler… Both teams now 3 games behind surging Packers… Bears Special teams shine again… Both TB and CHI now have their bye week

Browns (3-3) over Seahawks (2-4), 6-3… Week 7’s Toilet Bowl lived up to it’s name as Mike Holgren’s new team beat his old one in an ugly affair… There were turnovers and penalties galore… Browns held the ball the whole game, but only produced 2 FG’s to show for it.

Falcons (4-3) over Lions (4-2), … In a tough gritty win, the Falcons led by tough leader Matt Ryan won their 2nd straight game… Falcons are back to “Ground and Pound” game plan…RB Michael Turner was his usual physical self…Ryan overcame an ankle injury and some “dirty” play to throw a big TD to WR Roddy White on a fingertip catch…”Chippy” game as both benchs yap it up before game and Ryan accused Lions D-linemen Suh and Avril of taunting him as he writhed in pain on the ground… ATL on bye next week

Broncos (2-4) over Dolphins (0-6), 18-15 in OT…  It is just a matter of time before Dolphins HC Tony Sparano is on the unemployment line… MIA loses a 15-point lead in the game’s  3 mins… Tebow was “good” and “bad” in this one as he woke up in the 4th qtr to get the win… Broncos recovered an onsides kick… Tebow ran up the gut for 2 points… Broncos get an ugly win in OT… I still say Timmy Heisman is an overblown college star
Texans (4-3) over Titans (3-3), … In a dominating win, HOU ended a 2-game losing streak by thumping the reeling Titans…. CJ2K continues to be ineffective and many are wonding about his conditioning and big paycheck…. Texans RB Arian Foster (over 200 total yards and 3 TDs) was a one-man gang for HOU….Titans may sign T.O during bye to replace Britt ….

Panthers (2-5) over Redskins (3-3), ….  It was the Cam Newton — BTW just give him the R.O.Y — show as the Panthers — snapped a 3-gm losing streak — sent WAS further into a 2-game losing streak…new WAS starter John Beck put up some numbers and mistakes…. Redskins had injuries everywhere including RB Tim Hightower (ACL, season) and WR Santana Moss (broken hand)… WAS HC Mike Shanahan testy about starter question… No rest for WAS as they now travel to BUF to face a rested Bills’ squad

Steelers (5-2) over Cardinals (1-5), …. A blow-out win for the suddenly resurgent Steelers — 3-gm winning streak…. Roethlisberger and Wallace hook-up for a 91-yard record breaking TD…. PIT defense starting to show some teeth… Steelers now have a 3-game winning streak and are right behind the Ravens

Chiefs (3-3) over Raiders (4-3), 28-0… KC now has a 3-game winning streak and HC Todd Haley’s job is looking safer… QB Matt Cassel is efficient in the win… Raiders QB’s Kyle Boller and Carson Palmer combine for 6 INT’s including two Pick-6’s…. Chiefs now have to get ready for a MNF battle with SD for the top of AFC West while OAK has a much-needed bye… RB Darren McFadden hurts his foot… Raiders made mistake by putting an ill-prepared Palmer in the game…Raiders snapped a 2-gm winning streak

Packers (7-0) over Vikings (1-6), 33-27… This game was close early until QB Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ DB’s woke-up… rookie QB Christian Ponder made his first career start and looked good early until making some mistakes…Vikings RB Adrian Peterson (ankle) was a beast throught almost all of this game… GB RB James Starks helped closeout MIN…. Packers join 2001-2002 Patriots and 1997-1998 Broncos as SB Champs that started their defense season 7-0… Packers are a machine as they show how easily they can score on offense… Packers have a bye in WK 8

Cowboys (3-3) over Rams (0-6), 34-7… Two teams going in totally opposite directions… DAL wins at home in a laugher as hapless Rams are pummeled into submission…. Romo has a big day throwing the football… rookie first-time starter RB Demarco Murray has a breakout game including a 90+ yards TD run and over 200 yards rushing…. Next up the Cowboys travel to Philly for a huge SNF battle

Saints (5-2) over Colts (0-7), 62-7… Boy are the Colts really sucking for Luck!…. That score is right people as the Saints put a beatdown on the reeling Colts in the Super Dome… Brees was incredible as he had over an 80% in completions… Payton has time for a hotdog as he is able to rest some starters at the end of this SNF laugher… Colts QB Curtis Painter was bad, but Indy’s defense was worse…rookie RB Mark Ingram hurts his heel in the only bad spot (bruised heel) in a total Ass-Kicking of the Colts

Mon, Oct 24

Jaguars (2-5) over Ravens (4-2), 12-7… In a “Survivor Pool Killer”, the Ravens gave this one away due to turnovers, poor quarterback play, penalties, and overall looking passed the home dog Jaguars (ended 5-game losing streak)… 10-point home underdog Jaguars got a great defensive effort, especially from their secondary… Ravens were very sloppy on offense while waiting too long to flick the switch…. Flacco shows he is not ready for primetime just yet… RB’s Ray Rice and MJD were fumble-happy and were both non-factors… Jags kicker Josh Scobee was amazing hitting three 50-yard+ FGS and making four overall

Byes: Bills, Bengals, Patriots, Giants, Eagles, 49ers

Game Balls

Dallas Cowboys rookie RB DeMarco Murray — The young running back from the University of Oklahoma took advantage of veteran Felix Jones missing the game with an injury in Dallas’ 34-7 thrashing of the hapless Rams.  Murray ran for a franchise-record 253 yards on 25 rushes, including a 91-yard touchdown that’s the second-longest in club history.

Honorable Mention: Bears RB Matt Forte, Saints QB Drew Brees, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, Steelers combo Roethlisber/Mike Wallace, Broncos rookie QB Tim Tebow, Tony Romo, NY Jets WR Plaxico Burress, Texans RB Arian Foster

Lloyd’s Lackey

Raiders QB’s Kyle Boller and Carson Palmer — Combined for 6 INT’s including two Pick-6’s in the Raiders 28-0 shutout loss.  The Chiefs took advantage of both rusty quarterbacks as Boller became the first Raiders quarterback in 13 years to throw three interceptions in the first half, including a Pick-6 to Kendrick Lewis of 59 yards.  And Palmer looked even worse in his Raiders debut as he threw three more interceptions, including a Pick-6 to CB Brandon Flowers of 58 yards. Maybe Raiders HC Hue Jackson should have turned to rookie QB Terrelle Pryor who was making his 2011 debut after serving a 5-game suspension.

Dishonorable Mention:   Indianapolis Colts’ Defense, Titans RB Chris Johnson, Vikings backup QB Donovan McNabb, Both the Browns and Seahawks, Bucs QB Josh Freeman (4 INTs), Ravens QB Joe Flacco, Ravens RB Ray Rice, Redskins (lost game and several players), Dolphins HC Tony Sparano, Cardinals QB Kevin Kolb

Standings Breakdown

1 Teams ….7-0 — Packers
2 Teams…. 5-1 — Patriots, Niners
3 Teams… 5-2 — Lions, Steelers, Saints
5 Teams … 4-2 — Chargers, Bills, NY Giants, Bengals, Ravens
6 Teams… 4-3  — Raiders, Bucs, Texans, NY Jets, Falcons, Bears
5 Teams…. 3-3 — Redskins, Titans, Browns, Cowboys, Chiefs
3 Teams …..2-4 — Eagles, Seahawks,  Broncos
2 Teams… 2-5 — Panthers, Jaguars
1 Team… 1-5 — Cardinals
1 Team…. 1-6 — Vikings
2 Teams…. 0-6 — Dolphins, Rams
1 Team…..0-7 (AKA…Suck for Andrew Luck Sweepstakes) — Colts

17 Teams with winning records including one undefeated teams (Packers, 7-0), other strong contenders [Patriots (5-1) and Niners (5-1)], and the surprising Bills and Bengals (both 4-2)

10 Teams with losing including surprises [Eagles (2-4), Cardinals (1-5), and Colts (0-7)]

Remember 11-5 (2008 New Patriots) or 10-6 (Bucs and NY Giants in 2010) does not a guarantee making the playoffs

Division Leaders

AFC North — This is football’s most-competitve division (all four teams .500 or better) as the Steelers (5-2) have a 1 game lead over Ravens and Bengals (both 4-2) plus CLE is 3-3

AFC South — The inconsistent Texans (4-3) lead this bad divsion by a 1-game  over the Titans (3-3)… Next are the very bad Jags (2-5) and Colts (0-7)

AFC West — Chargers came off their bye with a bad loss (4-2, with a .5 game lead)… The resurgent Chiefs  however the tougher-than-expected Raiders (4-2) are right behind them

AFC East — The Patriots (5-1, with a 1 game lead) continue to pile-up wins as they are now a full game ahead of the “questionable” Buffalo Bills (4-2)
NFC North — Not surprisingly, the NFL’s last undefeated team are the defending SB Champion Packers (7-0, with a 2-game lead)… After GB, there are the coming-back-to-Earth Lions (5-1) and the Up-and-Down Bears (4-3)

NFC South — The high-flying Saints may have taken control of this division (5-2, with a 1 game lead) as the Bucs (4-3) lost and the Falcons (4-3) are still a game back; and don’t forget about the scrappy Panthers (2-5)

NFC West — Looks like this year’s Niners (5-1, with a 3.5 game lead) as they are running away with this awful division…. after SF is the putrid trio of Seahawks (2-4), Cardinals (1-5) and the Rams (0-6)

NFC East — This division looks like it will go down to the wire as currently the “frenetic” NY Giants (4-2, with a 1 game lead) were on a bye while the Cowboys (3-3) picked up ground and the Redskins (3-3) continued their slide…. Also don’t forget about the resting Eagles (2-4)

How 2010 NFL Playoff Teams are Faring
**Remember for 15 straight seasons there have been at least 5 new playoff teams**

AFC
Patriots (5-1)
Steelers (5-2)
Ravens (4-2)
NY Jets (4-3)
Chiefs (3-3)
Colts (0-7)

NFC
Packers (7-0)
Saints (5-2)
Falcons (4-3)
Bears (4-3)
Seahawks (2-4)
Eagles (2-4)

Current Winning Streaks

Packers — 9 in a row going back to 2010
Niners — 4 in a row
Steelers — 3 in a row
Patriots — 3 in a row
Bengals — 3 in a row
Bears — 3 in a row
Falcons — 2 in a row
NY Jets — 2 in a row

Current Losing Streaks

Dolphins — 8 in a row going back to 2010
Rams — 8 in a row going back to 2010
Colts — 7 in a row
Cardinals — 5 in a row
Lions — 2 in a row
Redskins — 2 in a row
Vikings — 2 in a row

Upcoming schedules

NFC

ARI (1-5) —   @BAL, STL, @PHI, @SF, @STL, DAL, SF, CLE, @CIN, SEA
ATL (4-3)  —   BYE, @IND, NO, TEN, MIN, @HOU, @CAR, JAX, @NO, TB
CAR (2-5) —    MIN, BYE, TEN, @DET, @IND, @TB, ATL, @HOU, TB, @NO
CHI (4-3) —    BYE, @PHI, DET, SD, @OAK, KC, @DEN, SEA, @GB, @MIN
DAL (3-3) —    @PHI (SNF), SEA, BUF, @WAS, MIA, @ARI, NYG, @TB, PHI, @NYG
DET (5-2) —    @DEN, BYE, @CHI, CAR, GB, @NO, MIN, @OAK, SD, @GB
GB (7-0) —     BYE, @SD, MIN, TB, @DET, @NYG, OAK, @KC, CHI, DET
MIN (1-6) —    @CAR, BYE, @GB, OAK, @ATL, DEN, @DET, NO, @WAS, CHI
NO (5-2) —     @STL, TB, @ATL, BYE, NYG, DET, @TEN, @MIN, ATL, CAR
NYG (4-2) —    MIA, @NE, @SF, PHI, @NO, GB, @DAL, WAS, @NYJ, DAL
PHI (2-4) —    DAL (SNF), CHI, ARI, @NYG, NE, @SEA, @MIA, NYJ, @DAL, WAS
SEA (2-5) —    CIN, @DAL, BAL, @STL, WAS, PHI, STL, @CHI, SF, @ARI
SF (5-1) —    CLE, @WAS, NYG, ARI, @BAL, STL, @ARI, PIT, @SEA, @STL
STL (0-6) —  NO, @ARI, @CLE, SEA, ARI, @SF, @SEA, CIN, @PIT, SF
TB (4-3) —  BYE, @NO, HOU, @GB, @TEN, CAR, @JAX, DAL, @CAR, @ATL
WAS (3-3) —   @BUF, SF, @MIA, DAL, @SEA, NYJ, NE, @NYG, MIN, @PHI
AFC

BAL (4-2) — ARI, @PIT (SNF), @SEA, CIN, SF, @CLE, IND, @SD, CLE, @CIN
BUF (4-2) — WAS, NYJ, @DAL, @MIA, @NYJ, TEN, @SD, MIA, DEN, @NE
CIN (4-2) — @SEA, @TEN, PIT, @BAL, CLE, @PIT, HOU, @STL, ARI, BAL
CLE (3-3)  — @SF, @HOU, STL, JAX, @CIN, BAL, @PIT, @ARI, @BAL, PIT
DEN (1-4) — DET, @OAK, @KC, NYJ,  @SD, @MIN, CHI, NE, @BUF, KC
HOU (4-3) — JAX, CLE, @TB, BYE,  @JAX, ATL. @CIN, CAR, @IND, TEN
IND (0-7)  — @TEN, ATL, JAX, BYE, CAR, @NE, @BAL, TEN, HOU, @JAX
JAX (2-5)  —   @HOU, BYE, @IND, @CLE, HOU, SD, TB, @ATL, @TEN, IND
KC (3-3) —   SD (MNF), MIA, DEN, @NE, PIT, @CHI, @NYJ, GB, OAK, @DEN
MIA (0-6) — @NYG, @KC, WAS, BUF, @DAL, OAK, PHI, @BUF, @NE, NYJ
NE  (5-1) — @PIT, NYG, @NYJ (SNF), KC, @PHI, IND, @WAS, @DEN, MIA, BUF
NYJ (4-3) — BYE, @BUF, NE (SNF), @DEN, BUF, @WAS, KC, @PHI, NYG, @MIA
OAK (4-3) — BYE, DEN, @SD, @MIN, CHI, @MIA, @GB, DET, @KC, SD
PIT  (5-2) — NE, BAL (SNF), @CIN, BYE, @KC, CIN, CLE, @SF, STL, @CLE
SD (4-2) — @KC (MNF), GB, OAK, @CHI, DEN, @JAX, BUF, BAL, @DET, @OAK
TEN (3-3) — IND, CIN, @CAR, @ATL, TB, @BUF, NO, @IND, JAX, @HOU

Week 7 Leaders 
 
Passing     
1. B. Roethlisberger PIT  361 yds (w)
2. A. Rodgers GB  335 yds (w)
3. D. Brees NO  350 yds (w)
4. M. Schaub HOU  296 yds (w)
5. J. Beck WAS  279 yds (L)
 
Rushing
1. D. Murray DAL  253 yds (w)
2. A. Peterson MIN  175 yds (L)
3. M. Forte CHI  145 yds (w)
4. M. Turner ATL  122 yds (w)
5. A. Foster HOU  115 yds (w)
 
Receiving
1. G. Jennings GB  147 yds (w)
2. S. Smith CAR  143 yds (w)
3. A. Foster HOU  119 yds (w)
4. M. Wallace PIT  118 yds (w)
5. C. Johnson DET  115 yds (w)
 
TDS   
1. D. Brees NO  5 TDs (w)
2. A. Foster HOU  3 TDs (w)
2. A. Rodgers GB  3 TDs (w)
2. B. Roethlisberger PIT  3 TDs (w)
 

Looking Ahead to to Week 8

Sunday,  October  30

Miami at N.Y. Giants 1:00 PM  (CBS)
Jacksonville at Houston 1:00 PM (CBS)
Minnesota at Carolina 1:00 PM (FOX)
Arizona at Baltimore 1:00 PM (FOX)
New Orleans at St. Louis 1:00 PM (FOX)
Indianapolis at Tennessee 1:00 PM (CBS)
Washington at Buffalo 4:05 PM (FOX)
Detroit at Denver 4:05 PM (FOX)
Cleveland at San Francisco 4:15 PM (CBS)
New England at Pittsburgh 4:15 PM (CBS)
Cincinnati at Seattle 4:15 PM (CBS)
Dallas at Philadelphia 8:20 PM (NBC)
 
Monday,  October  31
San Diego  at  Kansas City 8:30 PM (ESPN)

Byes: Atlanta, Chicago, Green Bay, NY. Jets, Oakland, Tampa Bay

 

Lloyd Vance is the Editor  for Taking It to the House , who is also an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA).  Lloyd can be reached on Twitter @lloydvance_nfl

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