Week 7 saw six teams go on “bye”, which explains the lack of quality this past weekend. None of the games this weekend were particularly exciting, save at the Miami vs Atlanta game. That one featured both teams trying new ways to lose, and the winner (or loser?) was Miami, thanks to a late Atlanta FG. Once again, Arizona won as they stay undefeated, and yes, the Lions lost again, which preserves their winless season. As for the other games, there weren’t too many surprises. That being said, just because this week wasn’t all that exciting doesn’t mean there were no winners and losers. On the contrary, we have quite a few, so let’s jump right into it.
Winner #1 Tennessee Titans
I know the Titans have shown up in these articles several times – and I promise, I’m not a Titans fan. But their volatile results have given me no choice but to feature them regularly. This week is no different, as they completely dismantled the Chiefs 27-3. Three weeks after losing to the Jets, the Titans have won 3 straight, including wins over Kansas City and the Bills. It appears this team has their mojo back, and after back-to-back statement wins, they could be considered contenders again. There’s still a long way to go, but the team seems back on track in their desire to make a deep postseason run. Unless they stumble mightily, they will wrap up the division sooner rather than later.
Loser #1 Carolina Panthers
The Panthers started off the season brilliantly, going 3-0. Since then, they have lost 4 straight games and there are real questions as to if Sam Darnold is the right QB. He didn’t help his case this weekend when he only threw for 111 yards and had an interception. Against a wounded Giants side, the Panthers could only muster 3 points. The offense only gained 173 yards in the entire game. The Giants aren’t a bad team, but with many of their stars out due to injury, this was really a game Carolina needed to win. The NFC is pretty top heavy, and there aren’t many playoff spots up for grabs. This type of result will likely be the difference for Carolina come season’s end.
Winner #2 Cincinnati Bengals
Nobody had a bigger statement win this past Sunday than the Bengals. Marching into Baltimore, the Bengals absolutely bullied the Ravens all game long. The Joe Burrow-to-Ja’Marr Chase combination yielded 201 yards and a touchdown against a very good Baltimore defense. On the other side of the ball, the Cincinnati defense kept Lamar Jackson in check for most of the game. The victory gives the Bengals the same record as the Ravens, but they now have the tiebreaker. More than anything, this victory shows that the Bengals are legitimately a good team. Now they must keep this momentum as well as stay healthy. If they can achieve these two things, then maybe this will finally be the year the Bengals end their playoff losing streak. Bengals fans are eager to see their first playoff win in 30 years.
Loser #2 Kansas City Chiefs
After yet another dismal performance, the Chiefs have gone from Super Bowl favorites to the biggest disappointment. The defense is bad on historic levels and it doesn’t look like that is changing anytime soon. Anyone and everyone is scoring on the defense with ease. That of course puts added pressure on the offense, who have regressed this season. The 3 points scored this Sunday was the lowest in Patrick Mahomes’ NFL career. The offensive line is a mess as the Titans were able to constantly pressure Mahomes. Besides Kelce and Hill, no one has really stepped up for this team. Maybe after three years at the highest level of excellence this franchise was due for a down year. You will still be hard-pressed to bet against Mahomes, but things need to change and fast.
Winner #3 Green Bay Packers
Remember back in week 1 when the Packers lost to the Saints 38-3? Well, since that game the Packers have won 6 straight, including a 24-10 win over Washington. The Packers have quietly emerged as one of the best teams in the NFC. Every week that loss to the Saints looks increasingly like an anomaly. Aaron Rodgers is back to his MVP form, throwing for 3 TDs and 274 yards. The defense kept Washington quiet all game long, and the final score doesn’t do this game justice. Green Bay was in control for most of the game, but tended to let Washington hang around. A win is still a win, and we will find out soon how good Green Bay really is. Green Bay finishes the season with 7 of their last 10 games against really good teams. Well, 8 if you still think Kansas City is good.
Loser #3 Miami Dolphins
Miami is now 1-6 after back-to-back losses against the previously winless Jaguars and the struggling Falcons. This game was a “must win” for a team whose season is now on life support. The season started off promising, with a road win against New England. Since then, the Dolphins have suffered 6 straight losses. Not having their own first round pick means the team can’t count on a top pick to help them next season. This especially hurts since there are real questions as to whether Tua Tagovailoa is the right starting QB moving forward. He showed flashes of his potential this Sunday, but too often he makes mistakes. Rumors of the team acquiring Deshaun Watson still linger, but I can’t help but wonder if it is already too late.