By Conor Perrett
Week 7 of the NFL season provided all sorts for our rankings with the Top-3 remaining strong but with newcomers behind them. Poor old Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers continue to slide.
How is your team trending?
- Buffalo Bills (5-1)
Last Week – 1st
With the week off, nothing has changed, the Bills are still the best team in football.
Up next: vs. Green Bay, Monday 1:20 a.m. BST/GMT
- Kansas City Chiefs (5-1)
Last Week – 3rd
If you thought the Chiefs were going to go quiet after their defeat to Buffalo last week, then think again because they came back with one of the best offensive performances of the season. Excluding their final possession of running out the clock, the Chiefs scored 44 points on nine drives. That is 4.9 points per drive, the highest tally for any team in a game this season and against maybe the best defence in football in the 49ers.
There’s no better way for them to enter the bye week, as the thoughts of another Bills v Chiefs later down the line is going to be a Super Bowl like occasion of its own.
Up Next: Bye Week
- Philadelphia Eagles (6-0)
Last Week – 2nd
Philadelphia leads the league with a +12 turnover differential, having only given the ball away just twice and taken it away 14 times. That differential is twice as good as the No. 2 team in the league: the Dallas Cowboys. It shows Philadelphia’s dominance through the first half of the season, but is it sustainable? For the time being there is no reason not to doubt that, but things can come crashing down fast. Just ask the Cardinals of last year. It’s harsh they drop a spot this week on their bye, but if they are to keep up their run then they will continue to be the best team in the NFC.
Up next: vs. Pittsburgh, Sunday 6 p.m. BST/GMT
- Cincinnati Bengals (4-3)
Last Week – 4th
Burrow’s 481 passing yards in Sunday’s win over the Falcons are the most for any quarterback this season. He also had the two highest passing yard games last season. It shows Cincinnati are starting to find their feet again with performances similar to last year when they got to the BIg Show. Via DVOA, the Bengals now join the Bills, Eagles and Ravens as having above average offences and defences.
Up next: at Cleveland, Tuesday 1:!5 a.m. BST/GMT
- Dallas Cowboys (5-2)
Last Week – 7th
Dak Prescott hand-picked the Lions for his return this season, but did not exactly set the world alight in his first game back from a thumb injury. Prescott attempted just 25 passes and the Cowboys offence only scored 10 points on its first eight offensive possessions, as Detroit didn’t make it easy for them until a late collapse. Dallas will be hoping it was just some ring-rust for their quarterback but a win is a win for them.
What we still know about this team is they continue to be rock solid on defence. With five turnovers last Sunday, they stood up the Lions all night and a brilliant play by DeMarcus Lawrence, caused a game-saving fumble on the one-yard line.
Up next: vs. Chiicago, Sunday 6 p.m. BST/GMT
- Baltimore Ravens (4-3)
Last Week – 5th
It really did nearly happen again for the Ravens. Up 23-13 in the fourth quarter, they let the Browns pull within three points and then fumbled the ball deep in Brown’s territory with a few minutes left. After a series of strange events, Baltimore managed to keep Cleveland out of the end-zone, saving themselves from another embarrassing lead-losing defeat. This team continues to look strong throughout games, but if they are to have a crack at a Championship then they must clean up their act in the fourth quarter.
Up next: at Tampa Bay, Friday 1:15 a.m. BST/GMT
- New York Giants (6-1)
Last Week – 10th
After this start I don’t know if you can continue to call this team a rebuilding side, but they started this season better than anyone would have ever thought. Despite ranking 14th in overall DVOA, the Giants continue to stay in games late and perform when it matters most with come from behind wins. Brain Daboll has shown what good coaching can do, especially with Daniel Jones.
During his first three seasons in the league, Daniel Jones trailed only Jameis Winston in turnovers per game with 1.7. Now through seven games he has only two interceptions and two fumbles on the season, and it has changed the turnover sigma around Jones.
Up next: at Seattle, Sunday 9:25 p.m. BST/GMT
- Minnesota Vikings (5-1)
Last Week – 8th
It was a quiet week on the Vikings off-week. They remain top of their division, sitting happily at 5-1 and are laughing at the easy schedule they have yet to face.
Up next: vs. Arizona, Sunday 6 p.m. BST/GMT
- Miami Dolphins (4-3)
Last Week – 20th
Like most teams who have to go to a backup quarterback, the drop off is season-changing. Luckily for the Dolphins Tua Tagovailoa returned and once again makes this Miami offence dynamic. In the four games Tua has started and finished, Miami are fourth in the league for EPA per drive, where when he isn’t in the game they are tied 29th with the atrocious Broncos. With Tua back, the Dolphins can try and find their groove again and climb back up towards the top of the AFC.
Up next: at Detroit, Sunday 6 p.m. BST/GMT
- San Francisco 49ers (3-4)
Last Week – 6th
In the weaker NFC conference which could be there for the taking, the Niners shocked the NFL world when they traded for Christian McCaffrey. John Lynch pushed all his chips in for a game-changer who may be able to complete this team. Running backs on pricey second contracts are always risky and the cost of the trade was high, but when you look at the details and the situation San Fran are in I like the deal.
This team has a lot of things. A fierce O-line, two good receivers one of which is great, the best all round tight end in the NFL, an elite defence and a quarterback in Trey Lance who they view as the future. McCaffery is another big time weapon for Kyle Shanahan to play with and although it’s a big if, should McCaffery stay healthy, the 49ers should be a very serious team with Superbowl credentials.
Up next: at Los Angeles Rams, Sunday 9:25 p.m. BST/GMT
- New York Jets (5-2)
Last Week – 14th
Two New York teams in the top-11. Wow! Although everyone around the Jets will be ecstatic with their record, losing star rookie running-back Breece Hall to an ACL tear sank the hearts of all Jets supporters. General manager Joe Douglas acted quickly to replace Hall, trading a Day 3 pick for Jaguars running-back James Robinson to keep the Cinderella season going. But it will be hard to replace the presence Hall had become in that offence.
Up next: vs. New England, Sunday 6 p.m. BST/GMT
- Tennessee Titans (4-2)
Last Week – 15th
Things looked dire at the start of the season for the Titans and to my surprise, they have turned things around. They had a poor off-season by my books and then they fell to a 0-2 record. The team looked worse than the previous year and Derrick Henry had not looked like his pre-injury self. But fair play to this side, they’ve turned it around and are on a four-game winning streak, with Henry terrorising the league once again.
Up next: at Houston, Sunday 9:05 p.m. BST/GMT
- Los Angeles Rams (3-3)
Last Week – 13th
The Rams haven’t had the exact start to the season they were after and apparently they also missed out on Christian McCaffery to the 49ers, per Dov Kleiman. Unluckily for them, they will have to face him straight away this week.
Up next: vs. San Francisco, Sunday 9:25 p.m. BST/GMT
- Las Vegas Raiders (2-4)
Last Week – 16th
Josh Jacobs has been the breakout player of the season for the Raiders. His 633 rushing yards ranks third in the NFL, and he trails only Nick Chubb in rushing yards per game. He’s the main reason the Raiders rank No. 1 in rushing DVOA. But it does leave a strange taste in their mouth for the future, knowing this front office didn’t pick up his fifth-year option when he’s still clearly the lead back.
Vegas has a very favourable schedule ahead, with a four-game stretch of teams under 0.500.
Up next: at New Orleans, Sunday 6 p.m. BST/GMT
- Seattle Seahawks (4-3)
Last Week – 18th
What Geno Smith is doing is crazy. He ranks sixth in EPA per dropback for the NFC West-leading Seahawks and is directing an offence that ranks third in DVOA. All of this while serving as the full-time starter for the first time in eight seasons. He leads the league with a 73.5 completion percentage, which if he can keep up will be the highest completion percentage in a single season for a quarterback that’s not named Drew Brees.
The Seahawks are laughing at ‘that’ trade they made seven months ago. Stocking up on a chest-load of draft picks, while seemingly having a better quarterback waiting in place all along.
Fun stat of the week as well. There’s only one matchup this week with two teams with a winning record playing against each other. That is of course, New York Giants vs Seattle Seahawks. Imagine saying that at the start of the season.
Up next: vs. New York Giants, Sunday 4:25 p.m.
- Los Angeles Chargers (4-3)
Last Week – 9th
Another week means another player on injury reverse for LA, with J.C. Jackson’s season coming to an end after injuring himself against Seattle last Sunday.
The Chargers right now are very banged up that’s for sure, but every team gets them and they haven’t even been hit the hardest by the bug. It’s always going to happen and can be rarely used as an excuse for embarrassing losses. For example, their limited offensive game plan has been frustrating with how unaggressive they are on first and second down. That shows when 50 of their 131 first downs or touchdowns have come on a third or fourth down.
Up next: Bye week
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4)
Last Week – 11th
I mentioned for numerous weeks now Tampa are in a good position with a solid defence, while their experienced offence takes its time to get up to speed. I didn’t expect the offence to take this long and now it’s getting to the point of panicking.
Brady has Mike Evans and Chris Godwin back and he’s got Leonard Fournette in the backfield. It’s the same offensive coaching staff minus Bruce Arians. There’s no excuses as to why Tampa hasn’t exploded yet and this week their defence also fell flat on their face. I won’t ever bet against Brady because of what he’s done in the past, but what’s happening with the Buccaneers is concerning.
Up next: vs. Baltimore, Friday 1:15 a.m. BST/GMT
- New England Patriots (3-4)
Last Week – 12th
After a tough loss to the Bears in prime time, the eyes in New England turn to the quarterback controversy between Bailey Zappe and Mac Jones. It seems a 50/50 coin toss at the moment and through the statistics of TruMedia, Zappe is 0.06 EPA per dropback, to Jones’ -0.11. For comparison Jones finished his rookie season at 0.04 last season. The sample size is small for both quarterbacks but it’s hard to imagine a first-round pick losing his job in Year 2 to a fourth-round rookie. It will be interesting who starts and finishes against the Jets next weekend.
Up next: at New York Jets, Sunday 6 p.m. BST/GMT
- Green Bay Packers (3-4)
Last Week – 19th
In Sunday’s loss to the Commanders, Aaron Rodgers was pressured on just 8.8 percent of his drop-backs, the lowest pressure rate any quarterback has faced in a game this season. Yet still the Packers only managed eight points on offence against a mediocre Commanders defence, thanks in part to them going zero for six on third down.
With the trade deadline looming there’s talk of Green Bay going after a new weapon for a desperate offence. Jerry Jeudy, Chase Claypool and Elijah Moore are all names to keep an eye on as Green Bay need to make changes.
Up next: at Buffalo, Monday 1:20 a.m. BST/GMT
- Arizona Cardinals (3-4)
Last Week – 25th
DeAndre Hopkins’s return to the starting lineup was exactly what a struggling Cardinals offence needed last week. Hauling in 10 receptions for 103 yards in his 2022 debut, Hopkins had 48.3 percent of the Cardinals’ targets, the most of any pass catcher with at least 20 routes in Week 7. Quarterback Kyler Murray and the Cardinals will need Hopkins to repeat that success in future weeks, especially on deep throws, as this offence tries to get explosive once again.
Up next: at Minnesota, Sunday 6 p.m. BST/GMT
- Atlanta Falcons (3-4)
Last Week – 17th
Arthur Smith’s run-heavy offence ranks No. 9 in offensive DVOA and No. 4 in rushing DVOA and it has become their identity. While it seems to be working where it gets confusing is in the last two drafts, Atlanta has spent back-to-back first round picks on pass catchers. Both head coach Arthur Smith and general manager Terry Fontenot were brought in at the same time to rebuild, but it seems one of them didn’t get the message on how this offence is meant to be run.
This season the Falcons have refused to throw the ball, despite having two very talented pass-catching unicorns in Kyle Pitts and Drake London. Most teams would love to take advantage of this set of twin towers.
Up next: vs. Carolina, Sunday 6 p.m. BST/GMT
- Jacksonville Jaguars (2-5)
Last Week – 22nd
The Jaguars came up one yard short of victory against the Giants, when Christian Kirk was tackled at the one-yard line down six points with time expiring. A touchdown there would have completed one of the least aesthetically pleasing game-winning drives in recent memory, as Trevor Lawrence completed just three of his nine passes on the drive. It’s been the sorry state of the Jaguars season, with them being so close to being interesting. If they could just stop shooting themselves in the foot.
Up next: vs. Denver (in London), Sunday 2:30 p.m. BST/GMT
- Cleveland Browns (2-5)
Last Week – 23rd
Four of the Brown’ five losses have been by three points or fewer, but the people of Cleveland are probably tired of hearing they’re better than its record at this point.
Expectations for the playoffs may have been high while missing Deshaun Watson for half the season. Only the 2020 Washington Football Team won their division with a 7-9 record and are the only team to make the playoffs in over 30 years after starting the season 2-6. Statistically speaking, this week’s game against the Bengals is crucial. A loss and their season is likely over.
Up next: vs. Cincinnati, Tuesday 1:15 a.m. BST/GMT
- Indianapolis Colts (3-3-1)
Last Week – 21st
Frank Reich’s announcement that Matt Ryan is being benched in favour of Sam Ehlinger, seemingly for the rest of the season, is a most surprising turn of events. The Colts offence could certainly use a spark, as it ranks 30th in offensive DVOA, but Ehlinger is a 2021 sixth-round pick who was not exactly waiting in the wings.
In a way it adds another dimension for this offence with Ehlinger being more of a mobile quarterback, but that would call for an overhaul on the entire offensive system mid-season.
Up next: vs. Washington, Sunday 9:25 p.m. BST/GMT
- New Orleans Saints (2-5)
Last Week – 24th
Dennis Allen’s record as a head coach is now 10-33 through parts of four seasons. It’s not ideal with only Hue Jackson having a worse winning percentage with at least 40 games in charge.
Although Andy Dalton’s three interception game, including two pick-sixes was at fault for the loss to the Cardinals this week. Since taking over as the starter in Week 4, Dalton ranks 10th in EPA per dropback and 11th in yards per attempt. A significant improvement over Jameis Winston and a key indication that Dalton is not the problem right now.
Up next: vs. Las Vegas, Sunday 6 p.m. BST/GMT
- Denver Broncos (2-5)
Last Week – 27th
Same old story again for this Denver side as their defence continues to impress ranking third in defensive DVOA, but the offence being a let down once again.
Now missing Russel Wilson and having to start Brett Rypien can be seen as an excuse, but I’m not letting them off the hook that easily, especially with what the Washington Commanders did. Being in an offensive slump similar to Denver’s, against a better defence and with less weapons Washington had to rely on a backup QB as well yet they put up 23 points. All while Denver scores less than double digits points in what’s becoming an all too familiar story.
To make matters worse, there are now talks of them trading away Bradley Chubb and Jerry Jeaudy if they lose in London this week. This is a franchise that went all in with Wilson and are now seemingly backtracking by trading away key pieces for draft assets. This franchise doesn’t have a clue where it’s at and if this disaster show is to continue I don’t expect Nathaniel Hackett to have a head coaching job come the end of the season.
Up next: vs. Jacksonville (in London), Sunday 2:30 P.m. BST/GMT
- Washington Commanders (3-4)
Last Week – 29th
After their Week Six TNF win against the Bears, Ron Rivera planted his stance for Carson Wentz in a passionate speech that had him walk out of a press conference. This week he one-upped himself when he wished he could make a Frankenstein quarterback out of the strengths of Wentz and Taylor Heinicke.
The Commanders’ defence is improving, though. It ranks second in the league in success rate per TruMedia, but is only 16th in defensive DVOA because of a relatively easy offencive schedule and a knack for surrendering big plays in the passing game.
Up next: at Indianapolis, Sunday 9:25 p.m. BST/GMT
- Chicago Bears (3-4)
Last Week – 30th
I mentioned in the preview to MNF that two promising points to the Bears season have been defensive rookies Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker. Well in that game both would go on to record interceptions and showcase what Chicago’s surprisingly good secondary can do. Justin Fields also had himself a good game on the ground. His 14 rushing attempts were a career high, and as it seems the Bears coaches way of going around their poor pass-protecting O-line was to have Fields run for his life instead.
Up next: at Dallas, Sunday 6 p.m. BST/GMT
- Pittsburgh Steelers (2-5)
Last Week – 26th
By DVOA, the Steelers have played the hardest schedule in the league through seven weeks. The defence is up to No. 13 in DVOA and could be among the league’s best if and when T.J. Watt returns, while Kenny Pickett looks…interesting. Granted the stats don’t look great, with eight turnovers through three games. But he’s shown to be a quick decision maker that trusts his wide receivers. He has had a bit of bad luck with interceptions through no fault of his own.
Up next: at Philadelphia, Sunday 6 p.m. BST/GMT
- Carolina Panthers (2-5)
Last Week – 32nd
Carolina pounded the ball against what was supposed to be a good Bucs defence as D’Onta Foreman and Chuba Hubbard combined for 181 rushing yards on 24 carries, while PJ Walker completed 16 of 22 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns. All the while, Steve Wilks’ defence held Tom Brady and the Bucs to a lonely three points.
Up next: at Atlanta, Sunday 6 p.m. BST/GMT
- Detroit Lions (1-5)
Last Week – 28th
The Lions are a bit of a mess this year. Through just seven weeks they managed to have the No.1 scoring offence with the 32nd scoring defence. They have lost a game scoring 45 points, had a game scoring 0 points and now nearly won a game by scoring 13 points.
Honestly from watching their games they are not far off but there is a lot of work to do. Throughout games they stick with teams and always give themselves a chance of winning, before they go blow themselves up with mistakes. It’s been a regular pattern during the Dan Campbell era and frustration is starting to brew in Detroit.
Up next: vs. Miami, Sunday 6 p.m. BST/GMT
- Houston Texans (1-3-1)
Last Week – 31st
The Texans led three separate times in their loss to the Raiders on Sunday, including a 20-17 lead entering the fourth quarter. They would then be outscored 21-0 in the final quarter. They do have a shining piece in Dameon Pierce though, who’s second in Offensive Rookie of the Year odds and one of the select few that should survive the next phase of a rebuild.
Up next: vs. Tennessee, Sunday 9:05 p.m. BST/GMT