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NFL Week 7: Ten Things You Need To Know


The second of three, and the first of the back-to-back, International Series games in 2015 has been and gone after Week Seven in the NFL. Who would complain about having four straight games of football to watch on a Sunday, after all? Well, before we turn our attention to doing it all again next week, let us recap Week Seven’s highlights.  

  1. Starting with the 13th International Series game, and it certainly was unlucky for the Buffalo Bills. Starting their game against the Jacksonville Jaguars without their starting quarterback (Tyrod Taylor), wide receivers (Sammy Watkins, Percy Harvin), and suffering from a multitude of other injuries, the Bills spluttered to a 3-0 first quarter lead, only for the offense to give up two turnover touchdowns in SEVEN seconds after the Jaguars scored a touchdown to put them in front. In the 1 minute and 51 seconds from scoring with Julius Thomas to Telvin Smith’s pick-six of E.J Manuel, the Jaguars had scored as many points as they had done in their two previous International Series games combined. They would have scored a point more, had far-from-clinical kicker Jason Myers tacked on the extra point for Smith’s interception score. The Bills defense kept Buffalo in the game for the second half, and they even took the lead off the back of a Blake Bortles pick-six (his third in three straight games) 31-27 with 2:17 remaining. However, Bortles regained his composure to find a diving Allen Hurns in the end zone to secure the Jaguars first win in London.
  1. The oft-injured Arian Foster will once again face a long period on the treatment table after tearing his Achilles in the Texans blowout loss to the Miami Dolphins. After missing the majority of the team’s preseason and first three games due to a groin injury, it is a cruel blow to the Texans’ already slim playoff hopes. After letting Fred Jackson walk to Seattle in free agency, the backfield in Houston once against consists of the underwhelming Alfred Blue and ‘Bang Bang Chicken and Shrimp’ Chris Polk. As for Foster, having battled so many injuries in his NFL career, there may be whispers about his career and legacy coming to an end sooner rather than later.
  1. For the first time in NFL history – six teams are undefeated heading into Week Eight. The only two divisions seemingly up for grabs would be the AFC South and the NFC East, where no team is more than 1.5 games out of first place. It seems that the 2015 NFL season will be remembered for the race for the wildcard playoff positions, and we’re not even half-way through the season yet.
  1. In a familiar tale for New York Jets fans, the New England Patriots found a way to get it done and overcome Gang Green 30-23. The game was a thoroughly even affair, but the crucial plays all came in the fourth quarter. The Jets could not stop Brady on two straight touchdown drives, while Jets receiver Brandon Marshall, as solid as he is, was at fault twice, dropping an easy catch in the end zone that would have put them up 24-23, then failing to get back to the line of scrimmage on the final play of the game, after the Jets had secured an onside kick, leading to a false start on a spike play and a 10-second clock run off.
  1. To set us up nicely for next week’s final International Series game, the Kansas City Chiefs found a way to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 23-13, despite missing wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, who thinned out an already shallow offense by failing to recover from concussion symptoms. Landry Jones also played his part in handing the Chiefs the football game, as he threw two interceptions and lost a fumble in relief of Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Vick. The Steelers will be praying that Roethlisberger is healthy enough to return next week against the Bengals. The Detroit Lions, meanwhile, were turnover-free against the Minnesota Vikings, but still came up short in a 28-19 loss. The Vikings’ fifth-round draft pick Stefon Diggs recorded 108 yards and a touchdown to give him at least five catches and over 80 receiving yards in his first three career games. The Lions will be frustrated that their offense, which jumped to a 17-6 lead, had added just 5 yards by the fourth quarter to the 160 yards they scored in just the first quarter. In an International Series note: Detroit are coming over for the majority of the week, while the Chiefs are doing a short trip as seen by the Jets, Dolphins and Jaguars. In what could be a bad omen for the Lions – the teams staying at their hotel in London are 0-3 over the past two years.
  1. The Indianapolis Colts might be atop the AFC South but have looked far from convincing all season. A week removed from their abysmal fake-punt play shaming, the Colts scored zero and conceded 21 first half points to a New Orleans team that has shown signs of life the past few weeks. By the time Andrew Luck and T.Y Hilton started to give the score line some respectability; the game was already over as a contest. It says a lot about Luck and the Colts’ offense that it looked at it’s best when Matt Hasselbeck was at the helm.
  1. The St. Louis Rams might have found their shred of consistency in running back Todd Gurley. To say that Gurley was the entire Rams offense against the Cleveland Browns would be an understatement, as the rookie rusher had 163 rushing yards from scrimmage, the same number of yards that Rams’ quarterback Nick Foles had through the air. Coincidentally, Gurley also had four receptions. With a 24-6 victory, the Rams might slowly be becoming a contender in the NFC West.
  1. It is interesting to see an Atlanta Falcons team sitting at 6-1 while their quarterback Matt Ryan struggles. Whether it’s Kyle Shanahan’s offensive system, or something more troubling, the Falcons signal-caller has looked off-kilter for the majority of October, as evidenced in only putting up 10 points on a below-average Titans team. Fortunately, the Falcons are being bailed out by their vastly improved defense, which conversely only allowed 7 points from Tennessee, and the Shanahan scheme that allows Devonta Freeman and Julio Jones to get loose. If Ryan can find a way to suit the scheme, this Falcons team will be dangerous.
  1. In another battle in the NFC East, the Giants overcame the Cowboys 27-20 to hand them sole control of first place. Matt Cassel was barely an improvement over Brandon Weeden, throwing three interceptions in a five pass-span (that’s in the dangerous Manuel-zone), but managed to haul the Cowboys back in the game with a late score to Devin Street. The Giants antidote to that was a 100-yard kick return from former Cowboy Dwayne Harris. The Cowboys sorely miss Dez Bryant and Tony Romo, but in a mess of a division, they can still harbour hopes of topping the division.
  1. The Oakland Raiders are the team to watch in the AFC West. They put a licking on division rivals San Diego 37-29, which was not as close as the final numbers suggest. They scored on their first seven possessions, while not punting in the first half for the first time in 2002. After two solid drafts from GM Reggie McKenzie, the foundations are laid well for the future, with the likes of Derek Carr, Amari Cooper, Khalil Mack and Latavius Murray. Standing at 3-3, the Raiders are one of the prime candidates for a wild-card slot in the AFC.

NFL Week 7: Ten Things You Need To Know

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