Dallas (6-1)- How ‘bout them Cowboys?! They stuck to what has been making them so good this year and that is running the ball. They dominated time of possession by holding the ball for over seven minutes more than the Giants. They had 423 yards of total offense, Dez Bryant had 151 receiving yards, and DeMarco Murray ran for another impressive 128 yards. Tony Romo is playing as mistake free as he can and his completion percentage is a whopping, and NFL leading, 69.2. The number that Eli Manning set out to do this season. Murray needs to stay healthy for Dallas to sustain their success. He tweaked his ankle during the game and with his history of missing games, 11 in his previous 3 seasons, the Cowboys need to give Lance Dunbar and Joseph Randle the ball more. The main negative against Dallas right now is their lack of pressure on the quarterback. Through seven games, they are tied for 30th in the league with 6 sacks. This team badly misses DeMarcus Ware but the Demarcus that they drafted, Demarcus Lawrence, is just about ready to step onto the field. Hopefully he can make enough of an impact to help this team and the rest of that defense.
Denver (5-1)- Congratulations Peyton. That passing touchdown record is a hell of an achievement and that number is only going to increase. The Broncos dominated both sides of the ball against a pretty good 49ers team. They got off to a hot start and coasted all the way to a victory. DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller are wreaking havoc off the edge and that secondary is so much more improved this season without Champ Bailey. They have 21 sacks (tied for third in the league) and have only allowed Peyton to be sacked 8 times. That sounds like a championship recipe to me. Denver’s next matchup is against the Chargers in Mile High Stadium. The Chargers are coming off a loss to Kansas City, who was probably extremely excited for their beloved Royals finally making a World Series. Philip Rivers poses a good challenge against the Broncos D. Antonio Gates is a mismatch as always and Branden Oliver is that little scatback that gives teams issues with his speed and agility. Side note, Philip Rivers is number 2 in QBR this year; Peyton Manning is number 1. This should be a fantastic game to watch.
Green Bay (5-2)- RELAX Packers fans, you’re finally in my top 3. As of right now, I don’t think that any team is hotter than the Packers and I don’t believe any quarterback is playing better than Aaron Rodgers. Here’s a little stat for you guys. Aaron Rodgers’ career touchdown to interception ratio is 3.89, the highest in the history of the National Football League with a minimum of 1500 passing attempts. The next closest is Tom Brady at 2.74. In addition to that, this year Rodgers has 18 touchdowns and 1 interception. That is damn impressive and they are doing that without Eddie Lacy finding his legs or the endzone. The Packers have been on fire but if they manage to get Lacy going a little bit more then that offense could be unstoppable. They have a tough matchupnight as they have to go to New Orleans and face a very desperate Saints team that has their backs up against the wall. The Saints are staring down the barrel of a 2-5 start and will be fighting and clawing their way to make sure they don’t lose.
Jacksonville (1-6)- FINALLY!!! This team got a win and will not go defeated. Blake Bortles played pretty terribly and wound up having a QBR of 9, the lowest for a winning quarterback since Andy Dalton had a 4 last year. This win was clearly a team win. The defense played big. The Browns had not scored less than 21 points all season and Jacksonville held them to 6. They stopped a running attack that averaged 133 yards a game and held them to a measly 69 yards. The Jags forced three turnovers, managed only 3 penalties, and Denard Robinson played like a man possessed. Robinson totaled 127 yards on the ground for a team that averaged 86. Although even in victory there was a huge loss. Paul Posluszny, the heart and soul of that defense was lost for the season to a torn pectoral muscle. The young Jaguars will be looking for their next man up to fill the large shoes that Posluszny left. It will definitely be a good time for General Manager David Caldwell to evaluate the young players on the team and how they handle being on a last place team. There is another winnable game against the Dolphins this week, who is riding high after beating down the Chicago Bears last week.
Oakland (0-6)- The Raiders are now the last defeated team in the league. This team is ranked 26th in passing yards, 32nd in rushing yards, and 29th in rushing yards allowed. They have to find a way to get some aspect of their team going. Despite spending quite a bit of free agent money on aging defensive players like Charles Woodson, Justin Tuck, and LaMarr Woodley, maybe it is time for them to step up and do what they can do. Oakland has been the black hole of football for the last decade and has been the epitome of terrible. Players come to this place to collect a paycheck and hope they don’t get hurt (a la Randy Moss). The Raiders cannot allow this to continue. Luckily, their most recent draft class has looked excellent. Kahlil Mack has looked like the real deal, especially against the run. The sacks will come for him but he just needs to be patient and hope that the rest of the defense comes together. Derek Carr has been an impressive rookie quarterback and Gabe Jackson has mauled defenders (check out the GIF). Next up for the Raiders are the Browns, who could still be in dismay and disbelief after getting shocked by the Jaguars. If Oakland can bottle up Ben Tate and the other running backs then they can force Brian Hoyer and the offense to be one-dimensional and they may be able to squeak out a victory.
Tampa Bay (1-5)- Maybe the Bucs should call it a season and start preparing for next season. How do they do this you might ask? Trade away your top expensive talent in Vincent Jackson. There have been rumors through the grapevine that they may already be fielding calls for the wide receiver. Jackson has a cap hit of over $12,000,000 this season and is owed just over $18,000,000 for the next two years, so now it the time to deal him. Especially to a team like the Patriots who desperately need a receiver of his caliber and can make a true difference. A potential second round draft pick may be enough to sway Tampa Bay of one of their top talents considering they drafted young Mike Evans and Austin Seferian- Jenkins. The team needs to stockpile picks for next years draft so they can upgrade as many positions as they can. The division is not out of the question with Carolina leading the pack at 3-3 so Lovie Smith and General Manager Jason Licht may think it is too soon to call it quits. But back to the game, the Buccaneers had their bye week last week so the extra week of preparation should be enough to give them a fighting chance against Minnesota. Mike Glennon has to prove that he can be the starting quarterback of the future for this young team because this team might end up with a top 3 pick in next years draft and may be looking for a new quarterback to lean on.