The playoff picture starts to come into focus by Weeks Seven or Eight, but as the expression goes, on ‘Any Given Sunday’ anything can happen.
There were a few surprises like the Indianapolis Colts handily defeating the Houston Texans. And there were a few unsurprising things like Aaron Rodgers dismantling the Oakland Raiders defense.
So were are four takeaways from NFL Week Seven.
Is Aaron Rodgers Really that Good? Or is the Oakland Defense that bad?
Aaron Rodgers is finally starting to get comfortable with rookie head coach Matt LaFleur and entered the MVP conversation after just one game against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday afternoon. Rodgers threw for 429 yards, 5 touchdowns, and one running touchdown. Only two other quarterbacks have achieved that in NFL history: Bart Starr in 1960 and Mark Rypien during his Super Bowl winning season in 1991.
But could it just be the Oakland Raiders defense is that bad? Every time Rodgers was under center he was carving up the Raiders’ defense with second and third string wide receivers. Particularly, Rodgers made third-year cornerback Gareon Conley look like a deer in the headlights. Conley’s performance was so bad that the Raiders traded him on Monday to the Houston Texans for a third-round pick.
Rodgers is inarguably one of the best in the game but let’s pump the brakes. Chalk it up to a poor Raiders’ defense before going all-in on Rodgers’ performance.
The San Francisco 49ers are good. Not great.
The San Francisco 49ers headed to the nation’s capital in Washington, D.C. on Sunday to take on the abysmal Washington Redskins coming off of firing head coach Jay Gruden after an 0-5 start. Weather conditions made for a miserable rainy game and when star defensive end Joey Bosa made the final sack of the game, he slid belly first on the field as if the turf was a slip-n-slide.
Horrible weather usually makes for low-scoring games and the reason why the final score was 9-0. The 49ers’ defense might be the best in the entire league but the offense isn’t great.
Also, the undefeated 49ers haven’t played any elite team thus far.
Week One – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week Two – Cincinnati Bengals
Week Three – Pittsburgh Steelers
Week Four – Bye
Week Five – Cleveland Browns
Week Six – Los Angeles Rams
Week Seven – Washington Redskins
The only team with a winning schedule is division rival Los Angeles Rams and they do not look like the same team that went to the Super Bowl last year. Far from it.
They take on Christian McCaffrey and the Carolina Panthers next week and in Week Ten they finally take on the Seattle Seahawks. Let’s see how they fair in those two games first.
Lamar Jackson is the new Michael Vick… But Better
Lamar Jackson put the whole Baltimore Ravens team on his shoulders to defeat the Seattle Seahawks 30-16 on Sunday. It was the Heisman Trophy winner’s second consecutive game with 100 rushing yards and he also had another game with over 100 as well. That’s tied with Billy Kilmer, Michael Vick and Russell Wilson for the most rushing yards by a quarterback in a single season since 1950. And he still has nine games left to play.
Jackson has shown that not only can he be a lethal runner, but he also proved to be a legit pocket passer after throwing for five touchdowns in Week One. However, he’s more dangerous in the open field than most running backs. He’s like a Madden cheat code.
The New Orleans Saints are the Best Team in the League
The New Orleans Saints defense is right there with the San Francisco 49ers with the best in the league. The defensive front four is monstrous and aggressive. But it’s Marshon Lattimore who is proving to be the best cornerback in the league. Lattimore has shut down some of the league’s best receivers like Amari Cooper, Mike Evans and DJ Chark in three consecutive weeks.
But on offense? No Drew Brees (injured)? No problem. Backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is 5-0 without him. No Alvin Kamara (injured)? Again, no problem. Latavius Murray had 119 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns on Sunday.
“Next man up” isn’t just a philosophy in New Orleans.
Granted, every week is unpredictable and the regular season is always a rollercoaster.