Welcome to another installment of my weekly NFL Column. My goal is to watch everything so that you don’t have to. I will present to you the best games to watch back; the craziest moments; the best individual performances and the season-long stat leaders and records. I will also be previewing the upcoming gameweek, too.
If that sounds like something you’re interested in, check in each week.
Not everybody in the UK has the ability to watch almost 20 hours of live NFL every week, but I’ll make sure you don’t miss anything you’d wish you didn’t. Without further delay…
This is what happened This Week in the NFL.
Game of the Week
If you can only watch one full game in its entirety, watch this one:
New Orleans Saints @ Arizona Cardinals
Have you watched it yet?
Alright let’s go.
This game had a bit of everything. There was offensive scoring, there was defensive scoring, even some sideline arguments! The Saints and Cardinals both entered the week sporting matching 2-4 records, but only one could emerge victorious.
New Orleans Saints 34 – 42 Arizona Cardinals
Interestingly, the team whose head coach and QB were arguing was actually the team who ended up winning, largely off the back of their defense getting three key interceptions, two of which were returned for scores. Andy Dalton’s efforts, as heroic as they were – putting up 361 yards and throwing 4 TD’s – were undermined by the mistakes. Marco Wilson and Isaiah Simmons both took their picks back to the crib, while Antonio Hamilton collected the third interception.
The two pick-sixes both came in the second quarter, on back-to-back possessions, directly before halftime, which completely shifted the game. It was 14-14 going into the two-minute warning, and they entered halftime losing 14-28 after the costly errors.
It wasn’t all the defense, though – although that is what separated the two sides – with Kyler Murray clearly being incredibly appreciative to have DeAndre Hopkins back. The ex-Texan missed the first six weeks with a suspension. In his return he saw 14 targets, catching 10 of them for 103 yards. Murray’s 204 passing yards were accompanied by a nice day for Eno Benjamin, who has done well in James Conner’s absence. He rushed for 92 yards on just 12 carries and scored the game-clinching TD in the fourth quarter.
The Cardinals may have some friction between the two most important people in their organisation, but at the very least they can enter Week 8 off the back of a win. Next week they’re heading to Minnesota, but pre-warning Zona fans… Call of Duty comes out on Friday.
Other games to watch back
Kansas City Chiefs @ San Francisco 49ers
Houston Texans @ Las Vegas Raiders
Upset of the Week
I’ll be honest, guys, this is probably as big an upset as we’re going to get all season. There’s no other way to put it. Wow.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3 – 21 Carolina Panthers
That score alone should make you incredibly surprised, even without context, but I’ll provide it anyway. This victory came a few days after the Panthers traded away the best player on their entire roster, Christian McCaffrey.
For this team, after firing their head coach and trading away their best weapon, to defeat a Super Bowl contender led by Tom Brady is absolutely epic. They dug deep on defense, and held the GOAT and Tampa to just a single consolation field goal, winning 21-3 on the back of – you’ll never believe this – an amazing rushing performance. D’onta Foreman stole the show, in his first opportunity this year to be the lead back. He rushed for 118 yards, while his backup, Chuba Hubbard, collected a very respectable 63 yards and scored a TD.
DJ Moore and Tommy Tremble were responsible for the team’s two receiving TD’s, thrown by former XFL quarterback P.J Walker, who threw 177 yards. TB12 went 32/49 and put up 290 yards, but they just couldn’t get into the end zone. The game was summed up pretty well by a very early play, where he hit Mike Evans wide-open for a guaranteed long TD, before watching his all-pro wideout juggle and drop the ball, fumbling 6 points away. At the time, he had no idea how much he might need some of those, by the end of the game.
With this incredibly surprising loss, Tom Brady falls below .500. He hasn’t had a losing record this late in a season for over 20 years. Insane.
Honourable Mention: Green Bay Packers 21 – 23 Washington Commanders
I really don’t want to keep doing this to you, Packers fans, but my hand is being forced. I guess it makes you feel better if I put you behind the shortcomings of the Bucs, but probably not that much better. It has been a pretty damn rough three weeks for Green Bay. Losing to both New York teams back to back (I know they’re both killing it this year, but the Packers would have expected more) and now dropping the ball in Washington.
The Commanders – especially before they get Chase Young back healthy – are a team who are really struggling, but they put it together this week at home. ‘Scary Terry’ McLaurin was putting on a performance deserving of his nickname. He struck fear (come on, it’s late October) into the Packers, hauling in an incredible touchdown grab to go along with his 73 yards. Fan favourite Taylor Heinicke threw for 201 yards and 2 TD’s, with the other score going to Antonio Gibson, who made a genuinely impressive toe-tapping grab at the back of the end zone.
I feel bad that I’m about to make this even worse, but it’s worth mentioning. Next week, Green Bay are on the road in Buffalo on Sunday Night Football… That could be rough.
Winners and Losers
Arizona Cardinals (3-4)
Las Vegas Raiders (2-4)
Cincinnati Bengals (4-3)
Dallas Cowboys (5-2)
Tennessee Titans (4-2)
Washington Commanders (3-4)
Carolina Panthers (2-5)
New York Giants (6-1)
Baltimore Ravens (4-3)
New York Jets (5-2)
Seattle Seahawks (4-3)
Kansas City Chiefs (5-2)
Miami Dolphins (4-3)
Chicago Bears (3-4)
New Orleans Saints (2-5)
Houston Texans (1-4-1)
Atlanta Falcons (3-4)
Detroit Lions (1-5)
Indianapolis Colts (3-3-1)
Green Bay Packers (3-4)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4)
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-5)
Cleveland Browns (2-5)
Denver Broncos (2-5)
Los Angeles Chargers (4-3)
San Francisco 49ers (3-4)
Pittsburgh Steelers (2-5)
New England Patriots (3-4)
Bye Week Teams
Buffalo Bills (5-1)
Los Angeles Rams (3-3)
Minnesota Vikings (5-1)
Philadelphia Eagles (6-0)
Well, you can’t lose on your bye week. Go Birds.
Philadelphia Eagles (6-0)
Standout Individual Performers
Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
81% completion rate, 481 passing yards and 3 TD’s, 138.2 passer rating.
Wow, what a performance. There was a rough start for this Bengals team. People considered the possibility of the infamous ‘Super Bowl slump’, but they were just getting warmed up. They’re warm now, though. Joe Burrow put up an incredible line of 481 passing yards and 3 TD’s. He connected on a very impressive 34 of 42 attempts (81% completion rate), too. The Atlanta Falcons aren’t exactly contenders, but they’ve been playing pretty competitive football so far this year. Cincinnati showed up and put in a professional performance, led by their incredible young QB. He did, naturally, have some help, though.
Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals
8 receptions on 11 targets for 130 receiving yards and 2 TD’s.
What is a big day for Joe Burrow without a big day for Ja’Marr Chase? The LSU pairing were – understandably – on the exact same page, once again. For the second week in a row, 2021’s offensive rookie of the year put up 130 yards and 2 TD’s, on the Falcons defense. This offense is one of the most entertaining in the league and it just keeps on delivering. They have lapsed just once in the last five weeks, against a very strong Baltimore D. He is one of the fastest-ascending stars in the game. Burrow and Chase is becoming must-watch TV, week in week out.
Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals
8 receptions on 9 targets for 155 receiving yards and a TD.
Yeah, Chase is a superstar. But, I’m trying to give some respect to my namesake, an underrated veteran, Tyler Boyd. He was actually the leading receiver in this one, with 155 yards. He also scored a touchdown in the convincing win. His best play of the day, though, was his incredible one-handed catch, in stride, heading towards the sideline. A great performance for a name who sometimes goes unmentioned when talking about this high-powered offense.
Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders
20 carries for 143 rushing yards and 3 TD’s.
Some people fall flat when they’re on a contract year. Josh Jacobs is doing quite the opposite. The Raiders half back had his fifth-year option decined and he has been performing incredibly so far. In Week 5 he put up 144 yards and 2 TD’s, in Week 6 it was 154 yards and a TD, and Week 7 was his best so far. He carried the ball 20 times for 143 rushing yards, and found the end zone 3 times in the Raiders’ 38-20 win. He is the first RB in franchise history to have over 140 yards and a TD three times in a row. This game in particular was extra special for #28, as he surpassed Hall of Famer Marcus Allen’s record for the most rushing yards in a Raider’s first 50 games (3,720 yards in 49 career games).
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
74% completion rate, 423 passing yards and 3 TD’s with 1 INT, 132.4 passer rating.
The fact that this isn’t the first entry on our standout performances section is a testament to how insane Joe Burrow’s day was. Patrick Mahomes also went nuclear this week. He did throw an interception, but outside of that, he was incredible. Mahomes connected on 74% of his pass attempts, putting up an impressive 423 passing yards, and 3 TD’s, to three different receivers – and not Travis Kelce for once! He has been working hard to build his rapport with some his new weapons, and this week he really hit the jackpot on that front, with both JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling recording over 100 yards.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, Kansas City Chiefs
7 receptions on 8 targets for 124 receiving yards and a TD.
Speak of the devil, I think JuJu deserves some love for this great performance. When Antonio Brown left Pittsburgh, people expected a lot from him and were thus disappointed. However, he is a talented wide receiver. It’s possible that Ben Roethlisberger’s decline had more to do with his shortcomings than originally thought, as JuJu is starting to look really comfortable in Kansas City. Mahomes is finding him often, as they connected on 7 of 8 targets, including a nice touchdown pass. JuJu’s 124 receiving yards was the fifth-most he’s ever had, and only the second time he’s had 110 yards or more since 2018! Guess, when the previous time was… Last week.
Kenneth Walker III, Seattle Seahawks
23 carries for 168 rushing yards and 2 TD’s.
This is what I call a breakout campaign. When the season began, the Seattle Seahawks seemed destined for a bad year and a good draft pick. The one benefit would be that they’d probably get to see how their young players would develop. Well, they’re currently 4-3 and their youngest star is shining the brightest. Kenneth Walker III is exactly that, a star. He’s been ramping up on limited opportunities and then this week he got a real workload. In Week 7 he carried the ball 23 times and turned those opportunities into a whopping 168 rushing yards and 2 TD’s. Keep an eye on this rookie, he is seriously talented.
Daniel Jones, New York Giants
63% completion rate, 202 passing yards and a TD, plus 101 rushing yards and a rushing TD.
Yes, maybe we laugh at Daniel Jones when he falls over without anybody touching him – and no, he isn’t one of the elite QB’s in the NFL. But, his team is winning football games. A lot of football games, in fact. Jones clearly plays a major role in that. This week he only passed for 202 yards and threw just one touchdown. However, he contributed massively in the running game, carrying the ball 11 times for 107 yards – just three less than his superstar teammate, Saquon Barkley.
Travis Etienne, Jacksonville Jaguars
14 carries for 114 rushing yards and a TD.
The Jacksonville Jaguars traded away James Robinson this week. There’s a reason for that. After being injured in his rookie year, Travis Etienne is back. Trevor Lawrence’s college teammate is now back where he belongs, by his side in the league. Etienne has shown his skills and now he’s going to have a chance to be the unquestioned RB1 of this team. In Week 7, he was handed the ball a career-high 14 times and turned them into 114 yards rushing and scored his first rushing TD of his young career. This week was his second week in a row with 8+ yards per carry. I am excited to see him with a growing workload, because he is talented.
Matt Judon, New England Patriots
4 combined tackles, 2.5 sacks including a forced fumble.
Prime time games have been remarkably defensive lately, and despite the fact that the Patriots gave up 33 points against the Chicago Bears, edge rusher Matt Judon still had himself a day. He made 3 solo tackles and one assist, and managed 2.5 sacks. When 3 out of your 4 combined tackles are sack contributions, that’s a pretty great night.
Andrew Adams, Tennessee Titans
10 combined tackles and a 76-yard pick-six.
We had some long interception returns this week, but the king of those is Andrew Adams of the Tennessee Titans. The 29-year-old safety was making just his third appearance of the season and he made a huge impact. He had 6 solo tackles, 4 assists and made one of the plays of the game with a 76-yard pick-six. In a low-scoring game, this was a big moment for a veteran trying to prove he still deserves reliable minutes.
Stat Leaders Through Week 7
Passing Yards – Patrick Mahomes KC, 2159
Passing TD’s – Patrick Mahomes KC, 20
Rushing Yards – Nick Chubb CLE, 740
Rushing TD’s – Nick Chubb CLE, 8
Receiving Yards – Tyreek Hill MIA, 773
Receiving TD’s – Travis Kelce KC, 7
Total TD’s – Nick Chubb CLE and Austin Ekeler LAC, 8
Tackles (combined) – Roquan Smith CHI, 78
Sacks – Matt Judon NEP, 8.5
Interceptions – Jordan Poyer BUF and Tariq Woolen SEA, 4
Week 8 Preview – What to watch
Don’t forget – this is the week where all of the games are an hour earlier! Thursday Night Football isn’t effected, however, on Sunday we have games at 1:30pm, 5pm, 8pm and then 12:20am. Monday Night Football will kick off at 12:15am.
Teams on Bye
Kansas City Chiefs
Los Angeles Chargers
Week 8 Best Games
Baltimore Ravens @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers, TNF
San Francisco 49ers @ Los Angeles Rams, 8:25PM
Green Bay Packers @ Buffalo Bills, SNF
New York Giants @ Seattle Seahawks, 8:25PM
Tyler’s Bold Week 8 Prediction
The Pittsburgh Steelers shock the undefeated Eagles on their own home field.
Week 8 Storylines
Will Tom Brady rally his team and bounce back on prime time? Ravens @ Buccaneers, TNF
The final London game of 2022. Broncos @ Jaguars, 1:30pm Sunday
Will Sam Ehlinger’s first ever start give Indy a new lease on life? Commanders @ Colts, 8:25PM
Two of the most unpredictable teams in the league facing off, sounds fun! Panthers @ Falcons, 5pm
Can Las Vegas start to build some momentum? Raiders @ Saints, 5pm
Who’d have thought a few years ago we’d be here…? The 5-2 Jets taking on the 3-4 Patriots. Jets @ Patriotis, 5pm
Can Pittsburgh throw a spanner in the works for the team on top of the league? Steelers @ Eagles, 5pm
Two NFC West teams need to start turning their season around if they want a good seed in a wild conference. 49ers @ Rams, 8:25PM
Probably the biggest overperforming teams taking each other on, Giants @ Seahawks, 8:25PM
Can Aaron Rodgers’ competitiveness elevate a stagnant Green Bay team against the best in the league? Packers @ Bills, SNF
The orange AFC North rivalry. Bengals @ Browns, MNF