Top Ten Takeaways From Week 7 in the NFL
Takeaways From the NFL's Week 7 Games
2015 NFL Season
It’s hard to believe that Week 7 is almost over and we’re nearing the midpoint of the 2015 NFL season. This morning, as per usual on Mondays, we’ll take a look at the top ten takeaways from this weekend in pro football.
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1. The Indianapolis Colts have to start playing the first 30 minutes. Andrew Luck's comeback performances have been a hallmark of his professional career from year one, but if this team wants to be taken seriously as a Super Bowl contender, they’ve got to start playing the first 30 minutes of their contests. This Colts team that hung with a very good New England Patriots squad last week should never have been in the position they were yesterday against the New Orleans Saints. I’ll be shocked if everyone on the coaching staff still has a job come Week 8.
2. Devonta Freeman is becoming the cornerstone of the Atlanta Falcons offense. A second-year player, Freeman has had an absolutely incredible 2015 season so far, racking-up 931 yards on 159 touches. That’s an average of 5.9 yards per carry. That’s really, really good, if you’re not a stats person. During yesterday’s game against the Tennessee Titans, Freeman clocked 116 yards for an offense that was otherwise lackluster, proving that he is truly turning into one of this team’s major foundations.
3. Dan Campbell may be just what the Miami Dolphins need. Before the Miami Dolphins’ front office fired Joe Philbin, the team had put-up just 65 points in four games. Enter interim head coach Dan Campbell. Over the past two weeks, the team has clocked 82 points. Just yesterday, they routed the Houston Texans, clocking 21 points and 275 yards in the first quarter alone. They’ve also started properly utilizing Lamar Miller. Time will tell if Campbell is truly the solution the Fins need, but this club has a prime opportunity to prove themselves come Thursday night against the New England Patriots.
4. Todd Gurley is changing the game for the St. Louis Rams. The Rams, who have already beat two division teams this year, are shaking things up in the NFC West. While I still think the Arizona Cardinals will ultimately take the division, Gurley’s impressive performances over the course of the past few weeks could be a game changer. If Gurley continues to clock 150+ yard games (including a 163 yard game yesterday), he could catapult the Rams into legitimate contention in a division that’s weaker than it has been over the past few years.
5. The Oakland Raiders are continuing to trend upwards. I loved the Raiders’ front office’s decision to bring-in Jack del Rio as head coach. He’s proving that he was absolutely the right choice as the team has started to trend upwards for the first time in years. Yesterday, they cleaned house against the struggling San Diego Chargers, putting-up nearly 300 yards in the first half and intercepting Philip Rivers twice in the first four Bolts drives. Fortune may finally be turning in Oakland’s favor.
6. It’s time for some changes in Houston. The Houston Texans, despite finishing with a 9-7 record last year, are starting to look worse than they did during the David Carr days. And those were dark days. With JJ Watt being effectively shut down by teams like the Indianapolis Colts and the Miami Dolphins and Arian Foster being rendered out for the year with an Achilles tear yesterday, it might be time for the team’s front office to start reassessing some things. It’s not quite time to call for Bill O’Brien’s job, but it could happen sooner rather than later.
7. Doug Martin’s contribution is being overlooked. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a mess. There’s no nice way to say it. The team is 2-4 and the most exciting thing that’s happened is that Jameis Winston actually didn’t throw an interception yesterday. This mess has overshadowed Doug Martin's impressive season; he’s rushed for at least 100 yards in each of the past three weeks, including a 136 yard performance against the Washington Redskins yesterday. If the Bucs are to turn things around, Martin is the man they need to rely on right now.
8. Stefon Diggs is the real deal. Diggs, the Minnesota Vikings rookie wideout, has played in three games this season. Each time, he’s notched 85+ yards, including a 100+ yard performance yesterday against the Detroit Lions. At first, it was easy to write Diggs off as a one (or two) hit wonder. But after three top-tier performances, it’s time to start considering him the real deal.
9. Danny Amendola is becoming a serious weapon. The New England Patriots are favorites to win a repeat Super Bowl this year. This is due in large part to the receiving corps that Tom Brady has to throw to. Over the past two weeks, in the wake of Julian Edelman's finger injury, Amendola has emerged as a key weapon, clocking 15 receptions for nearly 200 yards. I look for him to take on more of a role even when Edelman returns full force.
10. There’s a reason Landry Jones is a third-string player. The Pittsburgh Steelers have been absolutely beat-up at quarterback this year. First, Ben Roethlisberger went down. Then, Michael Vick sustained an injury. That left the club with Jones to start yesterday against the Kansas City Chiefs. Jones threw two interceptions and lost a fumble in his first career start. Steelers Nation better be hoping Big Ben is cleared to return soon.