Week 7, NFL Roundtable.
1. Atlanta is off to their best start in franchise History. How far will their win streak run?
ARCHIE: I think they win on the road this week in Philadelphia. I think they win their next home game against Dallas. I think their first loss comes November 11 in New Orleans.
EJ: The Falcons are 6-0 but their win streak comes to an end in Philadelphia this Sunday. The Eagles, who are 3-3 and also coming of their bye week, are a much better team than their record indicates. The Eagles, who have their fair share of doubters, should come out strong against the Falcons on Sunday. The Eagles have a lot to prove to their fans at the Linc and beating down the Falcons will be a good start.
DAN: I think that it will run a couple more weeks at least. I can see the Falcons getting their first loss in New Orleans in Week 10. They have a really good team and despite their close victory over Oakland in Week 6, I think they’ll still be able to win a couple more games.
MENUA: It ends this coming week in Philadelphia. While the Eagles have been up and down this season, I say they soar higher than the Dirty Birds this Sunday
STEPHAN: Looking at the schedule, the Falcons are in a VERY GOOD position to get the #1 seed in the NFC. I think they will end up 14-2. That said, the win streak will come to an end this upcoming Sunday at Philadelphia.
2. Did Houston place their Stamp of Dominance on the AFC with their win against the Ravens on Sunday?
ARCHIE: In a sense yes they did. IMO they beat the only other dominant team in the AFC on Sunday. I say these two were dominant but I guess the best descriptor was consistent. Until the Green Bay beat down, Houston was playing the most consistent on both sides of the ball. Sunday showed they were the team to beat in the AFC.
EJ: I did not see the Texans beating the Ravens by a 42 to 13 margin. Thought the Texans could beat the Ravens but I didn’t think the final score would reflect such dominance. However, as good as the Texans have looked so far the AFC (and the NFL in general) does not have that one clear cut dominant team. Chalk that up to the parody of the League, and the any given Sunday (or Thursday, or Monday) mantra that is the NFL.
DAN: I think they did, but I also wasn’t expecting the Ravens to win with all their injuries they have suffered to their defense. When your big playmakers go down injured and the leader of the defense in Ray Lewis is out for the remainder of the season, you’re going to be in trouble.
MENUA: That was definitely a convincing beat down. I am buying the Texans to win their division and conference. Baltimore’s D has been struggling this season and it was their first game this season without Ray, which I think lowers them down a bit.
STEPHAN: Not so fast. While I do think that Houston is the best team in the AFC, there are some circumstances that you have to look at. First, they were playing at home. Second, they are just coming off a loss to the Packers. Third, they were playing a “very injured” Ravens team. To say the term “Stamp of Dominance” is a little premature while you have guys like Tom Brady still in the league. They are the team to beat right now, that is fact, but they are not as dominant as they appear to be
3. After the second week it was said that Cleveland has the worst team in the league. Do you still agree with that assessment?
ARCHIE: The Browns have been losing but by slim margins. The Dolphins were also said to be one of those candidates for the worst team early but they find themselves playing fairly decent ball. However, on the side of the spectrum the Chiefs have been stinking up the field on both sides of the ball. Their last game they only gained 260 yards while they gave up 463. Wow!
EJ: Yeah, I agree with that assessment. The Browns have a way of hanging in games but they’re statistically horrible. Brandon Weeden has more interceptions than touchdowns and Trent Richardson has shown only mere flashes of being a top running back. The Browns have no playmakers at wide receiver, a suspect offensive line and a defense that is near the bottom of defensive rankings. The new ownership and new general manager are going to have their hands full in trying to build back up the Browns.
DAN: I can see them as one of the worst teams in the league, but I don’t think they are the worst. I would actually say that the Jacksonville Jaguars are worst. As an example, look at their game against the Raiders. It was an utter collapse. Another reason why I think the Jaguars are the worst team is the scoring differential. -76 for the Jaguars and -33 for the Browns and adding to that, the Jaguars have only scored 88 points all season, the only team yet to reach the triple-digit point plateau.
MENUA: Maybe not the worst, but they are down there with the likes of Jacksonville and KC.
STEPHAN: I never thought the Browns were the worst team in the league. Consider this: The Browns have been in pretty much every game so far. They are 1-6, but have only been outscored 33 points in these seven games. While the record may not show it, the Browns can play with any team in the NFL. I think Jacksonville, Kansas City, and maybe even Carolina would be below the Browns at this point.
4. Most impressive performance of week 7:
ARCHIE: I don’t like the guy because of his hold out last year, but, I have to give kudos to Chris Johnson for his 195 yard performance against Buffalo.
EJ: Going with a homer pick in Mark Sanchez. There are no moral victories in the NFL, and it goes against my personal code in celebrating an E for effort but Sanchez definitely played beyond expectations in his going 28-41 with 328 yards passing. Mark’s interception and game sealing fumble may not have helped his quarterback rating but his play almost brought the Jets a win in a game that fans, like myself, thought would be a crushing loss.
DAN: Team wise, I have to say the Texans. Despite the injuries for Baltimore, Houston was still able to just demolish them and was able to shut down the Ravens offense too, which isn’t decimated by injuries. Player wise, I have to give it to Chris Johnson who finally returned to his normal self carrying the ball 18 times for 195 yards and two touchdowns including an 83-yard score.
MENUA: I am going to say Mark Sanchez. I do not like him as a QB but he outperformed Brady on Sunday, Unfortunate for him and the Jets that the fumble in OT cost them.
STEPHAN: This is close. Clay Matthews caused all sorts of problems for Sam Bradford and the Rams, so I want to say him. However, I think that Tom Brady’s performance in the final seconds of the fourth quarter, and overtime takes the cake on this one. A late Jets score to give them their first lead of the game, Brady marches down field in little time to help New England tie the game at 26. Then in the overtime period, he does the same thing to give the Patriots the lead, and ultimately the game.
5. Is Wes Welker a future Hall of Famer?
ARCHIE: I did not expect anyone to answer with a straight yes on this question. I did expect that those that did answer yes would place some caveat on their answer. Like many, I realize that his overall career numbers are not there yet and that he needs more time. I also realize he is 30 and that he probably does not have many years left. But, his accomplishments, after coming to NE, are worth of Hall consideration; which in a sense, is what guys like us are doing, broaching the subject.
EJ: No. Just by taking in his stats (according to pro-football reference.com) Welker is 89th in all time receiving yards, 38th in all time receptions, 46th in yards per game, and to date he has 32 career touchdowns; not nearly good enough for him to make the Hall of Fame. Wes Welker has put together a solid career, and has made the slot receiver trendy for sure handed small guys like himself, but he hasn’t done enough to ensure enshrinement in Canton when his career comes to an end in a few seasons.
DAN: Honestly, I don’t think so. I just don’t compare him to any of the all-time greats that have played the wide receiver position. I think if he continues his career at a really good pace, he can get there. But he needs a couple more amazing seasons to be put into the running, in my opinion.
MENUA: I do not think so. Tom Brady makes him look like a stud. Is he a reliable receiver? Definitely. Hall of Famer? I am not too sure about that.
STEPHAN: I don’t think so. In his career he has gone over 1000 yards receiving four times, and his career season high in Touchdowns is 9. I think he is past his prime of his career, and has too much left to do to be called a Hall of Fame caliber receiver. He would go on the list as having an above-average career.
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