NFL Week 7: 5 Biggest Blowouts on the Docket
Any given Sunday, any given blowout.
This NFL season has been as unpredictable as any football season that has come before it. Just when one thinks the San Francisco 49ers, Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons are the top three teams in the league, they all go out, and respectively, stink up the field.
Now, we have the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers back in the mix—although one could argue they were never out anyway—and we are only six weeks in.
Week 7 should be no different despite having six teams on bye, including blowout candidates like the Atlanta Falcons and Kansas City Chiefs, albeit for different purposes, obviously, as one is still undefeated and the other very much defeated.
This week will showcase several top teams that had very disappointing showings last week and may point them toward a blowout this week.
Here are the top five candidates.
Green Bay at St. Louis
It's safe to say Aaron Rodgers is back.
After a slow start to the season—for him—he exploded by torching one of the best defenses in the Houston Texans for six touchdowns, perfect strike after perfect strike to James Jones, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb.
Even without a healthy Jermichael Finley and Greg Jennings, when Rodgers is on, there is no better offense in the NFL. Keep in mind that he does this without a significant run game, especially now without Cedric Benson out.
The Rams, on the other hand, are actually playing very well this season, despite being extremely young and going 2-14 a year before.
However, when the kicker is your most noteworthy offensive weapon, there are issues abound. Since the loss of wide receiver Danny Amendola, San Bradford has had to throw to a group revolving around Brandon Gibson, Chris Givens and Brian Quick. It isn't pretty.
However, on the defensive side of the ball, the Rams are much more improved with the cornerback play of Janoris Jenkins and Cortland Finnegan, holding the 10th-best ranked passing defense, according to ESPN.
Their defense has won them games by holding the opposition under 20 points games, but keep in mind, those game were against the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals. That's much different from the vaunted Green Bay offense.
After last week's performance, it's hard to see Aaron Rodgers slowing down at all, as it appears he is ready to go on a roll like last year's.
The Rams just don't have enough offense to keep up throughout a 48 minute game.
Arizona at Minnesota
Be it Kevin Kolb or John Skelton at the helm of the Cardinal offense, there is much more that needs fixing.
The offensive line is a complete mess, and with no offensive weapon other than Larry Fitzgerald, whichever quarterback is behind the line will be seeing Jared Allen in their nightmares after the game.
Even though the Cardinals defense is extremely good on all three levels, Christian Ponder has played relatively turnover-free ball, and that may be all it takes to put the Cardinals in a deep hole to start the game.
Allowing the fourth-least points a game at 16.2, they'll have a good chance of keeping this close in the beginning.
But with the Viking defensive line wreaking havoc—ranking 10th in the league in sacks—they'll have plenty of opportunities to take the ball away from Kolb/Skelton. Tenth in sacks isn't so bad? Well, how about Kolb holding the highest total of sacks taken this year at 27.
This is not a good recipe for success.
And in the dome where the Vikings fans can get loud, Ponder, Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin should have no trouble putting enough points on the board to make this a blowout.
NY Jets at New England
Remember what the San Francisco 49ers did to two inferior opponents after losing in a stunner to the Minnesota Vikings? It was 76-3 aggregate score against the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills.
The New England Patriots will host the said New York Jets this weekend, and this one could get ugly.
Even though they are both 3-3, that is extremely misleading.
Tom Brady and company will have no such issues tearing apart a Jets defense that has trouble containing the run, rushing the passer and now defending the pass with Darrelle Revis gone.
The Patriots average a league-high 31.3 points per game, according to NFL.com and have added a new dimension this year: a running game.
With Stevan Ridley and Brandon Bolden in the fold, they've had the power-rushing attack they've been missing with the likes of Kevin Faulk and Danny Woodhead the past couple of years.
Let's not forget the dynamic two-tight end sets they have with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez and the continued superb play of slot receiver Wes Welker.
While the New England Patriot defense hasn't been elite, the additions of Chandler Jones and Dont'a Hightower really help solidify their pass rush and run defense.
It also isn't much to ask for them to slow down a team with no real offensive weapons, unless you count Tim Tebow running fake punts a weapon.
Look for a vintage Tom Brady blowout in Foxborough this weekend.
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati
Same story as the New England Patriots.
A team that prides itself on being consistently good week to week lost last Thursday to a very bad Tennessee Titan team that had 68-year-old quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. OK, not really but you get the point.
The reason the Steelers have been great for the past decade en route to two Super Bowl wins has been the excellent run game and suffocating defense.
However, with Rashard Mendenhall and Troy Polamalu nursing injuries, they have been unable to run the ball or stop offenses the way they used to.
Their defense is also aging as James Harrison isn't able to chase down running backs and receivers the way he used to.
However, the Cincinnati Bengals aren't doing much better this year. Despite playing a weak portion of their schedule, they have lost two consecutive games to teams manned by rookie quarterbacks Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden.
While the play of Andy Dalton and A.J. Green (especially) has been really good, it is their defense that is having real issues, ranking fifth in points allowed, according to NFL.com.
With Ben Roethlisberger throwing a ton of passes in a no-huddle offense this year, he won't have any trouble tossing long bombs to Mike Wallace or Antonio Brown. If Weeden can do it, why can't a two-time Super Bowl champion as well?
The Steeler defense also will be able to capitalize on the horrid run game of the Bengals. Ranking 21st in rushing yards and lacking any explosiveness in that category with BenJarvus Green-Ellis running the ball, the Steelers will be able to key onto Green and the passing game.
Detroit at Chicago
Coming off their first playoff appearance since 1999, Matthew Stafford was considered one of the better quarterbacks in the league and on the rise.
Calvin Johnson was on the Madden cover and the best receiver in the league.
Their defensive line was also considered one of the most fearsome in all of football.
Six weeks later and the Detroit Lions can't seem to do anything right.
After barely escaping with a win at St. Louis, the Lions lost three consecutive games to San Francisco (understandable), Tennessee, Minnesota and barely winning at Philadelphia.
Not a terrible 2-3 record but Stafford has been bad all year.
The fact that he hasn't thrown a single touchdown to Megatron all year is not only worrisome but rather troubling, considering the teams they have played.
His accuracy has been poor, and he hasn't been able to spread the ball around to Brandon Pettigrew, Titus Young and Nate Burleson.
Take out the shootout game against the poor Titan defense, and Stafford has only completed 58.5 percent of his passes this year.
This doesn't even take into account the defense they will be playing this weekend is the best in the National Football League—the Chicago Bears.
Not only have the Bears allowed the least points per game at 14.2 but they've gotten 18 sacks, 13 interceptions and four recovered fumbles in just five games.
This could be a very long game for a team that is still searching for its identity after what was such a promising season last year.