Sunday's slate of NFL games for Week 7 featured a few huge upsets that muddied up the playoff-picture waters a bit, but there were also more than a few predictable scores, not to mention a few surprises on the fantasy football front, as is the case every weekend.
Even with 10 weeks left on the league's schedule, some obvious contenders are emerging from the pack in both conferences.
The Seattle Seahawks are clearly a top contender.
This team knocked off the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday Night Football to get the weekend started, moving to 5-1 on the season. Seattle's well-rounded roster is perfectly suited for a deep playoff run, and nobody will be surprised if the Seahawks end up representing the NFC in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Here's a look at how the rest of the league fared on Sunday, followed by a look at the top fantasy performer from each game.
|Atlanta Falcons||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||31-23|
|Washington Redskins||Chicago Bears||45-41|
|Dallas Cowboys||Philadelphia Eagles||17-3|
|New York Jets||New England Patriots||30-27 (OT)|
|Buffalo Bills||Miami Dolphins||23-21|
|San Diego Chargers||Jacksonville Jaguars||24-6|
|Carolina Panthers||St. Louis Rams||30-15|
|Cincinnati Bengals||Detroit Lions||27-24|
|San Francisco 49ers||Tennessee Titans||31-17|
|Kansas City Chiefs||Houston Texans||17-16|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||Baltimore Ravens||19-16|
|Green Bay Packers||Cleveland Browns||31-13|
Washington Stuns Chicago
This game was an emotional roller coaster for all involved.
After the two teams traded field goals in the first quarter, Matt Forte scored the game's first touchdown on a two-yard scamper to put the Bears up by a touchdown.
Washington responded quickly, however, scoring a touchdown on the next drive—a 13-play masterpiece capped off by Roy Helu Jr., who scored from 14 yards out.
Jay Cutler then threw a pick-six to Brian Orakpo, who helped put Washington up by seven points.
After trading punts, the Bears got the ball back with just over 10 minutes remaining in the first half. Cutler was sacked on the first play of the drive by Chris Baker, who injured the quarterback badly on the play.
As noted by ESPN's John Clayton, Cutler suffered a groin injury. After the game, NFL.com's Michael Silver reported there is concern from sources that his injury "could be bad":
Don't expect Jay Cutler to return for the Bears for the game. he has a groin injury.— John Clayton (@ClaytonESPN) October 20, 2013
Two Bears sources on Cutler injury: It could be bad. @nflnetwork— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) October 20, 2013
Needless to say, this injury changed the game's dynamic.
Chicago could have folded—already down by seven points and without its star quarterback—but the Bears came roaring back with a vengeance in response to the challenge.
Luke McCown came in and played better than anyone could have hoped for, completing 14 of his 20 attempts for 204 yards with one touchdown and zero interceptions. Matt Forte had a monster game, totaling 109 yards with three touchdowns.
Chicago finished the game having scored 41 points, but it wasn't enough.
Which team will be affected more by this game?
Robert Griffin III had his best overall game since returning from injury, totaling 382 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Alfred Morris added 95 yards on the ground, rookie tight end Jordan Reed caught nine passes for 134 yards and a score, and Helu Jr. scored three touchdowns on the ground—including the game-winner with 45 seconds remaining.
The win was huge for Washington, which is still just one game behind Dallas in the loss column in the NFC East. But for Chicago, the game could prove costly. Not only did the Bears drop a game, but Cutler's injury could also be something that affects this team long term.
Top Fantasy Performers
|Buccaneers vs. Falcons||Vincent Jackson||WR||Tampa Bay||25 pts.||10 catches for 138 yards and two touchdowns.|
|Bears vs. Redskins||Matt Forte||RB||Chicago||28 pts.||109 total yards and three touchdowns.|
|Cowboys vs. Eagles||Terrance Williams||WR||Dallas||13 pts.||Six catches for 71 yards and one touchdown.|
|Patriots vs. Jets||Geno Smith||QB||NYJ||20 pts.||265 total yards with two touchdowns.|
|Bills vs. Dolphins||Brandon Gibson||WR||Miami||16 pts.||Five catches for 40 yards and two touchdowns.|
|Chargers vs. Jaguars||Ryan Mathews||RB||San Diego||17 pts.||110 total yards and one touchdown.|
|Rams vs. Panthers||Cam Newton||QB||Carolina||14 pts.||230 total yards and one touchdown.|
|Bengals vs. Lions||Calvin Johnson||WR||Detroit||27 pts.||Nine catches for 155 yards and two touchdowns.|
|49ers vs. Titans||Frank Gore||RB||San Francisco||22 pts.||104 total yards and two touchdowns.|
|Texans vs. Chiefs||Jamaal Charles||RB||Kansas City||15 pts.||123 total yards and one touchdown.|
|Ravens vs. Steelers||Ben Roethlisberger||QB||Pittsburgh||12 pts.||185 total yards and one touchdown.|
|Browns vs. Packers||Aaron Rodgers||QB||Green Bay||23 pts.||260 total yards with three touchdowns.|
Note: Fantasy stats via ESPN.com.
Vincent Jackson's Stock Continues to Soar
The prevailing thought around the league when the Buccaneers dumped Josh Freeman in favor of rookie Mike Glennon was that Vincent Jackson's fantasy stock would tank.
After two games with Glennon behind center, Jackson's fantasy stock couldn't be higher.
Coming back after the team's bye in Week 5, Glennon hooked up with Jackson on nine catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns.
Vincent Jackson will score ___ touchdowns against the Panthers.
Surely, this burst of production was but an aberration, right?
Jackson caught another 10 passes from Glennon this Sunday against Atlanta, racking up 138 yards and two touchdowns.
In his last two games, he's caught 19 passes for 252 yards and four touchdowns.
If he has another big game like this against Carolina next weekend, then it's safe to say Jackson will have emerged as one of the top three fantasy receivers in the NFL this year.
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78.