NFL Week Seven

NFL Week Seven: Good, bad & ugly

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Water will always find its level. The same holds true for contenders and pretenders in the NFL. Here are my observations from Week Seven:

The Good

-When the Ravens faced off against the Seahawks in Seattle, we were treated to two of the most dynamic playmakers at the quarterback position in the league with Lamar Jackson facing off against Russell Wilson. While neither guy completed more than 50% of their passes, it was exciting to see them work. They are amazing to watch scramble around and make plays. Wilson is the better passer, while Jackson is the better runner. The Ravens won 30-16 thanks to their two turnover returns for touchdowns. Would love to see this matchup in a Super Bowl one day.

-The Patriots keep on rolling. They mashed the Jets 33-0 on Monday Night Football. While Tom Brady will get most of the credit, Bill Belichek and that defense deserves their fair share. They held the Jets to 154 total yards and even that is about 107 yards less than their season average. Brady is averaging almost 300 passing yards a game this year at age 42 and is showing no signs of slowing down.

-The San Francisco 49ers are 6-0 for the first time since 1990. They gained their sixth victory by way of an ugly 9-0 win over the Skins in what seemed to be played in the middle of a monsoon. To put that into perspective: the average rent was $465/month, gas was $1.34/gallon, a home was $123,000, and I was in 4th grade. Watch out for this team. They're legit on both sides of the ball.

The Bad

-Seahawks rookie receiver DK Metcalf committed a virtual non-contact fumble in crunch time. Down by 10 with about four minutes left, he caught a bubble screen, tried to make a move, and dropped the ball after minimal to no contact. The Ravens' corner Marlon Humphrey eventually picked it up and scored to put the game out of reach. Metcalf will be going through ball carrying drills this week.

-In a battle of the top two quarterbacks taken in the past draft, the Cardinals' Kyler Murray and Daniel Jones both committed boneheaded mistakes. Jones tried to lead block for Saquon Barkley and was laid out by Haason Reddick. Later on, Murray was scrambling while in field goal range and up 24-21 with just over two minutes left. Instead of sliding to take more time off the clock, he ran out of bounds. It didn't cost them the game, but it was a dumbass play nonetheless.

-Dolphins rookie defensive tackle Christian Wilkins was ejected a couple weeks ago for suplexing Chargers' running back Austin Ekeler and said he "didn't know" he couldn't do that. This week, he was ejected for throwing a punch on the second play of the game

The Ugly

-Falcons running back Devonta Freeman got himself ejected in the 3rd quarter of their loss to the Rams for trying to fight Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald of all people! Donald, at one point, lifted Freeman off the ground as if he were a small child. It's bad enough the Falcons have fallen off a cliff since blowing the biggest lead in Super Bowl history. It was compounded when Freeman's backup Ito Smith left the game with a concussion.

-Dolphins safety Bobby McCain had an ugly encounter with Bills fans after their 31-21 loss. McCain got into a verbal sparring match with a 13 year old and allegedly spit in the face of another fan. While fans have every right to express themselves, they shouldn't overstep any boundaries. At the same time, players need to act accordingly, especially knowing fans affinity for trolling them into something.

-Several key players sustained injuries this past week. Vikings' receiver Adam Thielen went down with a hamstring injury in the 1st quarter. Lions' running back Kerryon Johnson (knee) and corner Darius Slay (hamstring) both went down. The Falcons also lost quarterback Matt Ryan with an ankle injury in the 4th quarter. Keep an eye on the injury report later this week, especially if any of these guys are on your fantasy football teams.

There's only two undefeated teams left now. One isn't a surprise at all (Patriots), the other is a complete surprise (49ers). I doubt either one stays undefeated due to the law of averages. New England will slip at some point to someone, and the 49ers will have a game in which their inexperience will catch up to them. Besides, there are too many good teams out there that can give either one of them a loss. There are nine other teams with either one or two losses that can be considered serious contenders right now. To say there are 11 teams in the league that have zero, one, or two lossess at this point in the season and all of them are a threat feeds into the parity narrative. Here's to the ride the rest of the way and hoping it has as much parity as the first seven weeks have had.

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This week the NASCAR cup series heads to the world center of racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, for the inaugural fourth of July version of the Brickyard 400. This is unprecedented for NASCAR considering over the course of 50 years they are usually in Daytona around this time. While this move was met with a lot of criticism from fans, there is a positive to come from this move though, as the sport will hold their first doubleheader with Indycar. This has been talked about for many years and now it has finally come to fruition. Another new facet of this weekend will be the Xfinity Series running on the road course configuration. This could very well lead to the cup series transitioning from the oval to the road course next season should everything go well when the Xfinity series does it. It will definitely be an interesting weekend.

Last week, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin dominated the first-ever doubleheader at Pocono. The two drivers finished first and second in both races with Harvick taking race one and Hamlin winning race two. Both of these races came down to pit-road strategy as Harvick was able to eke out a victory by taking two tires and fuel while his teammate Aric Almirola took four. The next day Denny Hamlin pretty much had the whole field covered as he went on to claim his fourth victory of the season. Overall, the idea of two races in a weekend went over well but for the racing itself, it was hard to watch. One of the main issues I had was how the drivers didn't have to shift this week. In my opinion, that was what made this track so unique. It was an oval that had road course characteristics and it usually produced some pretty good finishes. Hopefully this will be addressed when the new car makes its debut in 2022.

One of the big stories going into this week is the announcement a couple of weeks ago that NASCAR will be moving their all-star event to Bristol Motor Speedway. Over the past couple of weeks, there has been a whirlwind of news from the Bubba Wallace story at Talladega, to the doubleheader races last week. A lot of this has put this announcement on the back burner but this is a huge story. The race will be held on Wednesday, July 15th as NASCAR continues with midweek races. This is the first time since 1986 that the race will not be run at NASCAR's home track in Charlotte back when it took place at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The format will be pretty much the same as all the winners from 2019 and 2020 will all have an automatic birth into the race while the rest of the field will run in the open event the day before. The main event will feature four stages including a 15 lap closer around one of NASCAR's most popular race tracks. I think this move was long overdue and I hope that they continue with it in the future. Don't get me wrong, there isn't anything wrong with the race at Charlotte but I think a change of pace would be welcomed. I look forward to seeing how this turns out.

As we move on to Indy this weekend, the driver I have winning is Kurt Busch. This weekend will be the 2004 Cup Series champion's 700th career start, and he's won just about every race that there is to be won except this one here at the Brickyard. This week, that is going to change. It hasn't been the most consistent season for the Vegas native, but he still sits tenth in points and right in the thick of the playoff battle. This track isn't his best as he currently has a 19.42 average finish, including a dismal 30th place finish last year. But this week, I think he gets back on track with a victory as he starts second. The veteran has flown under the radar this year, but he has definitely shown spurts where we think he is going to break-out. He also has runs where it seems like him and his team are mid-pack, but there aren't many drivers out there that have the experience he has. And a talented driver like him always finds a way to bounce back. Look for Kurt Busch to take the #1 Monster Energy Camaro to victory lane.

All stats and information used in this article are brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Reference.com, the best websites for all NASCAR stats.

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