It's Week 7, and offenses are still well ahead of defenses. Most of them anyway. Maybe it's a conditioning thing, but a whole lot of offenses are piling up yards and points late in games. You can't count on leads these days, not in the NFL and not in fantasy. Especially with the level that a lot of quarterbacks are playing at right now. We saw it all day (and night).
Steelers at Titans: Titans would be pretty scary if they played all four quarters the way they play the second halves of games. It was all Steelers early (not, unfortunately, Chase Claypool; crowding is an issue with a lot of good wideouts on this team), but the Titans kept battling back and wound up coming all the way back from way down to attempt a tying field goal in the final seconds. Which missed, after an intentional grounding call that only sometimes gets made pushing them back. Steelers are 6-0 but no rest, they're in Baltimore next week.
Cowboys at Football Team: Who'da thunk Dak Prescott would make money on his next contract by being knocked out for the year? Cowboys have to be ready to hand him a blank check. And maybe fire Mike McCarthy, a hire I never cared for. Never had it tough in Green Bay; now he does. Andy Dalton looked pretty bad even before getting cheapshotted out of the game. CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup both failed to catch a pass, which doesn't seem possible. Kyle Allen a plus for Terry McLaurin, as expected. Big game for Antonio Gibson, also expected. The level of badness out of Dallas with their line in shambles and third-string quarterback....only somewhat expected.
Bills at Jets: Jets came out like a house of fire and played great in this one. And then the first quarter came to an end and New York only stayed in it because Buffalo kept misfiring in the red zone, settling for eight field goal attempts. Misfires included a Gabriel Davis touchdown wiped out by a penalty and a play where Tyler Kroft tripped on the turf monster. But the Jets did Jet things on offense the rest of the game. Bills offense disappointed, but I guess they did well enough, just not if you started anyone. Jets are at Kansas City next week, just in case anyone thought they'd turn things around soon.
Panthers at Saints: Pretty sure I've said some unkind things about Drew Brees earlier this year. He's playing some good ball now, without his top 2 wideouts too. Not facing a great Carolina defense, and it's notably deficient in terms of pass rush. But credit to Brees, and also to Teddy Bridgewater and the Carolina offense for making for a pretty exciting game. I thought Brees might be washed up and Bridgewater was a never will be, but both looked pretty good here. Tough sledding for Mike Davis, Saints are typically pretty good against the run and they shut him down here.
Packers at Texans: Among the bad defenses in the NFL right now, the Texans are definitely in the discussion for the worst. They don't play the run or pass well, they don't get turnovers, they don't stop anyone. And in fairness, they've played a challenging slate of mostly tough opposing veteran quarterbacks: Mahomes, Jackson, Roethlisberger, Cousins, Tannehill and Rodgers in their six losses. Rodgers and Adams played pitch and catch all day, only one other Packers wideout (Malik Taylor) even caught a pass. Jamaal Williams featured, hope you picked him up and started him. Deshaun Watson and a lot of key Texans produced good numbers late, it's what they do.
Browns at Bengals: Wild shootout, the type the Browns and Bengals sometimes played in the past and have now twice this season. Joe Burrow throws for 400 yards and came thisclose to winning the game with a Hail Mary. Baker Mayfield quiets the critics (guilty) by continually leading the Browns downfield for touchdowns even after losing his best wideout Odell Beckham early on (trying to make a tackle after a Mayfield pick, unfortunate). Suspect Burrow has more 400-yard games in his future than Mayfield has 5-TD games, and neither defense is any good against the pass, but still, credit to both guys. Lots of nice numbers and touchdowns all around, with Rashard Higgins the guy to pick up if Beckham's injury serious. Couple TDs for Harrison Bryant too, wish he were on a different team. He won't do that regularly in this offense.
Lions at Falcons: You think you've seen it all, but it's not often that you see a team lose in large part because they scored a late touchdown rather than settling for a field goal. Everyone has probably seen the play: Falcons could have run the clock down and kicked the winning field goal, instead Todd Gurley accidentally scored his second touchdown (Lions players nearby signalled Touchdown jublilantly, that was different), giving the Lions enough time for an incredible downfield drive, capped by a pretty miraculous completion to Kenny Golladay in a swarm of defenders, and a final-play touchdown and 48-yard (after a penalty) extra point. Crazy stuff, the Falcons have lost 3 heartbreakers already this season. Some nice stats by the guys you should have been playing.
Bucs at Raiders: Couple of older future Hall of Famers playing great for the Bucs right now. Tom Brady was on his game with darts and tight-window throws to Scotty Miller and Chris Godwin, while Rob Gronkowski was loping wide open over the middle of the field. Biggest takeaway was the Ronald Jones-Leonard Fournette committee; Jones saved his day with a late touchdown, but clearly a healthy Fournette has a sizable share of this offense. Raiders, Derek Carr made some good throws to his receivers to keep this one interesting, but the Bucs have the better all-around team. Raiders did respectably though; maybe a playoff team.
Jaguars at Chargers: Impressive as Joe Burrow has been, the guy that really jumps off the screen is Justin Herbert. Tough acts for Tua Tagovailoa to follow. It's early, but Herbert has been awfully impressive, making the kind of throws most quarterback can't make, time and again, and running some too. This was a barely there Jaguars defense, but Herbert has been doing it all along. Regretting trading Keenan Allen away in dynasty back last offseason. For Jacksonville, Gardner Minshew is struggling, but I can't see switching to Mike Glennon. It might help with the idea of finishing 1-15 and drafting Trevor Lawrence next year, I guess. Good game for James Robinson and that's about it.
49ers at Patriots: New England's offense, so weak it make the Niners defense looks great. Actually two good games in a row for San Francisco, so maybe. But New England's offense isn't just killing fantasy teams these days; the team itself is really struggling, and there's not an easy answer for what ails it. Heard an announcer say Cam Newton was "benched" at the end -- no, he was taken out of a blowout loss, which is what you do with starting quarterbacks. Not the same thing. Whatever, lots of problems and not much fantasy appeal from the Pats. Jeff Wilson came off injury to be the lead back. JaMycal Hasty would have done nothing at all had Wilson not gotten hurt on his 3rd touchdown run, shocking production against the Patriots defense. Maybe next week for Hasty. Niners back in the mix in the NFC. Patriots have some work to do.
Kansas City at Broncos: Seems a little early for snow football, but here we are. Kind of a nightmare game for a lot of people watching, at least if you had any Broncos, Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce, Because Drew Lock specifically and the Denver offense was so bad that there was no value there, unless you had the Kansas City defense (which scored on a Pick Six and a kick return, limiting what the offense had to do. Hill and Edwards-Helaire scored, next week it will be the LeVeon Bell show against the Jets. Denver's second tight end had a nice game. I'll be wary of investing in Denver's offense much going forward. Sloppy game (including Melvin Gordon messing up a flea-flicker and Phillip Lindsay suffering a concussion). Wonder if John Elway will try to trade for a quarterback before the deadline. Seems like an Elway move.
Seahawks at Cardinals: Superlatives can't handle this game. Game of the Week, the year, the decade? Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray making big play after big play. DK Metcalf chasing down Budda Baker in a 90-yard dash. Tyler Lockett catching dimes all night, Metcalf catching the winning touchdown in overtime (erased by a penalty). Zane Gonzalez getting a second chance to win it with a field goal (which he did). Seattle getting strangely conservative in the final minute, giving the Cardinals the chance to tie (which they did). Those of us on the East Coast staying up too late (because the game was just that good). Larry Fitzgerald showing HoF presence of mind by following around his teammates after receptions to grab the ball and place it for the officials, saving precious seconds. If you didn't watch it, do yourself a favor and watch the inevitable replay.
Monday, Monday: Saw it noted somewhere that while the Rams are 4-2, all four of their wins have come against the NFC East, and they're 0-2 against teams that don't play in the worst division we've ever seen. Worth considering if you're too high on the Rams. I think this will be more of a defensive game than an offensive one, and there will be lots of field goals. Bears 19, Rams 16.