It’s been a pretty mediocre NFL season (and that’s being generous), but there’s always storylines to watch and matchups to see on a weekly basis no matter what. Here’s what I’m looking forward to for Week 7.
Packers @ home on Thursday Night Football
Thursday Night Football is a mockery to the league, and it seriously needs to be canceled as soon as possible for the betterment of the league. But, since it’s not, I’m more than happy to watch (and write about it).
The Packers are absolutely struggling this season. They’re 3-3 after losing to the Cowboys at home Sunday, and now find themselves with their backs against the wall; the Vikings are 5-0 and can run away with the division quickly, and the Lions are 3-3 and playing well. More worrisome for the Pack is the play of Aaron Rodgers — there was a time he was by far the best quarterback in the league in my opinion, and I can no longer say that with confidence. Dating back to last year, he’s struggling to put up numbers like he once did. With Eddie Lacy now on the IR, I’m looking forward to see how Rodgers and the Pack respond to some serious adversity on Thursday Night Football.
A London Game!
London games are another thing the NFL should consider dumping; players are forced to play on serious travel conditions, and it usually has a multi-week effect on teams and players. For us fans, though, it’s just another game. I personally enjoy it because NFL Sunday starts that much earlier (9:30 a.m.).
The Giants face the Rams, and I’m looking forward to see how the Giants respond to more distraction (Josh Brown not traveling due to recent information regarding his past with domestic violence). The Giants offense, and Odell Beckham particularly, finally broke out against the Ravens last Sunday, so I’m looking forward to see if that trend continues moving forward, or to see if it was just a product of facing a banged up secondary.
Sam Bradford Returns to Philly
The 5-0 Vikings come off a bye to travel to Philadelphia, where Sam Bradford will face his former team for the first time. Bradford has played surprisingly really well, and I’m looking forward to see if he can continue his hot play against a team that he definitely has some personal vendetta against.
On the other hand, rookie phenom Carson Wentz will face his toughest task so far — playing against a red-hot Minnesota defense that will throw a ton of different looks at him. This, in my opinion, is one of the best games to watch of the week.
Two Teams on the Rise?
The Oakland Raiders will travel east to play the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are coming off two straight wins. The Raiders started the season really hot, but lost a tough game at home to the Chiefs. This matchup is particularly interesting to me because I felt these two teams would take some big steps this season. The Raiders certainly started off hot, but it took some time for the Jags to get a win. I’m interested to see 1. how the Raiders respond to a loss and 2. how the Jags will perform against a better team than the Colts and Bears.
NFC West Showdown
This Seahawks and Cardinals matchup looked like it would be one of the best of the season, but the Cardinals slow start to the 2016 season have made the storyline less appealing. Nonetheless, this is still a really big game.
The Cardinals are 3-3 and tied for third in the West after two straight wins, while the Seahawks are 4-1 and coming off a big win against a hot Atlanta team. The game is in Arizona, but I think the Seahawks are the better team. I’m interested to see if Arizona can convince me that they’re for real again; back-to-back wins against the Niners and Jets didn’t, but a win against Seattle may.
Another QB returning “Home”
Like the Eagles Vikings matchup, I’m interested to see how Brock Osweiler plays returning “home” to Denver on Monday Night Football. Osweiler has been underwhelming this season, but a win @ Denver can certainly adjust my feelings toward him. I don’t see it happening, and I think Denver’s defense is going to demolish him. But this matchup will be fun for that exact reason, and I’m excited to see if Brock can step up to the plate.