Broncos, ‘Survivor’ keep going
Our weekly “Catching up with ... ” feature has a bye this week. In its place, we present the “7-on-7 drill,” a weekly look at all things NFL (and some things not) through seven lists of seven items apiece. 1. Broncos (4-0): Trevor Siemian’s injury and Paxton Lynch’s stellar relief work add a wrinkle to a team that hasn’t lost since before Christmas. 2. Vikings (4-0): In consecutive weeks, this defense has ripped off the wings of typical butterflies Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton and Odell Beckham Jr. 3. Patriots (3-1): Last week’s16-0 dud against the Bills won’t shake many Patriots fans’ confidence, considering a certain Brazilian fashion model’s husband returns this weekend. 4. Steelers (3-1): Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell haven’t shared the field very often recently. Results are scary when they do. 5. Seahawks (3-1): They seem to have shaken off some early-season stink, and can take a break with a bye this week. 6. Packers (2-1): One of two teams with an early bye last week. Last time they had a Week 4 bye (in 2013), they won their next four games. 7. Falcons (3-1): Matt Ryan seemed to plateau, or even dip, the past couple of seasons, but he’s leading the league in passing yards and touchdowns. 1. Browns (0-4): Is Louisville’s Lamar Jackson eligible for the 2017 draft? No? They’d better save some losing for next year. 2. 49ers (1-3): NaVorro Bowman is lost with a torn Achilles tendon, which means the only relevant moment this team will have is if Colin Kaepernick gets into a game. 3. Buccaneers (1-3): They’ve been outscored by a league-worst 51 points this season and have had to pause each of the past two games because of storms. 4. Bears (1-3): No longer winless, and their next two games are also winnable. 5. Dolphins (1-3): What was uglier last week: their Creamsicle uniforms or their performance against the Bengals? 6. Jaguars (1-3): In the past two seasons, the losing team in the game in London fired its coach upon exiting the plane. Gus Bradley got a win and kept his job. 7. Titans (1-3): They won’t embarrass themselves, but the offense doesn’t have enough sophistication to come from behind. of making a deep run. 7. Adam Gase: The youngest coach in the NFL has done little to re-energize the Dolphins or quarterback Ryan Tannehill. 1. Falcons at Broncos: The classic “unstoppable force meeting immovable object” game. 2. Bengals at Cowboys: Plenty of playmakers should make this entertaining and competitive. 3. Redskins at Ravens: Winner is a serious playoff contender. Loser has plenty of doubts. 4. Giants at Packers: Two of the seven active Super Bowl-winning QBs duke it out. 5. Texans at Vikings: One of just three games this week between winning teams. 6. Chargers at Raiders: The Chargers’ three losses this year have come in frantic final-minute finishes. 7. Eagles at Lions: We get to see whether Carson Wentz’s wild ride continues. 1. Broncos: The immovable object wins, proving there’s no such thing as an unstoppable force. 2. Bengals: Experience overcomes youth. 3. Ravens: Back to winning close games at home. 4. Packers: Many points on Monday night. 5. Vikings: This time they rip the wings off DeAndre Hopkins. 6. Chargers: A shootout finally goes their way. 7. Eagles: Defense carries Wentz to 4-0. 1. Derek Carr, QB: Three QBs have thrown for more than 300 yards against the Chargers. Next up is Carr. 2. DeMarco Murray, RB: In an otherwise feckless Titans offense, he’s ripping off 5.2 yards per carry. Against the Dolphins, the Titans might actually play with a lead. 3. Terrance West, RB: The Ravens aren’t typically good fantasy options this year (aside from Justin Tucker), but the offense will likely try to establish West early. 4. Julian Edelman, WR: Just five catches for 54 yards in the past two weeks combined. No one is happier to have his pal Brady back than the guy who no longer has to play backup quarterback. 5. Sterling Shepard, WR: The Packers are allowing nearly 9 yards per passing attempt. And the Giants’ other receiver isn’t having any fun, so it’s up to Shepard. 6. Zach Ertz, TE: Back from injury and playing against a Lions defense that has allowed five touchdowns to tight ends. 7. Panthers defense: Buy low on a defense that just allowed 42 points and gets to play a quarterback (Jameis Winston) who has turned the ball over 10 times.
Ravens 27, Redskins 17 This is not quite a must-win, but after a loss against the Raiders and two road games coming up, it’s close. The Ravens have the No. 1 defense (256 yards allowed per game), and the offense showed improvements late against Oakland. If Joe Flacco can get more protection and time to throw, the Ravens should win.