5 NFL Teams Whose Season Dramatically Changed in Week 7

By Bryn Swartz

Detroit Lions: BAD.
Lions’ fans have got to be more than a little bit nervous right now. For starters, the team lost its second straight game, a 23-16 defeat at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons. And more importantly, they lost starting quarterback Matthew Stafford, who injured either his right ankle, knee, or both on the final offensive play of the game. Stafford says he would have continued playing if the Falcons didn’t run out the clock to win the game, and it’s unclear if his injury is serious or not. If he cannot play next week against Denver, the Lions are in trouble (running back Jahvid Best missed today’s game with a concussion). Injury problems have plagued Stafford throughout his first two seasons and the Lions appear to be a pretty talented football team this season. But they can’t win without their franchise quarterback.

New York Jets: GOOD.
The Jets entered their week seven matchup against the San Diego Chargers with a 3-3 record and a difficult remaining schedule. So their 27-21 victory, a game in which they overcame a ten-point halftime deficit, is one that they can build off of for the rest of the season. Mark Sanchez looked sharp, Shonn Greene had a big day, Plaxico Burress started to play like the red zone threat that he was expected to be when he was signed, and Darrelle Revis had his usual brilliant game. The Jets likely won’t be able to overtake the Patriots for the division title but their head-to-head victory over the Chargers could be huge when it comes to the wild-card race.

Oakland Raiders: BAD.
Just a week ago, the Oakland Raiders were 4-2 and appeared to be in a battle with the San Diego Chargers for the AFC West race. But they suffered an embarrassing 28-0 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, a game in which two quarterbacks (Kyle Boller, Carson Palmer) each threw three interceptions. Palmer will be their quarterback for the rest of the season but it is going to be difficult for Oakland to contend with the Chargers, who are 4-2 and appear to be one of the top teams in the AFC. And now the Chiefs, on the heels of three straight victories, appear to be a threat. It would have been one thing if the Raiders put up a fight against Kansas City, but their 28-point shutout loss showed that they may not be the team that Hue Jackson thinks they are.

Tennessee Titans: BAD.
The Titans’ loss to the Houston Texans today might have signaled the end of the AFC South race. The Jaguars and Colts have no chance, and the Texans annihilated the Titans 41-7 to take over control of the division. The game marked yet another ineffective performance by running back Chris Johnson, who rushed for a measly 18 yards on 10 carries. The Titans also let rookie Jake Locker make his NFL debut late in the game. He is the future, not Matt Hasselbeck, and you have to wonder if the Titans will give up on the season soon to let Locker get some playing experience.

Washington Redskins: BAD.

Just like the other teams on this list, quarterback problems are plaguing the Washington Redskins. After Rex Grossman was benched against the Eagles, John Beck took over as the team’s starter but he was unable to lead the team to a victory against Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. In the loss, starting running back Tim Hightower suffered what might be an ACL tear, and top wide receiver Santana Moss broke his hand. The Redskins now stand at 3-3, in the midst of a two-game losing streak. They trail the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys in the division, and they lead the Eagles, but lost the head-to-head matchup. Just two weeks after the Redskins appeared to be the division’s top team, it looks like they are on track to finish in last place.

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