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15 NFL Players Who Must Step Up in Week 7

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15 NFL Players That Need To Have Big Games in Week 7

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

NFL Week seven is upon us. This week has its work cut out for it top the drama fans experienced in week six, but there are several matchups with the potential to make it happen.

Many teams across the league have reached 'fork status' by week seven. As in, stick a fork in them, they're done. Those squads that are winless or those with only one win on the board, essentially have no chance of making the playoffs at this point.

When you look across the board this week, there are also several teams involved in what I view as 'loser leaves town' matchups. These teams are on the ropes and in danger of getting dropped to the canvas for good.

But of all the matchups, there's no denying that all eyes will be on the Broncos and Colts Sunday night in Indianapolis. Peyton Manning is making his long awaited return 'home' and he'll be facing the man who essentially replaced him. The two teams don't have much of a history, but this could be a rivalry in the making for the next several years.

Of course, with all these games there are particular players who must step it up. No one player has ever single-handedly won a football game, but there's no doubt that one player's performance can drastically alter the outcome. With all that in mind, here are 15 players that must step up in week seven:

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Trent Richardson

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

There's really no sugar coating it, Richardson's career as a Colt has been disappointing so far. In his four games with the team, he's only averaging 47.8 rushing yards per game. If the Colts are going to have a shot of upsetting the Broncos, they're going to need a lot of points on the board. Richardson must do his part.

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Josh Freeman/Whoever Starts at QB For Minnesota

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USA Today Sports

If Freeman is up to speed with the Vikings' playbook, he's expected to get the nod on MNF. But whoever ends up behind center for Minnesota, needs to step up their game in a big way.

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Carson Palmer

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USA Today Sports

Palmer and the Cardinals have a date on TNF with the stellar Seahawks' defense. The QB will need to protect the ball and be on his A-game to give Arizona a chance at pulling the upset.

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Harry Douglas

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USA Today Sports

The Falcons' wide receiving corps has been decimated with injuries. Douglas is one of the few players left and Matt Ryan will be looking his way frequently on Sunday. If Douglas can step up, Atlanta should have no trouble beating the lowly Bucs.

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Maurice Jones-Drew

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USA Today Sports

MJD has yet to hit the century mark during a game in 2013. He's played alright, but he's currently a shadow of his former self. The Jaguars got a big shot in the arm with their efforts in Denver this past weekend and if MJD and company can keep that momentum going, they'll have chance of knocking off the Chargers.

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Michael Vick and/or Nick Foles

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USA Today Sports

The Philly QB situation is still a mystery for this Sunday. Vick will play if he's healthy, but many are questioning if that's the right decision. The Eagles have a crucial mid-season matchup with Cowboys to take control of the NFC East, so they'll need a big day from whoever ends up behind center.

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Lamar Miller

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USA Today Sports

There were high hopes for Miller this season in Miami. Thus far, he's been a big disappointment. Miller is coming off a woeful performance in week five and Dolphins could really use a big rebound game from him in week seven.

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Geno Smith

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USA Today Sports

It's time for round two between the Jets and Patriots. There's no way this contest will be as sloppy as the first one, so Smith will need to be on his game if New York is going to have any chance at pulling off the upset.

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Whoever the Houston Texans' QB Is

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USA Today Sports

Disastrous. That's one word you could use to describe the Texans' season so far. They need a big game in week seven from whoever their QB is. Schaub is hurting and likely out, so the team will turn to either T.J. Yates or Case Keenum for a shot in the arm.

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Kyle Wilber

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USA Today Sports

DeMarcus Ware's injury is not doing the Cowboys' pass rush any favors. But as they say, next man up. In this case, that man is Kyle Wilber. The second-year DE has already notched two sacks on the season and if he can duplicate that on Sunday in Philly, Dallas will be in much better shape.

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Lance Briggs

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USA Today Sports

Briggs has played well throughout the season, but he needs to step up from a leadership prospective in week seven. The Bears' defense is not trending in a good direction right now, so it's up to the veterans like Briggs to right the ship and to make sure everyone is where they need to be. Chicago has a winnable game on the road against Washington, and also a good chance to get back on track defensively.

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Chris Johnson

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USA Today Sports

When you talk about players who have fallen off in 2013, Johnson is near the top of the list. He's only averaging 54.5 yards per game on the ground and he's yet to find the end zone on a run. The Titans have a tough game with the 49ers looming and they'll need Johnson to have his best game of 2013.

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The Entire Eagles' Defense

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USA Today Sports

It's now official, in terms of statistics, the Eagles have the worst defense in the NFL. The unit is giving up a whopping total of 420.2 yards per game. Sunday will bring a matchup with Tony Romo high-powered Cowboys' offense, so everyone on the Philly defense will need to step it up a notch.

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Jermichael Finley

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USA Today Sports

With Randall Cobb and James Jones going down with injuries, it's time for Finley to step up in week seven. The tight end has played okay thus far in 2013, but that won't cut it moving forward. He needs to have his best of the season this Sunday against the Browns.

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Andrew Luck

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USA Today Sports

Luck is getting set for one of the bigger games of his young career this Sunday. It's Broncos versus Colts, but we all know the side story is Manning versus Luck. If he can somehow outduel the legendary QB, it will do wonders for his confidence and of course, his team's chances of beating the league's best team.