In today's fantasy-obsessed football world, it's easy to overlook the contributions of one position group: offensive line. Well, NFL Network analyst and former Pro Bowl center Shaun O'Hara is here to fix that. Following each batch of games, O'Hara will revisit the O-line performances of all the teams that played and ultimately select that week's top five units, headlined by a Built Ford Tough Offensive Line of the Week.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The rankings that you see below reflect O'Hara's pecking order for Week 7 and Week 7 alone. This is NOT a running O-line Power Rankings for 2017. This is NOT a projection into the future. The goal of this weekly column is to answer one simple question: Which five offensive lines stood out above the rest in last week's action?
Without further ado, the Week 7 winner is ...
1) Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys' offensive line is starting to look like one of the most talented groups in the league once again. A season ago, we routinely saw huge performances from Dallas' front five, which is why I crowned the quintet as the NFL's Offensive Line of the Year in February. But the unit just hadn't appeared as dominant in 2017 -- until Week 7, when Dallas ranked No. 1 in run blocking and No. 2 in pass blocking, according to Pro Football Focus.
In a 40-10 road shellacking of the 49ers, Dallas amassed 501 yards of total offense: 236 passing and, most impressively, 265 rushing on just 43 carries (6.2 yards a pop). Honestly, it's a wonder that the Cowboys haven't run the ball at least 40 times in every game, given how overpowering this line can be. According to PFF, Dallas averaged 3.41 yards before contact per attempt in Week 7 -- tops in the NFL. Ezekiel Elliott led the way on the ground, with 26 carries for 147 yards and two touchdowns. The sophomore back also scored a 72-yard touchdown off a screen pass, thanks in large part to a perfect pull block from right guard Zack Martin, who was a mauling force all day long.
If the Cowboys keep this up, they can get right back in the mix for another Offensive Line of the Year nod.
The rest of the top five O-lines from Week 7
2) Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers welcomed back left guard Ramon Foster, who missed Week 6 with a hand injury. And in a 29-14 win over the Bengals, Pittsburgh's O-line continued to own the line of scrimmage. The Steelers absolutely dominated the game in total yardage -- 420 to 180 -- while leaning heavily on Le'Veon Bell. The fifth-year back had 35 carries for 134 yards, as well as three catches for 58 yards. The Steelers should continue riding their star runner, as they are 10-1 in games when he has at least 30 touches. It's a no-brainer -- especially with how well his deliberate running style works in concert with this well-rounded group of blockers up front.
Ben Roethlisberger was able to stay comfortable in the pocket, as the offensive line didn't allow a single sack while yielding just one QB hit and five hurries. Kudos to Chris Hubbard, who's been playing well at right tackle in place of the injured Marcus Gilbert. The depth on this offensive line has been impressive through seven weeks.
A job well done by everyone up front last week, as Pittsburgh ranked fifth in run blocking and third in pass blocking, according to Pro Football Focus. Consequently, the Steelers were able to extend their lead in the AFC North.
3) Minnesota Vikings: Minnesota showed off some quality depth in Sunday's 24-16 win over Baltimore. The Vikings lost left tackle Riley Reiff and left guard Jeremiah Sirles to injuries during the game, but second-year man Rashod Hill and rookie Danny Isidora did a fine job in relief. Minnesota was able to rack up 357 yards of offense, including 169 yards on the ground. Pretty remarkable, considering the Vikings lost rookie sensation Dalvin Cook just a few weeks ago. Free-agent acquisition Latavius Murray enjoyed a breakthrough performance with the Vikings, exploding for 113 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries.
And while Baltimore may be struggling of late on defense, it's pretty extraordinary that this reshuffled O-line didn't allow a single sack or QB hit all game.
T-5) Buffalo Bills: In a comeback win over Tampa Bay, the Bills piled up 434 yards of offense, including 173 on the ground. LeSean McCoy went for 91 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries, while ever-elusive QB Tyrod Taylor had 53 rushing yards of his own, including a 26-yard scramble on third-and-10. The O-line took care of its quarterback -- yielding zero sacks and one QB hit.
T-5) Jacksonville Jaguars: Jacksonville got off to a hot start in Indy, scoring on four of five first-half possessions, and never looked back in the 27-0 win. The Jaguars gained 188 rushing yards withoutLeonard Fournette, who was out with an ankle injury. T.J. Yeldon enjoyed his most productive NFL game, going for 122 yards and a touchdown on just nine carries (that's a robust 13.6 yards per carry). And Blake Bortles, who was only sacked once, threw for 330 yards and a touchdown. Not too shabby for the much-maligned QB.
Special shoutout to Josh Wells. Left tackle Cam Robinson was injured on the second play of the game, and Wells did a pretty nice job filling in on the blind side. Speaking of fill-ins, Tyler Shatley has done well in replacing Brandon Linder, who's missed the last three games due to an unspecified illness.