Analysis

Spoiler Alert, Week 7: Patriots top Jets; Panthers suffer first loss

It was a fun three or so years, but it's over.

As Thursday night's blowout proved, the Niners-Seahawks rivalry is no more. To be fair, it hasn't really been all that competitive since the heat between the NFC West's twin titans -- and more specifically, Richard Sherman and Michael Crabtree -- peaked in the moments just before and after the final gun of the 2013 NFC title game in the C-Link.

Likewise, Brady v Peyton has been a grand 21st-century mano a mano, but it's gently slowing down like an abandoned rocking chair. Luck v Brady seemed like a natural replacement, but so far, the on-field intensity hasn't come close to matching the inflated intensity off of it.

Dallas and D.C. each have featured some good teams over the last couple decades, but rarely have they both been good at the same time. The Packers and Bears have provided excitement over the last several years, but a drama can only be so exhilarating when Jay Cutler is one of the leading men. Steelers v Browns? As my old pal Don said, that one's better described as a hammer versus a nail (save the once-or-so-a-decade Cleveland victory). Sure, we still have Pittsburgh v Baltimore, but even that duel looks diminished in 2015, with a banged-up Roethlisberger and the one-win Ravens. And the alleged acrimony of Eagles v Giants? Yeah, that resulted in two spoonfuls of NyQuil-level fever last Monday night.

Yes, some of pro football's would-be rivalries haven't exactly delivered of late, but fear not: There's hope for those of us who like our NFL with some bloodlust.

First off, a Jets' win on Sunday would reignite that rivalry back to pre-Butt Fumble levels no matter what Sheldon Richardson claims.

This weekend's Raiders-Chargers clash probably won't impact 2015 playoff seedings, but if both those teams wind up playing each on each other's L.A.-based home field in 2016, the rivalry comes baked in. Conversely, the Rams' potential return to Southern California would heat up the region with biannual matchups against Phoenix's rising bunch. The young Vikings are shaping up as a legitimate threat to the Packers' NFC North dominance, but it feels premature to expect them to get there this season.

The bad news is, you'll have to wait 'til December to see 2015's best emerging rivalry. The good news is, your patience will get you not one but two games between these divisional foes. At stake? A playoff bye as the potential prize if either can pull off the sweep. I'm of course speaking of ...

Ice v Superman, Julio v Norman, Devonta v Kuechly, the high-flying Falcons offense v the rugged Panthers D ... Yes, like Ali v Frazier, the opposing styles will makethese upcoming matchups. Best of all, both teams are largely built around young talent, which means, once the candle is lit, it oughta burn for at least the next few years. And for those of us who are sad to see the Seahawks-Niners wars fading away, the rising tide of acrimony in the NFC South couldn't come at a better time.

Let's get to the picks.

WARNING: Do NOT continue reading if you don't want to know the final scores of the Week 7 games.

(1-0 this week, 9-5 last week, 56-35 on the season)


BILLS 28
JAGS 16

S. McCoy: 130 yds/ scrimmage, TD
D. Robinson: 45-yd TD run


BUCS 24
'SKINS 17

A. Verner: 40-yd INT TD
K. Cousins: Cousinsy


FALCONS 28
TITANS 27

J. Jones: 140 yds, 2 TDs
D. Green-Beckham: 30-yd TD rec


SAINTS 33
COLTS 37

B. Cooks: 60-yd TD rec
T. Hilton: 125 yds, 2 TDs


VIKES 21
LIONS 26

K. Rudolph: 3.5 long john donuts
G. Tate: 90 yds, TD


STEELERS 16
CHIEFS 13

H. Miller: 6-yd TD rec
T. Kelce: 6-yd TD rec


BROWNS 9
RAMS 13

J. McCown: 2 INTs
T. Gurley: 110 yds, TD


TEXANS 22
DOLPHINS 19

A. Foster: 105 yds, TD
L. Miller: 60 yds


JETS 19
PATS 26

C. Ivory: 110 yds, TD
R. Gronkowski: 2 TDs


RAIDERS 27
CHARGERS 31

M. Crabtree: 35-yd TD rec
S. Johnson: 45-yd TD rec


COWBOYS 23
GIANTS 30

M. Cassel: 2 TDs, INT
R. Jennings: 100 yds/scrimmage


EAGLES 23
PANTHERS 21

R. Matthews: 2 TDs
C. Newton: 3 INTs


RAVENS 23
CARDS 28

J. Forsett: 80 yds, TD
M. Floyd: 120 yds rec, TD


Enjoy Week 7! I hope your team wins (unless they're playing my team).

Follow Dave Dameshek on Twitter @Dameshek.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content

Gamepass_vert_web_r

See all the Action

Replay every game all season.