Half of the NFL is miserable every Tuesday. Half of the league is on top of the world. This column is here to tell you that the sky isn't necessarily falling. (Or that it's early to break out the champagne.) Here are the storylines we're not overreacting to after Week 7.
Denver's loss: What, you thought they were going to go undefeated? The defense has looked below average for a while, and there's no telling if cornerback Champ Bailey will ever be a difference-maker again. It also will be interesting to see how Denver's offensive line handles facing the Kansas City Chiefs twice in three weeks.
With all that said, the Broncos still look like the favorites for homefield advantage in the AFC. They remind me of the recent vintage New England Patriots teams with a nearly unstoppable regular-season offense and a leaky defense. (Those Patriots have been the No. 1 seed or hosted the AFC Championship for three consecutive years.)
Green Bay's defensive injuries: The Packers are missing players like Clay Matthews, Brad Jones, Casey Hayward and Nick Perry, but it hasn't made a big difference. This is an above-average, improving unit. Coordinator Dom Capers is having a nice year. Linebacker Jamari Lattimore, cornerbacks Davon House and Sam Shields and safety Morgan Burnett are playing at a high level.
This should be an improving unit, especially when Matthews gets back. By the time the playoffs arrive, I expect the Packers to be looking just as strong overall as the other NFC favorites. They still have the best quarterback.
Josh McCown's stat line: The Bears racked up more than 300 yards of offense in McCown's full half replacing Jay Cutler. McCown, who averaged more than 10 yards per attempt, looked more composed than usual. Still, he wasn't forced to make difficult throws. With the "quarterback whisperer" Marc Trestman on his side, McCown actually should be a competent backup. The bigger problem is that the Bears don't have a competent defense without Lance Briggs.
Philadelphia's offensive struggles: After becoming the fourth team in NFL history to rack up more than 400 yards of offense per game in the first six weeks of the season, Chip Kelly's squad was held to three points at home against Dallas. Nick Foles was not healthy throughout the game. There are going to be down weeks. Kelly's offense has performed as expected overall, and I'd expect the Eagles to bounce back against the Giants this week (with Michael Vick behind center.)