5 Lessons I Learned During Week 7
1. Finally, owning Chris Johnson on your fantasy team paid off in a big way! We saw a glimpse of the Chris Johnson who rushed for 2,000 yards 3 years ago, earning himself the nickname CJ2k. On Sunday, against the Buffalo Bills, Johnson was able to gain 195 yards and 2 TDs. He gained 6.9 yards a carry in an effort that saw him gain 103 yards and 2 TDs by the end of the first quarter. His 83 yards yard TD burst was a huge sign that maybe Johnson is waking up from his two year hiatus as one of the leagues best backs. I’m not ready to say that he is back to being the old Johnson because this season has been extremely up and down. Through the first 7 weeks he has had weeks with 4, 17 and 24 yards but also shown glimpses with games of 91, 141 and 195 yards. We’ll see in the next couple of weeks if Johnson’s last performance will carry him into a big second half or if the Bills ground defense is the worst in history. Either way, Chris Johnson made his faithful owners happy for a day.
2. After getting torched a week ago on national television, the Houston Texans defense manned up and showed the world why they are still considered among the league’s best. In their total beat down of the Baltimore Ravens, the Texans scored a defensive touchdown, a safety. tallied two interceptions, 4 sacks and recovered a fumble. The Ravens came into the game an injury ravaged team, however all their injuries had been on the defensive side of the ball. Ray Rice, Joe Flacco, Torrey Smith, Anquan Boldin and the rest of the offensive unit was ready to go. Flacco ended the game with only 147 yards passing on 21-43 attempts. Ray Rice, one of the best backs in the game, was shut down to the tune of 9 caries for 42 yards. The Ravens leading receiver was Torrey Smith with only 41 yards. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers embarrassed and angered the Texans defense and it was the Baltimore Ravens, a team known for an intense defense of it’s own, that was forced to suffer the consequences.
3. The best inter-divisional QB rivalry was on display at Metlife Stadium, as Eli Manning’s Giants took on Robert Griffin III’s Redskins. Griffin baffled the stellar Giants defensive line all day with a combination of his all-world speed and cannon right arm. He finished the day with 258 yards in the air and 89 on the ground. When he threw his second TD pass to Santana Moss with only 1:32 left in the game, it looked as if the Rookie phenom would get the road upset over the defending Super Bowl MVP. However, Eli Manning taught us again that he is the best 4th quarter QB in the NFL. Eli, who struggled during most of the game, only needed two plays to find Victor Cruz for a 77 yard TD strike, leaving only 1:13 on the clock. It was an unbelievable game and an incredible first preview of what is sure to be a remarkable NFC East rivalry for years to come.
4. Adrian Peterson and Terrell Suggs have showed the entire league that just because players in the past have struggled bouncing back from certain injuries, that doesn’t mean they can’t be overcome. At the end of last season, Adrian Peterson tore his ACL, an injury that was supposed to sideline him for a huge chunk of this season. He battled through, rehabbed hard and has played every game for the surprising Vikings this year. He is the third leading rusher in the league, and is only 9 yards shy of first. On Sunday, he ran through a solid Cardinals defense for 153 yards and a TD, looking like the Peterson of old. At the same time, Terrell Suggs was making an even more incredible comeback, playing for the Ravens only 5 months after snapping his achilles tendon, an injury that was supposed to be season ending. Instead he played in Week 7, and was able to register a sack, 2 QB hits, 4 tackles and a pass deflection, playing 40 snaps against the Texans. It is these incredible injuries that make Jet fans hopeful that Revis can come back sooner than later and be the player he was before he went down.
5. The AFC is wide open! Heading into Week 8, there are only 3 AFC teams with winning records. The Texans are legit, sporting a 6-1 record and coming off an ass kicking of the Ravens. Baltimore is 5-2 after having season ending injuries to two key defensive players, including leader Ray Lewis, and they look ripe for the taking. The Patriots are now 4-3 and if the Jets didn’t play scared in the last few minutes of their game Sunday, they could easily be 3-4. If you look at the AFC West, the Chargers and Broncos sit in first, tied with a 3-3 record. There are 7 other teams in the AFC that are either 3-3 or 3-4, meaning that there are a lot of teams still alive to make some postseason noise this year. Any number of teams can sneak into the Wildcard, and as we’ve seen with the Packers and Giants in the past couple years, the team that is hottest at the right time is usually the team that wins it all. Unless you are a fan of the Chiefs, Jaguars or Browns, it is perfectly acceptable to reasonably think your team has a shot to be playing in the AFC playoffs in January.