7-on-7 drill entering Week 8 of the NFL season

Find out the best teams and the best Halloween candies in this week's 7-on-7 drill

This is the 7-on-7 drill -- seven lists of seven items to help keep track of the NFL season.

 

7 BEST TEAMS

1. Patriots (6-1)- Ho-hum, 6-1 after a workmanlike win at Pittsburgh.

2. Cowboys (5-1)- Dez Bryant returns to the lineup, and now the offense needs to figure out how to include him in the fun.

3. Broncos (4-2)- Let's just say they don't regret letting Brock Osweiler walk in free agency.

4. Vikings (5-1)- They turned the ball over just once through five games and then self-destructed with four turnovers Sunday at Philadelphia. This might be true of every team, but the Vikings' low-powered offense isn't one that can overcome turnovers.

5. Seahawks (4-1-1)- Neck and neck (and neck) with Minnesota and Denver as the best defense in the league. The team won't reach the Super Bowl if they don't improve on the offensive line, though. 

6. Eagles (4-2)- The only team to win two games against other teams on this list (Minnesota and Pittsburgh).

7. Steelers (4-3)- Ben Roethlisberger is angling to return two weeks after suffering a torn meniscus. If you chopped off his left leg he might miss only a month.

 

7 WORST TEAMS

1. Browns (0-7)- Rookie Kevin Hogan became the sixth quarterback the Browns have used so far. The die lands on Josh McCown this week.

2. 49ers (1-6)- Since a fluky opening-week win they've been outscored by more than 17 points per game.

3. Bears (1-6)- Remember when Matt Barkley was a college hot shot who decided to return for his senior season instead of being a top-10 pick? Didn't look like a hot shot in relief of Brian Hoyer. Jay Cutler returns this week.

4. Jaguars (2-4)- In the last six seasons they've had one three-game winning streak. Failed to achieve another last weekend.

5. Ravens (3-4)- Every week makes last year's 5-11 finish look less and less like an outlier.

6. Jets (2-5)- Quote of the week, from coach Todd Bowles on mouthy quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick: "If pissed off is going to stop the turnovers, then I'm more than happy to have him pissed off the whole time."

7. Panthers (1-5)- It wouldn't be a shock to see them go on a bit of a run now, after their bye, but nothing we've seen so far suggests they will.

 

7 INTRIGUING MATCHUPS IN WEEK 7

1. Eagles at Cowboys (8:30 p.m.)- NFC East lead on the line. The Eagles' underrated defense might be enough to slow down the Cowboys' devastating run game. 

2. Packers at Falcons (4:25 p.m.)- It's tough to tell if either of these teams are legitimate Super Bowl contenders, but a win here could help their candidacy.

3. Chargers at Broncos (4:05 p.m.)- We just saw this two weeks ago, and it wasn't very entertaining, but it's an even matchup in a compelling division race.

4. Cardinals at Panthers (1 p.m.)- NFC championship rematch was supposed to be so much more. Cardinals have a chance to bury the Panthers. 

5. Seahawks at Saints (1 p.m.)- Seahawks allowing NFL-low 14 points per game; Saints allowing NFL-high 32.5. Bet against another 6-6 tie.

6. Patriots at Bills (1 p.m.)- Bills won 16-0 in Foxborough to begin October. Could be different now, with Tom Brady in the saddle instead of Jacoby Brissett.

7. Redskins vs. Bengals (9:30 a.m.)- A rare, decent game exported to London.

 

7 PREDICTIONS FOR THOSE GAMES

1. Eagles- Upset plants some Cowboys fans back in Camp Romo.

2. Falcons- The more well-rounded offense prevails at home.

3. Broncos- Defense puts the brakes on Philip Rivers' darkhorse MVP candidacy.

4. Cardinals- They get their revenge and snuff out Carolina's season.

5. Seahawks- If they can't put up points this week, there's serious reason for concern.

6. Patriots- Last time an AFC East opponent swept the Patriots was in 2000, the year before the dynasty began.

7. Redskins- (Reserving the right to change the pick if Trent Williams, Brandon Scherff, Josh Norman and Jordan Reed don't play.) 

 

7 PLAYERS WHO WILL HAVE BIG FANTASY GAMES

1. Aaron Rodgers, QB - He threw 56 passes last week, and the Packers' running back stiuation isn't any more settled now.

2. David Johnson, RB- The most bankable fantasy player, and the Cardinals are leaning heavily on him this month.

3. Devontae Booker, RB- He averaged 5.6 yards per carry as a bakcup the past two weeks, and with C.J. Anderson out, the Broncos will hand Booker the ball some more.

4. Mike Evans, WR- Jameis Winston is targeting him 12.5 times per game, and he's the man in the red zone, given his 6-foot-5, 230-pound physique.

5. Brandon Marshall, WR- So, this prediction didn't pan out last week. Time to double down with Marshall facing the Browns.

6. Gary Barnidge, TE- The Browns tight end has been consistently average, and now he gets back his quarterback.

7. Patriots defense- This is the type of game in which the Patriots lay the smackdown on the Bills, especially with LeSean McCoy banged up.



7 SURPRISING STAT LEADERS

1. Lorenzo Alexander, 9 sacks- 10th-year journeyman had nine career sacks before this season.

2. Ezekiel Elliott, 703 rushing yards- We knew he'd be good, especially behind that line. But this is a momentous start for a rookie. Only Eric Dickerson has more rushing yards through six games of a career.

3. LeGarrette Blount and Melvin Gordon, 8 rushing TDs- In a league where running backs peak early and then fade, Blount has surpassed all previous TD totals in Year 8. Gordon, meanwhile, is making up for a rookie season in which he was shut out of the end zone.

4. Atlanta Falcons, 32.7 points per game- They clearly have the weapons, but not much had changed personnel-wise from last year, when they finished 21st in the NFL with 21.2 ppg.

5. Green Bay Packers, 71.8 rushing yards allowed per game- Also 21st in the league last year in this category. The improvement this year is in part a function of playing mostly against poor rushing offenses. When they faced the Cowboys, they wilted.

6. Zach Brown, 74 tackles- Another Bills linebacker, he's three tackles away from matching his 2015 output with the Titans. You know he likes his chicken fried

7. Adam Vinatieri, 18 field goals and 72 points- OK, it's not really a surprise, but the league's leader in scoring is 43 years old and has made an NFL-record 43 straight field goals.

 

7 BEST HALLOWEEN CANDIES

1. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

2. Gummy bears

3. Raisinets

4. Twix

5. Almond Joy

6. Starburst

7. Hershey's Cookies 'n' Creme

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