7-on-7 drill entering Week 6 of the NFL season

This is the 7-on-7 drill, where I'll present seven lists of seven items to help keep track of the NFL season.

A non-NFL item or two might sneak its way into the drill every now and again, but this should keep you oriented to what's gone on in the league and what's to come this weekend.


1. Vikings (5-0)- The offense has averaged a league-worst 70.6 rushing yards per game, but has turned the ball over just once. And that defense has merited a return to the nickname "Purple People Eaters."

2. Patriots (4-1)- Brady is back, Gronk is sort of back after looking like a sober version of himself for four weeks, and fellow tight end Martellus Bennett is well on his way to a career year.


3. Broncos (4-1)- No big deal losing with a rookie QB against the best offense in the league. But the Broncos defense finally showed some mortality -- at home, no less.

4. Steelers (4-1)- Impressive at home, now they have to avoid another let-down on the road. At Miami this week, they should win by double-digits.

5. Falcons (4-1)- If this defense can replicate what it did at Denver -- 267 yards allowed; 3.5 sacks by Vic Beasley -- the Falcons will be the team to beat in the NFC. But that performance is just an outlier for now.

6. Packers (3-1)- While still top-flight, Aaron Rodgers and the offense are missing that special quality they had a couple years ago. But the emergence of the Pack's defensive front keeps Green Bay a serious contender.


7. Seahawks (3-1)- Home against the Falcons and then at the Cardinals the next two weeks. We'll finally get a true barometer after Seattle played four dreadful offenses in its first four games.


1. Browns (0-5)- Robert Griffin III, Josh McCown, Cody Kessler, Charlie Whitehurst, Terrelle Pryor? A typical Browns season, just playing out at warp speed.

2. 49ers (1-4)- Chip Kelly finally decides it's Colin Kaepernick time.

3. Dolphins (1-4)- First-round pick Laremy Tunsil missed Sunday's game after slipping in the shower. That kind of season.

4. Buccaneers (2-3)- Don't let the Monday night win at Cam-less Carolina fool you. A game of poor execution.

5. Bears (1-4)- Brian Hoyer has thrown for 300-plus yards the past three weeks, including 397 on Sunday. Bears' points per game in that time frame: a mere 19.

6. Jaguars (1-3)On a bye last week, the highlight for the Jags was their home newspaper printing the headline "Jack off to a promising start."

7. Jets (1-4)- Tough schedule so far, but this team hasn't been competitive for three weeks.


1.  Cowboys at Packers (4:25 p.m.)- Dak Prescott's on the cover of Sports Illustrated while Aaron Rodgers is having another quiet (yet effective) season. I'm just excited for the great uniform matchup

2. Falcons at Seahawks (4:25 p.m.)- High-flying offense travels to intimidating confines of dominant defense and the road team's a big underdog. Falcons are in the same spot as last week, and get another opportunity to prove their legitimacy.

3. 49ers at Bills (1 p.m.)- All eyes will be on Kaepernick from national anthem to finish. Is there any talent left in the one-time, fleeting superstar? Will Buffalo fans chant the anthem instead of "D-FENSE!"

4. Chiefs at Raiders (4:05 p.m.)- High-stakes weekend for the Raiders, who could be a rising power. Chiefs have won five of the last six head-to-head.

5. Bengals at Patriots (1 p.m.)- The Bengals' flop last week in Dallas could be an aberration or a sign they're no good. What better way to prove the former than to play in New England?

6. Broncos at Chargers (8:25 p.m. Thursday)- America's favorite TV show: 1,000 ways to blow a football game. Last week the Chargers fumbled a game-tying field goal attempt. What will they invent this week?

7. Ravens at Giants (1 p.m.)- A mid-October elimination game. Neither team can afford to lose this one.


1. Packers- Dak hype slows for a weekend.

2. Seahawks- Seattle sets a new decibel record and the "Legion of Boom" slows down the suddenly deaf Falcons.

3. Bills- Kaepernick's teammates are excited to play for him, and the 49ers look good in the first half before falling apart.

4. Raiders- Close game but Chiefs can't keep up.

5. Patriots- Bengals no match for an elite opponent, and Marvin Lewis is pressured to make a change on his staff.

6. Broncos- Chargers score a late, go-ahead touchdown, get penalized for excessive celebration, and the Broncos come back to kick a game-winning field goal with a short field.

7. Giants- Odell Beckham Jr. is held quiet for three quarters and then explodes in the fourth.


1. Dak Prescott is the Cowboys' quarterback of the present and future. How about Romo in a Jets uniform next season?

2. Sam Bradford is a strong candidate to win MVP. MMQB's Peter King presented a solid case last week, and as long as the Vikings are undefeated, it's worth supporting.

3. Are the Chargers (1-4 entering Thursday's game) actually a good team? Nine fumbles obscures that, but that offense has weathered injuries and stayed dangerous...when it holds onto the ball.

4. The Cardinals still look like a team that will miss the playoffs. Many are ready to dismiss their 1-3 start after they won last week, and they'll probably look good against the hapless Jets this week. But the Cards are less than the sum of their very talented parts.

5. The Brock Osweiler signing is a bust. ... Sure, he looked good with an amazing defense and solid run game last year. Strip those, and Osweiler isn't talented enough to be "the guy" in Houston, despite being paid like one.

6. The Tennessee Titans could win the AFC North (as one newspaper editor predicted, seemingly foolishly, in the preseason). It might take eight wins to capture that division -- shades of the 2010 NFC West.

7. Adam Vinatieri will kick until he's 50, taking George Blanda's distinction as oldest player in NFL history. He's 13-for-13 with five 50-yarders this year.


1. Carson Palmer, QB- Jets run defense is solid, which means teams are compelled to pass all over them.

2. LeSean McCoy, RB- Revitalized since the Bills' coordinator change, now McCoy faces a Niners defense that has allowed 147 yards per game.

3. Darren Sproles, RB- Ryan Mathews' late fumble led to the Eagles' first loss. Sproles might get more action this week against a lousy Redskins "D."


4. DeAndre Hopkins, WR- Last year's breakout star, he's exceeded 56 yards just once all season. Colts secondary will allow him to get untracked.


5. Larry Fitzgerald, WR- Fitz, age 33, still thriving. Revis, 31, fell off a cliff.

6. Delanie Walker, TE- The opposing Browns are fantasy lubricators.

7. Steelers defense- Opposing Dolphins look lost right now.


1. All four major sports going at once. Even if it's just the preseason in the NBA.

2. It's one of the best months to leave the house windows open at all times.

3. Related: electric bills are much cheaper.

4. Going for a run in the afternoon doesn't result in heatstroke.

5. We get to see a bunch of grown men wear pink.

6. Speaking of fashion, it's time to whip out those comfy sweaters.

7. Pumpkin. Pie.

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