7-on-7 drill entering Week 7 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. Patriots (5-1)- Tom Brady is 39 going on 29. At this age last year, Peyton Manning was eating dinner at 4:30 p.m. and taking Metamucil.

2. Vikings (5-0)- Off the No. 1 spot despite not playing last week. Why? The five teams they've beaten all looked unremarkable Sunday. Wins over Carolina and Green Bay aren't as impressive as we initially thought.


3. Cowboys (5-1)- Dak Prescott spits on the SI cover jinx. He's so good iPhones will soon stop auto correcting his name to "Dan."

4. Falcons (4-2)- Impressive in defeat at Seattle, they move up a spot. Who says there's no such thing as a good loss?

5. Seahawks (4-1)- Winning games like Sunday's are huge, because no team benefits from home field in the playoffs more than Seattle. Tough schedule continues.

6. Broncos (4-2)- With no coach, and a banged-up QB, they lost to the best bad team in NFL history (San Diego) last Thursday night. Not the worst loss, but there are some red flags in their consecutive defeats.

7. Steelers (4-2)- Would be willing to toss out their game at Miami, except that the Steelers are always due for three or four of those a season. And now they have to make lemonade out of Landry Jones.


1. Browns (0-6)- At least they're 2-4 against the spread?

2. 49ers (1-5)- Kaepernick is as shaky a passer as when we last saw him.

3. Jets (1-5)- Geno Smith won't make them any better.


4. Bears (1-5)- Blew fourth-quarter leads two weeks in a row.

5. Buccaneers (2-3)- As poorly as they've played (minus-48 point differential) the Bucs can be .500 with a win against lowly San Francisco.

6. Jaguars (2-3)- Gus Bradley's rare post-game celebration speeches are so enthusiastic! Keep them coming!

7. Dolphins (2-4)- They looked much more like a football team with their offensive line healthy last week.


1. Seahawks at Cardinals (8:30 p.m.)- The Cardinals might be the team we thought they were heading into the season. If that's true, this a great heavyweight bout.

2. Patriots at Steelers (4:25 p.m.)- Knee injury to Roethlisberger robbed us of what would have been the most intriguing game of the season to this point.


3. Chargers at Falcons (4:05 p.m.)- Come for the points, stay for the surprisingly close finish.

4. Texans at Broncos (8:30 p.m. Monday)- A Broncos linebacker said of Texans QB Brock Osweiler: "We want to kill him."

5. Vikings at Eagles (1 p.m.)- Will the Vikings' paranormal start carry through the bye week?

6. Saints at Chiefs (1 p.m.)- The Saints could easily be 4-1 or 0-5; the Chiefs put together their best game of the season last week.

7. Colts at Titans (1 p.m.)- Asked about the AFC South being the NFL’s worst division, Texans coach Bill O’Brien defensively responded, “Whoever says that has never coached or played football." That explains my opinions. But this game could get the mediocre Titans one step closer to O'Brien's No. 1 spot in the standings.


1. Seahawks- In a show-em-who's-boss-in-the-NFC-West performance.

2. Patriots- Landry Jones' flashes of competency aren't enough against Brady and Co.


3. Falcons- The Chargers defense, while firm against the Broncos last week, will feel like cotton to the Falcons, who just came from Seattle.

4. Broncos- They do indeed kill Osweiler -- in a strictly football sense.

5. Vikings- Sam Bradford wins the Sam Bradford Bowl.

6. Chiefs- Drew Brees faces traction on the road, on grass, against a good defense.

7. Titans- The Titans force a tie with the Texans atop the (NOT) worst division in football.


1. Philip Rivers, QB - He’s going up against the 26th-ranked pass defense and might be playing from behind all day.

2. Spencer Ware, RB- Jamaal Charles' return to KC's backfield hasn't crimped Ware's production.


3. Matt Jones, RB- The Redskins running back averaged 8.4 yards per carry last week.

4. A.J. Green, WR- Last time he was on this list, he took a blow torch to the Dolphins' secondary. Hasn't been great since, but the Browns are on the schedule this week.

5. Brandon Marshall, WR- The quarterback change scares me a bit, but Geno Smith has to throw to somebody, and the Ravens might struggle against a specimen wideout such as Marshall.

6. Hunter Henry, TE-  The Chargers rookie has touchdowns in three consecutive games and is playing a Falcons defense susceptible to tight end production.

7. Ravens defense- C'mon, it's Geno Smith.


1. Roll the dice- Cowboys draft a player with character concerns as their second of two fourth-round picks. If all goes right, he can take over when Romo retires in 2020.


2. Hasty hope- Romo goes down in preseason while Prescott shines. Maybe this guy can keep Dallas afloat until Romo gets back.

3. Regret- The Cowboys lose the opener against the Giants. If only they had Romo…

4. Guarded optimism- Dak wins the next three games against the Redskins, Bears and 49ers. Not the most impressive competition, but he's keeping them in the race, which other Romo backups could never do.

5. Confidence- Dak and the Cowboys trample over the Bengals. Public opinion shifts and people seriously consider whether the team should stick with him, whenever Romo gets back.

6. Conviction- Prescott leads a blowout win at Lambeau Field. Talking heads on TV have reached a consensus: It's time to name him the starter.

7. Logical decision-making- (Still to be completed) Jerry Jones comes out and says it. "Sorry, Tony. Dak Prescott is our starting quarterback."


1. Ben Roethlisberger- He was having an MVP season before a knee injury slowed him down.

2. Sam Bradford- He still is having an MVP season but (cross your fingers) his career history portends a Ben-like fate soon. 

3. Marquette King- Best punter at dancing in football. Maybe the best at punting, too.

4. Ryan Mallett- Might the Ravens call on No. 7 this week against the Jets?...

5. Geno Smith- ...Well, the Jets are calling on No. 7 this week against the Ravens.

6. Luke McCown- He's played once in the last four years, but that one game was a 335-yard performance against the eventual NFC champions last year.

7. Jacoby Brissett- The Patriots' third-stringer beats Colin Kaepernick for the end of this list because Brissett won a game this year and Kap hasn't won since this time last year (against the Ravens).