7-on-7 drill: NFL power rankings, weekend preview, fantasy advice and more

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This is the first edition of 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 (3-0)-Who needs Brady? Pats' dominance in all three phases is impressive.

2. Broncos (3-0)- Who needs Manning? With that defense behind him, Trevor Siemian merely needs to be competent, and Sunday, he was much more.


3. Vikings (3-0)- Who needs Bridgewater and Peterson? Sam Bradford is a better passer than Bridgewater; it's just a question if he can stay healthy through the year, which nobody on Minnesota has been able to do.

4. Steelers (2-1)- Who needs Le'Veon Bell? Ok, maybe they could use Bell now, after the Eagles defense devoured them Sunday.

5. Packers (2-1)- The offense still isn't at its 2014 level, but Sunday's performance against the Lions was a start.

6. Panthers (1-2)- They already have more losses than last year. But they've played two of the best defenses in the league, and Cam will now shred NFC South opponents in the eight division games remaining.

7. Eagles (3-0)- Initially left off this list, because do we really think they have a better chance to win a Super Bowl than a team such as the Seahawks? With Russell Wilson hobbling around, yes. The Eagels are outscoring their opponents by nearly 22 points per game.


1. Bears (0-3)- On the bright side, this franchise could score its first-ever top-2 pick. Time to watch Clemson, Notre Dame and Miami games to scout your next quarterback.

2. Browns (0-3)- Count me impressed by their competitiveness. The talent isn't there yet, but it will be in a couple years.

3. Jaguars (0-3)- The offseason was more fun for Jags fans. Is it time to start wondering if Bortles, the No. 3 pick in 2014, isn't a franchise guy?


4. 49ers (1-2)- For the second straight year, the Niners teased us with a dominant Monday Night Football performance in Week 1 only to get slaughtered thereafter.

5. Saints (0-3)- The Super Dome used to be super tough for opponents to win inside. Now, all you need is an average quarterback to outgun the wispy Saints.

6. Buccaneers (1-2)- Another defense that can't even swat flies. Jameis Winston has to be more consistent, too.

7. Dolphins (1-2)- It's Ryan Tannehill's make-or-break season. So far he's putting up big but somewhat empty numbers.


1. Panthers at Falcons (1 p.m.)- Statement game; the winner becomes the favorite in the NFC South.

2. Chiefs at Steelers (8:30 p.m.)- Few teams looked better than the Chiefs last weekend, and few looked worse than the Steelers. Two teams that could be jockeying for playoff position, even this early.


3. Giants at Vikings (8:30 p.m. Monday)- Minnesota keeps losing players and keeps winning games. Another good test with a team capable of raising its level in prime time.

4. Raiders at Ravens (1 p.m.)- The Ravens finally play a competent opponent. Time to test the mettle of their undefeated mark.

5. Rams at Cardinals (4:25 p.m.)- The division leaders against the team tied for last place. The Cardinals, whose scoring differential is 33 points better than the Rams, could change those titles quickly.

6. Seahawks at Jets (1 p.m.)- Jets can't afford to drop into a deeper hole, but if their quarterback threw six interceptions last week, how will he fare against the "Legion of Boom?"

7. Bills at Patriots (1 p.m.)- Who will play quarterback for the Patriots? If it's Julian Edelman (it won't be), would you still pick them to win?



1. Panthers- Cam is still king in this division.

2. Steelers- Time to prove last week a fluke.

3. Vikings- Home-field advantage in Minnesota is too much.

4. Raiders- Harbaugh's house of cards eventually has to fall.

5. Cardinals- Arizona much better after a loss.

6. Jets- Defense rises to the occasion against a limited Wilson.


7. Patriots- It will be Garoppolo. And a surprisingly close game.


1. Kirk Cousins, QB- He shook off some early-season struggles last week and now gets to face a Browns defense that has allowed big passing games weekly.

2. Melvin Gordon, RB- Aside from a single QB scramble, Gordon was the only Charger to register a carry last week. And now he gets to play the Saints, who are on a short week after allowing six touchdowns Monday.

3. Theo Riddick, RB- His first week as the Lions lead back didn't go well. Nothing like the injured and already poor Bears defense to help turn things around.

4. A.J. Green, WR- The Dolphins better scheme up something creative, because their cornerbacks will look like second-place finishers in a Usain Bolt race trying to keep up with Green.

5. Demaryius Thomas, WR- He's getting progressively more comfortable with Trevor Siemian, and now faces a Bucs defense prone to big plays.


6. Greg Olsen, TE- He's being targeted nine times a game, and facing an Atlanta defense that's allowing more than 30 points per game.

7. Cardinals defense- They've been boom and bust the last two weeks. With Case Keenum lined up across from them Sunday, it'll be boom again.


1. Trump: "I think my strongest asset by far is my temperament. I have a winning temperament."

2. Clinton: "I think Donald just criticized me for preparing for this debate. And, yes, I did. You know what else I prepared for? I prepared to be president. And I think that's a good thing."

3. Trump: "I don't think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC. She's saying Russia, Russia, Russia, but I don't — maybe it was. I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK?"

4. Clinton:  "Well, Donald, I know you live in your own reality."


5. Trump: "She doesn't have the look, the stamina."

6. Clinton: "A man who can be provoked by a tweet, should not have his fingers anywhere near the nuclear codes as far as I think anyone with any sense about this should be concerned."

7. Trump: "I want to make America great again. I will be able to do it, I don't believe Hillary will. The answer is, if she wins, I will absolutely support her."


1. 1971 Patriots draft Jim Plunkett; Saints take Archie Manning- Plunkett had a horrendous five seasons with the Patriots but later won two Super Bowls with the Raiders. Manning never led a winning team but his offspring have produced four Super Bowls.

2. 1993 Patriots draft Drew Bledsoe; Seahawks take Rick Mirer- Bledsoe was the face of the franchise until Tom Brady seized that role. Mirer was an unambiguous bust.

3. 1998 Colts draft Peyton Manning; Chargers take Ryan Leaf- The prototypes for what can go right and wrong when taking a QB high in the draft.


4. 1999 Browns draft Tim Couch; Eagles take Donovan McNabb- The first instance in which No. 2 outplayed No. 1. And it wasn't even close.

5. 2012 Colts draft Andrew Luck; Redskins take Robert Griffin III- After Year 1 it looked like both franchises hit the jackpot. Now the Redskins are using their fourth-rounder from that draft.

6. 2015 Bucs draft Jameis Winston; Titans take Marcus Mariota- Both teams seem to have found a franchise quarterback, but it's too early to tell which one will have a better career, or if either will be truly special.

7. 2016 Rams draft Jared Goff; Eagles take Carson Wentz- Goff, coming out of Cal's spread offense, isn't refined enough to play right away. Wentz, a Division I-AA prospect, is already a cult hero in Philly after starting 3-0. Give Rams GM Les Snead a dose of truth serum -- or maybe just a few fingers of Clyde May's Whiskey -- and ask who he'd choose if he could rewind five months.