The Flagrant Foul: Week 7 Preview and Thursday Night Recap

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The Vikings-Eagles game should be great in its own right, and the quarterbacks make it even more interesting. (credit: Getty Images)

– Bill Annechino

Thursday night recap:

Well, Brian Hoyer broke his arm, and Aaron Rodgers looked good again.  Matt Barkley posted a 6/15 line with 81 passing yards and 2 interceptions, good for a 13.7 QBR.  Remember when he was at USC and being discussed as a serious contender to be not only a first round pick, but the first overall pick?  Pretty awesome stuff here.  I watched the NLCS game instead of this.  Does anyone actually enjoy these Thursday Night games?  It seems like they’re always terrible matchups on paper, the players are on record as saying that they don’t like the short week and the on-field product usually suffers. 

NFL: Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers

Brian Hoyer went down with a broken arm in another stinker of a Thursday Night Football game. (credit: NESN.com)

  Is there really anyone out there who would rather have a Thursday night game than a second Monday Night game?  On a side note, is there anyone who doesn’t love the 2 Monday Night games they do for opening week every year?  What makes Thursday Night Football even weirder is that it isn’t on the same network every week.  Some weeks, it streams on Twitter, CBS and NFL Network.  Some weeks, CBS and NFL Network, and other weeks, just NFL Network.  It has to be time to pull the plug on this. 

New York @ Los Angeles (10:30 EST, game being played in London)

Why you might care about this game:  Maybe you have a vested interest in NFL games being played in London.  Perhaps you are one of the people that feels that American Football can be a global sport.  Or, possibly, you work all day on Sunday and this early start time is your only shot at catching some football this weekend.  From a game perspective, you might be interested to see whether or not Odell Beckham can build on his big game from last week, and if the Giants can make it two wins in a row.  You also could be a big University of Houston football fan who really just likes seeing Case Keenum play in the NFL. 

Why you probably don’t care about this game:  It starts at 10:30 AM EST, so unless you’re a fan of the Giants or the Rams, you probably aren’t waking up early for this one.odell-proposal  It’s a battle of 3-3 teams that don’t really move the needle, although the Giants are more interesting.  You may have also noticed that these London games have a tendency to end up being sloppy games, although this game is being played in Twickenham Stadium as opposed to Wembley, and I am told that this is a rugby stadium with a significantly better playing surface.  Like I said though, unless you’re a fan of one of these two teams or if you take your fantasy football so seriously that you absolutely have to watch Odell Beckham play, you probably don’t care about this game. 

New Orleans @ Kansas City (1:00 EST)

Why you might care about this game:  Theoretically, one of these teams is going to build on their big win from last week.  Maybe you really like Andy Reid and you’re a fan of extremely conservative quarterback play.  You could also have shares of the Saints offense, like Drew Brees or maybe Brandin Cooks, two players who have been known to light it up.  As far as week 7 games go, this is one of the better ones, although the Saints are a notably worse team away from the Superdome.  I’ve picked the Saints as a possible playoff sleeper, and the Chiefs look like they could also sneak in, so this is an important game for both teams. 

Why you probably don’t care about this game:  Did you know that it’s been 7 years since the Saints won a playoff game?  We’ve reached the point with Drew Brees and Sean Payton that they have been together so long and the offensive numbers look about the same every year, that we’ve kind of lost sight of the fact that it’s a completely different team than the high-flying saints you probably remember fondly.  Meanwhile, this is Andy Reid’s 4th year coaching the Chiefs.  Does it feel like it’s been that long?  The Chiefs are firmly entrenched in the “good but not great” mold that Reid’s Eagles frequently found themselves in, and I don’t really think there are many reasons that you, the viewer, would find that compelling to watch.  The Saints, as noted, are much better at home, and this could be one of those games where they put up 13 points. 

Indianapolis @ Tennessee (1:00 EST)

andrew luck.jpgWhy you might care about this game:  You bet money on one of the two teams, you’re related to someone playing or coaching in this game, you actually are playing or coaching in this game, or you’re a Colts fan (I wanted to say Titans fan, but I’m not convinced those exist).

Why you probably don’t care about this game:  If you really need me to explain this to you, then this whole NFL thing might not be for you.  Seriously, there’s better early games this week, so let’s move on to the best. 

Minnesota @ Philadelphia (1:00 EST)

Why you might care about this game:  Ok, so this game admittedly looked a lot more interesting when Philly was undefeated but they had to go ruin that by losing their last two games.  But don’t let that fool you; the advanced numbers still say that the Eagles are one of the best teams in the NFL.  Unfortunately for Philadelphia, those same numbers say the Vikings are better.  Minnesota is also coming off their bye week, which typically helps.  It’s still interesting, though, because if you’re like me, you think Minnesota is the better team but you also think that Philadelphia is too good to lose 3 games in a row. 

Why you probably don’t care about this game:  I can’t really think of too many reasons not to watch this one if you have the opportunity.  It’s a weak slate of early games, and this is the one to watch if you care about watching potentially good football with playoff picture implications.  One thing that really grinds my gears is the people who refuse to watch a better game because “their team” is playing.  Seriously, if you’re a Browns fan who would rather watch your shitty team play terrible football than actually good football, you’re really the lowest common denominator of football fan. 

Cleveland @ Cincinnati (1:00 EST)

Why you might care about this game:  I’m pretty sure I just used Cleveland as an example of a team that it would be pathetic to care about, so do you really think there are a lot of reasons to watch this one?  With Terrelle Pryor seemingly trending towards not playing, the only reason to watch this game is A.J. Green.  Additionally, you may live in Ohio and be involved in some sort of blood feud with other people who live in Ohio over who the state’s best football team is (hint:  It’s Ohio State). 

Why you probably don’t care about this game:  These are two bad teams playing each other in the sort of Apathy Bowl that can really make the NFL suck sometimes.  The trick to remaining sane as an NFL fan is playing fantasy football so you might actually be looking forward to a game like this.  Although, if you’re eagerly anticipating this game, you’re probably the kind of degenerate who’s in a fantasy football league with more than a $100 buy in. 

Washington @ Detroit (1:00 EST)

Detroit Lions, Washington Redskins

Why you might care about this game:  Because you like that.  Two of the teams that move the needle the least in the NFL, yet somehow are still right in the thick of things.  Were you aware that after its 1-3 start, Detroit has righted the ship and has gotten back to .500?  Were you aware that Washington, after losing its first 2 games, has won 4 in a row?  These teams have also both beaten the Eagles in the last two weeks, which probably doesn’t mean anything.  Detroit has possibly the worst defense in the NFL (seriously, they made Case Keenum look like a viable NFL quarterback last week), and Washington has a group of playmaking receivers and a quarterback who isn’t afraid to make some downright ill-advised throws.  You could talk me into watching some of this one. 

Why you probably don’t care about this game:  As previously mentioned, these teams don’t really move the needle.  Let me be the one to tell you, folks, that this is the dark horse candidate for game of the week.  Two fantasy-friendly offenses with quarterbacks who aren’t afraid to throw it around and suspect defenses is always a recipe for compelling football. 

Oakland @ Jacksonville (1:00 EST)

Why you might care about this game:  This sort of has the same formula as the Washington game, with the two quarterbacks who aren’t afraid to throw it around and the bad defenses.  Unfortunately, Blake Bortles isn’t as good as the quarterbacks in that game.  Can’t really think of too many reasons to watch this one. 

Why you probably don’t care about this game:  You’re watching one of the better games on the early slate.  Additionally, you avoid Jaguars games like the plague.  Let me interject a personal opinion here:  the Jaguars are my least favorite NFL team, and it’s an easy call.  They’ve been terrible forever.  They aren’t terrible in a fun way, either.  They’re just nondescript mediocrity, year in and year out.  You’d think a team that has been bad as long as Jacksonville would have lucked into drafting a superstar with one of their high draft picks right?  In addition to this, they have always had possibly the worst uniforms in the NFL.  I’ve made fun of the Browns before because brown is an awful jersey color, but the combination of teal and gold is just as bad.  Their fans also don’t care.  It’s all a real shame because an actual jaguar is a badass animal, and shouldn’t be associated with this football team. 

Buffalo @ Miami (1:00 EST)

Why you might care about this game:  You live in Western New York.    

Why you probably don’t care about this game:  LeSean McCoy is hurt, the Dolphins are the Dolphins, Ryan Tannehill is Ryan Tannehill.  Seriously, the only reason I could see someone watching this game is because they’re a Bills fan, because I know Dolphins fans don’t watch their team play (besides longtime friend of the site, Rick). 

Baltimore @ New York (1:00 EST)

Why you might care about this game:  Because you hate yourself.  Seriously, Geno Smith is the new starter in New York, and he isn’t good.  The Ravens are “hungry” for a win after three straight losses, I guess.  With Ben Roethlisberger’s injury, the AFC North is, unfortunately, wide open again.  A win here would put the Ravens back above .500, and tied with Pittsburgh (who I’m assuming will lose to the Patriots). 

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Geno, for one, is excited about him seeing the field. (credit: Elsa/Getty Images)

Why you probably don’t care about this game:  As previously mentioned, Geno Smith figures to be prominently involved here.  The Jets have probably mailed in their season at this point, and the Ravens suddenly have reason to believe that they’re in the driver’s seat of the AFC North.  Something I would really enjoy is if the Jets and Ravens both wore their alternate jerseys with the gold pants and the dark tops, so it would be like a Madden game where both players picked similar jerseys and no one knows what the hell is going on. 

Tampa Bay @ San Francisco (4:05 EST)

Why you might care about this game:  I can’t think of any reason to care about this game, but I do have something to get off my chest:  It’s always bothered me that Tampa’s sports teams use the name “Tampa Bay”, when the bay isn’t that impressive, and no one really thinks of Tampa Bay when they think of the city of Tampa.  San Francisco, meanwhile, has an iconic bay.  So iconic that San Francisco and Oakland are referred to as the “bay area”.  Am I crazy or do the Bay Area Warriors suddenly have the best team name in the NBA?  What enrages me to no end about this is that these terrible Tampa Bay sports teams (with apologies to the Lightning, who are good and might win the Cup this season) are the only teams across our 4 major professional sports leagues that are named after a geographical feature instead of a city or a state.  Tampa Bay shouldn’t be that geographical feature.  So, I propose that when the Bay Area Raiders move to Las Vegas, they become the Death Valley somethings.  We can figure out the name later, but the point is that there are a lot better geographical features in this country than some stupid bay no one ever thinks or talks about, and yet that bay has its name in 3 professional sports teams.  Disgraceful. 

Why you probably don’t care about this game:  Because you’re a sane human being and there’s a much better late game on. 

San Diego @ Atlanta (4:05 EST)

phillip-rivers-funny-face

Phil can kinda see the path to the playoffs, he guesses.

Why you might care about this game:  And this is that better game.  These are two of the best offenses and worst defenses in the league, and they’re playing in a dome.  Atlanta has a lot to prove after getting screwed last week, and San Diego could still maybe talk themselves into trying to sneak into the playoff picture.  Sign me up for this game, I will be watching. 

Why you probably don’t care about this game:  You should watch this game.  Seriously, watch this game.  Please. 

New England @ Pittsburgh (4:25 EST)

Why you might care about this game:  This game was seriously the game I was most looking forward to this entire regular season, and then Roethlisberger gets hurt and suddenly it looks like a route.  I hate football sometimes. 

Why you probably don’t care about this game:  You’re seriously going to watch the Tom Brady revenge tour do dirty things to a Pittsburgh team that has looked dangerously inept without Big Ben in recent years instead of watching Chargers/Falcons?  Please, don’t do that.

Seattle @ Arizona (Sunday Night Football)

Why you might care about this game:  You think it’s still 2015.  Carson Palmer still hasn’t looked right since his Delhomme (6 turnovers) in the NFC Championship game.  Meanwhile, Seattle has continued its run as the luckiest team in football, while padding its reputation by killing bad teams.

Why you probably don’t care about this game:  Clayton Kershaw is pitching Saturday night with the chance to send the NLCS into game 7.  If that happens, game 7 will be played at the same time as this football game.  If you are a sports fan, game 7 comes first.  It doesn’t matter the sport, and it doesn’t matter your allegiance.

Houston @ Denver (Monday Night Football)

Why you might care about this game:  You’re so desperate for a narrative that you actually think “The Brock Osweiler Bowl” is a big deal.  Also, you may be interested in seeing two of the league’s better defenses playing.  These are also two honest-to-god playoff teams playing in primetime.  This would be a huge win for Houston, because it would show that they can beat a good team.  It would be a big win for Denver, as well.  Houston isn’t great, but they’re leading their division.  Last week, they showed a sense of urgency on offense that we haven’t really seen from them all year.  The Broncos also have been suspect stopping the run this year, so that matchup with Lamar Miller looks appealing.  Maybe I’m biased because I live in Houston, but I do like to see Lamar play well. 

Why you probably don’t care about this game:  I mean, it is football, right?  It’s also Monday night, so it’s not like you have anything better to do.  Don’t overthink this one; watch the game. 


– Bill Annechino (@BillAnnechino)Bill Annechino

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