Some bottom lines from Week 7 of the NFL season -
The Titans hit a bittersweet moment. - First came the passing of former Oilers coach Oail Andrew "Bum" Phillips, and now the passing of team founder Kenneth Stanley "Bud" Adams following their 31-17 loss to the 49ers comes with the Titans having lost three straight despite showing genuine playoff muscle. No doubt the team will be more motivated to win when they come back from their bye week; I still feel they can be a playoff team because they've shown muscle on all sides of the ball and Jake Locker, who naturally looked off the first half of the game coming back from two games out, should get better, having already shown he can play.
The Patriots offensive line is becoming an issue - Much is being made of the league's pushing rule on FGAs - a rule the league may have hastily rewritten after the fact - and curiously there is heavy criticism on WEEI and elsewhere that the Patriots didn't run the ball enough. The fact is running the ball is not working regardless of what the yardage may ostensibly tell you - when it isn't working teams stop wasting downs with the run.
The real issue for the Patriots is the offensive line is not protecting Brady - he's being attacked more and more and getting hit more and more; his injured hand against the Jets became an issue as that game went on. The Patriots line did poorly against the Bengals and twice have struggled against the Jets. It needs to become more ferocious and start taking over the line of scrimmage.
Player safety is not justification for ticky-tack rules - The NFL is justifying this new rule on FGAs in the name of player safety. The fact is players have never been in the risk the narrative pushed by League Of Denial pretends exists (see War On Football: Saving America's Game); the game has long been exceptionally safe, in large part because of the toughness of the players. The league needs to relearn how to trust in the toughness of the players and stop with these ticky-tack rules
The Jets are still too undisciplined to make the playoffs - The Jets committed nine penalties and some of them were egregious errors befitting a team fundamentally undisciplined.
The Panthers may now be hitting a groove - Carolina is now 3-3 and their schedule looks easier now with the fall of the Falcons and Bucs and the Saints no longer unbeaten.
The Broncos are not what people think they are - The Colts opened the roof of Lucas Oil Stadium and it became obvious that it negatively affected Peyton Manning, as the Broncos fell behind 36-17 and then gagged away their comeback attempt. It's clear the Broncos are not the juggernaut people assumed they'd be.
The AFC West can take down the Broncos - Kansas City is unbeaten and the Chargers are now getting into a groove.
The NFC North is joining the NFC East as most overrated division in the league - The Bears fell in an awe-inspiring shootout to the Redskins; The Packers are just 4-2; the Lions are 4-3. Meanwhile the NFC East is led by the overrated Cowboys as the Eagles faltered again. It will be surprising if anyone in either division reaches 11 wins.
The Ravens are slowly but surely sliding out of playoff contention - Losing to the one-win Steelers, division foe or not, is just the latest sign the defending champs are not ready for prime time.
So it goes until Week Eight.