NFL Week 7 winners, losers: Packers have a Jordan Love problem, Chiefs find their groove

We are quickly nearing the halfway point of the NFL season and already we are starting to see the league's best ascend.

No game in Week 7 was bigger than the battle of one-loss teams Sunday night, between the Philadelphia Eagles and Miami Dolphins. Behind a physical defense that clamped down a mistake-prone Miami squad, the Eagles improved to 6-1 and made a statement.

Another six-win team, and the one Philadelphia played in Super Bowl 57, the Kansas City Chiefs, erupted on offense. Patrick Mahomes went off for season highs in passing yards and touchdowns, and that could mean trouble for the rest of the NFL

Meanwhile, in the NFC, a pair of young quarterbacks are facing uncertain futures, with Jordan Love of the Packers seeing his first season as Green Bay's starter very quickly imploding.

Here are the winners and losers from Week 7.

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Physical Philadelphia tough to beat when it plays clean

The Eagles have built their brand on physical play, in particular along both offensive and defensive lines. The Brotherly Shove is a big part of that, but Philadelphia’s huge victory over the Dolphins started on the defensive front. Miami came into Sunday night with the NFL’s top rushing offense (181.8 yards per game), which was one that was averaging more than 30 yards per game more than the next team (the Eagles).

In Philadelphia's 31-17 victory, the Dolphins gained just 45 rushing yards. The Eagles sacked Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa three times. Miami was banged up but was sloppy with penalties, threw an interception just outside of the red zone and the normally sure-handed Tyreek Hill had some costly drops. The Eagles (6-1) didn’t commit a single penalty, though refs clearly missed a crucial defensive facemask and others, while the Dolphins had 10 enforced. When playing at home with efficiency and this level of physicality, the Eagles will be a tough matchup for anyone.

The Chiefs offense, finally, wakes up

Fans have been used to the Chiefs dropping absurd numbers on offense, so the relatively slow start was noteworthy. To be clear, Kansas City’s production hasn’t been all that bad; it came into Week 7 ranked fourth in total offense, second in passing offense and third in third-down efficiency. The problem is the points have been tougher to come by, as have the explosive plays.

Against the Los Angeles Chargers, quarterback Patrick Mahomes honed in on tight end Travis Kelce (12 catches on 13 targets for 179 yards and a score). But Kansas City (6-1) found opportunities to look downfield and gash the Chargers secondary in a 31-17 win. Mahomes put up season bests in yards (424) and touchdowns (four). He completed passes of 27, 28 (twice) 37, 46 and 53 yards. The Chiefs have won six in a row after dropping their first game. The defending champs, with an improving defense, look like they’re just hitting their stride

In weak NFC South, flawed Falcons may be just good enough

The winner of Sunday’s game between the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers was going to take sole possession of first place in the NFC South. Atlanta (4-3) pulled out a 16-13 win on the road and now has that early edge. The Carolina Panthers (0-6) are in a full rebuild, the New Orleans Saints (3-4) have mostly underwhelmed, and Tampa Bay (3-3) has been mercurial to the point of being unreliable.

The Falcons have speed and talent at the skill positions. Even with star rookie running back Bijan Robinson (headache) more or less a decoy in limited work before being sidelined, the Falcons banded together to scrape out the victory on a last-second, game-winning field goal. Eight different Falcons caught passes, and three different players posted at least 35 rushing yards to combine for 156 on the day. Desmond Ridder lost three fumbles in the red zone and is still an uncertainty at quarterback. But, in good news, he snapped a dubious mark, winning his first career road start in his fifth try

Myles Garrett makes his case for DPoY

It’s rare to see a defensive player take over a game so handily that he becomes the clear reason why a team won its game. In a 39-38 win over the Indianapolis Colts, defensive end Myles Garrett did just that for the Browns (4-2). And, in the process, he put forth the strongest case thus far this season for the AP Defensive Player of the Year award.

He will obviously have competition the rest of the way, but Garrett collected nine tackles, two sacks − both of them strip sacks, one of which was recovered in the end zone for a score − one tackle for loss, one pass defended, four quarterback pressures and a blocked field goal. That block in turn led to Cleveland points, via a field goal. Even when he didn’t record a stat, Garrett created pressure, or even the threat of pressure, that clearly rushed the process of Colts quarterback Gardner Minshew. More performances like that and Garrett will almost certainly add to his trophy case.


The Jordan Love experiment is failing

Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10) walks off the field after an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos in Denver, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2023.

Maybe it was time to move on from Aaron Rodgers. But six games into the Jordan Love experiment, the results are rather concerning for the Green Bay Packers. Love is not a rookie quarterback getting his first shot; he is in the middle of his third season after spending a couple years behind Rodgers, one of the game’s greats, with the chance to absorb winning habits

Love ranks 22nd in passing yards (1,263), 28th in QB rating (79.4) and is tied for second in interceptions (seven). His pick Sunday against the Denver Broncos, a heave down the field into double coverage when the Packers needed only a field goal to potentially win the game in an eventual 19-17 loss, was baffling for its lack of situational awareness. It did come on a third-and-20, but Green Bay (2-4) was near midfield and, with the game in Denver, getting into field goal range should’ve been the absolute priority.

Daniel Jones

The sample size is small, and Tyrod Taylor’s numbers aren’t even that great. But after two starts while Daniel Jones (neck) has been on the mend, it’s clear the Giants are better with Taylor under center.

He might not be as aggressive as fans want and maybe he too often looks off downfield throws for checkdowns, but he’s efficient and rarely makes egregious mistakes. Last week in prime time − which happens to be a nightmare for Jones, who has a 1-12 record in such appearances − Taylor kept New York in the game. After Sunday's 14-7 victory over the Washington Commanders, he has combined for 479 yards and a pair of touchdowns on a 64.6% completion rate. His second-quarter touchdown pass to Darren Waller was the first home touchdown New York has had all season, as well as the team's first offensive one since Week 3 and the first first-half touchdown all year. The Giants committed to Jones in March to a four-year deal. He may not see the end of it.

Time for the Bills to panic?

Not necessarily, no. There’s still ton of season left, but there are plenty of reasons for concern in Buffalo. Many of them, like quarterback Josh Allen’s propensity to turn the ball over, are old issues that have lingered. But Buffalo (4-3) has hit a rut over the last three games, losing to the Jacksonville Jaguars in London, benefitting from a clear non-call in a tight victory over the Giants and losing 29-25 to a New England Patriots team that came into Sunday with only one win.

The Bills start slow. So often, they abandon their rushing attack; in their three losses, they’re averaging just 69 rushing yards per game. In their four victories, that figure swells to 145.8. This, also, is nothing new. The offensive line hasn’t yielded big sack numbers but allowed Patriots pass rushers to get home. The Bills were missing seven defensive starters against New England, so some grace should go their way, but that’s still not an excuse for this letdown

Humbled Lions still a work-in-progress

The Lions were one of the best stories in the NFL. They raced out to a 5-1 record and in a top-heavy NFC had been making their case as a potential Super Bowl contender. Detroit, to be sure, is still that. But Sunday’s 38-6 loss to the Baltimore Ravens showed that this young team still has some developing to do.

The Lions, though the first 17 minutes of the game, had gained just six yards of total offense; by that same time, the Ravens had amassed 245. Detroit came into Sunday with the NFL’s top-ranked rushing defense, one that had allowed just 64.7 yards per game. At halftime, Baltimore had racked up a cool 100. The Ravens moved the ball so well in the first half that they only faced five third downs. Baltimore converted four of those, anyway. The Ravens finished with 503 yards and averaged nearly a first down − 9.1 yards − on each play.

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