This Week In: The NFL – Week 7, 2013 and Updated Power Poll

Thompkins hauls in Brady's inch-perfect pass to give the Patriots a win over the Saints
Thompkins hauls in Brady’s inch-perfect pass to give the Patriots a win over the Saints

Last Sunday turned out to be a great day for Boston sporting fans*, as the Red Sox had a late comeback win against the Detroit Tigers in the American League Conference Series – fueled by a grand slam by David Ortiz – hours after the New England Patriots had pulled off a similarly shocking victory over the New Orleans Saints, after they had trailed by four late in the game.  Tom Brady, who had been held without a touchdown pass for the first time in 52 games the week before, had been misfiring for the majority of the game, but a perfect throw with just five seconds remaining found Kenbrell Tompkins at the back of the endzone to lift the Patriots to a 30-27 win over the previously unbeaten Saints.  New Orleans only had themselves to blame, as they had seven offensive snaps with less than three minutes to go in the fourth quarter, yet were unable to hold on to the 27-23 lead they held at the time.

*Something that, as a Yankees fan, it gives me no pleasure to say.

That defeat for the Saints means that there are only two undefeated teams remaining in the NFL in 2013, both of whom are in the AFC West: the Denver Broncos, who made harder work of beating the Jaguars than many expected (myself included), but eventually prevailed 35-19, though only after Jacksonville had pulled within two at the half following an interception return against Peyton Manning; and the Kansas City Chiefs, who beat their divisional rivals, the Oakland Raiders, 24-7 in Missouri.  At the other end of the spectrum, two other teams remain winless with the Jaguars: the New York Giants, who fell to 0-6 with 27-21 loss to the Bears in Chicago on Thursday night; and the Buccaneers, who lost 31-20 to the Eagles, despite Philadelphia being forced to play their reserve quarterback, Nick Folk, as Michael Vick was out through injury.  Pittsburgh managed to avoid joining the group of franchises without a win heading into week 7, as they beat the New York Jets, 19-6 at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, but the Steelers remain rooted to the bottom of the AFC North, below the Bengals, who improved to 4-2 with an overtime victory over the Bills in Cincinnati; as well as the Ravens and Browns, who both dropped to 3-3 following defeats against the Packers and Lions respectively.

Elsewhere, the Cowboys gained a share of the lead with Philadelphia in the NFC East, after they beat Washington in Dallas, 31-16 on Sunday night; the Colts had a surprise loss in San Diego, as they were beaten 19-9 by the Chargers; the 49ers remained a game behind the Seahawks, as they beat their divisional rivals Arizona in San Francisco, while Seattle overcame a fluffed field goal attempt that was returned for a touchdown by Tennessee, to overcome the Titans 20-13; and some Houston Texans “fans” cheered when their quarterback, Matt Schaub, was injured against the Rams, a game the home side ended up losing 38-13.  The other game last Sunday saw the Carolina Panthers beat the Vikings 35-10, but that game was overshadowed by the tragic news that a 2-year-old son of Adrian Peterson, the Minnesota running back, died from injuries he had sustained while at home in South Dakota, with the boyfriend of the boy’s mother now charged with aggravated assault on an infant, with more charges likely to be filed shortly.  Even though I do not agree with the death penalty, as a Dad to a 2-year-old, if I was on that jury there would not be enough bailiffs in the world who could stop me from getting to the defendant if the evidence proved he was guilty of such a heinous crime.

Power Poll Update

I used the same math as last time around, with the numbers and calculations updated based on the results from week 6 (and the appropriate multipliers being used to adjust for the fact that some teams have played 5 times, others 6), so I will not go over the working out again, merely highlight a few points for this week’s standings:

  • Despite their loss, the Saints remain in top position as the two teams that are undefeated – Denver and Kansas City – both have beaten the Jaguars and Giants, two winless teams.  Both the Chiefs and Broncos could usurp New Orleans – who have a bye – this weekend, if they can beat the Texans and Colts respectively.
  • The Jaguars lost by 16 against Denver but moved up three places in the rankings as the standard of their opponents was once again higher than that of the Giants, Buccaneers and even Pittsburgh, who remain below Jacksonville despite having won a game.  To further explain this, the four teams that Pittsburgh have lost to (Minnesota, Tennessee, Cincinnati and Chicago) have been beaten a total of 11 times in their other fixtures; while the six franchises who have beaten Jacksonville in 2013 (Kansas City, Denver, Indianapolis, Seattle, Oakland and St. Louis) have a total of 10 losses between them.  The Jaguars are almost definitely worse than the Steelers, but it will take at least another week of results for my power poll to reflect this.
  • As the season progresses and the amount of data available increases, these rankings should become more reliable in working out who is good and who is not, as every week the relevance of each victory or loss is adjusted.  For example, Miami’s win over the Colts is slightly less impressive now that the Chargers managed to beat them as well, something that is reflected in the fact that the idle Dolphins fell from 5th to 8th in this week’s poll.

(Last week’s ranking in brackets)

1. (1) New Orleans Saints

2. (2) Denver Broncos

3. (4) Kansas City Chiefs

4. (6) Seattle Seahawks

= (8) New England Patriots

6. (9) San Francisco 49ers

7. (12) Green Bay Packers

8. (5) Miami Dolphins

9. (15) Cincinnati Bengals

10. (3). Indianapolis Colts

11. (=10) Detroit Lions

12. (13) Chicago Bears

13. (7) Baltimore Ravens

14. (=10) Cleveland Browns

= (14) Arizona Cardinals

16. (25) San Diego Chargers

17. (21) Dallas Cowboys

= (18) Tennessee Titans

19. (19) St Louis Rams

20. (=22) Philadelphia Eagles

21. (16) Houston Texans

22. (17) New York Jets

23. (=22) Oakland Raiders

24. (20) Buffalo Bills

25. (24) Atlanta Falcons

= (=27) Carolina Panthers

27.(=27) Washington

28. (31) Jacksonville Jaguars

29. (32) Pittsburgh Steelers

30. (26) Minnesota Vikings

31. (29) New York Giants

32. (30) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Week 7 Predictions

Last week, 9-6; Season, 51-41

Home teams in bold

Cardinals +6.5 over Seahawks

Falcons -7.5 over Buccaneers

Bills +8.5 over Dolphins

Bears +1.5 over Washington

Bengals +2.5 over Lions

Cowboys +2.5 over Eagles

Patriots -4.5 over Jets

Chargers -7.5 over Jaguars

49ers -4.5 over Titans

Packers -10.5 over Browns

Texans +6.5 over Chiefs

Ravens +1.5 over Steelers

Colts +6.5 over Broncos

Giants -3.5 over Vikings

Rams +6.5 over Panthers

 

 

 

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