Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Matches of teams in the middle highlight week seven NFL action

As college football releases its first BCS rankings of the year, all cynical thoughts regarding the NFL labor dispute this summer should be wiped away. While college football fans are enjoying yet another parity-filled, thrilling season, they must keep in mind that at the end of the year, there may not be a definite champion. Four teams could easily end the season without a single loss, and the never-ending debate will begin yet again. Thankfully, the NFL does not have this problem and as exciting as bowl season can get, the season-ending playoff witnessed in professional football is unrivaled by its collegiate cousin. This midway point in the NFL season marks an important time for teams to either begin to compete for the playoffs, or enter the sweepstakes for the first overall pick in the 2012 draft. The importance of divisional matchups rises each week, and the occasional hiccup in any schedule is amplified. All in all, this leads to great football for week seven.

San Diego at NY Jets

Outside of that team caught dreaming in Philadelphia, the New York Jets were likely the biggest disappointment sitting at 2-3 last week. While they took care of business against the struggling Dolphins in week six, they have only squeaked by one formidable opponent thus far. They welcome the 4-1 Chargers into MetLife Stadium this Sunday in a crucial game for both teams. The Jets are trying to keep pace with the Bills and Patriots while San Diego attempts to remain atop the AFC West. The Chargers may be the better team on paper, but travelling across the nation for an early start will likely have some effect. San Diego is also trying to get healthy, as stars Ryan Matthews and Antonio Gates remain questionable. Without Gates fully healthy, Darrelle Revis will be able to lock down wideout Vincent Jackson and the Jets will finally be able to fly over .500 again.

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Houston at Tennessee

With the Indianapolis Colts falling off their decade long pedestal via Peyton Manning’s faulty neck, the AFC South is up for grabs and these two teams are unquestionably interested. With the aid of a bye in week six the Titans hold the division lead by half a game after Houston lost at Baltimore. When word arrived of Manning not returning for likely the remainder of the season the Texans were expected to walk away with the underachieving division. The Titans have given them more than enough competition thus far and will present quite the foe Sunday afternoon in Nashville. Free agent quarterback Matt Hasselbeck has been a pleasant surprise for Tennessee, playing well under the looming addition of rookie Jake Locker. The Steelers shredded the Titans’ defense for 38 points in week six and the Texans’ explosive offense will look to do the same. Look for Arian Foster to get plenty of touches out of the Houston backfield, and just enough for a close Texan victory.

Kansas City at Oakland

Most teams that give up 40+ points and lose their franchise running back in their first two games don’t stand much of a chance of being successful. Fortunately, the 2011 Kansas City Chiefs are not most teams. After losing their first three games and Jamaal Charles to season-ending knee surgery, the Chiefs have unveiled the connection of Matt Cassel to Dwayne Bowe. Cassel has thrown four touchdowns to Bowe in their last three games and the duo that tore up fantasy leagues last fall is just heating up. The Raiders will possibly be in disarray considering their quarterback position is being shuffled like a deck of cards in Vegas. If the Raiders are not able to control the game with their rushing attack, expect the passing pair from Kansas City to light up their dilapidated secondary.

As thoughts of the playoffs seem to come into sight for some teams, many others are losing their patience. Keep in mind we waited 132 days for the NFL lockout to commence. Patience is key as the NFL season rolls on, Sunday-to-Sunday. The end of the season may be where the playoffs are truly decided, but playoff spots are almost always determined in the middle weeks of the NFL season.

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