MEXICO CITY.- Some teams are meshing while others have to develop new identities by dint of facing adversity. For younger players, the game is starting to slow down. Additionally, teams are reaching their bye weeks, allowing them to recharge their batteries, mentally and physically.
Week 7 of this NFL season is important because multiple teams have the opportunity to reach or stay above the ever-important .500 mark while keeping pace with the division leaders.
Recent history is proof that having a record of .500 or better after the seventh week is a key factor in getting a postseason ticket. Over the past 10 years (2011-20), 122 teams made the postseason, and 107 of those (87.7 percent) were .500 or better throughout the first seven weeks of the NFL season.
That is why this week is key for several teams, starting with this Thursday night’s duel between 3-3 clubs, the DENVER BRONCOS and CLEVELAND BROWNS. More throughout the league:
Two teams coming off their bye weeks, the SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (2-3) and the NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (3-2), will try –in prime time– to be included in that group of teams that are .500 or better. The 49ers host the INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (2-4) in Sunday Night Football’s Sunday Night Classic, while the Saints travel to take on the SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (2-4) in the other classic, Monday at La Monday Night Football night.
A pair of NFC South teams, the CAROLINA PANTHERS (3-3) and the ATLANTA FALCONS (2-3), can keep up with respective trips to play the NEW YORK GIANTS (1-5) and MIAMI DOLPHINS ( 1-5), respectively.
The CHICAGO BEARS (3-3) have a chance to upset TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (5-1) on Sunday.
And, in one of the main games of the weekend, the KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (3-3) meet in Nashville with the TENNESSEE TITANS (4-2) on Sunday.
Four teams currently have winning streaks of at least five games: ARIZONA (six), BALTIMORE (five), DALLAS (five) and GREEN BAY (five). It is the first time since week 13 of the 2018 season that four or more teams have had winning streaks of that length.
Three of those clubs – Baltimore, Dallas and Green Bay – lost in their 2021 starts. Last season, the Browns, Colts and Super Bowl champions the Buccaneers qualified for the postseason after losing their 2020 openers.
Last week’s thrilling game Monday night in Nashville, where the Titans defeated the Bills 34-31 in the final seconds, marked the NFL’s third game this season with at least seven forward changes.
Tennessee and Buffalo tied a mark on Monday Night Football with their seven forward changes. The only other time that happened in the primetime series, the 52-year-old, was on September 15, 2008, when Dallas emerged with a 41-37 victory over Philadelphia at Texas Stadium.
Earlier this season, two other games had seven forward changes: Arizona defeated Minnesota 34-33 in the second week, and the Chargers beat Cleveland 47-42 in the fifth.
Even games were rife so far this season. On average, more than one game per week had at least five lead changes (seven such games in six weeks).
Already this season, 11 games went into overtime, the second-most in the first six weeks of a season in history. Only the 1995 season (12 games) had more at this point. Dallas, Minnesota and Pittsburgh had overtime victories in the sixth week.
At least one game went into overtime in each of the first six weeks of the 2021 season, marking the second time in history (2018) that a season has at least one game that reaches overtime in each of its firsts. six weeks.
The league needs just one game in overtime this weekend to tie an NFL record for the longest streak of season-opener weeks with at least one game in overtime (Weeks 1-7, 2018).
There have been 23 games with a finishing touchdown in the last minute of regular time or overtime this season, the most such performances in the first six weeks in history.
THE TITANS HAVE ANOTHER FIELD MARSHAL IN THEIR LOOK
Coming off an impressive Monday night win over Buffalo, the TENNESSEE TITANS (4-2) host the KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (3-3) on Sunday.
The game features the NFL leader in touchdown passes, Kansas City’s PATRICK MAHOMES (18), and his favorite target, TYREEK HILL, who is tied for the NFL lead with 46 receptions. The clash also includes Tennessee running back DERRICK HENRY, the league’s leader in both rushing yards (783) and touchdown carries (10).
Last week, Mahomes threw a season-high 397 yards with two touchdowns, while tight end TRAVIS KELCE had eight receptions for 99 yards in the Chiefs’ win at Washington.
At Nissan Stadium on Sunday, Mahomes can record the 30th game of his career with 300 passing yards and surpass Hall of Famer KURT WARNER (29) for the most such performances by a player in his first five seasons in the history of the NFL.
Also this week, Kelce can record the 79th game of his career with at least five receptions and surpass Hall of Famer SHANNON SHARPE (78) for the fourth-most such games by a tight end in NFL history. NFL. Only Hall of Famer TONY GONZÁLEZ (139 games), JASON WITTEN (130) and ANTONIO GATES (96) have more.
Tennessee running back DERRICK HENRY averaged 7.2 yards per carry (20 attempts, 143 yards) and rushed in three touchdowns in the Titans’ win last week. Henry, who rushed 130 yards and three touchdowns in Week 5, is the first player in 15 years since 2006 Hall of Famer LADAINIAN TOMLINSON with consecutive 100-yard rushing games and three or more touchdown carries. Tomlinson reached that mark throughout a three-game streak on November 5-19, 2006.
Henry’s 13-yard touchdown with 3:05 to play, and the Titans’ dramatic stop at the goal line in the final seconds, sealed Tennessee’s win in last week’s Monday night win. The Titans, who led the Bills 10-0 in the fourth period, have the most wins coming from behind in the league (13) in the fourth period or in overtime since head coach MIKE VRABEL took over. in 2018.