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NFL Week 7 takeaways: Dak Prescott back as Cowboys win, Giants hang on, Joe Burrow goes off


What is occurring immediately within the bonkers NFC East? Dak Prescott returned to the lineup and led the Cowboys past the lowly Lions 24-6. The Giants narrowly held on for his or her fourth straight win, topping the Jaguars 23-17 in Jacksonville. And Taylor Heinicke and the Commanders surprised the Packers 23-21. (Oh, and the Eagles, on a bye this week, are the league’s only unbeaten team at 6-0.)

What else did we learn from Sunday’s early NFL slate? We asked The Athletic’s Jeff HoweKalyn Kahler and Dan Pompei to weigh in on the motion.

With Philadelphia still out in front, Latest York and Dallas on a roll and Washington remaining competitive, this NFC East race is suddenly red-hot. What do you make of this division the remainder of the way in which?

Howe: The Cowboys may need the most effective defense within the league. They definitely have the defense that wreaks essentially the most havoc, and I proceed to imagine they’ll be Super Bowl contenders if the offense reaches its potential. The Eagles are obviously superb and are in excellent position to take care of their division lead, although the pressure of being undefeated goes to present an actual challenge the longer it lasts. The Giants only play close games, and to date, they’ve shown an incredible ability to win them whether or not they’re attempting to erase a deficit or they’re closing it out with a lead. That’s an indication of a really well-coached team. It will be an absolute stunner in the event that they aren’t within the playoffs. The Commanders seem like a distant fourth within the division this season.

Kahler: The Commanders are usually not a part of this NFC East race. I really like Taylor Heinicke and we’ve actually seen him lead this team to wins within the last three years, but their last two wins have come by the hands of the flailing Bears and Packers. The opposite three teams are clearly in a unique tier, with Philadelphia and Dallas on top and Latest York in the center. The Giants’ biggest margin of victory this season is eight points, whereas Dallas and Philadelphia each have multiple wins by two scores or more.

Pompei: The NFC East is wide open. It’s still very early within the season — way too soon to say who the most effective team is — however it wouldn’t be surprising to see multiple playoff representatives from the East. After all, the division could come right down to Week 18, when the Giants play the Eagles in Philadelphia and the Cowboys play the Commanders at FedEx Field. It’s probably going to be a three-team race since the Commanders don’t have the identical level of talent as the opposite three. But it surely wouldn’t be surprising to see them consider in some way.

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Joe Burrow had the performance of the early a part of the day, going 34-of-42 passing for 481 yards and three touchdowns (plus one other on the bottom) within the Bengals’ 35-17 pounding of the Falcons. After an up-and-down begin to the season, is that this the sort of game that may put Cincinnati back on a possible Super Bowl path — especially in what appears to be a comparatively soft division?

Howe: Really, their last two games have been necessary because they’ve gotten Ja’Marr Chase looking like himself again. It shows me that the Bengals are capable of creating adjustments. This was also a powerful victory due to the way in which they pounded the Falcons, who play really hard and have proven to be a tricky out. After a concerning 0-2 start, the Bengals have now won 4 of 5, and so they’re improving each week. They’re right back in it.

Kahler: Yes. This team seems to have gotten higher each week since opening the season with two losses. It looks like a protracted time ago that Burrow had 4 interceptions in Week 1. Since then, he’s thrown 16 touchdown passes and only one interception, and as The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr. identified this week, he’s stayed consistent on third down, leading NFL QBs in third-down passer rating, touchdowns and completion percentage. The Bengals converted seven of 11 third downs within the win over Atlanta, and if the offensive line can proceed to enhance and play the way in which it did Sunday, this team will stay at the highest of the AFC North.

Pompei: This was the sort of breakout that ought to have been anticipated from the Bengals. They’ve an excessive amount of going for them to be a middle-of-the-road team. A slow start was not unexpected, nonetheless, given a number of the challenges heading into the season. But don’t be surprised if this team finishes strong, so long as the team’s key players remain healthy. The Burrow-to-Chase connection has been a big consider just two games this season, and it’s prone to be a big consider many more.

Quarterback Tom Brady passed for 290 yards Sunday against the Panthers but was held with out a touchdown for the primary time since last Dec. 19. (Bob Donnan / USA Today)

It wasn’t an incredible day for veteran superstar quarterbacks as Tom Brady and the Buccaneers lost to the Panthers and Aaron Rodgers and the Packers fell in Washington. Which quarterback and team are you more anxious about looking ahead?

Howe: I wouldn’t ever count out Tom Brady. But let’s face it, this isn’t an either/or query immediately. Each offenses have been downright bad, and so they’re putting their talented defenses in bad spots, too. In no way should a Brady- or Rodgers-led offense be struggling on a weekly basis to attain 20 points. Each quarterbacks deserve the advantage of the doubt, but they ought to be moving in the correct direction by Week 7, and that clearly just isn’t the case.

Kahler: Woof. This is hard because something seems fundamentally off with each of those offenses. I’m more anxious concerning the Packers since it looks like the stakes are higher. The Buccaneers won a Super Bowl with Brady, and although Brady would probably argue otherwise, he has nothing left to prove within the NFL. Rodgers, nonetheless, has only one title to his name, and this team has come really close in each of the past three seasons. Last week, he hinted several times that the Packers ought to be lively on the trade deadline, so he’s telling us he doesn’t feel like he has the correct weapons to work with. This isn’t exactly latest information, however it’s getting late early in Green Bay and this offense hasn’t shown much improvement from week to week. When Davante Adams was traded, Rodgers lost the player who was helping him to carry this offense together, and the remaining young receivers haven’t stepped up enough. I can’t wait to listen to what Rodgers has to say about this loss.

Pompei: Brady probably has more potential to enhance because the season goes on because he has players around him who haven’t been playing as much as their abilities. That hasn’t been the case with Rodgers, whose Packers are receiver-deficient. Rodgers should get a lift when (if?) his offensive line finally gets healthy and gets its act together, but he still won’t have higher players on the opposite end of his passes. It’s looking increasingly more just like the Packers’ approach within the offseason at wide receiver was a failure.

Other than Burrow, who stood out to you as having essentially the most impressive individual performance from the early slate of games?

Howe: Panthers quarterback P.J. Walker is a third-string quarterback who took over for a team that just lost its best player and in the motive force’s seat for the No. 1 pick. He was going up against Tom Brady and facing a Bucs defense that had allowed the fifth-fewest points and seventh-fewest yards within the NFL. And in his fourth profession start, Walker went 16-for-22 for 177 yards and two touchdowns, and he didn’t turn it over. Walker played well enough that interim coach Steve Wilks said he might even keep the starting job when Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold are cleared to return.

Kahler: The Panthers’ running backs. Within the wake of Carolina trading Christian McCaffrey to San Francisco, each Chuba Hubbard and D’Onta Foreman had great days. Foreman had 118 yards on 15 carries, including a tremendous 60-yarder, and Hubbard had nine carries for 63 yards and a touchdown. These guys were ready for his or her moment.

Pompei: Derrick Henry had his most efficient rushing game in over a yr, and the Titans needed all 128 yards on a day when Ryan Tannehill threw for less than 132 yards. It was an important victory for the Titans, and Henry carried the offense.

(Top photo: Cooper Neill / Getty Images)

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