The first six weeks of the 2022 NFL season have been more than chaotic. The New York Giants, who went 4-13 last season, have already eclipsed that mark in 2022 with a 5-1 start. Their only loss came to another surprising 2022 team, the Dallas Cowboys. After losing franchise quarterback Dak Prescott after the Cowboys’ Week 1 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, backup Cooper Rush inserted life into the team and ripped off a four-game winning streak, bringing the Cowboys’ record to an impressive 4-2. On the other hand, two monumental favorites entering the season — the aforementioned Buccaneers and the Green Bay Packers — have immensely struggled to a 3-3 start. In this article, we will inspect five things to look for in Week 7.
#1: Can the Browns stay afloat?
It has certainly been an eventful calendar year for the Cleveland Browns. Following a disappointing 2021 season, the Browns made major changes heading into 2022. They ditched the 2018 No. 1 overall pick, Baker Mayfield, in favor of former Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. Watson, who missed the 2021 season, was suspended by the league for 11 games in 2022 following numerous sexual misconduct allegations.
Through six weeks, backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett has played solid football. His quarterback rating (QBR) is 10th in the league, and his expected points added (EPA) is eighth. However, the Browns sit at 2-4 and are in the midst of a three-game losing streak. With a trip to Baltimore against their rival Ravens in Week 7, the Browns will need to get back on track to keep their season alive for when Watson returns in Week 13.
#2: How good are the New York Giants?
To everyone’s surprise, the New York Giants have lost just one game through six weeks. First-year head coach Brian Daboll has changed the culture in the Big Apple. His strong-willed, determined style of leadership has brought the best out of his young players. Fourth-year quarterback Daniel Jones is having the best season of his career by far. He ranks 12th in QBR, 11th in EPA and 11th in points above average (PAA).
This week, Big Blue travels to Jacksonville for a tough test against the Jaguars. Despite sitting at 2-4, Jacksonville has given problems to the 6-0 Philadelphia Eagles, shut out the 3-2-1 Indianapolis Colts at home and demolished the Los Angeles Chargers on the road at the SoFi Stadium. Week 7 won’t give us a definitive answer but will provide more clarity on how far the Giants can go this season.
#3: Are the Denver Broncos finished?
Despite acquiring the $250 million man, Russell Wilson, the Denver Broncos find themselves sitting at an egregious 2-4 through six weeks. Wilson is 26th in QBR, 28th in PAA and 22nd in EPA. Ugly. They get a young, inexperienced New York Jets team at home in Week 7. The Jets don’t trust second-year quarterback Zach Wilson, and the Bronco defense — which has only allowed over 19 points once this season — will likely shut him down. This game is on the shoulders of Wilson and the struggling Bronco offense averaging just 15.2 points a game, which is dead last, 32nd, in the NFL. A record of 2-5 is a death sentence in the modern NFL. If Denver has any chance of salvaging their season, it needs to happen in Week 7.
#4: Will the Dolphins rally around Tua Tagovailoa?
The Miami Dolphins were the best team through three weeks. They beat the Ravens, the Buffalo Bills and the New England Patriots to start the season. Then disaster struck. The Dolphins’ starting quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, hit the ground when he was tackled by a defensive lineman and has since missed the following two games with a concussion, resulting in three consecutive losses for Miami. His impact on the team is unquestionable; he is first in the NFL in QBR and top five in PAA.
Tagovailoa’s return in Week 7 on Sunday Night Football against the Pittsburgh Steelers is paramount to the Dolphins’ success. His ability to get the ball to his primary playmakers has fostered great success in this offense. Expect him to enter right back into the lineup and the Dolphins to get right back into their winning ways.
#5: Can Jimmy Garoppolo get his revenge?
The best matchup this weekend is the 4-2 Kansas City Chiefs at the 3-3 San Francisco 49ers, a rematch of the 2019-20 Super Bowl. The Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes has been among the league leaders in every single quarterback stat. He is a frontrunner for NFL MVP. On the flip side, 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has been widely impressive since taking over after starter Trey Lance suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 2. He ranks eighth in passer rating, ninth in touchdown percentage, and sixth in yards per attempt.
Both first-place teams are coming off disappointing offensive performances resulting in losses. Getting back on track in Week 7 will be paramount for these teams with Super Bowl aspirations. A high-scoring game is likely to come between these two powerhouses, but the winner will leave the week with monumental momentum heading into Week 8.