NFL's TOP TWO
1. Cardinals (7-0)
Not many teams get a 31-5 win and a this-is-the-NFL wake-up call in the same game. Arizona had two punts, a safety and 1 yard when it trailed the pitiful Texans 5-0 in the second quarter at home.
2. Packers (6-1)
Green Bay's much-maligned red-zone defense got four second-half stops thanks to some stout, opportunistic play and Washington QB Taylor Heinicke's inexplicable decision to slide with an open path to the end zone.
BEST 3-WIN TEAM
Vikings. The Vikings, Colts and Falcons have won two straight and three of four. Believe it or not, the Vikings have the best strength of victory among those teams. The teams they've beaten are 5-15 (.250). The Colts and Falcons have beaten teams that are 4-16 (.200).
WORST 3-WIN TEAM
Panthers. Carolina and Denver have lost four straight since starting 3-0. The Panthers also had to bench their quarterback in a loss to the one-win Giants.
WHERE ARE THE VIKINGS?
No. 16 out of 32. Coming out of their bye and heading toward a prime-time home game against Dallas, the Vikings still hold the NFC's seventh seed. Right now, all that gets you is a trip to Tampa for a wild-card game. Last week: 16.
Joe Burrow. A 400-yard game in a rout at Baltimore gives him a 5-2 record, more wins than Cincinnati had all last season and the best start by a Bengals QB since Andy Dalton went 8-0 in 2015.
Sam Darnold. It's safe to say Carolina is feeling some buyer's remorse on that offseason trade after having to bench the third overall pick in 2018 for P.J. Walker, an inexperienced backup who went undrafted in 2017.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Ja'Marr Chase. With 201 yards at Baltimore, the Bengals rookie set the NFL record for most yards receiving for a first-year player through seven games (754). He needs to average just 64.7 yards in the final 10 games to break the rookie record of 1,400 yards for a season set by the Vikings' Justin Jefferson in 16 games last year.
WEEK 8 PREVIEW
STAT TO WATCH
11-2-1. Ben Roethlisberger's record in Cleveland, second only to Baker Mayfield for most wins by a quarterback at First Energy Stadium. Roethlisberger hasn't started there since a tie in 2018 and is a 3½-point underdog this week. Pittsburgh is coming off a bye, but the Browns are rested too after hosting the Week 7 Thursday game.
The Chiefs (3-4) already have doubled last year's loss total and matched their loss totals from 2018 and 2019. The Bengals are the only team to surpass last year's win total, but Arizona and Dallas (5-1) can match last year's win totals this week.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Packers (6-1) at Cardinals (7-0). The league's hottest and best teams meet Thursday night in Arizona. They've won a combined 13 straight games, but Green Bay will likely be without receivers Davante Adams and Allen Lazard, who are on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Arizona ranks fourth in scoring (32.1) and tied for first in points allowed (16.3). The Cardinals have scored 30 or more points in six of seven games while allowing 20 or fewer points in six of seven. The only team to score more than 20 on the Cardinals was the Vikings (33).
LOCK OF THE WEEK
Rams (-14 ½) at Texans. Talk about a soft spot in the schedule. After beating the Giants and Lions, the Rams appear as the Lock of the Week for the third straight week. Season Lock record: 5-1 straight up, 3-3 vs. the spread. Last week: Rams (-15½) over Lions.
EARLY UPSET SPECIAL
Vikings (+2½) vs. Cowboys. U.S. Bank Stadium + Halloween night + alcohol + 7:20 p.m. start + Vikings pass rush = The Upset Special. Season Early Upset Special record: 6-1. Last week: Giants (+3) vs. Panthers.