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A look at the offensive player of the year contenders
  1. NFL

NFL: Week 7 talking points - New York duo continue to impress

New York's surprising Giants and Jets continued to shine in Week 7, although one of the Big Apple's football teams is now badly bruised.

Injuries are again becoming commonplace in the league as it heads towards the midpoint of the regular season, but there was also a welcome return from an enforced break for Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa.

Ping-pong pulled from Dolphins locker room

Miami snapped a three-game losing skid that began on the last Thursday in September when Tua Tagovailoa was concussed in a defeat at Cincinnati just days after he was shaken up in their victory over the Buffalo Bills.

The Dolphins were manhandled by the Jets and Minnesota Vikings in subsequent weeks as they dropped out of the race to finish atop the AFC East, but Tagovailoa's return should have them moving back in the right direction.

The former Alabama star completed 21 of 35 pass attempts for 261 yards and a touchdown in a low-scoring win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, while looking none too rusty after his lay-off.

The Dolphins looked like they mean business again and are perhaps already benefitting from the peculiar mid-season removal of a ping-pong table from the locker room at their practice facility.

Head coach Mike McDaniel said that the table had been taken away at the request of Dolphins team captains, most notably wide receiver Tyreek Hill, who he claimed believed it had become a distraction.

Brady not blameless as Bucs are blowing up

Are two of the greatest quarterbacks to have ever played the game destined to both miss out on the playoffs in what could be one of their final seasons in the NFL?

No one would have expected to see Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers in such spots, but neither the Tampa Bay Buccaneers nor Green Bay Packers are functioning like their QBs would want after seven weeks of the season.

Brady, whose frustrations have already been taken out on team tablets earlier this season, vented his spleen at his offensive linemen during last week's loss to the Steelers.

And this week's 21-3 defeat to a Carolina Panthers team everyone assumed would be tanking for the number one pick once they had traded away running back Christian McCaffrey was worse in so many more ways.

Left tackle Donovan Smith, who has been nursing an elbow injury, was overmatched and responsible for multiple false starts while rookie guard Luke Goedeke was benched after a horrible performance at Bank of America Stadium.

After he missed practice time in preseason and made a questionable call to attend a wedding a couple of days before the Steelers game, it would be wrong to totally absolve Brady of any blame.

However, his most reliable wide receiver Mike Evans dropped what should have been a touchdown on the opening drive and the Bucs' coaching staff called a bad game too.

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LaFleur feeling the heat in Green Bay

Rodgers' receiving corps in Green Bay have been bearing the brunt of the blame for the NFC North champions' 3-4 start, but now coach Matt LaFleur finds himself on a hot seat for the first time since he took charge at Lambeau Field.

Sunday's loss to the Washington Commanders was the Packers' third straight, and each came to a non-playoff team from the year before that finished with combined 15-36 records in 2021.

"Whatever we're doing offensively, it's not good enough," LaFleur said after his team ran the ball only 12 times in Sunday’s debacle.

The Packers fired Mike Sherman in 2005 after a 4-12 record despite the head coach having led them to the playoffs four straight years and it feels like history could repeat itself unless things improve dramatically in the coming weeks.

Bears maul Patriots amid QB controversy

And maybe, just maybe, their division rivals in Chicago are not as bad as everyone thought after Justin Fields led the Bears to one of the other huge upsets of the week on Monday Night Football.

Fields played his best game as a pro at Gillette Stadium as the Bears delivered a blow to the New England Patriots' playoff hopes with a 33-14 road win that will be remembered more for Bill Belichick's mid-game benching of Mac Jones.

Returning from a high ankle sprain after three weeks out in which former third-stringer Bailey Zappe had won both games he started and looked like the real deal, Jones struggled on his first three drives, going three and out twice before tossing a misguided interception.

Zappe led two touchdown drives as soon as he came into the game, but the Patriots offense stalled in the second half and Chicago got a win that could be a turning point in their season, if not history under first-year coach Matt Eberflus.

Finally, spare a thought for the tortured fans of the Jets, who were not sure whether to smile or cry after Robert Saleh's team went 5-2 after their victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

Green and White lost their star running back Breece Hall, who had earlier scampered for a 62-yard TD, and star offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker to season-ending injuries to put a major downer on proceedings in Colorado.

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