NFL Week 7: Historical milestones and records in the making

NFL Week 7: Historical milestones and records in the making

Football fans have plenty to look forward to as the 2023 NFL season reaches Week 7. This week’s matchups promise historic milestones and records as some of the league’s top teams and players take the field. Let’s dive into what to expect in this exciting week of NFL action.

Miami Dolphins vs. Philadelphia Eagles: Clash of Offensive Titans

Week 7 starts with a thrilling showdown between the Miami Dolphins (5-1) and the Philadelphia Eagles (5-1), boasting the best NFL records. This matchup is even more intriguing because they possess the league’s top two offenses. Miami leads the way with a staggering 498.7 yards per game, while the Eagles closely follow with 395.0 yards.

It will be a rare encounter when these two teams collide in Philadelphia on Sunday Night Football. Not since 2016, when the Falcons faced the Saints in Week 17, have the top two offenses squared off in Week 7 or later. The Dolphins’ offense has been on a historic tear, accumulating 2,992 total yards through their first six games, the second-most by any team in NFL history for this period. If they manage to amass 282 yards on Sunday night, they’ll rank in the top three for total yards of offense in the first seven games of a season.

The current record-holders for total yards of offense in their first seven games of a season are the 2000 St. Louis Rams (3,484), the 2013 Denver Broncos (3,285), and the 2018 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3,273). The 2023 Miami Dolphins are on the cusp of joining this elite group.

The Sunday night showdown also features the league’s top two receivers this season: Miami’s Tyreek Hill, who has racked up 814 receiving yards, and Philadelphia’s A.J. Brown, with 672 receiving yards. Hill is eyeing a historic achievement, as he aims to become the first player in 62 years and the fourth player in NFL history to reach 900 receiving yards in his team’s first seven games of a season.

The exclusive club of players with at least 900 receiving yards in their team’s first seven games includes Charlie Hennigan (1961), Elroy “Crazy Legs” Hirsch (1951), and Don Hutson (1942), all Pro Football Hall of Famers. Tyreek Hill has been electrifying this season, recording 150+ receiving yards and a touchdown reception in four games, a feat no one has achieved in NFL history.

If Hill continues this streak, he will become the first player with 150+ receiving yards and a touchdown reception in five games within a season and the fourth player since 1970 to record 150+ receiving yards and a touchdown reception in three consecutive games. This list includes Josh Gordon (2013), James Lofton (1984), and Andre Rison (1990).

Hill could also become the fifth player ever with 150+ receiving yards in five games within a season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Tim Brown (1997) and Jerry Rice (1995), along with Antonio Brown (2017) and Roy Green (1984).

Since entering the NFL in 2016, Hill has amassed 15 career games with 150+ receiving yards. Another such performance would tie him with Julio Jones for the fourth-most such games in NFL history, trailing only Jerry Rice, Lance Alworth, and Terrell Owens, all of whom are Hall of Famers.

Cleveland Browns: Leading the Defensive Charge

The Cleveland Browns have been the defensive juggernaut of the 2023 season, allowing a mere 200.4 yards per game. Their defense has permitted only 1,002 total yards in the first five games, marking the fewest yards allowed by a team in its first five games in 52 years and the third-fewest since 1970.

If the Browns manage to limit the Indianapolis Colts to 198 yards or less on Sunday, they will join a select group of teams allowing fewer than 1,200 yards in their first six games of a season. This elite company includes the 1971 Baltimore Colts (989 yards allowed), the 1970 Minnesota Vikings (1,045), and the 1974 Washington Football Team (1,176).

Leading the charge for the Browns’ defense is the formidable Myles Garrett, who has notched 5.5 sacks this season. If Garrett records a sack against the Colts, he will surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Reggie White in the record books for the most NFL sacks by a player before his 28th birthday since 1982, when sack statistics were officially tracked.

Detroit Lions: A Roaring Start

The Detroit Lions have been on a tear, winning four consecutive games and 10 out of their last 12. Their impressive turnaround began in 2022 after starting the season 1-6, and they now stand at 5-1 in 2023.

With a victory against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, the Lions will enjoy their best start since 1956. They would become only the second team in the past decade to commence a season 6-1 after starting 1-6, following in the footsteps of the 2019 San Francisco 49ers.

The Lions’ recent dominance is evident in their last four wins, all by margins of at least 14 points. Achieving another such victory would place them in the company of the 2019 Baltimore Ravens, the 2009 New Orleans Saints, the 2007 New England Patriots, and the 2005 Indianapolis Colts as teams that have won five consecutive games by at least 14 points since 2000.

Quarterback Jared Goff has played a pivotal role in Detroit’s resurgence, ranking fifth in the league with 1,618 passing yards this season. Last week, he recorded his 17th career game with at least 350 passing yards since entering the NFL in 2016.

Goff now has the opportunity to tie Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino and Matthew Stafford for the second-most such games by a player in his first eight seasons in NFL history. Only Patrick Mahomes, currently in his seventh season, has more.

Buffalo Bills: Stefon Diggs Dominating

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs has been lighting up the NFL in 2023, ranking tied for second with five touchdown receptions, third with 620 receiving yards, and third with 49 receptions. Impressively, he has recorded at least six receptions in his first six games and has achieved over 100 receiving yards in five of those games.

If Diggs manages to tally 100 receiving yards against the New England Patriots on Sunday, he will become the fourth player in the Super Bowl era to record 100 receiving yards in six of his team’s first seven games of a season. This feat would place him alongside Adam Thielen (2018), Marvin Harrison (2000), and Michael Irvin (1995).

Additionally, with six receptions, Diggs would become the sixth player in the Super Bowl era to record at least six catches in each of his team’s first seven games of a season, joining Jimmy Smith (2001), Steve Smith (2006), Adam Thielen (2018), Hines Ward (2004), and Wes Welker (2008 and 2009).

San Francisco 49ers: Christian McCaffrey’s Historic Streak

San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey leads the NFL with 553 rushing yards this season and ranks second with nine scrimmage touchdowns and seven rushing touchdowns. Moreover, he’s the only player in the league to score a touchdown in the first six weeks.

Returning to Week 13 of the 2022 season, McCaffrey has recorded at least one scrimmage touchdown in 15 consecutive games. If he scores a touchdown on Sunday, he would make NFL history by becoming the first player to score a scrimmage touchdown in 16 consecutive games. Moreover, he could join the legendary Lenny Moore as the only players in NFL history to score a touchdown of any kind in 16 or more consecutive games, including the postseason.

Kansas City Chiefs: Kelce Climbing Touchdown Charts, Jones’ Sack Streak

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce made history last week by recording his 36th career game with 100+ receiving yards, setting a new record for tight ends in NFL history. Kelce has consistently been a force since entering the league in 2013, ranking second in receptions and fourth in receiving yards and touchdown receptions among all players.

With two touchdown receptions against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, Kelce will tie Jason Witten for the fifth-most touchdown receptions by a tight end in NFL history. This would further solidify his status as one of the greatest tight ends to ever play the game.

On the defensive side of the ball, Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones is on a tear, recording a sack in each of his five games this season and his past eight regular-season games overall. If Jones gets a sack on Sunday, he will become the first player since Clay Matthews in 2019 to record a sack in each of his first six games of a season.

Pittsburgh Steelers: T.J. Watt’s Sack Mastery

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt is tied for the league lead with eight sacks this season. Watt has recorded a sack in four of his five games 2023, including multiple sacks in three games.

If Watt records two sacks against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, he will become the third player since 1982 to record at least two sacks in four of his team’s first six games of a season. This achievement would place him in the company of Elvis Dumervil (2009) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Kevin Greene (1998).

Additionally, Watt could become the first player since Dumervil in 2009 and the fourth since 2000 to tally at least 10 sacks through his team’s first six games of a season. Since entering the NFL in 2017, Watt leads all players with 85.5 sacks in 92 games.

With two sacks on Sunday, Watt would tie his brother J.J. Watt for the second-most sacks by a player in his first 100 career games since 1982. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Reggie White has more.

Los Angeles Rams: Puka Nacua’s Explosive Start and Aaron Donald’s Tackle for Loss Pursuit

Los Angeles Rams rookie wide receiver Puka Nacua has significantly impacted his debut season, tying for the NFL lead with 50 receptions. His remarkable start has already set a new record for the most receptions by a player in his first seven career games, surpassing Saquon Barkley’s previous mark of 49 in 2018.

With 102 receiving yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, Nacua could become the second player in NFL history to reach 700 receiving yards in his first seven career games, joining Ja’Marr Chase, who achieved this milestone in 2021.

On the defensive side of the ball, Rams’ defensive tackle Aaron Donald is chasing a different kind of record. He currently ranks tied for fourth in the NFL with eight tackles for loss this season. If he records two tackles for loss on Sunday, he will become the second player since 2000 to register at least 10 tackles for loss in each of his first 10 seasons, joining Jared Allen.

Los Angeles Chargers: Austin Ekeler’s Versatility

Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler, an undrafted free agent in 2017, has been a versatile force since entering the NFL. With 99 scrimmage yards against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, Ekeler will join a select group of undrafted running backs in the common-draft era who have totaled at least 7,500 career scrimmage yards.

With three receptions, Ekeler will become the fourth-fastest running back in NFL history to reach 400 career receptions. He will join an elite group that includes Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara, and Roger Craig as the only running backs to reach this milestone in fewer games.

Ekeler also has the opportunity to become the sixth running back in the Super Bowl era with at least 30 career touchdown receptions, a testament to his versatility and scoring ability.

As we look ahead to an action-packed Week 7, NFL fans can anticipate thrilling games and historic moments as these players and teams strive to etch their names in the annals of football history. With records on the line and milestones within reach, the excitement of the NFL season continues to captivate fans worldwide.

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