The NFL’s weekly model is unpredictable chaos. Week 7 understands. The Patriots shocked the Bills and sent a shockwave through Survival pools. The Colts rolled up 456 yards of offense against Cleveland’s absurd defense, the same unit that shut down San Francisco last week. Davante Adams and Josh Jacobs couldn’t score touchdowns against the Bears.
Some of this stuff, you can’t see it coming.
But we have to dissect Baltimore’s 38-6 throttling of Detroit. Everyone knew Baltimore was one of the primary contenders entering this week, but the Lions were legitimate media and fan darlings, off to a 5-1 start and gathering momentum.
Should we have seen Baltimore’s explosion coming? Or maybe it was a case of an offense finally clicking under a new system, the Todd Monken scheme finally clicking with its players.
Watch the snaps with me; Baltimore did anything it wanted. On so many of the pass plays, the Ravens were running wide open. On other plays, Lamar Jackson bought extra time with his mobility. And on many snaps, the Baltimore blocking kept the Detroit pass rush at bay. Pitch-and-catch, good work if you can get it.
Jackson was off to a decent fantasy start entering this week (four appearances in the top 10 this season), but he’s in line for his first QB1 game of the year. He completed 21-of-27 passes for 357 yards and three scores, a perfect game. He also tacked on 36 rushing yards and a fourth score. Detroit didn’t force a single negative play against Jackson — zero sacks, zero turnovers. This was a spotless performance. Jackson still has league-winner among his plausible range of outcomes.
Jackson and Monken did a superb job spreading the ball around, targeting nine different players in all. Perhaps that had something to do with all the wide-open receivers; Detroit never knew which punch was coming next. Mark Andrews (4-63-2) scored a couple of touchdowns, Zay Flowers (4-75-0) just missed scoring on a 46-yard breakaway and even notorious non-catcher Gus Edwards turned a short flip into an 80-yard reception. Sometimes it’s just your day.
Edwards also tacked on a 14-64-1 line on the ground, rewarding anyone who had to call his number during this messy bye week. Justice Hill only had five touches, but even they went for 48 yards.
The width of Baltimore’s passing tree held back some of the ancillary pieces. Nelson Agholor had a 12-yard touchdown catch, but that was his only target. Odell Beckham Jr. (5-49-0, seven targets) and Rashod Bateman (2-36-0, three targets) are still best left on waiver wires or fantasy benches. The Baltimore offense is still centered around three players: Jackson, Andrews and Flowers. Your weekly call on Edwards depends on the depth of your backfield.
If the Ravens could do this against a Detroit defense that had been playing well, imagine what might be coming. Arizona and Seattle are next on the schedule, neither team boasting a plus defense. And if you dare to dream about playoff weeks, Baltimore hosting Miami in Week 17 could be a pinball special.
Garbage time proves fruitful for Lions
Give the Detroit passing game a Mulligan for this showing. Jared Goff was sacked five times and rarely looked comfortable. Much of his production came in garbage time.
At least the main Detroit skill players filled the box score, miraculous for a team that lost 38-6. Jahmyr Gibbs looked the part, rolling up 11-68-1 on the ground and a juicy 9-58-0 through the air. Even when David Montgomery eventually comes back, Gibbs looks like a man ready for 15-plus touches a week. Amon-Ra St. Brown did what he could with a whopping 19 targets (13-102-0), and Sam LaPorta (6-52-0, seven targets) was useful, even if most of it happened after the game was settled. Detroit knows where its bread is buttered.
Detroit’s ready for a bounce back, hosting the mediocre Raiders a week from Monday. The Lions then enjoy a Week 9 bye, so hopefully we’ll have Montgomery back for Week 10.
Note: This article will continue to be updated with more Week 7 fantasy analysis.