Dak Prescott
NFL Concussion Protocol Explained Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Week 7 of the NFL kicked off with a high-scoring Thursday Night Football game which saw the Arizona Cardinals topple the New Orleans Saints 42-34 in wide-receiver DeAndre Hopkins’ return from a six game suspension. That was a great start to what should be an exciting weekend in football. There’s no shortage of storylines on Sunday to watch for.

Here are 5 things to watch for in Week 7:

  1. The return of quarterbacks Tua Tagovailoa and Dak Prescott

Tagovailoa’s scary concussion just over 3 weeks ago shook the NFL world. It led to an NFL investigation that led to policy changes in how those injuries are handled. Tagovailoa said he lost consciousness after he was sacked and hit his head. The Dolphins have spiraled since his injury, losing three in a row after starting the season 3-0. His return, which will be on Sunday Night Football, will certainly be one of the biggest stories this week.

Dak Prescott will also make his return for a Cowboys team that had a surprising amount of success in his absence under backup QB Cooper Rush. Prescott is back to face the Detroit Lions. The Cowboys will need Prescott in prime form to be able to keep pace with the unbeaten Eagles and surprising Giants in a tight division race in NFC East.

2. Are the New York football temas legitimate contenders?

The success of both the Giants and the Jets has been one of the shocking storylines of the season. The Giants are 5-1 and coming off a huge win against the Ravens while the Jets completely demolished the once-mighty Packers. Still, there are detractors on just how good the upstart New York teams are. Another week means another opportunity for the Big Apple squads to silence the skeptics. The Giants will face of against the Seahawks and the Jets are matched up against the Broncos.

3. Running back Christian McCaffrey’s blockbuster trade to the 49ers

The 49ers swung a huge deal with the Carolina Panthers this week, acquiring All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey for a slew of draft picks. The 49ers are not only betting he can stay healthy with their squad but that his impact will help propel their offense. He is expected to play this Sunday against the Chiefs. McCaffrey is essentially an offensive engine on his own and the 49ers have dealt with subpar QB play all season. His addition should help boost their offense.

4. Will Broncos and Buccaneers pick up their play?

When the Broncos dealt for Russell Wilson and then subsequently signed to a massive extension, they expected to vault into Super Bowl contention. Through 3 weeks, that has not been the case. The offense is struggling to move the chains and there have been questionable play calls. Russell Wilson has missed reads and struggled to make the big lay when they’ve needed it. Is this the week they begin to turn it around?

No matter what team or roster Tom Brady is playing QB for, there are championship expectations. This year’s Bucs squad has not shown any reason to have confidence in that being the case. They are currently playing .500 ball with a good opportunity to get a win against the Panthers, who are the turning into the favorites to get the #1 overall pick in the upcoming draft. The Bucs offense looks flat and not like the high-powered one that brought them a Super Bowl a couple of years back.

5. A slew of .500 teams looking to make noise

There are currently 10 teams in the NFL that are playing .500 ball. The Ravens, Falcons, Bucs, Packers, Seahawks, Rams, 49ers, Dolphins, Patriots, and Bengals are all vying to move up in the standings with a win in week 7. A win for all these teams would instill confidence in a more successful season, while a loss would lead to a reality check as we approach the middle of the season. It’s a big week for these teams and could be a turning point, whether good or bad, for all of these squads.

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