Previewing NFL Week 7

Pencil in the Patriots for the top seed in the AFC again this year.

The Patrick Mahomes injury means it is unlikely the Chiefs will beat them out for the top spot even if Mahomes is back and they beat the Patriots in December.

The Patriots haven’t been particularly impressive while playing a cake schedule but they’re 6-0 and every other team but the Bills has at least two losses. And the Bills’ only loss is to the Patriots.

In the NFC, it is still a wide-open race with the 49ers the only unbeaten team at 5-0 and the Saints, Packers and Seahawks all at 5-1.

Game of the Week

Philadelphia at Dallas. A game between two 3-3 teams is not usually considered a top matchup. But these rivals are tied for first place in the NFC East and the winner could get on a roll. Both teams have been hurt by injuries. Philadelphia coach Doug Pederson caused a stir by saying the Eagles would win. Meanwhile, Jason Garrett could be on the hot seat if the Cowboys lose. Urban Meyer has already said publicly he is interested in Garrett’s job. The teams meet again Dec. 22 in Philadelphia.

Game of the Weak

The 2-3-1 Cardinals go to the 2-4 Giants in a game that will feature two quarterbacks of the future who were drafted on the first round this year – Kyler Murray and Daniel Jones. The game is more important for the Giants, who can move into a second-place tie with the Eagles-Giants loser with a victory. Arizona is in the same division with the 49ers, Seahawks and Rams so they are destined for last place even if they win.

What to Watch

—The 2-4 Chargers and 2-4 Titans are two of the most disappointing teams in the league. What is notable about this game is that the Titans have benched Marcus Mariota for Ryan Tannehill, a move that probably spells the end for Mariota in Tennessee and will likely mean they will be in the quarterback market next year unless Tannehill shows he can be a short term answer after leaving the Dolphins.

—The Rams may be suffering a Super Bowl hangover after losing three consecutive games. But their real problem may be they don’t have a good offensive line to protect Jared Goff. The Rams made a big trade for Jalen Ramsey but their more pressing need is improving the line. They can’t afford to lose to the 1-5 Falcons, who are on their way to getting Dan Quinn fired.

—Russell Wilson of Seattle has had a passer rating of over 100 in his team’s first six games. He will try to make it seven in a row against the Ravens. Meanwhile, Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson rushed for 152 yards against the Bengals last week. It was the fourth most by a quarterback in NFL history. He also is the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to rush for at least 115 yards in at least three games of his first two seasons.

—Will the trend of close games continue? This year 51 of 92 games have been decided by seven or few points including nine of 14 last week. That is a new record. In 2016, 50 were decided by seven or few points the first six weeks. The teams have also tied the record for most games decided by one point. There have been nine points decided by a point, tying the record set in 1972 and matched in 1997 and 2016.

—Teddy Bridgewater will try to get his fifth consecutive win while filling in for injured Drew Brees but he faces a tough test at Chicago. Bridgewater hasn’t been that effective, but he has a good team around him. The more wins Bridgewater piles before Brees returns, the better shape the Saints will be for Super Bowl win when he returns

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