Previewing NFL Week 7

The seventh weekend of the season is a good one for CBS.

It has the best game of the day – Kansas City at Tennessee, featuring the great passer (Patrick Mahomes) vs. the great runner (Derrick Henry). It also has another good early game – Cincinnati at Baltimore.One or both of those games should have been in prime time because the Sunday night game (Indianapolis at San Francisco) and the Monday night game (New Orleans at Seattle) are not premier attractions.

And the CBS third early game – Jets at New England – doesn’t figure to be a good matchup. The two late games – Chicago at Tampa Bay and Houston at Cincinnati – figure to be routs.

Fox only has a single game, three early and two late, and none of them are compelling. The early games are Washington at Green Bay, Carolina at the Giants and Atlanta at Miami. Green Bay figures to rout Washington and not much is at stake in the other two games except for Carolina trying to get to 4-3.

The two late Fox games are Philadelphia at Vegas and Detroit at Rams. The winless Lions figure to have no chance against their former quarterback Matthew Stafford. The Raiders will go for their second straight win with a new coach after Jon Gruden resigned.

So here is what at stake this weekend in the interesting games:

—Kansas City needs a win at Tennessee to avoid falling to 3-4 while a Tennessee win would keep the Titans in command of AFC South at 5-2.–Arizona, Green Bay, Tampa Bay and the Rams all figure to post wins to keep Arizona the only unbeaten team at 7-0, while the other three teams would remain a game behind at 6-1 in the AFC. Dallas has a bye and will stay at 5-1. Those five teams seem playoff bound while the rest of the teams will fight for the two remaining NFC slots.

—Baltimore at 5-1 can take a two-game lead in the AFC North in a win over 4-2 Cincinnati. A Cincinnati win would leave them tied at 5-2. It would also mean that every AC team would have at least two losses.

—The Raiders at 5-2 can take a half game lead over the 4-2 Chargers, who have a bye, with a victory over the 2-4 Eagles. A Raider lost would put the Chargers on top of the AFC West.

NFL Week 6 in review

The NFL saved the best for last in Week 6.

Going in, it looked like there weren’t a lot of good matchups, so it wasn’t surprising that after Jacksonville upset Miami in the Sunday morning game in London, all seven favorites at 1 p.m. won.

And there was only one upset in the late afternoon and Sunday night game – Raiders over Broncos – although Dallas had to go to overtime to beat New England.

So Arizona remained the only unbeaten team at 6-0 by beating the Browns while five one loss teams – Baltimore, Dallas Green Bay, Rams (on Thursday night) and Tampa Bay all won. The only one loss team to lose during the day was the Chargers, who lost to Baltimore.

But the primetime action Sunday and Monday nights was captivating. Pittsburgh went to overtime to beat Seattle as Geno Smith was strip-sacked to set up a game-winning field goal. And in Tennessee, Buffalo spurned a field goal that would have sent the game into overtime and had Josh Allen try a quarterback sneak. He slipped and was stuffed as Tennessee got the win.

Buffalo’s loss means Baltimore is the only 5-1 team in the AFC. The Ravens, who lost their opener before winning five in a row, are followed by five 4-2 teams – Bills, Chargers, Bengals, Titans and Raiders.

The Chiefs, Browns Broncos and Steelers are all 3-3 so it is a wide-open race. In the NFC, while Arizona is unbeaten at 6-0, Tampa Bay, the Rams, the Packers and the Cowboys are 5-1.

In battle for top draft pick, Jacksonville’s victory in London means Detroit is the only winless team at 0-6 while five teams – Jacksonville, Houston, Giants, Miami and Jets all have one win.

—Buffalo’s decision to go for a first down on the quarterback sneak will be the most debated decision of the weekend. The decision made sense not to kick field goal and go to overtime, but they could have had a better play call than quarterback sneak.

—Dak Prescott suffered a calf injury but the Cowboys have a bye so they can hope Prescott recovers in two weeks. He seems to be at the top of his game and makes the Cowboys a Super Bowl contender.

—The Seahawks contacted Cam Newton but didn’t sign him, so they seem committed to sticking with Geno Smith until Russell Wilson comes back. He is playing for his future, trying to convince teams he can be a starter in the league.

—Head coach Kliff Kingsbury was sidelined by Covid but Vance Joseph took over the duties and the unbeaten Cardinals didn’t miss a beat in dominating the Browns. With the Texans coming up next, they are likely to go to 7-0.

—While Tom Brady is 5-1 in Tampa Bay, Bill Belichick is 2-4 in New England and is getting questioned for playing it too conservative at the end of regulation against Dallas as he let the clock run out instead of trying to get a game-winning field goal. The Patriots then lost in overtime.

—Aaron Rodgers led the Packers to the win over the Bears but what will be remembered is that he told the fans after scoring he owns them. He said he blacked out and didn’t know what he said after a fan gave him the double bird.

Previewing NFL Week 6

Are three night primetime TV games each week plus a doubleheader game or two each Sunday afternoon too much of a good thing?

With ratings going up, the format seems to be working for the NFL. The problem is that some weeks, they don’t have enough good attractions for the primetime slots.

This seems to be one of those weeks.

The byes started this week with four teams having their bye week so the NFL has 14 games instead of 16.

The prime time scheduled started Thursday night with Tampa Bay going to Philadelphia. The Bucs won 28-22, but the game wasn’t as good as the final score. The Bucs had a 28-7 lead midway through the third period.

The Sunday night game is Seattle at Pittsburgh, which looked like a good attraction until Russell Wilson was sidelined with a finger injury last week, so Geno Smith will get the start for the Seahawks.

The Monday night game will feature Buffalo at Tennessee, a game the Bills figure to dominate if they don’t have a letdown after the big win against Kansas City last week.

—The two best games – Chargers at Baltimore and unbeaten Arizona at Cleveland – won’t get national coverage. The Chargers-Baltimore is a CBS early game and the Arizona-Cleveland game is a late Fox game, but CBS has the doubleheader games this weekend. The CBS doubleheader games are Dallas at New England, which figures to be an easy Dallas win, and Las Vegas at Denver.

—The Las Vegas game will be interesting because it will be the first game since Jon Gruden stepped down after disturbing emails he wrote several years ago became public. It remains to be seen how the Raiders react to the distraction. The Broncos-Raiders is an old rivalry, but Gruden’s departure adds another element to the game.

—The Patriots are desperate for an upset victory over the Cowboys. If the Patriots lose, they will fall to 2-4 with rookie quarterback Mac Jones while Brady is 5-1 in Tampa Bay.–The Chargers-Baltimore and Arizona-Cleveland matchups will feature four young quarterbacks –Justin Herbert vs. Lamar Jackson (although he was ill during the week) and Kyler Murray vs. Baker Mayfield.

—London will host a game for the second week in a row when the 0-5 Jaguars face the 1-4 Dolphins. The NFL has yet to stage a game in London featuring two winning teams.

—The only other winless team besides Jacksonville is Detroit, which is likely to fall to 0-6 when the Lions play 3-2 Cincinnati. The other one win teams besides the Dolphins are the Jets, who have a bye, Houston and Indianapolis, who play at Indianapolis, and the Giants, who are big underdogs against the Rams.

—Kansas City is desperate for a victory and should get it over a Washington team that dealt with a lot of off the field issues. Including their decision to announce three days before the game that they were honoring the late Sean Taylor along with Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell. The late announcement was criticized for not giving fans much notice and the suggestion was they were trying to change the subject from the emails that Gruden sent to former Washington president Bruce Allen.

—Green Bay can take a two game lead in the NFC t in the NFC North. The Packers come in at 4-1 with four wins in a row while the Bears are 3-2. This will be the 201st game in this long rivalry but the Packers have dominated it the last decade, winning nine of last 10 and 18 of last 20.

NFL Week 5 in review

The Arizona Cardinals are still the only unbeaten team, the Kansas City Chiefs are in a freefall and the Buffalo Bills, the Los Angeles Chargers and Baltimore Ravens are on top of the AFC with 4-1 records.

That’s the surprising way the NFL looks after the fifth weekend of the season. Here’s a closer look at last weekend:

—Buffalo’s easy takedown of Kansas City may mean a passing of the torch in the AFC. Kansas City was looking for its third consecutive Super Bowl appearance but is now 2-3 and even Patrick Mahomes can’t seem to overcome the team’s defensive woes, although it didn’t help he threw two picks. Meanwhile, Buffalo is now 4-1, tied for best AFC record with the Chargers and Baltimore.

—The Chargers pulled off a 47-42 victory at Cleveland as Justin Herbert passed for four touchdowns and ran for a fifth. The Chargers are a gambling team, too. They went for it on fourth-and-2 at their own 24 early in the fourth period while trailing by two touchdowns and made it to start their comeback.

—Lamar Jackson had a career game, leading the Ravens to a come-from-behind victory over Indianapolis in overtime even though Carson Wentz threw for 400 yards in losing effort.

—The Raiders not only lost their second game in a row when they fell to the Bears, but they also lost their coach, Jon Gruden, after emails of him making inappropriate remarks were leaked. The Raiders are still in the hunt at 3-2 but it remains to be seen whether they can regroup.

—Tom Brady still shows no signs of aging as he threw for five touchdowns in the victory over Miami. The Dolphins now take a 1-4 record to London next week to face 0-5 Jacksonville, which lost to Tennessee. London has yet to host a game when both teams have winning records.

—Green Bay posted its fourth win in a row after their horrid opener by beating Cincinnati and is now one of five NFC teams with the inside track at a playoff berth. The other four are Cowboys, Bucs, Cardinals and Rams. The rest of teams may be fighting for two final spots.

—Six rookie quarterbacks started and two –Mac Jones and Justin Fields – won. Jones beat another rookie Davis Mills as the Patriots came back to beat Houston. Fields, who is now the Chicago starter, led the Bears to the victory against the Raiders. The other three Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, and Trey Lance in his debut, all lost. Lawrence is 0-5 and Wilson 1-4.

Previewing NFL Week 5

The Sunday night Kansas City-Buffalo game won’t have the hype that last week’s return of Tom Brady to Foxboro had.

But it is a critical game for the Chiefs, who are trying to return to the Super Bowl for a third consecutive season.

A loss would drop them to 2-3 in a division with three 3-1 teams. Buffalo has a shot at a fourth consecutive win and a 4-1 record with a win. But a loss wouldn’t be as critical for the Bills since they are in a division with three 1-3 teams.

A look at the rest of the weekend:

—The Los Angeles Rams beat Seattle to go to 4-1 in the NFC West Thursday night while the Seattle loss not only dropped the Seahawks to 2-3, but cost them Russell Wilson, who suffered a sprained finger in the second half and didn’t return. Geno Smith did well replacing him, but he doesn’t have Wilson’s command of the team. It could also lead to Wilson wanting out at the end of the year. The Seahawks may be in a transition period.

—Arizona, the only unbeaten team in the league, takes on2-2 San Francisco but it won’t be a Fox doubleheader game. They are instead featuring Dallas and the Giants even though the Cowboys figure to win easily.

The Jets-Atlanta game will be played in London on Sunday morning and continues the trend that London has never had a game pitting two winning teams. Things won’t get much better next week when Jacksonville plays Miami. Since the games usually sell out, the league doesn’t feel a need to give London premier matchups.

—The Browns-Chargers matchup will pit two young quarterbacks – Baker Mayfield and Justin Herbert. Both teams are 3-1, but Herbert has been outplaying Mayfield.

—The Jacksonville Tennessee game is not a feature matchup but there is interest in the game because the winless Jaguars will be trying to overcome the distraction of the Urban Meyer video. A win would leave the Jaguars only a game behind the Titans in their division.

—The Pittsburgh Steelers are sticking with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback even though he appears to be struggling as they face the Denver Broncos, who are getting Teddy Bridgewater back.

—Justin Fields becomes the starter full time for Chicago as they face the Raiders. That mean all five rookie quarterbacks drafted with the first 15 picks will be starting along with third round pick Davis Mills in Houston.

—A veteran quarterback (Aaron Rodgers) and a young one (Joe Burrow) will duel when the Packers go to Cincinnati. The Bengals are attracting a sellout crowd but many may be Packer fans since they have a national following. Both teams are leading their division with 3-1 records but Cincinnati is in a three-way tie with Ravens and Browns.

—Baltimore attempts to break the record for most consecutive 100 yard rushing games when they –host Colts on Monday night. The Broncos were furious when the Ravens tied it last week by running a play with three seconds left instead of taking a knee. The record was set by the Steelers from 1974-77. Colts-Ravens games are always big in Baltimore since the Colts left in 1984 and still wear the horseshoes on their helmets.