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A Super Bowl 51 Rematch in Prime Time — NFL Week 7 Preview

Super Bowl LI - New England Patriots v Atlanta Falcons
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A Super Bowl rematch between the Patriots and the Falcons highlights the Week 7 NFL schedule. Here’s a preview of this week’s most interesting games:

Thursday, October 19

The Raiders Are in Trouble

Los Angeles Chargers v Oakland Raiders
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Kansas City at Oakland | Oakland Coliseum, Oakland; 8:25 p.m. (ET) on CBS
After explainable road losses to the Redskins and the Broncos, Oakland (2–4) has dropped very winnable home games to the Ravens and Chargers, resulting in a four-game losing streak. Ugh. While quarterback Derek Carr is obviously not as sharp as he was in 2016, the entire Raiders team has not played well, leading to plenty of big plays against them.

Enter Kansas City (5–1), a team with offensive threats like Kareem Hunt, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. Worse for Oakland, the Chiefs are likely to be fired up after getting their faces smashed in by the Steelers last week. If the Raiders can’t get off to a fast start in Thursday’s home game, they may soon have to think about scrapping this season in favor of re-tooling for 2018. That’s pretty disappointing for a team that came into the year with Super Bowl aspirations.

Sunday, October 22

Are the Packers Doomed Without Aaron Rodgers?

Green Bay Packers v Minnesota Vikings
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New Orleans at Green Bay | Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wis.; 1 p.m. (ET) on Fox
No available quarterback is going to take the place of injured Packers star Aaron Rodgers, who is likely out for the season with a broken collarbone. Not Tony Romo. Not Colin Kaepernick. And certainly not backup Brett Hundley, who struggled in his team’s loss to the Vikings last week. However, Green Bay (4–2) can’t just give up on the 2017 season, so they need to figure out how to stay competitive without Rodgers. That means protecting Hundley and making as few turnovers as possible.

New Orleans (3-2) still has its franchise quarterback in place. Expect Drew Brees to put pressure on the Packers defense. The more points the Saints can score, the harder it is for Hundley and the Green Bay offense to keep up with them. If the Packers can get into a rhythm without Rodgers, they can stay in the postseason hunt. If not, they’ll fade.

Ezekiel Elliott Keeps Eluding the NFL’s Six-Game Tackle

Green Bay Packers v Dallas Cowboys
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Dallas at San Francisco | Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, Calif.; 4:05 p.m. (ET) on Fox

Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott hasn’t missed a game this season despite a six-game league suspension for personal conduct hanging over his head. Oddly enough, Elliott’s presence hasn’t helped Dallas (2–3), which has been one of the NFL’s biggest disappointments this season.

Expect the Cowboys to turn Elliott loose behind their big offensive line this Sunday against winless San Francisco (0–6). The Niners rank 28th in the NFL in defense and they’ve struggled to stop teams at key times. Dallas needs to win this game and climb back into the slowly developing NFC playoff picture. San Francisco rookie quarterback C. J. Beathard, looked good last week, but he has lots of work to do — with very little help — in the Bay Area.

A Super Bowl Rematch in Prime Time

Super Bowl LI - New England Patriots v Atlanta Falcons
Getty Images

Atlanta at New England | Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Mass.; 8:30 p.m. (ET) on NBC
Sorry, Falcons: We all remember what happened in February. The big question: can Atlanta (3–2) forget it when they see Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the Patriots on Sunday night? The Falcons have played very well this season, save for meltdowns against AFC East teams the past two weeks. That’s a troubling trend heading into this pivotal game against the AFC East leaders.

New England (4–2) has rebounded from a shaky start to look every bit like a team capable of repeating. If the Pats can turn this game into a rout, it might mean the start of a long tailspin for Atlanta. No overtime required.

Monday, October 23

The Eagles Are Flying High

Philadelphia Eagles v Carolina Panthers
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Washington at Philadelphia | Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia; 8:30 p.m. (ET) on ESPN
Thanks to the proficiency of quarterback Carson Wentz, who is tied for second in the NFL in passing touchdowns with 13, and a stout run defense, which ranks No. 1 in the league, Philadelphia (5–1) finds itself at the top of the NFC East. The Eagles can add a third divisional victory on Monday by beating the Redskins, whom they stopped, 30–17, in Week 1.

Washington (3–2) needs a win to stay close to Philly in the NFC East. A loss would drop them three games back without a tiebreaker advantage. That’s a difficult climb with 10 games left, including two against the Cowboys. Banged-up Redskins corners Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland are key. If they can start and contain Wentz, they’ll give their offense a chance.

Other Games

Sunday, October 22
Tampa Bay at Buffalo | New Era Field, Buffalo; 1 p.m. (ET) on Fox
Carolina at Chicago | Soldier Field, Chicago; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Tennessee at Cleveland | FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Jacksonville at Indianapolis | Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Arizona at L.A. Rams | Twickenham Stadium, London
N.Y. Jets at Miami | Hard Rock Stadium, Miami; 1 p.m. (ET) on Fox
Baltimore at Minnesota | U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Seattle at N.Y. Giants | MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.; 4:25 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh | Heinz Field, Pittsburgh; 4:25 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Denver at L.A. Chargers | StubHub Center, Carson, Calif.; 4:25 p.m. (ET) on CBS

Bye Week: Detroit, Houston

NFL Standings
NFL Stats

 

READ OUR NFL WEEK 6 RECAP

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