Thursday 23 November 2017 / 03:21 AM

NFL WEEK 7 PREVIEW

MORE THRILLING ACTION AHEAD AS NFL ENTERS WEEK 7

NFL returns to London’s Twickenham Stadium as Cardinals face Rams

Patriots host Falcons on Sunday night in rematch of Super Bowl LI

The NFL heads into Week 7 after another exciting weekend. In Week 6, eight games were decided by seven points or fewer. Over the past two weeks, 18 of the league’s 28 games (64.3 percent) have been decided by seven points or fewer.

Among the thrilling action in Week 6 were numerous comeback attempts and victories. Both the Miami Dolphins (17 points) and New England Patriots (14) rallied from 14+ point deficits to win. The Detroit Lions (35 points) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (31) each trailed by more than 30 points yet pulled within one score in the fourth quarter before falling just short.

In the NFL, the unpredictable is the predictable.

As the season approaches the halfway point, there are currently 22 teams with a .500 or better record. The Kansas City Chiefs (5-1) top the AFC while the Philadelphia Eagles (5-1) own the NFC’s best mark. Since 1990, when the current 12-team playoff format was adopted, 77 of the previous 94 teams (81.9 percent) to start 5-1 made the playoffs.

Through the first six weeks, there are 21 teams either in or within one game of first place in the division. And while the standings remain close, there is plenty of football left to be played. Since 1990, 87 clubs have made the playoffs after starting 3-3 or worse. Last year, three teams with a 3-3 record or worse through six games advanced to the postseason – Miami (2-4), Detroit (3-3) and the New York Giants (3-3).

Week 7 begins on Thursday night with a matchup between AFC West rivals as the Chiefs visit the Oakland Raiders (8:25 PM ET, CBS/NFL Network/Amazon Prime). On Sunday, the NFL will return to Twickenham Stadium – the UK’s famed rugby venue – when the Los Angeles Rams face the Arizona Cardinals (1:00 PM ET, FOX) for the league’s third of four games in London this season. The week concludes with a pair of primetime contests as the New England Patriots host the Atlanta Falcons in a rematch of Super Bowl LI on Sunday night (8:30 PM ET, NBC) and the Washington Redskins travel to Philadelphia to meet the Eagles in a key NFC East showdown on Monday night (8:30 PM ET, ESPN). Some of the notable games in Week 7:

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (5-1) at OAKLAND RAIDERS (2-4) (Thursday, CBS/NFLN/Amazon Prime, 8:25 PM ET)                

  • The Chiefs have the AFC’s best record at 5-1 and are averaging 29.5 points per game, tied for the most in the conference. Kansas City ranks second in the conference in total offense (387.0 yards per game) and is third in both passing (252.2) and rushing (134.8) offense.
  • Kansas City quarterback ALEX SMITH leads the NFL with a 119.2 passer rating and has thrown 12 touchdowns without an interception. Chiefs rookie running back KAREEM HUNT tops the league in rushing yards (630) and scrimmage yards (885). He is the first rookie in NFL history to gain at least 100 scrimmage yards in each of his team’s first six games.
  • Oakland quarterback DEREK CARR has won six of his past seven home starts and has 14 touchdowns, four interceptions and a 103 passer rating in those contests. Wide receiver MICHAEL CRABTREE has five touchdown catches this season, tied for second in the AFC.
  • Raiders defensive end KHALIL MACK has recorded 13 sacks in his past 12 division games, including four sacks in the past four meetings against the Chiefs.

ARIZONA CARDINALS (3-3) at LOS ANGELES RAMS (4-2) in London (Sunday, FOX, 1:00 PM ET)                

  • The NFL returns to Twickenham Stadium – the home of England Rugby – for the third of four games in the London Series this season. Twickenham will host consecutive NFL games – in Weeks 7 and 8 – for the first time ever.
  • The Cardinals defeated Tampa Bay 38-33 last week to even the team’s record at 3-3. Running back ADRIAN PETERSON rushed for 134 yards and two touchdowns in his Arizona debut, becoming the oldest player (32 years old) in NFL history to rush for at least 100 yards and a touchdown in his first game with a new team.
  • Arizona wide receiver LARRY FITZGERALD, who had 10 catches for 138 yards and a touchdown last week, leads the NFC with 42 receptions. Fitzgerald has 14,854 career receiving yards and surpassed STEVE SMITH, SR. (14,731) for the seventh-most receiving yards in NFL history. Fitzgerald, who has played his entire career with the Cardinals, trails only Pro Football Hall of Famer JERRY RICE (19,247 with San Francisco) for the most receiving yards with a single team.
  • Los Angeles leads the NFL in scoring (29.8 points per game). Running back TODD GURLEY is tied for first in the league with seven touchdowns while kicker GREG ZUERLEIN tops the NFL with 69 points.
  • The Rams scored twice on special teams in last week’s 27-17 win at Jacksonville. PHAROH COOPER returned the opening kickoff 103 yards – the longest touchdown return on a game’s opening kickoff in franchise history – and CORY LITTLETON blocked a punt which was returned eight yards for a touchdown by MALCOLM BROWN.

CINCINNATI BENGALS (2-3) at PITTSBURGH STEELERS (4-2) (Sunday, CBS, 4:25 PM ET)

  • The Bengals have won two consecutive games and enter Week 7 coming off a bye. In Week 5, Cincinnati defeated Buffalo 20-16 as quarterback ANDY DALTON passed for 328 yards and wide receiver A.J. GREEN had 189 receiving yards. Dalton connected on a 77-yard touchdown pass to Green, the fifth 75+ yard TD pass from Dalton to Green in their careers.
  • Since entering the NFL in 2011, Green has five games with at least 180 receiving yards. Only Pittsburgh’s ANTONIO BROWN (six) has more such performances during that span. This season, Green is averaging 100.8 receiving yards per game, second in the NFL behind Brown (116.7).
  • The Steelers lead the AFC North with a 4-2 record. Last week, Pittsburgh knocked off the previously unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs 19-13 at Arrowhead Stadium.
  • In Pittsburgh’s Week 6 win over the Chiefs, running back LE’VEON BELL rushed for 179 yards with a touchdown and wide receiver ANTONIO BROWN had eight catches for 155 yards with a touchdown. It marked the third time in franchise history in which the Steelers had a 150+ yard rusher and a 150+ yard receiver in the same game. Brown leads the NFL this season in receptions (48) and receiving yards (700) while Bell ranks third in rushing yards (550).

ATLANTA FALCONS (3-2) at NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (4-2) (Sunday, NBC, 8:30 PM ET)

  • Rematch of Super Bowl LI which the Patriots won 34-28 in the first Super Bowl that went to overtime.
  • Falcons quarterback MATT RYAN has a 109.9 passer rating since the start of the 2016 season. Only New England’s TOM BRADY (110.3) has a higher mark during that span.
  • Atlanta wide receiver MARVIN HALL had a 40-yard touchdown catch in his first career game last week against Miami. Hall joins DOUG BALDWIN (2011) as the only undrafted players to record a 40+ yard touchdown reception in an NFL debut since 2000.
  • New England quarterback TOM BRADY won his 187th career regular-season start in last week’s 24-17 win over the New York Jets, passing Pro Football Hall of Famer BRETT FAVRE and PEYTON MANNING for the most in NFL history. His 212 career wins (including the postseason) are the most by a quarterback in NFL history. Entering Week 7, Brady leads the NFL with 1,959 passing yards and ranks second with a 106.9 passer rating. He threw for 466 yards and two touchdowns in Super Bowl LI against Atlanta and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.
  • Brady threw two touchdown passes to tight end ROB GRONKOWSKI in the Patriots’ Week 6 victory. Brady and Gronkowski have combined for 71 career touchdown passes, the second-most in NFL history by a QB-TE combination (Chargers QB PHILIP RIVERS and TE ANTONIO GATES, 85).

WASHINGTON REDSKINS (3-2) at PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (5-1) (Monday, ESPN, 8:30 PM ET)                

  • Washington quarterback KIRK COUSINS passed for 330 yards and accounted for three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) in the Redskins’ 26-24 win over San Francisco last week. Cousins leads the NFC with a 106.4 passer rating and 8.44 yards-per-pass average.
  • Redskins running back CHRIS THOMPSON had four catches for 105 yards in Week 6 and has recorded at least 100 receiving yards in two of the past three games. He is the only player in the NFL this season with at least 150 rushing yards (175) and 300 receiving yards (340).
  • The Eagles have won four games in a row – the longest active streak in the NFL – and are tied for the best record in the league (5-1). Philadelphia defeated Carolina 28-23 on Thursday night in Week 6 as quarterback CARSON WENTZ threw three touchdown passes, including two to tight end ZACH ERTZ.
  • Wentz, who has seven touchdown passes and a 121.9 passer rating in his past two games, is tied for the NFC lead with 13 passing touchdowns and ranks second in the conference with 1,584 passing yards. Ertz and wide receiver NELSON AGHOLOR are tied for third in the NFC this season with four touchdown receptions. 

    NFL WEEK 7 SCHEDULE

    THURSDAY, SUNDAY & MONDAY, OCTOBER 19, OCTOBER 22-23

    (All times local)

    Byes: Detroit, Houston

    Thursday, October 19Sunday, October 22 (cont’d)
    Kansas City at Oakland, 8:25 PM (CBS/NFLN/Amazon)Baltimore at Minnesota, 12:00 PM
    Dallas at San Francisco, 1:05 PM
    Sunday, October 22Denver at Los Angeles Chargers, 1:25 PM
    Tampa Bay at Buffalo, 1:00 PMSeattle at New York Giants, 4:25 PM
    Carolina at Chicago, 12:00 PMCincinnati at Pittsburgh, 4:25 PM
    Tennessee at Cleveland, 1:00 PMAtlanta at New England, 8:30 PM (NBC)
    New Orleans at Green Bay, 12:00 PM
    Jacksonville at Indianapolis, 1:00 PMMonday, October 23
    Arizona at Los Angeles Rams (London), 6:00 PMWashington at Philadelphia, 8:30 PM (ESPN)
    New York Jets at Miami, 1:00 PM

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