The seventh Sunday of the NFL season features a rematch of the last Super Bowl, with the Atlanta Falcons traveling to Foxboro to face the defending champion New England Patriots. The Falcons seek revenge after blowing a 28-point lead in the Super Bowl leading to an overtime loss.
There was another potential great match-up this week between New Orleans and Green Bay, but the Packers losing QB Aaron Rodgers to a broken collarbone takes some luster off this game.
Here is a preview of all of Sunday’s NFL games:
Atlanta Falcons (3-2) at New England (4-2)
The Atlanta Falcons have lost two games in a row. Both these games were sans talented #2 receiver Mohamed Sanu, who was out with a hamstring injury. He’s back this week, and this will free up superstar receiver Julio Jones to make more plays, especially against a Patriots team without injured starting cornerback Stephon Gilmore.
The Patriots also don’t have a very good pass rush, so Falcons QB Matt Ryan should have plenty of time to find his weapons.
Don’t be shocked if Atlanta pulls the upset.
New Orleans Saints (3-2) at Green Bay Packers (4-2)
New Orleans finally has a good defense to compliment superstar QB Drew Brees. Saints rookie Marshon Lattimore looks like a shutdown cornerback, something they’ve need for some time.
Speaking of cornerbacks, both Packers starters are questionable for this game. And of course, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is out with a broken collarbone. With Rodgers, the Packers would likely win this game, without him, they probably lose.
Jacksonville Jaguars (3-3) at Indianapolis Colts (2-4)
The Jaguars have the NFL’s #1 rushing attack featuring rookie sensation Leonard Fournette, but he might not play due to an ankle injury.
Colts franchise quarterback Andrew Luck remains out with an shoulder issue, but his replacement, Jacoby Brissett, has been a pleasant surprise. The Colts need this game badly to avoid dropping to 2-5.
And they should be able to do enough to win a close game.
New York Jets (3-3) at Miami Dolphins (3-2)
The Dolphins are the NFL’s lowest-ranked offense, as they’re still getting comfortable with quarterback Jay Cutler, who was added in August. However, their defense is playing very well, especially against the run, so the Jets’ inconsistent running game is going to have a hard time getting much done.
The Dolphins have won 11 straight games decided by seven points or less, and there is a good chance they make it 12 this week.
Dallas Cowboys (2-3) at San Francisco 49ers (0-6)
Maybe the 49ers need to focus more on getting a win and perhaps less on other things. 49ers GM John Lynch released linebacker Navarro Bowman last week, and the linebacker had 11 tackles for the Oakland Raiders Monday night.
And they could use Bowman this week with four linebackers questionable for this game.
Dallas RB Zeke Elliott could run all over the 49ers and Dallas should win.
Denver Broncos (3-2) at Los Angeles Chargers (2-4)
The Denver Broncos travel to Los Angeles without starting right tackle (Menelik Watson) and his backup (Donald Stevenson).
And the Chargers have one of the NFL’s best pass rushes, spearheaded by Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. The Chargers have won two a row, and expect them to make it three.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3) at Buffalo Bills (3-2)
Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Mike Smith isn’t thrilled with his unit. “We’re up and down like a freaking yo-yo,” said Smith.
One reason for the struggles has been injuries, and they are getting some key players back this week, including star linebacker Kwon Alexander. What also could help their defense improve is facing the Bills’ 30th-ranking passing offense.
Expect a strong defensive performance from Tampa Bay, and a close game that could go either way.
Tennessee Titans (3-3) at Cleveland Browns (0-6)
The Browns are going back to rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer after a one-week benching. It’s hard to believe his skill-set will improve significantly after one week on the bench. This might be the Browns best chance to get their first win, at home, against a very banged-up team.
This game could go either way.
Carolina Panthers (4-2) at Chicago Bears (2-4)
Panthers defense is much-improved from last year, currently with the NFL’s 4th best unit. They travel to Chicago to face rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky in his third start. Good defenses usually travel well. Also, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has been very good on the road.
Expect Carolina to leave Chi-town with a win.
Baltimore Ravens (3-3) at Minnesota Vikings (4-2)
The Ravens have the NFL’s 31st-ranked passing offense. They clearly aren’t getting a lot of bang for their buck from QB Joe Flacco, making $22 million a year. Baltimore is one of the most beat-up teams in the league. They have 15 players on injured reserve and six others who are listed as “out” this week.
The Vikings’ defense is playing on a high level, so it’s unlikely the Ravens struggling offense gets fixed this week.
Expect Minnesota to win.
Cincinnati Bengals (2-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2)
The Bengals have quietly emerged as one of the NFL’s best defenses, currently ranked #2 in the league. We will see if this defense is for real, traveling to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers.
The Steelers will be without two key linemen – offensive right tackle Marcus Gilbert and defensive end Stephen Tuitt
This game could go either way.
Seattle Seahawks (3-2) at New York Giants (1-5)
The Seahawks defense looks like they have their mojo back after forcing six turnovers in the last two games.
Seattle is coming off a bye-week, and Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has a good record coming off a free week. The Giants are coming off their first win of the season, and hope to make it two in a row
This game is a toss-up.