What to Watch For  


What to watch for: Viewing tips for Week 7 games

  • By Gregg Rosenthal and Marc Sessler
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons

Mike Glennon was not the problem for the Bucs during their loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. He converted some nice third-and-long plays and moved the ball. Don't be shocked if the Falcons are upset; their offense is wildly banged up.

Further reading:
Tony Gonzalez: I'd never jump ship
Freeman takes veiled shot at Bucs
Further viewing:
NFL Films previews NFC South battle
Best of Week 6 on 'Sound FX'

St. Louis Rams at Carolina Panthers

Even in Cam Newton's great games, he tends to miss four or five routine throws by a huge distance. He's struggled to string together composed efforts this year, so it will be important to see if he can keep up his hot play from a week ago.

Further reading:
Tavon Austin disappearing from Rams offense
Aggressive Ron Rivera says FGs not good enough
Further viewing:
Panthers LB Thomas Davis on his three knee surgeries
'NFL Fan Pass': Alec Ogletree

Cincinnati Bengals at Detroit Lions

Matthew Stafford is doing a better job moving in the pocket and avoiding pressure. His offensive line also is doing a better job protecting him. This game will be a huge test for both of those trends because Geno Atkins and Cincinnati's pass rush is on a roll.

Further reading:
Where do Bengals, Lions stand in latest Power Rankings?
Elliot Harrison's Week 7 picks
Further viewing:
Lions rookie Fauria: I'm just having fun
NFL Films preview: Atkins vs. Suh, Gio vs. Reggie

Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins

Only two teams have scored 20-or-more points in every game this season: Denver and Buffalo (although the Bills haven't scored over 24 points). The Bills surprisingly were able to run their offense with Thad Lewis at the helm last week. This will not be a cakewalk for Miami.

Further reading:
Bills' Alonso NFL's best rookie through Week 6
Dolphins' Cameron Wake near top of DE rankings
Further viewing:
Ingognito on his bye week, protecting Tannehill
Best of Week 6 on 'Sound FX'

San Diego Chargers at Jacksonville Jaguars

Manti Te'o has been a bit of a problem for San Diego's defense. The Chargers expected him to be a "plug and play" starter, but he has struggled on the field. This is a defense that has all sorts of problems. If ever there was a game for Maurice Jones-Drew to break out, this is it.

Further reading:
Billick: Mathews shows importance of RB
Elliot Harrison's Week 7 picks
Further viewing:
Chargers rookie Keenan Allen on fire
McCoy congratulates Bolts on win over Colts

Chicago Bears at Washington Redskins

Last time Washington played the Bears, in 2010, Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall picked off Jay Cutler four times. Cutler isn't the same quarterback under coach Marc Trestman, and Mike Shanahan's defense has been a disaster in pass coverage. That brings us to our player to watch: Chicago receiver Alshon Jeffery, one of this season's pleasant surprises.

Further reading:
RGIII aims to draw flags by pulling up on sideline
Elliot Harrison's Week 7 picks
Further viewing:
London Fletcher on Washington's slow start
'NFL Fan Pass': Kyle Long

New England Patriots at New York Jets

The Patriots have won six straight in the rivalry. To make it seven, they are going to have to get contributions from rookie second-round pick Jamie Collins. The rarely used linebacker is likely to get most of the snaps in place of Jerod Mayo, who is out for the season.

Further reading:
Rex to Jets: No housework before Pats game
Brady plays miracle worker vs. Saints
Further viewing:
NFL Films previews classic AFC East grudge match
Brady mic'd up vs. Saints on 'Sound FX'

Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles

There are differing schools of thought about Nick Foles' status moving forward. NFL Media columnist Mike Silver believes the quarterback job is Foles' to lose, while NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport hears Michael Vick should get his job back. If Foles continues to play lights out, we can't see Chip Kelly taking him out of the lineup.

Further reading:
Schein: Why Philly will win NFC East
Cowboys cut ties with Jay Ratliff
Further viewing:
Casserly: Eagles better with Foles at QB
'NFL Fan Pass': Lane Johnson

A Football Life

The career of legendary coach Vince Lombardi -- who directed the Green Bay Packers to five NFL championships in the 1960s -- will be chronicled on NFL Network on Tuesday, Dec. 24 at 9 p.m. ET.

» The magic of Lombardi
» Top 10 motivational coaches
» Video: 'A Football Life'
» NFL Network schedule

Upcoming episodes:
» Dec. 24: Vince Lombardi, Part 1
» Dec. 31: Vince Lombardi, Part 2
» Jan. 7: Tiki and Ronde Barber
» Jan. 14: Bill Parcells
» Jan. 21: Jerry Smith
» Jan. 28: Jerry Rice

Cleveland Browns at Green Bay Packers

Yes, the Packers are banged up, but this one's a tall order for a Browns team led by Brandon Weeden. Especially if he continues to leave Jordan Cameron out in the cold. Brian Hoyer did a better job targeting the talented young tight end, and Cleveland doesn't have a shot unless Weeden finds Cameron early and often.

Further reading:
Silver: Rodgers alone makes Packers contenders
Our writers pick Week 7's games
Further viewing:
Impact of Randall Cobb's loss on Packers
'NFL Fan Pass': Barkevious Mingo

San Francisco 49ers at Tennessee Titans

When we spoke with Titans tight end Delanie Walker before the season, he talked about a Tennessee team that was being molded in San Francisco's image. They're run-heavy and boast an intriguing defense, but the Titans would need a flawless game from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to pull off the upset. Everything we know about the Amish Rifle tells us that's too much to ask. More sad days for this guy.

Further reading:
Track 49ers in latest Power Rankings?
Harbaugh: Gore can't be hit by 'bag of dung'
Further viewing:
NFL Films previews hard-hitting matchup
Colin Kaepernick on 'Sound FX'

Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers

We still believe the Steelers have a fighting shot in the dog-eat-dog AFC North, but that requires a win over Baltimore. It's not so crazy if the Steelers defense can snuff out a struggling Ravens offense that's produced the second most three-and-out drives in the league this season.

Further reading:
Jacoby Jones set for bigger role
Elliot Harrison's Week 7 picks
Further viewing:
Ravens-Steelers rivalry gets cranked up again
Ravens' Canty candid on Pittsburgh, other topics

Thousands shared stories telling us why they love football in a contest to win a trip to Super Bowl XLVIII. We chose 10 finalists. Now you choose the winners.

Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs

We've pumped up the Chiefs as the best defense in the NFL, largely because of a smothering run-stopping line and the nasty pressure they put on quarterbacks. We can't wait to see Chiefs nose tackle Dontari Poe against Houston's interior front. That duel will decide how Arian Foster fares in this must-win tilt for the Texans.

Further reading:
All-22 Coaches Film exposes Chiefs' dynamite D
Case Keenum gets tough first start for Texans
Further viewing:
'NFL Total Access': Are Chiefs for real?
J.J. Watt: Words don't win, work does

Denver Broncos at Indianapolis Colts

Look past all the Jim Irsay white noise and this is a classic in the making. Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton has to open things up after Andrew Luck was hamstrung against the Chargers. As much as Pep longs for Trent Richardson and a cloud of dust, keeping pace with Peyton Manning will require pushing the ball downfield to T.Y. Hilton.

Further reading:
Manning won't join war of words: Week 7 storylines
Bill Polian: Irsay should be grateful for his Super Bowl ring
Further viewing:
NFL Films previews The Peyton Homecoming
Impact of Von Miller's return

Minnesota Vikings at New York Giants

The loss of safety Harrison Smith is crushing for a Vikings defense that hasn't lived up to its billing this season. New York is dying for a win and we like the matchup of Eli Manning and his cast of receivers against a Minnesota secondary that ranks as the sixth-worst in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus.

Further reading:
Christian Ponder pondering a change?
Peyton Hillis signs with RB-needy G-men
Further viewing:
Frazier explains why Freeman is starting
Should Giants consider drafting a QB?

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