A guide to the best and worst of the NFL slate (and to which fans are stuck with the most of worst). Maps via 506sports.com.
Welcome to the last big football weekend before the serious midseason byes begin! Lots of decent matchups in the Week 7 afternoon slate, but only one, Dallas-Philadelphia, on par with the Sunday night Broncos-Colts game. Here are your NFL viewing maps:
San Diego at Jacksonville: There's been some upset buzz about this matchup (or, at very least, "it's going to be a game in the fourth" buzz), largely predicated on the beliefs that A) the Jaguars didn't look horrible against the Broncos; and B) Phillip Rivers can go fuck himself. Both fair points, but this is a solid Chargers team that could be 5-1 were it not for their perennial habit of melting down in the fourth quarter. This won't be a close game.
Buffalo at Miami: The middling teams of the AFC East just keep being middling. The Dolphins have won 6-7 games each of the last four seasons; the Bills have hit that mark in six of the last seven seasons.
New England at NY Jets: The last time these two teams played, we were given one of the ugliest games of the season. Gronk is back, though. Probably! Maybe!
Cincinnati at Detroit: The Lions are off to a hot start and are well on their way to proving that their disappointing 2012-2013 season was a fluke. Given all the Tom Brady-ing that Tom Brady did last week, the Bengals' ugly win over the Pats is looking better and better.
Cleveland at Green Bay: The Browns might be 3-3, but they have the 26th-best offense and just the 16th-best defense in the league, per Football Outsiders' DVOA calculations. The Packers are the largest favorites of Week 7, for good reason.
Baltimore at Pittsburgh: Not so long ago this was one of the best rivalries in football, with nine of the last 10 regular seasons games decided by four points or less. Now the Steelers are off to their worst start since 1968, and Joe Flacco has a lower QBR than Christian Ponder, Ryan Tanehill, and E.J. Manuel. This game might still be close, but nobody cares.
Houston at Kansas City: The Chiefs have 18 takeaways on the season, one behind the league-leading Seahawks. Let's see if Case Keenum—in his first career start—can end the Texans' ridiculous pick-six streak at five weeks.
Tampa Bay at Atlanta: When these NFC South rivals met in Week 12 last season, the Buccaneers were 6-4 and the Falcons were 9-1. Since then, the Buccaneers have gone 1-10 and the Falcons are 6-7, including playoffs.
Chicago at Washington: This time last year Washington looked mediocre (3-3) and the Bears looked pretty good (4-1), and look how that turned out.
St. Louis at Carolina: These teams are polar opposites—just when everyone decides the Rams are going to be bad, they suddenly look good, and just when everyone decides the Panthers are going to be good, they suddenly look absolutely horrible. The Panthers are 6.5-point favorites this week, so expect them to score three points or something.
San Francisco at Tennessee: After dropping two straight to the Chiefs and Seahawks, Tennessee's brutal stretch of games ends this week against the 49ers. Expect another closely contested loss for the Titans, who aren't particularly great at anything football-wise, but have a sturdy enough defense to make sure they never get completely pantsed.
Dallas at Philadelphia: The Cowboys (30.5 points/game) and the Eagles (27.7 points/game) are the second- and fourth-highest scoring teams in the NFL. Which one will get the chance to lead the NFC East to a fiery, early death in the playoffs?
Who's Getting Screwed?
This week's winner is Savannah, Ga., a repeat winner from last year, which gets stuck with San Diego at Jacksonville, Baltimore at Pittsburgh, and Tampa Bay at Atlanta. Seven teams have one win or fewer this season, Savannah gets to watch four of them. Have fun, guys!