Biggest Week 7 NFL questions, stats and predictions

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Updated: October 21, 2017

7:00 AM ET

Taking a spin around the NFL to get you ready for Week 7:

The big questions

Seriously, though, which teams are good?

Is parity at an all-time high in the NFL, or are the majority of the league’s 32 teams a parody of good football teams? The first six weeks would indicate it might be the latter.

Sure, teams such as Kansas City and Philadelphia have earned the right to be considered legitimate contenders, but a look at the standings offers a glut of teams trying to prove they belong in the postseason discussion.

Six weeks in, there’s not a division leader with a lead of more than one game in the loss column, and the NFC West, NFC South, AFC East and NFC North all have at least two teams tied in the loss column sitting atop the division. Of the league’s 32 teams, a whopping 25 have three or fewer losses and 23 have two or three defeats to their name.

That apparent commitment to mediocrity is perhaps best seen in the lack of a home-field advantage that once offered security for top teams. Through the first six weeks, road teams were 46-45. According to Elias Sports Bureau research, the last time road teams were above .500 this late in the season was Week 6 of the 2000 season. Last year, road teams had a .422 winning percentage.

Was Adrian Peterson‘s big game a renaissance or a one-off?

For the eighth time in NFL history, the two previous Super Bowl teams will meet the following season when the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots play Sunday. It bodes well for the Patriots that the winner of the previous Super Bowl has won five of those seven meetings.

Though this Falcons-Patriots matchup could offer some drama, don’t expect it to be the high-level contest we saw from these teams on the game’s biggest stage. Both are dealing with myriad issues that have fans wondering if they’ll even return to the postseason.

After losing offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, the Falcons’ scoring average has dropped almost 10 points from last season and quarterback Matt Ryan‘s passing yards per game at this point in the season have dropped from 348 to 271.

The Patriots could be a cure for what ails Ryan and Atlanta’s offense, however. New England is giving up 325 passing yards per game, the fourth-most through six games by any team in NFL history.

Don’t be surprised to see plenty of offensive fireworks in a game that will leave many wondering what happened to the complete teams that fought tooth and nail in the last Super Bowl.

A statement game in the NFC East

With each passing week, the Eagles are making believers out of league observers. They’ll get a chance to solidify their standing at the top of the NFC East against the Redskins on Monday Night Football.

FPI gives Philadelphia a 32.1 percent chance to win the division, but a win here would put them in prime position considering their remaining future opponents have a combined record of 22-33, the easiest schedule left for an NFC team.

Washington won’t be a pushover, though, as quarterback Kirk Cousins has historically been better against division opponents the second time around. He’s 4-2 with a QBR of 75 in the second meeting with NFC East teams and 3-8 with a 49.9 QBR in the first contest.

A win would push the Redskins’ chances of making the playoffs from 22.6 percent to 38.3 percent and a loss would drop them to 16.3 percent.

One way or another, the direction of the NFC East should crystallize Monday night.

Road Cam over home Cam

The Bears are the only team in the NFC that Carolina hasn’t beaten on the road, going 0-4 at Soldier Field in the regular season. Still, there’s a whole lot of statistical evidence pointing to that changing this week.

Carolina is one of five teams to start the season 3-0 on the road and quarterback Cam Newton is a big reason for that. His total QBR on the road (77) is the best among all quarterbacks and easily eclipses his home mark (35). He’s also completing 71.3 percent of his passes with eight touchdowns and two interceptions away from home.

Look for Newton and the Panthers to check the final box on their list of NFC road victims this week.

Article source: http://www.espn.com/blog/nflnation/post/_/id/253505/biggest-week-7-nfl-questions-stats-and-predictions-2