The NFL rolls into Week 7 with 14 teams with two losses or fewer, including the league’s lone unbeaten club, the Minnesota Vikings (5-0), who are looking to improve to 6-0. Since 1990, when the current 12-team playoff format was adopted, 34 of the 36 previous teams (94.4 percent) that started 6-0 made the playoffs, 75 of the previous 91 clubs (82.4 percent) that started 5-1 advanced to the postseason and 117 of 185 teams (63.2 percent) that started 4-2 qualified for the playoffs.

However, there’s still plenty of football left to be played and things can change quickly. Since 1990, 84 clubs have made the playoffs after starting 3-3 or worse. Last year, four teams with a losing record through six games advanced to the postseason – Houston (2-4), Seattle (2-4), Washington (2-4) and Kansas City (1-5).

“It’s huge to get a win,” said New York Giants linebacker Jonathan Casillas after the team’s 27-23 victory over Baltimore which evened the Giants’ record at 3-3. “It’s not going to get any easier going down the stretch for the rest of these games, so we had to win this game.”

The next stretch of games for New York starts this Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams at 9:30 a.m. on NFLN at London’s Twickenham Stadium, the first-ever NFL game at the UK’s famed rugby venue. For the Rams, this will be the team’s first trip to London since 2012. The Giants played in the first International Series game in 2007, defeating the Miami Dolphins 13-10 en route to winning Super Bowl XLII that season.


INTERNATIONAL AFFAIR: The 2016 International Series continues in Week 7 with the Los Angeles Rams hosting the New York Giants at London’s Twickenham Stadium at 9:30 a.m. Eastern on NFL Network. It will be the second of three games played in London this season and the first-ever NFL game at Twickenham. Next week, on Sunday, October 30, the Cincinnati Bengals will host the Washington Redskins at Wembley Stadium at 9:30 a.m. on FOX.

The NFL will also return to Mexico City on Monday, November 21 at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN when the Oakland Raiders host the Houston Texans in the first-ever Monday Night Football game to be played outside the United States.

The International Series has seen some very close contests since its inception in 2007. In the first 15 games in London, eight have been decided by one score.

The 15 regular-season games played in London, England:

October 2, 2016 (4) – Jacksonville 30, Indianapolis 27
November 1, 2015 (8) – Kansas City 45, Detroit 10
October 25, 2015 (7) – Jacksonville 34, Buffalo 31
October 4, 2015 (4) – New York Jets 27, Miami 14
November 9, 2014 (10) – Dallas 31, Jacksonville 17
October 26, 2014 (8) – Detroit 22, ATLANTA 21
September 28, 2014 (4) – Miami 38, Oakland 14
October 27, 2013 (8) – San Francisco 42, Jacksonville 10
September 29, 2013 (4) – Minnesota 34, Pittsburgh 27
October 28, 2012 (8) – New England 45, St. Louis Rams 7
October 23, 2011 (7) – Chicago 24, Tampa Bay 18
October 31, 2010 (8) – San Francisco 24, Denver 16
October 25, 2009 (7) – New England 35, Tampa Bay 7
October 26, 2008 (8) – New Orleans 37, San Diego 32
October 28, 2007 (8) – New York Giants 13, Miami 10

CLOSE GAMES: Through the first six weeks of the 2016 season, 50 games have been decided by seven points or fewer, tied for the most in a season’s first six weeks in NFL history (1999).

With eight games decided by seven points or fewer in Week 7, the 2016 season would set the NFL record for the most games decided by seven points or fewer through the first seven weeks of a season.

The most games decided by seven points or fewer through Week 7:?

2012 – 57
1999 – 55
2011 – 54
2010 – 54
2015 – 53
2016 – 50*

*Through 6 weeks

ELECTRIC ELI: New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning passed for 403 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s 27-23 win over Baltimore, becoming the eighth player in NFL history with 300 career touchdown passes (302) and surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer John Elway (300) for the seventh-most touchdown passes all-time.

Manning, who ranks 10th in NFL history with 45,975 passing yards, needs 259 passing yards on Sunday against Los Angeles to pass Vinny Testaverde for the ninth-most passing yards ever.

The players with the most passing yards in NFL history:

Peyton Manning – Indianapolis and Denver (1998-2015, 71,940)
Brett Favre – Atlanta, Green Bay, New York Jets and Minnesota (1991-2010, 71,838)^
Drew Brees – San Diego and New Orleans (2001-present, 62,637)*
Dan Marino – Miami (1983-1999, 61,361)^
Tom Brady – New England (2000-Present, 58,810)*
John Elway – Denver (1983-1998, 51,475)^
Warren Moon – Houston Oilers, Minnesota, Seattle and Kansas City (1984-2000, 49,325)^
Fran Tarkenton – Minnesota and New York Giants (1961-1978, 47,003)^
Vinny Testaverde – Tampa Bay, Cleveland, Baltimore, New York Jets, Dallas, New England and Carolina (1987-2007, 46,233)
Eli Manning – New York Giants (2004-Present, 45,975)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

AUTOMATIC ADAM: Indianapolis kicker Adam Vinatieri made three field goals without a miss in Indianapolis’ 26-23 overtime loss vs. Houston last week.

Vinatieri, who leads the NFL with 62 points, has converted all 16 of his field goal attempts this season and has not missed a field goal since Week 2 of 2015. With two field goals made without a miss on Sunday at Tennessee, Vinatieri would set the NFL record for the most consecutive field goals made.

The players with the most consecutive field goals made in NFL history:

Mike Vanderjagt – Indianapolis (2002-2004, 42)
Adam Vinatieri – Indianapolis (2015-present, 41)*
Gary Anderson – San Francisco and Minnesota (1997-1998, 40)
Matt Stover – Baltimore (2005-2006, 36)
Active streak

GLEEFUL GRONKOWSKI: New England tight end ROB GRONKOWSKI had seven catches for 162 yards and a touchdown in last week’s 35-17 win over Cincinnati.

Gronkowski, who has an NFL-best 66 receiving touchdowns since 2010, has 393 receptions in 84 career games. With seven receptions against Pittsburgh on Sunday, Gronkowski would tie Kellen Winslow, Jr. as the third-fastest tight end in NFL history to reach 400 career receptions.

The tight ends to reach 400 career receptions in the fewest games in NFL history:

Kellen Winslow – San Diego (72)^
Jimmy Graham – New Orleans (81)
Kellen Winslow, Jr. – Cleveland (85)
Jeremy Shockey – New York Giants (90)
Jason Witten – Dallas (91)
Rob Gronkowski – New Engalnd (???)*

*Has 393 receptions is 84 career games
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

MAGNIFICENT MARCUS: Kansas City cornerback Marcus Peters recorded his fifth interception of the season in last week’s 26-10 victory over Oakland.

Peters, who had two interceptions in consecutive weeks earlier this season (list the weeks here), leads the NFL with five interceptions. With two interceptions on Sunday against New Orleans, Peters would tie Pro Football Hall of Famer Rod Woodson (1993) and Ross Fichtner (1966) for the most interceptions through a team’s first six games in the Super Bowl era.

The players with the most interceptions through a team’s first six games:

Rod Woodson – 1993, Pittsburgh (7)^
Ross Fichtner – 1966, Cleveland (7)
Marcus Peters – 2016, Kansas City (5)*

*Has five interceptions through first five games
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Carolina and Dallas have byes this week and return to action next week. Week 7 began on Thursday night with an NFC North contest as Green Bay beat Chicago 26-10 at Lambeau Field. The week 7 docket concludes with a pair of primetime matches as the Arizona Cardinals host the Seattle Seahawks in an NFC West showdown on Sunday night at 8:30 p.m. on NBC and the Houston Texans visit the Denver Broncos on Monday night at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN.

As for last week, not the best week we’ve had at 7-7 (57-34 for the season). It’s a brand new week and that’s why they play the game, as Chris Berman once said. With that, here are the Sunday and Monday picks for week seven.

San Diego (2-4) at ATLANTA (4-2), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. A pair of young gun QBs (Philip Rivers, Matt Ryan) meet in the Big Peach as Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers travel to Atlanta for a late afternoon contest with the first-place Atlanta Falcons.

San Diego broke their three-game losing streak, taking down the defending Super Bowl champs 21-13 at Qualcomm Stadium last Thursday night. The Chargers led 10-3 at the half and then held off a late Denver rally to seal the win.

Atlanta saw their four-game win streak come to an end in the Pacifc Northwest by Seattle, losing to the Seahawks 26-24 at Century Link Field. The Falcons let a 24-23 lead get away from them as Seahawks K Stephen Hauschka connected on a 44-yard field goal with 1:57 left to play in regulation. Atlanta saw their last and best chance to take the lead back and the win fall when four Ryan pass attempts fell incomplete. Ryan threw for 335 yards and three TDs, including one to All-Pro WR Julio Jones (7 catches for 139 yards).

Atlanta leads the series 8-1, have outscored San Diego 183-97 and won the last six meetings, with the last Falcons’ win coming in 2012 in San Diego by a final of 27-3, while San Diego’s lone win in the series came in 1988 in Atlanta (when the Falcons called Fulton County Stadium home) by a final of 10-7.

Atlanta’s favored by 6 1/2 and the over/under’s 53 1/2. Both numbers make a lot of sense, both teams could easily reach the over/under by halftime. Both teams know something about close losses and this one could be closer than the 6 1/2. Atlanta bounces back in the Big Peach and takes this one, even though it may be closer than the 6 1/2.

New York Giants (3-3) at Los Angeles (3-3), 9:30 a.m. Eastern (2:30 p.m. London) on NFLN. It’s fish and chips, round 2. The NFL’s second game on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean gets on track Sunday morning as a pair of .500 teams meet in   the first NFL game played at London’s Twickenham Stadium.

The Giants come to Merry Old England with a 27-23 win over Baltimore in the Meadowlands under their belts. Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. had eight catches for 222 yards and two touchdowns last week in New York’s fourth-quarter win, while Giants QB Eli Manning becaume the eighth player in NFL history with 300 career TD passes, connecting with Beckham on the game-winning 66-yard score with 1:24 remaining in the game.

The Rams enter the Sunday morning contest at Twickenham with a 31-28 loss at Detroit. Case Keenum set a franchise record with 19 consecutive completions, while Los Angeles wide receiver Kenny Britt had seven catches for 136 yards and 2 TDs against the Lions, his 11th career 100-yard game and his third multi-TD performance.

Including contests that were played in Cleveland, St. Louis, Yankee Stadium and the Yale Bowl, the Rams lead the series 25-15 and have outscored Big Blue 927-764. However, Giants fans can take heart and consolation that they have come away winners in the last six contests, the last win coming in 2014 in St. Louis by a final of 37-27. The Rams’ last win over the Giants would come also in St. Louis in 2001 by a 15-14 final.

New York’s favored by 3 and the over/under’s 44. If you’re a fan of either of these teams and you live on the East coast, set the VCR if you have an early church service. If you’re on the West coast, this might be a good time to eat breakfast before heading off to mass. Giants rule Britainia and the Rams in the process, covering the 3.

Cleveland (0-6) at Cincinnati (2-4), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. It’s a Buckeye State battle along the shores of the Ohio River as a pair of struggling AFC North teams meet in Cincinnati.

Cleveland remains winless after they fell 28-26 to Tennessee in Nashville last Sunday. The Browns trailed 14-13 at the intermission in the Music City and made a dash for their first win of the 2016 campaign but fell short. Cleveland would eventually putt to within 2 points with 27 seconds left when RB Duke Johnson scored from a yard out.

The Bengals found themselves getting manhandled by Tom Brady and New England, as they fell to the Pats 35-17 in Foxboro. Cincinnati led once in the contest, when Andy Dalton scored on a 2-yard run with 3:10 left before the half. From then on, the wheels of the Bengals’ bus fell off, as they would trail 10-7 at the intermisson. In his first home game back, Brady burned Cincy for 376 yards and three TDs, one to his favorite target, TE Rob Gronkowski. The lone bright spot in the contest was that the Bengals did manage to outrush New England 120-79.

The Bengals hold a 46-29 lead in the series (which includes games that took place at old Municipal Stadium along the shores of Lake Erie and Riverfront/Synergy Stadium) and they’ve outscored Cleveland 1,833-1,695. Cincinnati swept the series last year, winning both games in the Buckeye State (Cleveland’s last win over their in-state rivals came in 2014, when they came away 24-3 winners in Cincinnati).

Week nine in Cincinnati… the Bengals led Cleveland 14-10 at the half and then proceeded to pull away from the Browns at Paul Brown Stadium, taking a 31-10 win in front of the home folks. Dalton (234 yards) and Todd Eifert connected on three TD passes at home and Cincinnati racked up 152 yards rushing, holding Cleveland to 69, sacking QB Johnny Manziel three times. The Bengals went 8 of 14 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth down conversions, as they kept the ball for 36:03, while the Browns were 4 of 13 on third down tries and 1 of 2 on fourth downs, keeping the pigskin for 23:57.

Game two… Cleveland along the shores of Lake Erie in week 13 and the Bengals proved that the win in south Ohio was no fluke, as they held the Browns to a Travis Coons’ field goal in the second quarter, coming away 37-3 winners. The Bengals led 20-3 at the break and proceeded to shut out the Browns in the second half, scoring their final 17 points of the game unchallenged. Dalton threw for 220 yards, ran for a TD and threw for two more, connecting with his favorite target, WR A.J. Green in the second quarter. Cincy ran amok on the Browns’ defense, tallying 144 yards on the ground, while holding Cleveland to 68 and sacked backup QB Austin Davis three times, picking him off once.

The Bengals in the second contest along the shores of Lake Erie went 5 of 12 on third down (2 of 3 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 30:58, while the Browns were 6 of 13 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth down, keeping the ball for 29:02.

The Bengals are favored by 10 at home and the over/under’s 46. Cincinnati’s trying to get back to the .500 mark, while Cleveland’s trying to win a game. Cleveland’s bad but they’re not 10 points bad and they’ve played a lot better than their record indicates. The Bengals are the lesser of the evils and they’ll take the win here, although expect Cleveland to make it closer than the 10.

Oakland (4-2) at Jacksonville (2-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. The Silver and Black head East for an early afternoon contest in the Sunshine State with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Oakland fell to Kansas City at home 26-10. Although they trailed 13-10 at the half, the Chiefs managed to pull away from their AFC West rivals, shutting them out in the second half 13-0. Oakland was held to 65 yards on the ground, while the Chiefs’ Spencer Ware ran for 131 of his team’s 183.

Jacksonville suffered no ill effects from their bye week and pulled off a 17-16 win over Chicago last Sunday in the Windy City. Trailing 10-0 at the half at Soldier Field, Jacksonville pulled off the upset on the road, outscoring Chicago 17-6 in the final 30 minutes of play and took the lead for good when WR Arrelious Benn and QB Blake Bortles connected on a TD pass with 2:49 left to play.

The Jaguars lead the series 4-3 and have outscored the Silver and Black 155-119. However, the Raiders were victors in their last two meetings with Jacksonville, coming away 19-0 winners in Oakland in 2013 (Jacksonville’s last win over Oakland came in 2010 in the Sunshine State by a 38-31 count. Jacksonville’s favored by 1 in the Sunshine State and the over/under’s 49. This one’s not the best one to watch but there is some entertainment value here. Raiders come back to life in the Sunshine State and covers the spread with the win.

Buffalo (4-2) at Miami (2-4), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. A pair of AFC East rivals with opposite records meet in the Sunshine State as Buffalo circles their wagons for a date with the Miami Dolphins.

Both teams took wins last week at home. Bills running back Le Sean McCoyOY rushed for 140 yards and three touchdowns last week in a 45-16 win over San Francisco. Buffalo led San Francisco and Ryan Kaepernick 17-13 at the break and then pulled away from the 49ers in upstate New York, outscoring them 28-3 in the final 30 minutes of play. McCoy ties for second in the NFL with seven total touchdowns (six rushing, one receiving) this season. The Bills have won four consecutive games – all by 10+ points – and has outscored its opponents 124-53 in those contests.

Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi, made his second career start, rushed for 204 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s 30-15 victory over Pittsburgh and sealed the win with a 62-yard TD run with 50 seconds remaining in the game. Miami sacked Ben Roethlisberger twice and picked him off twice in the win at Hard Rock Stadium, while Ryan Tannehill threw for 252 yards without a sack or interception.

Miami leads the series (which includes games played at old War Memorial Stadium, the Orange Bowl and one contest in Toronto) 57-42-1 and the ‘Fins have outscored Buffalo 2,127-1,897. However, the Bills swept the series in 2015, winning in upstate New York and in the Sunshine State.

Week three in Miami Gardens… Buffalo manhandled Miami 41-14. The Bills led 27-0 at the half at Sun Life Stadium (before the name change), while RB Karlos williams ran for 110 yards (Buffalo outrushed the ‘Fins 151-102). Buffalo managed to sack Tannehill (297 yards) twice and pick him off three times, while Taylor threw for 277 yards and three TDs without being sacked or turning the ball over. Buffalo went 7 of 13 on third down conversions in south Florida and kept the ball for 31:53, while the ‘Fins 4 of 13 and 1 of 4 on third and fourth down and held the pigskin for 28:07.

The second meeting… upstate New York in week nine. Wind chill? A balmy 46 (temperature at kickoff was 49). Buffalo led 19-7 at the half at Ralph Wilson Stadium, coming away 33-17 winners when the dust had finally settled. Although the Miami run game was much better in the second meeting and the Dolphins ran for 108 yards, they found themselves being outrushed by the Bills, who tallied 266, with Williams rushing for 110 yards and a pair of TDs, while LeSean McCoy chipped in with 112 and a TD to complete the series sweep. Buffalo again ruled third down tries, going 8 of 13 and possessed the pigskin for 31:13, while Miami kept the ball for 28:47, going 4 of 9 on third down in upstate New York. Buffalo’s favored by 3 and the over/under’s 45. Buffalo’s in a race to catch Tom Brady and the Pats, while the ‘Fins are trying to keep up. Bills circle the wagons in the Sunshine State and take the win at Hard Rock.

Baltimore (3-3) at New York Jets (1-5), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. Baltimore makes its second trip to the Meadowlands in as many weeks they square off against the struggling New York Jets at MetLife Stadium.

The Ravens saw a 23-20 against the New York Giants get away from them as Eli Manning and WR Odell Beckham Jr. connected on their second TD pass of the afternoon to fall 27-23. The Ravens led 10-7 at half and led by 3 with 1:24 left to play before Big Blue took the lead for keeps on the Manning TD strike. Baltimore had one last chance to take the win on the road and had help from the Giants thanks to a pair of penalties but Joe Flacco’s (307 yards) final pass fell incomplete.

GangGreen continued to stumble and lost their fourth in a row to Arizona 28-3. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! lone score in the Monday night affair in the desert came on a 39-yard field goal by Nick Folk in the second quarter. From there, the New York offense struggled, rushing for a somewhat dismal 33 yards, as the defense allowed Arizona to tally 171, with David Johnson (3 TDs) ran for 111 of those yards.

Baltimore leads the series 8-1 and after GangGreen won the first meeting in 1997 by a final of 19-16 in overtime in the Meadowlands, the Ravens have managed to pull off eight wins in a row, including a 19-3 win in Charm City in 2013. The Jets are a 1-point favorite at home in upstate New Jersey and the over/under’s 41 1/2. Baltimore may be average at best but they’re the only other NFC North team that’s above .500 right now, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! have been a dumpster fire of late. Ravens get out of New Jersey with a win this time and covers the 1.

Indianapolis (2-4) at Tennessee (3-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 709. A struggling Colts team, coming off an overtime loss to Houston, travels to the Music City for a meeting with Tennessee at Nissan Stadium in an AFC South affair.

Indy and Andrew Luck let a 23-16 lead against Houston get away from them last Sunday night in the Lone Star State and fell to the Texasn 26-23 in overtime at NRG Stadium. TE C.J. Fiedorowicz and K Nick Novak scored Houston’s final 10 points in the contest unchallenged to take the win in the contest that went an extra period. Indy outrushed Houston 161-158 and Frank Gore (106 yards) and Lamar Miller (149 yards, TD) each led their clubs.

The Titans matched their win total from 2015 and came away 28-26 over Cleveland last Sunday after trailing 14-13 at the intermission in the Music City. The Browns managed to pull to within 2 points with 27 second left when RB Duke Johnson ran in fromy a yard away but Tennessee did not allow the Browns to come any closer.

Including games played in Baltimore and in Houston when the Titans were known as the Oilers, Indy leads the series 29-13, have outscored Tennessee 1,085-814 and have won 9 of the last 10 meetings (Tennessee’s last win over the Colts came in 2011 when they were 27-10 winners in the Music City) and swept the series in 2015.

Their first meeting took place in week three in the Music City and the Colts found themselves down 27-14 with 3:04 left in regulation before Luck tossed a pair of TD passes late in the fourth to take a 35-33 win over the Titans at Nissan Stadium. Indy led 14-10 at the break before the Titans took the lead in the third quarter, scoring 17 points in the quarter without a challenge. TD passes to Phillip Dorsett and Donte Moncrief proved to be the undoing of Tennessee, as the Colts took the lead back with 5:53 left to play. The Colts outrushed Tennessee 133-88 and while both Luck and Mariota each had a pair of TDs, both were sacked twice and picked off twice. Both clubs were 1 of 1 on fourth down conversions in the first meeting, while Indy was 4 of 11 and Tennessee was 4 of 13 on third down tries. Tennessee did manage to rule the clock, keeping the ball for 34:59, while the Colts kept the pigskin corraled for 25:01.

Round two,,, the Colts found themselves back home again in Indiana and they pulled off the sweep in the week 17th matchup, coming out on top 30-24. Indy trailed with 2:25 left in regulation when Adam Vinateri connected on a 35-yard field goal to give the Colts the lead for keeps. The Colts led 20-14 at the break before rallying in the second half after Tennessee took the lead on a 1 yard run by David Cobb with 10:25 left before intermission and although they did lose the contest, Tennessee did outrush Indy 137-127. Indy on third down tries was 7 of 17 and kept the ball for 33:17, while the Titans kept it for 26:43, going 4 of 14 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth down conversions.

Tennessee’s favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under is 48 1/2. The Colts are trying to right their ship, while the Titans are trying to win one more game than they did last year. Sorry, Tennessee, as the old ad once said. You’ll have to wait a week. Colts ride off into the sunset and takes this one, covering the 2 1/2.

Washington (4-2) at Detroit (3-3), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. The defending NFC East champs travel to the Motor City for a contest in the great indoors of Ford Field against the Detoit Lions.

Both teams took wins at home last week. Washington led Philadelphia 21-14 at the half at FedEx Field last Sunday and came away 27-20 winners in Landover. Washington’s Matt Jones led all rushers with 135 yards (the Redskins tallied 230, holding the Eagles to 94) and Kirk Cousins threw for three TDs, while the Washington defense sacked Eagles rookie QB Carson Wentz five times. As for Detroit, they were also winners at home, winning over Los Angeles 31-28. Tied 21-21 after three quarters, the Lions eventually managed to come away with the 3-point win when Matt Prater connected on a 34-yard field goal with 1:29 left to play.

Including games that took place when the Lions played in Portsmouth and were known as the Spartans and the Redskins played their home games in Boston and called themselves the Braves, the Redskins the lead series 27-13 and have outscored the Lions 854-655. However, the Lions have roared themselves toward a trio of wins in the last three meetings, including a 27-20 win in Landover in 2013. Washingoton’s last win in the series came in the Motor City by a final of 25-17 in 2008.

The Lions are a 1 1/2 point favorite at home and the over/under’s 48 1/2. Both teams are actually pretty decent, even though they’re in somewhat tough divisons. Lions roar at home and cover the 1 1/2.

New Orleans (2-3) at Kansas City (3-2), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. After a tough battle with NFC South foe Carolina last Sunday in the Big Easy, Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints head to the Midwest for a showdown at Arrowhead with the Andy Reid-led Kansas City Chiefs.

The Saints found themselves in a battle with Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers last Sunday at the Superdome and needed a 52-yard field goal from rookie kicker Will Lutz with 11 seconds left to take a 41-38 win over the defending NFC champs. New Orleans led 31-17 after three quarters of play before allowing Carolina to come back in the final quarter of action. Carolina tied things up at 38-38 when Newton scored on a 2-yard TD run with 2:58 left in the contest. Brees threw for 465 yards and four TDs in the contest, while Newton, coming back from a concussion, threw for 322 and a pair of TDs of his own.

Kansas City went to the West Coast to take on Oakland and came away 26-10 winners over the Raiders. After leading 13-10 at the break, the Chiefs went on to shutout Oakland 13-0 in the last 30 minutes of action. RB Spencer Ware ran for 131 of the Chiefs’ 183, while Kansas City held Oakland to 65 and Smith threw for 224 yards without a TD or interception in the contest.

Each team has a Super Bowl to speak of and the series between the Saints and Chiefs is even at 5-5, with Kansas City outscoring New Orleans 233-226. Each team’s last win in the series came in the other team’s stadium; Kansas City’s last win in the series came in 2012 in the Big Easy by a final of 27-24, while the Saints won at Arrowhead.

The oddsmakers like Kansas City as 6 1/2 point favorites and the over/under’s 50 1/2. Both numbers make a lot of sense. This could be a shootout or it could be a blowout. In any case, everything’s up to date in Kansas City and the Chiefs take this one at Arrowhead, although the Saints will make it a lot closer than the 6 1/2.

Minnesota (5-0) at Philadelphia (3-2), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. The lone undefeated team in the NFL comes to the City of Brotherly Love for a meeting with a Philly team that finds themselves on a 2-game losing streak.

The Vikings enter the contest after a bye last week, taking down Houston 31-13 the weekend before in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Philly dropped their second contest in a row, losing in Landover to NFC East foe Washington 27-20. Carson Wentz was sacked five times and the Eagles were held to 94 yards rushing, allowing Washington to run for 230 (RB Matt Jones easily led all rushers with 135).

Minnesota holds a 13-9 lead in the series, the Vikings have outscored Philly 533-507 and have won the last two meetings with the Eagles and won the last two meetings, with the last win coming in 2013 in the Twin Cities by a final of 48-30, while Philly’s last win over the Purple Gang also came in the Land of 10,000 Lakes in 2007 in the Metrodome 23-16.

Minnesota’s favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under’s 40. Both Wentz and Sam Bradford can put the ball in the air but the Eagles are trying to find themsevles, while the Vikings are looking to stay unbeaten for as long as they can. That streak’ll continue in the City of Brotherly Love as Minnesota covers the 2 1/2 and wins in Philly.

Tampa Bay (2-3) at San Francisco (1-5), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714. A pair of struggling teams meet in Wine country in a late afternoon contest when Jameis Winston and Tampa Bay travels to Santa Clara to face the San Francisco 49ers and Colin Kaepernick.

Tampa Bay returns to action after their Monday night win over Carolina two weeks ago in Charlotte, while the 49ers limp back home to Levis’ Stadium after their 45-16 loss to Buffalo last Sunday in upstate New York. San Francsico trailed 17-13 at the intermission before the Bills pulled away, outscoring the 49ers 28-3 in the final 30 minutes of action. Kaepernick did manage to throw for 187 yards and a TD (his first since week six of the 2015 season) and no interceptions and for 49ers fans, that was the good news. The bad news? They were outrushed by the Bills 312-133, with Bills RB LeSean McCoy doing most of the damage, rushing for 140 yards and three TDs.

San Francisco leads the series 17-4, the 49ers have outscored Tampa Bay 494-295 and they have taken wins in the last two meetings, including a 2013 win over the Bucs by a final of 33-14 in the Sunshine State. Tampa Bay’s last win over the 49ers came in 2010, when they shut out the 49ers 21-0 on the West Coast at Candlestick Park.

Tampa Bay’s a 1 1/2 point favorite in wine country and the over/under’s 47 1/2. You might want to take a pass on this one and watch that “NCIS” marathon on USA Network (Ziva smacking Tony on the head is STILL funny, people!). The Bucs are the lesser evil here and they’ll win and cover the 1 1/2.

New England (5-1) at Pittsburgh (4-2), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 715. Tom Brady makes his third trip back from “Deflategate” as the Pats travel to the Steel City for a late afternoon contest with the Steelers in Pittsburgh at Heinz Field.

The Pats erased a 7-3 deficit against Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals and came away 35-17 winners in Foxboro. Brady threw for 376 yards and three TDs, connecting with his favorite target, TE Rob Gronkowski on one of those throws.

For the Steelers, things went from bad to worse against Miami. First, they trailed the Dolphins 16-8 at the half at Hard Rock Stadium in the Sunshine State, then they lost Ben Roethlisberger (189 yards, TD, 2 interceptions) to a knee injury in the contest, losing 30-15. So instead of Big Ben, the Steelers will put backup QB Landry Jones under center.

Pittsburgh has a 14-10 lead in the series and they may have outscored the Pats 564-520 but… New England won the last two meetings and both contests took place in Foxboro, with the Pats taking a 28-21 last year, while Pittsburgh’s last win in the series came in 2011 in the Steel City by a final of 25-17 at Heinz Field.

In the week one contest at Gillette Stadium on a Thursday night, New England led 21-11 at the end of three quarters before Pittsburgh would make things closer, outscoring the Pats in the final 15 minutes of play. Gronkowski and Brady (288 yards, four TDS) hooked up for three TD passes in the contest, while Roethlisberger threw for 351 yards (both men were sacked twice and Roethlisberger threw an interception). New England was 7 of 11 on third down conversions and the Pats possessed the ball for 27:55, while the Steelers were 7 of 15 on third down but found success on fourth down, going 2 of 2 and kept the ball for 32:05.

The boys and girls in Vegas like the Pats as a 7-point favorite and the over/under’s 45 1/2. Even though this not the Brady/Roethlisberger battle that some had longed for, this one’s still is a clash of the titans. Pittsburgh makes this one closer than the 7 but the Pats take the win on the road in the Steel City.

Seattle (4-1) at Arizona (3-3), 8:30 p.m. on NBC. They meet in the desert. Seattle and Arizona, fresh off wins in their home parks, meet in Glendale for a Sunday night NFC West contest.

The Seahawks erased a 24-23 fourth quarter deficit against Atlanta and came away 26-24 winners on a 44-yard field goal by Steven Hauschka with 1:57 left in the contest at CenturyLink Field. Although he was outpaced by Matt Ryan, who threw for 335 yards and three TDs (one to All-Pro WR Julio Jones), Seahawks QB Russell Wilson tallied 270 yards in the air, while the Seahawks, who held off a late Atlanta rally, outrushed the Falcons in the land of grunge, Salmon and Starbucks 72-52.

Arizona manhandled the New York Jets Monday night in Glendale, taking GangGreen 28-3 in the desert. The Desert Angry Birds finally scored a first-quarter TD, thanks to a 59-yard run by RB David Johnson (111 yards, 3 TDs) and never looked back, holding the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! to a 39-yard field goal by Nick Folk in the second quarter. Carson Palmer threw for 213 yards without a TD or interception in the desert last Monday evening, while the Arizona defense forced a pair of turnovers in the win.

The series? Tied 17-17 and the Seahawks have outscored Arizona 866-651 (which includes contests that took place in St. Louis). The two teams split last year’s meetings, each winning in the other team facility.

Meeting number one took place in the land of grunge, Salmon and Starbucks and the Desert Angry Birds came away 39-32 winners. After a scoreless first quarter in the week 10 contest, Arizona led 22-7 at the break. Arizona then proceeded to hold off Seattle, outscoring the Seahawks 17-15 in the final 30 minutes of action at CenturyLink Field. Arizona BARELY outrushed Seattle 117-115 and Palmer threw for 363 yards and three TDs (three sacks), while Wilson threw for 240 yards, a TD and two sacks (each man threw an interception). Seattle was a somewhat dismal 1 of 8 on third down tries and held the ball for 21:08 (the Seahawks had success in their only fourth down try in the contest), while the Desert Angry Birds were 8 of 17 on third down, keeping the pigskin for 38:52.

Round two… week 17 in the desert and Seattle gained a huge measure of revenge, as they held the Desert Angry Birds to a second quarter TD pass from Palmer to Fitzgerald, taking Arizona to the woodshed and coming away from Glendale 36-6 winners. Seattle led 30-6 at the intermission and never looked back, taking the 30-point win on the road. Seattle ran for 145 yards, with Christine Michael doing his best Marshawn Lynch impression, rushing for 102 and the Seahawks defense held Arizona to 27. While Wilson threw three TD passes without an interception, Arizona would not be as fortunate as Palmer and Drew Stanton combined for three interceptions and two sacks. Seattle in the desert was 8 of 15 on third down tries (1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 36:37, while Arizona held it for 23:23, going 5 of 12 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth down tries.

These two were playoff teams last year and they’re in the hunt for the NFC West title. With that, this one’s “DRILL WORTHY!” (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 57 last June and dates a 42-year old ex-Marine, who’s now a football coach at the high school in your town.
She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”

Arizona’s favored by 1 1/2 and the over/under’s 43 1/2. There’s a strong chance that one of these teams could win the NFC West and the other could be a Wild Card team. Seattle covers the 1 1/2 in the desert and pulls off the upset against the Desert Angry Birds in Glendale.

Houston (4-2) at Denver (4-2), 8:30 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Week seven closes out in the Rocky Mountains as Houston travels westward for a Monday night date wit the defending Super Bowl champs.

Houston needed overtime to come away 26-23 winners over Indianapolis last Sunday in the Lone Star State. The Texans scored their final 10 points of the contest unchallenged thanks to a 26-yard TD pass to TE C.J. Fiedorowicz from QB Brock Osweiler with 49 seconds left in regulation to tie things up and then getting a 33-yard field goal from Nick Novak with 8:10 left in the extra period. Houston’s Lamar Miller and Indianapolis’ Frank Gore each put on a rushing clinic at NRG Stadium in primetime, with Miller rushing for 149 yards and a TD, while Gore had 106 (the Colts outrushed Houston 161-158). The opposing QBs chipped in on the offensive side as well, with Osweiler throwing for 269 yards and Andrew Luck throwing for 252.

The defending Super Bowl champs limp their way back to Sports Authority Field after their 21-13 loss to San Diego at Qualcomm Stadium last Thursday night. Denver and Trevor Siemian trailed the Chargers 10-3 at the half and made things a lot closer than Charger fans would have liked as the defending champs made it an 8-point contest when WR Bennie Fowler caught a 5-yard TD pass with 8:08 left to play and added a 46-yard field goal by Brandon McManus with 27 seconds remaining. After the late field goal, Denver recovered the onside kick, then proceeded to march down the field for the winning score but found themselves stopped short when Siemian’s final pass attempt fell short.

Denver leads the series 3-2 and have outscored the Texans 130-111. The defending Super Bowl champs won the last meeting with the Texans, taking a 37-13 win in the Lone Star State in 2013, while the Texans’ last win came in 2012 in the Mile High City by a final of 31-25.

On Monday night, the Broncos suprisingly are below .500 at 30-37-1, while the Texans are 4-5 with both teams winning their only Monday night contest last year. Denver’s favored by 7 1/2 and the over/under is 41. Denver’s trying to catch the Raiders and keep pace with them, while the Texans are kings of the mountain in the AFC South. There have been some pretty good Monday night games of late and this one should be no exceptions. Denver gets back to winning and they’ll do it at home to close out week seven, although expect Houston to make it closer than the 7 1/2.