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NFL Week 7 Preview

NFL ON THRILLING PACE WITH 100TH GAME ON TAP

To help celebrate the NFL’s 100th season, each week will feature an NFL 100 Game of the Week. Each game is a nod to a momentous game played, a fierce rivalry that spans decades, a matchup of original teams and/or a game in which history was made.

The NFL has designated Sunday’s Raiders-Packers matchup as the NFL100 Game of the Week because the contest involves teams that made indelible memories in three previous meetings. Most memorable was Super Bowl II, Jan. 14, 1968, at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Fla., the final game of VINCE LOMBARDI’s Green Bay coaching career. The Packers, fresh off their Ice Bowl win over the Cowboys, held off the AFL champion Raiders, 33-14. … Nearly 25 years later, late in a frigid game against the L.A. Raiders on Dec. 26, 1993, LeROY BUTLER forced a Raiders fumble recovered by Pro Football Hall of Famer REGGIE WHITE. After rumbling 10 yards, White lateraled to Butler, who covered the remaining 25 yards into the end zone and invented the Lambeau Leap as Green Bay clinched a playoff berth …

Then, on Dec. 22, 2003, in Oakland, Pro Football Hall of Famer BRETT FAVRE, only a day after his father’s death, threw for 399 yards and four touchdowns before a Monday Night Football television audience, leading Green Bay to a pivotal win that catapulted the Packers to the playoffs. … Incidentally, following the Raiders’ loss to Lombardi’s Packers in Super Bowl II, the Raiders won the next five meetings with Green Bay, and wouldn’t lose to the Packers again for 23 years, capturing three Super Bowls in that span.

MOST COMPETITIVE CONTESTS EVER

No other season through six weeks has produced more games decided by seven-or-fewer points than 2019. This year, 51 of 92 games (55.4 percent) have been decided by seven-or-fewer points, including nine of 14 games in Week 6. This season also is tied for the most one-point games through Week 6 since the 1970 merger.

The seasons with the most games decided by one- and seven-or-fewer points through six weeks:

100TH OF THE 100TH

One of the early contests Sunday will mark the 100th game of the NFL’s 100th season. The league has completed 92 games entering this week. As the 100th kickoff approaches, several NFL players and teams are on pace to challenge some of the game’s most esteemed records.

The week begins Thursday (8:20 PM ET, FOX/NFLN/AMAZON) at Empower Field at Mile High, where PATRICK MAHOMES and the KANSAS CITY CHIEFS meet JOE FLACCO and the DENVER BRONCOS. With 2,104 passing yards, Mahomes is on pace to break the single-season NFL record held by former Denver quarterback PEYTON MANNING (5,477 in 2013).

On Sunday afternoon (4:25 PM ET, FOX), LAMAR JACKSON and the BALTIMORE RAVENS travel to meet RUSSELL WILSON and the SEATTLE SEAHAWKS. Wilson has a passer rating over 100 in each of Seattle’s first six games and is on pace to break two single-season NFL records held by AARON RODGERS, his 122.5 passer rating in 2011 and his 0.34 interception percentage in 2018. Meanwhile, Jackson last week had 236 passing yards and a career-high 152 rushing yards with a touchdown in a 23-17 win over Cincinnati. His 152 rushing yards were the fourth-most by a quarterback in a single game in NFL history, including the postseason. Jackson, who registered his third career game with at least 115 rushing yards, is the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to register at least 115 rushing yards in at least three games in his first two seasons.

To close Week 7 on Monday Night Football (8:15 PM ET, ESPN), the NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS visit the NEW YORK JETS. New England has held NFL quarterbacks this season to a 42.6 passer rating. Over a full season since 2000, the 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers have held opponents to the lowest passer rating, 48.4. New England also through six weeks has outscored opponents by 142 points. Since the 1970 merger, only the 1999 Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams (plus-154) had a higher point-differential through six weeks.

Notable individuals and teams on a historic pace through six weeks:

PLENTY OF HEARTBEATS REMAINING

Hope is in plentiful supply across the NFL. That’s because in 2018 after Week 7, five of the 12 teams that qualified for the playoffs were either .500 or below in the NFL standings. After this week concludes on Monday night at MetLife Stadium, it’s very likely that at least one team sitting at .500 or below will still make the playoffs. Since 2011, at least one team has qualified for the playoffs after beginning the year at-or-below .500 through Week 7.

The playoff teams that were at-or-below .500 through seven weeks, since 2011:

BARRETT & GARRETT, LLC

Tampa Bay linebacker SHAQUIL BARRETT and Cleveland defensive end MYLES GARRETT have earned their byes this week. Both players are off in Week 7 after beginning the season on a torrid pace. Barrett and Garrett are tied for the NFL lead with nine sacks. The last time multiple players had nine-or-more sacks through six weeks was in 2013 (ROBERT MATHIS and JUSTIN HOUSTON each had 9.5).

RUSHING TOUCHDOWNS ON UPWARD SLOPE

NFL clubs have combined for 167 rushing touchdowns through six weeks of play. Only the 1979 and 1976 seasons had more in NFL history entering Week 7.

At the quarterback position alone, NFL signal-callers have rushed for 31 touchdowns during the 2019 season, surpassing 2002 (28) for the most rushing touchdowns by quarterbacks through the first six weeks of a season since the 1970 merger. In Week 6, quarterbacks totaled 10 rushing touchdowns, surpassing Week 13 of the 2015 season (nine) for the most in a single week since 1970.

The most overall rushing touchdowns by NFL players through six weeks in NFL history:

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