Biggest Week 7 NFL questions, stats and predictions

NFL 60-second preview for Week 7 (1:00)

NFL Insider Dan Graziano breaks down Week 7 of the NFL: New England heads to Pittsburgh to face Landry Jones and the Steelers, and Texans QB Brock Osweiler returns to Denver to try and deliver the Broncos their third straight loss. (1:00)

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

The big questions

Can the Pittsburgh Steelers compete without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger?

Roethlisberger is expected to miss four to six weeks, according to a report by ESPN's Chris Mortensen. Landry Jones will do his best to keep the offense moving, but Pittsburgh's bigger challenge, especially this week, might be on the other side of the ball.

The Steelers rank 24th on defense in Football Outsiders' efficiency rankings, and Sunday they get Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

In the past two games, Brady has gotten rid of the ball in 2.3 seconds, according to tracking by ESPN Stats & Information. And when he has targeted running backs or tight ends in the passing game, Brady is 37-of-44 (84.1 percent) for 516 yards (11.7 YPA).

The Steelers' game plan likely will be to use Le'Veon Bell and the run game to keep the Patriots' offense off the field.

New England goes into Heinz Field as a 7-point favorite.

Can the Minnesota Vikings remain undefeated?

In a game that is tearing the people of Fargo apart, the Vikings will look to improve to 6-0 against an Eagles team looking to avoid its third straight loss.

Quarterback Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia offense have gone up against the easiest slate of defenses of any team in the league this season. Wentz is playing with a mediocre (at best) group of pass-catchers and an offensive line that looked shaky last week without right tackle Lane Johnson. Now Wentz faces a huge challenge against the league's second-ranked defense.

The Eagles' next five opponents have a combined record of 25-9. The Vikings go to Philadelphia as 3-point favorites.

Can the Arizona Cardinals get back in contention in the NFC West?

Coach Bruce Arians' squad started out 1-3 but will be looking for its third consecutive win against the 4-1 Seattle Seahawks.

The Cardinals have the league's top-ranked passing defense through six weeks, and Russell Wilson still doesn't look 100 percent after suffering a right high ankle sprain and a sprained MCL in his left knee during the first three weeks of the season. He has 35 rushing yards on 21 attempts through five games, and the Seahawks rank 29th in rushing efficiency.

Kam Chancellor's absence (groin) will be felt both in the Seahawks' effort to contain David Johnson and to avoid the types of busted coverages they had last week against the Atlanta Falcons.

The Cardinals are 1.5-point favorites at home.

Numbers that matter

28: Where the Carolina Panthers rank in terms of defending opposing No. 1 wide receivers this year, according to Football Outsiders. They are 27th in passing defense. Last year, with cornerback Josh Norman, they were third and second, respectively, in those two categories. The Panthers need to come up with answers on that side of the ball to have any chance of rebounding from a 1-5 start after their bye.

9.3: The percentage of opponents' dropbacks that have resulted in a sack for the Denver Broncos' defense. That's the highest mark in the league. Opposing quarterbacks are completing 56.1 percent of their passes and averaging 6.23 YPA against Denver. Brock Osweiler and the Houston Texans pulled off a comeback win against the Indianapolis Colts last week. But it would be a stunner if they have success moving the ball against the Broncos on Monday night.

59: The (plus) point differential for the Buffalo Bills through six weeks. That's the highest number in the league. Defensively, the pass rush has been the difference. Rex Ryan's group ranks second in sacks per dropback one year after finishing 31st in the same category. This weekend's matchup against the Miami Dolphins stacks up favorably for the Bills' defense. Only Andrew Luck has been sacked at a higher rate than Ryan Tannehill among starting quarterbacks this season.

What we'll be talking about Monday

Matthew Stafford picking apart the Washington Redskins: In his past 16 games (going back to last year), Stafford has completed 69.0 percent of his passes and thrown 36 touchdowns against eight interceptions. His passer rating during that span is third-best in the league. The Detroit Lions' defense has been terrible, but Stafford continues to put up impressive numbers without much help from the running game.

The shootout in Atlanta: The Atlanta Falcons-San Diego Chargers matchup has an over/under of 54, the highest of any game this week. Dan Quinn's team showed impressive fight last week coming back in the second half on the road against the Seahawks before suffering a 26-24 loss. Matt Ryan (9.88) and Philip Rivers (8.19) rank Nos. 1 and 2 in yards per attempt. This sets up as the most entertaining game of the weekend.

The New York Jets' chances at the No. 1 overall pick: ESPN Jets reporter Rich Cimini already has taken a look at the team's quarterback options for 2017, and we're not even in November. That has to be some kind of record. The Jets will give Geno Smith a shot against the Baltimore Ravens. They're 1-5 and have the worst point differential (minus-69) in football. The Jets are actually 2-point favorites at home against the Ravens. With a fifth straight loss, it'll be time to start thinking about whether they can overtake the Cleveland Browns for the top pick in next year's draft.