The gap between the NFL's best and worst teams continues to grow wider but this week's slate features eight games with pointspreads of 3.5 points or less. Here's a look at three teams on the rise and three on the decline as we head into Week 7.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs Super Bowl stock has never been higher after a rout of Aaron Rodgers and the Packers last Sunday. Tom Brady and co. find themselves in a bit of a tricky spot this Sunday, however, as they pack their bags and head across the country to face the Raiders in Las Vegas. Once considered a potential suitor for Brady, the Raiders will be eager to show Tom Terrific that he chose wrong heading to sunny Florida over the bright lights of Vegas.
The emergence of rookie wide receiver Chase Claypool has given Big Ben another big-time weapon to work with on offense while the Steelers defense continues to play lights out on the other side of the football. Interestingly, Pittsburgh will be hitting the road this week for the first time since it traveled to face the lowly Giants way back in Week 1. The Steelers will head to Tennessee where it will be an unstoppable force vs. immovable object type of battle between Titans running back Derrick Henry and Pittsburgh's stout run defense.
The Cards are fresh off an absolute annihilation of the Cowboys on Monday Night Football but things will get a whole lot tougher this Sunday as they return home to host the Seahawks. Arizona's defense has really stepped up but let's not lose sight of the fact that it has faced the likes of San Francisco, Washington, Detroit, Carolina, New York (Jets) and Dallas (without Dak Prescott) this season. This will be the Cards defense's biggest test to date.
The fact that they play in the AFC East is the Bills only saving grace following back-to-back losses at the hands of the Titans and Chiefs. Perhaps we should give them a pass as those two losses did come at the expense of two legitimate Super Bowl contenders, but still, the Bills haven't looked sharp at all - particularly on the defensive side of the football. The good news is, Buffalo finds itself in a true blowup spot against the lowly Jets in New Jersey this Sunday.
New England Patriots
Any positive momentum the Patriots had been building early in the season seemed to get derailed by Cam Newton's COVID diagnosis. Now the Pats check in having scored a pitiful 22 points over their last two games - both losses against the Chiefs and Broncos. Another likely low-scoring affair awaits this Sunday as they stay in Foxborough to host the 49ers. Newton will need to be in attack mode against an injury-depleted San Francisco defense if New England is going to snap its skid.
Are the Jaguars back in 'tank mode'? It would certainly appear that way as they haven't posted a victory since Week 1 and have been absolutely ripped to shreds on the defensive side of the football, allowing 30 plus points in each of their last five losses. The good news is they face an up and down Chargers offense this Sunday - perhaps an opportunity to put that streak of futility to rest. The jury is still out as to whether Gardner Minshew can rally the offense to keep pace for four quarters and cover the lofty spread let alone win outright.