The Vikings are off this weekend, meaning some fans might take the opportunity to head outdoors with their family or friends and enjoy the unseasonably warm weather in Minnesota on Sunday.
Other Vikings fans will still be watching NFL football — and perhaps enjoying the stress-free experience of not caring too much about who wins. If you’re in the latter category, here’s a little Week 7 primer covering the games you should pay attention to and the teams you should be rooting for.
The obvious big one
Commanders (2-4) over Packers (3-3) — 12 p.m. CT, FOX
If there’s one thing Vikings fans enjoy almost much as their team winning, it’s the Packers losing. That hasn’t happened much since Matt LaFleur was hired in 2019; the Packers went 39-10 in his first three regular seasons. But after bouncing back from their Week 1 loss in Minneapolis with three straight wins, Green Bay has lost back to back games to the Giants and Jets.
The Packers are a bit of a mess right now, but they have a good opportunity to bounce back as 5.5-point favorites against a bad Commanders team. Vikings fans will be hoping that doesn’t happen. A third consecutive loss, this time against Washington at home, would be truly remarkable for the Packers. It would also grow the Vikings’ lead in the NFC North to 2.5 games. FiveThirtyEight already gives the Vikings an 83 percent chance to win the division, and that number would grow with a Packers loss.
This is the early FOX game for basically all of the midwest and west coast. As an added bonus, former Vikings QB Taylor Heinicke will be starting for the Commanders with Carson Wentz injured.
Panthers (1-5) over Buccaneers (3-3) — 12 p.m. CT, FOX
Maybe Carolina will be fired up after trading away Christian McCaffrey?
Bengals (3-3) over Falcons (3-3) — 12 p.m. CT, FOX
Every time there’s an AFC vs. NFC game, you should cheer for the AFC team because them winning would help the Vikings’ playoff chances and seeding prospects. This could be a sneaky fun game, even with no Cordarrelle Patterson (IR).
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Lions (1-4) over Cowboys (4-2) — 12 p.m. CT, CBS
Even though the Lions are a division rival, it doesn’t look like they’ll be a factor in the NFC North race this year. Detroit beating the Cowboys is probably more beneficial for the Vikings, but it’ll be tough with Dak Prescott back in action. This game will be on TV in Minnesota and much of the rest of the country, with Jim Nantz and Tony Romo on hand to call it.
Jaguars (2-4) over Giants (5-1) — 12 p.m. CT, FOX
Are the Giants really going to be 6-1?
Chargers (4-2) over Seahawks (3-3) — 3:25 p.m. CT, FOX
I don’t think Geno Smith and the Seahawks will end up fighting for seeding with the Vikings, but it can’t hurt to cheer for the Chargers.
Chiefs (4-2) over 49ers (3-3) — 3:25 p.m. CT, FOX
This rematch of Super Bowl LIV is the marquee game of the day. It’ll be on TV in most of the country. The Chiefs are always fun to watch with Patrick Mahomes at quarterback, and the 49ers are a major team to watch after trading for McCaffrey. It’s unclear if he’s going to play in this game, but there’s a ton of talent on both sides regardless. The 49ers are just 3-3, but they’re a legit NFC contender. Cheer for Jerick McKinnon and the Chiefs.
Patriots (3-3) over Bears (2-4) — 7:15 p.m. CT Monday, ESPN
Justin Fields and the Bears’ offense against Bill Belichick and the Patriots’ defense doesn’t feel like it’s going to go well for Chicago.
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