NFL Week 7 Predictions

After a week with so many games that went down to the wire, let’s see what Week 7 has in store for us. Let’s make some predictions!

Broncos (2-4) at Cardinals (1-5) TNF

Photo Cred: ESPN

This week’s Thursday Night Football matchup gives us two teams that are going through a transition and will almost certainly not make the playoffs this season. While that may not seem exciting, that does most likely guarantee us a close affair. It will be Josh Rosen’s first game in primetime, and there is almost no way to know how the Cardinals rookie signal caller will fair against a solid Denver secondary. The issue with Arizona in this game is that they have not committed to the run, which is the way to beat the Broncos. Denver has given up 200+ rushing yards in each of their last two games, but the Cardinals rank last in rushing offense. On the other side of the ball, the Broncos, on the contrary, revolve their offense around their two young running backs, Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay, and those two should have no problem racking up yards against the Cardinals rush defense that ranks 31st. The Cardinals are also 0-3 this season at home, so it’s safe to say that their home field advantage is virtually nonexistent. The Broncos are the better team and they should finally get back in the win column this week.                       Prediction: Broncos 24 Cardinals 20

Titans (3-3) at Chargers (4-2) LONDON

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For the second straight week, London will host a game. This time around, the Titans and Chargers will face off after experiencing completely different Week 6 experiences. Tennesee got shut out by the Ravens and lost 21-0, while the Chargers went into Cleveland and won by 24. They should continue to roll on this week, as they match up brilliantly with the Titans. Los Angeles should be able to run all over Tennesee’s weak rush defense, constantly pressure Marcus Mariota, and win the turnover battle. With all that going for them, it would be practically impossible for them to find a way to lose. However, the Chargers are the biggest underachieving time while the Titans are the biggest overachievers so this game may be closer than it should be.                      Prediction: Titans 21 Chargers 23

Patriots (4-2) at Bears (3-2)

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The Patriots just beat the previously undefeated Chiefs last week, while the Bears lost to the Brock Osweiler led Dolphins. Therefore, the assumption can clearly be made that the Pats will take care of the Bears, right? Not so fast; the Bears match up better with the Pats than you think. New England’s offense has revitalized due in large part to the success of their rushing attack led by rookie Sony Michel. However, Chicago has the 4th ranked rush defense and has the stout pass rush needed to disrupt Tom Brady. The Bears are disciplined, and despite last week’s disaster at Miami, don’t usually make careless mistakes, which will help them match up with New England. They also are excellent at controlling the time of possession, and their ability to do so will keep Brady off the field just enough for them to squeak out a victory. There is a caveat, as defensive player of the year front-runner Khalil Mack is questionable due to an ankle injury, and Chicago needs him to disrupt Brady in order to win this game.

With Mack Prediction: Patriots 24 Bears 26

Without Mack Prediction: Patriots 30 Bears 23

Bills (2-4) at Colts (1-5)

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In what looks to be the least relevant game of the week, the Bills will start their 3rd different quarterback this season in Derek Anderson as they take on the 1-5 Colts. The Bills signed Anderson just over a week ago, so the offense may not gel together right away. However, their offense can’t get any worse, and they’ll likely look somewhat capable against a lackluster Colts defense. They also have a stout defense that could give Andrew Luck and the Colts offense some trouble, even though Luck and co. are good for at least 20 points a game. The big difference in this game is the matchup of the Colts stout pass rush against the Bills’ weak offensive line. Indy should harass an immobile Anderson all game long, which could lead to him making mistakes that put Indy in a position to win. Neither team can be trusted, but the Colts have the better quarterback and are at home, so they’re the smarter pick. Prediction: Bills 20 Colts 24

Texans (3-3) at Jaguars (3-3)

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In a game that may decide the AFC South, the Texans and Jags will face off in Jacksonville in an intriguing matchup. This division looked over after Jacksonville got off to a fast 2-1 start including a beat down of the Patriots, while Houston was 0-3. Since then, the Texans have won three close games while the Jags have been blown out in consecutive weeks. While this game looks good on paper, Jacksonville should have control throughout. Despite their rough outing last week, the Jags still rank 1st in pass defense and have their stellar pass rush should wreck havoc against Houston’s atrocious offensive line. Jacksonville’s defense has been much better at home and they’ll likely play with a chip on their shoulder after what happened last game. Houston also looks the part of a pretender rather than a contender, as they almost lost to the Bills at home last week and needed overtime to win against the Colts to pick up their first week. Jacksonville’s clearly the better team, who is at home, and will play angry, so I expect them to control this game throughout. Prediction: Texans 17 Jaguars 24

Lions (2-3) at Dolphins (4-2)

Photo Cred: NBC Sports

Is Brocktober for real? Behind a solid performance from Brock Osweiler, the Dolphins offense put up 31 points on the scary Bears defense and is sitting pretty at 4-2. The problem is, Brocktober isn’t for real – Miami turned the ball three times and Osweiler’s 380 yards came mostly from yards after the catch due to mistakes. Detroit, on the other hand, is a much better team than their record would indicate. Their pass defense and the pass rush have been amazing this season, and they should bring Osweiler back down to earth, while Matt Stafford should have a big day against Miami’s mediocre pass defense. Detroit is one of the worst at defending the run, while Miami has kept every game close and has been stellar at home so far. Therefore, this game should be close, but the Lions will find a way to pull it out. Prediction: Lions 23 Dolphins 20

Vikings (3-2-1) at Jets (3-3)

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In a matchup between the team Kirk Cousins is on against the team that pursued him aggressively in free agency, the Vikings and Jets will face in a game that has a lot on the line for both teams. With a win, Minnesota could possibly have the lead in the NFC North, while a loss would put a dent in their playoff aspirations, as they play in an extremely tough division and a tough conference. Meanwhile, the Jets could get over .500 and would begin to flirt as a wild card team with a win, but a loss would sink them back out of the playoff picture. Minnesota looks to have the advantage in this one. The Vikings have a top ten pass offense, and they have a chance to torment New York’s pass defense that ranks 22nd in the league. The Jets offense thrives behind their strong running game, but the Vikings have a top ten rush defense in their own right, so New York could struggle to move the ball. There are small factors that should keep this game relatively close- the Jets are at home, should win the turnover battle, and the Vikings have struggled to run the ball – but the Vikings will come away with a big road victory.                Prediction: Vikings 24 Jets 19

Panthers (3-2) at Eagles (3-3)

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In what may the game of the week, the Panthers and Eagles will face off in Philadelphia in a game that could help shape up the NFC playoff picture. Both teams have playoff aspirations but have a lot more to lose this week than to win. These teams are the definition of evenly matched; it’s extremely difficult to pick a winner in this one. Philadelphia leads the league in time of possession and red zone defense, two factors that will go a long way to deciding this game. Carolina also hasn’t been great against tight ends, and the Eagles have an All-Pro caliber tight end in Zach Ertz to go along with impressive rookie tight end Dallas Goedert. This should be the closest one of the week, but one that will go in favor of the Eagles. Prediction: Panthers 21 Eagles 22

Browns (2-3-1) at Buccaneers (2-3)

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Who are the Cleveland Browns? We wish we knew. Cleveland looked promising through the first five weeks with a 2-2-1 record where they could have realistically been 5-0. However, the folded under higher expectations last week, suffering a 38-14 blowout loss at home to the Chargers. Who are the Bucs? After a 2-0 start under Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Bucs have fallen below .500 and are relying on Jameis Winston to carry the freight. Hear the echo there? It’s anyone’s guess which Browns team and which Bucs team will show up, so when picking this game the smartest thing to do is to try to find a middle ground. If that’s the case, Cleveland looks like the slightly better team. Both teams have awful pass defenses, so this game could be a shootout. The big difference in this game is turnovers. Cleveland ranks first in the league in turnover differential, while the Bucs rank 30th. Jameis Winston has a lot of talent, but he is turnover prone, and him giving Baker Mayfield and the Browns good field position could prove to be costly.                          Prediction: Browns 28 Buccaneers 27

Saints (4-1) at Ravens (4-2)

Photo Cred: NBC Sports

With a win against the Ravens, Drew Brees would become the third quarterback in NFL history to beat every single team. Unfortunately for Brees, that won’t happen. Baltimore presents a major challenge for the Saints, as the Ravens defense that ranks first in yards allowed should contain New Orleans’ offense. If that happens, game over. The Saints’ defense is still beaten up and awful, and they won’t be able to get the stops that New Orleans will desperately need them to get. Add in the fact that the Saints will likely be without two of their offensive lineman, which is a major red flag considering the Ravens rank first in sacks. This has the makings of a rough, long game for the Saints and a big win for the Ravens. Prediction: Saints 14 Ravens 27

Cowboys (3-3) at Redskins (3-2)

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Are the Cowboys back? After looking suspect for the first five weeks, the Cowboys broke out in a major way last week against the Jaguars, beating them 40-7. The problem is, the Cowboys winning at home is nothing new. Dallas is 3-0 at home while scoring 29 points per game. Meanwhile, on the road, Dallas has scored 12 points per game and is 0-3. This game has the makings of an ugly one, as both teams rely on conservative run-first schemes. However, both Dallas and Washington have excelled at stopping the run so it will come down to which quarterback can lead his team to victory between Dak Prescott and Alex Smith. If that’s the case, it makes sense to go with Smith, who is more efficient and has been quietly solid once again this season. Like all Cowboys-Redskins games, this one should go down to the wire, but it will be the Redskins who secure a huge divisional victory that could determine the NFC East. Prediction: Cowboys 16 Redskins 19

Rams (6-0) at 49ers (1-5)

Photo Cred: NBC Sports

Finally! A game with some certainty! The Rams are consistently stellar and are clearly the best team in the NFL, while the injury-riddled 49ers have been consistently bad this season. This game looks like a mismatch on all fronts. The Rams offense should do some serious damage against San Francisco’s shaky defense, while their defense has a good chance to lock down San Francisco’s shaky offense. The Rams also will almost certainly win the turnover battle, as the 49ers are last in the league with a turnover differential of negative 11. Yikes. Prediction: Rams 30 49ers 17

Bengals (4-2) at Chiefs (5-1) SNF

Photo Cred: NBC Sports

Sunday Night Football seems to give us a very intriguing matchup based on the records, but this matchup between the Bengals and Chiefs should turn out to be extremely lopsided. The Bengals defense has been below average all season and will get absolutely exploited by the Chiefs’ powerhouse offense. It’s unclear to find an advantage the Bengals have in this game, besides the fact their mediocre passing attack could possibly do damage against Kansas City’s weak defense. Problem is, Andy Dalton is notorious for struggling in prime-time games, and this will be an extremely tough environment for him to succeed in with the crowd going crazy at Arrowhead. Add in the fact that Kansas City should win the turnover battle, and it’s all Chiefs in this matchup.                                      Prediction: Bengals 13 Chiefs 31

Giants (1-5) at Falcons (2-4) MNF

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Both the Giants and Falcons are essentially playing for their season in this game. The Giants are already mostly out of it at 1-5 with a 0-2 divisional record, but they still remain only 2.5 games out of the division, so anything can happen. Atlanta has a chance to get to 3-4 and start creeping back in the playoff picture, so they’re the major story here. I don’t see why they won’t take care of business in this one. The Falcons are at home, are better coached, and have a way better turnover differential. In a game that should be close, turnovers matter, and it makes much more sense to count on Atlanta’s prolific passing offense rather than Checkdown Eli, even if Saquon Barkley gets 200+ combined yards again. Prediction: Giants 24 Falcons 27


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