Last week was a very rough week, as far as our predictions were concerned. However, this is a new week, and hopefully, we can right the ship this week! Right now, the NFL is in a bit of chaos right now; outside of the Patriots, every other contender has a certain flaw that prevents them from being a true Super Bowl favorite at the moment. Therefore, this will be a great week to get more clarity, with a couple huge matchups up ahead. Who will win in these highly-anticipated games? Let’s predict every game of week 7!
TNF: Chiefs (4-2) at Broncos (2-4)
Spread Pick: KC (-3)/PUSH
Over/Under Pick: Over (48.5)
Score Prediction: Chiefs 27 Broncos 24
We should be in line for a very entertaining matchup on Thursday Night Football, the reeling Chiefs travel to Denver to take on a Broncos team that has won two straight. In a tough environment against an underatted defense led by head coach Vic Fangio, it’s very tempting to take the upset and make the bold claim that Andy Reid and Kansas City will lose three straight. However, there’s still a massive talent gap between these two teams, which is impossible to ignore. Yes, the corner duo of Chris Harris Jr. and Kareem Jackson should help limit the Chiefs passing attack, but Denver’s pass rush has struggled without Bradley Chubb, and getting pressure on Patrick Mahomes has proven to be the best way to contain him. Meanwhile, Kansas City’s defense has been a liability this season, but do we really expect an offense led by Joe Flacco to expose that. In the Chiefs’ two losses, they’ve been beaten by Indianapolis’ elite offensive line, as well as Deshaun Watson and the Texans’ explosive passing offense. There’s no aspect of Denver’s offense that stands out as a potential advantage for them, and in their two wins, they’ve relied on stout defensive performances, which won’t work against the Chiefs. They’ll keep it close, but over time, the difference in talent between these two teams will be too much for the Broncos to overcome; Kansas City should find a way to win this game.
Rams (3-3) at Falcons (1-5)
Spread Pick: LAR (-3)/PUSH
Over/Under Pick: Over (54.5)
Score Prediction: Rams 30 Falcons 27
The Rams may have lost three straight, but their front office clearly believes in the roster; they traded two first-round picks for star corner Jalen Ramsey, which should add much-needed energy to this team. Meanwhile, the Falcons have lost four straight, have a historically bad defense, and it seems like only a matter of time before head coach Dan Quinn is fired; obviously, these two teams appear to be heading in different directions, despite Los Angeles’ recent losing streak. Furthermore, a huge part of the Rams’ struggles have come from their offense; quarterback Jared Goff has been pressured a lot, and as a result, has been largely ineffective. Well, luckily for him, Atlanta not only has one of the worst pass rushes in the NFL, but is also vulnerable at the back-end of their defense. And while the league continues to adjust to Sean McVay’s offensive scheme, Quinn has shown no ability to adjust, further helping Los Angeles in this game. Plus, while I still have concerns about the Rams’ pass defense even after acquiring Ramsey, Aaron Donald should dominate as an interior rusher against a rather weak Falcons interior offensive line, and that offense has been ineffective at times offensively, despite the yardage they continue to produce. In Atlanta, Matt Ryan should be able to keep this close for the Falcons, but still, they’re no match for the revamped Rams.
Dolphins (0-5) at Bills (4-1)
Spread Pick: BUF (-17)
Over/Under Pick: Under (41)
Score Prediction: Dolphins 10 Bills 28
The Dolphins actually almost won a game last week, coming within a two-point conversion of beating the Redskins. However, those were the Redskins, and this week, they figure to be overwhelmed in a very tough environment in Buffalo. The Bills’ defense has been tremendous this season, particularly in pass defense; they limit all big plays, which takes away Miami’s one chance of success with Ryan Fitzpatrick, and the pass rush should destroy the league’s worst offensive line. On the other side of the ball, this figures to be a confidence-building game for Josh Allen, who’ll face a hapless pass defense, and they should be playing with great field position, assuming Fitzpatrick has a typical turnover-filled game. The spread is a little tricky, but still, I’m confident Buffalo’s defense alone will be able to cover that.
Jaguars (2-4) at Bengals (0-6)
Spread Pick: JAX (-4)
Over/Under Pick: Under (43.5)
Score Prediction: Jags 27 Bengals 13
This seems like a make-or-break moment for the Jaguars, who just traded corner Jalen Ramsey, but in a very thin AFC, could remain in the playoff picture with a win. Well, they drew a lucky card this week; they get the opportunity to play miserable Bengals. Cincinnati is a mess on both sides of the ball, but especially on defense, where they’ll be without corners William Jackson and Dre Kirkpatrick. Even though he had a poor outing last week, rookie Gardner Minshew has revived Jacksonville’s passing attack this season, and with no one to cover a standout DJ Chark Jr., expect a great game from that duo, while the rushing attack should also dominate against one of the worst tackling teams in the NFL, assuming they establish an early lead. Andy Dalton, meanwhile, may not be the problem for the Bengals offense, but he stands no chance against a depleted offensive line that sometimes looks incapable, and this week, they’ll be challenged by a very strong Jacksonville pass rush. Simply put, this appears to be a prime bounce-back for the Jaguars, while Cincinnati’s disastrous season will continue.
Vikings (4-2) at Lions (2-2-1)
Spread Pick: MIN (-2)
Over/Under Pick: Under (43.5)
Score Prediction: Vikings 23 Lions 14
There are a lot of exciting games this week, but in my opinion, this Vikings-Lions game might be the best. In the ultra-competitive NFC North, neither team, especially Detroit, can really afford a loss in this game, and this could be a very well-fought game as a result. Still, I’m all-in on Minnesota right now, and I’m picking them to win this game by multiple scores. Kirk Cousins thrives in a clean pocket, and Detroit’s pass rush has been ineffective this season, and although the Lions’ secondary has fared well at times this season, their top games have come against weak receiving corps. The Vikings’ pass defense, on the other, is a legitimate force, while their defensive line should end Detroit’s aspirations to run the ball efficiently in a hurry. Add in that the Lions will be on a short week and are coming off of a very emotional loss to the Packers due to poor officiating. Expect the Vikings to take advantage, and continue to put themselves to make the playoffs, and perhaps win the division, as a result.
Raiders (3-2) at Packers (5-1)
Spread Pick: GB (-4.5)
Over/Under Pick: Under (46.5)
Score Prediction: Raiders 17 Packers 27
Who would’ve thought that after six weeks, the Raiders would have a winning record? Despite a drama-filled, unproductive offseason, they’ve fought hard this season under head coach Jon Gruden, with two impressive wins at Indianapolis and against the Bears. However, they’ll fail to win as an underdog for the third straight game; even without star receiver Davante Adams, the Packers are a force to be reckoned with currently. The receiving corps for Green Bay is very thin, but as long as they have Aaron Rodgers under center, they’ll have success through the air, especially if Allen Lazard continues to build a connection with his quarterback. Furthermore, Oakland’s pass defense is miserable; the secondary is bad, and that pass rush stands no chance against one of the best offensive lines in football. Additionally, although there is a chance the Raiders could have success running the ball with star rookie running back Josh Jacobs, if Green Bay can build up an early lead, as they’ve done all season, that won’t matter; Derek Carr will be forced to more than a game manager, and Oakland doesn’t fare well when that’s the case. The Packers have already beaten the Cowboys and Lions without Adams, so although it may be tempting to pick the Raiders, especially with the spread, that temptation must be ignored.
Texans (4-2) at Colts (3-2)
Spread Pick: HOU (+1)
Over/Under Pick: Over (47)
Score Prediction: Texans 31 Colts 20
Let me start off by saying, that I do not feel good about this prediction at all. The Colts are one of the most well-coached teams in the NFL with head coach Frank Reich, and there’s a chance that after a bye, they can dominate. Still, this isn’t your typical Colts team. Nickel corner Kenny Moore won’t play in this game due to a knee injury, while guard Quenton Nelson, corner Pierre Desir, and edge rusher Justin Houston all did not participate in practice on Friday with various injuries. In theory, Matt Ebeflus’ Cover-2 scheme should limit Houston’s offense by taking away the “big play”, but without several of their top defenders, it’s unlikely that actually happens. Additionally, Indianapolis’ offense is very limited; with Jacoby Brissett under center, they rely on a heavy running game with Marlon Mack. The problem is, Houston is pretty strong upfront with DJ Reader and JJ Watt on the defensive line, while their main problem is their decimated secondary, but since Brissett cannot expose that weakness, they should be fine defensively in this game. Lastly, the Texans struggle to start off games well, but off a bye week, I’m expecting a slow start from Indianapolis as well; this game is simply playing into Houston’s favor, and because of that, I’ll pick them as a one-point underdog.
Cardinals (2-3-1) at Giants (2-4)
Spread Pick: ARI (+3)
Over/Under Pick: Under (50.5)
Score Prediction: Cardinals 24 Giants 21
This is another pick that I’m very hesitant to make. The Giants are a much more efficient team on early downs, per Sharp Football Stats, than the Cardinals, which is extremely important; early down success rate tends to correlate to wins. However, there’s something that I cannot ignore; the Cardinals are simply a much better team than the Giants. While one may argue that Arizona’s recent offensive success is due to playing the Bengals and Falcons, but New York’s defense may be just as bad, and as a matter of fact, have the worst coverage grade from Pro Football Focus. Plus, Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s use of 11-personnel has transformed this unit, and it’s important to note that some of his principles were also used by Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, who guided Dallas to throwing for over 400+ against this putrid Giants secondary. Furthermore, Daniel Jones has been a below-average quarterback since his exciting debut, and his fumbling issues/troubles in the pocket could be a problem against a Cardinals edge rush that can force a lot of fumbles. And while Arizona’s coverage has been pretty abysmal this season, they’ll get star corner Patrick Peterson back from suspension, who should not only boost the defense’s performance, but their morale as well. I could easily see Arizona coming out flat, given their struggles against running backs and tight ends aren’t a great fit against the Giants, but when I have the opportunity to take the significantly better offense with a more talented roster as an underdog, I have to take it.
49ers (5-0) at Redskins (1-5)
Spread Pick: SF (-10)
Over/Under Pick: Under (40)
Score Prediction: 49ers 31 Redskins 3
Currently, the 49ers look to be the class of the NFC and are one of the most well-coached teams in the NFL. The Redskins? They’re the poster child for dysfunction. That’s all there is to say about this game. Interm head coach Bill Callihan will likely force Washington’s offense to rely on their ineffective rushing attack, which won’t work against San Francisco’s defensive front, and when third and longs are forced, the Redskins are essentially screwed against the league’s best pass rush. On the other side of the ball, this could be a huge game for quarterback Jimmy Garroppolo against an awful pass defense, and discount the revenge factor in this game for head coach Kyle Shanahan, who has spoken publicly about his displeasure of his time in Washington. If this wasn’t a four-score blowout, I’d be extremely surprised.
Chargers (2-4) at Titans (2-4)
Spread Pick: TEN (-2)
Over/Under Pick: Under (41.5)
Score Prediction: Chargers 10 Titans 13
In the AFC, there are two teams that are practically impossible to predict on a week-to-week basis: the Chargers and the Titans. Well, they’re playing each other; this game is definitely a coin flip. It’s hard to imagine either team falling to 2-5, but barring a tie, one of them has to; with each team’s season on the line, I reluctantly side with the home team. These two teams are pretty much equal, but Tennesee’s defense is the strongest unit in this game. Said defense should have edge rusher Cameron Wake back in this game, and if that’s the case, the pass rush should obliterate the decimated Chargers offensive line, and Tennesee’s well apt to deal with Los Angeles’ three-receiver sets with their depth at cornerback. Right now, the Chargers are simply too depleted too trust; this looks like a lost season for them, and their slide should continue with a loss to the Titans this season.
Saints (5-1) at Bears (3-2)
Spread Pick: CHI (-4)
Over/Under Pick: Under (37)
Score Prediction: Saints 6 Bears 24
The Saints have already had a pretty uninspiring offense this season with Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback, but now, it’s about to get much worse; without star running back Alvin Kamara and tight end Jared Cook, they’ll travel to Chicago to take on a monster defense. It’s easy to see a scenario in which the Bears completely shut out the Saints; Bridgewater’s tendency to hold onto the ball will be troublesome against this amazing pass rush, receiver Michael Thomas can easily be taken away without any other threats, while Chicago has so much talent at every layer of their defense and are at home in this game. Then, there’s the Bears’ offense, which should be better this week with a healthy Mitch Trubisky, and the overall speed and elusiveness of their offense is a great fit against a slow, stiff defense. This one has the makings of an absolute blowout; Chicago’s defense should outscore the Saints in this game, and that’s without accounting for the offensive success they also should have.
Ravens (4-2) at Seahawks (5-1)
Spread Pick: SEA (-3)
Over/Under Pick: Over (48.5)
Spread Pick: Ravens 27 Seahawks 31
In this Ravens-Seahawks game, there will be plenty of storylines to dissect. Not only do we have a matchup between two of the league’s most exciting mobile quarterbacks in Lamar Jackson and Russell Wilson, but this is also safety Earl Thomas’ return the Seattle, and also a matchup between two teams who appear to have a better record than they should. I do believe that with an elite offensive line and the league’s most prolific rushing attack, Baltimore can keep this close against a Seahawks defense that has had its issues with tackling this season. Still, a couple of factors allow me to back Seattle with confidence. Jackson is exciting, but unlike Wilson, he has plenty of flaws, in his two real road games (Dolphins don’t count) this season, he’s really struggled. Plus, they’ll be a lot of pressure on him to carry this team; the Ravens’ pass defense, which features no sort of pass rush, has been awful, and will definitely be exposed by Wilson and the Seahawks’ vertical passing game. I figure this will be coached – the Ravens are a very smart, disciplined team that theoretically should play on the road – but still, I’m much more confident taking the league’s best quarterback over someone who’s been abysmal away from his comfort zone.
SNF: Eagles (3-3) at Cowboys (3-3)
Spread Pick: PHI (+2.5)
Over/Under Pick: Under (49.5)
Score Prediction: Eagles 30 Cowboys 17
Though Vikings-Lions may be the most under-the-radar top game of the week, without a doubt, the game with the most of the line is happening on Sunday night, when the Eagles travel to Dallas; the winner of this game takes control of the division, but the loser will see their playoff hopes diminish. To the surprise of many, star tackle Tyron Smith will play in this game, which is a big boost to the Cowboys offense. Still, several issues are in place for that unit. Smith will play, but it’s unlikely right tackle La’el Collins or receiver Amari Cooper will, and ever since their exciting three-week start, the playcalling has been a disaster. In my opinion, it’s likely that head Jason Garrett has worked his influence in the offense, which has meant less play-action, less running for quarterback Dak Prescott, and more third and long scenarios created by early-down rushing attempts. Meanwhile, Dallas’ defense hasn’t been itself this season, and with a great offensive line, this is a game in which Philadelphia could dominate passing the ball and rushing the ball. It’s only a matter of time before the Eagles “take-off”, and there’s no better time than now; expect them to get a huge win in primetime.
MNF: Patriots (6-0) at Jets (2-4)
Spread Pick: NE (-9.5)
Over/Under Pick: Under (43.5)
Score Prediction: Pats 24 Jets 13
Coming off an impressive win against the Cowboys, it’s hard not to hope that the Jets can continue their success with a Sam Darnold-Adam Gase pairing, especially with the Patriots up next. Well, Gase has actually had success against Bill Belichick from his time in Miami, and this has the feel of a potential trap game for the Patriots. Still, I highly doubt New York wins this game. They were dominated in the second half of that game against Dallas, and are also facing a historically elite secondary; Darnold figures to have a rough game with at least a couple of turnovers. Additionally, New York’s defensive success has come from defensive coordinator Gregg Williams using different aggressive stunts to confuse opposing quarterbacks, but do we really believe he’s going to confuse Tom Brady in any shape of the imagination? New England may get off to a slow start in this game – they’ve done so in their last couple games – but either way, they’ll likely cover their 9.5-point spread and erase the optimism surrounding the Jets.