NFL Game Picks: Week 7
Week six was relatively quiet in terms of upsets, as 12 of its 15 games ended with the predicted outcomes. Elsewhere, the Patriots handed Kansas City its first loss of the year, and the Rams remained undefeated with a victory in Denver. Meanwhile, the Cardinals, Colts, Giants, Raiders and 49ers all struggled to earn their second win of the year. Now week seven is upon us, and it’s time for another round of game picks. Let’s look at what the NFL has in store.
Denver Broncos (2-4) @ Arizona Cardinals (1-5)
We’re only six games into 2018, but it’s starting to look a bit like a lost season for both of these teams. Arizona has slowly improved with Josh Rosen at the helm, but at 1-5, they won’t be able to catch up in time. Denver’s in a similar spot, though the overall talent level gives the Broncos a bit of an edge over the Cardinals. Still, the Denver defense allowed Todd Gurley to amass 208 rushing yards last week. They can’t do the same for David Johnson this week if they expect to win.
The pick: Denver 22, Arizona 13.
Tennessee Titans (3-3) vs. Los Angeles Chargers (4-2)
It’s time for round two in London, though this week’s matchup is a bit more enticing than last week’s snoozer between Seattle and Oakland. Tennessee continues to be the most erratic team in the league, while the Chargers have seemed to settle into a groove of offensive excellence and solid defensive play. Certainly, Los Angeles should be favored going into this one, but the end result likely depends on which Titans team we see take the field this Sunday.
The pick: LA Chargers 37, Tennessee 19.
Buffalo Bills (2-4) @ Indianapolis Colts (1-5)
This one is not going to be pretty. The Colts are 1-5 and possibly on the verge of declaring 2018 a lost cause, and the Bills are now without Josh Allen for the next few weeks. The best part of this game will take place when the Colts offense is on the field, as it will be interesting to see how Andrew Luck manages against a surprisingly decent Bills defense. But when Nathan Peterman and the Bills offense take the field? The result may not be pretty. Colts win at home.
The pick: Indianapolis 27, Buffalo 14.
New England Patriots (4-2) @ Chicago Bears (3-2)
The Patriots proved once again why they still hold the crown as the NFL’s best team after knocking off Patrick Mahomes and the high-flying Chiefs in a tight contest last Sunday night in Foxborough. Now they head to Chicago, though that’s far from an easy win. The silver lining here for New England is that Khalil Mack is questionable with an ankle injury. His appearance or absence from the game may decide who comes away with the victory.
The pick: New England 31, Chicago 26.
Cleveland Browns (2-3-1) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3)
This is a golden opportunity for Cleveland. The Browns came up flat at home against the Chargers in week six, but the offense will have a chance to rebound against an atrocious Buccaneers defense in week seven. Considering how hotly contested the AFC North is right now, with the Ravens, Steelers and Bengals all sporting winning records, Cleveland needs to add its name into the mix, and this is the game to do it.
The pick: Cleveland 30, Tampa Bay 19.
Detroit Lions (2-3) @ Miami Dolphins (4-2)
The Dolphins are almost as big a mystery as the Titans. After being dominated by New England and allowing Cincinnati to come back from 24 down in the fourth quarter, Miami rebounded with an overtime victory over Chicago with Brock Osweiler under center. But the magic will likely run short in week seven, as a rested Lions team comes to town, looking to keep the NFC North a wide-open race. A win here puts Matthew Stafford and company back at .500.
The pick: Detroit 32, Miami 13.
Minnesota Vikings (3-2-1) @ New York Jets (3-3)
For the most part, it seems as though the Vikings have shaken their early-season woes, but the loss of 2018 first-round pick Mike Hughes to an ACL tear is a pretty big blow to the defense. As for the Jets, it looks like Sam Darnold and the offense have started to catch fire again. While Minnesota does field the better team, this game is far from decided. Keep an eye on this one. It could end being one of the better games in week seven.
The pick: Minnesota 29, NY Jets 26.
Carolina Panthers (3-2) @ Philadelphia Eagles (3-3)
Maybe the defending Super Bowl champions are finally returning to form. Suffice it to say, the Eagles have not begun the 2018 season in the fashion they wanted, but last week’s Thursday night stomping of the Giants in East Rutherford marked the first time all season that both the offense and defense were pumping at full steam. Carolina, meanwhile, just lost in Washington. Expect them to do the same in Philadelphia on Sunday.
The pick: Philadelphia 30, Carolina 17.
Houston Texans (3-3) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (3-3)
What’s up with Jacksonville? Perhaps this defense isn’t as stellar as we once imagined. Giving up 30 points to the high-powered Chiefs offense in week six isn’t all that surprising, but allowing the struggling Cowboys offense to put up 40 on the road just a week later? No one could have expected that. Houston hasn’t been too much better, just narrowly escaping with a home win against Buffalo last week. This could be a “get-back-on-track” game for the winner.
The pick: Jacksonville 27, Houston 17.
New Orleans Saints (4-1) @ Baltimore Ravens (4-2)
Now here’s the key game of the week. It’s two of the top teams in either conference going head-to-head. But there’s more than just a good game here. As an NFL quarterback, Drew Brees has won a game against 31 of the 32 NFL teams. The only team he hasn’t beaten? Baltimore. Meanwhile, the Ravens have already played six games and the defense still has yet to allow a second-half touchdown. All eyes should be on this game on Sunday afternoon.
The pick: New Orleans 31, Baltimore 28.
Dallas Cowboys (3-3) @ Washington Redskins (3-2)
The victor in this one is sure to be above .500 going into week eight, which is actually kind of huge for an NFC East division that hasn’t looked all too impressive this season. Although Dallas did just dominate the Jaguars last week 40-7, that kind of output is not going to replicate itself. Washington has looked like the better team thus far, and it will have the chance to reinforce that sentiment in week seven. Look for a home victory in Landover.
The pick: Washington 19, Dallas 15.
Los Angeles Rams (6-0) @ San Francisco 49ers (1-5)
At the end of 2017, this looked like it was sure to be one of 2018’s more enticing matchups, but of course, things never seem to play out like expected in the NFL. Much like last week’s game in Green Bay, the star-studded-ness of this one is largely lost with Jimmy Garoppolo hurt. But this may not be a lost cause for San Francisco. The 49ers put up a surprisingly solid fight against the Packers last week. Could they do the same against a fearsome Rams squad? It could happen.
The pick: LA Rams 36, San Francisco 26.
Cincinnati Bengals (4-2) @ Kansas City Chiefs (5-1)
Although Saints-Ravens would have been the better game to flex into primetime for Sunday Night Football, Bengals-Chiefs isn’t a bad choice either. It is interesting to see Patrick Mahomes and company playing on Sunday night for the second consecutive week, but the home atmosphere will give Kansas City the advantage this time. Cincinnati is angry though, just coming off a tough home loss to Pittsburgh, so this one might be a dogfight until the end.
The pick: Kansas City 34, Cincinnati 30.
New York Giants (1-5) @ Atlanta Falcons (2-4)
The Giants and Falcons are only separated by a game in terms of record, but on paper, it’s clear that these teams look worlds apart. New York is continuing to struggle despite having a healthy offensive set, while Atlanta seems to be getting its act together. Add in the homefield advantage and you’ve got a recipe for an Atlanta Falcons victory on Monday Night Football. But will it actually turn out that way? We’ll just have to wait until Monday to find out.
The pick: Atlanta 41, NY Giants 16.
Byes: Green Bay Packers (3-2-1), Oakland Raiders (1-5), Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2-1), Seattle Seahawks (3-3)
DJ Bauer is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.