NFL Game Picks: Week 7
Danny Murray and Zac Kaye make their picks for every NFL game in Week 7:
Week 6 showed that unpredictability is alive and well in the NFL. Sure, the usual suspects like New England and Seattle came away with victories, but the previously dominant Chiefs, Rams and Cowboys all lost again. These three teams were a combined 10-0 at one point, but since the evening of Sunday, Sept. 29, they’ve gone 0-8. Perhaps the teams we thought were contenders for the Super Bowl are in more trouble than previously believed. With the Week 7 edition of the NFL game picks, we’ll break down who’s for real and who’s just pretending.
Kansas City Chiefs (4-2) at Denver Broncos (2-4)
The Chiefs are not the superteam many thought they were. Patrick Mahomes has cooled down over the past two weeks, and the defense has some serious kinks to work out, especially in the run game. As they travel to Denver, they face the up-and-coming Broncos, which are 2-0 after starting 0-4, thanks in large part to excellent ground performances from Phillip Lindsay. He could run all over the Chiefs if they don’t contain him. An upset very well could happen on Thursday night, but Mahomes should return to his usual form. Kansas City wins a close one.
Prediction: Kansas City 31, Denver 27
Los Angeles Rams (3-3) at Atlanta Falcons (1-5)
Los Angeles has to get it figured out fast. At 3-3, the Rams are sinking in a division that features the 5-0 49ers and 5-1 Seahawks. They can’t afford to fall behind too far. The offense in particular needs to get itself together and return to its dominant 2018 form before it’s too late. Then there are the Falcons, which might be out of it already. Atlanta let the lowly Cardinals put up 34 last week and hasn’t won since Week 2. Dan Quinn’s seat has never been hotter. In a battle of slumping teams, Los Angeles comes out on top thanks to a superior defense.
Prediction: LA Rams 26, Atlanta 16
Miami Dolphins (0-5) at Buffalo Bills (4-1)
Last week was the Dolphins’ best chance to win this season, as they hosted the winless Redskins. Washington left Miami with a win, meaning the Dolphins’ window of opportunity for a victory in 2019 is closing. It’s unlikely that their first victory comes in Week 7, as the fresh-off-a-bye Bills play the winless Fins in Buffalo: a location that has seen victories for the home team six of the past seven years. Sure enough, the Bills are favored by 17 points, which hasn’t happened since 1992. Buffalo doesn’t disappoint and reaches 5-1 for the first time since 2008.
Prediction: Buffalo 33, Miami 14
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-4) at Cincinnati Bengals (0-6)
Minshew Magic hit its first true hitch last week as Jacksonville fell to the Saints 13-6, while Gardner Minshew himself went 14-for-29 with only 163 yards passing and an interception. The Jaguars do have a decent chance to rebound in Week 7 against the winless Bengals, which have lost four by six points or fewer. Cincinnati has major problems, especially at running back, as Joe Mixon just hasn’t panned out the way many thought he would. The Bengals keep it competitive once again, but they fall to 0-7, and the Jaguars put themselves back in the AFC South title race.
Prediction: Jacksonville 22, Cincinnati 17
Minnesota Vikings (4-2) at Detroit Lions (2-2-1)
You have to feel bad for the Lions. Some dicey calls in Monday night’s match in Green Bay could very well have been the difference between first place and last place in the NFC North for Detroit. If there’s one positive to take away from that heartbreaking loss, it’s that the Lions will play in Week 7 with as much anger and motivation as ever. They’re going to need it, as the Vikings offense looked untouchable against Philadelphia last week. Minnesota and Detroit combine for a fantastic NFC North bout, but the home team escapes with a slim victory.
Prediction: Detroit 30, Minnesota 27
Oakland Raiders (3-2) at Green Bay Packers (5-1)
Yes, Green Bay’s victory over Detroit last week may have been aided by some questionable officiating, but let’s not forget that Aaron Rodgers led his team to victory after being down for the first three quarters. That’s vintage Rodgers. The Raiders will visit Green Bay rested coming out of the bye week, but the talent disparity is noticeable, especially at the quarterback position. Who do you have more faith in to win: Aaron Rodgers at home, or Derek Carr on the road? The easy answer is Rodgers, whose Packers get it done to reach 6-1 and keep the NFC North lead.
Prediction: Green Bay 32, Oakland 18
Houston Texans (4-2) at Indianapolis Colts (3-2)
The AFC South is very much up for grabs right now, and it seems that either Houston or Indianapolis is the favorite. The Texans come into this one with momentum having put together back-to-back wins over Atlanta and Kansas City, but the Colts enter well-rested after serving their Week 6 bye. Let’s not forget that the Colts’ most recent victory was also against Kansas City. Both of these teams should remain playoff contenders for the remainder of the season, but the winner here gets a huge edge for the time being. That edge goes to the home team.
Prediction: Indianapolis 23, Houston 20
Arizona Cardinals (2-3-1) at New York Giants (2-4)
For the first time this year, rookie quarterbacks go head-to-head as their respective teams’ starters. Neither Kyler Murray nor Daniel Jones have looked especially great yet, but Murray has looked better through six weeks of the season. Last week’s 340-yard, three-touchdown performance was a huge step for his development. Against the No. 31 passing defense in Week 7, Murray lights it up again and leads his Cardinals to 3-3-1. A third win here would already match last year’s win total. Perhaps things really are looking up for Arizona.
Prediction: Arizona 35, NY Giants 20
San Francisco 49ers (5-0) at Washington Redskins (1-5)
Last week’s performance in Los Angeles removes all doubt: San Francisco is for real. That defense is especially scary, placing in the top five for passing yards per game, rushing yards per game and points per game. The struggling Redskins, which barely escaped Miami with a win, field an offense that falls in the bottom 10 in all those categories. With the Seahawks hot on their trail in the NFC West title chase, the 49ers keep their foot on the gas and win a blowout in Washington, reaching 6-0 for the first time since the days of Joe Montana and Jerry Rice.
Prediction: San Francisco 31, Washington 10
Los Angeles Chargers (2-4) at Tennessee Titans (2-4)
Los Angeles has been a big disappointment so far, but at least all four of the Chargers’ losses have been by a touchdown or less, showing that the offense at least has a pulse. Tennessee can’t quite say the same. The offense has gone limp, scoring just seven points over the past two weeks. Marcus Mariota found himself on the bench for the second half of last week’s loss in Denver. His career as an NFL starter is likely coming to an end soon. With Hunter Henry returning from injury to aid the Chargers passing attack, Los Angeles should find itself with a win in Tennessee.
Prediction: LA Chargers 29, Tennessee 6
New Orleans Saints (5-1) at Chicago Bears (3-2)
It wasn’t pretty, but Teddy Bridgewater’s 2019 record remained spotless after last week’s win in Jacksonville. That mark will be challenged in Week 7, as the Saints head to Chicago. Off a bye, the Bears defense should be fresh and fierce. That leaves the offense as Chicago’s question mark. Mitchell Trubisky is back at practice, but his status for Sunday is still unknown. Regardless, the Saints are no slouches on defense. They’ll present a challenge for whichever Chicago signal caller is under center. In a low-scoring matchup, the Bridgewater-led Saints win yet again.
Prediction: New Orleans 14, Chicago 10
Baltimore Ravens (4-2) at Seattle Seahawks (5-1)
Both of these teams have the potential to be absolutely explosive. The key difference here is consistency. While Lamar Jackson is often exciting, he and the Ravens haven’t quite figured out how to be dynamic on a regular basis. Russell Wilson has known how to do that for years, and this could be his best season yet, as he’s posted 1,704 passing yards, 14 touchdowns, zero interceptions and a 72.5 completion percentage through six weeks. Those are MVP numbers. Wilson continues his MVP campaign by leading the Seahawks to another victory.
Prediction: Seattle 32, Baltimore 26
Philadelphia Eagles (3-3) at Dallas Cowboys (3-3)
The Eagles and Cowboys are tied atop the NFC North at 3-3, so this Sunday night showdown will have major implications for the time being. Although Dallas has won the last three of these matchups, the Eagles are the smarter pick here. Yes, Philadelphia’s secondary was burned by Minnesota last week, but the now Amari Cooper-less Cowboys are far less of a threat than Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. With a chance to take the division lead, the Eagles sharpen up on all fronts and hand Dallas its fourth straight loss, dropping the Cowboys to 3-4 after a 3-0 start.
Prediction: Philadelphia 28, Dallas 20
New England Patriots (6-0) at New York Jets (1-4)
There’s a couple silver linings here for New York. Sam Darnold is back, and he looked very solid in last week’s win over Dallas. That win was also the Jets’ first, taking that monkey off their back. Now let’s snap back into reality. The Jets host the Patriots, who smacked New York 30-14 just a few weeks ago. Going back to 2011, the Jets have only defeated New England on two occasions, both of which required overtime. There’s little reason for Jets fans to get excited about this one. Expect Tom Brady and company to steamroll their division rival on Monday night.
Prediction: New England 36, NY Jets 16
Byes: Cleveland Browns (2-4), Pittsburgh Steelers (2-4), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4), Carolina Panthers (4-2)
DJ Bauer is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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