NFL Week 7 Picks
Picks by Danny
Kansas City Chiefs (5-1) @ Oakland Raiders (2-4); Line: Chiefs by 3
The Raiders offense has been a disappointment thus far this year. The line has not lived up to its potential, Amari Cooper has struggled with the drops, and Marshawn Lynch wasn’t meant to be the savior of the franchise. The Steelers exposed some of the Chiefs’ weaknesses. Despite the short week coming off a tough loss, I think they rebound in Oakland. Chiefs 24, Raiders 21
New Orleans Saints (3-2) @ Green Bay Packers (4-2); Line: Saints by 4
The Brett Hundley experiment in Green Bay begins this weekend. Lambeau is as tough a place to play as anywhere in the NFL and that should help the Packers ease Hundley into his new role as QB1 in Wisconsin. Drew Brees made it through the month of September without throwing an interception. I don’t believe Hundley or the GB defense are good enough to keep pace with the Saints. Saints 29, Packers 21
Arizona Cardinals (3-3) vs. Los Angeles Rams (4-2) from Twickenham Stadium in London; Line: Rams by 3
The Rams lose the home field advantage with a transatlantic trip to London, but that doesn’t keep them from pulling out a tough one against a division rival. Adrian Peterson provided the Cards a much-needed boost offensively last week. I’m not entirely sold on the Adrian Peterson experiment yet. He is a sure-fire hall of famer, but he is also 32. He wasn’t used in New Orleans, which means he is relatively fresh. I expect Aaron Donald to keep Peterson in check and Todd Gurley to provide just enough offense to get the win. Rams 18, Cards 14
Picks by Brad
Baltimore Ravens (3-3) @ Minnesota Vikings (4-2); Line: Vikings by 5.5
It feels like the Ravens are very up and down, but when you look at the box scores, it’s actually been mostly down. After starting their campaign 2-0 with victories over the bad Ohio teams, Baltimore has just one victory in the last four weeks: a road win against the collapsing Raiders. The Vikings, on the other hand, keep grinding out wins as they work to get the QB position settled down. My fellow gamblers will be interested to know that Minny has covered in 15 of its last 20 home games. I’ll take the NFC’s best defense playing at home in a game with way too much purple. Vikings 27, Ravens 13
Dallas Cowboys (2-3) @ San Francisco 49ers (0-6); Line: Cowboys by 7
This is gonna be the longest take you will see from me in a game picking format, but there is quite a bit to unpack. First off, I’ve never gone into it here on SportsIntel, but I actually grew up a 49ers fan. I didn’t stick with the team after Steve Young left because I have no connection with the Bay Area, but throughout the 90s I lived and died with this team. And as a 9ers fan in the 90s, there was no team that I hated more than “America’s Team.” It was good against evil. The clean-cut, hard working 9ers against the coke sniffing, flamboyant ‘Boys and they met in the playoffs every damn year. Everything has heightened urgency and matters more deeply when you’re a teenager so seminal moments like TO celebrating on the star and Deion switching teams REALLY stand out in my memory.
As for the matchup here in 2017 it features two underachievers with a combined 2-9 record. Dallas is coming off a bye week after consecutive home losses to NFC foes (Rams, Packers) by nearly identical scores (35-30, 35-31). Ezekiel Elliot is in a sophomore slump as the status of his suspension seems to change every minute (we think he’s gonna play this week?). Drama is ever present when the Cowboys are involved, but the most remarkable tidbit is the hard luck SF has had in losing by a combined 13 points the last five weeks. That’s losses by 3, 2, 3, 3, and 2 with a couple of those coming in OT; talk about drama! No team in NFL history had ever lost five consecutive games by three or fewer points. Clearly Shanahan’s boys stay in games, and you have to say that everything looked better last week when they finally benched Hoyer (boy was I wrong about that guy!), but I think fate continues to torture San Fran as they fall to a fresher, refocused Dallas team. Cowboys 34, 49ers 31
Washington Redskins (3-2) @ Philadelphia Eagles (5-1); Line: Eagles by 4.5
It’s possible that the most common thing I bring up when picking football games on SportsIntel is that home teams playing in primetime spots have a significant advantage, something that is probably more true at the college level than it is for the NFL. This makes Philly an interesting case in Week 7 because they are playing their second straight national TV game after beating Carolina on the road last Thursday (11 days between games is a fortunate scheduling quirk for the Iggles). And they definitely are playing with an advantage here. On the other side we have the ‘Skins who eked out a W at home against the 49ers last week facing a backup, rookie QB. That may not sound like a great result, but I think it’s one to build on for Washington who, like almost everyone, is dealing with lots of injuries. The Redskins are looking like a wild card team in the NFC, but with no Josh Norman, they’ll struggle to cover on Monday and lose the rematch against Philadelphia. Eagles 33, Redskins 30
Picks by Chris
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3) @ Buffalo Bills (3-2); Line: OFF
In week five I told you the Bengals were going to win because the Bills offense was destined to repeat the mistakes of its past and I was right. In week seven, the Bills are going to rebound. Trust me, Jameis Winston isn’t going to start this weekend, which means backup QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is the man to beat. A feat that seems pretty easy considering he’s 46-69-1 over the course of his career when starting a football game. That’s not very good folks. Some say he’s cursed, others believe he’s the antichrist (okay, I made that one up), but what’s indisputable is the Amish Rifle’s ability to tread water in this league. Tyrod Taylor may not be consistent, but I’d put my money on the Bills defense over Mr. Fitztragic.
For the record, even if a healthy Jameis Winston were to start this game, I’d still go Bills, 21-14.
Denver Broncos (3-2) @ Los Angeles Chargers (2-4); Line: EVEN
San Angeles Chargers, silly/dumb lightning bolt team, whatever he calls them, don’t let Brad fool you, he’s picked this team twice already for this column, and both times he predicted a win for ol’man Rivers and company. This week they play the Denver Broncos and I’m leaning towards the
Chargers, yeah right, Broncos. Offensively, the Broncos have run the ball well, and despite only being ranked 16th in points per game, they’ve moved the chains effectively all things considered. Meanwhile, the Chargers secondary has played surprisingly well, but with a porous run defense the Broncos should have an easier time of producing yards on offense. Trevor Simien hasn’t played all that well, but if he can limit his turnovers the Broncos will be positioned to win this game based on their dominant defensive play.
I think C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles have a field day on Sunday, 24-21 Broncos are victorious.
Atlanta Falcons (3-2) @ New England Patriots (4-2); Line: Patriots by 3.5
Everyone knows what happened last time these two teams met, so I won’t shame the Falcons by going into details here, but I’ll say it now so as not to be misunderstood: Dan Quinn is full of shit. Take note of all the predictors calling this one in favor of the Patriots, I don’t believe them. Take note of Dan Quinn saying this isn’t a rematch, you can’t look backward… blah blah blah, I don’t believe him. Matt Ryan hasn’t forgotten Super Bowl LI, and if he has, shame on him. Anyone with a competitive bone in their body wants a chance at setting the record straight. Already the headlines read Falcons are in a Super Bowl ‘hangover’, but they didn’t look hungover in a not-so-close win over Green Bay in September. That tells me they have a memory of events that stretches back beyond August 10th of 2017. The Patriots are still good on offense, but their defense has been embarrassingly bad. Meanwhile, the ‘hungover’ Falcons have already played four top 10 defenses this year.
Bottom-line: Falcons dominate Patriots, 42-30. That’s the headline coming after Sunday Night Football in Foxborough. If it’s anything different, the Falcon’s have already lost Super Bowl LII and they might as well admit it.