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Week 7 NFL Picks

Derrick Henry

Week 7 NFL Picks

This season, I’ll be providing my picks every week for you, our readers. I’ve been Gridiron Expers’ Pick ‘Em columnist for the past few seasons, and I’m glad to be back at it again! We’re hoping to have even more success this year! Each week, I’ll give you my picks for the game, and a short write-up centered around the key reason why I’m making the pick that I am. You can also click over to see all our Free NFL picks for the week with more than a dozen Gridiron Experts picking each game.

Welcome back… it’s time for Football!

Cincinnati @ Baltimore (-6.5)

Baltimore has been incredibly impressive as of late, with Lamar Jackson leading the charge. This divisional battle with the Bengals should be much more difficult than past affairs, as Joe Burrow has Cincinnati sitting at 4-2 and right in the thick of the playoff race. While both teams are certainly scoring points, the defenses are also holding their own, as they both rank Top 10 in the league, with Cincinnati impressing with a 5th ranked scoring defense. Jackson has made up for his lack of a star RB by taking on most of the rushing production himself (64/392/2) and honing in on WR Marquise Brown (32/486/5) and TE Mark Andrews (34/468/3) through the air. Burrow, on the other hand, has Joe Mixon in the backfield, and he’s been producing to the tune of 480 rushing yards and 3 TDs through 6 weeks. Burrow also has had a fantastic rapport with rookie WR and former college teammate Ja’Marr Chase (27/553/5.) While I think the Bengals will keep this one close, I think that the Ravens’ offense is versatile enough to keep Cincinnati on their toes all day. Jackson’s ability to break the pocket and run at any time makes him difficult to gameplan for, especially when he is throwing the ball as well as he is. This game might go differently in hostile territory, but being that it’ll be played in Baltimore, I’ll take the Ravens to win and cover. Ravens 28-20. 

Washington @ Green Bay (-9.5)

Aaron Rodgers logged yet another win over the Bears last weekend to move to 5-1 on the season. Green Bay has won 5 straight after opening the season with a loss to the Saints. Washington, on the other hand, has lost two in a row, and only owns close wins over the lowly Giants and Falcons so far this season. While QB Taylor Heinicke is flashing signs of competence, he is no comparison to the great Rodgers. To make matters worse for Washington, both of their star playmakers, RB Antonio Gibson and WR Terry McLaurin, are Questionable to play in this contest. McLaurin played last weekend and is expected to do so again on Sunday… however, Gibson was pulled from last weekend’s game in the 4th quarter and did not practice on Wednesday. It seems his nagging injury is a concern, and he’s going to be limited in some capacity if he plays on Sunday. On the other hand, Green Bay seems healthy and has their full complement of stars- Rodgers, RB Aaron Jones, and WR Davante Adams. While Green Bay’s defense has been very average so far this year, no team in the NFL has given up more points than the Washington Football Team this year. Given that, the concern over Washington injuries, and the fact that this game will be played at Lambeau Field, I’ll take Green Bay to cruise to a victory here. Packers 32-20.

Atlanta (-2.5) @ Miami

Atlanta is coming off of a bye week, while Miami is fresh off of a game in London. Miami fell to the lowly Jaguars, who had lost 20 regular-season games in a row before Sunday’s victory. Atlanta also played their last game across the pond, knocking off the Jets in Week 5. Now, the Falcons will see the return of their star WR Calvin Ridley and will have the chance to build off of Matt Ryan’s best game of the season. In that game, Ryan peppered TE Kyle Pitts with targets all day leading to 9 receptions, 119 yards, and a TD. With Pitts breaking out, the sustained success of Cordarrelle Patterson, and Ridley back in the fold, it makes this Falcons offense much more dynamic. They’ll look to exploit this Dolphins team who ranks 29th in scoring, and 30th in points against. Tua Tagovailoa will need to turn in his best game of the season if he wants to keep this one close. He’ll need to lean on Myles Gaskin, who was invisible against Jacksonville, to offset the passing attack. Tua threw the ball 47 times in London and carried out a relatively predictable game plan. Aside from the production of WR Jaylen Waddle (10/70/2), there wasn’t much to get excited about, and the awful Jaguars defense was able to contain Miami and outscore them to get the win. A greater run/pass balance might help the Dolphins as they attempt to keep Atlanta guessing. However, I haven’t seen it so far this year. Between the international travel, rumors of a trade for Deshaun Watson, and the fact that the Falcons have had almost 2 weeks to prepare for this game, I don’t have much confidence in Miami here. Look for Ryan to log another solid game, and for Ridley and Pitts to produce enough to give Atlanta the win. Falcons 27-22. 

New York Jets @ New England (-7)

Despite inexplicably knocking off the Titans in Week 4, the Jets are winless otherwise. New England has played better, but their record doesn’t show it, as they sit at 2-4. Not shown in the 2-4 record is the fact that the Patriots have lost close games to the reigning champion Bucs, and most recently, Dallas in Overtime. However, New England has also shown their bad side, with a 15 point loss to the Saints, and an unexplainable loss to the incapable Dolphins in Week 1. In any event, we’ll see a showdown between rookie QBs in this contest, with Mac Jones and Zach Wilson leading their respective sides. Jones has clearly shown more promise than Wilson this year, despite the few highlight-worthy plays Wilson has produces. Jones has been silently consistent and poised, much to the chagrin of HC Bill Belichick. However, that poise will need to translate into wins at some point. The biggest factor in this game is the lack of scoring production we’ve seen from the Jets. New England’s defense has been quite good so far this year, and I suspect the rookie Wilson will have trouble producing against the Patriots. Belichick also tends to fare quite well against rookies in his tenure, so that certainly won’t make things easier on the youngster. Look for RB Damien Harris to control the ground game, and for Jones to make some timely throws. New England should force Wilson into turning the ball over and should capitalize on those opportunities on the way to a controlled, two-score win at home. Patriots 28-16. 

Carolina (-3) @ New York Giants

The Giants are in a state of disarray after logging only 11 points last week against the Rams. While QB Daniel Jones returned from his concussion, he was completely useless against LA, and to make matters worse, it seems rookie WR Kadarius Toney’s ankle injury was aggravated in the first quarter of that game. New York remains without star RB Saquon Barkley, and will likely be without WR Kenny Golladay for the time being. There’s barely anything for Jones to work with right now, making things even tougher for the league’s 27th ranked offense. The Panthers also continued their losing ways, and remain without their star, RB Christian McCaffrey. While their offense has been lackluster as well, at least they have some weapons for QB Sam Darnold to work within WRs DJ Moore and Robby Anderson. Despite losing 3 in a row, the Panthers still tout the league’s 7th ranked scoring defense, and have generated the 5th most sacks of any team. Look for Jones to feel the heat constantly on Sunday, and for the Panthers to lean on Darnold and their defense to secure a gritty road win, covering the spread in the process.  Panthers 23-18.

Kansas City (-5.5) @ Tennessee

The Titans are coming off of a fantastic home win against Buffalo and will host Kansas City as they continue to clash with the AFC’s best. Kansas City flourished in the second half and ultimately knocked off the Football Team on the shoulders of QB Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes is one of the league’s very best players, despite his recent turnover woes. Mahomes has been focusing on TE Travis Kelce and his speedster WR Tyreek Hill this season. While Kelce is healthy, Hill is quite banged up and hasn’t been practicing to start the week– something to watch. While Kansas City is undoubtedly an offensive juggernaut, they’ve struggled mightily on the defensive side, as they rank 29th in points allowed. Tennessee hasn’t been much better defensively, so I expect this to be a high-scoring game. Titans RB Derrick Henry has been the best player in football this year and has willed the Titans to a 4-2 start, despite some adversity. QB Ryan Tannehill will need to perform well on Sunday to keep the Titans in this shootout, along with star WR AJ Brown. Julio Jones has been nursing a hamstring injury, so his status is up in the air. Tennessee carries a bunch of injuries into Week 7, including LT Taylor Lewan (concussion.) The secondary of the Titans is also quite banged up, so their pass rush will need to get after Mahomes to keep Tennessee competitive. Look for Harold Landry III and Bud Dupree to contain Mahomes and to force some pressure in the meantime. Again, I think this will be a high-scoring game that might come down to who has the ball last. After an emotional win on Monday Night, look for the Titans to feed off of the home crown and pull the upset as home dogs. Titans 33-30. 

Detroit @ Los Angeles Rams (-15.5)

The Lions remain winless this year after falling to 0-6, while the Rams are making their case as one of the NFC’s elite teams. Matthew Stafford has been electric in his new home and will look to take it to the Lions team that traded him this offseason. Stafford’s favorite targets have unsurprisingly been WRs Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods, but the most unexpected impressive Ram has been RB Darrell Henderson Jr. Despite some injuries early on, Henderson has produced 372 yards and 4 TDs through 5 weeks. The LA defense has also been quite good, ranking just outside of the top-10 in points allowed. However, they’re rushing the passer quite well, and causing turnovers on this defense led by stars Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey, as they rank Top 4 in sacks and interceptions. Detroit hasn’t done much particularly well, as they rank 28th in points scored, and 26th in points against. QB Jared Goff will have a chance for revenge on his former team, but with a lack of intriguing weapons outside of RB D’Andre Swift, I just don’t see it happening. Look for the Rams to score early and often, and to blow out Detroit at home. While a 15.5 point line is quite stout, I think that Stafford will want to run up the score and will ultimately help LA cover. As always, beware of a backdoor late score to cover for Detroit if LA takes out their starters. Usually, I’d stay away from betting games with such a huge spread– but if I have to take one side here, I’ll bet on Stafford & Co. Rams 35-18.

Philadelphia @ Las Vegas (-3.5)

The 2-4 Eagles will head to Las Vegas to take on the 4-2 Raiders in this matchup. Despite a chaotic week in the press, the Raiders pulled off a road win in Denver, surprising many. On the other hand, the Eagles are coming off of a long week of rest, and have had plenty of time to prepare for this contest. Dual-threat QB Jalen Hurts leads the Eagles and has been quite good so far this season, with 13 total touchdowns to his name. Hurts’ favorite receiver has been rookie DeVonta Smith, although he’s only found the end zone once. Otherwise, their rushing attack is quite mediocre, and their best RB Miles Sanders has been criminally underutilized. The Raiders, on the other hand, employ a pass-heavy attack with QB Derek Carr. Carr has thrown for almost 1,950 yards so far this season and has spread the ball out nicely. While his best pass-catcher is traditionally TE Darren Waller, WRs Henry Ruggs III and Hunter Renfrow have both contributed. The star of Las Vegas so far this year has been DE Maxx Crosby who has logged 5 sacks already this season. If Crosby can contain Hurts and force him to scramble, it’ll give Las Vegas a better chance in this one. However, if Hurts breaks contain, we all know he can run wild and rack up the yardage. While I think the Eagles will keep it close, I like the Raiders at home by a field goal. The extra half-point on the spread makes me take Philly with the points though. Raiders 27-24.

Houston @ Arizona (-17.5)

There’s not much to analyze here… the Texans are awful, and the Cardinals are the last undefeated team in Football. I don’t have any statistics to substantiate picking an upset, so this all comes down to spread analysis. The line of 17.5 is gigantic, and history tells us that lines this large are rarely covered. However, the Cardinals have a lot going for themselves. They’re 6-0, they’re playing at home, they have a top-5 scoring offense and a top-3 scoring defense. They rank 6th in both sacks and interceptions and tout one of the league’s best playmakers at QB in Kyler Murray. The Texans will start an underwhelming rookie at QB again and lack true playmakers aside from veteran WR Brandin Cooks. There is a small X-Factor here that is putting me over the edge towards taking the Cardinals to cover 17.5 points… and that’s two former Texans who will be playing their former teams. You can bet that JJ Watt will be at his very best on Sunday and that DeAndre Hopkins will want to catch every ball in sight. I like Hopkins to turn in a monumental performance, and for Kyler Murray to score at will. While the threat of a backdoor cover always looms, I don’t see how the Texans can slow down this offense, or score a significant amount of points on the Arizona defense for that matter. Cardinals 38-15.

Chicago @ Tampa Bay (-12.5)

After two straight wins, the Bears fell to the Packers at Lambeau Field last weekend. The Buccaneers, on the other hand, continued their winning ways, knocking off the Eagles on Thursday Night. Now, Tom Brady has a few extra days of rest and preparation, as the Bucs look to host Chicago on Sunday. Brady has been one of the game’s best yet again this season, as he’s thrown for 2,064 yards and 17 TDs compared to only 3 INTs. While he’ll likely be without TE Rob Gronkowski, Brady has a litany of options at his disposal, including WRs Mike Evans, Antonio Brown, and Chris Godwin– all three of which have over 400 yards receiving and have combined for 10 TDs. RB Leonard Forunette has also produced nicely, netting 545 all-purpose yards in 6 games. The Bears will be led by rookie QB Justin Fields, who has improved since being named the starter but still hasn’t quite had his breakout game. With RBs David Montgomery (knee) and Damien Williams (COVID) missing time, they’ll again rely on rookie RB Khalil Herbert to lead the backfield. Herbert impressed in Week 6 but now will need to do so against the elite Tampa Bay run stoppers. With Fields’ inconsistency and DC Todd Bowles game-planning against the rookie, I don’t see the Bears scoring enough points to keep up with Tampa here. Give me Brady and the Bucs to win by two scores and to cover the hefty line. Buccaneers 34-20.  

Indianapolis @ San Francisco (-4.5)

After throttling the Texans 31-3, the Colts sit at 2-4 on the season. The 49ers, on the other hand, have suffered three straight tough losses against elite competition (Arizona, Seattle, Green Bay.) QB Jimmy Garoppolo will return to lead the San Francisco offense, and he’ll need his star WR Deebo Samuel to be at his very best. Samuel is one of the league leaders with 548 receiving yards and has been quite electric after the catch this season. Also, RB Eli Mitchell will be pivotal to the 49ers’ success, as they’ll need him to produce and help control the clock. For Indianapolis, Carson Wentz has exceeded expectations, sporting a 9:1 TD to INT ratio through 6 games. While the TDs haven’t come in volume, he’s able to lean on his star RB Jonathan Taylor to pace this offense. The Colts also benefitted from the return of TY Hilton last week, as he adds a deep ball element to this offense, and gives Wentz another solid target outside of Michael Pittman Jr. At the end of the day, I see this as a close game and one that will be won on the defensive side of the ball. San Francisco’s defense has been quite stingy this year (6th in the NFL), despite struggling with their pass rush. I think they’ll need to get after Wentz and make him uncomfortable in the pocket to give themselves a chance on Sunday Night. I do believe the home-field advantage will help the 49ers here, but I think a 4.5 point line is a bit too stout. I’ll take San Francisco to win the game, but like the Colts with 4.5 points. 49ers 23-20.

Enjoy the games! Until next week…

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