Another week of action to look forward to in the NFL. This week, we have also included Shaun’s predictions against the spread following feedback on the article.
We will be giving away a t-shirt of your team’s choice to the competition winner at season-end, along with a weekly prize to any entrant who manages to predict the outcome of all games correctly in any given week. If we get over 100 entrants, we will give away a jersey instead of a t-shirt as the overall prize, so get involved and sign up your mates.
Sunday Early Games
Just a friendly reminder that the clocks go back in the UK this weekend so all games are that bit earlier than normal this weekend.
Carolina Panthers @ New Orleans Saints – Spread / Panthers +7.5
The Panthers mini-winning streak was halted by the Bears last week while the Saints had their feet up on the bye week. The game is likely to come at least a week too early for Christian McCaffery so expect to see another health dose of Mike Davis for the Panthers. Robbie Anderson has been a revelation on the outside for a team that has outperformed expectations so far. All eyes will be on the perimeter for the Saints, who should welcome back Michael Thomas. The undisputed number 1 receiver for the team is back after a combination of injury and team discipline issues. In what promises to be a tight division, this Week 7 game could carry great significance come the end of the season.
Spread pick – Panthers cover
Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets – Spread / Bills -13
The Bills get the ideal opportunity to bounce back after a down couple of weeks. There is no shame losing to the Titans and Chiefs but the play of Josh Allen will have been the real disappointment. MVP talk has rightly cooled as accuracy issues, all the talk of his first two years in the league, have resurfaced. The run game is almost non-existent and the dominant defence of 12 months ago also needs to up its game. Whatever issues Buffalo have almost pale into insignificance when compared with the Jets. Literally pointless last week against the Dolphins and winless on the season, the Jets are the worst team in football. Sam Darnold may be back for this one, which at least offers a small chink of light at the end of the darkest of dark tunnels.
Spread pick – Bills cover
Cleveland Browns @ Cincinnati Bengals – Spread / Browns -3
Battle of Ohio Take 2 of the season with the Browns looking for the sweep. Off the back of a good hiding from the Steelers, Cleveland will look to get back on track against the only divisional foe they can seemingly hang with. The dominant run game was shut down in Pittsburgh but the Bengals haven’t been able to stop the run in forever. There is lots of negative Baker Mayfield talk in the national media so you can almost guarantee a good performance from him, with OBJ and Jarvis Landry usually productive in these matches. The Bengals have injury concerns to star running back Joe Mixon, who may not go on Sunday, and in the secondary. AJ Green had by far his best outing of the season last weekend and Tee Higgins looks like his heir apparent. After giving up a 21-point lead to the Colts last week. the Bengals will be looking to quickly right that wrong.
Spread pick – Browns cover
Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Football Team – Spread / Cowboys – 1
Dallas continue to turn the ball over offensively and put what is already a historically bad defence in bad spots. Two Zeke fumbles and two Dalton picks last week in defeat to the Cardinals were the latest additions to the list. There are now rumbles of discontent from within the dressing room that they are under prepared and the coaching staff are disorganised. Washington had the chance to tie up last week’s ball game but ultimately decided to attempt the win with a two-point conversion try. That ultimately failed and extended the losing streak to five games. It’s difficult to understand what Washington are trying to do. Dwayne Haskins may not be the answer but Kyle Allen definitely isn’t. Surely they would be better sticking with Haskins throughout the season to evaluate him? If not, and the plan is to win now, then why not start Alex Smith?
Spread pick – Washington cover
Green Bay Packers @ Houston Texans – Spread / Packers -3.5
The Packers suffered a body blow last week in defeat at Tampa. It was one of the poorest displays of Aaron Rodgers’ career but nobody will be hitting the panic button. After Derrick Henry galloped for over 200 yards on the ground, it may well be the other Aaron that will be eager for this one. Aaron Jones has been a bit of a forgotten man in recent weeks but will be a prime candidate for a huge day in this one. Houston pushed the Titans close but with the game on the line, the defence was found wanting. The offence has improved week to week and Deshaun Watson was visibly gutted at losing the overtime coin flip last weekend. At 1-5, it’s now or never for the Texans but I can’t see any way in which they will pull out a victory here.
Spread pick – Packers cover
Detroit Lions @ Atlanta Falcons – Spread / Lions +2.5
This one has the makings of a high-scoring shootout. Atlanta finally got their first win of the season last weekend in the debut of Raheem Morris as interim head coach. Julio Jones rolled back the years with a big game and Matt Ryan found plenty of joy elsewhere through the air. The defence was stout against the run and capitalised on a terrible first-half display from the Vikings. Detroit had a win themselves last week against the Jags, powered by a breakout game from DeAndre Swift. The rookie running back went for over 100 yards rushing for the first time in his short career. That improved Matt Stafford to 7-1 when he has a 100-yard rusher. (A reminder Matt Stafford was drafted 11 years ago!) To only have eight games out of 153 in his career with such a mark is indicative of the Lions’ issues over the years.
Spread pick – Falcons cover
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Tennessee Titans (SKY Game) – Preview here!!!
Sunday Late Games
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Las Vegas Raiders – Spread / Buccaneers -2.5
There is a strong possibility that this game may not go. Already flexed out of the original Sunday Night Football slot because of that strong possibility due to COVID-19 issues in Vegas. Offensive lineman Trent Brown was added to the reserve list and now all 5 offensive lineman are in isolation and will need to clear tests on gameday to go. Even if they can go I don’t see how Vegas can be competitive with having zero practice for the week. It is a real shame as fresh off the bye they would have been full of confidence. Tom Brady and co are fresh off of a big win themselves and will be eager to get the game on considering their clear advantage here. What was looking like a close game will likely end in a postponement or a blow out.
Spread pick – Buccaneers cover
Kansas City Chiefs @ Denver Broncos – Spread / Chiefs -9.5
The Broncos will be full of confidence to land yet another upset after defeating the Patriots on the road last weekend. They had Drew Lock back and, although he looked rusty and threw two poor interceptions late in the game, having him suit up will be a confidence boost. The game also saw the first meaningful action for Phillip Lindsay following more off-field problems for Melvin Gordon. Lindsay capitalised on the opportunity and there is a sense of rejuvenation in a franchise riddled with injuries in September. The Chiefs comfortably dispatched the Bills on Monday night to get back to winning ways. Clyde Edwards-Helaire had his best game of the season and Lev Bell will be added to the mix following his release from New York. The receiving threats are well documented and with Travis Kelce, they have a genuine red zone monster.
Spread pick – Denver cover
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Los Angeles Chargers – Spread / Jags +7.5
The Chargers come into this one on the back of their rescheduled bye week. The last time they were on display was a close Monday night battle with the Saints. Justin Herbert continued to impress in that game, throwing for four touchdowns in a valiant losing effort. He makes the Chargers exciting to watch and the future looks bright. All of the Chargers games have been decided by one score. Anthony Lynn needs to find a way to start winning some of these close games as they are too talented to have such a poor record. The Jags’ last win was way back in Week 1 and it is difficult to see where the next one is coming from. In Keelan Cole, they have a receiver right at the top of his game but to be honest, Minshew mania has been reduced to a Mishew murmer in year 2. Whatever promise the offence has is being undone by poor defensive play.
Spread pick – Chargers cover
San Francisco 49ers @ New England Patriots (SKY game) – Preview here!!!
Sunday Night Football – Seattle Seahawks @ Arizona Cardinals
Monday Night Football – Chicago Bears @ Los Angeles Rams
Previews for these games can be found by clicking here!!!
Byes – Vikings, Dolphins, Colts, Ravens
Every week, we will be playing alongside you in our pick ’em league. All of our staff are in the pick ’em league but here, we will share the picks of our regular podcast crew. Our selections for the week are as follows (all selections are money line and not against the spread):