By: Maxwell Argento
A full slate of picks and previews for you on this Week 7 Sunday, headlined by a matchup of undefeated AFC juggernauts in the form of the Pittsburgh Steelers facing the Tennessee Titans. All odds provided by CBS Sports.
Detroit Lions vs Atlanta Falcons (-1.5)
The Falcons capitalized on their new head coach and the normal bump in energy it brings last week, albeit against the sleepwalking Minnesota Vikings. I think their luck runs out this week, mostly because Lions HC Matt Patricia will have a firm idea of how to quell the Falcons offense from a schematic standpoint. Add on the fact that rookie running back DeAndre Swift looked like a pro last week with 116 yards and two touchdowns against the Jaguars, and the Lions should be confident about their chances today. I will take the more desperate team, who still has a head coach coaching for his life.
Pick: Lions 31–27 Falcons
ATS: Lions (+1.5)
Cleveland Browns vs Cincinnati Bengals (+3.5)
Despite getting handled pretty seriously by the Pittsburgh Steelers last week the Browns are a much better football team than the Bengals, and I am going to bank on Kevin Stefanski getting the formula right once again after their loss. Baker Mayfield might not be the better quarterback on the field today, but the gulf in talent between these two rosters is massive, and in order for the Browns to continue to make a playoff push they can’t lose games like these. I would love for Joe Burrow to have more talent around him, but that is a few years off. I think Odell Beckham Jr. has a massive day today and I like the Browns comfortably.
Pick: Browns 30–17 Bengals
ATS: Browns (-3.5)
Green Bay Packers vs Houston Texans (+3)
Conventional wisdom states that you pick the Packers to win big in a bounce back/get-me-right performance after their bad loss to the Buccaneers last Sunday. I tend to think this game is going to be much closer than the general public gives it credit for. Deshaun Watson has looked much better the last two weeks and is as good of a matchup against the Packers’ best defensive asset, their pass rush, as you’ll find. I think the Packers running game sees much more joy today against a Texans defensive front that pales in comparison to the one seen in Tampa. I’ve gotta go Packers because Matt LaFleur’s regular season record is fantastic, but it will be a close contest.
Pick: Packers 24–20 Texans
ATS: Packers (-3)
Carolina Panthers vs New Orleans Saints (-6.5)
It is probably going to be super trendy to choose a Panthers upset today. I am not going to be part of that population. I like the Saints off of a buy week, and I like the Saints coaching staff in a head-to-head matchup with the Panthers’ staff because of the mutual familiarity they have scheme-wise. Sean Payton should know just about better than anyone what makes Teddy Bridgewater struggle, especially considering Joe Brady runs an offense based off of the Payton playbook. Saints star Michael Thomas not only will miss this week, but potentially Week 8 with a grade 1 hamstring strain, which is all the more reason for the Saints to push the envelope this afternoon and grab a win they think they should always get. Saints by a touchdown sounds good.
Pick: Saints 28–21 Panthers
ATS: Saints (-6.5)
Buffalo Bills vs New York Jets (+10)
I don’t think we need to spend a ton of time with this one. The Jets are the worst professional football team in the league, and the Bills are never going to feel more desperation than they do this week after falling twice to the cream of the AFC crop. Josh Allen was in the MVP race until week 5, and nothing but a great performance today will do. Bills win, and set their sites on the Patriots next week. 10 points isn’t a small amount to lay, but I think you need to here.
Pick: Bills 33–13 Jets
ATS: Bills (-10)
Dallas Cowboys vs Washington Football Team (-1)
If you told the average fan before the start of the 2020 season that the Football Team would be playing host to the Cowboys at the end of October and be favored by a point you would only have one conclusion to make; the Cowboys have fallen off the face of the Earth. As it turns out, you would’ve been right. The Cowboys looked terrible against Kyler and Co. last Monday, but shouldn’t turn the ball over with as much consistency this week. I will bank on the adults in the room doing just enough for the Cowboys today, especially considering I haven’t liked the Football Team’s offense for one second so far through six weeks. This is one of those games where you don’t even particularly feel like picking a winner because you don’t think either team deserves a result.
Pick: Cowboys 24–23 Football Team
ATS: Cowboys (+1)
Pittsburgh Steelers vs Tennessee Titans (-1.5)
It is always nice when all of the bad matchups we see in the 1:00pm slot get cancelled out by there being an absolute bombshell to watch amongst them. This matchup is that bombshell. The battle of undefeated AFC foes is going to be an ode to the way the game used to be played, with physicality and aggression ruling the day. I think that, despite Taylor Lewan being out for them, the Titans show everyone why them traveling to the AFC championship game last year was no fluke. Every team that plays Derrick Henry has to prepare for him as opposed to the other way around, and Ryan Tannehill has been as underrated a quarterback performer as we’ve seen through six weeks. The Steelers defense is outrageously good, especially up front, but their secondary lacks true pop. Couple that with the fact that before crushing the Browns the Steelers only looked so-so, and I am going to stay with the favorites and choose the Titans at home.
Pick: Titans 27–24 Steelers
ATS: Titans (-1.5)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Las Vegas Raiders (+4)
The original Sunday Night Football contest that was flexed due to another Las Vegas Raider Covid-19 issue still has a bunch of flair to it depsite being moved to 4:05pm. The Raiders seem to have the title of “Best Bad Team” all locked up this year, and they are coming up against a team that is only scratching the surface of what they can accomplish this year. Believe it or not the surface has been raised for the Bucs, who obtained Antonio Brown this week to add another legitimate threat for Tom Brady in the pass game. He won’t play this week obviously, but Brown’s arrival will only cause the Bucs to be more energized in this matchup, and it is a mystery who is going to feature on the offensive line for the Raiders because of the aforementioned Covid issue. Another win for the Bucs this week, and another week closer to us saying the rest of the NFC better watch out. I will take the visitors and I’ll even lay the points, please.
Pick: Buccaneers 30–20 Raiders
ATS: Buccaneers (-4)
Kansas City Chiefs vs Denver Broncos (+7)
I think this game wreaks of a dud from the Broncos, who already got their big, unexpected win last week against the Patriots. The Chiefs come into the game looking to make sure people remember who the best team in the AFC is as the Titans and Steelers play this week, and unfortunately the Broncos are in the line of fire. The Broncos don’t have their full compliment of players on defense, and although there is a ton of familiarity between these division foes, the emergence of Le’Veon Bell is enough to get the Chiefs laser focused and licking their chops to play. Kansas City get it done comfortably, and ostensibly continue to somehow fly under the radar.
Picks: Chiefs 35–17 Broncos
ATS: Chiefs (-7)
San Francisco 49ers vs New England Patriots (-3)
This is the week that will crystalize to us that there was a reason Tom Brady wanted to leave New England for greener pastures. Cam Newton is a freak, but in certain respects has been one of the lone bright spots for a Patriots offense that still does not have anywhere near enough difference makers, especially up and down their set of skill positions. If there was ever an offensive play caller that could give Bill Belichick things to think about it looks like it is going to be Kyle Shanahan. Alongside Shanahan, defensive coordinator Robert Salah seems to have his defense playing at a better level, and the Niners have quietly become healthier over the last two weeks. In what will be billed to the casual fan as “Jimmy G beating the team that he was forsaken by”, the 49ers will over the course of the game wear down a Patriots team that will finally start to really miss all of the players they’ve parted with before the year’s start due to Covid opt-outs and the like. I will take the 49ers in as close an upset as you can get, but when the season is over with we will see that we shouldn’t have considered it that at all.
Pick: 49ers 21–20 Patriots
ATS: 49ers (+3)
Jacksonville Jaguars vs Los Angeles Chargers (-7.5)
The Chargers being favored by the second largest point spread this week and having essentially identical records to their opponent proves just how unlucky they’ve been this year so far. For me, the winner is easy to pick in this game. I will take the team who has looked comprehensively better all year, who also happens to be coming off of a buy, and with the more skilled quarterback. All of those things point to the Chargers, so that’s where I’m going.
Pick: Chargers 34–16 Jaguars
ATS: Chargers (-7.5)
Seattle Seahawks vs Arizona Cardinals (+3.5)
It is Russell Wilson vs someone who could have a Russell Wilson-like career when it is all said and done on SNF. The Seahawks are coming off a buy week yet still don’t have defensive quarterback Jamal Adams, which is a big loss against a team that love spreading the ball out and getting Kyler Murray into space. I do think that we are going to see a dynamic where we identify that although the Cardinals are good and improving, that they aren’t quite ready for the Hawks in primetime with the nation watching. Simply put, the Seahawks are not the Cowboys. I like Russ and D.K. Metcalf to continue to explode, and I will take the visitors to get it done, albeit in close fashion.
Pick: Seahawks 45–41 Cardinals
ATS: Seahawks (-3.5)
Chicago Bears vs Los Angeles Rams (-6)
Six points is a ton considering the Bears have a defense that can matchup with basically anyone, but the Rams are indeed the better team despite having one less win. Sean McVay is who Matt Nagy wishes he was, and after a loss is generally really good. Nick Foles loves sticking in the pocket and finding his targets down the field, which is exactly what Aaron Donald wants. Kyle Shanahan showed last week that you cannot under any circumstances let Donald get a head of steam and attack the ball. I do not think that matches up with the offense in Chicago, where running the ball has been an issue. No running game means no play action for Foles, and I think the Rams defense dominates. McVay will formulate just enough for Jared Goff and the Rams will win in a slop fest.
Pick: Rams 17–10 Bears
ATS: Rams (-6)
Enjoy! Tune in next week for more analysis from Week 7 in the NFL, as well as Matchday 6 in the Premiew League.