We’re in for a treat with this upcoming slate of games. Three NFL experts from the Prime Time Sports Talk staff came together to share their picks for Week 7.
These three writers will make their picks for the entire season, earning two points for any correct win-loss outcome and an additional three points for correctly predicting the exact score. (Failure to accurately predict a tie will be treated as a loss.) A cumulative points total and record will be listed at the bottom of every article. An archive of all 18 regular-season and four playoff editions can be found here.
Denver Broncos vs. Cleveland Browns
Sam: Broncos 19, Browns 14
This has all the makings of the standard Thursday Night Football snooze-fest that we really have not seen yet this year. The Broncos are extremely underwhelming on offense while having a defense that is capable but lacks flash. The Browns are decimated by injuries. Two relative unknowns are going to suit up at running back, and for that matter, at either tackle position. Baker Mayfield has a torn labrum, so Case Keenum will start at quarterback. This is not a good look for the Mistake on the Lake.
Joe: Broncos 24, Browns 20
The Browns’ decimated running game coupled with the absence of Baker Mayfield won’t bode well for Cleveland. The struggling Broncos will get a much-needed win, but it won’t come easy.
Andersen: Broncos 17, Browns 13
This could be a sloppy game, though it will also be interesting to see how some of Cleveland’s depth players step up. Can Case Keenum play at a serviceable level despite not having Odell Beckham Jr. at his disposal? Will D’Ernest Johnson and gadget player Demetric Felton adequately fill in for Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt? In the end, Cleveland won’t look horrible, but the Broncos have their starters and the Browns are limping.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Tennessee Titans
Sam: Titans 29, Chiefs 24
Neither one of these teams has lived up to their expected pedigree in 2021, although both got back on track last week. The difference here is simple: Tennessee has Derrick Henry, and the Chiefs do not. The Titans get over the hump against Kansas City and begin to run away with the AFC South. The Chiefs will win the West, but Patrick Mahomes and company will have some work to do without a bye until after Thanksgiving.
Joe: Titans 31, Chiefs 27
The Titans’ Achilles’ heel over the past few seasons and for most of this season has been their defense. While they gave up a handful of splash plays to Josh Allen and the Bills on Monday night, when they needed that one stop to seal the game, they got it. If their offense could match the Chiefs score-for-score they can pull off their second straight upset over a team that many expected to be a lock for the playoffs.
Andersen: Titans 28, Chiefs 24
Derrick Henry will run wild over the Chiefs just like he has done against basically every team in the NFL. The Chiefs will keep themselves in the game thanks to Patrick Mahomes, but Tennessee gets the edge in this one. Nevertheless, we’re in for an intriguing battle during the early window of games.
Washington Football Team vs. Green Bay Packers
Sam: Packers 38, Football Team 13
Oh boy, this is going to be a doozy. Every single week, I say that Vegas is getting the Green Bay line wrong, and I’m playing that broken record again. 10 points? Please. Washington has arguably the worst defense in the league in 2021 and the Packers are, well, the Packers. And at home, too. This will end in the Football Team’s complete destruction, barring Chase Young putting a dirty hit on Aaron Rodgers (which, I suppose, is completely possible). Washington can buckle up for a top-five pick after this ugly loss.
Joe: Packers 31, Football Team 20
Aaron Rodgers will continue playing angry. Washington, while their defense will keep them in the game until halftime, won’t be able to score enough points to keep up with the reigning MVP and his bevy of weapons.
Andersen: Packers 28, Football Team 17
The Packers are cruising as of late while Washington has drastically underperformed. Look for Green Bay to cruise to victory in this one, leaving room for A.J. Dillon to handle backfield duties for the majority of the second half.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Baltimore Ravens
Sam: Ravens 31, Bengals 26
Cincinnati will make a game of this late, but their conservative gameplan in the first half will be their undoing. Head coach Zac Taylor has never beaten Baltimore and there is no reason to think this will be different. Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase make it a game at the end, but after trailing by three touchdowns early, they were never that close to begin with.
Joe: Bengals 27, Ravens 20
The Bengals’ offense is becoming a fluent one as the weeks go by. The Ravens made it known that they are the team to beat in the AFC after dominating Justin Herbert and the Chargers. Joe Burrow and company will go into Baltimore and pull off the upset, moving them into the top spot in the AFC North
Andersen: Ravens 34, Bengals 31
This game could certainly result in an upset, but the Ravens’ dominance over the Chargers last week offers confidence ahead of their clash with Cincinnati. Don’t be surprised if this is a back-and-forth battle that puts Joe Burrow’s arm and the Ravens’ running ability on display. As such, turnovers could make a huge difference. Baltimore wins the turnover battle, so they get the victory in this one.
Carolina Panthers vs. New York Giants
Sam: Giants 23, Panthers 20
Carolina is still going to contend for a playoff spot this season, but this week belongs to the G-Men at home, coming off back-to-back beatdowns by the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams. Daniel Jones has played well in 2021, and his legs may be what propel New York to a home victory over Sam Darnold’s Panthers in what will be a surprisingly entertaining game.
Joe: Panthers 31, Giants 17
For the second straight week, the Giants will lose at home in a blowout. Sam Darnold will throw three touchdown passes in his return to East Rutherford, N.J., and MetLife Stadium. Daniel Jones again will suffer from a lack of weapons due to the number of injuries his team is dealing with offensively.
Andersen: Panthers 21, Giants 10
The Panthers have slowed down a bit, but they should have no trouble handling the Giants on Sunday. After all, New York looked utterly pathetic when opposing the Rams in Week 6. Sam Darnold, DJ Moore, and Chuba Hubbard could all be in for big games.
Atlanta Falcons vs. Miami Dolphins
Sam: Falcons 28, Dolphins 20
There is absolutely no one in the world that can convince me that Vegas was not drunk when they only installed Atlanta as 2.5-point favorites. Miami has looked horribly out of sorts and just coughed up a win to Jacksonville, who had not won in their last 20 games. The Falcons are not a great team. The Dolphins are a baaaad team. The Falcons win and calls for Deshaun Watson to Miami keep getting louder. Head coach Brian Flores might be the first coaching casualty of 2021.
Joe: Falcons 27, Dolphins 14
The Falcons come off their bye similar to the way they went into it: a game against a struggling AFC East team. The Dolphins won’t have answers offensively to match Atlanta. Expect another solid game from rookie tight end Kyle Pitts.
Andersen: Falcons 16, Dolphins 14
Things just aren’t clicking for the Dolphins, who welcomed back Tua Tagovailoa and still lost to the winless Jaguars. Meanwhile, the Falcons dominated in London and then went on bye, so they will be quite energized for Sunday’s game. As Deshaun Watson rumors intensify, it’s not out of the question that Tagovailoa and head coach Brian Flores are both on the hot seat.
New York Jets vs. New England Patriots
Sam: Patriots 26, Jets 20
Another game that could unexpectedly be one of the more entertaining contests on the slate. April’s No. 2 pick, Zach Wilson, is going to come out gunning after the bye week and show why he was one of the top quarterbacks in the draft. His opposition on the other side, Mac Jones, was also much sought-after and went at No. 15. Jones has played far better, but this game will be defined by defense. Bryce Hall comes up big for New York, but Wilson can’t crack Bill Belichick’s code. Each team scores at least once on the defensive side as the Patriots come out on top.
Joe: Jets 24, Patriots 20
The Jets will pull off the upset over Bill Belichick and the Patriots. Zach Wilson will look the part of the No. 2 overall selection. Mac Jones, however, makes a crucial mistake late in the game, sealing the win for the Jets.
Andersen: Patriots 28, Jets 7
The Patriots have kept it close against the Buccaneers and Cowboys. As such, on paper, they should handle the Jets with ease. Zach Wilson makes two turnovers while Mac Jones throws for two touchdowns in this battle of first-round signal-callers.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Las Vegas Raiders
Sam: Eagles 27, Raiders 23
This pair of squads are each very tough to figure out. Las Vegas has looked strong enough in 2021 but dropped back-to-back ugly games against the Chargers and Bears before rebounding with a big win against Denver. The Eagles have had a collection of near-misses against a brutal schedule. The Jon Gruden hangover finally hits home for Vegas and Jalen Hurts’ legs and arm lead Philadelphia to their third win. DeVonta Smith is due to go off.
Joe: Raiders 34, Eagles 27
The Raiders will put their brief two-game skid further in their rearview mirrors by securing their second straight win. Playing from behind for most of the game, the Eagles will fall short of forcing overtime in the waning minutes.
Andersen: Eagles 20, Raiders 17
The Raiders just crushed the Broncos, but Philadelphia appears to be a better team than Denver. The Eagles, however, did look poor against the Buccaneers prior to showing some signs of life during the fourth quarter. I’m picking the Eagles here, but my confidence is severely lacking.
Detroit Lions vs. Los Angeles Rams
Sam: Rams 38, Lions 3
Two teams headed in even more extreme directions now than they were to start the season. Los Angeles returns home after two road wins, including last Sunday’s annihilation (38-11) of the Giants. Detroit kept several games close before getting beaten by a nearly identical score (34-11) at home by Cincinnati. The Lions might be the worst team in the league, and the Rams still might be the best. No contest.
Joe: Rams 41, Lions 24
This game is one of the few games that was circled on almost everyone’s schedules. It’s a matchup of the former No. 1 overall picks who were traded for one another in the offseason. Matthew Stafford and the Rams will win this one handily at home against Jared Goff and the still-winless Lions.
Andersen: Rams 35, Lions 11
Yikes. The Lions are going to remain winless after getting steamrolled by the Rams. Matthew Stafford, who traded places with Jared Goff this offseason, will throw for three touchdowns and surrendered zero turnovers in this one.
Chicago Bears vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sam: Buccaneers 34, Bears 13
Tampa Bay has steamrolled lesser opponents all season, and Tom Brady and company aren’t stopping now. Chicago sits at .500, but it’s a mirage. Just last week, they lost by 10 to the Green Bay Aaron Rodgerses but looked completely overmatched in the game. At home, the Buccaneers are looking to put up a 40-burger. If it’s possible for Justin Fields to look worse this season, he’s about to. The champs roll to 6-1.
Joe: Buccaneers 34, Bears 20
The Buccaneers host the Bears, who held Aaron Rodgers and the Packers to 10 points in the first half last week, only to still fall short in the end. Tom Brady will continue to make his case for MVP with another four-touchdown performance.
Andersen: Buccaneers 31, Bears 17
The Buccaneers are the better team and I have full faith that they will win this one. More important, however, is how the Bears’ passing game looks while taking on a weak Chicago secondary. Can Darnell Mooney keep cruising? Will Allen Robinson bounce back? Many questions will be answered on Sunday.
Houston Texans vs. Arizona Cardinals
Sam: Cardinals 31, Texans 16
There really isn’t much to say about this game aside from the fact that Arizona is very good and Houston is very not good. There is a chance that the Cardinals get on the board so quickly and often that the Texans have more chances than usual to get into scoring range, making the score look a little closer than it is. But you can bet that Kyler Murray and his receiving corps will get theirs before James Conner keeps the clock ticking throughout.
Joe: Cardinals 41, Texans 20
While this game has the feel of a good, old-fashioned trap game, that will not be the case. The Cardinals’ quest for a perfect season will survive another week. Kyler Murray will account for five total touchdowns in this game.
Andersen: Cardinals 31, Texans 20
The undefeated Cardinals, who are still riding a high from fleecing the Texans in the DeAndre Hopkins–David Johnson trade in 2020, will get to laugh in their face once again by cruising to victory. Ignore the late-game Houston score that makes this game look far closer than it actually is.
Indianapolis Colts vs. San Francisco 49ers
Sam: Colts 24, 49ers 20
If George Kittle were playing in this game, I’d side with San Francisco. However, he’s on injured reserve and the rest of the receiving group is full of question marks. Jimmy Garoppolo is likely back but is going to need some help. Meanwhile, Carson Wentz looked to be in 2017 form last week as the Colts dissected Houston a week after falling short against Baltimore. The Colts pull off the upset and gain momentum in the AFC South.
Joe: 49ers 30, Colts 27
The 49ers had an extra week to prepare for this game. While the Colts will remain competitive, the defense for San Francisco is familiar with and has had success in the past against Carson Wentz dating back to his time with the Eagles. Indy will fall by a field goal.
Andersen: Colts 20, 49ers 17
These two teams are too unpredictable to forecast a blowout. With that said, Carson Wentz has looked good lately while Jonathan Taylor is cruising. The 49ers are coming off of a bye, but they’re still limping with George Kittle out and Jimmy Garoppolo replacing Trey Lance.
New Orleans Saints vs. Seattle Seahawks
Sam: Saints 22, Seahawks 9
What an ugly Monday Night Football affair this is likely to be. With Geno Smith under center, the only real thing Seattle has going for them is the backfield. Alex Collins got beat up on Sunday while having a great game and Rashaad Penny comes off injured reserve ready to roll. Unfortunately, that game plan plays right into the hands of New Orleans, who has to play in a hostile environment. They’ll play the run to make Smith beat them, and he won’t be up to the task. The Saints cruise, much to the dismay of the 12th man.
Joe: Saints 27, Seahawks 24
Saints quarterback Jameis Winston, under the primetime lights of Monday night, will try to prove all the naysayers wrong. He will go into Seattle and beat the Seahawks. Geno Smith will play well in his second start of the season, but not good enough to get the victory.
Andersen: Saints 24, Seahawks 13
Geno Smith has been okay, but he’s obviously no Russell Wilson. Chris Carson and Alex Collins are both expected to miss this game, thrusting Rashaad Penny and DeeJay Dallas into somewhat murky roles. New Orleans is far more organized and prepared for this primetime game.
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