N.F.L. Week 7 Predictions: Our Picks Against the Spread

 nytimes.com  10/18/2019 13:00:08   Benjamin Hoffman

Russell Wilson and the Seahawks host Lamar Jackson and the Ravens; the Patriots and the 49ers try to stay undefeated; and the Cowboys try to figure out whats gone wrong.

ImageRussell Wilson has been dominant this season, using his arm and his legs to power the 5-1 Seahawks.
Russell Wilson has been dominant this season, using his arm and his legs to power the 5-1 Seahawks.CreditCreditKirk Irwin/Getty Images
Benjamin Hoffman

After Week 6s series of improbable results, Week 7 can bring some normalcy back to the N.F.L. It offers a terrific quarterbacks matchup between Russell Wilson and Lamar Jackson, a chance for both the 49ers and the Patriots to stay undefeated, and the possibility of Teddy Bridgewater finishing his run as the Saints starting quarterback with a perfect record.

Here is a look at N.F.L. Week 7, with all picks made against the point spread.

Last weeks record: 5-9

Overall record: 53-38-1

Ravens at Seahawks, 4:25 p.m., Fox

Line: Seahawks -3.5 | Total: 49

Lamar Jackson is a force for the Ravens (4-2). He runs the ball like no quarterback since Michael Vick  and in terms of total yardage, often better than Vick. He has also developed enough as a passer that teams cant cheat against him for fear that he will throw right over a stacked box and into the hands of ready and willing receivers like Mark Andrews and Marquise Brown.

But if Jackson were to set a career goal, it would be to find the consistency of Russell Wilson of the Seahawks (5-1). Wilson is still a legitimate dual threat in his eighth season. His lowest passer rating this season came in his lone loss to New Orleans, when he threw for 402 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He leads the N.F.L. in the percentage of his throws that result in touchdowns. He has yet to throw an interception  leading to an N.F.L.-leading 10.5 adjusted yards per attempt  and has tacked on three rushing touchdowns for good measure.

Seattles defense is not what it once was, which could give Jackson some room to work, but Seattles 12th man will make conditions awfully harsh for a young quarterback still figuring things out. Pick: Seahawks -3.5

Saints at Bears, 4:25 p.m., Fox

Line: Bears -3 | Total: 38

Coming out of a bye, the Bears (3-2) are likely to have Mitchell Trubisky back at quarterback, which qualifies as an upgrade from Chase Daniel, but only a small one. Chicago seems to lack a high gear on offense, and its defense is weakened considerably with Akiem Hicks, a standout defensive tackle, being placed on injured reserve. Now the Bears are faced with a home game against Teddy Bridgewater and the Saints (5-1), who seem to find new ways to succeed each week. Drew Brees is far enough along in his rehab that a start in Week 8 seems possible, so Bridgewater may soon have to step aside despite what could be a 5-0 record as a starter after this game. Pick: Saints +3

Texans at Colts, 1 p.m., CBS

Line: Colts -1 | Total: 47.5

The Texans (4-2) are rounding into shape with Deshaun Watson at the helm. They have put up 1,064 yards of offense and 84 points over the last two weeks in a pair of impressive victories, and they have done it with a balance between running and passing, allowing them to control the clock. With a win at home, the Colts (3-2) could move into first place in the A.F.C. South, but while Indianapolis has been a nice story, it seems to be overmatched against Houston. Pick: Texans +1

49ers at Redskins, 1 p.m., Fox

Line: 49ers -9.5 | Total: 41.5

Anything can happen in the N.F.L., but the chances of the red-hot 49ers (5-0) falling to the lowly Redskins (1-5), even on the road, are remote. San Francisco showed last week against Los Angeles that its defense can stand up to a top-tier offense, and Washington is hardly that. In a game that does not figure to be competitive, San Francisco may chew up clock with its running game  a strategy that just so happens to prey on one of Washingtons most glaring weaknesses  which would put the large point spread in question. Pick: Redskins +9.5

Eagles at Cowboys, 8:20 p.m., NBC

Line: Cowboys -3 | Total: 49

It was easy enough to write off losses to the Saints and Packers, but after the Cowboys (3-3) lost to the Jets last week, its reasonable to wonder if the teams 3-0 start was a mirage. At full strength, Dallas should still have a top-tier offense, but the odds of seeing that offense this week seem slim: The Cowboys may be without either of their starting tackles, Tyron Smith and LaEl Collins, against Philadelphias terrific defensive line. The Eagles (3-3) have had their own consistency issues, but if DeSean Jackson suits up for Philadelphia, and Amari Cooper doesnt for Dallas  both possibilities  this could be an ugly one at home for the Cowboys. Pick: Eagles +3

Raiders at Packers, 1 p.m., CBS

Line: Packers -4.5 | Total: 47

There are plenty of reasons to be concerned about the Packers (5-1) despite their sterling record. The teams rebuilt defense, which looked so strong through three weeks, has allowed just under 27 points a game over its last three, and barring good news from Fridays practices, Green Bays offense could be without Davante Adams (toe), Geronimo Allison (concussion, chest) and Jimmy Graham (ankle), leaving Aaron Rodgers relatively few options in the passing game. Lambeau Field is an extreme advantage for the Packers, making a win against the Raiders (3-2) likely, but the margin could be thin if those pass catchers are not available. Pick: Raiders +4.5

Vikings at Lions, 1 p.m., Fox

Line: Vikings -1.5 | Total: 45

Consecutive losses for the Lions (2-2-1) are certainly not ideal, but Detroit looked great against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in Week 4 and Green Bay needed some serious help from the officials to beat the Lions at Lambeau Field last week, thus proving that not all losses are created equal. The Vikings (4-2) are coming in hot, having scored a combined 66 points over their last two wins, but in a battle of the N.F.C. Norths second tier, Detroits home field advantage could play a large role. Pick: Lions +1.5

Dolphins at Bills, 1 p.m., CBS

Line: Bills -17 | Total: 40

The Dolphins (0-5) are either the worst team in the N.F.L. or tied for the worst with Cincinnati (0-6). The Bills (4-1) have one of the N.F.L.s most dominant defenses, and with the rookie running back Devin Singletary expected to return and the ageless Frank Gore always ready to rumble, Buffalo can easily grind out games on the ground. Buffalos offense is too conservative to justify a point spread of more than two touchdowns, but the thought of Buffalo losing this game at home is a bit preposterous. Pick: Dolphins +17

Rams at Falcons, 1 p.m. Fox

Line: Rams -3 | Total: 54.5

The training staff of the Rams (3-3) is so talented that Jalen Ramseys back injury, which kept him out of the last three games for Jacksonville, suddenly healed the second he was traded to Los Angeles. Ramsey, a terrific and rather dramatic cornerback, got what he wanted, and while he is an upgrade over Marcus Peters  whom the Rams traded to Baltimore  this week will put a spotlight on him: He will be asked to contain Julio Jones of the Falcons (1-5).

The Rams are riding a three-game losing streak, and Jared Goff threw for just 78 yards against San Francisco last week. If Coach Sean McVay wants to make a statement that his team can still put up points in bunches, Atlantas defense is the ideal opponent. Pick: Rams -3

Jaguars at Bengals, 1 p.m., CBS

Line: Jaguars -3.5 | Total: 44

With the exception of a blowout loss in Week 1, the Jaguars (2-4) have kept things close each week, playing a lot better football than youd expect from a team with such a poor record. The Bengals (0-6) have played exactly like a winless team, with days when they look hopeless and others when luck seems to go against them. Now that the Jalen Ramsey drama is behind them, a road win would be a nice ego boost. Pick: Jaguars -3.5

Chargers at Titans, 4:05 p.m., CBS

Line: Titans -2 | Total: 40

Its reasonable to look at the performance of the Titans (2-4) and think that relative to the overall talent on the team theyve underperformed with Marcus Mariota at quarterback. Deciding that they have a better shot at winning with Ryan Tannehill at quarterback, however, seems to defy all reason. The Chargers (2-4) are reeling, and its no fun to play in Tennessee, but its hard to think Coach Mike Vrabel hasnt made the Titans worse with the move away from Mariota. Pick: Chargers +2

Cardinals at Giants, 1 p.m., Fox

Line: Giants -3 | Total: 51

The first two quarterbacks taken in this years draft will face off, as Kyler Murray and the Cardinals (2-3-1) are riding a two-game winning streak while Daniel Jones and the Giants (2-4) have lost two straight. When you consider the teams they were playing, those results might not be all that informative. If the Giants were forced to use last weeks practice squad roster, this one might lean Arizonas way, especially with the return of cornerback Patrick Peterson from a six-game suspension. But with Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram practicing in full so far this week, Jones will have plenty of options to attack the Cardinals subpar defense. Pick: Giants -3

Patriots at Jets, 8:15 p.m., ESPN

Line: Patriots -10 | Total: 42.5

The turnaround in the Jets (1-4) last week was palpable. Sam Darnold was back to stabilize the offense, and the defense seemed just as energized, shutting down Dallas and earning New York its first win of the season. Expecting a win this week against the Patriots (6-0) might be too much, but considering New Englands offensive struggles over the last three weeks, spotting them 10 points against a highly motivated opponent seems extreme. Pick: Jets +10

We picked Broncos +3, based largely on the questionable health of the Chiefs Patrick Mahomes, who had been working his way through an ankle injury. Mahomes ended up being lost for the game  and possibly much longer  with an ugly knee injury on a running play, but Kansas City won anyway, 30-6. It appears that Denvers wins in the previous two weeks may not have indicated a turnaround in the teams overall quality.

A quick primer for those who are not familiar with betting lines: Favorites are listed next to a negative number that represents how many points they must win by to cover the spread. Bills -17, for example, means that Buffalo must beat the Dolphins by more than 17 points for its backers to win their bet. Gamblers can also bet on the total score, or whether the teams combined score in the game is over or under a preselected number of points.

Bye weeks: Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Carolina.

All times are Eastern.

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