A solid slate of games is on tap this Sunday in the NFL after a terrible performance from the Arizona Cardinals to start Week 7 NFL on Thursday Night.
Here is my Week 7 NFL 4-Pack:
Jacksonville Jaguars (-5.5) vs Houston Texans
The AFC South does not look like one of the stronger divisions in football in 2018, but first place is on the line in this matchup in North Florida on Sunday afternoon.
Jacksonville almost made the Super Bowl last year and appeared poised to make a run again this year after a 31-20 win at home against the Patriots in Week 2. However, they have been dominated in consecutive road games by the Chiefs and Cowboys. Last week’s 40-7 loss to Dallas was ugly, but I expect it to serve as a wakeup call for a defense that boasts a ton of talent, but has underachieved a bit in 2018.
The Texans enter Week 7 on a 3-game win streak, but don’t be fooled. They easily could have lost all 3 games to less than stellar opposition. Their overtime win in Week 4 against the Colts was aided by a controversial decision by Indianapolis head coach Frank Reich. It was followed up in Week 5 with a 19-16 OT victory where it almost appeared that neither team wanted to win at times.
Last week, as 10-point favorites against one of the league’s worst teams, they were trailing in the fourth quarter before tying it up late and winning 20-13 due to poor play from Buffalo’s backup QB Nathan Peterman who was thrust into the game due to an injury.
Look for the Jaguars to play with passion on defense and dominate a weak Texans offensive line from start to finish.
Jaguars for fun. My play of the week.
Week 7 NFL Pick- Jaguars 2 units
Tennessee Titans (+6.5) vs Los Angeles Chargers
The line in this game taking place in London seems a bit inflated due to recency bias.
The Chargers are coming off of two big victories and certainly are one of the better teams in the AFC through 6 weeks. They dominated the hapless Raiders before crushing the Browns 38-14 in a tricky spot where they had to travel cross-country and play an early game in Cleveland. I respect this team a bunch, but this has the makings of a flat spot for Los Angeles.
On the other hand, the Titans need to play well on Sunday after two straight losses. Their defense has remained the strength of the club, but their offense has been terrible. They struggled two weeks ago in a 13-12 defeat to the Bills and followed that up with a 21-0 loss to Baltimore where they accumulated only 106 yards and allowed quarterback Marcus Mariota to get sacked 11 times.
The Titans certainly do not have one of the league’s better offenses, but they should bounce back in England after being embarrassed at home last Sunday. I expect them to keep this one close and lose a tight one.
Take the points.
Week 7 NFL Pick – Titans 1 unit
Baltimore Ravens (-2.5) vs New Orleans Saints
In a game featuring one of the league’s best offenses versus one of the league’s best defenses, Drew Brees hits the road off the bye week to take on Jim Harbaugh and the Ravens.
When we last saw the Saints, Brees broke the record for passing yardage on Monday Night Football against the Redskins, but things are likely to be much tougher in Week 7. The Saints high-powered attack takes on a defense that has yet to give up a second-half touchdown and has given up 14 points or less in all but one game. The outlier was against the Bengals off short rest, so I can forgive that performance. The lack of TD’s in the second half not only illustrates the talent on the Ravens defense but also their staff’s ability to make halftime adjustments.
I am not a huge trend guy, but many favor Baltimore in this spot. Not only are the Ravens 5-1 ATS in their last 6 at home as three-point favorites or less, but they are also 5-1 ATS in their last 6 versus the Saints. Additionally, New Orleans is just 2-4 ATS in their last 6 as a road favorite of 3 or less and just 7 for their last 27 ATS against the AFC North.
I expect the Ravens to contain the Saints high-powered attack and score enough to win this one by at least a field goal.
Ravens make it 5-2.
Week 7 NFL Pick- Ravens 1 unit
Washington Redskins vs Dallas Cowboys (O/U 41.5)
The total in the last 4 games between these two teams has not been lower than 46, but despite an offensive surge in the NFL in 2018 the number is down to 41.5. This illustrates how this matchup has changed, in large part due to a much-improved Dallas Cowboys defense.
The unit led by a strong pass rush and a pair of top-notch cornerbacks heads to the nation’s capital to take on an offense that has not wowed under new quarterback Alex Smith. The status of linebacker Sean Lee is still up in the air, but if he is able to play it makes the Redskins task that much more difficult.
On the other side of the ball, the Cowboys looked great on offense last Sunday, but I do not expect the passing game to continue to thrive on the road. They just do not have the weapons on the outside to allow for continued success.
I expect both teams to run the ball efficiently and the clock to move quickly in an extremely important game in the NFC East.
Look for a tight one that comes down to the wire and lands in the mid-thirties.
Week 7 NFL Pick- UNDER 1 unit
Scott Shapiro’s 2018 NFL Record 18-10-3 (+6 units)