Week 7 of the 2021-22 NFL season may not feature the hardest-hitting matchups across the board, but it does still have some good and important games.
On the snoozer side, the 0-6 Detroit Lions take on the 5-1 Los Angeles Chargers: a complete mismatch, but at least intriguing from the standpoint of Jared Goff and Matthew Stafford facing off for the first time since their blockbuster trade. The 1-5 Houston Texans facing the 6-0 Arizona Cardinals shouldn’t be that close either, but DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt will face their old team, and it’s always fun to see if an undefeated team can stay perfect another week.
In terms of actual good games, AFC powerhouses collide when the vulnerable Kansas City Chiefs play against a Tennessee Titans team that just knocked off the Buffalo Bills. And in a surprisingly important matchup, Joe Burrow and the 4-2 Cincinnati Bengals have a chance to make the AFC North race interesting against Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens.
As always, to debate or discuss these picks, join the conversation with @SakSports on Twitter.
Week 1: 6-10
Week 2: 12-4
Week 3: 11-5
Week 4: 12-4
Week 5: 13-3
Week 6: 10-4
Overall: 64-30 (68%)
Just like the Ravens and Packers, I’ve followed up a poor Week 1 performance with five straight winning weeks. In Week 6 I was wrong on a couple big games, choosing the Chargers and Bills over the Ravens and Titans. The only pick I really regret is Chargers over Ravens, as I think I should’ve recognized Baltimore as the more complete team.
In Week 6 I incorrectly predicted:
- Dolphins over Jaguars
- Panthers over Vikings
- Chargers over Ravens
- Bills over Titans
See Also: 2021-22 NFL Season Predictions
- AFC East, AFC North, AFC South, AFC West
- NFC East, NFC North, NFC South, NFC West
- Playoff Predictions and Super Bowl Matchup
Thursday Night Football
Denver Broncos (3-3) at Cleveland Browns (3-3)
Line: Cleveland Browns (-4.5)
Both of these teams are 3-3, but despite a disappointing loss to the Cardinals last week, Cleveland’s 3-3 is stronger than Denver’s 3-3. This might not be an easy win for the Browns, especially if Baker Mayfield plays like he did last week against Arizona, but I would be surprised if Teddy Bridgewater and the Broncos offense outscored Cleveland on Thursday night. Mayfield is questionable to play, and if Case Keenum is forced into the starting role, I think the Browns would still have a chance, though the Broncos would probably be favored at that point.
Browns win 27-20, Browns win ATS
Sak Sports Blog Game of the Week: Kansas City Chiefs (3-3) at Tennessee Titans (4-2)
Line: Kansas City Chiefs (-4.5)
After a shaky 2-2 start, the Tennessee Titans are looking strong coming off a Monday Night Football win over the Bills. Derrick Henry absolutely ate up Buffalo’s defense in that game, and could look to do the same against a poor performing Kansas City Chiefs defense. Patrick Mahomes can usually bail his defense out, but if Henry runs like he did last week, Tennessee could control the pace, and outcome, of this game.
Titans win 30-24, Titans win ATS
Washington Football Team (2-4) at Green Bay Packers (5-1)
Line: Green Bay Packers (-9.5)
Taylor Heincke has shown flashes of brilliance from the quarterback position, but most of the time, Washington Football Team hasn’t been too special. They played the Chiefs hard in the fist half last week before falling 31-13 by the end of the game. All four of Washington’s losses have come to very high quality opponents, and unfortunately, they get another powerful team here in Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
Packers win 34-17, Packers win ATS
New York Jets (1-4) at New England Patriots (2-4)
Line: New England Patriots (-7.0)
The New England Patriots haven’t been able to win many games this season, but their first and easiest win of the year came against Zach Wilson and the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Wilson is still growing week-to-week, so hopefully he won’t throw another four interceptions like he did in his first meeting with New England. While the game might be closer, Mac Jones and the Patriots should be able to take care of business at home, especially after giving the Buccaneers and Cowboys tough fights.
Patriots win 27-18, Patriots win ATS
Atlanta Falcons (2-3) at Miami Dolphins (1-5)
Line: Atlanta Falcons (-2.0)
I’m not sure why the Miami Dolphins have to play in Week 7 after traveling to London in Week 6, and that can only work against them. Miami allowed Jacksonville to snap a 20-game losing streak last week, and has now lost five straight games. Maybe having Tua Tagovailoa play at home will wake up the offense, but more likely than not, Matt Ryan’s Atlanta Falcons defense will be able to outscore Miami.
Falcons win 27-24, Falcons win ATS
Carolina Panthers (3-3) at New York Giants (1-5)
Line: Carolina Panthers (-2.5)
This is the kind of game where New York Giants fans feel they may have a chance: the Carolina Panthers are reeling off three straight losses, star running back Christian McCaffrey will continue to miss time, and the name Sam Darnold doesn’t exactly instill fear in New York football fans. But Carolina still has a solid team, even if they’ve lost three straight one-score games to the Cowboys, Eagles, and Vikings. The Giants looked great in a Week 4 win over the Saints, but with injuries mounting on offense, I don’t think they’ll be able to overcome Carolina’s defense on Sunday.
Panthers win 30-20, Panthers win ATS
Cincinnati Bengals (4-2) at Baltimore Ravens (5-1)
Line: Baltimore Ravens (-6.5)
If you told me heading into the season that a matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens would be among the biggest games of Week 7, I probably wouldn’t have believed it. The Bengals won all of four games last season, but they’ve already matched that win total and show no signs of slowing down.
Now, the Baltimore Ravens have the superior team, and should probably pull out a victory. But Joe Burrow and the Bengals won’t go down without a fight, as they showed in an overtime loss to the Packers two weeks ago. Coming off a blowout win over the Chargers, this might seem like an easy win for Baltimore, but I think the Bengals will find a way to make things interesting.
Ravens win 30-24, Bengals win ATS
Philadelphia Eagles (2-4) at Las Vegas Raiders (4-2)
Line: Las Vegas Raiders (-3.0)
The Las Vegas Raiders ended their two-game skid with a 34-24 win over the Broncos in Denver last week. I’m still not fully sure what to make of this Raiders team, but Derek Carr and company have downed the Ravens and Steelers, and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Still, I like Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles, who have been getting better over the course of the season. I don’t have any one particular reason I think the Eagles might outplay the Raiders, just a gut feeling, and I can’t pick al favorites, right?
Eagles win 26-23, Eagles win ATS
Detroit Lions (0-6) at Los Angeles Rams (5-1)
Line: Los Angeles Rams (-15.0)
On the football field, this should be one of the least exciting matchups of the week as the winless Detroit Lions take on a powerhouse Los Angeles Rams team. But in terms of storylines, it is one of the more interesting matchups of the week: with Matthew Stafford and Jared Goff each taking on their former team for the first time after being traded for each other in the offseason. Don’t expect a breakout homecoming game from Goff though, and even though Detroit has played some good teams hard to the bitter finish, I don’t see Los Angeles playing down to their opponent.
Rams win 34-16, Rams win ATS
Houston Texans (1-5) at Arizona Cardinals (6-0)
Line: Arizona Cardinals (-17.0)
Speaking of games that have no business being close on the field but feature some interesting character-driven narratives, we have the 1-5 Houston Texans taking on the 6-0 Arizona Cardinals. While it would be even more intriguing if the game were held in Houston, both DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt will be facing their former team for the first time. This current Texans team is a shell of the perennial playoff contending Houston squad they once played for though, and Arizona should be able to roll to 7-0 with relative ease.
Cardinals win 31-17, Texans win ATS
Chicago Bears (3-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-1)
Line: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-13.0)
The line for this game is also considerably large, but the Chicago Bears just might be able to keep this one close if they can get pressure on Tom Brady. The problem is, even if they do that, Justin Fields and the Bears offense haven’t exactly been scoring in bunches: they’re the third-lowest scoring team in the league. Against a high-powered Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense… yeah on second thought, the wide spread might be warranted.
Buccaneers win 38-17, Buccaneers win ATS
Sunday Night Football
Indianapolis Colts (2-4) at San Francisco 49ers (2-3)
Line: San Francisco 49ers (-4.0)
Carson Wentz and the Indianapolis Colts have had to face a brutal schedule to start the season, but have warmed up with two wins in the past three weeks. The San Francisco 49ers started 2-0, but have dropped three straight contests and are still looking for their identity in ore ways than one. Namely, when everyone is healthy, who is the quarterback? With Trey Lance spraining his knee in Week 5, it looks like the wheel will spin back to Jimmy Garoppolo on Sunday Night Football, with Nate Sudfield backing him up.
This is a close game to call, and it will remain to be seen if Garoppolo hops right back in to the offense or has a slow start. I will take the 49ers here, at home and with a good defense, but I also wouldn’t be shocked if Wentz and the Colts pulled this one out.
49ers win 27-24, Colts win ATS
Monday Night Football
New Orleans Saints (3-2) at Seattle Seahawks (2-4)
Line: New Orleans Saints (-3.5)
Coming off a bye week, Jameis Winston and the New Orleans Saints travel to Seattle to face Geno Smith and the Seahawks. Seattle is a tough place to win, but with Russell Wilson out, the Saints have every reason to be favored. Smith hasn’t been horrible in relief of Wilson, but he’s not a game-changing quarterback. Unless Winston and the Saints beat themselves, I don’t see them losing on Monday night.
Saints win 27-17, Saints win ATS
Teams on Bye
- The Buffalo Bills (4-2) have the whole bye week to think about their decision to go for it on fourth down against the Titans, rather than kick a game-tying field goal to end the game to overtime. For the record, I think going for it was a smart, calculated decision, but Buffalo could’ve designed a better play.
- Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys (5-1) needed overtime, but they downed the Patriots in New England for their fifth straight victory last week.
- The Minnesota Vikings (3-3) and Pittsburgh Steelers (3-3) are heating up, both winning back-to-back games to stay relevant heading into their next games in Week 8.
- The Los Angeles Chargers (4-2) have some soul-searching to do after a blowout loss to Lamar Jackson and the Ravens.
- After winning their first game in 21 tries, the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5) can soak in their bye week with something to celebrate after beating the Dolphins in London.
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Header Photo: Aaron Doster/AP Photo