NFL picks, predictions against spread Week 7: Packers, Buccaneers, Cardinals cruise; Eagles upset Raiders

NFL picks, predictions against spread Week 7: Packers, Buccaneers, Cardinals cruise; Eagles upset Raiders


Week 6 was the first NFL week with byes during the 2021 season and also a rather good week of picks and predictions both against the spread and straight up. That doesn’t mean much unless it’s followed up by a strong Week 7.

With the number of bye teams going up to six — the Bills, Cowboys, Vikings, Steelers, Chargers and Jaguars — it’s a smaller slate of only 13 games. That lighter schedule still features three massive double-digit favorites, balanced by four games where the spread is set at four or fewer points.

So this week, it’s mostly either navigating a lopsided matchup or figuring out who’s a slightly better bet in a close one. Here’s our latest shot at picking against the numbers, from another thirsty Thursday to another manic Monday:

(Game odds courtesy of FanDuel )

NFL POWER RANKINGS:
Raiders, Steelers rise again; Browns, Bears, Seahawks slide for Week 7

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NFL picks against the spread for Week 7

  • Game of the Week: Bengals at Ravens (-6.5, 47.5 o/u)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Bengals’ offense is clicking everywhere around Joe Burrow. The Ravens also can move the ball in more ways with Lamar Jackson. Last week, there was no worthy Jackson duel against the Chargers, but that comes vs. another second-year first-round QB counterpart. The Bengals won’t mind throwing often on Baltimore’s D and Cincinnati cannot slow down the Ravens’ best downfield targets. This game comes down to a key drive in the fourth quarter with Jackson coming through at home.

Pick: Ravens win 27-23 but fail to cover the spread.

  • Game of Midweek: Broncos at Browns (-4.5, 42.5 o/u)

Thursday 8:20 p.m. ET, Fox, NFL Network, Amazon Prime Video

The Browns have become an injury mess, from quarterback, running back, offensive line, wide receiver to defense. After being forced to deviate from their rushing offense and complementary pass defense ways, they can get back on track vs. a Denver D that’s starting to struggle in many areas under Vic Fangio. The Broncos will hang around with more steady play by Teddy Bridgewater, but in the end Baker Mayfield, bad left shoulder and all, delivers a much-needed gritty win to push Cleveland back above .500 at home.

Pick: Browns win 23-20 but fail to cover the spread.

  • Lock of the Week: Rams (-15.5, 50.5 o/u) over Lions 

Sunday 4:05 p.m. ET, Fox

Matthew Stafford’s homecoming game will look like a lot of homecoming games, except the sacrificial lambs are the host Lions. Detroit hit a wall against Cincinnati at home last week, simply breaking down from winless frustration after several previous close games. The Rams are relentless in smashing bad teams on the road, something they proved against the Giants. They will treat Honolulu Blue like Big Blue, with their defense prepared to keep things rough on former QB Jared Goff.

Pick: Rams win 38-14 and cover the spread.

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  • Upset of the Week: Eagles (+3, 48.5 o/u) over Raiders

Sunday 4:05 p.m. ET, Fox

The Eagles came through as our Week 5 upset special. The Raiders did the same in Week 6. So it’s only natural to involve both of the teams here in this space this week. You can bet Philly fans will storm Las Vegas and make it feel like a home game for Jalen Hurts. The Raiders will continue to play liberated, inspiring ball without Jon Gruden, but the Eagles’ defensive looks won’t help Derek Carr, who will face plenty of interior pressure. The Raiders will struggle with Hurts’ mobility and his diverse weapons in the ideal pass-happy attack against them.

Pick: Eagles win 27-21.

  • Panthers (-3, 43.5 o/u) at Giants

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Panthers can make things look bleaker in New York for their former GM, Dave Gettleman, by showing that former Giants assistant Matt Rhule can also outcoach the overmatched Joe Judge. Daniel Jones with a shaky offensive line, no Saquon Barkley and limited healthy wide receivers is a bad combination against an aggressive Carolina pass-rushing defense that goes hard after turnovers. Sam Darnold won’t provide much pretty on the other side, but the Giants are shorter on playmakers beyond former Panthers cornerback James Bradberry.

Pick: Panthers win 20-16 and cover the spread.

  • Washington Football Team at Packers (-9.5, 48.5 o/u)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, Fox

WFT hung around with the Chiefs early thanks to a couple fluky takeaways, but the Chiefs still pulled away in a second-half laugher. The Packers have been rolling since their annual meltdown game in Week 1 and there’s nothing to suggest Washington’s underachieving defense will slow down anything Aaron Rodgers wants to do. Taylor Heinicke is now in over his head and won’t do nearly enough in catchup mode.

Pick: Packers win 34-17 and cover the spread.

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  • Chiefs (-4.5, 56.5) at Titans

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Chiefs’ offense cleaned up those big mistakes and went big play all over Washington in the second half of last week’s game, with Patrick Mahomes finding perfect harmony between Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Mecole Hardman and the running game. The Titans are coming off having their hands full against the Bills on a short week but they can have much more success running with Derrick Henry this week, therefore opening up the passing game well for Ryan Tannehill. Mahomes outduels Tannehill, but the latter plays well enough to tighten up the margin by the end.

Pick: Chiefs win 31-27 but fail to cover the spread.

  • Falcons (-2.5, 47.5 o/u) at Dolphins 

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Falcons went to London and won in Week 5. The Dolphins went to London and lost in Week 6, and didn’t even get a bye. Look for Atlanta to have figured out more offensively under Matt Ryan coming out of needed early rest and taking it to a Dolphins’ defense in which the weaknesses far outweigh the strengths for Brian Flores. Miami has more short-to-intermediate passing success with Tua Tagovailoa to Jaylen Waddle and Mike Gesicki, but Ryan has better answers with Calvin Ridley and Kyle Pitts.

Pick: Falcons win 23-20 and cover the spread.

  • Jets at Patriots (-7, 42.5 o/u)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Jets lost to the Patriots at home 25-9 in Week 2 so their goal will be looking more respectable on the road after a post-London Week 6 bye. The Patriots had another tough home loss vs. the Cowboys after a similar walk-off result against the Buccaneers in Week 4. It’s shocking to see that 0-4 record for New England in Foxborough after only six weeks. The Patriots regroup well defensively and Mac Jones shows more confidence opposite Zach Wilson.

Pick: Patriots win 20-10 and cover the spread.

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  • Texans at Cardinals (-17, 47.5 o/u) 

Sunday 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS

Do you think this game means something to J.J. Watt and DeAndre Hopkins? Without their former leader Deshaun Watson suiting up for the Texans, here’s their lone chance to beat the Lone Star team they probably expected to never leave in their careers. Watt will lead the charge in wreaking havoc on rookie QB Davis Mills while Hopkins helps dazzling counterpart Kyler Murray have another huge game. There’s no reason to believe Houston can cause any problems for Arizona’s offense, or that Arizona’s defense won’t end up teeing off in the second half.

Pick: Cardinals win 38-14 and cover the spread.

  • Bears at Buccaneers (-13.5, 47.5 o/u)

Sunday 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS

You can bet Tom Brady remembers thjat one of the worst losses of his first Bucs’ season came at the Bears. He will make amends for that mistake-filled defeat by ripping through an overrated Chicago defense at home with help from his many receivers and running back Leonard Fournette. Justin Fields won’t get help from the running game last week and isn’t passing nearly effectively enough to exploit the Bucs’ secondary vulnerability.

Pick: Buccaneers win 34-17 and cover the spread.

  • Colts at 49ers (-3.5, 44.5 o/u)

Sunday 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC

The Colts are looking good offensively Carson Wentz expanded his weaponry to play off Jonathan Taylor and the revived chunk running game. But the 49ers have proved to be a tough team coming off a bye under Kyle Shanahan. They will push better offensive buttons and play more sound defense with a few more injury issues resolved, regardless of who’s starting at quarterback.

Pick: 49ers win 27-23 and cover the spread.

  • Saints (-5.5, 43.5 o/u) at Seahawks

Sunday 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN

The Saints march in as cross-country road favorites following their bye as the Seahawks didn’t inspire much in Pittsburgh without Russell Wilson. New Orleans will keep things simple and grounded here with Alvin Kamara to attack Seattle’s porous run defense. Jameis Winston will be in position to protect the ball in a hostile environment while Smith will be thwarted by an active pass defense late.

Pick: Saints win 24-20 but fail to cover the spread.

Vinnie Iyer’s 2021 picks:

  • Week 6 record against the spread: 8-5
  • Week 6 record straight up: 11-2
  • Season ATS: 47-46
  • Season straight up: 64-29





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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.