Last week taught us many things. One is that the Kansas City Chiefs showed how legit they are by coming back from a double-digit halftime deficit in Foxborough, albeit only to lose on a last-second field. Also, the Raiders and Giants are a disaster, and Vontaze Burflict is still a dirty player. With all that said, let’s take a glance at the key matchups for Week 7.
New England Patriots (-3) vs. Chicago Bears: The Patriots head to the Windy City to play against one of the best defenses in the league in the Chicago Bears. One thing to key an eye is the Bears’ ability to rush the quarterback with Khalil Mack and rookie sensation Roquan Smith. Chicago’s offense under QB Mitchell Turbisky has made progress this season, scoring 48 and 28 points in their last two games. This has all the makings of a tight contest for New England as they’ve lost their first two road games. However, I don’t see a third one coming this week. Tom Brady and the New England offense return all their weapons, and home field in the AFC is still up for grabs. Patriots win 23-19.
Carolina Panthers vs. Philadelphia Eagles (-4.5): Cam Newton goes into the city of brotherly love to try and get another win to keep pace with the Saints in the NFC South. Philadelphia, on the other hand, is looking to take another step in the quest for NFC East supremacy following a slow start. Both teams have been a little bit inconsistent, but I feel the Eagles have recovered from its Super Bowl hangover. Carson Wentz is getting back to form slowly, and he has a chance to outduel Cam Newton this week. Eagles win 27-20.
Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (-5): The Texans and Jaguars are looking to take the AFC South title, but both have been struggling a bit. Houston hasn’t been able to perform at a high level following the loss to the Giants, and Jacksonville’s defense has lost its edge the last weeks at Kansas City (allowed 30 points) and at Dallas (allowed 40 points). I see this as a game for the Jaguars to bounce back on their home turf but in a low scoring affair. Jags win 16-12.
New Orleans Saints vs. Baltimore Ravens (-2.5): Both division-leaders are looking to make another step forward in making the playoffs. When looking at this matchup, the key is which offense has the best chance to make an impact. That offense is New Orleans’ behind Drew Brees (77.9 completion percentage, 1,658 yards, 11 TDs), Alvin Kamara (650 scrimmage yards, 6 TDs), and Michael Thomas (46 receptions, 519 receiving yards, 3 TDs). Saints win 31-21.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins (-2.5): An NFC East rivalry that always brings excitement in the air. Both teams are in the thick of the NFC East race. This matchup has an interesting QB battle as Dallas’ Dak Prescott, and Washington’s Alex Smith is well-known for their ability to manage the game. In what figures to be a low-scoring affair, I see the Cowboys prevailing in this one. Cowboys win 23-17.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs (-6): Both teams look to bounce back after heartbreaking losses. The Bengals let one slip away against their rival the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Chiefs suffered their first loss of the season against the Patriots in Gillette Stadium. The home field of Arrowhead will play a major role in this one. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes should have another monster performance against an average Bengals’ defense. Chiefs win 38-26.
Game to Avoid
Buffalo Bills vs. Indianapolis Colts (-7.5): Two below-average teams square off this week. Buffalo starts journeyman Derek Anderson over the interception machine that is Nathan Peterman. The Colts also have a myriad of issues themselves, between an anemic offense and porous offensive line. It’s easy to choose this matchup as the game to avoid.
Lock of the Week
Tennessee Titans vs. Los Angeles Chargers (-6.5): The Chargers have been playing some amazing football, with two losses coming against the top two teams in the NFL so far. The Titans, on the other hand, have shown no offensive production at all. Los Angeles Chargers offense is going to be too much for the Titans defense to handle, and the Chargers defense will have no problem forcing turnovers against this putrid Titans attack.