Week 7 NFL Picks: Odds and Upset Predictions to Watch
Featured Columnist October 17, 2014 Comments Comment Bubble Icon
Only two of the 14 remaining games on the NFL’s Week 7 slate have point spreads of three points or less, which means we could be in store for some upsets on Sunday. We nearly had one Thursday night, but the New England Patriots blocked the New York Jets’ game-winning field-goal attempt.
With that in mind, here is a look at the point spreads for every Week 7 game before we dig into some potential upsets to watch.
Odds are courtesy of Odds Shark, as of Friday afternoon.
|Week 7 Spreads and Predictions|
|Miami Dolphins at Chicago Bears||CHI -3.5||Bears|
|Atlanta Falcons at Baltimore Ravens||BAL -7.5||Ravens|
|Tennessee Titans at Washington||WAS -5.5||Washington|
|Seattle Seahawks at St. Louis Rams||SEA -7.5||Seahawks|
|Cleveland Browns at Jacksonville Jaguars||CLE -5.5||Jaguars|
|Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts||IND -3.5||Colts|
|Minnesota Vikings at Buffalo Bills||BUF -7||Bills|
|New Orleans Saints at Detroit Lions||DET -1||Lions|
|Carolina Panthers at Green Bay Packers||GB -7||Packers|
|Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers||SD -4||Chargers|
|Arizona Cardinals at Oakland Raiders||AZ -3.5||Cardinals|
|New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys||DAL -7||Cowboys|
|San Francisco 49ers at Denver Broncos||DEN -7||Broncos|
|Houston Texans at Pittsburgh Steelers||PIT -3||Texans|
Houston Texans at Pittsburgh Steelers
The Houston Texans and Pittsburgh Steelers are set to square off in a battle of 3-3 teams that are trending in the wrong direction.
Houston lost three of its last four after starting 2-0, while Pittsburgh just got blown out by the Cleveland Browns one week after narrowly escaping the Jacksonville Jaguars and two weeks after losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Steelers fans probably saw three straight games against Tampa Bay, Jacksonville and Cleveland before the season and rejoiced. Instead, the team went 1-2 in that stretch.
Ben Roethlisberger has been sacked 17 times this season, which is second most in the NFL. That would be a problem against any opponent, but the Houston Texans have a man named J.J. Watt leading the way on the defensive line. Perhaps you have heard of him.
The Texans may not even need to blitz Roethlisberger to get pressure, which would make life particularly difficult on the wide receivers. Chris Wesseling of Around the NFL pointed out a rather alarming statistic for the Steelers:
Chris Wesseling @ ChrisWesseling
Since he entered the league in 2004, #Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger has absorbed 152 more sacks than any other NFL quarterback.
Considering how hard it is to actually bring Roethlisberger down and how many sacks he avoids, that number is all the more shocking. Running back Le’Veon Bell has not helped matters much in the scoring department since he hasn’t found the end zone since Week 1, although he is still impressing yardage-wise.
Watt leads the NFL with 20 quarterback hits and also has four sacks. Throw in the potential return of Jadeveon Clowney, who has been out since Week 1 with injury, and Houston’s defensive front could be a nightmare for Pittsburgh’s offensive line.
The thought here is that Houston’s pressure creates a couple of timely turnovers. Arian Foster has been on fire as well and has 266 rushing yards and four touchdowns in the last two games. He will do enough to parlay those turnovers into Houston points, and the Texans will come away with the upset.
Prediction: Texans 24, Steelers 21
Cleveland Browns at Jacksonville Jaguars
Can we just say that the Jacksonville Jaguars are bound to win at least one game this season and be done with it?
The Jaguars have come close the last two weeks when they lost 16-14 to the Tennessee Titans after their game-winning field-goal attempt was blocked and when they nearly beat the Steelers until a crippling pick-six down the stretch.
The Browns, on the other hand, are riding high after two consecutive wins against the Steelers and Titans. It’s safe to say that there aren’t a lot of fans calling for Johnny Manziel, even if that Titans win required a dramatic 25-point comeback.
Brian Hoyer is eighth in the NFL with a 99.5 passer rating and has a league-best 13.6 yards per completion. Head coach Mike Pettine discussed Hoyer, according to STATS LLC, via ESPN.com:
I just think (it’s) his consistency. He’s not just wildly all over the place. At a position where you need somebody to be rock solid, he’s rock solid, not just from a performance standpoint, from a demeanor, from a leadership standpoint. He’s been solid and he’s been consistent. Guys know what they’re going to get from him.
The thought here is that the Browns experience something of an emotional letdown Sunday after destroying their archrival Steelers, even with Hoyer under center. It would only be natural after a dominating performance like that.
The Jaguars appear to be on the verge of finally getting a victory.
Cecil Shorts solidified the passing game against the Titans with 10 catches for 103 yards after missing the previous game with injury, and the offense finished with a season-best 379 yards. Blake Bortles has completed 67.8 percent of his passes, which is sixth best in the league, and is growing more comfortable in the pocket with every NFL game.
With the home crowd on their side, the Jaguars will pull the upset for what could be one of their only wins of the season.