Spread picks and scores for every NFL Week 7 game

Mike Renner makes score predictions for every Week 7 game of the NFL season.

| 2 years ago
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Spread picks and scores for every NFL Week 7 game

As with every week, I’ll be giving a primer of all Week 7 games, as well as highlighting the key matchups. I’ll give you my picks and how confident I am in each, from a betting perspective. The confidence grade is on our patented -2 through +2 scale.

Basically, if I give my prediction a positive grade, I feel good about the bet. If it’s zero, I’m on the fence. And if it’s negative, I really don’t like the line either way. For the season, I’m 23-14 on positively-graded picks against the spread, and 25-26-3 on all others.

Bills (-4) at Jaguars

This game is ‘at’ the Jaguars for scheduling purposes, but it will be live streamed from London Sunday morning. A change in venue won’t be enough to fix what ails the Jaguars, however. Even though Blake Bortles is lightyears ahead of last season and grading as an average passer, the defense is still Swiss cheese. They currently own the worst team coverage grade in the NFL, and their run defense isn’t far behind at 26th. Even with E.J. Manuel starting, who graded out at -1.0 a week ago, I think Buffalo moves the ball handily against the Jags.

Prediction: Bills 30, Jaguars 21

Confidence grade: +1

Buccaneers at Redskins (-3.5)

Good luck predicting the final grades of either of these quarterbacks. Jameis Winston has three games graded at +2 or higher, while two finished -4 or below. Kirk Cousins has one at +2.2, two other slightly positive games, and then three at -1.0 or below. They are all over the map, and it’s unsurprising that both are in the top 10 for most turnover worthy throws. Tampa Bay has fielded a much more consistent rushing attack, though, than Washington, with our second-highest graded running back in Doug Martin, and that gives them the edge in my eyes.

Prediction: Buccaneers 27, Redskins 24

Confidence grade: -1

Falcons (-5.5) at Titans

How good is this Falcons team, really? There are no questions about their offense, which features our highest-graded offensive line, highest-graded wide receiver, and seventh-ranked quarterback. But on defense, they’ve been exposed at times, especially their linebacking corps, which is one of the weakest in the NFL. With Marcus Mariota running the option and play action game, I think the Titans will be able to exploit that; but with his MCL injury, it looks as though he’ll either be limited in his mobility, or not go at all. Zach Mettenberger isn’t a liability by any means at quarterback, but I don’t see him keeping pace with the Falcons’ offense on his own.

Prediction: Falcons 34, Titans 21

Confidence grade: 0

Saints at Colts (-4.5)

What happened to Andrew Luck? It’s not just decision making—his accuracy has fallen off a cliff, from a 73.3 accuracy percentage last season to 63.9 percent this season, dead last among starters. The Saints have a weak secondary and run man coverage on 42.9 percent of their defensive snaps, ninth-most in the league. That means there are holes to fit the ball in, but you have to be accurate to do so. Right now, I trust Drew Brees and his 77.8 percent accuracy far more than Luck.

Prediction: Saints 35, Colts 31

Confidence grade: -1.5

Vikings (-3) at Lions

Is the Lions’ offense back to form? One game isn’t near enough proof, but it certainly looks to be clicking better than it was when these two teams met in Week 2. In that game, Matt Stafford posted his lowest grade of the season (-5.8) and the Lions running backs averaged a cool 1.5 yards per carry. I don’t see either of those things happening this time around in Detroit, as the Lions’ offensive coordinator finally realized they have to throw deep. Xavier Rhodes may have the size to match up well with Calvin Johnson, but he has been off his game all year with a -5.9 coverage grade.

Prediction: Lions 24, Vikings 21

Confidence grade: -1

Steelers (-2) at Chiefs

The Chiefs offense was in a sad state last week without Jamaal Charles, and I don’t see that turning around here quickly. The Chiefs just don’t have the pieces to exploit the Steelers biggest weakness, their 30th ranked coverage unit. That being said, third stringer Landry Jones is penciled in as the starter for the Steelers. Even though he played admirably last week with a -.5 grade on 13 dropbacks, I can’t trust Jones for a whole game against a stout defense in Kansas City. The Chiefs have our second-best run defense grade of any team, and should be able to at least contain Le’Veon Bell, our top graded running back.

Prediction: Chiefs 21, Steelers 17

Confidence grade: -0.5

Browns at Rams (-7)

I keep going back and forth on this one. On one hand, the Browns run defense is the lowest-graded in the entire NFL, and has consistently set the weakest edges of any team I’ve seen. On the other hand, the Browns first-ranked pass blocking line nullifies the Rams’ biggest strength. With the quarterback positions basically a wash, I don’t see how Cleveland can stop Todd Gurley, who has over 300 yards on the ground in his past two games.

Prediction: Rams 28, Browns 17

Confidence grade: -0.5

Texans at Dolphins (-4.5)

Now, this is the Dolphins team I expected. Facing a Titans offensive line that was holding its own through the first few weeks of the season, the Dolphins defensive line completely altered the game. I expect more of the same against a Texans line that hasn’t been it’s normal dominant self in the run game this year. There is one matchup that worries me, and that’s J.J. Watt against right tackle Ja’Wuan James and right guard Billy Turner. Turner made his first career start last week, and while he graded out at +1.1, he wasn’t facing a player of Watt’s caliber.

Prediction: Dolphins 27, Texans 21

Confidence grade: +0.5

Jets at Patriots (-9)

The Patriots are the kings of the blowout, but they’ve only won by nine or more points twice this season, and that was against the Jags and a Romo-less Cowboys team. I wrote a guide on how to beat the Patriots earlier this week, and the Jets actually check off more of the boxes needed than any team the Patriots have faced this season. The big key will be how well the Jets’ man coverage holds up. New York’s two most-used coverages this season have been a cover-1 blitz and a cover-0 blitz. Tom Brady hasn’t seen a defense this aggressive or talented all season; even they can’t win, I see the Jets keeping it close.

Prediction: Patriots 20, Jets 17

Confidence grade: +0.5

Raiders at Chargers (-4)

The Chargers are a team that I can’t quite put my finger on. They are grossly hampered by abysmal offensive and defensive lines, but if teams can’t stop their quick passing game, they’ll still move the ball consistently. That is why I like the Chargers in this one, even if Keenan Allen can’t go. The Raiders cornerbacks have been getting worked this year, and they have graded 28th overall in coverage. Even if the Chargers can’t run the ball, they should still be able to control this one on Philip Rivers’ arm.

Prediction: Chargers 31, Raiders 24

Confidence grade: -0.5

Cowboys at Giants (-3.5)

Matt Cassel starting for the Cowboys doesn’t inspire much confidence, but with Brandon Weeden’s ineffective play, they’re grasping for straws at this point. The Giants’ run defense hasn’t been great by any means this year, but I like their chances more this week against a one-dimensional offense. Randy Gregory and Greg Hardy should feast on the Giants’ weak tackles, but Eli Manning has been getting the ball out in the fifth-fastest average time of any quarterback.

Prediction: Giants 23, Cowboys 17

Confidence grade: -1

Eagles at Panthers (-3)

The Eagles aren’t at the Super Bowl form many were predicting, but the running game has come around mightily in recent weeks, and the defense has been playing well all season. There is still the whole “Sam Bradford turning the ball over” issue, but he’s making some throws downfield as well. Those bad decisions won’t go unpunished against our top graded cover corner, Josh Norman, but the rest of the Panthers’ secondary has been right around average. The big question, to me, is will the Panthers be able to move the ball on offense? The Eagles’ safeties have been playing incredibly, and both can matchup with the Panthers’ best offensive weapon, Greg Olsen.

Prediction: Eagles 28, Panthers 23

Confidence grade: +0.5

Ravens at Cardinals (-9)

The Ravens’ list of offensive weapons begins and ends with Steve Smith. It’s a sad reality, and Joe Flacco hasn’t coped well with 16 turnover-worthy throws, the second most in the NFL. Carson Palmer has been the exact opposite ,with the best stable of weapons he’s had since he was in Cincinnati. Unsurprisingly, he’s made half as many turnover-worthy throws, and is our top-ranked quarterback this season. Even though the Ravens’ offensive line has made strides in recent weeks, I don’t see how they’ll be able to keep pace with the Cardinals’ aerial attack.

Prediction: Cardinals 33, Ravens 17

Confidence grade: +0.5


Season Record: 55-36 (48-40-3 ATS)

| Senior Analyst

Mike is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has also been featured on The Washington Post, ESPN Insider, and 120 Sports.

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  • Elogdog

    Not very confident this week, ehh. lol

  • Elogdog

    Not very confident this week, ehh. lol

  • jjthetraveler

    So you think the Eagles will beat the LV spread and win outright at the Panthers?? Fat chance.

    • Tim Edell

      Eagles will shutdown Carolinas run game and put the game in the hands of Newton. I see Eagles winning a low scoring game 17-14.

      • JT

        lol Eagles have no running game….and making Cam Newton win the game is the worst gameplan to use against the Panthers

        • David Stinnett

          Cam Newton against Panthers? WTF ?

          • Josh Knepshield

            That’s not what he said, genius.

          • David Stinnett

            STFU, he didn’t say it right, thats what i was saying dumbass

          • Josh Knepshield

            He did say it right. Do you not have any reading comprehension skills?

      • jjthetraveler

        Tim I watched the Panthers against the Seahawks and your Eagles don’t have a snowballs chance. The Eagles are 3 point dogs and I’d take the bet that the Panthers cover. BTW did you watch the Seahawk game? Cause the Hawks are tough and just got healthy. Carolina won in a very tough place to win. Better watch out for them in the playoffs.

        • Kason Edell

          He isn’t an Eagles fan.

        • Tim Edell

          Im not an Eagles fan Junior. The Eagles wil shut down their run game and test Newton to beat them with Mo, Larry, and Curley. Philly wins a tough defensive game 20-17!

          • jjthetraveler

            OK your not an Eagles fan. They didn’t win. As I predicted. And I haven’t been jr since 67 years ago.

        • Tim Edell

          Im not an Eagles fan Junior. The Eagles wil shut down their run game and test Newton to beat them with Mo, Larry, and Curley. Philly wins a tough defensive game 20-17!

        • David Stinnett

          Actually not quite healthy. Wagner was out, and Seattle suffers massively when he is out. No way Jonathon Stewart has big day if he’s there

  • David Stinnett

    Not a Panther fan at all, but be serious…

    • Sam Doohan

      The Panthers are going to drop some games at some point this season and the Eagles match up pretty favorably. Their D has been playing well, their O has become nicely balanced and the Panthers certainly aren’t going to drop a bomb on them.

      You can pick the match up or pick the record but neither really guarantees anything about what happens on Sunday.

      • David Stinnett

        Well I’m not 100% confident about it, I just think Philly isn’t the logical pick in CAR. But I wouldn’t be very surprised either way. Every game gets picks on both sides. Sometimes the majority are wrong. I’m giving the Jets a chance against NE.

        • George Medina

          I believe philly’s Sam Bradford is not going to pull out well based on the giants game because he had a great lead on giants yet still turned it over giving the giants lots of chances but the only thing that saved Philly was their defense so I believe Eagles chance of winning is going to be slim unless Eagles defense saves them again

          • andy L

            I agree, that was a banged up Giants D too. Game could really go either way based on which defense performs better. Apparently, Philly’s really studied Carolina’s run game but I really just see Bradford making one too many mistakes that screws them over.

  • Jeff

    The Patriots are 9 point favorites? That’s ridiculous! Last season they beat the 4-12 Jets by a combined 3 total points. Their last 4 games have been decided by 3pts. This Jets team is a much better team than last year’s squad. You are right in the game being very close. If the Jets offense doesn’t turn the ball over, this will be a Jets win.

    • George Medina

      I agree , if Ryan Fitzpatrick can get some good completions and limit his turnovers you can put Jets as a W , all Jets need to do is run the ball well , use time , limit turnovers and the defense can do the rest.

  • Rick S.

    The Jets and Broncos seem like the only teams in the AFC that can match-up with New England’s offense… and I don’t think either can win in Foxboro. I think the Jets keep it close for awhile, but end up losing by 7-10 points.

    • Jack

      Your prediction was spot on.

  • Jaguars28

    We’ve allowed the least YPC but we’re 26th in run D grade… makes sense

    • corners

      but you have given up 6 rushing td’s so far and 5 runs of 20+ yards.

  • john j

    Enjoyed the read. One comment though: your format is a bit of a cop-out…..picking a close game and then giving a negative confidence grade….well you might as well just not pick…

  • crosseyedlemon

    It’s pretty clear that Mike Renner is Cardinals fan having picked them to win big for a third straight week. Things didn’t workout for the Redbirds against the Steelers last week but at home against a team with no real shot at the playoffs they should fly high.

    • Sam Doohan

      Well, the Cards have certainly been favored in both the games they’ve lost and at their best they are an absolute juggernaut. I was seriously happy to see my Steelers win but before that game that seemed genuinely impossible. This year the Cards are good enough that you don’t have to be a fan to see them going 12-4.