NFL Week 7 Preview
Broncos @ Browns
Sitting at 3-3, we are already looking at a must-win game for the Browns even with Baker Mayfield, Kareem Hunt, and Nick Chubb will all be on the sideline. That means it is the Case Keenum show against his former team. The Broncos are also in a must-win game. After starting the season 3-0; an undefeated record quickly became a .500 record. If Teddy Bridgewater can't beat the Browns on Thursday Night Football without their starting quarterback and top two running backs, it might be time to move on. Whether it be Bridgewater or Fangio that gets the boot, the Broncos will need to change. It's like a ship being weighed down and someone needs to jump off to keep it afloat. With that being said, Von Miller is in the position to wreak havoc on this prime time stage. Jack Conklin and Jedrick Wills are both inactive; Miller must be salivating. While I do not think the Broncos are playoff contenders, I believe Bridgewater and Courtland Sutton can pull something off to upset the Browns. This means that the Browns will be entering panic mode, but with Mayfield having an extra 10 days to rest, he should be ready for week 8.
What to Watch For: Will D'Ernest Johnson or Demetric Felton carry the load?
Player of the Game: Courtland Sutton WR Broncos
Final Score: Broncos 31 Browns 20
Jets @ Patriots
Bill Belichick eats rookie quarterbacks alive; even though Davis Mills was able to put some pressure on the Patriots' defense, I don't expect Zach Wilson to be able to in his second matchup against New England. Mac Jones finally let the ball fly last week. With time ticking down to the last second, the Patriots needed a touchdown to tie the game up after leading the majority of the time. Josh McDaniels schemed up the perfect play to get Kendrick Bourne open on a post route in the middle of the field. Jones was able to pick on Tre'Von Diggs who picked him off on his previous throw. I like that confidence. The Jets don't have Tre'Von Diggs in their secondary. They don't have anyone close to his caliber. While the Patriots were not able to pull off the upset last week, Jones saw what happens when he throws the ball downfield. I'm watching if Jones reverts to his old ways and throws check-down after check-down, or if he is aggressive and takes shots with Bourne and Agholor. As for the Jets offense, I'm looking to see how Wilson plays after the bye week. A bye week for a rookie quarterback is pivotal. The season goes by so fast, it is the one time where they can sit and evaluate everything. While Wilson has shown potential; it is hard for me to bet against Jones after what he did last week.
What to Watch For: The demeanor of the rookie quarterbacks
Player of the Game: Kendrick Bourne WR Patriots
Final Score: Jets 22 Patriots 25
Panthers @ Giants
There is nothing like a good ole' Sam Darnold vs Danny Dimes matchup. After starting the season with three straight wins; the Panthers have quickly reached a .500 record. Sam Darnold is a quarterback who gets in his head a lot. I know it is a cheap shot, but the whole "seeing ghosts" thing says a lot about how he thinks. If he doesn't have confidence in his reads, he is going to be second-guessing his eyes. That leads to interceptions because he is late on his throws. While the Giants might not have the greatest team, I think this defense will give Darnold some problems. DJ Moore facing his former teammate, James Bradberry, will be the best matchup in this game. Both players have come into their own since Bradberry's departure. As for the Giants offense, both Kadarius Toney and Kenny Golladay are out. That means Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard, and Evan Engram will have to step up, despite all being banged up. While I do expect the Giants defense to give Darnold some problems, I don't see their offense being able to put up much of a fight. This should be a low-scoring matchup between two bottom ten teams, but the Panthers are healthier (despite not having Christian McCaffrey).
What to Watch For: DJ Moore vs James Bradberry
Player of the Game: Jeremy Chinn S Panthers
Final Score: Panthers 26 Giants 23
Football Team @ Packers
There isn't anything as difficult for an inexperienced quarterback as going to Lambeau Field to take on a hot Packers team. Washington Football Team's offense will not be able to keep up with Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams, it is as simple as that. Chase Young is finally getting going, but no matter how well he plays, I don't see Washington keeping up with Green Bay; it is as simple as that. One player that I will be watching is Eric Stokes; Stokes has been locking it down in replacement for Jaire Alexander. This is a phenomenal test for him. Terry McLaurin has a history of terrorizing rookie defensive backs. Taylor Heinicke just needs to find a way to get McLaurin the ball. McLaurin is the best player on the Football Team's offense; even when he's covered he is open. Just throw the ball up to him and he will find his way to get his hands on it. Aaron Rodgers looks like the most frightening quarterback in the NFL right now. When he plays, it looks like he is on cloud 9. Rodgers is a dangerous man and in the light of Spooktober; I expect the Football Team to be terrified.
What to Watch For Eric Stokes vs Terry McLaurin
Player of the Game: Aaron Rodgers QB Packers
Final Score: Football Team 16 Packers 34
Falcons @ Dolphins
While the Falcons may only have two wins, their fans rightfully have optimism. Before the bye-week, Kyle Pitts had his breakout game. All it took was Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage being inactive. Now that Ridley and Gage are back, and Pitts has finally emerged; this Falcons offense can come to fruition. Cordarrelle Patterson is having a career year and the Falcons had an extra week's rest. This is a game that Atlanta should win. As for the Dolphins offense, I believe Tua Tagovailoa is getting a little too much hate. Last week was just his first week back from injury and it was a game in London against the Jaguars, which is practically a home game for them. He made some throws last week that made you say, "that is a top-five pick", but he also threw one terrible interception. For Tagovailoa, it is all about consistency. He needs to get the simple 3-step drops and throws on rhythm down before he tries to do anything too flashy. The Dolphins have been severely disappointing thus far, and while I think it will be close, I don't see them beating the Falcons coming off a bye week.
What to Watch For: Tua Tagovailoa's decision making
Player of the Game: Calvin Ridley WR Falcons
Final Score: Falcons 26 Dolphins 24
Bengals @ Ravens
The Ravens are the hottest team in the AFC and have been running teams off the field lately. With that being said, this could be a trap game. Joe Burrow has had some massive cojones this season and I love his willingness to air the ball out to Ja'Marr Chase. Chase's biggest strength coming out of the draft was his strength. On Sunday, he will be facing off against the strongest cornerback in the NFL, Marlon Humphrey. That is one hell of a matchup. The universal opinion is that if the season ended today, Chase would win offensive rookie of the year. With that being said, the season isn't ending today. Chase will need to prove it against Humphrey. As for the Bengals defense, Logan Wilson has been holding it down at the WILL position. Despite his success, I expect Lamar Jackson to rip this defense into shreds. I know the Bengals have a lot of experience against Jackson, but they haven't been able to stop him since he has been in the league. This should be a fun one. If you can't appreciate this game, I don't know what to tell you. We get to watch Joe Burrow come to the Bank and face off against the hottest quarterback in the league. This game is going to be awesome, but I think Jackson finds Hollywood Brown downfield to close it out and escape this trap game.
What to Watch For: A Joe Burrow vs Lamar Jackson shootout
Player of the Game: Marlon Humphrey CB Ravens
Final Score: Bengals 27 Ravens 31
Chiefs @ Titans
Now, this is a game. There is something off with the Chiefs this year. While Mahomes still makes a few unbelievable plays every game, he also makes a few arrant plays every game. A 31 to 13 win sounds great, but the Chiefs did not play great last week against the Washington Football Team. Without Clyde Edwards-Helaire, the Chiefs will be throwing the ball 80% of the time. While that doesn't sound like too big of a problem with Mahomes at quarterback; that also means they will be scoring quickly when they do score. The Titans offense is going to have the ball a lot in this game which means Derrick Henry will be carrying the ball a lot. Derrick Henry is legitimately a freight train. If a defender steps in his tracks, he is going to get run over. Even if the Chiefs commit all their players to stop the run, the Titans still have AJ Brown and Julio Jones. Brown finally started to look like his old self last week. All it took was one mysterious Chipotle burrito. Every time I pick against Patrick Mahomes, he proves me wrong, but I am going to do it again. The Titans are just too hot and Derrick Henry is one bad mamma-jamma.
What to Watch For: Does Patrick Mahomes have enough in the tank?
Player of the Game: Derrick Henry RB Titans
Final Score: Chiefs 31 Titans 33
Eagles @ Raiders
Certain games just leave you in utter shock, the Raiders win last week was one of those games. With everything that happened to Jon Gruden, I could not believe the Raiders beat the Broncos. Whether it was the Raiders playing motivated for their new coach, Rich Basaccia, or the Broncos were just that bad, a win is a win. The Eagles are another team that have a lot going on in their locker room. Not everybody is sold on the Jalen Hurts, but I believe this is the week he proves his haters wrong. The Raiders' secondary has been surprisingly good at stopping the pass, but I think Hurts will be able to run all over this defense. Nick Sirianni needs to get Miles Sanders the football. He is a top three player on this offense, but he doesn't get any carries. Maxx Crosby and Carl Nassib have become one of the scariest pass rush duos in the NFL and they will be able to wreak havoc against the Eagles offense. Most of the time, I pick games based on analytics, or if there is an area of a team that can be exposed, or if there are certain matchups that I like, but I just have a gut feeling on the Eagles this week. This will be the week that Miles Sanders finally gets the ball and gets in the end zone; rejoice Eagles fans; this is your week.
What to Watch For: Miles Sanders' workload
Player of the Game: Miles Sanders RB Eagles
Final Score: Eagles 24 Raiders 21
Lions @ Rams
I am sorry Lions fans; this game is going to be hard to watch. While I love Dan Campbell, this roster is just not put together well enough to even last a quarter with the Rams. With all due respect, Matthew Stafford is going to slice and dice this defense that he was seeing every day for the past 11 years. As for Jared Goff, this will be the first time he sees what other quarterbacks have to go against when facing Aaron Donald. I don't expect Donald to have any sympathy when facing off against his old quarterback. One player for the Lions who will have success will be D'Andre Swift. Swift is one of the lone bright spots on this offense. No matter how well he plays, I just can't see the Lions winning this game. While Donald primarily rushes from the inside; I am excited to see what happens when he lines up against Penei Sewell. "They say every man is created equally, I disagree" is how Pat McAfee described Aaron Donald, and I agree. Donald is a different breed and he will be dominant in this game.
What to Watch For: This is my plea to make sure Lions fans are doing all right...
Player of the Game: Aaron Donald DT Rams
Final Score: Lions 13 Rams 41
Texans @ Cardinals
In a similar light to Lions fans, Texans' fans might want to close their eyes for this game. Deandre Hopkins is about to go off. There is a different type of motivation when you are facing your old team and things did not end well. Hopkins is playing with a certain fire that the Texans' secondary will dread. The Cardinals are the best team in the NFL right now. They have beaten the Rams, Bills, and Browns. They have nothing left to prove. The one thing that can't happen is them taking the foot off the gas. If the Cardinals are going to make an actual run at the Super Bowl, they can't drop these types of games. They are playing for home-field advantage right now. This is a must-win. For the Texans offense, I'm watching how Davis Mills plays. Right now, he should be playing with nothing to lose. Air the ball out and let your receivers make plays. This game just isn't fair. It would be a miracle if Houston pulled off this upset.
What to Watch For: Deandre Hopkins revenge game
Player of the Game: Deandre Hopkins WR Cardinals
Final Score: Texans 16 Cardinasls 33
Bears @ Buccaneers
Tom Brady has been playing in the NFL for as long as Justin Fields has been alive... I have never seen anything like that. While Justin Field might have youth on his side, Tom Brady has Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Leonard Fournette on his. While the Bears did upset the Buccaneers last year, Tampa Bay is playing with an extra three days rest. Having played on Thursday Night Football last week, the Buccaneers should feel well-rested heading into this game. One thing that must happen for the Bears offense is Justin Fields finding chemistry with Allen Robinson. Robinson is one of the most talented receivers in the NFL and he needs the ball in his hands. The Buccaneers have a beaten-up secondary; this is an area that Matt Nagy must expose. Justin Fields needs to air the ball out and find his all-pro receiver. Darnell Mooney is another player who needs targets downfield. For the Bears to pull off this upset, they need to take shots and score seven when they are in the red zone. They can't leave missed opportunities on the field. It is just impossible for me to pick against the greatest of all time in this matchup. If Fields can pull off this upset, it would be a defining game in his rookie season. I don't think it is going to happen, especially against a well-rested Tom Brady.
What to Watch For: Justin Fields' chemistry with Allen Robinson
Player of the Game: Devin White LB Buccaneers
Final Score: Bears 20 Buccaneers 31
Colts @ 49ers
I have been saying it a lot this week, but this is a must-win for the 49ers. Coming off of a bye, sitting at 2-3, this is where Kyle Shanahan will have to pull off some magic. The stars are aligning for San Francisco this week. It is National Tight-Ends day (despite George Kittle being inactive) and it's Sunday Night Football in Levi's Stadium. If there was a week for the 49ers to turn things around, it would be this one. Unfortunately for them, they are missing Trent Williams who would help out against Deforest Buckner. Buckner is playing a revenge game against his former team, which is just terrifying for me as a 49er fan. With that being said, the Colts are without Braden Smith who would have been blocking Nick Bosa. Carson Wentz is going to be under duress all game long and without TY Hilton, Michael Pittman or Zach Pacal will have to step up. One great matchup in this game is Jonathan Taylor against the 49ers run defense. Fred Warner is the best linebacker in the NFL and Demeco Ryans' game plan should be centered around stopping the run. I trust Kyle Shanahan to win this game because he knows what is on the line.
What to Watch For: Can Michael Pittman be a true number one receiver?
Player of the Game: Jimmy Garoppolo QB 49ers
Final Score: Colts 24 49ers 27
Saints @ Seahawks
If I told you a year ago that on Monday Night Football in a game between the Saints and Seahawks that we'd be seeing Jameis Winston against Geno Smith, I'd think you are crazy. Welp, call me crazy. The Saints are coming off a bye week and the Seahawks are coming off an overtime loss on Sunday Night Football to the Steelers. The Seahawks need Geno Smith to pull some magic off because the NFC is so competitive and there are still a few weeks until Russell Wilson comes back. This is a winnable game for Smith, but it is hard to pick against the Saints off a bye week. Cameron Jordan is still terrorizing quarterbacks and I love watching Jameis Winston on primetime games. Sean Payton's game plan in this game should revolve around one player, Alvin Kamara. Kamara is still as dangerous as ever and I expect him to give the Seahawks defense the work. I'm picking Jameis Winston to come into Lumen Field and light up the Seahawks defense on Monday Night Football.
What to Watch For: Can Alex Collins run the ball on New Orleans' defense?
Player of the Game: Alvin Kamara RB Saints
Final Score: Saints 27 Seahawks 20