The weekly preview runs into the endzone with NFL tips for the eight standout fixtures of Week 7, including a showdown between the unbeaten Titans and Steelers.
History: Played 174: Eagles 87 V Giants 85 (2 Ties)
Last meeting: December 29, 2019: Eagles 34 d Giants 17 at MetLife Stadium
Final Thoughts: The Week 7 opener won’t get too many fans excited, but it’s at the very least an opportunity for Philadelphia Eagles (1-4-1) and New York Giants (1-5) to keep themselves in the weak NFC East frame.
Since upsetting the 49ers 25-20 in Week 4, the Eagles have gone down to the heavyweight Steelers (38-29) and Ravens (30-28). They almost pulled off a remarkable comeback against Baltimore, trailing by 16 before rallying. Philadelphia are set to get DeSean Jackson back but tight end Zach Ertz and running back Miles Sanders are big outs – and another setback struggling QB Carson Wentz can ill afford.
The Giants broke their 2020 duck via a 20-19 eclipse of Washington last week – new head coach Joe Judge’s first career win. Rookie QB Daniel Jones is still finding his way but the Giants, particularly defensively, came up with some big plays down the stretch.
The Eagles have won 11 of their last 12 against the Giants, including the last seven straight. Last season the Eagles snuck home 23-17 in OT in Philadelphia, before powering to a 34-17 result in New York.
The Giants are 3-0 against the start away from home this season, while the Eagles have covered just twice overall. Taking the Giants with the points seems the best way to go.
History: Played 51: Saints 26 V Panthers 25
Last meeting: December 29, 2019: Saints 42 d Panthers 10 at Bank of America Stadium
Final Thoughts: NFC South foes New Orleans Saints (3-2) and Carolina Panthers (3-3) lock horns in a crucial clash.
Having overcome the Lions 35-29 and Chargers 30-27 (OT) to get their campaign back on track, the Saints had the bye in Week 6. Michael Thomas – plagued by injury and disciplinary issues in recent times – is set to return in a boost for the Drew Brees-led offence.
The Panthers’ impressive three-game winning streak was halted last week in a 23-16 home defeat to the Bears. Superb during their winning run, QB Teddy Bridgewater had a tough day out against Chicago, sacked four times and tossing a game-deciding pick.
The Saints have won six of their last seven against the Panthers, including both high-scoring fixtures last season. They squeaked in 34-31 at home and romped to a 42-10 victory in Charlotte with Brees throwing three TD passes in each.
New Orleans are 2-3 against the start, while Carolina are 3-3. It’s hard to go past the Saints head-to-head, but they’re giving up plenty of points and the Panthers will fancy their chances against one of the less threatening defences among the NFC heavyweights.
History: Played 78: Steelers 46 V Titans 32
Last meeting: November 16, 2017: Steelers 40 d Titans 17 at Heinz Field
Final Thoughts: A contender for Game of the Week with Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers both undefeated after five outings. The AFC rivals were scheduled to face off in Week 4 before a COVID-19 outbreak in the Titans’ ranks intervened.
Both sides have rolled on since that unscheduled interruption. Titans hammered the in-form Bills 42-16 in Week 5, before taking the win in overtime against the Texans 42-36. QB Ryan Tannehill (366 yards, 4 TDs) and running back colossus Derrick Henry (212 yards, 2 TDs) had an enormous day out against Houston.
The Steelers outlasted the Eagles 38-29 in Week 5 before stepping up a gear to record their biggest win of the season against the in-form Browns, 38-7. Their run game – with James Conner (101 yards and 1 TD on 20 carries) starring – with the highlight of a dominant offensive performance, though linebacker Devin Bush’s season-ending knee injury put a dampener on the Steelers’ first 5-0 start since 1978.
Pittsburgh are an equal-NFL-best 4-1 ATS this season, while Tennessee are only 2-3. Tannehill, Henry and co. won’t be afforded the same leeway by the ruthless Steelers secondary and the head-to-head market looks about right for this mouth-watering showdown.
History: Played 42: Seahawks 21 V Cardinals 20 (1 Tie)
Last meeting: December 22, 2019: Cardinals 27 d Seahawks 13 at CenturyLink Field
Final Thoughts: A big NFC West showdown as the undefeated division-leading Seattle Seahawks travel to take on the surprise-packet Arizona Cardinals.
The 4-2 Cardinals are riding high after back-to-back blowouts of the Jets (30-10) and Cowboys (38-10). Quarterback Kyler Murray enjoyed his Dallas homecoming, while running back Kenyan Drake and WR Christian Kirk both notched a pair of touchdowns.
The Seahawks had the Week 6 bye to reflect on their 5-0 start, which culminated in a 27-26 Week 6 eclipse of the Vikings. Russell Wilson is the red-hot MVP favourite as the shot-caller in a dominant Seattle offence.
Both teams notched convincing away wins in their two clashes last season. The Seahawks cruised to a 27-10 victory in Phoenix, while the Cardinals made it four from their last five in Seattle with a 27-13 upset. The Seahawks are undefeated in their last seven away games against the Cardinals.
The Seahawks are 4-1 ATS; the Cardinals are 4-2. While Arizona are on a roll, they’re yet to prove themselves against a top-quality team – aside from a Week 1 upset of stumbling NFC West alumni the 49ers. Expect Seattle to get it done again in typically high-scoring fashion.
History: Played 13: 49ers 8 V Patriots 5
Last meeting: November 20, 2016: Patriots 30 d 49ers 17 at Levi’s Stadium
Final Thoughts: The fresh Cam Newton era in New England has hit a couple of sizeable bumps either side of the 2-3 Patriots’ Week 5 bye – though COVID-19 setbacks have not helped their cause. After succumbing to the Chiefs 26-10 in Week 4, the Pats came out of the bye with a disappointing 18-12 home loss to the Broncos.
Newton’s run game (76 yards, 1 TD) was typically strong in the latter, but he tossed two picks and threw for 157 yards and zero TDs. On the plus side, the defence did not concede a touchdown.
The 3-3 San Francisco 49ers snapped a two-game slide – dismal losses to the Eagles and Dolphins – with a 24-16 victory over the Rams in Week 6. Jimmy Garoppolo improved out of sight, throwing for three TDs, while he was superbly protected by the offensive line.
The 49ers make their first trip to Gillette Stadium in eight years. They look set to leave with the points after last week’s season-saving performance, with the Patriots in a tough spot.
History: Played 120: Chiefs 65 V Broncos 55
Last meeting: December 15, 2019: Chiefs 23 d Broncos 3 at Arrowhead Stadium
Final Thoughts: After starting the season 0-3, Denver Broncos have chalked up consecutive wins either side of their Week 5 bye. But a high-scoring victory over the lowly Jets and a touchdown-less win over the underdone Patriots doesn’t quite scream turnaround. The Broncos kicked six field goals to get the result at Gillette Stadium; Drew Lock deserves credit for setting those up, but he threw two interceptions and needs to be getting his team into the endzone.
The 5-1 Kansas City Chiefs bounced back from their Week 5 loss to the Raiders with a 26-17 victory over the Bills. Patrick Mahomes threw for 225 yards and 2 TDs, but it was Chiefs’ powerhouse ground game – rushing for 245 yards on 46 carries – that underpinned the offensive performance.
The Chiefs have won their last nine straight against the Broncos, putting the hurt on their conference buddies 30-6 in Denver and 23-3 in Kansas City last season.
Expect the Broncos’ mini-revival to hit a brick wall this week against the defending champs.
History: Played 10: Raiders 7 V Buccaneers 3
Last meeting: October 30, 2016: Raiders 30 d Buccaneers 24 (OT) at Raymond James Stadium
Final Thoughts: Las Vegas Raiders went into the Week 6 bye with a 40-32 upset of the Chiefs in their back pocket, a surprising and vital result that improved their record to 3-2 and ended a two-game slide. The defence gave Patrick Mahomes a battering, while Derek Carr threw for 347 yards and 3 TDs (taking his season tally to 11).
Carr squares off against Tom Brady, who has guided Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a handy 4-2 start. Edged by the Bears in Week 5, the Bucs carved out an emphatic 38-10 victory over the high-flying Packers 38-10. It was a real statement game from Tampa Bay, with the defence completely nullifying Aaron Rodgers while Brady was characteristically dominant with the ball and Ronald Jones rushed for 113 yards and 2 TDs.
The performances of these respective secondaries last time out might have Carr and Brady looking over their shoulders. Promising as Carr and the Raiders have been, the Bucs are shaping as genuine Super Bowl contenders and are hard to back against here.
History: Played 94: Bears 54 V Rams 37 (3 Ties)
Last meeting: November 17, 2019: Rams 17 V Bears 7 at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Final thoughts: The 4-2 LA Rams are holding their own in the strong NFC West, while the 5-1 Chicago Bears are leading the NFC North.
The Rams’ biggest scalp was the Cowboys in Week 1, however, beating the Eagles, Giants and Washington since. They are coming off a 24-16 loss to the 49ers, with Jared Goff’s slightly-off execution proving costly.
The Bears have won their last two, backing up their one-point win over Tampa Bay with a 23-16 defeat of the Panthers in Week 6. The Chicago defence paved the way – no surprises there – but under-fire QB Nick Foles improved again in the Bears’ biggest win of the season margin-wise.
The Bears have seven of their last nine against the Rams. But the Rams prevailed 17-7 when the teams met in LA last season.
Chicago head to Inglewood as $3.07 underdogs. They deserve more respect than that and look a great bet with the points.