WE now know the contenders, pretenders and also rans of the NFL in 2021, but Week 7 provides some big spreads with potential mismatches on offer.
Let’s run down the ‘Fave Five’.
(2021 Predictions W-L-D: 14-15-1 47%)
Falcons (-2.5) @ Dolphins – 18:00
The Dolphins’ season faces extinction already and they’re unfavoured against a Falcons team who actually won in London, unlike Brian Flores’ men.
A lot has been said since the Jags snapped a 20-game losing streak on Sunday afternoon, but the negative rhetoric against Tua Tagovailoa is unfounded.
He wasn’t the reason the Dolphins fell on their face: 33/47, 329 yards and 2 TDs is a stat line that should get you victory.
He shouldn’t have to do too much to keep it close against Atlanta, providing the Falcons keep up their ineptitude on offense – they rank sixth-worst for passing yards and third worst for rushing yards.
Kyle Pitts had a day in the English capital, but it was against the Jets, who haven’t been able to cover themselves in glory all season.
It’ll be a close one but Miami gets the win to get out of a very tight spot.
Prediction: Falcons 19 Dolphins 21 (Dolphins +2.5)
Bengals @ Ravens (-6) – 18:00
Slightly worried my fingers will get burnt as the Bengals haven’t had a real statement win in what seems like forever, but nearly a touchdown spread gives enough rope to side with them.
I didn’t see Baltimore’s beat down of the Chargers coming but it was a game where nearly everything went right for them and everything went wrong for LA: In another world they convert some of their 4th downs and it becomes a different game.
Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase have been grabbing the headlines but don’t overlook Cincy’s defense.
Opponents have averaged just 6.5 yards per pass completion against them: Third best in the league.
They’ve also limited teams to 3.9 yards a run on average; comfortably top ten.
So they’re forcing teams to grind out drives and not getting caught by any deep threats.
That should help neutralise and contain Lamar Jackson.
It might not be enough to beat a very good Ravens team, but it will keep the score competitive.
This should be a good one.
Prediction: Bengals 30 Ravens 34 (Bengals +6)
Chief (-5.5) @ Titans – 18:00
Yes it’s a short week for the Titans but take a look at Monday night and you’ll see just what kind of team Tennessee are: Strong, physical and will give any side in the league a run for their money if they’re on song.
The Chiefs defense is fast becoming a dumpster fire: Opposing QBs have averaged three figure passer ratings so far.
They’ve also allowed nine rushing TDs, which will be music to the ears of King Derrick Henry.
Take away that weird Jets game and the Titans would be on a five game winning streak.
Even with that loss it’s clear this team has renewed momentum and the AFC South should be theirs with the strength of the other three teams in their division.
Kansas City did figure out Washington and eventually got a blowout win, but it wasn’t looking that way at the half.
I really want to go with the upset but having that short week just stops me from picking the Titans.
Chiefs win, but they get everything they can handle and then some.
Prediction: Chiefs 31 Titans 30 (Titans +5.5)
Washington @ Packers (-9.5) – 18:00
I’ve tried to stay away from some of the bigger spreads of the weekend, having been caught a few times already this season (thanks Houston) but I can’t ignore the Packers.
They should be able to feast on Washington, whose defense has regressed at a rate of knots.
Most passing yards allowed? Check. Most passing TDs allowed? Check. Well at least they’re not going up a guy who is averaging a 109 passer rating since the start of last season…. Oh wait.
Aaron Rodgers owns the Bears (according to… Aaron Rodgers) and judging by the fact that Washington has given up two shy of ONE HUNDRED first downs in six games, he should be able to own a second ‘Football Team’.
Look for a blowout, maybe even a 40-burger.
Prediction: Washington 17 Packers 45 (Packers -9.5)
Eagles @ Raiders (-3) – 21:05
The Eagles kept it closer than most expected against the Bucs on Thursday Night Football but it felt a little like a Cat playing with a Mouse: They were outgunned by nearly 200 yards, had 11 fewer first downs and held the ball for 19 fewer minutes.
It was a massive win for the Raiders on Sunday after the turbulence they’ve been through and they more than deserved the flattering scoreline.
The Raiders are backable at -3 primarily because of Derek Carr.
Often unfairly maligned, he has kept up his numbers from last season, where he threw for a personal best 4,103 yards.
Henry Ruggs is becoming one of the top deep threats in the league (an average of more than 20 yards a catch is absurd) and that spells trouble for Philly, who struggled to contain the speed of Antonio Brown last time out, especially in the first quarter.
Las Vegas feel frisky again already and with KC and the Chargers stumbling, they win again here to remind the league there are viable alternatives in the AFC West.
Prediction: Eagles 20 Raiders 27 (Raiders -3)
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