Here are my Week 7 picks with confidence level selections. The picks with a confidence level of 1-5 will be available for all NFL Pickwatch readers.
The picks with a 6+ confidence level, a group of selections that have netted a 110-37 record over the past two seasons (including a 27-9 mark this year), will be available exclusively to Pickwatch Pro subscribers.
Pickwatch Pro is a great service that allows subscribers to download the best expert data in the industry, see team-by-team winners for every expert, and provides access to Upset Watch, which has been the ultimate cheatcode to beat the sportsbooks over the last five years. Combine those elements with the top level of my weekly picks and it makes for a must-subscribe service for anyone serious about betting.
Denver Broncos at Cleveland Browns
KC’s pick: Denver | Confidence level: 3
Cleveland comes into this game as one of the most banged up teams in the league. They will be without Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb, and Kareem Hunt, have three offensive linemen listed as questionable, did not get a single practice in this week from Odell Beckham, Jr., and have injuries across their defense. It’s tough to pick a Denver club in a short week road game after the Broncos have lost three straight but the injuries actually make the short week game a losing proposition for the Browns, so Denver rates this selection.
Kansas City Chiefs at Tennessee Titans
KC’s pick: Kansas City | Confidence level: 3
The Chiefs defense is rightfully taking a lot of grief this year, but a big part of Kansas City’s issues are on offense, as they have posted 14 giveaways in the last five games. The Chiefs do not want to get into shootout mode, as they are 18-12 in those types of contests over the past four seasons, but they may have no choice given that Tennessee has scored 24+ in every contest sans the season opener. The problem for the Titans is their secondary has been obliterated with injuries, so Kansas City should be able to hold up in a high scoring matchup.
Atlanta Falcons at Miami Dolphins
KC’s pick: Atlanta | Confidence level: 3
The Falcons may have had their best showing of the season in Week 5, as they beat the Jets while posting season highs in total offensive yards and passing yards and setting lows in first downs and total yards allowed. Part of that was due to facing a limited New York offense, but Miami is beset with plenty of problems of its own on both sides of the ball, especially with a running game that has posted 77 or fewer yards in all but one contest. The Falcons have vastly more offensive weapons than Miami and have the advantage of coming off of a week’s rest, so Atlanta garners this pick.
Carolina Panthers at New York Giants
KC’s pick: Carolina | Confidence level: 1
These are two teams trending in the wrong direction. Carolina’s creative 3-3-5 defense gave teams fits during its 3-0 start, but since then that platoon allowed 245 rushing yards to the Cowboys in Week 4 and gave up a ridiculous 571 offensive yards to the Vikings last week, all while allowing 91 points in the past three games. The Panthers offense is equally to blame for the club’s three game skid, as it has turned the ball over eight times in those contests while also throwing for fewer than 200 yards in each of the past two games. The Giants can’t seem to keep anyone healthy, especially on offense, a factor that led to a dismal performance against the Rams last week. This is the deciding element that pushes this contest into Carolina’s column by the smallest of margins.
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens
KC’s pick: Baltimore | Confidence level: 3
It’s a tough call in this one for the simple matter of trying to figure out who will win the all-important battle between the Ravens rushing offense and the Bengals rushing defense. Cincinnati has allowed 123+ rushing yards in three games, but they have also given up 67 or fewer rushing yards in the other three. The Bengals have closed the talent gap between them and Baltimore a ton of late, but the concern that they will lose that matchup battle and the game being in the Charm City lands this pick on the Baltimore side of the ledger.
Philadelphia at Las Vegas
KC’s pick: Las Vegas | Confidence level: 5
So much for the Raiders missing Jon Gruden. Las Vegas had one of its best games of the year following Gruden’s resignation, as the Raiders racked up season bests in points scored and takeaways on the way to an impressive 34-24 road win over Denver. Philadelphia just can’t figure out what kind of team it wants to be, as Nick Sirianni and his staff aren’t doing a very good of matching game plans to the team’s talents. That disconnect stands in stark comparison to a Raiders club that seems to know exactly what it needs to do to win, so Las Vegas is the selection.
Indianapolis Colts at San Francisco 49ers
KC’s pick: Indianapolis | Confidence level: 2
This is a case of two teams headed in opposite directions, as San Francisco has lost three straight after starting the year out 2-0, while the Colts have won two out of the past three after beginning the season 0-3. Indianapolis has done it with a combination of powerhouse rushing (123+ rushing yards in three straight games) and takeaways, as the Colts defense has generated 12 turnovers on the year and has tallied at least one in every contest. The 49ers should get Jimmy Garoppolo back for this matchup and do host this contest, but the Colts positive trends outweigh San Francisco’s negative one, so Indianapolis is the preferred option.
New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks
KC’s pick: New Orleans | Confidence level: 4
The Saints have figured out how to make Jameis Winston stop throwing interceptions, as they simply run the ball so often that he doesn’t get many chances to put the ball in the air. It’s part of why New Orleans has generated twice as many takeaways (10) as giveaways (50. The Seahawks aren’t the same team without Russell Wilson under center, as Geno Smith simply doesn’t have enough aerial firepower to get the most out of DK Metcalf or Tyler Lockett. Seattle also has an abysmal defense that would have extended its streak of allowing 450+ offensive yards to five straight games last week were it not for the popgun that is the Pittsburgh offensive attack. Winston won’t have that problem and will capitalize on enough opportunities to overcome the Monday night home advantage for Seattle and give New Orleans this matchup.
KC’s 6+ confidence level picks, a group of selections that have gone 110-37 over the past two seasons (including a 27-9 mark this year), are available exclusively to Pickwatch Pro subscribers.
New York Jets at New England Patriots
KC’s pick: New England | Confidence level: 7
The Jets beat Tennessee in Week 4 and lost a close game to Atlanta in Week 5, but those results mask just how bad this team is. Take away the Week 2 game against the Patriots (a contest New York lost 25-6) and the Jets have rushed for 66 or fewer yards in every game. Gang Green also has posted 207 or fewer passing yards in all but one matchup and has allowed 51 points, 58 first downs, and 880 offensive yards in the past two weeks. New England just had its worst ever defensive performance under Bill Belichick, but they have more than enough offensive strength to outlast the Jets and have home field, so the Patriots are the preferred selection.
Washington Football Team at Green Bay Packers
KC’s pick: Green Bay | Confidence level: 7
The Packers aerial attack really hasn’t picked up much this year, as Green Bay has posted only one game with 300+ net passing yards, but they have rushed for 100+ yards in four straight games and have racked up 418 rushing yards in the past three contests. Taylor Heinicke got out to a great start for Washington but has since become turnover prone and it has led the Football Team to post 2+ giveaways in three of the past four contests. That’s not a good trend against a Packers defense that has tallied nine takeaways in the past five games, so Green Bay is the preferred option at home by a notable margin.
Detroit Lions at Los Angeles Rams
KC’s pick: Los Angeles | Confidence level: 9
There is a reason the Rams are 14.5-point favorites in this one, as it is tough to see a path to victory for the Lions. Detroit seems incapable of winning a shootout, as they have scored 17 or fewer points in five straight games due in large part to Jared Goff showing the world why the Rams wanted to trade him in the first place. The Lions have one of the least talented secondaries in the league but may fare even worse in rush defense, having allowed 116+ rushing yards in all but one contest. The Rams are an offensive juggernaut that has scored 26+ points in every matchup outside a Week 4 matchup versus Arizona and they’ve racked up 2+ takeaways in four out of six games. Add these factors to the game being in Los Angeles and Sean McVay and Matthew Stafford wanting to prove they made the right move over Goff and the Rams earn a rare “9” confidence level.
Houston Texans at Arizona Cardinals
KC’s pick: Arizona | Confidence level: 10
The Texans are an awful team right now. Houston may have the worst quarterback in the league in Davis Mills and his lack of skills are why the Texans have scored only 34 points over the past four weeks and have posted nine or fewer points in three of those games. Houston’s defense hasn’t fared much better in that span, as the Texans have allowed 24+ points in four straight and 772 rushing yards in the last five games. Arizona has powerful weapons across the board on offense and might have the most athletic defense in the league. Add those factors to the game being in Arizona and this rates a very rare “10” confidence level for the Cardinals
Chicago Bears at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
KC’s pick: Tampa Bay | Confidence level: 8
Matt Nagy tried to tell the world that Justin Fields was a not ready for prime-time player. People didn’t believe him but now that Fields has been under center for four games, it’s clear Nagy was spot on in his assessment. The Bears have yet to post 200 net passing yards this year and have scored more than 20 points only once, that being a 24-point showing against a Lions defense that might be the least talented in the league. Now Fields gets to go on the road to face a Tampa Bay defense that shuts down rushing attacks and has five takeaways in the past three weeks. Oh yeah, if that wasn’t enough, the Buccaneers also have Tom Brady, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and a ton of additional offensive talent. Throw in this game being in Tampa and it easily moves this into the Tampa Bay column.