KC Joyner's Week 7 NFL pick'em selections

KC Joyner, one of the most accurate pick'em experts in the business over the past six years, details his winners for all of the Week 7 matchups.

KC Joyner

20 Oct, 2020

My Week 6 picks went 8-6, bringing my 2020 season mark to 62-28, or a 68.9 percent win rate.

 

Here are my Week 7 picks. Each section details which team is predicted to win and provides a quick summary of why that selection was made. The picks also contain a confidence value for each selection, based on a 1-10 scale with “10” being the most confident and “1” being the least confident.

 

Now on to the picks!

 

Thursday, October 22

 

New York Giants at Philadelphia

 

KC’s pick: Philadelphia

 

Confidence level: 3

 

The Giants offense has been an ongoing issue this year, but Big Blue’s defense has stepped up of late with seven sacks, five takeaways, and two return touchdowns over the past three weeks. Doug Pederson has used incredibly creative game planning to keep the Eagles more than competitive against a brutally tough schedule over the past three weeks and should be able to do the same this week despite the loss of Miles Sanders and potential loss of Lane Johnson to injury. Add that to the Eagles powerful rush defense and this being a short week road game for the Giants, and it lands this pick in Philadelphia’s column.

 

Detroit at Atlanta

 

KC’s pick: Atlanta

 

Confidence level: 3

 

Both of these teams took significant steps forward last week. Detroit’s defense allowed a season low in points allowed and yards allowed while racking up a season high in points scored and rushing yards. The return of Julio Jones to full strength and having a new head coach vaulted the Falcons to their best marks this year in points scored, rush yards allowed, and overall yards allowed. In a close call like this the tiebreakers to use are team talent and home field advantage. Atlanta has the advantage in both of those categories so they win this selection with a low confidence level.

 

Cleveland at Cincinnati

 

KC’s pick: Cleveland

 

Confidence level: 3

 

Even though the Bengals lost last week, it was one of Cincinnati’s better showings of the season as they posted 27 points and nearly 400 offensive yards against one of the best defenses in the NFL. Contrast that to the Browns having by far their worst game of the year in a blowout loss against Pittsburgh that included season lows in every major offensive yardage category. Those trends indicate Cincinnati will keep this contest closer than anticipated, but the Browns still have a significant talent advantage and thus get the nod in this one.

 

Green Bay at Houston

 

KC’s pick: Green Bay

 

Confidence level: 5

 

The Houston offense has seen a huge production spike since Romeo Crennel took over as head coach, as the Texans have posted 30+ points and 400+ offensive yards in the past two contests. The problem for Houston is that their defense is beyond atrocious, having given up 601 offensive yards last week and allowing 160+ rushing yards in all but one contest this year. Green Bay’s offense struggled last week against Tampa Bay’s powerhouse defense, but their dominant offensive line will thrive in this matchup. That is more than enough to land this pick in the Green Bay column.

 

Carolina at New Orleans

 

KC’s pick: New Orleans

 

Confidence level: 5

 

For all of the talk about the Saints offensive issues this year, the reality is New Orleans has scored 30+ points in four games so there isn’t a problem there. The Saints do have defensive issues, however, having given up 27+ points in four straight contests and posting only two takeaways in that span. The Panthers defense has been stout even while facing strong offenses, but Carolina’s offense has been a weak link as evidenced by the Panthers scoring 23 or fewer points in four of the past five games. That trend is enough to place this selection into the Saints column with a solid confidence level.

 

Buffalo at New York Jets

 

KC’s pick: Buffalo

 

Confidence level: 7

 

To get an idea of just how abysmal the Jets offense is, consider that they have posted minus 56.2 points in the offensive expected points added category on Pro Football Reference’s website. Only four teams have a negative score in that category and Washington, the team rated next to last, has an expected points mark more than 30 points better than the Jets. Buffalo’s defense hasn’t been stellar this year, but they can shut down this platoon while letting their explosive offense carry its share, a combination that leads to a very confident pick.

 

Pittsburgh at Tennessee

 

KC’s pick: Pittsburgh

 

Confidence level: 1

 

It doesn’t get much better than a slugfest matchup between two undefeated, power-centric teams. The Titans have scored 84 points over the past two weeks and just put up 601 offensive yards against the Texans, while Pittsburgh has scored 76 points over the past two weeks in part due to Rookie of the Year candidate Chase Claypool racking up five touchdowns. The tiebreaker here is defense, as Pittsburgh may have the best defense in the league, while Tennessee has allowed 30+ points in three of the past four games. That’s enough of an edge to give this pick to the Steelers, but it is truly a tossup selection.

 

Dallas at Washington

 

KC’s pick: Dallas

 

Confidence level: 1

 

It’s tough to find adjectives to describe just how bad the Cowboys defense has been this year, so let’s just go with the fact that opposing teams have scored 34+ points against the Cowboys in five straight games. Dallas’ defense has generated only two turnovers all year long and posted only one sack on three occasions. Andy Dalton was also a bust in his first game under center, leading Dallas to a season low in points scored and offensive yards. With Washington coming off of its best defensive showing since Week 1 and its second highest offensive yardage total, the Football Team has a very good chance to pull off an upset, but Dallas does have many more offensive playmakers and thus is the pick here by the smallest of margins.

 

Seattle at Arizona

 

KC’s pick: Seattle

 

Confidence level: 2

 

Seattle’s season has been a dichotomy of Russell Wilson’s record setting touchdown pass totals and a defense that has yet to hold an opposing team to under 400 yards. Those factors don’t point out the real key to the Seahawks success, however, as their defense is tied for the lead in takeaways per game, which is why they have been able to win shootout contests at an undefeated pace. Arizona’s offense is perfectly capable of holding its own in a shootout and their defense can rack up takeaways nearly as well, so this is a true toss up that goes to Seattle via home field advantage.

 

Kansas City at Denver

 

KC’s pick: Kansas City

 

Confidence level: 9

 

It’s odd that people are surprised that the Chiefs are leaning more on their ground game this year. Over the past two seasons the Chiefs are 5-4 in shootout games, defined as contests where each team scores 24 or more points, and 15-1 in non-shootout games. That track record shows why Kansas City wants to get into ground and pound contests and use their elite passing game as a way to allow them to stay with that mode as often as possible. Denver has scored more than 21 points only once this year and is very unlikely to do so in this matchup, so the Chiefs are the pick here by a wide margin.

 

Jacksonville at Los Angeles Chargers

 

KC’s pick: Los Angeles

 

Confidence level: 6

 

Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn wasn’t sold on the idea of changing to Justin Herbert as his starting quarterback, but after Herbert racked up 576 offensive yards and seven touchdowns over the past two games, the quarterback battle was over. Having Herbert under center does not bode well for the Jaguars, as their defense has given up 30+ points in five straight contests and allowed two of its last three foes to tally 180+ rushing yards. Jacksonville’s offense is also stuck in neutral, as the Jaguars have scored 16 or fewer points in three of the past four games. Merge those trends together and add in this game being in Los Angeles and it equals a confident win for the Chargers.

 

San Francisco at New England

 

KC’s pick: San Francisco

 

Confidence level: 3

 

Both of these teams have disappointing won-loss records this year and turnovers are the main reason why. New England is 2-0 in games where they have a turnover differential advantage and 0-3 when they don’t, while the 49ers were upset in consecutive games against the Eagles and 49ers because they had a minus five turnover differential in those contests. New England’s offense has given up a turnover in every game this year while the 49ers have posted three games with zero turnovers, so the odds lean in San Francisco’s favor to be ahead in that category and on the scoreboard at the end of the game.

 

Tampa Bay at Las Vegas

 

KC’s pick: Tampa Bay

 

Confidence level: 3

 

Tampa Bay’s destruction of the Packers offense last week finally seemed to get the world on board with the Bucs defense being a powerhouse platoon. Tampa Bay’s defense ranks first in yards per play and yards per carry and ranks second in net yards per pass attempt. The Buccaneers offense is now healthy and playing to its talent level, but more importantly they have only committed two turnovers in the past four games. The Raiders have the type of offensive line that can take over a game and their defense has shut down rushing attacks the past two weeks, but the Bucs still have more paths to victory and get the edge in this matchup.

 

Monday, October 19

 

Chicago at Los Angeles Rams

 

KC’s pick: Los Angeles

 

Confidence level: 4

 

Both the Rams and the Bears are going against the leaguewide grain of high scoring games this year, as these teams have both tallied only one shootout game in six contests. The key difference is the Bears go this route by necessity, as they have posted fewer than 300 offensive yards in three straight games, while the Rams have tallied 400+ offensive yards in four contests and thus could win a higher scoring matchup more easily. It’s not likely that these teams will put up a lot of points, but the edge that the Rams have in the event this game goes in that direction and this being a home game for Los Angeles slants this pick towards the Rams.