It’s time to take another gander around the league in search of some potential upset specials in NFL Week 7.
Last weekend fans were treated to one of the bigger surprises of the current season when the Dallas Cowboys dismantled the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Which teams are in danger of suffering a similar fate this Sunday? We have some ideas.
Cleveland Browns vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3.5)
Here’s a game that could easily go either way. The Cleveland Browns are very young and getting even younger now that Nick Chubb is taking over at running back due to the Carlos Hyde trade. Youth often leads to mistakes, which were seen in abundance last weekend when Cleveland was throttled by the Los Angeles Chargers.
However, Jameis Winston is one of the most mistake-prone quarterbacks in the NFL. He’s going up a Cleveland defense in this game that has forced 16 takeaways this season to lead the NFL. If Gregg Williams’ group can once again find a way to force mistakes, then the Browns have an outstanding chance to win their third game of the year.
Carolina Panthers vs. Philadelphia Eagles (-5)
The Panthers fell last weekend in large part due to a couple of turnovers by rookie D.J. Moore. On the season, though, this is a team that has done an outstanding job of taking care of the football and comes into Week 7 with a plus-2 turnover differential.
Philadelphia, on the other hand, is minus-3 in the turnover department. Also, before last week’s easy win over the hapless New York Giants, the Eagles had lost two straight games.
If Cam Newton can take care of the ball, and if Carolina’s outstanding pass defense can keep Carson Wentz from getting outside the pocket where he’s extremely dangerous, then the Panthers should win this game.
Detroit Lions (-3) vs. Miami Dolphins
The Brocketship is still in business as Ryan Tannehill remains out of the lineup with an injury to his throwing shoulder. It’s tough to trust Brock Osweiler. Even in last weekend’s big overtime win against Chicago, he threw a couple of bad interceptions.
With that being said it’s understandable that the Lions are favored to win on the road this weekend. But there are some valid reasons to take Miami in this game.
First off, Frank Gore is starting to become the go-to running back for the Dolphins, and the future Hall of Famer looks fresh (4.9 yards per carry this year). Secondly, Miami’s defense is third in the NFL with 14 takeaways this year and leads the league with 11 interceptions. Matthew Stafford has been known to throw some of those, and if he does on Sunday the Lions could easily lose.
Buffalo Bills vs. Indianapolis Colts (-7.5)
If you haven’t seen the Bills play much this year, then you’re missing out on watching one of the league’s most impressive defenses. Buffalo ranks third in yards allowed per game and has allowed just 13.5 points per game the past four weeks.
The Colts can’t run the ball. Andrew Luck has had to throw the ball an insane amount of the time and is on pace to shatter Matthew Stafford’s NFL record of 727 attempts in a season. All that passing hasn’t led to wins as the Colts limp into Week 7 with four straight losses.
Derek Anderson is starting under center for Buffalo, and who the heck knows what to expect out of the veteran? We certainly don’t know, but his presence in the lineup does lend itself to a heavy dose of LeSean McCoy, who is finally healthy. It could be a long day for the Colts.
New Orleans Saints vs. Baltimore Ravens (-2.5)
This is your classic strength-versus-strength battle with New Orleans’ high-powered offense going up against Baltimore’s stifling defense.
The Ravens are coming off one of the most one-sided performances we’ve seen in the NFL for a long time after having sacked Marcus Mariota 11 times in a shutout win last weekend. Somehow, we’re betting the Saints find a way to put some points on the board.
Drew Brees is better than ever before and completing an absurd 77.9 percent of his passes. He has Mark Ingram back in the lineup, and the Saints are insanely dangerous when both Ingram and Kamara are available. As good as Baltimore’s defense has been, don’t be surprised if the Saints end up winning this game by a touchdown or more.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs (-6)
Based on everything we’ve seen out of these two teams in 2018, this should be a very high-scoring game with plenty of highlights. The Bengals and Chiefs average nearly 65 points per game between them. Patrick Mahomes leads the league with 18 passing touchdowns, while Andy Dalton is tied for fourth with 14.
Neither team sports a defense that’s shown much ability to create problems for its opponent.
So it’s going to come down to which quarterback can keep moving the ball and putting points on the board while avoiding the big mistake. That certainly seems to lend itself to yet another Chiefs win. However, Mahomes has thrown four interceptions the past two games, and it’s clear that teams are beginning to get a feel for his tendencies.
If the Bengals can force him into some mistakes, then Dalton and Co. will have a chance to pull off a huge upset on Sunday night.