Surprises and upsets lurk around every corner in this league, and we’re sure to be in for more than a few eyebrow-raising treats in NFL Week 7.
Which Baltimore Ravens team will show up when it’s time to take on the Minnesota Vikings? Will Leonard Fournette’s ankle injury be a problem as the Jacksonville Jaguars clash with their divisional rivals? What about Big Blue? Can Eli Manning and Co. possibly win their second in a row against the rested Seattle Seahawks?
We’ll be taking a look at these games and more as we dive into some upset specials on the horizon for NFL Week 7.
Note: Odds courtesy of Bovada.com.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Minnesota Vikings (-5.5)
Baltimore is truly a Jekyll and Hyde team. One week the Ravens are soaring high and then the next they’re getting torched. The Vikings come into this one with some injury issues, however, that lead us to believe this will be one of the good weeks for John Harbaugh’s team.
Sam Bradford is out again, and so is top receiver Stephon Diggs, while Michael Floyd remains banged up with a hamstring issue and Laquon Treadwell is dealing with a toe injury. Without a consistent running game and without a healthy receiving corps, backup quarterback Case Keenum could struggle against a dangerous Baltimore defense that specializes in creating turnovers.
On top of that, Baltimore’s been getting some decent production out of running back Alex Collins. Provided Joe Flacco doesn’t throw the game away, this one could be the Ravens’ for the taking.
New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins (-3)
This is one of the most intriguing matchups in NFL Week 7. Josh McCown is straight-up dealing these days for the Jets. He’s completing over 70 percent of his passes, and while he’s still turning the ball over with some regularity the Jets have either won or been very competitive in every game this year minus a blowout in Oakland during Week 2.
Bilal Powell is back in action this weekend, New York’s defense comes into the contest ranked No. 9 in total defense and the Jets already have taken down Miami with ease once this year.
Jay Cutler and Co., on the other hand, have either lost big or had to scrape and claw their way to their wins this year. All it’s going to take is a couple things to go the way of Gang Green Sunday in Miami for this to become another blowout win for the road team.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Indianapolis Colts (+3.5)
Leonard Fournette is going to play Sunday, barring a setback with his ankle injury. But this rookie was hurting badly enough that he missed practice all week, and we know Fournette has a history of ankle injuries that have caused him to miss action dating back to his days at LSU. Assuming Fournette is less than 100 percent healthy, this means Blake Bortles will likely have to throw the ball more than is wise, which usually results in multiple turnovers.
Jacksonville’s defense is certainly formidable and could win the game by itself if Indianapolis chooses to game plan poorly. And make no mistake, that’s a distinct possibility based on what we witnessed on Monday night against Tennessee. But if Marlon Mack isn’t left on the sidelines and he tag teams on a dedicated rushing attack with the legend Frank Gore, then the Colts might just come out of this one with their third win of the season.
Atlanta Falcons vs. New England Patriots (-3.5)
If you haven’t been paying close attention this year and wonder why we’re putting New England on upset alert, then you don’t realize just how tragically awful the team’s defense is. Heck, Josh McCown went for over 350 yards and threw two touchdowns (should have been three, if we’re honest) in a game that came down to the wire last weekend. No team in the league compares to the Patriots in terms of yardage allowed per game in 2017. They’re the worst, by far.
So, while Atlanta’s offense hasn’t been quite as high powered this season compared to last, it’s not hard to imagine Matt Ryan and Co. raining down fire upon the tattered Patriots defense. On the other side, the Falcons can certainly put pressure on Tom Brady. The Patriots aren’t doing a good job protecting their future Hall of Fame quarterback this year, as he’s already been sacked more times in 2017 than he was all of last season.
It’s not easy to win in Foxborough. This is true. But New England has already dropped two at home this year, and the Falcons are poised to break out of their two-game losing streak with a Super Bowl revenge match we can’t wait to see.
Seattle Seahawks vs. New York Giants (+4)
Jason Pierre-Paul, Olivier Vernon and Damon Harrison must be licking their chops for a chance to feast on Seattle’s atrocious offensive line this Sunday. Russell Wilson has made a living out of running for his life and making plays, but Seattle’s passing game lacks some oomph this year, make no mistake about it. On top of that, the team’s corps of running backs remains underwhelming, meaning it could be a very miserable game in general for the Seahawks offensively at MetLife Stadium Sunday.
Now, you could make the case that the Giants have no chance of making anything happen on their end offensively as well, going up against the Legion of Boom. But we said the same thing last week when they were preparing to take on the No Fly Zone defense of the Denver Broncos. And we know how that turned out.
We don’t expect the Giants to win this weekend. But will we be shocked if they do? Nope. Not after what the team did in Denver on Sunday night with the nation watching and its season on the line. We’ll expect the same level of intensity this Sunday as the Giants continue to claw their way out of their 1-5 hole.
Washington Redskins vs. Philadelphia Eagles (-4.5)
There are a couple ways Washington can win this game.
First off, the offense must establish the run and must feature Chris Thompson heavily, both as a runner and a receiver out of the backfield. It’s a tried and proven method of keeping opposing defenses off-balance. Yet somehow Jay Gruden has forgotten to use his top offensive weapon in two of the team’s five games. Not coincidentally, the Redskins lost both of those games.
Secondly, the defense must contain Carson Wentz in the pocket and box him in. He’s absolutely deadly once he gets outside to extend plays and let his receivers get open downfield.
Washington’s defense has been banged up and must get a huge game from its secondary to come away with a win on the road Monday night. But there’s no doubt this team is capable of pulling off the upset on national television, thus putting the NFC East in a state of disarray heading into the second half of the season.