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Week 7 NFL game picks: Ravens top Bengals for sixth straight win; Chiefs tame Titans in Nashville

Gregg Rosenthal went 9-5 straight up and 6-8 against the spread on his Week 6 NFL picks, bringing his season totals to 59-35 and 46-46-1, respectively. How will he fare in Week 7? His picks are below.

The lines below provided by Caesars are current as of noon ET on Thursday, Oct. 21 unless otherwise noted below.


Carolina Panthers
ML: -150 · 3-3
New York Giants
ML: +130 · 1-5
  • WHERE: MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | FOX
  • SPREAD: Panthers -3 O/U: 43.0

These teams aren't so different, both ranked outside the top 25 in offensive advanced metrics. The Giants' young quarterback, Daniel Jones, is undoubtedly more trustworthy than Sam Darnold. But I reversed my upset pick when Andrew Thomas hit injured reserve and Kadarius Toney joined Saquon Barkley and Kenny Golladay on the DNP list. Thomas and Toney have been the two biggest signs for hope on this New York offense. If The Snow Patrol Panthers defense can't feast on this beleaguered line, Carolina is really in trouble.

UPDATE: The Giants announced Friday that Saquon Barkley and receivers Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney are all out for Sunday's game.

New England Patriots
ML: -320 · 2-4
New York Jets
ML: +250 · 1-4
  • WHERE: Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, Mass.)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
  • SPREAD: Patriots -7 | O/U: 42.5

Both teams should look at this as a chance to show progress made since their Week 2 game. The Patriots' offense has quietly improved the last few weeks, despite line injuries. Bill Belichick should lean into Mac Jones' growth more while trusting his overly complex defense less. Zach Wilson has shown little ability to win from the pocket. If nothing else, this New England defense should be good at keeping him there.  

Kansas City Chiefs
ML: -230 · 3-3
Tennessee Titans
ML: +190 · 4-2
  • WHERE: Nissan Stadium (Nashville, Tenn.)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
  • SPREAD: Chiefs -4.5 O/U: 57.5

The league's top-ranked offense in yards per drive and points per drive is going to be just fine. I am encouraged by how the Chiefs' offensive line is improving in short-yardage situations and that Patrick Mahomes finally came out hunting big plays last week. A short-handed Titans secondary should be no match, and I'm still trusting a great passing game over a great running game when both defenses have little going for them. Keep an eye on the availability of Tyreek Hill and/or Julio Jones, however, impacting this score prediction. 

Green Bay Packers
ML: -400 · 5-1
Washington Football Team
ML: +310 · 2-4
  • WHERE: Lambeau Field (Green Bay, Wis.)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | FOX
  • SPREAD: Packers -7.5 | O/U: 48.5

My picks have been mediocre this year -- except when I'm picking against the Washington Football Team. The memory of their 2020 defense and their scrappy national television games (the playoff loss to the Bucs last season, the win over the Giants on Thursday Night Football earlier this year) still seem to be influencing the point spread each week. The team on the field is lucky to be 2-4. Washington still hasn't solved the miscommunications in its secondary, and the banged-up offense just isn't talented enough to keep up. Both Aaron Rodgers and the Packers' defense get a little better each week and are primed for a blowout.

Miami Dolphins
ML: +120 · 1-5
Atlanta Falcons
ML: -140 · 2-3
  • WHERE: Hard Rock Stadium (Miami Gardens, Fla.)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | FOX
  • SPREAD: Dolphins +2.5 | O/U: 47.5

This was the hardest game of the week to pick, and it could change based on availability Sunday -- or if I wake up grouchy. The Dolphins are shaping up to be much healthier than they were in London, with both starting cornerbacks and two starting receivers returning to the fray, yet I hate how Deshaun Watson trade reports are suddenly hanging over this team again. Matt Ryan balled out the last two weeks before the bye, with Arthur Smith starting to unlock his powers alongside Kyle Pitts. The Falcons' pass rush may be the rare group that can't take advantage of Miami's offensive line, though, and I'm apparently in denial about the possibility that the Fins can stay this bad.  

Baltimore Ravens
ML: -280 · 5-1
Cincinnati Bengals
ML: +230 · 4-2
  • WHERE: M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
  • SPREAD: Bengals +6.5 | O/U: 46.5

I have more questions about the Bengals' offense holding up in this litmus test than the defense. The Ravens' blitz was in full flow last week against the Chargers for the first time, confusing another second-year quarterback and unproven offensive coaching staff. Joe Burrow, Ja'Marr Chase and Cincinnati's O-line have proven resourceful this year, although they've relied more on moments of individual brilliance than offensive consistency. On the flip side, I'm convinced this juiced-up Cincy D is a top-10 group, the best Lamar Jackson has faced this year; it can keep this game close enough for the Bengals to cover the point spread, even if they don't win. 

Los Angeles Rams
ML: -1100 · 5-1
Detroit Lions
ML: +700 · 0-6
  • WHERE: SoFi Stadium (Inglewood, Calif.)
  • WHEN: 4:05 p.m. ET | FOX
  • SPREAD: Rams -15 | O/U: 50.5

The crazy part of the Lions' 0-6 start is how well-coached they've looked most of the time. I don't think it's appreciated how much of a talent disadvantage they were at before this biblical series of injuries. The crazy part of the Rams' 5-1 start is that Matthew Stafford is still learning this offense, and the Rams' defense, so bent on disguising coverage, seemed to confuse itself for the first month of the season. In short: Everything about this game, including the point spread, feels almost mean-spirited to the very existence of Jared Goff. It's awkward.

Philadelphia Eagles
ML: +140 · 2-4
Las Vegas Raiders
ML: -160 · 4-2
  • WHERE: Allegiant Stadium (Las Vegas)
  • WHEN: 4:05 p.m. ET | FOX
  • SPREAD: Eagles +3 O/U: 48.5

The Eagles should match up well with the Raiders. Unlike the Broncos a week ago, Philadelphia's pass rush can take advantage of Las Vegas' Achilles' heel up front. And the return of Lane Johnson improves both tackle spots with Jordan Mailata sliding back to the left side, giving the Eagles a chance to mitigate the for real for real Raiders pass rush. The quarterbacks are not remotely even in this game, but the Eagles aren't as bad as their 2-4 record indicates and the Raiders probably aren't quite as good as their 4-2. Call it a hunch, but in a coin flip game, I'll take a more rested Philly team against a Vegas squad coming off the high of its best game of the season.

Arizona Cardinals
ML: -1700 · 6-0
Houston Texans
ML: +900 · 1-5
  • WHERE: State Farm Stadium (Glendale, Ariz.)
  • WHEN: 4:25 p.m. ET | CBS
  • SPREAD: Cardinals -17.5 | O/U: 47.5

The Texans' defense isn't talented enough to show so little variation after the snap. It won't be able to confuse or pressure Kyler Murray, which at best leads to slow death against this multi-faced Cardinals offense, where uber-talented Rondale Moore is somehow the WR4. Davis Mills and the Texans' offensive line, on the other hand, have struggled to identify blitzes in every game except the one against New England. Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph is all about sending that heat. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
ML: -800 · 5-1
Chicago Bears
ML: +550 · 3-3
  • WHERE: Raymond James Stadium (Tampa, Fla.)
  • WHEN: 4:25 p.m. ET | CBS
  • SPREAD: Bucs -12.5 | O/U: 47

The Buccaneers took their loss to the Bears personally last year. In Lars Anderson's new book A Season in the Sun, a 20-19 Week 5 loss in Chicago stands at the forefront in the minds of Bruce Arians and Tom Brady as an inflexion point in a challenging start to the season. It's not like the Tampa offense needs extra motivation to score on anyone, and Justin Fields doesn't look ready to play a game in the 30s. This week, the rested Bucs have a chance to show how this offense has progressed in the last year and 16 days, how the vision Arians and Brady had for this offense the day the quarterback signed has come remarkably, indisputably true.  

San Francisco 49ers
ML: -210 · 2-3
Indianapolis Colts
ML: +175 · 2-4
  • WHERE: Levi's Stadium (Santa Clara, Calif.)
  • WHEN: 8:20 p.m. ET | NBC
  • SPREAD: Colts +4 | O/U: 44

Indianapolis' offense gets better every week. For 60 minutes in Week 6, it looked downright explosive, but that came against the Texans. Parris Campbell is now on injured reserve and T.Y. Hilton's status for Sunday is unclear. His availability matters, as does that of some of the Colts' offensive line starters against a 49ers front that has kept the defense afloat. This is such a massive game for both teams, a chance to get the season back on track -- and for Jimmy Garoppolo, perhaps one last chance to keep his job. Indy has been playing better, so the spread is too big no matter who you think wins straight up.


New Orleans Saints
ML: -230 · 3-2
Seattle Seahawks
ML: +190 · 2-4

The cavalry has started to return for the Saints, with wideout Tre'Quan Smith, kicker Wil Lutz, pass rusher Marcus Davenport and linebacker Kwon Alexander all returning to practice this week, even though it's unclear if they'll play. Russell Wilson, however, is a long way away. While the Seahawks' secondary showed signs of life last week, this game does not match up well for the Sons of Geno Smith. New Orleans ranks third in defensive DVOA, combining a cohesive secondary with a run defense that won't get pushed around like Pittsburgh did last week. Like so many Saints games this season, they should probably win if Jameis Winston doesn't do anything crazy.


Cleveland Browns
ML: -120 · 3-3
Denver Broncos
ML: +100 · 3-3

Even if the Browns' offensive line isn't all the way back, the Broncos don't have the firepower up front to hurt them. Von Miller remains a plus starter, but Denver has very little else in the front seven, leading to some numbers suggesting the team's pass defense is among the worst in football. The relatively healthy Cleveland defense is the best group in the game. I don't think fill-in starter Case Keenum is a big step down from 2021 Baker Mayfield for one game, but the quarterback position isn't the only area on the Browns' roster with health issues. NFL Network's James Palmer indicates Cleveland left tackle Jedrick Wills and wideout Jarvis Landry are on track to return, while RT Jack Conklin and WR Odell Beckham Jr. could be out. That should help the Browns have just enough on offense to get the win. And in the immortal words of Chris Wesseling, Thursday is a night to let your Case Keenum flag fly.

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