I’m back to my usual form with picking Thursday night, and I shall have to see if I can work out a way to fade my own selections next week, but without further ado let’s get to the week seven trivia question and hopefully better selections for the rest of the games.
‘Which team did Cincinnati Bengal quarterback Carson Palmer get his first win against?’
This is a proper I’m going to look stupid question as Palmer’s first game came a year after he was drafted as this was a time when quarterbacks still routinely sat for their first year, but it was also something like fifteen years ago so there wasn’t the back loading of the season with division games – I’m going to stick in the AFC North, although it could be any one and say the Cleveland Browns. Knowing my luck it will be the Dolphins.
For the theme I’m going for The Wrong Football, as the teams involved all seem to be related to the teams we support or have seen play.
‘I think I’m going to just have to go down the logical route on this one seeing as Carson Palmer will have played the Ravens, Browns and Steelers twice per year, so it’s more likely to be one of those than anyone else. I think I’ll go with the Cleveland Browns.
Still no clue on the theme but now after that clue I feel a bit silly for deleting the old emails with the questions on!’
Rams @ Falcons (+3.5)
I’m really not sure about this one as the Falcons have been plain bad for a number of weeks, particularly on defence whilst the Rams have also been struggling. I’m leaning towards the Rams for the win despite the problems they have been having, but the number does give me pause. In the end I’m going to plump for the Rams but I really don’t feel good about it.
Gee’s Pick: Rams
Dan’s Pick: Rams
Dolphins @ Bills (-16.5)
I have seen this line as high as seventeen and I think the Bills are a genuinely good team, but I think this line is too high given the Dolphins are starting Fitzpatrick and the Bills’ highest win so far this season is fourteen. I could be wrong, but I’m not sure the Bills’ offence is going to generate the points necessary to cover this line, even if I expect them to win.
Gee’s Pick: Dolphins
Dan’s Pick: Dolphins
Jaguars @ Bengals (+3.5)
The Jaguars may be on a losing streak of two games, but they are still a much better side by DVOA and it’s so hard to trust the Bengals at the moment. I perhaps should be grabbing the points but I’m not sure the Bengals will keep this one within a field goal. I would love to be proved wrong.
Gee’s Pick: Jaguars
Dan’s Pick: Jaguars
Vikings @ Lions (-1.5)
I’m seeing very different lines than this one, and my concern is that the Lions have been competitive for pretty much all year, whilst the Vikings have been a bit up and down, but given how the Vikings have played in the last couple of weeks and they’re still getting points I’m going to pick them.
Gee’s Pick: Vikings
Dan’s Pick: Vikings
Raiders @ Packers (-6.5)
The Green Bay Packers are 5-1 despite the new offence not quite clicking thanks to a defence that ranks top ten by DVOA and the fact that quietly the offence is also top ten. That said, the Raiders have been competitive all year and have a winning record and whilst I’m not saying they will go into Lambeau Field and win, I do fancy them to keep the game within seven.
Gee’s Pick: Raiders
Dan’s Pick: Packers
Texans @ Colts (-1.5)
The Texans have won two games in a row whilst not giving up a sack and receiver Will Fuller actually has more receiving yards than DeAndre Hopkins, which has given the offence some more balance than they’ve had in recent years. They travel to face a Colts team who just beat the Chiefs and so this should be a cracking divisional game, although there is a ten place difference between the Colts and the Texans by overall DVOA and so with them getting points on the road I’m grabbing the Texans.
Gee’s Pick: Texans
Dan’s Pick: Texans
Cardinals @ Giants (-2.5)
Don’t look now, but the Cardinals have won two games in a row and are travelling to face a Giants team who have come back to Earth a little after Daniels Jones’s first two games yielded wins, having faced the Vikings and the Patriots the last two weeks. There is not much between the Cardinals and Giants in terms of DVOA and so I’m finding this a difficult game to pick, particularly has home field advantage seems not to be as strong these days. In the end I’m going to fall on the home team given how young the Cardinals are and I just can’t see them winning three games in a row. Well, until tonight that is…
Gee’s Pick: Giants
Dan’s Pick: Giants
49ers @ Washington (+9.5)
Washington got their first win of the season last week as interim head coach Bill Callahan took over the team and focused on running the ball, but it is one thing to beat the Dolphins when they are in full tank mode and another when facing an unbeaten 49ers team. This is a lot of points for a home underdog, but this is also the second ranked team by DVOA facing the thirtieth and given Washington’s lack of home field advantage I’m backing the 49ers to cover.
Gee’s Pick: 49ers
Dan’s Pick: 49ers
Chargers @ Titans (-2.5)
This is one of the trickier games for me to pick as the LA Chargers have been massively hit by injuries, but the Tennessee Titans have just sat their supposed franchise quarterback having fallen to 2-4 and been held scoreless last week by the Broncos. It has been confirmed that Ryan Tannehill will get the start this week, but given the form of both teams I’m finding it really hard to come down on a side for this game. If left to my own devices I would likely just stay away but given I have to make a pick I am going to grab the points and hope that the experience of Philip Rivers wins out.
Gee’s Pick: Chargers
Dan’s Pick: Titans
Saints @ Bears (-3.5)
As impressive as the Chicago Bears’ defence is, and they are coming off a bye week, I don’t like this line for them as the offence has not clicked at all and the New Orleans Saints’ defence has been playing well, whilst Teddy Bridgewater has been doing enough to win. I’m not saying the Bears can’t win this game, but I like the Saints to keep this one to within a field goal.
Gee’s Pick: Saints
Dan’s Pick: Saints
Ravens @ Seahawks (-3.5)
The Baltimore Ravens looked good against the Bengals last week, but playing a defence whose weaknesses are right at the perfect place for Lamar Jackson to exploit and the Bengals sputtering offence might have masked some of the concerns they’d shown in the previous couple of week. In week seven they travel to Seattle to face a Seahawks team who are 5-1 for a reason, and mostly that is the efficiency of Russell Wilson. The line gives me a slight pause, but Seattle have a genuine home-field advantage and I think they are the better team – this should be a cracking game and I could well look foolish by the end of it but I’m taking the Seahawks in this one.
Gee’s Pick: Seahawks
Dan’s Pick: Seahawks
Eagles @ Cowboys (-2.5)
I really don’t like this line at all as neither team are healthy or give me a huge amount of confidence with both of them having lost last week. Whilst the Eagles’ secondary got exposed by the Vikings who have one of the better receiving duos in the league, the Cowboys have struggled to move the ball through the air on offence, have injuries at receiver, and have in fact lost three straight. It’s not much to go on but I’m going to grab the points.
Gee’s Pick: Eagles
Dan’s Pick: Cowboys
Patriots @ Jets (+9.5)
The New York Jets were another team who got their first win last week as the return of Sam Darnold made a huge difference. This week they welcome a Patriots team who continue to beat big lines despite the offence not quite clicking thanks to a league leading by DVOA defence and having played Thursday night will be well rested for this one. It was one thing for the Jets to beat a beat up Cowboys team whose form is going in the wrong direction, but the Patriots are a much tougher proposition and I’m going to back the Pats to continue their impressive run in this one.
Gee’s Pick: Patriots
Dan’s Pick: Patriots
DVOA is Football Outsiders statistic for measure a team’s success on every play versus the league average and you can read more about it and other football topics at https://footballoutsiders.com.