Week 7 NFL game picks, schedule guide, fantasy football tips and more

NFL

The Week 7 NFL slate is stacked with great matchups. Our NFL Nation reporters bring us the keys to every game, a bold prediction for each matchup and final score predictions.

Additionally, ESPN Stats & Information provides a stat to know for each game, and the Football Power Index (FPI) goes inside the numbers with a matchup rating (on a scale of 1 to 100) and a game projection. ESPN Fantasy‘s Kyle Soppe and ESPN Chalk‘s Mackenzie Kraemer hand out helpful nuggets as well. It’s all here to help get you ready for a loaded weekend of NFL football.

Let’s get into the full Week 7 schedule, including a showdown between the AFC South’s top two teams.

Jump to a matchup:
HOU-IND | MIN-DET | LAR-ATL
OAK-GB | SF-WSH | MIA-BUF
JAX-CIN | ARI-NYG | LAC-TEN
NO-CHI | BAL-SEA | PHI-DAL
NE-NYJ

Thursday: KC 30, DEN 6
Bye: CAR, CLE, PIT, TB


1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 75.2 | Spread: IND -1 (47)

What to watch for: Can the Texans hold off the Colts’ pass rush? The Colts have sacked Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson 15 times in three meetings, including the playoffs last season. They also sacked Patrick Mahomes, who has somewhat of a similar playing style to Watson, four times in a Week 5 meeting with Kansas City. Watson has been sacked 18 times in six games this season. — Mike Wells

Bold prediction: On that note, Watson is sacked five or more times. He was not sacked in either of his past two games, but the Colts have had success with their pass rush against him in the past. Houston’s offensive line had improved, but now it has a new right tackle after Tytus Howard partially tore the MCL in his left knee against the Chiefs. — Sarah Barshop

Stat to know: Houston running back Carlos Hyde put up 116 rushing yards in last week’s win over the Chiefs but has never had consecutive 100-yard rushing games in his NFL career. And despite only running the ball by design 38% of the time (15th highest in the NFL this season), the Texans have the NFL’s fifth-best rushing offense, averaging 139.8 yards per game.

What to know for fantasy: Indianapolis’ T.Y. Hilton has been a top-four receiver in his previous two games at Houston — but outside the top 25 at the position in his past two home games against the Texans. See Week 7 rankings.

Betting nugget: Watson is 10-2 against the spread (ATS) in his career as an underdog (6-6 outright). Read more.

Barshop’s pick: Texans 30, Colts 27
Wells’ pick: Texans 27, Colts 21
FPI prediction: HOU, 53.4% (by an average of 1.2 points)

Matchup must-reads: The incredible survival story of DeAndre Hopkins and his mom‘I’m not playing to tie’: How Reich’s call defined 2018 for Colts, TexansIn concussion protocol, LB Leonard watched Colts games at home in uniformTexans’ trades raised eyebrows on cut-down day, but they’re working


1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 74.9 | Spread: MIN -2 (43.5)

What to watch for: The Vikings should focus on the ground game again, as Dalvin Cook looks to take advantage of a Lions defense that has given up at least 100 yards rushing every week. Cook could be in line for a monster day, perhaps as big as 150 yards and a touchdown or two. How Detroit handles Cook could be the key to a win or loss. — Michael Rothstein

Bold prediction: Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford will be sacked at least six times. Yes, his offensive line is better than last year, and yes, he’s been sacked only 10 times in five games and is averaging a career-best 8 yards gained per pass attempt. But it’s going to be another long day for the 11-year veteran QB against the Vikings defense, given he has few options for a quick out and not much to work with in the passing game beyond receiver Kenny Golladay. — Courtney Cronin

Stat to know: According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Minnesota QB Kirk Cousins has averaged 2.98 seconds to throw this season, the most in the NFL. The Lions have allowed opponents 2.99 seconds to throw this season, highest in the NFL, in part because they blitz on a league-low 9% of dropbacks.

What to know for fantasy: Cook and Christian McCaffrey are the only running backs this season with five games of at least 19 fantasy points. See Week 7 rankings.

Betting nugget: Minnesota is 0-6 ATS with Cousins in games where the line is at or within three points. Read more.

Cronin’s pick: Vikings 20, Lions 17
Rothstein’s pick: Lions 20, Vikings 17
FPI prediction: MIN, 63.3% (by an average of 4.7 points)

Matchup must-reads: Vikings’ offense will go as high as Diggs and Thielen push itBillboards protesting costly penalty against Lions appear in Detroit


1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 62.1 | Spread: LAR -3 (54.5)

What to watch for: Since the defense still hasn’t figured out how to stop opponents on a consistent basis, the Falcons have to rely on their high-powered offense, which has surpassed 30 points the past two games even in defeat. A possible Julio JonesJalen Ramsey matchup could be fun, but the Falcons should be able to score regardless. — Vaughn McClure

Bold prediction: Jones, Calvin Ridley and Mohamed Sanu will all have big days for the Falcons. The Rams receive a boost with the acquisition of Ramsey, though it’s uncertain how much he will play. But even a trio of Atlanta receivers stacking yards won’t be quite enough to defeat the defending NFC champions. — Lindsey Thiry

Stat to know: The Rams’ Cooper Kupp has 100 receiving yards in four games this season. Since 2006, only one Rams receiver has had five 100-yard receiving games in a season (Brandin Cooks, five in 2018).

What to know for fantasy: Atlanta’s Matt Ryan is the only quarterback this season with four games of 300 passing yards and three passing touchdowns. See Week 7 rankings.

Betting nugget: Over the past two seasons, Atlanta is 6-16 ATS, the worst record in the NFL. It has failed to cover in four straight games and is 1-5 ATS this season, tied with Washington for worst in the NFL. Read more.

Thiry’s pick: Rams 28, Falcons 24
McClure’s pick: Falcons 35, Rams 28
FPI prediction: ATL, 50.4% (by an average of 0.2 points)

Matchup must-reads: Steep price for CB Ramsey doesn’t fix Rams’ issues on offenseWith NFL-low five sacks, Falcons must find ways to generate more pressureGrading the Ramsey trade from the Jaguars to Rams: Who won?


1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 56.7 | Spread: GB -5.5 (46.5)

What to watch for: Which defensive front controls the game may determine who wins. The Packers’ pass rush, fueled by Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith, has combined for 13 sacks this season. The Smiths combined for 2.5 sacks in Monday night’s win against the Lions alone, and half of their season sacks have come on third-down plays. But the Raiders have allowed just eight sacks this season, fifth fewest in the league entering Week 7. — Rob Demovsky

Bold prediction: Raiders running back Josh Jacobs will set the tone early with a ground-and-pound attack that would make even Vince Lombardi smile, and he will finish with his second straight 100-plus-yard rushing day after going for 126 against the Bears in London two weeks ago. The Packers are giving up 124.5 yards per game on the ground, and the Raiders, sans a true No. 1 receiver, are transitioning into a smash-mouth-type offense. — Paul Gutierrez

Stat to know: Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers has 23 wins against AFC opponents since the 2010 season, the most by any NFC quarterback. The Packers are also 15-4 at home against AFC teams since 2010, and have won three in a row.

What to know for fantasy: Raiders tight end Darren Waller has yet to score on his 42 targets. The other nine top-10 tight ends this season are scoring once every 20 targets. See Week 7 rankings.

Betting nugget: Since 2014, teams coming off a bye (Oakland) are just 2-7-1 ATS against teams coming off a Monday game (Green Bay). And since 1990, those teams are just 13-26-2 ATS. Read more.

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1:11

Rob Ninkovich picks the Packers over the Raiders as long as they can stop the run and force QB Derrek Carr to throw.

Gutierrez’s pick: Packers 27, Raiders 21
Demovsky’s pick: Packers 28, Raiders 24
FPI prediction: GB, 72.3% (by an average of 8.1 points)

Matchup must-reads: Packers sign veteran receiver Grant amid spate of injuriesHow QB Carr’s epic 2016 season compares to his time under Jon GrudenRaiders sign TE Waller to multiyear contract extension


1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 43.4 | Spread: SF -10 (41)

What to watch for: It’ll be a lot of rushing plays. The Redskins will try to run the ball against a defense that ranks 11th in yards per carry allowed. And despite the Niners playing only five games, just one team has rushed more times than them this season (Baltimore), and they will face a defense that ranks 28th in total rushing yards allowed and 23rd in yards per carry. Coach Kyle Shanahan’s revenge game will be won on the ground. — John Keim

Bold prediction: The Redskins will not score a touchdown. Washington is 30th in the league in points per game (15), and San Francisco’s defense is second in points allowed per game (12.8). The Niners’ defense is rolling, the Redskins’ offense is struggling, and it’s going to be hard for Washington to break through. — Nick Wagoner

Stat to know: The 49ers have allowed the fewest passing yards per game this season (150.2) and the lowest opposing Total QBR (15.7). They have allowed just five total touchdowns, and opponents are scoring points on just 58% of red zone trips (second in the NFL behind the Patriots). Oh, and they have yet to allow a running back to rush for 100 yards this season.

What to know for fantasy: Matt Breida‘s catch count has increased with each game this season, a nice trend to have for a running back averaging 5.8 yards per carry this season. See Week 7 rankings.

Betting nugget: Washington has lost seven straight home games, going 1-6 ATS in that span and 0-3 ATS this season. Read more.

Wagoner’s pick: 49ers 38, Redskins 6
Keim’s pick: 49ers 30, Redskins 10
FPI prediction: SF, 78.0% (by an average of 10.5 points)

Matchup must-reads: Turnover turnaround at center of 49ers’ early-season defensive surgeShanahan says he’s ‘moved on’ from Redskins dysfunctionNFL playoff risers: Barnwell on six surprising teams, and what’s next


1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 35.8 | Spread: BUF -16.5 (40.5)

What to watch for: The Bills have yet to employ an offense that includes both Devin Singletary and Duke Williams, each of whom offers a dynamic element. Look for offensive coordinator Brian Daboll to get creative with his new-look offense against the Dolphins’ barely-there defense. — Marcel Louis-Jacques

Bold prediction: To that point, the Bills rush for 250-plus yards. The Dolphins have the NFL’s second-worst run defense, allowing 170 yards per game. The game plan should be easy for Buffalo: Attack Miami where it hurts. — Cameron Wolfe

Stat to know: After last week’s win against the Redskins, FPI is giving the Dolphins an 88.5% chance to get the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL draft. The next-highest chance belongs to the Bengals … at 7%.

What to know for fantasy: Buffalo’s Josh Allen threw five touchdown passes last season against the Dolphins (59 attempts) and five against the rest of the NFL (261 attempts). See Week 7 rankings.

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0:53

Victor Cruz believes the Bills’ defense will be too much to handle for the Dolphins who are still figuring out their QB situation.

Betting nugget: Miami is the second team since the 1970 merger to be an underdog of at least 14 points in four of its first six games of a season (1977 Seattle). Read more.

Wolfe’s pick: Bills 27, Dolphins 10
Louis-Jacques’ pick: Bills 35, Dolphins 7
FPI prediction: BUF, 94.3% (by an average of 21.5 points)

Matchup must-reads: As 17-point favorites, Bills flip script, make Vegas betting historyRosen benching clear sign he isn’t in Dolphins’ long-term QB plan


1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 15.7 | Spread: JAX -4 (43.5)

What to watch for: The winless Bengals are down to a fourth-string left tackle and have the worst rushing defense in the league. Jacksonville, on the other hand, has Leonard Fournette and a pass rush led by rookie Josh Allen, who already has four sacks this season. — Ben Baby

Bold prediction: Fournette will rush for 150 yards and two touchdowns. The Bengals are last in the NFL in rushing yards allowed (184.5 per game) and yards per carry (5.3), and the Jaguars are going to try to exploit that weakness, especially with rookie QB Gardner Minshew II coming off his worst game of the season. — Mike DiRocco

Stat to know: Jacksonville’s DJ Chark Jr. has 528 receiving yards (third in the NFL), and his five receiving touchdowns are tied for second both in the NFL this season and in Jaguars history through the team’s first six games.

What to know for fantasy: The Bengals’ Auden Tate has seen 34 targets over the past four weeks, 13th most in the NFL over that stretch. See Week 7 rankings.

Betting nugget: Teams 0-4 or worse (Cincinnati) are 13-29-1 ATS as home underdogs since 2009. Read more.

DiRocco’s pick: Jaguars 24, Bengals 7
Baby’s pick: Jaguars 21, Bengals 10
FPI prediction: JAX, 57.1% (by an average of 2.5 points)

Matchup must-reads: Teammates will miss CB Ramsey, but Jaguars moving forwardBengals’ pass rush needs spark from ‘five stars’ like DT AtkinsWise use of picks from Ramsey trade could power Jaguars for decade


1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 12.7 | Spread: NYG -3 (50.5)

What to watch for: It’s time for Kyler Murray vs. Daniel Jones. It will be just the eighth time in 49 years there has been a matchup of top-10-pick rookie quarterbacks. Murray was No. 1 overall this year, and Jones went No. 6. So far this season, Murray has averaged 277 passing yards per game, while Jones has averaged 230. Jones has also turned the ball over more frequently. It will be interesting to see how they stack up against each other on the same field against subpar defenses. — Jordan Raanan

Bold prediction: Murray will throw for 450 yards. He finished with 340 against the Falcons on Sunday for his third 300-yard game this season. Against the Giants, Murray will be facing a defense that allows 285 passing yards per game, second most in the NFL. That’s just asking Murray, who’s shown weekly growth and development, to put up huge numbers. — Josh Weinfuss

Stat to know: The Giants own the NFL’s worst turnover total this season at 15, including five games with multiple giveaways. They had 19 turnovers for the entire 2018 season.

What to know for fantasy: Murray has more rushing attempts in October (21) than he did in September (18) and completed a season-high 73% of his passes last week against the Falcons. See Week 7 rankings.

Betting nugget: New York is 2-8-1 ATS at home over the past two seasons. Read more.

Weinfuss’ pick: Cardinals 31, Giants 17
Raanan’s pick: Giants 31, Cardinals 30
FPI prediction: NYG, 54.7% (by an average of 1.7 points)

Matchup must-reads: Promising starts: Analyzing rookie QBs Murray, JonesCB Peterson’s return adds to Cardinals’ momentumA deeper look at Jones’ six interceptionsIs RB Johnson becoming a bigger receiving threat for Cardinals?


4:05 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 47.2 | Spread: TEN -2 (41)

What to watch for: All eyes will be on quarterback Ryan Tannehill as he makes his first start for the Titans. The focus will be on whether Tannehill is decisive with the football and whether it keeps him from getting sacked. He should look to get the ball out quickly to the receivers so they can make plays. — Turron Davenport

Bold prediction: Chargers running back Melvin Gordon rushes for more than 100 yards. He has been held to just 49 rushing yards through two games since his return from a holdout, but the last time he played against Tennessee, Gordon totaled a career-high 196 rushing yards in 2016. — Eric D. Williams

Stat to know: The Titans have gone 18 straight games without 300 passing yards, the second-longest active streak in the NFL (Bills, 38).

What to know for fantasy: Gordon has 10.7 points as a pass-catcher compared to just 4.9 points as a ball carrier this season, and none of his 20 carries have gained more than 7 yards. See Week 7 rankings.

Betting nugget: Tennessee is 0-3 outright this season as a favorite. All three games went under, as Tennessee averaged 10.3 points per game. Read more.

Williams’ pick: Titans 20, Chargers 17
Davenport’s pick: Chargers 19, Titans 14
FPI prediction: TEN, 60.2% (by an average of 3.6 points)

Matchup must-reads: RB Gordon’s solution to his slow start? More touchesWhy the Titans turned to Tannehill and what’s next for MariotaOT Okung set to return to practice from pulmonary embolismMariota: Demotion doesn’t mean career is over


4:25 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 67.4 | Spread: CHI -3.5 (38.5)

What to watch for: Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky is expected to return from a left shoulder injury, but can he breathe life into Chicago’s stale offense? The numbers say no. The Bears rank near the bottom of the league in virtually every important offensive statistical category, and that’s after Trubisky’s backup, Chase Daniel, strung together two decent outings before Chicago’s bye week. The Saints defense seems like a bad matchup for Trubisky. — Jeff Dickerson

Bold prediction: Saints right tackle Ryan Ramczyk will allow his first sack of the season to Khalil Mack (who splits time evenly on the left and right sides). Ramczyk, a second-team All-Pro last season, has pitched a shutout so far this year despite lining up against the likes of J.J. Watt and DeMarcus Lawrence. — Mike Triplett

Stat to know: Michael Thomas leads the NFL with 53 receptions, eight more than any other player entering Week 7. He is the only player in NFL history with multiple seasons of 50 receptions through six games (also 53 through six games last season).

What to know for fantasy: Allen Robinson II is one of just four receivers to have seven catches and 75 receiving yards in each of his past two games heading into Week 7 (Thomas, Chris Godwin and Julian Edelman are the others). See Week 7 rankings.

play

1:50

Victor Cruz says the Saints are playing smart and effective football, which will lead them to a Week 7 win over the Bears.

Betting nugget: New Orleans is 4-0 this season in Teddy Bridgewater starts. Bridgewater is 27-7 ATS overall and 15-2 ATS as an underdog in his career. Both are the best by any quarterback in the Super Bowl era (minimum 15 starts). Read more.

Triplett’s pick: Bears 19, Saints 17
Dickerson’s pick: Saints 13, Bears 9
FPI prediction: CHI, 55.5% (by an average of 1.9 points)

Matchup must-reads: Bridgewater could bolster resume at Chicago as Brees nears returnNagy ‘cautiously optimistic’ Trubisky will playSaints’ D-line takes control in Drew Brees’ absenceInside the Bears’ offensive struggles, starting with Nagy


4:25 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 62.8 | Spread: SEA -3 (49)

What to watch for: Can Russell Wilson continue his scorching start against Earl Thomas III, Marcus Peters and the Ravens’ secondary? And what kind of reaction will Thomas get at CenturyLink Field given how much he meant to the Seahawks during his nine seasons in Seattle but also how poorly that relationship ended last season? It’s shaping up as an exciting showdown in Seattle. — Brady Henderson

Bold prediction: Wilson throws for more than 300 yards and three touchdowns, taking advantage of Baltimore’s aggressiveness. The Ravens blitz at the highest rate in the NFL (45%), but Wilson completes a league-best 73% of his passes against the blitz. — Jamison Hensley

Stat to know: Wilson has posted 14 passing touchdowns, a 73% completion percentage, 9.0 yards per attempt and an 80 Total QBR — all bests for his career through six games. Helping him to those numbers, Seahawks receivers have been “wide open” — 5 yards of separation at arrival of the throw — on 31% of their targets this season, the highest mark in the NFL, per NFL Next Gen Stats.

What to know for fantasy: Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson would have been RB9 last week if he was a running back and only his rushing stats counted (152 yards and a touchdown). See Week 7 rankings.

Betting nugget: Baltimore is 0-4-1 ATS in five games this season since beating Miami 59-10 in Week 1. Read more.

Hensley’s pick: Seahawks 31, Ravens 26
Henderson’s pick: Seahawks 27, Ravens 23
FPI prediction: SEA, 64.4% (by an average of 5.0 points)

Matchup must-reads: Ravens TE Boyle in pursuit of NFL’s most elusive TD catchNFL MVP stock watch: Why QB Wilson leads the top five candidates so farWith Peters, Ravens get playmaking corner without the cost of RamseyFast track to history: QB Jackson on historic rushing paceSeahawks expect TE Dissly to miss rest of season


8:20 p.m. ET | NBC
Matchup rating: 68.7 | Spread: DAL -2.5 (48.5)

What to watch for: Can the Cowboys get off to a fast start? In their three-game losing streak, they have been outscored 47-9 in the first half. In their past two games, they have trailed by 28 and 18 points. To make a comeback under those circumstances, things have to go perfectly. They haven’t. — Todd Archer

Bold prediction: Dallas’ Dak Prescott will be forced into a pair of turnovers that will prove to be the difference in the game, as the combination of an ailing Cowboys offensive line and the return of corner Jalen Mills sparks the Eagles’ defense. — Tim McManus

Stat to know: The Cowboys used play-action on 34% of their pass attempts over the first three weeks of the season, but that has fallen to 17% over the past three weeks. And when running play-action, Prescott has seen his yards per attempt fall from 12.1 to 7.6, his completion percentage drop from 81% to 70%, and a 4-to-1 TD-INT ratio plummet to 0-to-2.

What to know for fantasy: Philadelphia’s Zach Ertz is one of three players in the NFL with at least 50 receiving yards in each of the first six weeks of the season. That said, he is not one of the 96 players with a 75-plus-yard receiving game this season. See Week 7 rankings.

Betting nugget: Dallas has lost three straight games, all as a favorite, for the first time since 1979. It has not lost four straight games, all as a favorite, since 1974. Read more.

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1:26

Victor Cruz believes the Eagles understand the game plan to defeat the Cowboys after Dallas has had a rough couple of weeks.

McManus’ pick: Eagles 27, Cowboys 20
Archer’s pick: Eagles 31, Cowboys 27
FPI prediction: DAL, 62.8% (by an average of 4.5 points)

Matchup must-reads: Eagles at Cowboys: Who will rule the NFC East in 2019 and beyond?Eagles need cornerback help stat; ‘suckers’ need not applyCowboys’ Garrett deep in survival mode — once again


Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET | ESPN/ESPN App
Matchup rating: 56.8 | Spread: NE -10 (43.5)

What to watch for: The Jets’ blitz schemes will cause problems for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who has struggled the past three weeks when throwing under pressure. That will be enough to keep the game close, but the Jets will have major issues with New England’s man-to-man coverage schemes and won’t be able to keep up offensively. Sam Darnold will learn a hard lesson about quarterbacking against a Bill Belichick-coached defense. — Rich Cimini

Bold prediction: Undrafted free-agent wide receiver Jakobi Meyers will record his first career touchdown pass. The Patriots project to lean more on Meyers with Josh Gordon (knee) ailing and Phillip Dorsett II (hamstring) hoping to return after having missed the Week 6 win over the Giants. Testing the Jets’ depth at cornerback figures to be part of the Patriots’ plan. — Mike Reiss

Stat to know: In his past three games, Brady has been pressured 24% of the time, which is up from 15% in his first three games. When pressured this season, he is completing just 24% of his passes (third worst in the NFL), is averaging only 2.5 yards per attempt and has two interceptions. The Jets blitz on 38% of opponent QB dropbacks, which is the fourth-highest rate in the NFL.

What to know for fantasy: In Darnold’s return to action in Week 6, Robby Anderson scored 23.5 points, 4.7 points more than he scored during the three games he played without Darnold. See Week 7 rankings.

Betting nugget: New York has covered five of the past six home meetings between these two, though it failed to cover last season with Josh McCown at quarterback. Read more.

Reiss’ pick: Patriots 20, Jets 17
Cimini’s pick: Patriots 23, Jets 20
FPI prediction: NE, 85.2% (by an average of 14.3 points)

Matchup must-reads: Patriots suspend Michael Bennett for detrimental conductSource: Jets G Osemele done for season

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