NFL capsules for Week 7

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Denver Broncos at Cleveland Browns

Week 7 begins as the Denver Broncos (3-3 SU and ATS) visit the Cleveland Browns (3-3 SU and ATS) on “Thursday Night Football.” The teams have combined to lose five straight games after hot starts. The Browns are favored by 3.5 even as questions linger around the health of Baker Mayfield, who continues to play through a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder. The Broncos’ 3-0 start seems like a distant memory as they have lost three in a row and were dominated by the Raiders last week, yielding over 8 yards per play. The Browns were buried by the Cardinals 37-14 and have lost two consecutive games. Injuries abound for both teams and will be something to monitor on a short week. The status of Browns running back Nick Chubb will be in question, while Kareem Hunt is out. The Broncos are dealing with injuries to a number of starters but hope to get receiver Jerry Jeudy back soon. The total is 44.5.

Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens

The Cincinnati Bengals (4-2 SU and ATS) have a chance to move into first place in the AFC North with a win as they visit the Baltimore Ravens (5-1 SU, 3-3 ATS). The Ravens had one of the season’s more impressive performances as they cooled off the Chargers, holding them to six points, 208 yards, 3.8 yards per play and just 25 percent on third down. The Bengals are also coming off a dominant performance, as the only touchdown they allowed was in the final minutes of a 34-3 rout of the Lions. They held Detroit to 228 yards of offense on 3.9 yards per play. The Bengals can tie the Ravens at 5-2 with a victory and would own the early tiebreaker. The upstart Bengals have shown a surprisingly stout defense, holding opponents to just over 5 yards per play, second best in the league behind the Bills. The Ravens are favored by 6.5, and the total is 47.

Carolina Panthers at New York Giants

The Carolina Panthers (3-3 SU and ATS) visit the New York Giants (1-5 SU, 2-4 ATS) as both teams look to snap losing streaks. The Panthers were flying high at 3-0 but now try to avoid falling below .500 less than a month later. They lost to the Vikings last week 34-28 in overtime in a game that was nowhere near as close as the score indicates. The Panthers were outgained 571-306 and were held to 4.5 yards per play. They have lost all three games without running back Christian McCaffrey, who has been placed on IR and will miss at least two more weeks. The Giants were buried 38-3 by the Rams and will not feel sorry for the Panthers‘ injury woes as they have become the walking wounded the last few weeks. Running back Saquon Barkley is likely to miss this game, and breakout wide receiver Kadarius Toney left Sunday’s game with an ankle injury. Receivers Darius Slayton and Kenny Golladay were also inactive due to injury.  The Panthers are favored by 2.5, and the total is 44.5.

Washington Football Team at Green Bay Packers

Washington (2-4 SU, 1-5 ATS) visits the Green Bay Packers (5-1 SU and ATS), with the Packers favored by 9.5. Washington was a trendy pick to surprise out of the NFC East but has covered only once, as a late touchdown against the Falcons got Washington to the window in Week 4. Washington is in the bottom half of the league in yards per play on defense and has allowed opponents to average 7.7 yards per pass attempt, 25th in the league. That shaky secondary will be tested this week as Aaron Rodgers and the Packers have shaken off a Week 1 loss to the Saints to win five straight, covering each time. The lookahead line was 7.5, but another poor showing for Washington has the line flirting with the key number of 10. The total is 49.5.

Atlanta Falcons at Miami Dolphins

The Atlanta Falcons (2-3 SU and ATS) are off a bye and will go on the road to play the Miami Dolphins (1-5 SU, 2-4 ATS). The preseason market had the Dolphins essentially a coin flip to make the playoffs, but Miami has lost five straight. A bottom-five record now looks more likely than a trip to the postseason, as a late fumble in the red zone by the Patriots is the only thing keeping the Dolphins from a winless record. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa returned and played reasonably well for the Dolphins despite a 23-20 loss to the Jaguars, throwing for 329 yards. The Falcons are looking to even their record after beating the Jets in London two weeks ago. They were slight dogs on the lookahead line but are now favored by 1.5. Both teams are near the bottom of the league, averaging about 5 yards per play on offense. The Dolphins are dealing with injuries to wide receivers Will Fuller and DeVante Parker. The total is 48.

New York Jets at New England Patriots

The New York Jets (1-4 SU and ATS) will go on the road to play the New England Patriots (2-4 SU and ATS) with both teams in desperate need of a victory. These teams met in Week 2, with the Patriots winning 25-6, intercepting rookie quarterback Zach Wilson four times. The Patriots are 7-point favorites and are looking to avoid a stunning 0-5 mark at home. While the record is ugly, the Patriots have twice lost on the last play to upper-echelon teams, the Cowboys and the Buccaneers. Bill Belichick vs. a rookie quarterback is certainly an angle that bettors have to consider, as Wilson will look to improve from a poor showing in the first matchup. The total is one of the lower ones on the board at 42.5.

Kansas City Chiefs at Tennessee Titans

We can expect plenty of fireworks when two of the best offenses in the league square off as the Kansas City Chiefs (3-3 SU, 2-4 ATS) visit the Tennessee Titans (4-2 SU and ATS). The Titans won a shootout against an elite offense Monday night, holding off the high-powered Bills 34-31. The schedule doesn’t get much easier as they face a Chiefs team that just evened its record at 3-3, shutting out Washington in the second half and covering for just the third time in the last 18 games. Both teams are near the bottom of the league, allowing over 6 yards per play on defense. The Chiefs are 4.5-point favorites, up from 3 on the lookahead line off their strong showing Sunday. The total is the highest on the board at 56.5.

Detroit Lions at Los Angeles Rams

The Detroit Lions (0-6 SU, 3-3 ATS) are the last remaining winless team, and it will take a monster upset to change that this week as they visit the Los Angeles Rams (5-1 SU, 4-2 ATS). These teams swapped quarterbacks last winter, so Jared Goff and Matthew Stafford will face their former teams. The Lions have been scrappy at times despite their record but were dominated at home by the Bengals in their last game, trailing 34-3 before a late touchdown and two-point conversion in the final minutes. The Rams were on the other end of a blowout, burying the Giants 38-3 on the road. The line is 14.5, and the total is 50, and this is an appetizing survivor option this week.

Philadelphia Eagles at Las Vegas Raiders

The Philadelphia Eagles (2-4 SU and ATS) visit the Las Vegas Raiders (4-2 SU, 3-3 ATS) with the Raiders as 3.5-point favorites, up from the lookahead line of 2.5. Concerns about a distracted Raiders team heading into last weekend’s game in Denver were quelled as they dominated the Broncos as underdogs. The Raiders’ first game without Jon Gruden as coach was a 34-24 victory, a game in which they led by 21 points and averaged over 8 yards per play. The Eagles were not as impressive last week, trailing the Bucs 28-7 before a late rally got them to the window as 28-22 losers in a game in which they were 7-point underdogs. The Bucs were without their top four cornerbacks, and Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts had accumulated only 56 yards passing entering the fourth quarter. The Eagles will have had 10 days to rest and prepare for this one. The total is 48.5.

Chicago Bears at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Chicago Bears (3-3 SU and ATS) visit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-1 SU, 2-4 ATS) in a rematch of a Thursday night game from last year that the Bears won. The defending champion Bucs have a sparkling 5-1 record and appear poised to run away with the NFC South. That success, however, hasn’t translated into beating spreads, as they have covered just twice. The Bears have turned the reins to rookie Justin Fields, and fellow rookie Khalil Herbert has emerged as the starting running back in a banged-up backfield. The Bears have struggled on offense, as they are dead last in the league averaging just over 4 yards per play. Add Richard Sherman to a growing list of injured Bucs cornerbacks; he will miss several weeks with a hamstring injury. The Bucs are favored by 11, and the total is 47.5.

Houston Texans at Arizona Cardinals

The Houston Texans (1-5 SU, 3-3 ATS) have been competitive in half their games and blown out in the other half, leading to a league-worst -80 point differential. They travel this week to take on the league’s lone unbeaten team, the Arizona Cardinals (6-0 SU, 5-1 ATS). The Cardinals are favored by 17, one of the higher spreads we will see all season, despite being without star center Rodney Hudson and possibly elite pass rusher Chandler Jones. The Texans closed as 18.5-point dogs a few weeks ago against the Bills yet lost 40-0. The total is 47.5, as this will certainly be a popular pick for survivor contests.

Indianapolis Colts at San Francisco 49ers

The Indianapolis Colts (2-4 SU, 4-2 ATS) have been profitable this year despite their disappointing 2-4 start. They will visit the San Francisco 49ers (2-3 SU, 1-4 ATS), who are looking to even their record after losing three straight. The 49ers are off a bye and favored by 3.5, but questions loom about who will be under center. Trey Lance is dealing with a sprained left knee and did not practice Monday, while Jimmy Garoppolo may be able to return after missing the previous game with a calf injury. Colts quarterback Carson Wentz has quietly played very well, throwing nine touchdown passes to only one interception. San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan is 8-18-2 ATS in his career as a favorite. The total is 45.

New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks

Week 7 concludes Monday night as the New Orleans Saints (3-2 SU and ATS) visit the Seattle Seahawks (2-4 SU, 3-3 ATS). The Seahawks’ first game without quarterback Russell Wilson ended in defeat but was profitable for their backers as they covered Sunday night in Pittsburgh. Geno Smith will once again be under center against the Saints, who are favored by five points in Seattle. The Saints are off a bye and will face a Seahawks team that is dead last in the league, allowing opposing offenses to run an average of almost 73 plays per game. At 2-4 and without Wilson for at least the next two games, the Seahawks’ playoff aspirations would be in serious peril with another loss as they are already last in the loaded NFC West. The total is 44.

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