Don’t look now, but we are on course to have all our regularly scheduled NFL games played at the time they were initially scheduled in Week 7! It’s the small victories people. We even get the luxury of Thursday Night Football. Hopefully, you read the sarcasm dripping from the word “luxury” because the matchup is another letdown; the New York Giants (1-5) take on the Philadelphia Eagles (1-4-1). Despite their putrid records, this game will have first-place implications for the NFC East.
Another 1-2 week brings us to 2-4 on the season. No, it’s not ideal, but that’s the process and we have notched a win each week. As usual, there is still more money to be made. If anyone is going to win it, it might as well be us, right?
**Just when we thought we were safe from games being rescheduled, for at least a week anyway, the NFL has flexed the Seattle Seahawks visiting the Arizona Cardinals to Sunday night in place of Bucs-Raiders due to Las Vegas having its entire starting offensive line and safety Johnathan Abram on COVID watch**
Primetime Moneymakers Week 7
New York Giants (1-5) @ Philadelphia Eagles (1-4-1)
Spread: Eagles -4.5
This would typically be one to avoid. With so many injuries for both teams, it’s challenging getting a bead on how this one will go. New York is 3-3 ATS, but all three of their wins have come on the road and two have come in the last three weeks. The Giants offense is putrid, ranking 32nd in DVOA, per Football Outsiders, and 27th or worse in passing yards per game, rushing yards per game, in points per game. But their defense is…better. They rank 17th in DVOA (23rd in pass defense, 15th in rush defense).
Philadelphia (2-4) can’t catch a break. Okay, bad choice of words. But just as the Iggles look to get DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery back they lose Zach Ertz and Miles Sanders for multiple weeks. How healthy will Jackson and Jeffery (a longshot) be in their respective returns? Already without Dallas Goedert, will Richard Rodgers be able to step up? Or will it be the Travis Fulgham show for another week?
Both of these teams are bad and injured and are only on in primetime because everyone must get a shot. Philly’s defense is porous, but the Giants offense is inept. So the question is can the Giants defense keep this one close. They managed to hold the Rams offense to 17 points on the road a couple of weeks ago before struggling against the Cowboys and Football Team. Leave the spread alone and take the Eagles straight up and the under (44.5) in what could be a very ugly watch. They should win handily and hopefully (and mercifully) will get this one over quickly.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-2) @ Las Vegas Raiders (3-2)
Spread: Raiders +3.5
Last we saw of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers they were putting the screws to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers to the tune of 38-straight points and a 28-point lead. It was Tampa’s (3-3 ATS) largest margin of victory of the season and came against what was supposed to be their stiffest challenge. Tampa is first in overall and defensive DVOA and is seventh in offensive DVOA. Not an easy task, though both of their losses came on the road.
If there’s one team with reason not to fear the Bucs it’s Las Vegas (3-2 ATS). After all, they have already taken out the Saints and beat the Chiefs in Arrowhead before their bye. Those are two impressive notches for a team no one is talking about. Derek Carr is having a career year. He commands the sixth-ranked offense in DVOA, is leading the league with a career-best 73.1 completion percentage, and is throwing more touchdowns to fewer interceptions than he ever has. His defense is among the worst in the league so he will have to keep it up to keep up the Raiders winning ways.
The spread (-4) wants you to remember and believe the Raiders two big wins instead of the Bucs thrashing of Green Bay. But Tampa’s defense is better than the Saints or Chiefs and does a good job of limiting big plays over the top; a key in Vegas’ win over KC. Only two of the Bucs opponents have matched the Raiders implied total of 24 points. And against the Patriots and Broncos, two defense close to the Bucs, the most Vegas could muster was 23 points. Take the Bucs, minus the points, and the under as they match up perfectly with what the Raiders want to do.
Seattle Seahawks (5-0) @ Arizona Cardinals (4-2)
Spread: Cardinals +3.5
The Seahawks (4-1 ATS) are the sole remaining undefeated team in the NFL. Russell Wilson is the odds-on favorite to win MVP, the first of his career. Following the #LetRussCook motto, Seattle’s gunslinger leads the NFL in touchdown passes, yards per attempt, and passer rating. The Seahawks are fifth in total DVOA. That’s due to their offense ranking first because their defense is 26th. Letting Russ cook has seemingly been more out of necessity than choice.
Two weeks in a row in primetime for the Cardinals (4-2 ATS)? That’s what the first 4-2 start since 2015 gets you. Obviously this has everything to do with the Raiders COVID issues, but don’t sleep on Kyler Murray’s Cardinals. What we saw from this offense (12th in DVOA) against the Cowboys last Monday could happen again against the porous Seattle secondary. Murray, a preseason favorite for MVP, has had an uneven 2020, throwing six interceptions. But he threw three of those in one (awful) game but he has also thrown 10 touchdown passes and has run for another.
Arizona won the last matchup between these two teams back in December last season. Before that though, Seattle won three straight. Wilson is absolutely dealing right now and, while Murray’s Cardinals had big plays against the Cowboys, he was just 9/24 passing on the night. The Seahawks only win by fewer than five points came last week against a desperate Minnesota Vikings squad. Arizona’s losses both came against the best offenses they’ve faced. Take Seattle minus the points and the over as this could be a fun watch on Sunday night.
Chicago Bears (5-1) @ Los Angeles Rams (4-2)
Spread: Rams -6
These two teams are meeting in primetime for the third time in as many seasons. The Chicago Bears (4-2 ATS) are riding high on a two-game win streak and sitting in first place in the NFC North. Very much on-brand, it has been the defense (fifth in DVOA) doing the heavy lifting. Khalil Mack and Akiem Hick are dominant as ever and Kyle Fuller has locked down the perimeter along with Jaylon Johnson. Can Nick Foles survive a Rams defense that features the NFL sack-leader, Aaron Donald?
Jared Goff has enjoyed a bounceback season and has the Rams (3-3) looking like a contender once again. They’re fifth in offensive DVOA and the offensive line has only allowed seven sacks, tied for second in the league. Goff has his full-compliment of weapons with Cooper Kupp back after tearing his ACL last season. And he has the luxury of three talented running backs to hand the ball off to. He has one of the highest yards per attempt averages which could be problematic against Mack and Co.
Neither of the previous two matchups between Sean McVay’s Rams and Matt Nagy’s Bears have topped 24 points. So the 45-point total might be a little optimistic. The Bears offense isn’t reliable and their defense should be able to limit the Rams. The spread (Rams -6) says Vegas thinks that won’t be the case. After what we saw against the bruised and beaten 49ers, you have to understand our skepticism. Even if this is in-line with the margin of victory from before. The Bears don’t look scary offensively. But the Rams, outside of Donald, don’t either. Take Chicago plus the points and ride the under.
All lines and other betting information courtesy of Covers.com