New week, same story – Geno Smith played admirably in relief of the injured Russell Wilson, but a late turnover ultimately led to a Seattle loss. Trailing 23-17 late in the fourth quarter against the Rams in Week 5, Smith threw a devastating interception that all but ended the game. Then, tied at 20-20 in overtime in Week 6, it was a fumble by Smith that led to the game-winning field goal for Pittsburgh.
Following those two straight losses, the Seahawks find themselves at 2-4 and are in last place in the NFC West. Seattle has a losing record six games into the season for the first time since 2015 when the team also started 2-4. Fortunately for the Hawks, they finished 10-6 and made the playoffs that year. Unfortunately for Seattle, the guy who led them to the unlikely postseason run in 2015 – Wilson – is still hurt and will likely miss the next four or five games.
In addition to Wilson’s absence, the Seahawks were without starting running back Chris Carson, who missed his second consecutive game with a neck injury. Carson is on injured reserve and is eligible to return in Week 10 when Seattle travels to Green Bay.
Now it’s time to get into my picks for Week 7.
My season picks record: 10-4 last week, 60-34 overall
New Orleans (3-2) at Seattle (2-4) – Monday
Despite being shorthanded, the Seahawks fought back from a 14-0 halftime deficit to force overtime against the Steelers. Alex Collins led the second-half charge with 101 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. Geno Smith completed 23 of his 32 pass attempts for 209 yards and a 1-yard touchdown to tight end Will Dissly. DK Metcalf led all receivers with 58 yards on six receptions.
The Saints are coming off a bye. In Week 5, New Orleans downed Washington 33-22. Jameis Winston threw for 279 yards, four touchdowns, and an interception to lead the Saints. Marquez Callaway had two of those touchdown catches as he tallied 85 yards on four grabs. Alvin Kamara picked up 71 yards and a score on 16 carries while adding 51 yards and another TD on five catches.
An extra week to prep for a shorthanded Seattle team should spell victory for New Orleans.
Pick: Saints 27, Seahawks 23
Denver (3-3) at Cleveland (3-3) – Thursday
The Broncos fell to Las Vegas for their third consecutive loss after a 3-0 start. The offensive line was seemingly nonexistent as Teddy Bridgewater had instant pressure all game, falling victim to five sacks while being hit a whopping 17 times. His 334 yards and three touchdowns were a bit inflated as Denver played from behind the entire game and were down 31-10 in the fourth before scoring two late touchdowns. Bridgewater was picked off three times and lost a fumble as well. Noah Fant hauled in nine catches for 97 yards and a score, while Courtland Sutton had eight grabs for 94 yards and a TD.
Donovan Peoples-Jones put together the best game of his 2-year career, but the Browns were humbled 37-14 in Arizona. Peoples-Jones caught four passes for 101 yards and both Cleveland touchdowns, including one from 57 yards out as time expired in the second quarter. Baker Mayfield threw for 234 yards, the two TDs to “DPJ,” and was picked off once. Mayfield injured his shoulder and will miss Thursday’s game.
Denver’s O-line looks absolutely atrocious. Cleveland should rebound from its embarrassing loss behind its defense even with backup QB Case Keenum – a former Bronco – at the helm.
Pick: Browns 20, Broncos 17
Washington (2-4) at Green Bay (5-1)
The Washington Football Team led Kansas City 13-10 at halftime but didn’t score again as it fell 31-13. JD McKissic led Washington in both rushing and receiving. He took eight carries for 45 yards while netting 65 yards on eight catches. Ricky Seals-Jones scored the lone touchdown for WFT on a 39-yard pass from Taylor Heinicke. Seals-Jones had four grabs for 58 yards while Heinicke finished with 182 yards and was picked once through the air.
Aaron Rodgers was efficient as he completed 17 of 23 passes for 195 yards and a pair of scores in the Packers’ win over Chicago. He also found the end zone on a 6-yard scramble and finished with 19 yards on seven carries. Aaron Jones totaled 110 yards – 76 rushing – on 17 touches, including four catches. He found the end zone on a 12-yard pass from Rodgers, who is 22-5 in his career against the Bears.
I’d be surprised if Green Bay didn’t win its sixth in a row.
Pick: Packers 33, WFT 20
Kansas City (3-3) at Tennessee (4-2)
As mentioned above, the Chiefs scored 21 straight points in the second half to down Washington. Patrick Mahomes passed for 397 yards, two touchdowns, and a pair of interceptions. Darrell Williams found the end zone twice and had 62 yards on 21 carries. Travis Kelce finished with 99 yards on eight catches while Tyreke Hill hauled in nine grabs for 76 yards and a score.
It was the Derrick Henry show once again for the Titans in a 34-31 upset win over Buffalo. Henry’s first touchdown was a 76-yarder as he burst through the middle of the line and was barely touched. He added two more trips to the end zone and racked up 143 yards in all on just 20 carries. Over six games, Henry’s 783 rushing yards lead the NFL by 260 yards (Cleveland’s Nick Chubb is second at 523). After being held catch-less in the first half, AJ Brown netted 91 yards on seven grabs in the second half.
Getting Buffalo and Kansas City in back-to-back weeks would be daunting for any team. Unfortunately for Tennessee, winning both games is unlikely. KC wins in a shootout.
Pick: Chiefs 41, Titans 37
Atlanta (2-3) at Miami (1-5)
The Falcons are coming off a bye. In Week 5, they nearly blew a 20-3 lead over the Jets but held on for a 27-20 win. Rookie tight end Kyle Pitts broke out with 119 yards and a touchdown on nine catches. Matt Ryan had 342 yards and a pair of scoring strikes through the air. Cordarrelle Patterson had 60 yards on seven grabs to go with his 54 yards on 14 carries.
The Dolphins became the first team to lose to Jacksonville since the Colts did so in Week 1 of the 2020 season. Tua Tagovailoa netted the second-highest passing yard total of his career with 329 to go along with a pair of touchdown passes and an interception. Rookie Jaylen Waddle finished with 70 yards and both Miami touchdowns on 10 grabs. Tight end Mike Gesicki had eight receptions for 115 yards.
With an extra week of preparation, Atlanta should win its second straight.
Pick: Falcons 24, Dolphins 21
New York Jets (1-4) at New England (2-4)
The Jets are coming off a bye. As mentioned above, New York fell to Atlanta in Week 5. The Jets were out-gained 450 yards to 230 but won the turnover battle 2-1 as the defense recovered two Falcons fumbles. Quarterback Zach Wilson was picked off once and finished with 192 yards passing. Michael Carter led the backfield with 38 yards and a touchdown.
Damien Harris ran for 101 yards and a score on 18 carries to lead the Patriots in their 35-29 overtime loss to Dallas. Mac Jones only threw 21 passes but completed 15 of them for 229 yards and two touchdowns while being intercepted once. Kendrick Bourne’s lone catch resulted in a 75-yard touchdown.
New England shouldn’t have too much trouble in this one.
Pick: Patriots 26, Jets 16
Carolina (3-3) at New York Giants (1-5)
The Panthers are another team that started 3-0 but have slipped to 3-3 after their 34-28 overtime loss to Minnesota. Kenny Robinson’s 4-yard return off a blocked punt gave Carolina its final lead at 17-12 midway through the third quarter. Sam Darnold found Robby Anderson for a 7-yard score and then hit Tommy Tremble for a two-point conversion to knot things up at 28-all with 42 seconds left in regulation. Darnold finished with 207 yards, a TD, and a pick. He also had 48 yards on four carries.
Daniel Jones passed for 242 yards but was intercepted three times in the Giants’ blowout loss to the Rams. Sterling Shepard hauled in 10 catches for 76 yards. Trailing 38-3 midway through the fourth, Elijhaa Penny scored New York’s only touchdown on a 4-yard run. Jones found Kyle Rudolph for the two-point conversion.
Carolina should end its losing streak this week.
Pick: Panthers 21, giants 13
Cincinnati (4-2) at Baltimore (5-1)
Joe Burrow’s three touchdown passes and 271 yards led the Bengals to a big 34-11 win over Detroit. Burrow was also picked off once. Ja’Marr Chase continued his stellar rookie campaign with 97 yards on four receptions. Joe Mixon added 94 yards on 18 carries, as well as 59 yards and a score on five catches.
The Ravens dominated the Chargers 34-6 behind swarming defensive play. Baltimore held Los Angeles to 208 yards, including a mere 26 on the ground. Lamar Jackson had 167 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions through the air. He added 51 yards on the ground. Mark Andrews caught a 9-yard scoring strike in the third quarter and ended with 68 yards on five catches.
Cincinnati is playing well, but Baltimore’s defense looks elite right now.
Pick: Ravens 34, Bengals 28
Philadelphia (2-4) at Las Vegas (4-2)
The Eagles’ comeback attempt fell short as they lost at home to Tampa Bay. Trailing 28-7 late in the third quarter, Philadelphia cut its deficit to 28-22 with just under six minutes to go, but the score held the rest of the way. Jalen Hurts completed just 12 of his 26 pass attempts for 115 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He added 44 yards and another two scores on 10 carries.
Less than a week after the departure of head coach Jon Gruden, the Raiders stifled Denver to end their two-game losing streak. Las Vegas’ defense held the Broncos in check as it built a 31-10 lead on the way to a 34-24 win. The Raiders racked up five sacks and 17 QB hits while forcing four turnovers. Derek Carr threw for 341 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Henry Ruggs III turned three catches into 97 yards, including a 48-yard score to cap the game’s opening drive.
The Raiders seemingly overachieved under interim head coach Rich Bisaccia. Philly should take advantage of a potential emotional letdown from Vegas in Week 7.
Pick: Eagles 31, Raiders 24
Detroit (0-6) at Los Angeles Rams (5-1)
The Lions remained winless after their 34-11 thumping by Cincinnati. D’Andre Swift scored Detroit’s lone touchdown on a 1-yard plunge with 2:15 left in the game. Swift ran for just 24 yards on 13 carries but had five catches for 43 yards. TJ Hockenson finished with 74 yards on eight grabs.
Matthew Stafford tossed four touchdown passes en route to 251 yards in the Rams’ 38-11 win over Giants. He was also picked once. Cooper Kupp finished with nine catches for 130 yards and a pair of scores. Darrell Henderson Jr. ran 21 times for 78 yards and a TD while also finding the end zone on one of his two catches – he had 29 yards receiving. Taylor Rapp intercepted Giants QB Daniel Jones twice.
These two teams should continue their current trends.
Pick: Rams 37, Lions 13
Houston (1-5) at Arizona (6-0)
With a 31-3 beatdown in Indianapolis, the Texans lost their fifth consecutive game. Brandin Cooks led the dismal Houston offense with 89 yards on eight catches. Davis Mills was intercepted twice and finished with 243 yards passing.
The Cardinals seem legit. Arizona left zero doubt as to why it remains the league’s lone unbeaten team during its 37-14 drubbing of the Browns. Kyler Murray continued his MVP-level play with a 229-yard, 4-touchdown performance through the air. Two of DeAndre Hopkins’ three catches went for scores as the star wideout finished with 55 yards. AJ Green and Christian Kirk had five receptions apiece, and both caught a TD pass. Green totaled 79 yards, while Kirk had 75.
It’s the best team in the league against arguably the worst team. The score should reflect that assuming Arizona doesn’t play down to the competition.
Pick: Cardinals 41, Texans 10
Chicago (3-3) at Tampa Bay (5-1)
The Bears lost their fifth straight game against Green Bay in Week 6. Khalil Herbert took 19 carries for 97 yards and a touchdown. Justin Fields netted 174 yards through the air with one score and one pick. He added 43 yards on six carries.
Leonard Fournette racked up 81 yards, and two touchdowns on 22 carries to lead the Buccaneers to a third straight win in Philadelphia. Fournette added another 46 yards on six receptions. Tom Brady threw for 297 yards, two TDs, and an interception. Antonio Brown had 93 yards and a score on nine catches.
Expect Tampa to win its fourth straight.
Pick: Buccaneers 30, Bears 20
Indianapolis (2-4) at San Francisco (2-3)
Jonathan Taylor bulldozed his way to 145 yards and two touchdowns on just 14 carries as he led the Colts to a 31-3 trouncing of Houston. Taylor’s TDs were from four and 11 yards out. Carson Wentz needed only 20 throws – 11 completions – to finish with 223 yards and a pair of scoring tosses. TY Hilton racked up 80 yards on four catches in his return from a neck injury that sidelined the receiver for the first five games of the season.
The 49ers are coming off a bye. Trey Lance completed 15 of 29 pass attempts and finished with 192 yards and an interception in his first-ever start in the NFL – a 17-10 loss to Arizona. The third overall pick in this year’s draft, Lance did most of his damage on the ground, gaining 89 yards on 16 totes. Deebo Samuel scored the Niners’ only touchdown on a 13-yard run in the third quarter.
San Francisco is better than either Houston or Miami (Indy’s two wins).
Pick: 49ers 27, Colts 24
Teams on bye: Buffalo Bills (4-2), Dallas Cowboys (5-1), Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5), Los Angeles Chargers (4-2), Minnesota Vikings (3-3), Pittsburgh Steelers (3-3)