Your Week 7 Sunday preview
Now that we are seven weeks into the NFL season, injuries are starting to take their toll. As usual, the teams that can keep their key players healthy will go the furthest. In addition, the clubs that have the best depth have a chance of overcoming injuries. It goes without saying that scouting actually makes the difference. The clubs that do the best job scouting, drafting and signing viable veterans usually have the best depth.
Going back to last week, I was awful. I went 0-4 against the spread and if I don’t pick it up in Week 7, this column may be out of business. Needless to say, the further we go into the season, the better the job done by the oddsmakers setting the line. The best time to bet is during the first few weeks of the season when point spreads can be out of whack. Unfortunately, that’s no longer the case.
Baltimore (-6.5) vs. Atlanta
ICONRyan and the Falcons are 0-3 on the road this season.
Going into last week, Atlanta had played well at home and was terrible on the road. With that in mind, you had to figure that the Falcons would play a strong game against Chicago in Week 6. Wrong! The Falcons struggled and were beat by the Bears 27-13.
When you look at Atlanta’s road losses this year, the closest they have been is losing by 10 to a very average New York Giants team. Baltimore has won three out of their last four games and is playing consistent football. In their last two home games, the Ravens have won by 20 and 28 points, respectively. This one is easy: Lay the 6.5 and take the Ravens.
Chicago (-3.5) vs. Miami
The Bears played their best overall game of the season in last Sunday’s 27-13 win at Atlanta. Chicago did it with four defensive starters out of the game. Two of those injured players are back and that helps the Bears’ defensive depth.
On the offensive side last week, it was the first time since opening day that everyone was healthy. The result was close to 400 yards passing and the Bears didn’t even need to throw a pass during the final 10 minutes of the game.
Another thing to look at is the fact that the Bears have not won at home this season. I doubt that trend continues Sunday, as Chicago looks to be rounding into form. Miami, on the other hand, is struggling, having lost three out of their last four. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill is starting to look more like a bust than a top-10 prospect. I feel the Bears win this by at least 10 and that might be light.
Indianapolis (-3.5) vs. Cincinnati
I took the Bengals last week at home against Carolina and they blew it. Injuries are affecting Cincinnati big time and they are having a hard time overcoming the loss of wide receiver A.J. Green. Green is listed as doubtful for Sunday and that isn’t good for the Bengals. Starting linebacker Rey Maualuga is also out.
Luck and the Colts have run the table since starting 0-2.
The Colts lost to a strong Philadelphia team by three and beat Baltimore and Tennessee in their three home games. The Colts get defensive tackle Arthur Jones back and their overall health is as good as it’s been all season.
The passing combination of Andrew Luck to T.Y. Hilton and Reggie Wayne has been as good as any combination in the league this year and that may be too much for the Bengals to handle. I look for Indianapolis to win by at least six.
By the way, this will be the first game that owner Jim Irsay will see in person this year after his suspension. The Colts may just want to play a little harder for the boss.
Arizona (-4) at Oakland
The Raiders gave it everything they had last week and still lost at home to San Diego by three. Oakland playing as well as they did was a good thing for the Cardinals. After viewing the tape, they know the Raiders won’t be a pushover.
The Cardinals are a solid team and they know they have to continue to play well to stay ahead of Seattle and San Francisco. The bottom line in this game is that Arizona is simply a better team. Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles will make it difficult for Derek Carr and I feel Arizona will win by at least a touchdown.
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