The nationally-televised Bears at Buccaneers tilt highlights the late Sunday window of NFL Week 7. Here are odds and picks for the four games on tap.
Detroit Lions (0-6) at LA Rams (5-1)
Time: 4:05 p.m.
DraftKings line: Rams by 15.5 (51)
The skinny: LA’s Matt Stafford and Detroit’s Jared Goff, two QBs traded for each other in the offseason, will joust in SoFi Stadium.
Facts: On any given Sunday …last December the Rams were 17-point favorites at home against a winless Jets team (0-13) and were defeated 23-20, one of only four losses by a double-digit favorite last season. In the Rams’ 38-11 win over the injury-ravaged Giants last week, they had a 17-yard edge in average starting field position, tied for best this season, and cashed in with TDs on marches of 12 and 14 yards. Stafford has 115 completions to WRs for 13 TDs. Goff has teamed with wideouts only 63 times for four scores, instead of hitting tight ends and RBs for 90 catches,
Analysis: As if Stafford, the league’s second-ranked passer, and the Rams didn’t have enough of an edge over Goff (22nd) and the Lions, LA coach Sean McVay and his staff worked with Goff for four years and surely know his physical and mental strengths and weaknesses. In Detroit, where Stafford played 12 years, it’s a new gang under first-year coach Dan Campell, whose team not only is winless in the regular season but also in exhibition outings.
Pick: Rams 38, Lions 14
Philadelphia Eagles (2-4) at Las Vegas Raiders (3-3)
Time: 4:05 p.m.
FanDuel line: Raiders by 3 (48.5)
The skinny: The Raiders go for their second straight win less than two weeks after ex-coach Jon Gruden resigned in disgrace.
Facts: Vegas was a 34-24 winner in Denver last week in interim coach Rich Biasacci’s opening game in charge. Granted, it’s a small sample size, but first-time bosses are 4-0/4-0 (SU/ATS) in their debuts the past two seasons. But in those coaches’ next outing in 2020, they all lost. Flashback 2013: The last time the Eagles headed west to face the Raiders, Philly’s special QB at the time, Nick Foles, tied an NFL record with seven TD passes in a 49-20 win in Oakland. Vegas and QB Derek Carr averaged 12.1 yards a drop-back last week, the best norm for any team this year.
Analysis: The Eagles are coming off an extended break after their 28-22 Thursday night loss to Tampa Bay and have had time to think. Maybe now they unleash a decent running game behind Miles Sanders. Even against Tampa Bay’s stupendous run defense, he gained 56 yards on nine carries. And QB Jalen Hurts this week will benefit from getting TE Dallas Goedert off the COVID list. As for the Raiders, they’ll probably not have the same adrenaline rush as last week.
Pick: Eagles 26, Raiders 23
Houston Texans (1-5) at Arizona Cardinals (6-0)
Time: 4:25 p.m.
DraftKings line: Cardinals by 18 (47.5)
The skinny: For the third time in five weeks, Arizona will be facing a rookie QB (Davis Mills) as it tries to remain the only undefeated team in the league.
Facts: The Cardinals haven’t been this heavy favorite since moving to the desert in 1988. Mills is 0-4 as a starter since taking over for Tyrod Taylor (hamstring) midway in Week 2, with five TD throws and seven INTs. Arizona QB Kyler Murray, the league’s most accurate passer, fumbled four times last week at Cleveland, the most by anyone the past two seasons. Two former longtime Texans, three-time league defensive MVP J.J. Watt and three-time Pro Bowl WR DeAndre Hopkins, will be going against their old team for the first time.
Analysis: As of early Friday, there was no word on whether Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury and his assistants affected by the COVID protocols will be back for this game, and ditto for star pass rusher Chandler Jones. But without them last week the Cardinals still rolled to a 37-14 win in Cleveland. And it’s not like Kingsbury doesn’t have his fingerprints all over the game plan from afar. But then again, might the Cardinals ease up late and rest guys in preparation for Thursday night’s showdown with Green Bay?
Pick: Cardinals 24, Texans 10
Chicago Bears (3-3) at Tampa Bay Bucs (5-1)
Time: 4:25 p.m.
BetMGM line: Bucs by 12 (47)
The skinny: Chicago goes from facing QB Aaron Rodgers and the Packers to Tom Brady and the Bucs.
Facts: Bears QB Justin Fields will be making his fifth career start while Brady makes his 349th, counting playoffs. Although Fields has led Chicago to victories two the past three weeks, including a 20-9 upset win in Vegas, he’s averaging only 6.4 yards a throw, 30th best in the league, and behind the other five rookie starters. The Bucs managed to beat the Eagles 28-22 last Thursday despite 120 yards in penalties, the most for anyone this year. They also had 106 yards’ worth of infractions in Week 1 against Dallas and won that game, too, 31-29.
Analysis: Tampa Bay might be getting spoiled, for this will be the third time in four weeks it will be facing a rookie QB or a backup, plus Chicago has the worst-ranked offense. The only time in that stretch the Bucs faced the No. 1 guy it lost at LA to the Rams, 34-24. With little chance at getting the running game going, Chicago will be relying on Fields to have success through the air. Good luck with that.
Pick: Bucs 34, Bears 13
Last week: 8-6 ATS; 10-4 SU
Season total: 53-39-2 (.576) ATS; 63-31 (.670) SU