As the NFL season enters Week 7, fans and bettors are still hoping for a sense of clarity in an upside-down season. Anchored by Hall of Fame quarterbacks, the Packers and Buccaneers have stumbled to 3-3 — the same record as the Falcons and the Seahawks. Three teams in the NFC East, traditionally condemned as the league’s punching bag, have at least four wins in six games.
If you looked at preseason expectations, the only thing that makes sense is the Bills. After avenging last season’s postseason loss to the Chiefs, the offseason Super Bowl favorite is the current No. 1 seed in the AFC.
With another exciting slate of games on tap, we try to make sense of all the sport’s chaos with our NFL Week 7 betting picks and predictions.
Kansas City Chiefs (-3) at San Francisco 49ers
Before the season, the Chiefs-Bills Week 6 rematch was one of the most-anticipated matchups of the year. The game lived up to the bill, ending with a 24-20 Buffalo victory. Patrick Mahomes and company look to keep pace with Buffalo and the AFC leaders with an inter-conference road trip to San Francisco.
NFL · Sun (10/23) @ 4:26pm ET
|Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, California|
One of our best bets of NFL Week 7, the Chiefs are laying only a field goal against the 49ers. The Chiefs defense was unable to stop the Bills’ go-ahead touchdown late and there was no Mahomes comeback magic with the clock expiring. Kansas City’s improving defense will get a much easier challenge against a 49ers offense that has been inconsistent since Jimmy Garrapolo stepped in behind center for the injured Trey Lance.
San Francisco, coming off a disappointing loss to Atlanta, boasts one of the league’s top-ranked defensive units. The 49ers deserve credit for their performance, but the Chiefs will be the toughest offense the unit faces all year. San Francisco has beaten up the 32nd, 31st, 27th, and 24th-ranked scoring offenses. Kansas City (29.8 points per game) is good for the No. 1 rank in the league.
The 49ers excel at getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks and have notched 23 sacks this season — the second most in the league. However, few quarterbacks are as good as Mahomes at neutralizing the pass rush. The Chiefs have allowed the ninth-fewest sacks.
Patrick Mahomes and this Kansas City offense should be able to get the better of this stout San Francisco defense. At the other end of the ball, the Chiefs’ defense can make life difficult for Garappolo and a few timely turnovers will give the Chiefs a comfortable win and cover.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers (Under 40.5)
Through six games, neither the Buccaneers nor the Panthers can be too excited about their season. Despite having Tom Brady behind center, Tampa Bay has slumped to a 3-3 record after being upset as a big favorite against the Steelers. The Panthers lost their first game under interim head coach Steve Wilks and have fallen to 1-4.
NFL · Sun (10/23) @ 1:00pm ET
|Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina|
Tampa Bay and Carolina have both struggled to move the ball on offense. The Panthers this season are averaging the fewest yards per game and have posted the league’s worst quarterback rating (71.6) and third down conversion rate (23.6). Disgruntled receiver Robbie Anderson has been shipped to Arizona and he’s likely not the only Panther that will be finding new digs before the deadline.
It may not matter whether Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, or PJ Walker gets the nod behind center this weekend. The Tampa Bay front seven has played well this season, allowing the fewest rushing yards per game and tallying the third-most sacks.
Tom Brady has struggled to get the Tampa offense to play up to their expectations. Tampa Bay ranks 22nd in total offense and is averaging a mediocre 20.2 points per game. A matchup against a struggling Panthers team is an excellent get-right game for the Tampa offense. However, as double-digit favorites, the safer bet is on the under.
The walls are caving in down in Carolina and this Panthers team will struggle to get anything going against a strong Bucs defense. Although they outmatch Carolina talent-wise, Tampa hasn’t been the offensive juggernaut we expected before the season. With all signs pointing to a low-scoring game, the under is one of our best bets for NFL Week 7.
Also read: NFL Week 7 betting trends
Green Bay Packers (-5) at Washington Commanders
Through six weeks, the Packers are .500 and two games behind the Minnesota Vikings for the NFC North crown. The panic button hasn’t been pressed yet in Green Bay, however, the clock is ticking as the Packers head to Washington for a must-win game. Laying less than a touchdown on the spread, Green Bay is one of our best bets for NFL Week 7.
NFL · Sun (10/23) @ 1:00pm ET
|FedExField, Landover, Maryland|
Green Bay lost two-straight games and the offense has struggled to find its rhythm. The Packers are averaging only 17.8 points per game – very pedestrian in the Rodgers era – and the four-time MVP is on pace for his lowest quarterback rating since the 2015 season. The Commanders have a respectable passing defense, however, they’ve been exposed on the ground. Green Bay can take advantage by utilizing talented running backs, Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon.
The Commanders have turned to Taylor Heinicke behind center in hopes the fifth-year quarterback provides a spark to a struggling Washington team. It’s unlikely the pivot to Heinicke uplifts the Commanders as the blame for their lack of success goes far beyond incumbent Carson Wentz. Head coach Ron Rivera needs a miracle to save the Commanders’ season and his job — Heinicke isn’t that.
Washington ranks near the bottom of the league in most offensive metrics, including points per game and yards per game. Their -5 turnover differential is the second-worst in the NFL. Even in their losses, the Green Bay defense has played at a top-level and should create fits for Heinicke and company. The Packers have allowed the fifth-fewest yards per game and the league’s best third-down stop percentage.
Both Green Bay and Washington are desperate for a win heading into this matchup. The Packers have the advantage at the sport’s most important position and should emerge with the road win. In one of our best bets for NFL Week 7, take the Packers to cover -5 in Washington.