NFL picks, predictions against the spread Week 7: Eagles edge Dolphins; Steelers stun Rams; Packers, 49ers deliver on the road

Week 6 was another strong week of picks and predictions against the spread to follow up a stellar performance with the games in Week 5. With a lot of data points available and a good body of work now to figure out the identities of several teams this season, the results have made more sense in the middle of 2023.

Week 7, even with six teams on bye, comes with its own set of new challenges with several tossup games and some favorites battling through injury attrition. But the job remains the same, to fearless forecast every matchup vs. the numbers. Here are Sporting News’ latest professional pigskin prognostications:

(Odds courtesy of Sports Interaction)

POWER RANKINGS: Chiefs, Dolphins displace 49ers, Eagles at top

NFL picks against the spread for Week 7

  • Game of Midweek: Jaguars (-1.5, 41.5 o/u) at Saints

Thursday 8:15 p.m. ET, Amazon Prime Video

The Jaguars’ defense and running game have been the surprising signatures for their early success vs. their explosive passing. The Saints are struggling to move the ball through the air with Derek Carr. Expect Trevor Lawrence to grind through and play on a short week and also expect Travis Etienne Jr. to stay hot in the dome of inspiration Alvin Kamara, back home in Louisiana.

Pick: Jaguars win 23-20 and cover the spread.

  • Game of the Week: Dolphins at Eagles (-2.5, 52.5 o/u)

Sunday 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC

The Dolphins’ offense seems unstoppable while the Eagles’ offense seems just a little dysfunctional and underachieving. But this is a tough spot for Miami as Philadelphia can contain the running game and stop big plays and with Xavien Howard banged up, the Eagles’ wide receivers can dominate. A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith will be motivated to prove they are a better big-play and Alabama technician duo than Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. It’s also another chance for Jalen Hurts to outduel Tide successor Tua Tagovailoa.

Pick: Eagles win 27-24 and cover the spread.

  • Lock of the Week: Seahawks (-8, 46.5 o/u) over Cardinals

Sunday 4:05 p.m. ET, Fox

The Seahawks were on the other side of this small number in Cincinnati and made everyone nervous with multiple trips to the red zone that came up just empty. Now it’s Seattle’s turn to be the lock as this is a get-well game for Geno Smith and the passing game while Kenneth Walker stays hot on the ground. Whoever is QB for Arizona, he will be overwhelmed in a hostile road environment vs. a healthier, improving defense.

Pick: Seahawks win 34-17 and cover the spread.

  • Upset of the Week: Steelers (+3.5, 42.5 o/u) over Rams

Sunday 4:05 p.m. ET, Fox

The Steelers’ fans should be in full force in Los Angeles after the bye in the Jerome Bettis Bowl. Black and Gold will be more present than “Royal Blue and Sol” and that will help Mike Tomlin build on previous success coming off bye weeks so his team gets the better of Sean McVay’s. Look for the defenses to be revved up with T.J. Watt and Aaron Donald. The Rams can find some holes in the Steelers’ secondary, but pressure on Matthew Stafford gives Kenny Pickett a chance for the game-winning field-goal drive late.

Pick: Steelers win 20-17.

  • Raiders (-3, 40.5 o/u) at Bears 

Sunday 1.p.m. ET, Fox

The Raiders lost Jimmy Garoppolo to a back injury in Week 6. The Bears are likely going to see Justin Fields miss time with his right thumb injury. So it’s either Brian Hoyer or Aidan O’Connell vs. Tyson Bagent, making this game not about the QBs, but rather the impact playmakers. The Raiders have more between red-hot Maxx Crosby defensively and Josh Jacobs, Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers defensively.

Pick: Raiders win 24-17 and cover the spread.

  • Browns (-1.5, 39.5 o/u) at Colts

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Browns are riding the high of shocking the injury-riddled 49ers in Week 6 at home, but with Deshaun Watson set to miss more time with his bad shoulder, expect up-and-down results in defensive-minded battles. The Colts can do well to contain the run and get a break from a limited passing game. Gardner Minshew grinds a little better at home with plenty of key help from his running backs, with Jonathan Taylor finally busting out ahead of Zach Moss.

Pick: Colts win 20-17.

  • Bills (-8.5, 42.5 o/u) at Patriots

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Bills have to be frustrated by being so close to losing to the Giants at home on Monday night, perhaps taking the matchup vs. former offensive coordinator Brian Daboll too lightly. They will have no trouble making a road statement to give the AFC East rival Patriots their knockout punch. The Patriots’ defense can’t stop much of what Josh Allen can do and the Bills hold up OK against the run again despite big injuries.

Pick: Bills win 30-20 and cover the spread.

  • Commanders (-1.5, 41.5 o/u) at Giants

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Commanders are a hard team to read from week to week. They slept-walked at home against the Bears in a prime time spot, but then came out flying to win an afternoon road game in Atlanta. Logic says Washington should keep kicking New York while it is down with injuries, but then again, the Giants’ defense could get after Sam Howell and desperation will kick as New York salvages a division victory during its freefall from wild-card contention.

Pick: Giants win 23-22.

  • Falcons at Buccaneers (-2.5, 39 o/u)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Falcons are also a roller-coaster as they are suddenly passing more than expected with Desmond Ridder and not running as well as expected with Bijan Robinson. They are coming through better with getting Kyle Pitts and Drake London the ball, but it’s not adding up to their winning formula. The Bucs will contain them on the ground and exploit some good defensive matchups for Baker Mayfield at home, what they failed to do at home last week.

Pick: Buccaneers win 27-20 and cover the spread.

  • Lions at Ravens (-2.5, 44.5 o/u)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Lions are taking some hits in the running game and that won’t help Jared Goff facing an improving Ravens’ defense that can handle and contain the middle of the field in the passing game. Lamar Jackson’s running is a tough draw and Detroit also won’t be able to cover Mark Andrews well.

Pick: Ravens win 23-20 and cover the spread.

  • Packers (-1.5, 44.5 o/u) at Broncos

Sunday 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS

The Packers will look better and healthier defensively after the bye and get after Russell Wilson with pressure and coverage and don’t need to worry too much about a shaky Denver running game. The Broncos won’t be able to contain much in the versatile passing game of Green Bay with Aaron Jones finally returning to boost Jordan Love on the road.

Pick: Packers win 24-20 and cover the spread.

  • Chargers at Chiefs (-5.5, 50.5 o/u)

Sunday 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS

The Chiefs’ offense hasn’t been as automatic this season with some red zone struggles while Patrick Mahomes is making more mistakes and fewer big pass plays than usual. But Kansas City is comfortable pivoting to more of a running team when Mahomes isn’t throwing often to Travis Kelce and the Chargers can get gashed by the power of Isiah Pacheco. But in a tough division spot, Justin Herbert and Austin Ekeler will push the Chiefs at little home.

Pick: Chiefs win 27-24 but fail to cover the spread.

  • 49ers (-7, 44.5 o/u) at Vikings

Monday 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN

The 49ers are hurting badly around Brock Purdy as Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel and Trent Williams are all hurting. The offense is shorthanded and needing to pivot through ground and air. They can find enough to exploit the Vikings’ pass defense with George Kittle Brandon Aiyuk and others and catch a little break from no Justin Jefferson to bother their pass coverage. Nick Bosa and the defense make the difference here.

Pick: 49ers win 24-20 but fail to cover the spread.

Stats of the Week

Week 6 straight up: 10-4

Week 6 against the spread: 9-5

Season straight up: 64-28

Season against the spread: 51-39-1

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