As we head into Week 7, I've finally figured out why the NFL has been so unpredictable this year and it's because every team is completely average. No one is good. No one is bad. Everyone is average.
OK, not everyone. The Eagles are good, the Bills are good, the Chiefs are good and I'll even give you the Vikings, but that's it. I'd include the Giants, but they fall behind by double-digits in nearly every game they play and although they're 5-1 right now, falling behind by double-digits every week doesn't seem like a long-term strategy for winning. I'd also give you the Chargers, but any team that lost by 28 points to the Jaguars can't be on my "good" list.
If you look at the NFL standings right now, you will notice that the NFC East has more teams with a winning record (3) than the other three NFC divisions COMBINED (1).
In the AFC, the Cleveland Browns have gone an ENTIRE MONTH without picking up a single win and they're still somehow only one game out of first place. That is the NFL in a nutshell this year: Everyone is average.
Speaking of average, let's get to my picks.
Actually, before we get to the Week 7 picks, here's a quick reminder that you can check out the weekly picks from every CBSSports.com NFL expert by clicking here. On a completely unrelated note, if you're like me and you like signing up for random things on the internet, then I would highly suggest that you sign up for CBSSports.com's NFL newsletter, which I'm actually in charge of.
If you want to subscribe, all you have to do is click here and enter your email address. Once you do that, you'll start receiving a daily NFL email from me and I promise it will be all NFL content and won't include any commentary on old episodes of "Gilmore Girls." I have a different newsletter for that.
Since I'm now running a newsletter, you might be thinking that I'll be way too busy to podcast, but nope, I'm never too busy to podcast.
For the rest of the season, I'll be joining Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson four days per week (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday) on the Pick Six Podcast, which is our daily NFL podcast here at CBSSports.com. You can watch/listen to Tuesday's episode by clicking here. The reason you're going to want to check it out is because we spent half the podcast debating whether Russell Wilson is washed up or not.
If you're thinking I should spend less time podcasting and more time concentrating on my picks, I'm starting to also think that. Let's get to the picks.
NFL Week 7 Picks
New Orleans (2-4) at Arizona (2-4)
8:15 p.m. ET, Thursday (Amazon Prime)
I'm not sure what officially qualifies as desperate in the NFL, but I feel like the Cardinals are there. The Cards were so desperate to add receiving help on Monday that they called a coach who they once fired (Steve Wilks) and that coach just also happens to have a lawsuit against them.
As everyone knows, the first rule of lawsuits is never call someone who's suing you. Actually, I don't know that for sure, I've never been sued. Please don't take legal advice from me. The bottom line here is that the Cardinals called the Panthers and ended up making a deal for Carolina's Robbie Anderson, who became the first person ever not named Antonio Brown to be ejected from a game by his own coach.
The Cardinals just lost Marquise Brown to a serious injury and apparently, they thought the best way to replace him was to bring in Anderson. I'm not saying this plan isn't going to work, but I don't have high hopes for it.
Besides Anderson, the Cardinals will also be getting some major receiving help in the former of DeAndre Hopkins, who is eligible to play this week after being suspended for the first six games of the season. When Hopkins is on the field, the Cardinals are a much better team, which is definitely a good thing for Arizona, because the team that they are right now is horrible.
During his time in Arizona, the Cards have gone 16-10 when Hopkins plays and 5-9 when he doesn't. They also average EIGHT points more per game (27.4 vs. 19.4) when he's on the field. Unfortunately, Hopkins might not be on the field much this week. The NFL didn't help the Cardinals at all by giving them a Thursday game, which means Hopkins will only get to practice for exactly two days before playing in his first game since Week 14 of last season. It wouldn't be surprising at all to see the Cardinals ease him into the lineup by keeping him on a snap count. I think he might eventually make the Cardinals offense better, but not this week.
Also, I feel like I should point out the fact that the Cardinals home-field advantage has been the opposite of an advantage over the past 12 months. Dating back to last year, they've lost eight straight game at State Farm Stadium and if you've been betting on them, then you're probably broke right now because they've gone 1-7 against the spread in those games.
Arizona hasn't won at home since Oct. 24, 2021, which means if the Cards lose this game, they'll have gone a full calendar year without winning at home. I think what I'm trying to say here is that if Arizona loses on Thursday, it might be time to just burn the stadium down and collect the insurance money. And it should actually be easy to collect since the building is named after an insurance company.
The pick: Saints 20-17 over Cardinals.
Indianapolis (3-2-1) at Tennessee (3-2)
1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Tennessee Titans -2.5
Heading into Week 7, the AFC South race has slowly turned into the football equivalent of every Michael Myers movie ever made: It's not as scary as I thought it would be, I have no idea if it's good, but I'm going to pay close attention because I have to know how it ends.
Five weeks ago, the Colts were the laughing stock of the NFL after opening the season with a tie against the Texans and a shutout loss to the Jaguars. Five weeks later, Matt Ryan is now the only one laughing and that's because he's started to figure things out in Indy. Although Ryan struggled early in the year, he's now coming off his best game of the season, where he threw for 389 yards and three touchdowns in a win over the Jags. Ryan is now starting to look like the quarterback the Colts thought they were getting when they originally traded for him and if he continues to look like that, there's no reason the Colts can't win the division.
On the other hand, we have the Titans, who might be the most perplexing team in football and that's mostly because they've won three games this season despite the fact that THEY HAVEN'T SCORED A SINGLE POINT IN THE FOURTH QUARTER ALL YEAR. They have played five games and they still have ZERO fourth quarter points. I don't even know how that's possible. That's like going through an entire month without using any word that has the letter "R" in it. I can't even make it through one sentence without using that letter.
Despite being horrible in the fourth quarter, the Titans have been winning because they build up a big lead early in the game and then they run out the clock by pounding Derrick Henry down the defense's throat. These two teams played in Week 4 and the Colts lost because Ryan turned the ball over three times and because they couldn't stop Henry.
I have a feeling we're going to see something similar happen on Sunday.
The pick: Titans 23-20 over Colts
N.Y. Giants (5-1) at Jacksonville (2-4)
1 p.m. (Fox)
Jacksonville Jaguars -3
I can't remember the last time the Giants played in a somewhat important game this late in the season. Sure, it's not actually that late in the season, but I'm still counting this as important because Giants fans haven't really gotten a chance to watch any meaningful games past September over the past few seasons. For the past five years, the Giants have basically been eliminated from the playoffs by the time Week 7 rolled around, BUT NOT THIS YEAR. This year, the Giants could end Week 7 with the second-best record in the NFL all to THEMSELVES if they can beat the Jaguars.
The fact that the Giants are good this season is something that no one saw coming; well, except for the guy in the tweet below. He bet $1,000 that the Giants would win Super Bowl LVII, and at this point, it's looking like the smartest $1,000 that anyone has ever spent.
The biggest surprise of the season for the Giants so far has been their offense. If you watched their offense play last year, they were absolutely atrocious. It was like watching a remake of the movie Little Giants, but the beginning of the movie where the team is so bad that you almost feel sorry for them. The big difference between last season and this season is that the Giants actually have an offensive coaching staff that isn't in over its head.
For some reason, the Jaguars are favored in this game and I'm guessing it's because they're one of the best teams in the NFL at stopping the run. The Jags are only surrendering 89.3 yards per game, which is the third-best number in the NFL. If the Jaguars stop the run, that will put the game squarely on Daniel Jones' shoulders and if this were any of his past three seasons, I would automatically pick the Giants to lose by 30 in that situation. but not this year. I'm picking the Giants.
Also, I feel like I should mention the fact that the Jaguars have lost EIGHTEEN straight games to NFC opponents. Since Week 6 of 2018, they're 0-18 against NFC teams and 2-16 against the spread in those games. Of course, the twist here is that their last win against an NFC team came against the Giants. A win here would certainly bring their losing streak full circle, but I don't believe in circles, so I'm taking the Giants.
The pick: Giants 27-23 over Jaguars
N.Y Jets (4-2) at Denver (2-4)
4:05 p.m. ET (CBS)
Denver Broncos +1.5
Every week that the Broncos take the field, I think it's going to be the week where their offense finally turns things around, and every week, I end up being wrong. Russell Wilson wanted to go to Denver because he thought the Broncos were going to let him cook, but instead, he's found that there's no kitchen in Denver.
The Broncos have the lowest scoring offense in the NFL and I'm not sure things are going to improve based on what I've seen from Wilson: He's playing with multiple injuries (shoulder, hamstring), he apparently hates to run even though that's a huge part of his game and his downfield accuracy has looked off this season. What I think I'm trying to say is that Russell Wilson is no longer playing like Russell Wilson.
If you combine that with the fact that the Broncos' play-calling hasn't been great, they can't convert on third down and they have the worst red zone percentage in the NFL, then you get a 2-4 team that is barely hanging on by a thread.
The struggling Broncos offense now has to face one of the best rookie corners in the NFL in Sauce Gardner plus a defensive tackle in Quinnen Williams who has been playing this season like he's possessed.
I mean, you don't put up stats like that unless you're possessed.
This game feels like it's going to be a low-scoring slugfest and when I'm picking the winner in a low-scoring slugfest, I like to take the team with the better defense, so surprisingly, I'm going with Denver here. The Broncos are going to be desperate, their season is on the line and if they don't win, we might see a full-on implosion. If you enjoy implosions, you should definitely be rooting for the Jets.
The pick: Broncos 20-16 over Jets
Kansas City (4-2) at San Francisco (3-3)
4:25 p.m. ET (Fox)
Kansas City Chiefs -1
Before making a pick for this game, I had to binge-watch 14 straight hours of Grey's Anatomy followed by six straight hours of ER followed by four straight hours of Doogie Howser, M.D. and if you're wondering why I did all that, it was so I could just try to begin to understand the 49ers' current injury situation.
Most people know that the 49ers lost their starting quarterback (Trey Lance) in Week 2, but did you know they're also dealing with 71 other injuries, which shouldn't even be mathematically possible since there are only 53 spots on the roster.
Here's a look at what the 49ers are dealing with right now:
To help us better understand this, a 49ers beat writer for KNBR was kind enough to list everyone who's been injured this season.
There are 19 players on that list. I'm not saying the 49ers training staff should also binge-watch Doogie Howser, Grey's Anatomy and ER, but maybe it wouldn't be the worst idea.
To be honest, I could have trimmed four paragraphs and two tweets off this pick if I would have just listed the guys who AREN'T injured. I think what I'm trying to say here is that I'm not sure the 49ers are even going to have enough players to field a team this week.
If you live near San Francisco and you see a flyer for open football tryouts this week, you might just want to show up because there's a 75% chance it's the 49ers looking for players to add so they can field a team on Sunday.
If both teams were completely healthy, I'd probably pick the Chiefs by three. However, the 49ers are definitely not completely healthy and for that reason, I'll be taking Kansas City by DOUBLE DIGITS. The Chiefs are scoring 29.8 points per game this year, which leads the NFL and although I'd love to pick them to score exactly 29.8 points this week, I don't think that's possible, so I'll just round up to 30.
The pick: Chiefs 30-20 over 49ers
NFL Week 7 picks: All the rest
Bengals 27-24 over Falcons
Packers 17-13 over Commanders
Ravens 31-20 over Browns
Buccaneers 27-17 over Panthers
Raiders 31-23 over Texans
Cowboys 24-16 over Lions
Chargers 30-27 over Seahawks
Dolphins 24-17 over Steelers
Patriots 27-16 over Bears
BYES: Bills, Rams, Vikings, Eagles
Best pick: Last week, I said the Bills would be out for revenge in Kansas City... Actually, who cares what I said last week, because we have way more important things to talk about, like Tony Romo's final score prediction for the Bills-Chiefs game. During the first quarter, Romo casually predicted that the final score of the game would be 24-20 and guess what happened? Yup, the final score was 24-20.
The man can predict anything. I mean, instead of gender reveal parties, people need to start throwing "Romo Reveals parties" where Romo predicts the gender of your baby.
Worst pick: Last week, I picked the Buccaneers over the Steelers, but I would just like to say that I would have NEVER made that pick if I knew Tom Brady was going to skip practice on Saturday to attend Robert Kraft's wedding.
You know who didn't go to Kraft's wedding? Bill Belichick.
You know who won on Sunday? Bill Belichick.
The moral of the story here is don't be friends with anyone who gets married during football season. I mean, everyone knows that the first rule of having a wedding is that you don't get married during football season. The second rule is that if someone does get married during football season, then you don't go to the wedding. That way, the person will get the hint not to get married during football season for when they inevitably get married again.
Finally, if you guys have ever wondered which teams I'm actually good at picking, I'm going to start sharing that information with you now that we're five weeks into the season. Here's a quick look at my best and worst teams when it comes to picks this year.
Teams I'm 5-1 picking this year (Straight up): Patriots, Bills, Vikings, Saints, Rams.
Teams I've only picked correctly once this year (Straight up): Colts (1-4-1)
Every other team is somewhere in the middle.
Straight up in Week 6: 7-7
SU overall: 52-41-1
Against the spread in Week 6: 7-7
ATS overall: 40-50-4
You can find John Breech on Facebook or Twitter and if he's not doing one of those things, he's probably writing a letter to all of the major TV networks to see if one of them will bring back Doogie Howser.