NFL Weekly Predictions: Week 7

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

Jacksonville @ New Orleans (-1)

The Saints lost 20-13 to the Texans in Houston, as New Orleans couldn't find the end zone late against an improved Texans defense. New Orleans fell to 3-3, a ½-game behind the 3-2 Bucs in the NFC South.

"The NFC South is up for grabs," Dennis Allen said. "Even the 0-6 Panthers could win the division, if they go 7-4 over their last 11 games.

"Derek Carr's shoulder is improving daily. He would really have to have a huge setback to not play. He would even have to have a bigger setback, like losing his arm altogether, for Jameis Winston to play."

The Jaguars pounded the Colts 37-20 in Jacksonville, led by Trevor Lawrence, who had 2 passing TDs, and Travis Etienne, who rushed for 2 scores. Lawrence left the game late with a knee injury, but is good to go against the Saints.

"Trevor's a tough guy," Doug Pederson said, "so my money's on him playing. And so is Calvin Ridley's."

Saints win 22-19.

Las Vegas @ Chicago (+3)

The Raiders beat the visiting Patriots 21-17 as Josh McDaniels and Jimmy Garappolo faced their former team. Jimmy Garappolo missed the second half with a back injury, but backup QB Brian Hoyer held down the fort in the second half.

"Brian's a veteran backup," McDaniels said. "He's held down plenty of forts in his career. He's also held down plenty of benches. Brian's 38-years-old and has played with eight different teams. So, when he joins your team, the first question you ask is, 'How was your journey, man?'

"But I think we're all confident in Jimmy. He might not be a superstar, but he can do the job. I mean, Jimmy held Tom Brady's jock strap for four years, he should be able to 'hold his own.'"

The Bears fell 19-13 to the Vikings at home on a windy day in Chicago. Chicago's offense was ineffective, and Justin Fields suffered a dislocated thumb on his throwing hand in the third quarter.

"Well," Matt Eberflus said, "Justin certainly didn't injure his hand counting our wins. Or his completions. Or my eventual tenure as head coach.

"Justin's out against the Raiders. But we're confident that his backup, Tyson Bagent, can do most things just as well as Justin, like win one of every six games."

Raiders win, 24-16.

Cleveland @ Indianapolis (+2)

The Colts lost 37-20 to the Jaguars at Lucas Oil Stadium. Gardner Minshew threw 3 interceptions and lost a fumble against his former team, as Indy dropped to 3-3.

"It certainly wasn't Gardner's finest moment," Shane Steichen said. "His finest moments are defined in many ways, like when he's sweet-talking a lot lizard in a truck stop parking lot, or installing fake bull testicles on the trailer hitch of his truck, or playing bass for Ratt.

"We're easing Jonathan Taylor back into the role as lead running back. It's kind of the opposite of Robert Irsay being weaned off pain killers."

The Browns, without Deshaun Watson, stunned the undefeated 49ers 17-16 in the Dawg Pound, led by a defense that confounded Brock Purdy and San Fran's high powered offense.

"Jim Schwartz has our defense playing at another level," Kevin Stefanski said. "It's great to see Jim finally getting the recognition he deserves. It's also great to see Jim known for something other than that coach who went berserk because another coach patted him on the back.

"And let's not discount what P.J. Walker did for this team. Not many people can do what Deshaun does. Actually, no one does what Deshaun does."

Browns win, 27-17.

Buffalo @ New England (+8½)

The Bills slipped by the visiting Giants 14-9 on Sunday night as the Buffalo defense held at the goal line on the Giants final possession.

"I don't want to say we underestimated the Giants," Sean McDermott said, "but I just did.

"It's always a challenge going up against Bill Belichick. It used to be Bill playing chess, and me playing checkers. But times have changed. Oh, I'm still playing checkers, but now Bill is too. He just sucks really badly at checkers now."

The Patriots lost 21-17 to the Raiders in Las Vegas as New England lost their third straight game. Bill Belichick remained stuck on 299 wins in his quest to join Don Shula and George Halas in the 300-win coaches club.

"I think people will remember the 2023 version of Bill Belichick," Belichick said, "as the guy who breaks Microsoft tablets, not records.

"I'm also solidifying my reputation as the most stubborn coach in the NFL. I've said it many times, but it bears repeating — 'I'm not changing.' By that, I mean my clothes."

Bills win, 28-17.

Washington @ NY Giants (+2)

The Commanders beat the Falcons 24-16 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, led by the strong play of Sam Howell, who passed for 3 touchdowns.

"Great game by Sam," Ron Rivera said. "He's a pretty darn good quarterback, when he's not getting sacked. So, by my calculations, he's a good quarterback about 10% of the time.

"Sam's on pace to be sacked 95 times this season, which would shatter the record set by David Carr in 2002. Sam's not the most elusive fellow, so there's 'no escaping' the fact that he needs to get rid of the ball quicker."

The short-handed Giants upset bid fell just short at Highmark Stadium in a 14-9 loss to the Bills on Sunday night.

"Daniel missed the Bills game," Brian Daboll said. "Daniel's neck is feeling much better. I can't be certain, but he may have injured his neck by craning it trying to find an open receiver.

Giants win, 24-20.

Atlanta @ Tampa Bay (-2½)

The Falcons lost 24-16 at home to the Commanders, who took advantage of 3 Desmond Ridder interceptions. Atlanta dropped to 3-3, but are just a ½-game behind the 3-2 Bucs in the NFC South.

"I thought after last week," Arthur Smith said, "Desmond had turned a corner. But 3 turnovers are unacceptable. It's like he takes two steps forward, then takes three steps back, makes a bad read, employs sloppy footwork, then throws the first of several interceptions."

The Bucs lost 20-6 to the Lions at Raymond James Stadium. Detroit held Tampa to just 251 yards of total offense and kept them out of the end zone.

"I think the Lions defense confused Baker Mayfield," Todd Bowles said. "It's the same level of confusion a person would experience when they find out our quarterback actually won the Heisman Trophy in 2017. Or the same level of confusion a person would experience when they find out the same team drafted both Mayfield and Johnny Manziel."

Bucs win, 27-14.

Detroit @ Baltimore (-3)

Jared Goff passed for 2 touchdowns and the Lions defense dominated in a 20-6 Detroit win in Tampa.

"We physically dominated in all phases of the game," Goff said. "If a Dan Campbell shirtless chest bump of a gorilla could be described as a game, it would be this one.

"Baltimore is famous for its football team, and Edgar Allan Poe. Detroit is also known for its football team and, just like Baltimore, its great literary minds, like Ted Nugent and Kid Rock, who, although they are still alive, have less brain power than Poe."

Ravens win, 21-20.

Pittsburgh @ L.A. Rams (-3)

The Steelers had a Week 6 bye and are 3-2 in the AFC North, ½-game behind the division-leading Ravens.

"Our offense is ranked 30th of 32 teams in the league," Mike Tomlin said. "But our defense is the perfect complement to our offense, because our defense is also ranked 30th of 32. It sounds like Matt Canada is our offensive and defensive coordinator.

"Don't mean to toot my own horn, but if you have a sucky offense and defense and you're 3-2, it must be the coaching. And coaching is purely about motivation. And when I want to motivate my team, I always activate the 'Mike Tomlin Quote Generator.' There's a setting for 'Sounds cool, but makes no logical sense.' In fact, that's the only setting."

The Rams beat the Cardinals 26-9 at SoFi Stadium, led by the running of Kyren Williams and the receiving of Cooper Kupp. Williams and Kupp combined for 306 total yards and 2 touchdowns under the offensive guidance of Matthew Stafford.

"I feel like a new man," Stafford said. "Sean McVay insists I'm just as good as these quarterbacks that are ten or more years younger than me. And I'm starting to believe him. It's like I'm drinking the Kool-Aid from the 'Fountain of Youth.'"

Rams win, 27-23.

Arizona @ Seattle (-8)

The Seahawks lost 17-13 to the Bengals in Cincinnati. Seattle had four shots from the Cincy 11-yard line in the closing moments of the fourth quarter, but couldn't punch it in.

"We just couldn't close the deal," Pete Carroll said. "But look, there's no shame in losing to the team that lost in the AFC championship game last year. Now, there is shame in losing to the team that won the AFC championship, like I did in Super Bowl XLIX to the Patriots by not giving the ball to Marshawn Lynch and instead, 'letting Russ cook.' Russ cooked, all right. He 'cooked my goose.'"

The Cardinals lost 26-9 to the Rams at SoFi Stadium. Los Angeles turned a close first half contest into a blowout with a dominating ground game in the second half.

"The Rams decided to run it right at us in the second half," Jonathan Gannon said. "In other words, they simplified the playbook. For Kyler Murray, a simplified play book is one with no pages."

Seahawks win, 25-20.

Green Bay @ Denver (+1)

Denver's struggles continued in a 19-8 loss to the Chiefs in Kansas City on Thursday night. The Broncos defense did their part, holding Patrick Mahomes and the K.C. offense to just 1 touchdown, but Denver's offense managed only 197 yards of offense and had 3 turnovers.

"Our defense is making progress," Sean Payton said. "Our offense is not. If you ask me to give my offense a compliment, well, I guess I'd have to 'punt.'"

Packers win, 27-24.

L.A. Chargers @ Kansas City (-5½)

The Chiefs earned a hard-fought 19-8 win over the Broncos at GEHA Field on Thursday night. K.C. put up over 400 yards of offense, but only scored 1 touchdown, as they improved to 5-1.

"I think Hank Stram would be really impressed with our offense," Andy Reid said, "because we're 'matriculating' the ball down the field very deliberately, very slowly, and very cautiously.

"But the important thing is we're playing together as a team. It's very important to play for your teammates and support them. If we continue to do that, I think we're going to be right where we need to be on that big day in 2024. I'm of course talking about the wedding of Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift."

The Chargers lost 20-17 to the Cowboys at SoFi Stadium on Sunday night and fell to 2-3, three games behind the Chiefs in the AFC West.

"I guess I just got out-coached by Mike McCarthy," Brandon Staley said. "I guess that makes me pretty special, because not many coaches, if any, have ever said that."

Chiefs win, 31-24.

Miami @ Philadelphia (-1½)

The Dolphins overcame a slow start and turned back the Panthers 42-21 at Hard Rock Stadium. Tua Tagovailoa passed for 262 yards and 3 touchdowns, as Miami improved to 5-1.

"We spotted the Panthers a 14-point lead," Mike McDaniel said. "It was our contribution to charity, because we really believe in the 'Head Start' program.'"

The Eagles fell apart late in a 20-14 loss to the inspired Jets at MetLife Stadium. Jalen Hurts threw 3 interceptions, including 2 in the fourth quarter as Philly blew a 14-9 second half lead.

"Jalen is certainly not the first quarterback to throw stupid interceptions in MetLife Stadium," Nick Sirianni said. "And he certainly won't be the last, because the Jets and Giants have ten more games here this season.

"I think the bottom line is this — we need to get our asses in gear. In other words, some tushes need pushes, in this case by me."

The Eagles win the battle of ground attacks and win, 31-28.

San Francisco @ Minnesota (+7)

The Browns shocked the undefeated 49ers 19-17 in windy Cleveland. Jake Moody's 41-yard field goal with 9 seconds left was wide right, securing Cleveland's upset.

"That was certainly a humbling loss," Kyle Shanahan said. "I guess you could say we got taken down a notch. Or, you could say we got taken down a 'peg.' When you're taken down a peg, I understand that's called 'pegging,' or so I'm told by my metrosexual pals in Frisco.

"George Kittle was fined almost $14,000 for the t-shirt he wore under his jersey in the Dallas game. I don't think the t-shirt was that big of a deal. George was just giving the Cowboys a letter grade on their play against us. Hence, 'F' Dallas.'"

The Vikings defense had 5 sacks and 2 interceptions, leading the Vikes to a 19-13 win over the Bears in Chicago. Minnesota improved to 2-4.

"That was our first game without Justin Jefferson," Kirk Cousins said. "To say we missed him would be a huge understatement. Justin is like my security blanket. Without my security blanket, I have to resort to sucking my thumb, and just generally sucking."

San Francisco wins, 27-11.

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