LOS ANGELES, October 19, 2017 — Football is about football. The politics of protests have run their course except for a few remaining zealots. The action on the field is what matters.
So let us leatherheads just focus on football.
Here is the NFL 2017 Week 7 Preview and Bettor’s Guide, with point spreads provided by Football Locks. All times Eastern.
Thursday, October 19, 2017, 8:30 p.m.
Kansas City Chiefs (-3) at Oakland Raiders — The Chiefs will be angry after losing last week while the Raiders have done nothing but lose for a month. Even when the Raiders were good last year, the Chiefs swept them. Now the Raiders are terrible. Alex Smith will dink and dunk the pathetic Oakland secondary to death. Chiefs cover.
Sunday, October 22, 1:00 p.m.
Tennessee Titans (-6) at Cleveland Browns — The Titans are awful, but the Browns are worse. Marcus Mariota should have an easy time against a Cleveland team without answers. Titans cover.
Jacksonville Jaguars (-3) at Indianapolis Colts — Jacksonville has a defense, and after watching them intercept Ben Roethlisberger five times a couple weeks ago, Jacoby Brissett could be in for a rough week. Jacksonville is inconsistent, but they lost last week and should rebound. Jaguars cover.
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers (-5.5) — The Steelers rebounded nicely last week with a road win over previously unbeaten Kansas City. The Steelers always beat the Bengals, and this Bengals team has shown little fight much of the year. Steelers cover.
Baltimore Ravens at Minnesota Vikings (-5.5) — Minnesota knocked out Aaron Rodgers and Mike Zimmer’s defense has played inspired football despite quarterback questions. Joe Flacco has not had a good year. Give the Vikings the edge on defense. The Vikings will win, but fail to cover.
New York Jets at Miami Dolphins (-3) — The Jets were one bad call away from a fourth straight win. Miami shocked the football world by winning on the road at Atlanta, but the offense has been listless for long stretches. It’s hard to trust the Jets on the road, but this might be the week we finally take them seriously. Upset special, Jets win outright.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Buffalo Bills (-3) —Both of these teams have been inconsistent, but the Bills have a very good defense. At home, trust them to force Jameis Winston in making mistakes. Bills cover.
Carolina Panthers (-3) at Chicago Bears — Despite the home loss to Philadelphia, Carolina is an improved team. So far the game has not been too big for Mitchell Trubisky, but the Carolina defense should give him some growing pains this week even without Luke Kuechly. Panthers cover.
New Orleans Saints (-5.5) at Green Bay Packers —The Packers were heavily favored until Aaron Rodgers went down for the year with a broken collarbone. However, Green Bay’s defense is not bad. Drew Brees has led a resurgent Saints offense in recent weeks, but this game has every indication of the Green Bay players rallying together. With a supportive home crowd, this is not the week to write off the Packers. Upset special, Packers win outright.
Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams (-3.5) in London. The Rams are a legitimate playoff team while the Cardinals are not what they were two years ago. Expect the Rams defense to knock Carson Palmer around. Michelin Man Wade Phillips squaring off against Bruce Arians is a chess match representing the best of NFL minds. Go with the Son of Bum’s defense. Rams win but fail to cover.
Dallas Cowboys (-6) at San Francisco 49ers — 25 years ago this game was everything. Now the Cowboys are underachieving and the 49ers are winless. The spread is way too high given that every week the 49ers lose by a hair. They have a defense, and nobody is blowing them out. Cowboys win but fail to cover.
Seattle Seahawks (-5.5) at New York Giants — How on earth did the winless Giants go on the road and beat Denver. This week order gets restored. The Giants have too many injuries, and Seattle’s defense is back to beating up opponents. Eli Manning will complete a couple passes to the Legion of Boom. Seahawks cover.
Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers (-1) — Denver’s home loss to the winless Giants was a head-scratcher, while the Chargers racked up two wins after an 0-4 start. The Broncos should win, but this is the 25-year anniversary of the 1992 Chargers team that was the only 0-4 squad to make the playoffs. Denver is the better team, but the Chargers have confidence. Chargers cover.
Atlanta Falcons at New England Patriots (-3.5) — In the Super Bowl the Falcons blew a 28-3 second half lead to the Patriots. A few years ago in the NFC Title Game the Falcons blew a 17-0 halftime lead at home. Last week the Falcons blew a 17-0 halftime lead at home. The Falcons lose when it matters. The Patriots win when it matters. Patriots cover.
Monday, October 23, 8:30 p.m.
Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles (-5) — The Eagles are for real. Their road win at Carolina was a statement that there is a new bully in the NFC East. The Philadelphia defense will win the battle in the trenches. Kirk Cousins will not get the help he needs. Eagles cover.