LOS ANGELES, October 21, 2015 — The weather is getting colder and the action is getting hotter. The National Football League does not require hyperbole. Shakespeare once said, “The play is the thing.” NFL Football is not about cheerleaders, fantasy, or gambling. For football purists, the game is the thing. Letterheads love football because it is football. It represents the best of the human spirit. A guy can get belted to the ground, stagger to his feet, and lead a heroic comeback. That is life. That is America. That is football.
With that, here is the NFL 2015 Week 7 Preview and Bettor’s Guide, with all times Eastern and point spreads provided by FootballLocks.com.
Thursday, October 22, 2015, 8:30 p.m.
Seattle Seahawks (-6.5) at San Francisco 49ers — Two years ago these teams were in the NFC Title Game. Now they are both 2-4. The difference is the 49ers were expected to collapse. The Seahawks were not. The Seahawks are the far better team, but the spread is high given Colin Kaepernick’s improved play. Seahawks win but fail to cover.
Sunday, October 25
Buffalo Bills (-5.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars in London — The last time the NFL played in London, the losing team fired their coach. The Bills are running hot and cold, and Rex Ryan’s defense folds against good teams. However, despite Blake Bortles improving as well, the Jaguars are a bad team. Rex will release the hounds. Bills cover.
Cleveland Browns at St. Louis Rams (-5.5) — The Browns have had some crushing defeats against some of the best teams in the league. They took Denver to overtime last week. The Rams have won some big games against good teams. The Rams have the edge at home but Cleveland has been far too competitive to justify the high spread. Rams win but fail to cover.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-2) at Kansas City Chiefs — Landry Jones has never started an NFL game. Until last week, he had never even played in one. Mike Tomlin may not keep things as basic as a coach would normally do with a third string quarterback. The Chiefs are 1-5 and getting worse by the week. The Pittsburgh defense will give Jones all the help he needs, as will a strong running game from LeVeon Bell. Steelers cover.
Houston Texans at Miami Dolphins (-4.5) — The Dolphins seemed revitalized under new coach Dan Campbell. The Dolphins were underachieving all year. This week they are at home against a struggling Houston team. This week will tell if the Dolphins will finally start to live up to their potential. Dolphins cover.
New York Jets at New England Patriots (-9) — As much as Tom Brady says he hates the Jets, Rex Ryan is no longer around. This is no longer a blood feud. Todd Bowles has built a solid defense. The Patriots have been lighting up scoreboards, but Gang Green might be able to keep this game close. The spread is high, so a garbage touchdown by the Jets could happen. Patriots win but fail to cover.
Minnesota Vikings (-2.5) at Detroit Lions — Detroit finally ended their run of miserable luck last week, getting a very favorable call from the referees en route to a tough overtime win. The Vikings live and die by Adrian Peterson, and the Lions have no defense. Yet in a shootout, Matthew Stafford will do more than Teddy Bridgewater. Upset special, Lions win outright.
Atlanta Falcons (-4) at Tennessee Titans — The Falcons were unbeaten until running into a New Orleans team fueled by emotion. The Titans are barely better than winless. Marcus Mariota has looked good in stretches, but he is still a rookie and the Falcons now have a defense to go along with their revitalized offense. Falcons cover.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers At Washington Redskins (-3.5) — This could be the Stupor Bowl. League rules require that it not be canceled. This game could come down to who wants it least. Redskins win but fail to cover.
New Orleans Saints at Indianapolis Colts (-4.5) — The Saints salvaged some pride last week in knocking Atlanta from the ranks of the unbeaten. Meanwhile, the Colts looked like Keystone Cops in bungling a winnable game against New England. The Colts are just not playing well enough to instill any confidence, even against a struggling team. Colts win but fail to cover.
Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers (-4) — The Raiders are improved despite losing two straight. San Diego gave Green Bay all they could handle as Philip Rivers passed for 503 yards. The Chargers did everything but win. The Raiders have a porous secondary outside of Charles Woodson. Rivers could pass for 1,000 yards this week. Chargers cover.
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants (-3.5) — The Giants looked horrendous at Philadelphia, turning the ball over multiple times. Dallas is very banged up. Matt Cassel is not an upgrade over Brandon Weedon. Tom Coughlin probably spent the whole week teaching his team what a football is and how to hold on to it. Giants cover.
Philadelphia Eagles at Carolina Panthers (-3) — Carolina is unbeaten, and Cam Newton is playing lights out football. Philadelphia may be the only team to win by 20 and still look awful. They just benefitted from a ton of turnovers. This game is a mismatch. Panthers cover.
October 26, 8:30 p.m.
Baltimore Ravens at Arizona Cardinals (-7.5) — The Ravens have won of the worst teams in the league. The Cardinals, despite two losses, are one of the best. The Cardinals have a phenomenal offense and the Ravens have an awful defense. This has all the makings of a blowout. The Monday Night Lights could give the Ravens some motivation, but they are on the road. Cardinals cover.