NEW ORLEANS: It is NFL Week 7 Vince Lombardi and George Halas should be rolling over in their graves. The NFL is becoming sissified. No, this is not about the concussion issue and the new rules for tackling. The players will adjust, and the referees will figure it out as well. This is about coaches trying to get too cute by half and outsmarting themselves. When a team has first and goal at the one, any team lining up in the shotgun should shoot the coaching staff. Any teams calling passes over the middle should be marched off the field. In short yardage situations, there is one acceptable play call. Run the damn ball.
Run the damn ball. Run it straight up the gut.
The defense knows its coming. The offense knows that the defense knows its coming. They run it anyway. If they get stopped three straight times, on fourth and goal at the one, there is one play call. Run it again because you should have made it the first three times. When a defense knows the run is coming, and the offense scores anyway, that breaks a defense’s will. Several pass-happy coaches have failed to convert on third and one, fourth and one, and even fourth and inches because they insisted on West Coast Offense dink and dunk passes.
Football is a game of violence and power.
Dink and dunk passes do not scare anyone. Running the ball in the fourth quarter ten straight times against a worn out defense punishes that defense. It is how games are closed out. Jim Brown did not become the greatest player in NFL history by finessing his way around the field. He carried the ball and rammed it down the throat of the opposing defenses. That is football. As the season wears on and the weather gets colder, NFL teams that can run the ball will win games. Those who cannot will enjoy a nice long offseason.
NFL Week 7 Preview and Bettor’s Guide
With that, here is the NFL Week 7 Preview and Bettor’s Guide, with point spreads provided by OddsShark and all times Eastern.
NFL Week 7 Games
Thursday, October 18, 2018, 8: 20 p.m.
Denver Broncos (-1.5) at Arizona Cardinals:
A pair of bad teams face off. Josh Rosen is out, giving the Broncos the edge. Denver took the unbeaten Rams to the limit, so give them a chance against a wounded Arizona team. Broncos cover.
Sunday, October 21, 1:00 p.m.
Tennessee Titans at Los Angeles Chargers (-6.5)
Tennessee has lost two straight. Last week Marcus Mariota faced more sacks (11) than had completions (10). The Chargers do not have as vaunted a defense, but they sure have an offense. Philip Rivers should put this one away by halftime. Chargers cover.
New England Patriots (-3) at Chicago Bears:
Losing a game to Miami is bad. Losing a game to Brock Osweiler is worse. Now the Bears face a Patriots team that is clicking on all cylinders. After putting up 43 points against formerly unbeaten Kansas City, Tom Brady should have fun torching Chicago. Khalil Mack cannot do it all himself. Patriots cover.
Buffalo Bills at Indianapolis Colts (-7.5):
Both of these teams are awful. With Josh Allen out and Nathan Peterman playing like Nathan Peterman, Derek Anderson gets the start. Andrew Luck should have a field day, but the Colts are too woeful to justify the spread. Colts win but fail to cover.
Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars (-5)
The Jaguars have regressed since beating up New England early in the season. Houston won a pair of overtime thrillers but these teams are average for a reason. The spread is too high given Blake Bortles’s inconsistency. Jaguars win but fail to cover.
Detroit Lions at Miami Dolphins (Pick ‘em)
Brock Osweiler played well in place of the injured Ryan Tannehill. The Lions have been up and down. It is hard to trust either of these teams, so trust the home field. Dolphins win.
Minnesota Vikings (-3.5) at New York Jets
The Vikings have not lived up to their potential Sam Darnold has for the Jets, but he needs more help. Both teams are inconsistent. Both Mike Zimmer and Todd Bowles know defense, but only Zimmer gets to release the hounds against a rookie quarterback. Vikings cover.
Carolina Panthers at Philadelphia Eagles (-4.5)
The Eagles thrashed the awful Giants, while the Panthers barely survived them. However, Cam Newton has made too many plays to trust the spread. One game against a and team does not mean Carson Wentz has his offense humming. It could come down to the final play. Eagles win but fail to cover.
Cleveland Browns at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3)
Dirk Koetter fired his defensive coordinator after seeing the Buccaneers give up almost 35 points per game. Despite getting blasted last week, Cleveland is still on the upswing. Baker Mayfield can play. Cleveland has a defense. The Browns have not won a road game in forever. Now they do. Upset special, Browns win outright.
Sunday, October 21, 4:00 p.m.
New Orleans at Baltimore Ravens (-2.5)
The NFL all-time passing leader Drew Brees leads his pinball offense against a defense that registered 11 quarterback sacks last week. It is hard to doubt Brees, especially when the Saints had two weeks to gear up for this game. However, at the Big Crabcake, go with John Harbaugh’s defense. Ravens cover.
Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins (-1.5)
Neither of these teams has played well overall, but Dallas did put up 40 points last week against Jacksonville. The Cowboys can run the ball. In a close one, go with the running game. Upset special, Cowboys win outright.
Los Angeles Rams (-10) at San Francisco 49ers
The spread is way too high. Do not be fooled by the records. The 6-0 Rams barely survived a 2-4 Denver team. The 1-5 49ers took the Packers to the limit and outplayed them until Kyle Shahanan stopped running the ball. The spread is just too high given how well CJ Beathard has been playing. Rams win but fail to cover.
Sunday, October 21, 8:20 p.m.
Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs (-6)
Cincinnati collapsed and lost a heartbreaker against hated Pittsburgh while Kansas City lost a 43-40 thriller at New England on the final play. With both teams coming off a loss, trust the home field and Patrick Mahomes over Andy Dalton. Walrus Lite Andy Reid has too many offensive playmakers for the Bengals to handle. Chiefs win but fail to cover.
Monday, October 22, 8:20 p.m.
New York Giants at Atlanta Falcons (-5.5)
The Falcons may have saved their season by barely surviving Tampa Bay last week. The Giants are awful on every level and coming apart at the seams. Expect Atlanta to continue righting their ship and compounding the Giants misery. Falcons cover.