NFL Week 7 best bets and expert picks for the Sunday slate. Find best bets for NFL Week 7 featuring Lions vs. Ravens, Steelers vs. Rams, Dolphins vs. Eagles, Commanders vs. Giants, Bills vs. Patriots, 49ers vs. Eagles, Falcons vs. Buccaneers, and Cardinals vs. Seahawks.
NFL Week 7 Best Bets (10/22/23)
We’re onto Week 7 of the NFL season, and there are some fascinating matchups on the board this week. Be sure to check out the Lineups YouTube page where we break down every NFL game this week in full detail and offer more analysis on spreads, totals, and player props. Let’s get to work on finding some winners for Week 7.
Jacob Wayne’s Record: 13-7 (+5.3 units)
Kody Malstrom’s Record: 8-3 (+4.8 units)
Will Schwartz’s Record: 9-8 (+0.6 units)
Detroit Lions at Baltimore Ravens
When the Lions hosted the Ravens in 2021, Justin Tucker pulled out just about the most clutch ending to a game I’ve ever seen with a record-breaking 66-yard field goal at the buzzer. Detroit will certainly be hitting the road hungry for revenge, but they’ll likely be doing it without bell cow running back David Montgomery.
Craig Reynolds relieved Montgomery on Sunday, but he’s listed as questionable with a hamstring injury while Jahmyr Gibbs has an ankle injury. The Lions need to be able to run the ball in this game as the forecast calls for 21 mph winds. Running the ball in this game wouldn’t have been easy regardless of the injuries as Roquan Smith leads one of the best run defenses in the NFL.
The “Jared Goff outdoors” narrative is probably overplayed somewhat, but this is a tough spot for him. The Ravens rank third in pass defense success rate this season and are getting a key pass rusher back in Odafe Oweh. Mike Macdonald’s defense is well equipped to handle Ben Johnson’s elite offense.
When the Ravens have the ball, I expect Lamar Jackson to give this defense a very different test than they’ve faced this season. The Lions have recently played Desmond Ridder, Jordan Love, Bryce Young, and Baker Mayfield. Jackson represents a massive step up in class for this Lions defense, especially with a secondary missing multiple starters.
The Lions’ hot start to this season has been one of the league’s best stories, but I believe they’ve met their match here. While the Ravens are coming off the London game, I don’t have any concerns about Jim Harbaugh’s ability to have his team ready for this matchup between Super Bowl hopefuls. Bet on Jackson and the Ravens to get the win.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Los Angeles Rams
The Rams were written off during the offseason as an aged out roster whose Super Bowl window had ended, but Sean McVay’s team is now sporting a 3-3 record. They’re a real playoff threat in the NFC. Meanwhile, the Steelers are 3-2, but I believe their record should be much worse given how their wins have come.
Pittsburgh has two fluky wins. They beat the Browns in Week 2 despite only having nine first downs and no red zone snaps – they had two defensive touchdowns. Then in Week 5, before their bye week, they beat the Ravens thanks to two fumbles and a Lamar Jackson interception in their end zone. I’m not buying what this team is selling.
Matt Canada is perhaps the worst offensive coordinator in the league right now, and this team’s anemic offense is hard to watch – they rank dead last in early down success rate. Wide receiver Diontae Johnson is expected back this week, but he can’t fix the terrible offensive play calling in Pittsburgh.
The Rams’ defense has been surprisingly solid given all of their first and second year starters, and they can flex their muscles a bit here after a dominant win over the Cardinals. However, we’re really betting on the Rams’ offense here with Stafford having an excellent season – he leads the NFL in big-time throws per PFF.
The reintroduction of Cooper Kupp to the offense changes the complexion of the remainder of the Rams’ season, and the Steelers’ defense isn’t well equipped to handle him and Puka Nacua. While the Rams have some injuries at running back, I’m betting on this passing attack leading them to a win.
Best Bet: Rams -3
Miami Dolphins at Philadelphia Eagles
The Dolphins are off to a 5-1 record this season, but their five wins have come against the Chargers, Patriots, Broncos, Giants, and Panthers – those teams have a combined record of 5-24. Now, they have to go on the road to face the Eagles, who represented the NFC in the Super Bowl last season.
Philadelphia has dealt with some inconsistencies this year, particularly as they replaced both coordinators. However, their run game has been consistently excellent – they rank second in rushing success rate and now face a Miami defense that ranks 27th in rushing success rate allowed.
The Eagles’ run game will allow them to run a ball control offense and keep Tua Tagovailoa off the field. When the Dolphins passer is on the field, I have concerns about Miami’s ability to protect him. He hasn’t faced a pass rush like Philadelphia’s all year – not even against the Bills.
Philly finished last season with 70 sacks, the third-most of all time, and I have serious concerns about Miami’s offensive line holding up, especially with Terron Armstead on IR. Center Liam Eichenburg could be a particular liability against the dominant interior duo of Jalen Carter and Jordan Davis.
We’re getting good value on the Eagles here. They lost to the Jets last week, but that Jets defense has caused issues for other top quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen. I expect a bounceback game for Jalen Hurts with a much easier matchup against the Dolphins.
The forecast in Philadelphia calls for 16 mph winds, which would be a huge benefit to the home team with the better run game and defense. Miami’s offense is fun and flashy, but they’ve beaten up on some bad teams, and this is a huge step up in competition. Take Philly to win on Sunday Night Football.
Best Bet: Eagles -2
Washington Commanders at New York Giants
Even against a sleepy Buffalo Bills squad fresh off a trip to London, the New York Giants outdid themselves with two failed goal line attempts and head scratching coaching decisions throughout the contest. This has cemented their 32nd ranked DVOA marks, playing as the worst team in the league.
It’s hard to throw all the blame at the Giants for being the laughing stock of the league as they have had to battle through numerous injuries at key positions. Especially at their offensive line, a unit that currently features four of their five starters on the injury report listed as questionable.
That spells potential doom against a Washington defense who’s success comes from their front four. The Commanders currently rank slightly above average at generating Pressure while also ranked seventh in Adjusted Sack Rate. As for the Giants offensive line, they rank 32nd in Adjusted Line Yards and 31st in Adjusted Sack Rate.
Scarier yet for the Giants offense, a brunt of this defensive production comes from their edge position. Chase Young and Montez Sweat for a formidable duo, constantly crashing down the sides and collapsing the pocket. Whether it’s Daniel Jones or Tyrod Taylor, it will be tough for either quarterback to scramble on the outside as the pocket collapses.
This defensive pressure is especially vital for the Commanders defensive success as it helps protect their weak secondary who has struggled in coverage. The Commanders secondary currently ranks 26th in Def Pass EPA and 27th in Def Pass DVOA.
What their secondary does excel in, as well as the defense as a whole, is limiting opposing Success Rate. That means the Commanders limit the distance to gain on first down as well as generating stalled out drives on later downs, forcing opposing offenses into lower quality conversion opportunities. That’s an issue for the Giants offense who are well below average in both Pass and Rush Success Rate.
As for the Commanders offense it should be business as usual as Sam Howell is in a position to shred the Giants defense. The G-men have a tendency to blitz at a very high rate while generating little to no pressure, leading their middle exposed to get thrown over the top of. Expect down field success from Howell and company while their defense does a good job of keeping New York out of scoring position.
Best Bet: Commanders -2.5
Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers Wong Teaser
After sleepwalking their way to a win against the lowly New York Giants, the Buffalo Bills now get the benefit of getting acclimated in their old routine before a matchup against a reeling New England squad.
This serves as the perfect get right spot as the Bills level of play has been underwhelming as of late, now getting the advantage of taking on one of the worst quarterbacks in football with a poor group of pass catchers and a weak offensive line.
The advantage in the trenches is especially vital as the Bills are capable of generating elite pressure with just their front four by ranking first in the league in Pressure and 20th in Blitz Rate. That allows them to drop more back in coverage, daring Mac Jones to throw into tight passing lanes.
On offense, Josh Allen benefits from a relatively clean pocket as the Patriots rank near dead last in Adjusted Sack Rate and average in Pressure. That allows Allen to make the right read while trying to figure out Bill Belichick’s disguise coverage, limiting turnover worthy throws and keeping drives alive into scoring position.
As for the 49ers, it was a disappointing performance against the league’s best defense. They also dealt with the injury bug, seeing the likes of Deebo Samuel, Christian McCaffery, and Trent Williams go down throughout the contest.
All three are currently listed as questionable yet trending in the right direction to give it a go. That instantly bolsters the 49ers offensive attack, an elite unit who gets the privilege to carve up an average defense.
Speaking of defense, the 49ers take on a reeling Vikings offense who is sorely missing Justin Jefferson in the pass attack. They struggled to move the ball against the Chicago Bears, now needing to find answers against a 49ers defense with elite talent at all three levels.
Even with a glaring weakness at limiting the run, the Vikings have yet to find any sort of consistency in that regard as they rank 24th in Rush DVOA. With no fear of having to stack the box, expect a stretched out 49ers coverage to give Kirk Cousins fits.
Best Bet: Buffalo Bills -2.5 / San Francisco 49ers -1 Wong Teaser
Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Not too many people had this one circled in red on their calendar before the season started, but after a hot start from the Bucs and some serious quarterback issues in Atlanta, this has suddenly developed as a pivotal early clash in the NFC South division race. Perhaps surprisingly, it’s shaping up to be a defensive value, as the total set at just 38.5, we’re still taking the under.
A key matchup will be whether the Falcons are able to run the football; their rushing metrics are very average despite boasting one of the better back duos in the league, between Bijan Robinson and Tyler Allgeier. If Tampa’s run defense, which ranks third by EPA, can limit that pair, the Falcons will be forced to lean on Desmond Ridder to create offense, which is as big of a disaster as can be.
The Bucs offense under Baker Mayfield has a good amount of upside; Mayfield has become a very underrated passer especially in terms of accuracy, and Mike Evans puts him in great positions to make big plays. That being said, they absolutely still cannot run the football, they’re 31st in rushing success rate, 29th in run EPA and 28th in rushing DVOA. They’re going up against an Atlanta defense that ranks first in EPA against the run, so that avenue is completely shut.
They’re going to have to be a fairly one-dimensional offense through Mayfield, and rely on a few big plays to get them through. I think that they can; Atlanta’s pass defense ranks 24th by EPA and 29th by DVOA despite a success rate that ranks 7th, so a handful of big plays have clearly had their impact. It’s not going to be pretty, but paired with a strong defensive performance, it should be enough for the win and to cover the modest spread.
Best Bets: Bucs -2.5, Under 38.5
Detroit Lions at Baltimore Ravens
Even if you were high on the Lions this season, I don’t think you projected them to have a defense that would give them a shot to hang with the Ravens in a gritty, low-scoring battle, but that’s exactly where we are; these defenses rank second and third in DVOA, with Baltimore owning the slight edge.
That Ravens defense is one of the league’s best against the pass, ranking third in DVOA and fourth in EPA, which sets them up as an excellent counter for Jared Goff and Detroit’s strong air game, which grades just about as well. The Lions can also run the football, but with a very injured running back room, it’s hard to know how able they’ll be to pivot in that direction, especially against a Ravens run defense that is also very solid.
The Lions offense, as potent as it can be when it’s firing on all cylinders, can sputter a bit against top defenses. They registered just 20 points against each of the Bucs and Falcons, despite their defense giving them plenty of opportunities to possess the ball, and neither of those defenses grade anywhere close to as well as Baltimore’s. 20 points is far from a dud of a day, but will it be enough to break our under?
No, because the Ravens offense will struggle too. Detroit’s defensive front is suddenly one of the league’s best; they’re eighth in pressure rate despite blitzing at the third lowest rate in the league, and their run defense success rate is the league’s fifth best, while they’re third in DVOA against the run. Getting rushers to Lamar Jackson while still dropping at least seven men into coverage is key in slowing him down, and the Lions are set up perfectly to do just that.
Best Bet: Under 42.5
Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks
At least once a week in both the NFL and college, we run into a number that hardly feels real, and we’ve come to this week’s edition of that glorious trend. That would be the Seahawks team total in their matchup against the Arizona Cardinals, where they need to score four touchdowns (and convert the ensuing extra points) to hit the over. That seems like a relatively high number for one team, in a week where entire games have numbers in the mid to high 30s, but let’s break it down and prove why it’s a good investment.
On a very broad level, there’s only two ways this can miss; if the Cardinals defense prevents the Seahawks from scoring that much, or if the Seahawks are uninterested in scoring that many points. Neither of those is going to happen, especially the scenario where the Cardinals defense has a great showing.
This team has been unexpectedly plucky to start the season, but all of their firepower has come on the offensive side. The defense is 31st in DVOA and 30th in EPA, with the more granular angles looking just about as bad. The Seattle run game is especially primed for a big game; they’re ninth in rushing success rate and second in run EPA, compared to 31st and 24th for the Cardinals in those same two categories. So even if the Hawks go up big early on and try to run clock, they’ll probably still be scoring.
That being said, they probably won’t have the opportunity to go into full blown cruise control mode. The Seahawks’ defense is 30th in success rate against the pass, and just an average 16th in overall defensive DVOA. That’s not painting the picture of a total lights-out performance against a Cardinals offense that actually ranks 12th in DVOA, and 13th in passing DVOA.
The Cardinals shouldn’t come particularly close to winning this thing, but the holes they can exploit in the Seahawks’ defense make me shy away from the spread, and instead invest in Geno Smith and his offense to annihilate a totally overmatched defense.
Best Bet: Seahawks TT over 27.5