NFL Betting Predictions: Week 7 Opening Line Report and Picks
New Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy might have a Hall of Fame career. The guy clearly knows offense, and all of a sudden young Mitchell Trubisky looks like he could be the franchise's best quarterback in forever.
That said, the Bears could be 5-0 but for Nagy going ultra-conservative at the wrong time (his second-half decision-making also cost the Chiefs in last year's playoff loss to Tennessee). A very questionable call on third down late in the fourth quarter of the season opener in Green Bay would eventually come back to bite the Bears in a loss, and it happened again in Sunday's wild 31-28 overtime loss in Miami - there may not be a more entertaining game all year. If the Bears miss the playoffs by one game, they will look back at Sunday.
Chicago should have won that game a few times but then should have lost with about five minutes to go in OT. However, Kenyan Drake fumbled at the goal line when a TD would have ended it. Frank Gore had just torn up the Bears on the ground, but he was gassed or Gore would have surely gotten the ball.
Trubisky quickly marched the Bears down the field, but on third-and-4 from the Miami 35 with 2:10 left, Nagy lost his gumption and called a run up the gut that had very little chance of getting the first down. He has one of the most mobile quarterbacks in the league and he calls that? Jordan Howard was stopped for no gain, and then former Dolphin Cody Parkey missed the potential winning 53-yard field goal. I'm sorry, but Nagy needs to use Trubisky's mobility there or call a screen pass to Tarik Cohen or something along those lines - Cohen was great all day, although he did have a costly fumble.
Miami took over in great field position following Parkey's miss, and Jason Sanders hit a 47-yard field goal to end it. The Bears came off the bye week and allowed 31 points to a team that had totaled just 24 in the previous two games combined and was without starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Him sitting came completely out of nowhere as Tannehill (sprained AC joint in shoulder) was a full participant in practice on Wednesday and Thursday. Shoot, the Dolphins players themselves didn't find out that Brock Osweiler would be starting until Sunday morning. That news jumped the line from an open of Bears -3 to -7 by kickoff. Osweiler threw for 380 yards but most of that was yards after the catch courtesy of dumpoffs. Albert Wilson, for example, had 155 yards and two scores on just six catches. That supposedly vaunted Bears defense didn't record a sack.
The Bears are 2.5-point home underdogs this Sunday against New England. Here are some Week 7 early lines that caught my eye. I won't touch on Thursday's game (Cardinals-Broncos - yuck!), my in-depth Sunday matchup (most likely Titans-Chargers from London) or the Monday night game (Giants-Falcons - also yuck!) as I will be previewing them here individually.
Bills at Colts (-6.5, total TBA): Why on earth is Buffalo backup quarterback Nathan Peterman still employed in the NFL? In his first career start last year, he was historically bad in throwing five first-half interceptions in a blowout loss to the Chargers and frankly hasn't been any better in limited playing time since. He was Buffalo's Week 1 starter but was 5-for-18 for 24 yards with two picks before being mercifully pulled in a blowout loss to Baltimore. Rookie Josh Allen had started since, but he left Sunday's 20-13 loss in Houston late in the third quarter with an ankle injury. So what did Peterman do in his place? Threw two more picks, including the winning touchdown returned 28 yards by Jonathan Joseph with 1:23 to go. There's not total yet on this one due to Allen's status. The Bills recently signed veteran Derek Anderson, and I'd guess he starts if Allen can't. Coach Sean McDermott will have a locker-room revolt if he puts Peterman out there again. Indy dropped its fourth in a row Sunday, 42-34 at the Jets. Another big game from Andrew Luck (301 yards, four TDs) but again little help. He did throw multiple picks for the third time this season. The pick: Colts.
Panthers at Eagles (-4, 45): Carolina got two big pieces back Sunday against the Redskins in Pro Bowl linebacker Thomas Davis and tight end Greg Olsen but lost 23-17. Davis had been suspended the first four weeks and Olsen returned quicker than expected from a fractured right foot. He had four catches for 48 yards. The Panthers outgained the Redskins 350-288 but gave it away three times and Washington didn't turn it over. Carolina rookie WR DJ Moore had two first-half fumbles that contributed to a 17-0 hole. Philadelphia is on extra rest after winning 34-13 at the Giants on Thursday, easily the Eagles' best game of the year. Carson Wentz threw for three scores, with Alshon Jeffery catching two. With Jay Ajayi lost for the year, Wendell Smallwood (18 carries, 51 yards) and Corey Clement (11 carries, 43 yards, TD) shared the workload. It's now being reported that the Eagles are unlikely to acquire LeSean McCoy in a trade from Buffalo. Philadelphia did lose Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters to a biceps injury. Not yet clear if he will miss any time. The pick: Eagles.
Browns at Bucs (-3, 49.5): Thought Cleveland had a chance to beat the visiting Chargers on Sunday and get over .500 for the first time in a few years, but the Browns were outclassed 38-14. They allowed 449 yards of offense, 246 of that on the ground. Baker Mayfield tweaked an ankle in the first quarter but played through it. He wasn't great, completing just 22 of 46 for 238 yards, a TD and two picks while being sacked five times. Tampa Bay came out of its bye and lost a third straight, 34-29 in Atlanta as that defense continues to be shredded. The best player on that side of the ball, Pro Bowl tackle Gerald McCoy, left with a calf injury. The Bucs' offense was terrific with 512 yards. Jameis Winston returned to the starting lineup and threw for 395 yards and four scores but was intercepted twice. Of course, Winston and Mayfield were both Heisman winners and No. 1 overall picks in the draft. The pick: Bucs.
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