NFL picks Week 7: Experts see resurgent Saints and Steelers

Picking games this season has been tough, but these picks are gold!

We’re six weeks into the 2017 NFL season, and the only thing we really know so far is that consensus is dead. Unlike years past, there are no dominant teams tossing aside opponents from week to week. There are some obvious tiers of teams, but even among the top tier, the variance in performance is stunning.

The upside is that games are better, more competitive, and though it’s still a good six weeks away, we might actually have an exciting playoff race. The downside for, um, professional analysts is that it makes picking games that much harder.

Except for the Browns. We can pretty much put them down for a loss every week. Thank heavens for that small slice of reliability we can cling to in the stormy seas of parity.

Let’s get last week’s picks out of the way. It was brutal. One person finished the week on the right side of .500. Everyone got burned by the Bucs, Broncos, Falcons, Packers, and Ravens. The Packers did lose Aaron Rodgers, which is one of those things that’s just hard to account for when you’re picking games.

Instinct told me to change my pick to the Steelers over the Chiefs, but I didn’t. Not sure whether to blame that on bad hindsight or just general laziness. Meh.

Enough about Week 6. Let’s talk about Week 7.

And, yeah, it’s not any easier this week.

We’re approaching consensus on the Panthers to beat the Bears, but I’m not so sure. That’s the logical pick. They’re a better team, and that defense should stifle rookie QB Mitch Trubisky. But we all thought the Ravens would beat the Bears last week, too, and how’d that turn out?

Dallas looks like a lock to beat the 49ers. Buuuuuuuuut, the winless 49ers have only lost one game by more than three points. Their expected win total, according to Football Outsiders, is an astounding 1.4 wins! That’s almost two more wins than they have now. At some point, they’re going to win one of those close games. Nobody here seems to think that will happen this week. That seems like misplaced confidence in the Cowboys coming out of their bye.

The Eagles have a claim to being the best team in the NFC, a strong claim. They host Washington this week. Division games, especially in the NFC East, have a tendency to get weird though.

And then we’ve got the Rams. They’re good now. No, seriously. I made a nice niche for myself screaming from the top of the mountain for the last four years that Jeff Fisher was a terrible football coach. I feel validated. But it just feels like they’re probably due for an “L” soon, almost like a correction. The universe saying, “hey, we took care of your 7-9 bullshit and now we need you to make a payment on that.”

Just to really underscore the season’s theme of screwing with expectations, we get the Falcons-Patriots Super Bowl rematch in primetime. Don’t fill up on 28-3 jokes before Sunday night, please.

Our panel has a strong lean toward the Patriots, doubtlessly influenced by Atlanta’s WTF losses to the Dolphins last week and the Bills two weeks before that. New England’s defense is trash this season, ripe for Atlanta’s high-flying offensive attack to get back on its feet. But, hey, remember the last time we thought the Falcons were going to beat the Patriots?

My intention here isn’t to undermine your confidence in our Week 7 picks. I’m merely pointing out that there is an awful lot of variance in the league this year. That’s all. We’re only here to guide you.

If you do want to follow anyone’s recommendations here, I suggest our weekly guests. This week it’s Jimmy from Music City Miracles, our home for all things Titans. All together, our guest pickers are leading the pack this season.

We allow our panel to make a couple changes to the picks by the end of the week, so be sure to check back.

NFL picks 2017, Week 7

Games RVB SW GS HL JT AS JM JT OddsShark
KC vs OAK KC OAK KC KC KC KC KC KC KC
TB vs BUF BUF BUF BUF BUF BUF TB TB BUF BUF
CAR vs CHI CAR CAR CAR CAR CAR CAR CAR CAR CAR
TEN vs CLE TEN TEN TEN TEN TEN TEN TEN TEN TEN
NO vs GB NO NO NO NO NO NO GB NO NO
JAX vs IND JAX JAX JAX JAX JAX JAX JAX JAX JAX
ARZ vs LAR ARZ LAR LAR LAR LAR LAR LAR LAR LAR
NYJ vs MIA NYJ MIA MIA NYJ NYJ MIA MIA NYJ MIA
BAL vs MIN MIN MIN MIN MIN MIN BAL MIN BAL MIN
DAL vs SF DAL DAL DAL DAL DAL DAL DAL DAL DAL
SEA vs NYG SEA NYG SEA SEA SEA NYG SEA SEA SEA
CIN vs PIT PIT CIN PIT PIT PIT PIT PIT PIT PIT
DEN vs LAC DEN LAC LAC DEN DEN DEN DEN DEN LAC
ATL vs NE ATL NE NE ATL NE NE NE NE ATL
WAS vs PHI PHI PHI PHI PHI PHI PHI PHI PHI PHI
Last week 3-11 6-8 6-8 7-7 5-9 7-7 5-9 8-6 7-7
Season 46-45 47-44 50-41 57-34 51-40 52-39 58-33 51-40 42-49

Via SBNation.com