Steve Believes: Week 7, 2018 NFL Season

  • Denver Broncos vs. Arizona Cardinals. Defensively, the Broncos held the high-powered Los Angeles Rams to 23 points and sacked Jared Goff five times. However, they were shredded for the third straight week on the ground, as Todd Gurley became the third player to rush for 100 yards or more against them in as many weeks. As for the Cardinals, they haven’t been able to play complimentary football, as their anemic offense keeps wasting valiant efforts by their defense. Look for that to change this week with David Johnson being a dual-threat as both a runner and pass catcher, and look for Chandler Jones to have a monster game against the Broncos. I like the Cardinals in an upset.
  • Tennessee Titans vs. Los Angeles Chargers. After an impressive start in the first quarter of the season, the Titans first lost a heartbreaker in Buffalo against the Bills and then got their butts handed to them against the Baltimore Ravens. As for the Chargers, they are one of the hottest teams right now in the league, as they have won three in a row and will only get better as the season goes on. The Titans won’t give up 11 sacks, but they will give up a lot of points against Philip Rivers & Company and not score enough points to keep pace. A California team will come up victorious this week across the pond, as I have the Chargers winning their fourth in a row heading into their Week 8 bye.
  • New England Patriots vs. Chicago Bears. Timely first half interceptions, and the absences of both Justin Houston and Eric Berry allowed the Patriots to prevail in a game that they should have lost. As for the Bears, their stout defense got shredded against a Miami Dolphins team that was minus Ryan Tannehill. Look for the Bears defense to play much better this week and look for Andy Reid protégé Matt Nagy to exploit the porous Patriots defense. I like the Bears to knock the Patriots back down to Earth.
  • Buffalo Bills vs. Indianapolis Colts. The futile Bills offense starts their third quarterback this season, as the reliable Derek Anderson starts in place of the injured Josh Allen. As for the Colts, they’ve shown life under first year head coach Frank Reich, despite having only one win. Andrew Luck hasn’t won a home start since Week 17 of the 2016 season. Look for that change this week. I like the Colts in this one.
  • Detroit Lions vs. Miami Dolphins. Ever since their Week 1 debacle against the New York Jets, the Lions have played immensely better and should be 3-2 right now. As for the Dolphins, they saved their season with a dramatic overtime win against the Bears. And now, they have a chance to regain sole possession of the AFC East with a win and Patriots loss. I think they will hold up their end of the deal in that department. Especially with the potential return of the bionic Cameron Wake.
  • Minnesota Vikings vs. New York Jets. After rocky starts, both the Vikings and Jets are two of the better teams of late. However, I give the slight edge to the Vikings, because of one of their two wins was at Lincoln Financial Field against the defending champion Philadelphia Eagles, whereas the Jets won their last two games at home. As tempting as it is to pick the Jets to win a third game in a row at home, I just can’t. Especially with Sam Darnold facing a suddenly-resurgent Vikings defense. So with that being said, I like the Vikings in this one.
  • Carolina Panthers vs. Philadelphia Eagles. Two of the past three NFC champions square off in an early-to-mid season tilt that could determine their divisional standings and seeds two through six in the playoffs. The Panthers are 0-2 road, while the Eagles bounced back in East Rutherford with a convincing win against the New York Giants. This game will be a good balance of offense and defense that will end on the foot of Jake Elliott for a 23-20 Eagles win.
  • Cleveland Browns vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After five weeks of being in games deciding by one possession, the Browns ran into a buzzsaw called the Chargers and got beat down, 38-14. As for the Buccaneers, they responded well coming out of their bye week with a near victory against the Atlanta Falcons. Now they look to right the ship (no pun intended) against a Browns team that is still winless on the road going back to Week 5 of the 2015 NFL season. Is this the week that that streak will end for the Browns? Logically, this could be the only spot in which that could happen this season, so what the hell? I’ll take the Browns.
  • Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars. Thanks to Deshaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt, the Texans have won three in a row to put themselves into a three-way tie for first place in the AFC South. As for the Jaguars, their ferocious defense has been anything but, as they have allowed a combined 70 points over the past two weeks. However, Blake Bortles’ mostly terrible play in those two weeks had a lot to do with that. The Jaguars have never been under .500 since Calais Campbell has been with the team and you can bet that he’s stressing the importance of this game. Look for the Jaguars to rise to challenge to get back over .500 with a win this week.
  • New Orleans Saints vs. Baltimore Ravens. The Saints and their high-powered offense resume play, as they come to The Charm City to take on the Ravens. Both teams will face a stern test against the other, with the high-octane Saints offense taking on the best defense in the entire league. It does seem unlikely that the Ravens defense will keep the Saints out of the end zone in the second half. However, they will still neutralize Drew Brees and the Saints offense. Plus, look for Joe Flacco to take shots against the Saints defensive backs early and often. I like the Ravens in this one.
  • Los Angeles Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers. The high-powered Rams hit a bit of a speed bump, as their offense was held to 23 points last week against the Broncos. As for the 49ers, they almost stole one last week in Green Bay against the Packers. Could this game originally scheduled as the Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth game feature another unbeaten team suffering its first defeat? I’m tempted to say yes, but the Rams defense is much better than the Packers defense and their offense is mostly intact. So with that being said, I like the Rams to remain unbeaten.
  • Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins. The NFC East is winnable for everyone but the Giants at this point of the season, so it’s not necessarily a must win, although the Cowboys could be behind the Redskins by a game and a half with a loss. The Cowboys are due for a victory away from AT&T Stadium, but I’m impressed with this Redskins team. Especially in the fashion in which they responded last week against the Panthers. I look for that momentum to carry over for the Redskins for their first home win against the Cowboys since Week 17 of the 2012 season.
  • Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs. It’s “We’re onto Cincinnati” in reverse, as the Chiefs face the Bengals following a primetime loss against the Patriots. However, this game got flexed into the Sunday night slot, whereas 2014’s Bengals-Patriots game was always pegged as a Sunday Night game. Plus, the Chiefs didn’t get a 41-14 whooping put on them, as they lost at the buzzer against the Patriots, and that was without Justin Houston and Eric Berry. One of those guys (Houston) could be back this week and if he does come back, it will further bolster a Kansas City pass rush that quietly has 14 sacks this season. Offensively, the Chiefs will look more like the team that they were in the second half last week than the team that looked somewhat lethargic in Weeks 4 and 5, and the first half last week against the Patriots. Look for the Chiefs to jump out to a 14 or 17-point lead and look for their defense to protect it in primetime at Arrowhead Stadium. I like the Chiefs to rebound with a win.
  • New York Giants vs. Atlanta Falcons. After five weeks of a win, three one-possession losses and a game that was close until the fourth quarter, the Giants got thoroughly beaten by the Eagles, despite Saquon Barkley’s 229 total yards of offense. Him and Olivier Vernon were the lone bright spots in that ugly 34-13 Week 6 loss. As for the Falcons, they nearly blew an 11-point halftime lead against the Buccaneers, only to luck out by a Jameis Winston fumble on the last play of the game. I have no faith in either team right now. But if I had to choose one, then I’d choose the Giants, because Eli Manning always seem to respond well when the pressure intensifies on him. Plus, I can’t trust Atlanta’s defense right now. So with that being said, I like the Giants in an upset.